Noble Daughter | Chapter 12: Idle People

Wei Heng thought to herself, “Mother, why are you so unreliable, praising the appearance of another man in front of your daughter?” In reality, Madame He was not unreliable. She had already considered Lu Zhan as a potential son-in-law, which made her speak more freely.

Even if Wei Heng had lived two lifetimes, she couldn’t have guessed that her mother had such thoughts about a son-in-law so early. In the aristocratic families of the Great Xia Dynasty, daughters with some family background were usually not married off until the age of seventeen or eighteen, with discussions of marriage starting around fifteen or sixteen.

Noble girls in the capital who have gone to a girls’ school start talking about marriage later. They have to wait until they graduate from a girls’ school at the age of sixteen before they start talking about marriage. In fact, to put it bluntly, the marriages in the daughter’s family are just for sale, and female education can increase their social status a lot. If you can make a splash at the graduation ceremony of a women’s school and make it into the top five, the threshold for marriage proposals would be broken by matchmakers.

Therefore, Wei Heng couldn’t have anticipated that Madame He had been considering potential son-in-laws so early. Even if Wei Heng knew, she could only sigh and say, “Good choice.” Indeed, a man who could match Wei Xuan, even in the previous life, must be outstanding.

“Why aren’t you saying anything?” Madame He asked. “Tell Mother why you don’t want to go.”

Wei Heng remained silent for a while before muttering, “I don’t like Madam Chu.”

Madam Chu was the wife of the heir to the Duke of Qi and Lu Zhan’s mother. She came from a noble family and was the top scholar in the graduation ceremony of the girls’ school. She was considered one of the most prestigious ladies in the capital. With her background and talent, she naturally carried an air of arrogance. Madam Chu could be described as incredibly proud, looking down on everyone. If a girl caught her attention, it was as if a celestial being had descended.

Wei Heng vividly remembered that when Madame He wanted to propose a marriage alliance with the Lu family, somehow Madam Chu got wind of it. In public, Madam Chu had openly stated that someone who entered the girls’ school through the back door wasn’t worthy of her eldest son. Implicitly, she belittled Wei Heng as useless.

In short, Madam Chu was a typical talented lady who didn’t know how to conduct herself. Wei Xuan, the later top scholar, had surpassed her by a mile. Although Madam Chu looked down on Wei Heng, the feeling was mutual. Only Wei Xuan, by becoming her daughter-in-law, could silence her disparaging remarks. Even so, Wei Heng heard that Wei Xuan had suffered quite a bit.

Wei Heng thought, even someone as cunning as Wei Xuan couldn’t handle Madam Chu well. Other women marrying into that family would likely endure even more hardships.

Even if Lu Zhan was the Dragon’s son descended to the mortal realm, Wei Heng felt it wasn’t worth it for a woman to endure such treatment. Although women marry men, the people they interact with most in their lives are their mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. Thinking about it, Wei Heng believed that Lu Zhan couldn’t compare to Fan Yong in this regard.

After hearing Wei Heng’s words, Madame He surprisingly didn’t object. It could be inferred that Madam Chu, despite her status in the capital’s noble circles, was not well-liked. However, due to her high birth, successful marriage, and bearing a son like Lu Zhan, she had truly lived a charmed life, making other noble ladies envy her with nothing but resentful stares.

“I’m not anything special. Today, when the Duke of Qi’s mansion invites guests, Madam Chu won’t have the time to attend to a little girl like you. Just think of it as going to see your aunt.” Madame He said. Wei Heng’s maternal aunt was the Duchess of Qi, Madam Mu.

Wei Heng reluctantly nodded. Visiting relatives during the New Year was an unavoidable custom. Even if she didn’t like it, she couldn’t avoid it. After all, she was no longer a child.

The Duke of Qi’s mansion was not far from the Marquis of Jingning’s residence. The noble and distinguished families mostly resided east of the imperial city, north of the Magpie Bridge. The newly wealthy class mostly lived south of the bridge.

The carriage of the female members of the Marquis of Jingning’s residence stopped in front of the Duke of Qi’s mansion after traveling along the corridor, stopping at the Chrysanthemum Gate.

To welcome Grandmother Zhang and others, the second wife of the Duke of Qi, Chen Shi, came forward. Madam Chu considered her status high enough that she wouldn’t greet guests at the entrance unless they were from the royal family.

Wei Fang reached out to pull Wei Heng, and the three sisters followed Grandmother Zhang into the Xuanrui Hall to pay respects to Old Lady Mu, the wife of the Duke of Qi, and to see the ceremony.

“Aunt.” The three charming girls bowed together, their voices harmonizing and pleasing to the ear.

Old Lady Mu smiled as she looked at the three sisters from the Wei family, turning her head to Grandmother Zhang, “Old Sister, I can see that the refined aura of the capital has all gathered in your family. Look at these three sisters; each one is more charming than the last. And the poetic talent of second miss Xuan, truly, those of us from the older generation are self-conscious.”

Grandmother Zhang, hearing the praise for her granddaughter from Old Lady Mu, had a delighted expression on her face. She said, “Stop praising them like this. I’m afraid they won’t work hard in the future.”

Old Lady Mu embraced Wei Xuan and said, “You’re being too modest. Sister Xuan’s poetry is not something that can be achieved through hard work. Many generations couldn’t produce such a talented lady. Sister, you know my grandson best. He has high standards and even he says that Sister Xuan’s literary talent is on par with the best.”

The grandson mentioned by Old Lady Mu was none other than Lu Zhan. At the age of fourteen, achieving the top spot in the imperial examination was almost unbelievable. Moreover, being a nobleman’s son, he didn’t typically followed the path of preferential treatment and didn’t need to strive for years to become an Imperial Scholar. However, he still participated in the examination and effortlessly secured the top spot, stunning the aristocrats.

Some suspected that Lu Zhan had used connections, but after reading his essays, those doubts were dispelled. It was unanimously agreed that he deserved the honor.

After achieving the top spot in the imperial examination, Lu Zhan did not immediately participate in the palace examination. It was said that his teacher advised him to wait for three more years before taking the next examination. Otherwise, he might embarrass himself if he became a “same-rank scholar.”

The palace examination attracted talents from all over the country, far beyond the scope of a provincial examination. Lu Zhan heeded his teacher’s advice and was now studying at the Dongshan Academy. Interestingly, Wei Yue, Wei Heng’s older brother, was also a schoolmate of Lu Zhan. When Wei Yue returned home, he often spoke of the brilliant deeds of this classmate.

A person’s reputation precedes them. Old Lady Mu mentioned that even Lu Zhan praised Wei Xuan. With Lu Zhan’s reputation, Wei Xuan’s talent was no longer confined to the realm of young girls but also shone among young men, making her stand out.

Wei Xuan, being praised by Old Lady Mu in front of everyone, didn’t show any signs of being uncomfortable. She appeared composed, earning even more favorable impressions. Many astute ladies were secretly weighing whether to make their move.

Old Lady Mu, with one hand still around Wei Xuan, turned to Zhang Old Lady and said, “Look at your second miss Xuan’s literary talent, and third miss Heng is as beautiful as the jade maiden before the Bodhisattva. Truly, she possesses exceptional grace.”

Wei Heng, considering Old Lady Mu’s seniority and the goodwill she expressed, suppressed her annoyance. However, she disliked people talking about her appearance as if that was her only merit. Madam He shared this sentiment, as girls from distinguished families didn’t rely on their looks.

Old Lady Mu, holding Wei Fang’s hand, continued the conversation for a while. As new guests arrived, she asked Lu Family’s eldest daughter, Lu Yiyuan, to lead Wei Heng and her sisters to the garden to join the other girls.

In the Qingxue Hall of the garden, around a dozen girls were seated. Due to differences in age and relationships, they formed small groups for conversations. The only exception was Lu Zhan’s younger sister, Lu Yizhen, who was surrounded by more people.

As Wei Heng, Wei Xuan, and Wei Fang entered, Lu Yizhen hurried over, joyfully greeting Wei Xuan, “Sister Xuan.”

“Sister Zhen.” Wei Xuan stepped forward, taking Lu Yizhen’s hand. Only then did Lu Yizhen inquire about Wei Heng and Wei Fang.

This scene was familiar to Wei Heng. In the capital, most young ladies were friends with Wei Xuan. If someone didn’t get along with her, it was equivalent to isolating themselves from the circle of noble ladies.

Wei Xuan, naturally charismatic, always became the central figure in any group. Those who didn’t want to befriend her were either jealous or envious. Nevertheless, they were willing to maintain a good relationship with Wei Xuan in public.

Wei Heng found a spot in the corner of the garden and sat down. She realized there was a girl sitting nearby, but she couldn’t immediately recall who she was.

Seeing Wei Heng’s demeanor, Yuan Ruyu knew that the Third Miss of the Jingning Marquisate had forgotten her. Suppressing her anger, she smiled gracefully, “It seems Miss Heng doesn’t remember me. I am Sister Zhen’s cousin, Ruyu.”

Wei Heng greeted, “Sister Ruyu,” but didn’t engage further in conversation.

Yuan Ruyu felt resentful, thinking that Wei Heng looked down on her. However, she didn’t realize that Wei Heng didn’t want to associate with someone who, despite being visibly angry, pretended to be composed. Moreover, the Lu family was not someone Wei Heng wanted to have much contact with.

“Dear sister, are you avoiding us over here?” Mu Jin was the first to notice Wei Heng. In any case, whether friends or foes, they would still gather.

Regardless, Wei Heng thanked Mu Jin silently and, with an apologetic smile at Yuan Ruyu, walked toward Mu Jin and Wei Xuan.

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4 thoughts on “Noble Daughter | Chapter 12: Idle People”

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