Chapter 331 - He's Already Dead
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Ji Muqing did not wait for a response. She flicked Ji Heng and Ji Wanxin a snotty look and left huffily. An awkward silence rang through the hall.
Ji Li felt like he had to break the ice, so he smiled at Minister Shen, “Pardon us, Minister.”
“There’s no issue. You Ji siblings look like you have a very good relationship.”
Ji Li nodded humbly.
Shen Zhangqin spoke his first words of the day. He looked gently at Ji Wanxin, who sat opposite him, “Miss Ji, could you possibly give me a tour of the estate?”
Mm? Ji Wanxin slowly looked up at him. She licked her lips and gave a nod, “Of course.”
Shen Zhangqin gave her a bright smile. He rose and walked towards Ji Wanxin, helping her out of her seat. The two of them left the front hall without once looking back.
Once they were out of sight, Madame Shen remarked, “It seems like these young’uns have more in common with each other than us old people. The two of them seem to match well.” She was quite pleased with this daughter-in-law.
Minister Shen wasn’t as pleased as his wife was. He changed the topic instead, asking Ji Li, “I’ve heard that there’s another young miss in the estate?” He was referring to Ji Yunshu.
Ji Li replied noncommittally, “It’s my third sister, but she is not here in the capital.”
“Could I ask if she’s been promised to someone?”
Ji Li was no idiot - he knew what Minister Shen was trying to say. He purposely described, “She was indeed promised to someone, but my father had her fortune read when she was born and she unfortunately was destined to be a curse on her future husband. We thought that it was just a pot of nonsense conjured up by a passing fortune teller. Who knew that he was right - the other party’s parents passed away even before they were married.”
Unfortunately, Minister Shen did not believe in tales of ghosts and gods, much less the words of a fortune teller. He refuted, “What a load of nonsense. Life and death are not man’s to predict. How could you believe in such lies?”
“Minister Shen is right.”
“I will be making a trip down to Jinjiang soon. I’ll pay your estate a visit then.” He made it extremely clear - Ji Wanxin may be beautiful and poised, but her illness would be difficult to manage.
Ji Li left it at that, smiling in return.
Outside the front hall.
Once they were out of their elders’ direct sight, Ji Wanxin withdrew her hand from Shen Zhangqin’s grasp, stepping back mindfully. She spoke softly, “Thank you, Young Master Shen.”
Shen Zhangqin chuckled, “Why thank me?”
“Master knew that I was uncomfortable there and sought a way to bring me outside, of course Wanxin must thank you.”
“I meant what I said!” Shen Zhangqin was serious.
Ji Wanxin stared at him, confused.
He explained, “I had intended to catch some fresh air outside, but also wanted Miss Ji to bring me around. The two of us can also have a chat and get to know each other more.” He may have been the perfect gentleman, but he did not shy away from displays of affection.
Ji Wanxin cocked her head to one side. She had always found it difficult to reject others, so she nodded unwillingly, “If that’s so, then Wanxin will give Master a tour of our backyard.”
“Mm!” The two of them embarked, side by side.
What was there to see in the backyard of a General’s estate? Aside from stones, boulders and sparring instruments, there were only hills. Large hills, smaller hills, all hills. Of course, there was also a lotus pond devoid of fronds, on it stood a pavillion. Everything looked quite sparse, empty.
They sat in the pavillion and cakes and tea were quickly served up. Ji Wanxin and Shen Zhangqin reached out for the teapot at the same time. Shen Zhangqin’s fingertips brushed across hers, sending a subtle chill down her slender fingers.
Shen Zhangqin looked at her longingly, almost hopefully. Finally aware of what had passed, Ji Wanxin quickly pulled back, hiding her hands in her sleeves as if nothing had occurred.
Shen Zhangqin could only do the same. He picked up the teapot and poured themselves two cups of steaming hot tea, pushing one of them towards Ji Wanxin. He inquired, “Is it Miss Ji’s first time in the capital?”
“I’ve heard that Miss Ji is gentle and magnamious, poised and with incomparable beauty. It seems like those rumours are true.”
Ji Wanxin humbly denied, “Those are just words of the masses, please don’t take them too seriously, Young Master Shen.”
“Just call me Zhangqin; I’ll call you Wanxin as well.” How intimate! Shen Zhangqin was obviously smitten, already sure that she would be his wife.
Ji Wanxin pondered briefly. Her face fell as she looked up to meet his longing gaze, questioning, “Does Young Master Shen think that it is right for parents to decide one’s marriage?”
“Why do you ask so?”
“Don’t you have someone you like? Someone in mind? The two of us have never met ever since our parents decided on this union - have you never thought that this was unfair?” She dropped all pretenses of being demure; the Ji Wanxin now was much colder, harsher, just like the words she spoke.
Shen Zhangqin took some time to take all this in, only then realising what she was trying to put across. He asked tentatively, “So, does this mean that you have someone you like?”
Ji Wanxin nodded truthfully, “Yes!”
This was awkward! Shen Zhangqin quickly averted his gaze, but his disappointment was much more difficult to hide. He quickly put on the air of an understanding older brother, “Our marriage was our parents’ decision - we should not disobey them. But since Miss Ji has been so honest, I will mention this to them when I get back.” All this meant that he would try to convince his parents to annul this arrangement!
Hearing that, the tension in Ji Wanxin’s body dissipated and she flashed a rare smile, “Many thanks, Young Master Shen.”
“You don’t have to thank me. Love cannot be forced, but I’m curious - what is that man that captured your heart like?”
Ji Wanxin smiled shyly. She turned towards the pond, carefully opening her cherry-red lips, “I’m not sure how to describe what kind of person he is, but I first saw him five years ago. He was standing under a plum blossom tree, looking up at the petals scattering from the sky - this is a scene I can never forget.” She wasn’t referring to Jing Rong, but Ji Pei!
Shen Zhangqin was envious, “How lucky to be remembered by Miss Ji.” He asked, “If I may ask, where is he now?”
She shook her head, looking away.
Neither spoke for a long while, before Ji Wanxin muttered, “He’s already dead.”
Grenn's Rants Corner
Oh my god! What kind of love triangle is that?! I mean, we all know there was a love triangle, but the real object of affection is not what I expect.
*pats Jing Rong* Don't be sad that your charm is failing. Ji Pei has more male lead's potential than you.
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