Chapter Two (Part 1)
Yan Shi Ning sat silently opposite her father in the courtyard.
Yan Jing contemplated for a while about how much he owed his oldest daughter and felt guilty discussing his youngest daughter’s marriage plight.
‘Shi Ning, the crown prince wants to marry Shi Ting,’ Yan Jing said. ‘The latest the wedding can be postpone is at the start of next year.’
Yan Shi Ning lowered her head and laughed inwardly. She knew her father’s motive for telling her about Yan Shi Ting’s good news wasn’t so that she could say to Yan Shi Ting, ‘little sister, congratulations.’
What her father wanted to say was, ‘your little sister wants to get married, you should think about your little sister’s situation and prepare yourself mentally to quickly find a husband so that you won’t interfere with your little sister’s auspicious wedding day.’
The culprit behind her father coercing her to find a husband was clearly Princess Kang Hua’s powerful influence.
‘It isn’t right for Shi Ting to be married before her older sister,’ Yan Jing said.
Yan Jing sighed endlessly and felt incredibly guilty.
Yan Shi Ning appeared to look guiltier than her father. ‘Father, it’s my fault for causing you to worry.’
Yan Shi Ning thought it was pointless for her father to start feeling guilty. But every time the usual guilty expression was visible on her father’s face, she loved to respond to it by appearing more humble and apologetic to make his conscience eat up his stomach.
Yan Jing saw the way his oldest daughter was incredibly humble and understanding, it made it hard for him to face his oldest daughter.
‘Shi Ning, do you have someone you admire?’ Yan Jing asked. ‘If you tell me who it is, I’ll act accordingly as your father.’
The corner of Yan Shi Ning’s mouth curved upward slightly and she spoke in the gentlest tone. ‘I have no one in my heart. I leave it up to father to make arrangements for me.’
On the surface she sounded like a filial daughter. But in her heart she didn’t believe her father regarded her highly or that his main intention was to find her a good husband.
She didn’t want to waste time opposing her father. It was better for her to act submissive and filial. What alternative did she have? Go find the crown prince and tell him her grievances that her father didn’t care about her marriage state? She was a realistic person and knew the outcome would be the same, she would be forced to be married off to a man who supposedly was ‘intelligent and strong.’
She wondered about the unlucky ‘intelligent and strong’ man who would be ‘persuaded’ to be her husband.
‘Tomorrow there’ll be a banquet at the palace in honor of the crown prince,’ Yan Jing said. ‘Shi Ning, you’ll be attending the banquet too. If you meet anyone that you like, tell me… Shi Ning, don’t worry, I won’t let Kang Hua and Shi Ting find you an unsuitable man to marry you off. If you don’t approve of any of the men you meet then I won’t approve of them either.’
Yan Jing looked at his oldest daughter lowering her head for a while and he didn’t want to put more pressure on her. He silently left the courtyard in a state of worries.
She raised her head after her father left the courtyard and she smiled mockingly. If she met a man at the banquet who was high in the sky, she doubted her father was capable of putting his pride aside and beg the emperor to command the prominent man to marry her.
Her father valued pride too much to lower himself. It was laughable that he thought he could make everything flow smoothly by voicing a promise he couldn’t keep. To an outsider his empty promise would deeply move them. But her father broke too many promises in the past. Why did he think that she could still believe his words were true?
Especially that year he promised her mother, ‘in this life I only need you.’
Yet her father chose ambition, status and riches and betrayed her mother by marrying another woman.
End of Chapter Two (Part 1)