“Wife, I want to eat meat” 《娘子，我要吃肉》Chapter 14
The matchmakers were rowdy until nightfall before leaving with an excited vigour, in addition Xia Ling Mei had agreed to persist tomorrow.
Wang residence side courtyard was brightly lit, a hubbub of voices, the main courtyard however was a serene darkness, an indescribable stillness, the dinner the maids have delivered remained on the table, without being touched, on a normal day people would have still come to enquire about his well-being, tonight even mosquitos could not be seen.
Juan Shu stepped into the main courtyard, he couldn’t help but utter: “There’s only the laughter of the young, where do you hear the crying of the old.”
Wang Yun Feng stood rigidly inside the house, he did not turn his head: “Is there someone suitable for her?”
“Oh dear, master relax, the requirements the mistress is looking for in a husband cannot be achieved by ordinary people. In my opinion, it would take half a year to pick one.”
Wang Yun Feng coldly snorted, putting the book in his hand without thought into the bookcase: “How many officials are there in such a small place like Chenzhou who are above fifth rank, the highest ranked fourth rank Lord Hua already has a proper wife, he also has two sons from his first wife, that temper of Ling Mei absolutely will not consider a man with a wife.”
Juan Shu happily laughed: “The mistress said if he’s not an official she will accept him, as well as a hero of the Jianghu.”
Wang Yun Feng had just picked up a book before smacking it down: “Those in the Jianghu
are impulsive and bossy, unable to distinguish right and wrong, not clear of black and white, even if he fulfils her requirements for a husband, he might not be able to protect her properly. Don’t think people of the Jianghu only has one proper wife, a majority of men in the Jianghu would keep one or two concubines, if Xia Ling Mei finds out, she would tear
apart their skin.”
Juan Shu shuddered: “That, what if the lady returned to Beiding city, to find a husband amongst the influential families of the Imperial City?”
Wang Yun Feng was drinking tea, the tea had been boiled in the afternoon, the maids only remembered to go where the crowds were, simply no one came to change it, his heart was anxious, pouring cups after cups of tea from the cold teapot. Cold and bitter tea went down his throat, making him shudder a few times. Thinking about it for quite a while, before slowly saying: “If she really returns to Beiding City, I’m actually not afraid.”
Everyone knew Xia Ling Mei is Wang Yun Feng’s first wife. Apart from those who held power in the Xia family, somewhat very few people knew the Wang residence’s mistress had long ago deserted the place. That year, after Xia Ling Mei had forced him to sign his name on the divorce documents she had left by herself, he did not make it known to the public he had already divorced his wife, he only said to the people of Wang and Xia she was seriously ill, unable to meet visitors deep inside the residence. Therefore, at the end of every year Xia Ling Mei returned to the Xia residence, outsiders would only think she was feeling a bit better, using the new year to return home to visit the family. The Xia family wouldn’t tell others their daughter had been divorced, Wang Yun Feng restrained his own family, no one could ask to see the mistress to disturb her recuperation.
Over these years’ people have obscurely suggested to present him with maids and concubines, they were all scared away by him well-known as the grim imperial censor. Any man, after marrying for ten years without a son from his first wife would be sufficient to make people raise their eyebrows, only Wang Yun Feng was unconcerned, apparently he wasn’t to set on having son to succeed his title. Those intelligent, did not dare to rashly offend the
Xia family, more than that to dare provoke the shrewish wife of Beiding City; those not intelligent, who directly presented concubines and maids would be rejected by Wang Yun Feng, making plans to secretly sneak into the Wang residence, the next day if that girl wasn’t resold she was matched with another man. There were also ambitious women, swearing they would bite this imperial officer’s hard bones, frail and charming, or fresh and pure, or gentle and softly spoken, or straightforward and optimistic, <The Thirty-Six
Stratagems to attract a husband> was played every day, the different situations were merely countered by Wang Yun Feng in various ways, when he really couldn’t resist, Juan Shu would almost lose his chastity on his behalf, so scared he would shut himself in the small courtyard repeating to himself `women are tigers` for several days, before he got better.
Juan Shu chastity was under threat, Bai Yan showed extreme anger. Bai Yan who had learned the master’s cold mood completely, took it upon himself in the days after, in the battle to defend the chastity of the men in the Wang residence, a firm protector, with a cold sword pushing all the women to dissolve in tears.
Xia Ling Mei did not know about this at all. The Xia family wouldn’t tell her such things to irritate her broken heart, the secret guards from the Wang family who protected her knew the doctrine of silence is golden, as for Wang Yun Feng, it’s not that he didn’t want to tell her, rather he didn’t dare to tell her (┬＿┬).
Juan Shu moaned and groaned in pain on behalf of his master: “Don’t tell me you’ll let the mistress continue making a scene like this? Maybe one day she’ll realise, and she won’t mention those requirements, if she directly arranged an arena for a martial arts competition
to invite a groom…”
Wang Yun Feng paused: “No one without some genuine skill can beat her.”
“Maybe, the mistress doesn’t want a man with greater martial arts than her.”
“Then what is the point of her having a martial arts competition to invite a groom?”
“To compete based on who can take the most beating.” Wang Yun Feng was surprised for a moment, Juan Shu continued: “a man who can still survive after a severe beating, good at enduring, and will live long. The important is, he would see, hear and obey the mistress docile and obedient, thus if they travel and there is murder and arson or disaster she could lend an essential Twenty-four Filial Exemplars of a husband!”
With a `ka`, the tea cup, cracked
Juan Shu had originally come to attempt to convince Wang Yun Feng to have a lenient mind, he didn’t expect in the end his master would on the contrary become even more anxious, not only did he shatter the tea cup, he also accidentally torn <See the Deepest
Secrets of the Heart>, <Coax a Wife> such books, from time to time anger rolled on in waves from his expression, from time to time his heart palpitated with worried, occasionally helplessly confused, a thousand miles difference between his icy expression in court.
By the second day, when the matchmakers once again beaming with happiness offering numerous portrait scrolls came to the door, Wang Yun Feng only had one expression ---- cold as ice.
On the third day, the crow, Juan Shu kept on reporting on the battlefield situation, was hit by Wang Yun Feng with a brush forcing him out.
On the fourth day, Bai Yan sat by the window in Wang Yun Feng’s study, cracking melon seeds with his teeth as he gave a live relay: “The mistress’ fame is unrivalled, now even officials from other areas have specially dispatched people to deliver portraits, for mistress to inspect. `Clicking his tongue`, fifth rank official isn’t a dream, a third rank official sons are competing strongly.” `Bang`, the ink stone broke through the window and went outside.
On the fifth day, Bai Zi with a face filled with worry sat on the rooftop grumbling to Hei Zi:
“The newly-appointed martial arts leader is too repulsive, he actually dared to ask the mistress to host a martial arts contest to invite grooms, whoever beats the mistress will marry her.”
Hei Zi: “What has a martial arts competition to invite grooms got anything to do with you?”
“I need to take the initiative for my master.”
“You are no match for him.”
“I know. I’m just angry that you clearly saw the other person beat me, yet you looked on without lifting a finger.”
“You need to take the initiative for your master, I don’t need to support you on behalf of my mistress. Anyway, that martial arts leader is distinguished and elegant, an air of righteousness, and has professional success, he would be so good with my mistress.”
“You don’t understand anything, if the lady marries the martial arts leader I will be unable to be with you.”
Hei Zi with great alarm said: “Who said I wanted to be with you?”
Bai Zi angrily said: “You want to abandon your wife?”
Hei Zi fell back: “You are not my wife.”
Bai Zi pursued: “You can’t love them and leave them!”
On the sixth day, Wang Yun Feng looking thin floated out of the study, flinging his completely empty sleeves, with a solemn expression he walked to the hall, just after Xia Ling Mei had sat down, he sat his bottom down firmly on the other seat next to her.
Knowing to look at meanings in one’s eyes the maids had already offered up light refreshments and tea, lighting a calming incense, holding up a fan, moving in an orderly fashion they organised the matchmakers coming in one after another to their seats.
Matchmakers were smooth and slick in establishing social relations, matchmakers were incomparably braver than deities, matchmakers spoke sweet words but had a sword in their bellies, matchmakers were…
“Lady Xia, this man is certainly a perfect match for you. Jia family is also one of the most influential families in Beiding, he is the second child of the, he also has an older brother closely related by blood, right now he’s a fourth rank high official. Remarkable literary talent, quick and clever talking, know the history throughout the ages well, knows funny anecdotes, proficient in all four arts…”
“The second son of the Jia family, this officer has happened to have the chance to meet him once before.”
The smile on the matchmaker’s face somewhat increased, pandering to Wang Yun Feng:
“To be able to obtain the Imperial Censor’s recognition, that Lord Jia must be an amazing
person, if him and the lady married…”
“It must not be allowed.” Wang Yun Feng interrupted, holding his tea cup, brushing aside the tea leaves and taking a sip to moisten his throat: “The second son of the Jia family has been known as a child prodigy since he was young, he was able to study history at the age of three, he could recite poetry at the age of four, at five he entered the Bailu academy of classical learning to become Teacher Zhan’s favourite pupil.”
The matchmaker’s eyes shone, chest even more puffed out, with an ever more arrogant expression.
Xia Ling Mei made the maids hold up the portrait, looking at it carefully, with a little
suspicion: “I think I’ve seen this second son of the Jia family before.”
“He studied together with your fifth uncle’s daughter, he’s that well-known a figure, of course you’ve seen him before.” Wang Yun Feng saw Xia Ling Mei nod, grimly smiling as he continued: “While he was at Bailu academy, he had a childhood sweetheart, the feelings between the two people were extremely good, originally he was prepared to arrange a marriage after that girl reached marriageable age, who knew there would be an unexpected event, the night before the girl reached marriageable age she was snatched away, she was rescued but her reputation was ruined. That Jia family immediately withdrew the marriage, the second son sent a poem to her that night, that girl took her own life.”
Xia Ling Mei frowned: “He sent her a poem?”
“The she committed suicide?”
Xia Ling Mei smiled yet it was not a smile watching Wang Yun Feng: “Do you know the details of that poem?”
Wang Yun Feng drank his tea: “That sort of thing that can ruin someone’s reputation, would not be the way of a nobleman, I know that verse but I cannot say it, also I will not say it.”
Xia Ling Mei snorted, tearing that portrait of Lord Jia into two: “Since ancient times, childhood sweethearts are hard to reach an old age. Tell me, isn’t that true?”
Wang Yun Feng pursed his lips, saying to the matchmakers: “Is the portrait of the martial arts leader here?”
Juan Shu immediately like a dog offered up the portrait.
Different from the culture and refinement of the men of official influential families, martial artists had their own heroic manner, with a manly demeanour, again hearing the matchmakers harping on about his chivalry, using one phrase to summarise he had heroic bones and soft intestines.
“The martial arts leader has said, he is a vulgar man, he cannot be with genteel people, compared to a scholar who cannot truss a chicken. If the lady is interested, I can find a day for the two of you to test your skills…”
“Enough.” Wang Yun Feng again interrupted, “I only want to ask you, how did he get his position of martial arts leader?”
“Naturally the righteous sect of martial artists selected him together.”
“From what I know, if there are righteous people in martial arts, there are criminals. So-called nonconformity gets punished, this martial arts leader is a target. If there’s something wrong with the sect they’ll make the leader stand out, the criminals will also pick a fight with him if there’s something wrong. How many families in the righteous sect protect him, how many criminals would be itching to kill him and be very happy afterwards. This sort of person, will only ever be able to hole up in the righteous sects’ domain, but do not dare to get closer to the evil sect. Looking at it positively he has to protect the peace of the Jianghu, but looking at it negatively he’s just a coward afraid of getting involved. Ling Mei,” he turned to her, “Xia family are people of the imperial court, everything is done with the importance of the country in mind, if you really married a martial arts leader, if there’s conflict between the martial artists and authorities, would you be on the side of the Jianghu martial artists or the common people of the court?”
Xia Ling Mei said indifferently: “The world is large, it does not all belong to the emperor.”
Wang Yun Feng abruptly sneered: “Then if the Jianghu killed people, involving the innocent common people, would you uphold justice for the common people asking those in the
Jianghu to pay with their lives for the murders, or follow the unwritten rules of the Jianghu, if they’re of the righteous sect, a murder kills because of justice, ants lives are not worth mentioning, everyone should be grateful for them for getting rid of evil for the people?”
The matchmakers all took in a deep cold breath, Xia Ling Mei gritted her teeth: “Such a fine sharp mouth, worthy to be called the clever and eloquent speaker Senior imperial censor official, you don’t need a sword to kill someone.”
Wang Yun Feng swept his cuffs: “You overpraise me, I’m only worried you’ll marry the wrong person, it’ll be a lifelong mistake.”
The two people looked at each other, regarding one another with wide eyes, watching intently, viewing each other as enemies, blaze raging in their eyes, wishing to hack the other person into pieces.
Numerous matchmakers were stunned by the indescribable measure for measure between the two people, not long after, someone suddenly realised: “Oh, that’s right, this Lord Wang is a third rank imperial censor!”
“Ah, ah, the Wang family is also one of the ten influential families in Beiding.”
“Listening to do, Lord Wang and Lady Xia are childhood friends?”
“Aiyo,” someone waved their hands, “Lady Xia don’t squander the time of us group of old women. In my opinion, don’t be picky, just immediately choose this Lord Wang.”
Someone even came to realise: “Lady Xia aren’t those requirements modelled on Lord Wang…”
Someone regretted their past deeds: “I’ve said before this matchmaking was strange, as it turns out the two of them has already taking to each other’s liking, but still need to squander their time for no purpose like this, you tired out my old bones.”
A lively discussion with everybody talking at once started, some beat their own chest and stamp their feet, some were grudgingly cursing, even more some were grumbling in jealousy, after a burst of noise they were coaxed out by Xiu Yu and Ying Shi, before leaving they even closed the door firmly.
Xia Ling Mei was dizzy with anger: “Wang Yun Feng, are you looking for death!”
Wang Yun Feng laughed, he was so proud of himself for the many baseless lies: “The flowers on the peony trees have fallen, even if I become a ghost…”
Before he could finish speaking, the foolish Xiao Bai appeared at the window hanging upside down, shouting: “Master, the son of Liu family, Liu Ling Mo is asking to see you.”
Wang Yun Feng held his breath: “I won’t see him.”
“Master, Zhao Princess Xia Zhi has also come to see you.”
Zhao Princess Xia Zhi, was the first daughter of the Xia family’s third concubine, Xia Ling Wo, also known as Wang Yun Feng’s true childhood sweetheart, is Xia Ling Mei’s lifelong rival in love.