Chapter 14: Arranged Marriage
If it was someone else who had undergone such a lovemaking experience for the first time tonight, that person would probably be so exhausted that they would fall into a stupor right after covering themselves with the quilt. However, Shen Qingxuan was never a relaxed person; there was always something loaded on his mind and he usually couldn’t attain a night of good sleep. Although he was physically and emotionally exhausted, and so sleepy that he couldn’t even open his eyes tonight, it was still a night of light sleep for him. For the entire night, he dreamed of some strange and unusual dreams and was perspiring all over. It was only when the sky outside the window had become white that he dazedly sank into a deep sleep. Once he fell asleep, he slept until the sun was three poles high1, and even when the sun had moved to the centre, he still did not wake up.
He seldom slept like this, and today was an exception. While the servants who were working in the courtyard didn’t realize anything, Shen Qingxuan’s personal servant was the only one who sensed that something was unusual. She had been waiting early outside his room with the washing supplies, but never got to hear the copper bell ringing in the room. Suspicion rose in her heart and she was worried that something might have happened to the eldest young master, so she ended up quietly pushing the door open and entering the room.
The servant girl had joined the Shen family when she was five years old, and she used to serve Mother Shen. She was sweet looking, and even quick-witted and eloquent. Mother Shen also did not treat her like an ordinary servant. Knowing that her son had a solitary disposition, she sent the girl to Shen Qingxuan’s room thinking that she could be a companion for him, and perhaps with a child around him, he would grow to be more cheerful. Gradually, the little girl grew up to her teens, and she was still as modest and genuine, and knew how to discern the general situation. So, Mother Shen wanted her to be Shen Qingxuan’s concubine and bear children. Although the child would have a mother of a servant’s status, the child would still be the Shen family’s offspring.
Everyone in the mansion knew about Mother Shen’s intention, hence this servant’s status in the mansion was also special.
Shen Qingxuan was also aware of his mother’s intention, but he truly did not look at this girl, who he had watched grow up with, in a romantical light at all, so he also pretended to be muddled-headed. He had thought of bringing this topic up, but he couldn’t find an appropriate timing. Besides, the girl had been serving him for more than a decade and was considered a close person of his, so it wouldn’t be good to hurt her feelings. Furthermore, he had a reclusive nature in the past, and this girl was the sole person he had interacted with more amicably. The servant girl didn’t realize Shen Qingxuan’s rejection. She only thought that Young Master Shen was thin-skinned, and as she was a girl, it was hard for her to voice this out. So this matter had been delayed continuously.
In recent years, Mother Shen often led the girl to talk in private, and during the conversation, this matter was finally brought out and put on the agenda.
Although she would be his concubine, it was still the first time that Shen Qingxuan would have another person in his room, so it was considered a happy occasion. Their wedding date was set after the new year, but it was without Shen Qingxuan’s discussion. After the girl knew, she became shyer and reserved in her words and conducts, but perhaps a bit too much.
She pushed the door open, and the atmosphere within the room was quiescent. Some dust was floating and drifting within the light rays, and it was extremely quiet. The sole incongruity was the pieces of torn snowflakes that were scattered on the ground like it wanted to announce that the room had experienced such a surge of emotions. The servant received a shock upon seeing torn pages scattering everywhere on the floor. After all, although Shen Qingxuan was withdrawn, he never displayed his emotions, let alone the act of tearing books which was something that had never happened before. She carefully stepped on the pieces of paper to the bedside. The curtain had been put down, and the scene inside was indistinct and unclear, but she could still make out the shape on the bed. There wasn’t any abnormality, and the man on the bed continued to breathe evenly and sleep soundly without an inkling of her arrival. The servant calmed her mind, stretched out her lily-white hand and lifted the corner of the curtain. She swept her eyes around, and blood rushed up to her white and rosy face instantly. It was as red as the peach blossom in march.
The bed was a mess with creases extending all over the embroidered quilt. It was obviously the act of someone clutching it in their hands. In the air, there was an ineffable but instinctive smell that made one heart beat faster and blush. There were also dried white traces on the green quilt, so it was abundantly clear what had occurred here before.
The servant turned to run but suddenly ceased her movement. She thought that in this wild mountain, there was only Shen Qingxuan on the bed, so how could such an intolerable thing happen? This must be an illicit sexual relationship. There were no better-looking servant girls in the villa other than her. After hesitating for a moment, she carefully uncovered the quilt on Shen Qingxuan to observe his state.
Shen Qingxuan didn’t expect anyone to discover this matter, but he had always been scrupulous. After finishing the matter, he struggled to put on his clothes before lying down again. He didn’t have enough energy and seldom did anything by himself. Therefore, although his clothes were in disorder, they were still intact. The servant only felt that the young master’s inner clothing was ridiculously messy, but she didn’t find any major flaws. With a blushing face, she pulled down the quilt covering Shen Qingxuan’s lower limbs. When she looked from the corner of her eyes and saw that his clothes were complete, she hastily covered them back. She didn’t think any deeper and thought that Shen Qingxuan was lonely at night, and his masturbation was the cause of this. However, there were still some doubts in her heart ultimately. After all, the marks on the bed could not be easily made by a paralytic like Shen Qingxuan. It’s just that she couldn’t guess anything else, so she closed his door and left.
Shen Qingxuan was oblivious to this. When he woke up, he only felt enervated, and barely managed to ring the bell to call for the servant. He leaned on the bedside, washed his eyes with tea water, and rinsed his mouth with salt. Afterwards, he washed his face, ate some food, and headed back to bed again.
When he woke up the next day, he had recovered the majority of his spirit. He sat back on his wheelchair again, and read and painted in front of the table. His expression was peaceful, and it didn’t reveal anything. The servant girl was waiting upon him on his side, but she couldn’t see an inkling of clue despite her effort. How would she know that the place where Shen Qingxuan had been deeply entered had been feeling peculiar for several days in a row? It constantly reminded him that he had undergone such a night of absurdity, so absurd that even Shen Qingxuan himself did not want to think of it. It was strange to say that after a night of such torment, Shen Qingxuan felt that his frame of mood had obviously recovered, and his previous anxiety and dismay had disappeared as if they had been washed up by the turbulence of emotions he had felt that night. Shen Qingxuan would also think about it when there was no one around him. Was it because of his more than two decades of bachelorhood that caused his body to be so repressed to this extent? Otherwise, how could he explain about the beast in his heart that had lurked back right after he had been satisfied? Shen Qingxuan began to formally consider the issue of his marriage.
No man would like to be pressed down by another man to do that sort of thing, and it was the same case for Shen Qingxuan. Although it felt very good, he was also willing, and he liked it very much, he was not stupid. In one glance, he could already see that Yi Mo was reluctant. He didn’t remove his clothes and wasn’t even willing to release in his body. The moment he made him reach his peak, he left indifferently. Instead of saying it was love, it would be closer to a charity act.
Not to mention, one was a human, one was a demon, one was willing, but one was not. The gap between them was so huge that he had willingly conceded. Some things, not to mention people, even demons couldn’t do anything about it.
Since that night, Yi Mo had not come back for a very long time. Shen Qingxuan calmly looked at a cluster of beautiful flowers blooming in the courtyard through the window with a smile, and he counted the date in his heart. His birthday was approaching, and within these few days, he would be heading down the mountain to reunite with his family every year at this time. Then, he would go back. Instead of admiring the elusive snake demon, he would marry in the future and have children. He would be the Young Master Shen he was and be an ordinary and insignificant mortal.
It was also strange that he didn’t feel very sad when he thought of it, but just some disappointment as if his heart was vacant of a part. But he wasn’t indifferent either, it was more like he had accepted fate.
Five days later, Shen Qingxuan sat in the carriage. His servants were following behind carrying some wild food they had picked on their shoulder, while his maid had accompanied him to sit in the carriage. The driver drove the horses and yelled at them, and the group of people went down the mountain majestically. On the way, Shen Qingxuan lifted the curtain and looked back. He saw that the towering mountain ranges were getting farther and farther away. Eventually, he could only see the lush peak, and half of it was covered by the sky, while the other was blocked by the nearby scenery. Shen Qingxuan looked at it for a long time. Eventually, he put down the curtain and sat down properly. His body swayed slightly along with the rolling wheels, and his eyes were as calm as water. All along, it didn’t have any waver.
The Shen family’s house was renovated just last year, with warped eaves that were built with new tiles, and firewalls that were eight zhang2 high. Although a year had passed, it was still white as there wasn’t sufficient time for weeds to grow in the cracks of the grey eaves on the top of the wall. A clean and bright carriage drove along the firewall all the way to the east, and after walking a while, it turned to the small south gate. The crescent arched door painted in vermilion was wide opened, and beside the entrance, there were two rows of servants dressed in bright and neat clothes. The first one standing in line with his arms tucked himself his sleeves was the old housekeeper donned in green.
When the carriage stopped, the servant girl lifted the curtain and Shen Qingxuan who was sitting inside, beamed at the old housekeeper. He stretched out his hand and put his hands on the old housekeeper’s shoulder. He then asked two servants to support him out of the carriage before he sat in a litter.
The horses were led by someone to feed, and four servants carried Shen Qingxuan on a bamboo litter. They passed through many courtyards, halls, corridors and passages, and eventually reached the entrance of the main hall. They put down the bamboo litter and changed it to a wheelchair. Shen Qingxuan was then pushed by some servants though a small path made of smooth and clean gravels, and they passed through two more courtyards before they reached the main hall.
Master Shen and his wives were already waiting in the hall. When Shen Qingxuan’s white robe showed behind a corner of the tree, they put down their teacup and rose to meet him.
Shen Qingxuan lived in the south courtyard. After dinner, he had to go through a courtyard before he would reach his building. The south building was brightly lit, and the furniture and furnishings inside had been replaced to a new one. It was spotlessly shining under the candle flame. It was no longer a simple cottage in the courtyard in the mountains, but a multi-building design. Just the bedroom itself had three doors. The innermost room was naturally Shen Qingxuan’s room. The middle room was the place where his servant girl lived. The wing room was decorated brightly and uniquely, and the outer room was the room of the servant girl that boil water and replenish tea at night.
Shen Qingxuan was used to a simple life. When he returned to the house, he was not used to the red tape and etiquette. Although he felt impatient, he didn’t show it, instead, he had already called for his servants to serve him and went to rest after he was done.
The next day he got up early and went to greet his parents. When he went to Mother Shen’s room, Shen Qingxuan stayed and discussed with his mother about his marriage.
Mother Shen knew he didn’t have any intention to get a wife, so she had already given up on this idea and only wanted to find a servant for him. Unexpectedly, Shen Qingxuan brought this idea out in his own will. In great joy, she went to the Buddha to burn three incense sticks, then kowtowed and recited the Buddha’s blessing. She happily called Shen Qingxuan’s Second Mother to talk about his marriage; which daughter’s age was the right, whose daughter’s temperament was appropriate, and so on.
Shen Qingxuan merely smiled and wrote on the paper: Mother can decide on all the matters.
After the sisters discussed with each other, Shen Qingxuan’s Second Mother suddenly asked, “Xuan’er, have you thought about how you want to deal with that servant of yours?”
Shen Qingxuan was momentarily stunned, and immediately, he understood that she was referring to his personal servant. He contemplated and agreed after a while: Okay3.
Three days later, the matter was settled. The other party was Young Mistress Wang that came from the same town, and she had a nickname, called Hui Niang. She was also sixteen years old this year and had been a bright child since young. The Wang family was originally large and influential. Although it had declined, it was still wealthier than the common family. In addition, the Wang family had always been honourable in their family principles. Hui Niang was a daughter of an eminent family, and he had seen her appearance before. Although her beauty wasn’t to the extent of captivating birds and beasts, she was still rather charming. So Mother Shen decided on the betrothal, and the happy occasion was set after the Mid Autumn Festival. As for the servant girl, it’s better to marry her as soon as possible. After all, she had been around since she was a child, and in any case that Miss Wang was intolerant of her, she could still have the upper hand and not be bullied because she would have entered the family first.
As for the wedding date, Mother Shen suggested, “Since it’s the happy occasion of your birthday, why don’t we double the joy?”
The marriage would be held on Shen Qingxuan’s birthday. They would carry the servant girl with a small sedan chair and enter through the side entrance as a consideration to giving her a status.
When this message was delivered to Shen Qingxuan, he smiled as usual and gave the same reply: Mother can decide on all the matters.
Hence, the matter of taking a wife and a concubine was settled just like this.
All along, Shen Qingxuan had never allowed himself to think of the peerless person in the mountains.
This chapter is only partially edited, cause editor-san went mia~
Its hard to translate, please forgive me for any errorrrrrrrr.
And I’ve finally changed Yimo to Yi Mo, honestly, the lack of spacing has been bugging me.