Chapter 18.1: Marriage Proposal
Shen Lang’s brain churned fast, numerous schemes flashing through his head at once.
The door from the study room was shut tight, isolating him from the outside.
It’s to be expected. Count Jin would soon discuss important matters only insiders of the Jin Family are privy to. Shen Lang’s an outsider. Try as he might, he’d have no chance of participating in their conversation.
“Who did they send?” The Count questioned.
“The governor’s younger brother, General Zhulin of Pingnan!” Said the confidant anxiously as he read through the secret letter delivered by the lightning pigeon from Nujiang City.
The Count rummaged through the letter speedily. His countenance suddenly turned black and blue.
It’s General Zhu Lin! How badly do they want this marriage? This… this represents the will of the Zhu Family!
They should have done this sort of thing more openly, expressing their intentions, yet General Zhu Lin did so rather daft and secretly. It only further showed their nefarious intent of giving Count Jin and his family a surprise and without a chance for his beloved daughter to refuse.
Zhu Hongxue’s marriage proposal to Jin Mulan would not be a marriage of the ordinary and love but to implement The New Deal for the Great Yan Empire.
What importance does the Count’s Palace hold? What do they desire? The Jin Family’s military power and territory. Let the beautiful general step down from her official position and become a good wife. The Earl’s son is a fool. He could be used as a tool.
Once Jin Mulan marries Zhu Hongxue, the pillars supporting the foundation of the Count’s Palace would crumble to dust. The Zhu Family would have full control of their military power and territories.
The Countess trembled. “Dear, can we refuse?”
The Count shook his head bitterly. “No. The Zhu Family is a powerful existence. If we openly refuse, it’s simply not giving them face. We’d only end up provoking their indignant ire. Maybe a powerful figure is behind this proposal.”
“Father…” Jin Mulan called out softly. “I will never marry. I must stay at home and assist my little brother… I must guard the foundations of our Jin Family! Whoever wishes to take it away can step over my dead body.”
The Count frowned as he paced back and forth in the study room.
“Father, if there truly is no other way, I am willing to sacrifice myself.” She pulled out a dagger. Soon as the Count commanded it so, she’d willingly hurt herself for the sake of her Jin Family.
“No!” Count Jin bellowed. “Of course I want to protect our family’s foundations but I also want to keep my daughter from harm! Even if you destroy your appearance, the Zhu Family would still propose to you unless…”
“Unless your daughter is married today, married before the arrival of General Zhu Lin. It’ll establish the mere fact that they are unable to propose to me as I already belong to another.”
Yes. This is the only way.
Engagement won’t work. It can be nullified easily.
General Zhulin is less than two hundred miles away from the Count’s Palace. Soon, he’d arrive in the evening hours.
Even if Count Jin needed only to find a son-in-law, a husband for her daughter, those selected should qualify and meet his requirements.
If we want this marriage to be successful, it has to be done tonight without fail! I’ll send out a grand wedding invitation. Within two hours, my daughter will select a good man to marry.
Sighing, Count Jin faced Jin Mulan. Immediately his eyes softened, gazing at her with loving eyes a father would. “Mulan, the Zhu Family is like the sun in the sky. That Zhu Hongxue also has a bright future. He will be good to you. As a father, I cannot bear to see you sacrifice your happiness for the interest of our family. What are your thoughts?”
“Father, my greatest happiness is being able to dedicate my life for our Jin Family.” Jin Mulan smiled lightly. “After a hundred years, my little brother will definitely ruin the foundation our Jin Family worked hard to build if I’m not there to help. I will never marry Zhu Hongxue.”
Count Jin’s heart fluctuated. He quickly grabbed an inked pen and wrote down five names on a piece of white parchment paper.
The five young men he listed were all outstanding in their own rights. In his eyes, he found them to be the best candidates suitable for his daughter, Jin Mulan.
It pained him to know her daughter would marry so suddenly and without a choice of her own will. Three years ago, Jin Mulan did attempt to find a man whom she found to her liking but unfortunately, they all disappointed her. The more she learned who they truly were within, the more disappointed she was. She quickly refused all their advancement.
But now, time was pressing in on them. She’d need to make a decision hastily.
The first name on the list as her potential husband was Wang Lian. He was a talented scholar by his own right. Elected as an official at the age of eighteen and now overseeing Xuanwu City’s prison. He’s also a distant relative of the Jin Family.
Second on the list was a martial genius named Mo Ye. By sixteen he’d already achieved great things in the martial path. Currently, he’s preparing himself to partake in the arduous martial examination.
The first two on the list, they’re a promising bunch of two individuals whose future seemed limitless. The remaining three were outstanding young men from the Earl’s Palace. They were well-educated and highly mannered. They were cultivated by the Count’s Palace since childhood so it’s no doubt they are loyal to the Jin Family.
What’s more, they greatly admired her. No mountains, nor sea, nor anything of this world could keep them from dreaming of her in their sleep. They wanted her, needed her the way the earth needs the sun to see another day.
But accurately speaking, all the young men within a hundred miles radius regarded Jin Mulan as their lover but only in their dreams for she was the sky and they could do nothing but stare at her high above longingly.
“Jin Zhong, notify the five on the list of their blessings then quickly send them back to our Earl Palace as soon as possible. Mulan will choose one out of the five to marry.” Earl Jin handed over the white parchment paper over to his loyal servant.
Earl Jin’s heart tightened, feeling a sudden sense of melancholic sadness filling his core whole. Her list of suitors to pick from was limited. If he could, he’d give her the world for her to pick from but unfortunately, she’s left with a few to choose.
“Yes, My Lord!” Jin Zhong hurried out of the study room and grabbed a dozen or so knights for his mission.
“Mulan, although time is pressing, I want you to pick the one who’ll make you happy for all your life. I want you to find the one who would willingly give you the sun if you asked. These five young men are excellent. You should choose well.”
Meanwhile, Shen Lang entered the study room, charming eyes locked on Jin Mulan. “Miss Mulan, can I join? I want to marry you. I’ll make you happy.”