Even though General Yu wasn’t happy, he had to leave the pavilion without having achieved anything. On the contrary, what Madam Yan had said had left him so muddled that he had forgotten about the matter with his mother. He only remembered when he came home and was immediately faced with her anxious expression.
Yu Huang Rong’s brows twitched. Just what had happened now? Before he could ask, Madam Yu already rushed to speak.
“Huang Rong! How come that son of the Zhang family is invited the same day as you? What is that Madam Yan thinking? Could it be she isn’t taking this seriously? We should go and find another matchmaker after all. That woman is no good!”
Yu Huang Rong made sure to school his expression. He’d also like to know what she was thinking but at the very least, he was sure that he couldn’t let his mother make any trouble. “Mother, what are you even saying? Madam Yan is the best matchmaker in our Chen country’s capital. Her methods might be unorthodox but they are sure to yield a result. Actually, she already explained this matter to us yesterday. It is all part of her plan. So there’s no need to worry.” He patted her hand and hoped that things would be done with this.
Unfortunately, his mother was far from satisfied with this explanation. She grabbed his arm before he could sneak off again, holding on as if for dear life. “Huang Rong! Where do you think you’re going? You’ve spoken but you haven’t said anything at all! Just what is her plan?”
Yu Huang Rong froze. Shit! He wouldn’t have given her a hint now, would he? He clenched his hand and forced himself to smile. “What are you even saying, mother? She —” He spluttered when he noticed that he was about to say the same thing Madam Yan had said to him at the pavilion. He masked his discomfort with a cough and cleared his throat. “Well, she’s a matchmaker. She has to set up people and with her reputation, she even wants to set them up for a happy marriage. So naturally, her plan is to make sure that we will find the best suitable partner we can.”
Madam Yu felt a little better at hearing this but she wasn’t convinced yet. “I know that she is a matchmaker and that she wants to find a good match for you. But what is the son of the Zhangs doing there while you are meeting those women? There were already other men around when you visited the last time. Now, there will be another person once again. How is that searching for your partner? Say, do you think the Zhangs could have bribed her to that she would do something in their son’s favor?”
Yu Huang Rong’s lips twitched. Alright, he had been thinking too much. His mother would never even get close to guessing what was really going on. He shouldn’t have worried that much. He heaved a sigh of relief and patted his mother’s hand again. “What are you even saying, mother? Can the household of the Zhangs even compare to our General’s manor? Why wouldn’t she choose to curry favor with us instead?”
“Aiya! You’re too naïve! Money makes the world go round and we didn’t offer her any. Naturally, someone of her status would rather do the Zhangs a favor for a small sum than earn our gratitude by just doing her work if she can’t be sure that she won’t have an advantage because of it.”
Yu Huang Rong sighed. Considering how Madam Yan had told him on the first day how sitting in the pavilion instead of the main house was better for business and how she had said today that setting him up with Zhang Shi Lan was better than setting the scholar up with a woman, he couldn’t fault his mother for her evaluation. Who knew who else had gotten to hear such things? Madam Yan’s reputation as a money-grubber might precede her just as much as her reputation as the best matchmaker of the Chen country’s capital city.
Since Madam Yan was doing him a favor and since this was about him marrying his true love, he still felt that he should preserve her reputation a little. “I can understand why you would think that, mother, but there’s really no reason to worry.”
Madam Yu wanted to refute again but her son raised a hand to hold her back. He knew that she wouldn’t just give up. He needed to provide her with the reason why it was necessary for Zhang Shi Lan to be there. So how could it benefit him if the scholar was around while he was searching for a wife? Normally, that should indeed be a hindrance. Hadn’t he felt the same about those women that had gotten in the way of him spending time with Zhang Shi Lan?
When he thought of that, Yu Huang Rong had a sudden epiphany. Wrong! He had been completely wrong. “Mother, back when you married father, weren’t you afraid at all?”
Madam Yu furrowed her brows. What was her son saying there? “What does this have to do with you searching for a wife? I’m asking about that scholar being there!”
Yu Huang Rong sighed. “That’s what I’m talking about too. Wasn’t father also a general back then? Well, I am and I just returned from the battlefield. Maybe mother didn’t worry about that too much but there are some timid women out there who will not feel at ease when interacting with me for the first few times. It’s important to give them more things to talk about and somebody who can mediate between us. You also know that my temper isn’t always the best. If I lose my patience with one of them, there would still be scholar Zhang to act as a buffer. Honestly, I think this plan is rather ingenious.”
Madam Yu raised her brows and examined her son’s face. He was handsome and from a good family so she felt that there was no reason to act like this. But then again, if she was honest, her son was indeed not easy to get along with. He had a short fuse and liked to glare at people. He didn’t understand how to talk nicely either. He could probably make those young ladies cry in five minutes and consider getting a piece of silk cloth in a day. Having somebody around who could calm those girls’ nerves might not be bad.
She already wanted to nod when she realized the problem with this. “What are you even saying?! The Zhangs might not have the same status as us but their son is also good-looking. If those girls notice that his temper is much better than yours, then what should we do if they fall in love with him instead?”
Bash them! Yu Huang Rong’s hands clenched into fists. Naturally, the person he liked was good-looking and had an even better temper. But he’d like to see who dared to set their sight on the person that he, Yu Huang Rong, had chosen!
He gave a dark laugh and patted his mother’s arm. “Don’t worry about that. Do you really think that the person who caught your son’s eye would be able to resist when he puts his mind to pursue them?” His eyes gleamed dangerously. No, definitely not! He liked Zhang Shi Lan. Whatever anybody had to say about this or how shy Zhang Shi Lan still was around him, he wouldn’t rest before the scholar had become his.
Madam Yu’s eyes also started to sparkle. The person who caught her son’s eye? So there was indeed a girl he liked now?! How splendid! She wanted to ask who it was but her son already smiled his usual ‘I have no time now’ smile.
“Mother, there are still some things I need to take care of. Let’s just wait and see how things go at the next meeting.” With that, he once again slipped out of the General’s estate and made his way back to the palace.
Hmph. As much as he disliked the idea he needed help. And not just in whatever sense Madam Yan had thought of. No, he needed a way to make Zhang Shi Lan open up to him and he knew exactly who could tell him how to do that.