Mister and Madam Zhang sat next to each other, both keeping silent. They didn’t know what to say. In fact, they didn’t even know what to think. This matter of their son being implicated in the attack on General Yu had suddenly taken such a turn. What were they supposed to make of that?
Mister Zhang rubbed his brow and then turned to look at his wife. "Do you believe it?" This was probably what they had been wondering about for the longest time. That he was friends with Yu Huang Rong wasn’t a secret. Mister Zhang had seen with his own eyes just how well the two of them got along. But he had never thought about whether or not his son might have some deeper feelings for this person. Who would think of something like this? Shi Lan was about to be married after all. How could he develop feelings for another man?
Madam Zhang shook her head. "I don’t know. I really don’t know. I would like to think that if it was true, he would’ve told us already but … Maybe he … Maybe he didn’t dare to? Maybe he thought we wouldn’t understand?"
Mister Zhang furrowed his brows. "Not understand? What’s there not to understand? Didn’t he go to the matchmaking pavilion to get married? Wasn’t he searching for a wife there? Then what is this matter about falling in love with another man? This doesn’t make sense!"
Madam Zhang couldn’t help but worry even further when the matchmaking pavilion was brought up. "Do you think … this might have been the reason?"
"What?" Mister Zhang was pulled out of his thoughts and looked at his wife in confusion.
"He never wanted to get married and then suddenly, one day he said he’d go to the matchmaking pavilion and make preparations. Did you think that was strange?"
What does that have to do with anything? Isn't it normal for him to want to get married someday? He just needed a bit longer!"
Madam Zhang shook her head. "If I remember correctly, that was the day that General Yu also went to the matchmaking pavilion. Wasn’t that why they were put together in these strange events? Wasn’t it all because they went there on the very same day?"
Mister Zhang froze, silently staring into the air. Could that be true? Could it really be that their son had actually been in love with this man for so long that when he heard that Yu Huang Rong was going to marry, he had also set out to do so as well? Was it that until that day, he had actually hoped for that man to somehow take a fancy to him?
That couldn’t be! Wasn’t that ridiculous? As if a man like the General would ever fancy another man! Even if he could imagine his son being with another man, there was no way it would be this one. Even if that was what his son wanted, it certainly wouldn’t be what General Yu would do. Ah, to think that his son might have lost his life because of this person that he was secretly in love with … It really made him feel that life was too unfair.
Mister Zhang sighed and patted his wife’s hand. "Whatever it may be, there’s nothing we can do. He has already gotten into that accident and now, we can only wait to hear from the General. Whatever feelings Shi Lan holds, does it really play a role?"
His wife shook her head but she didn’t know if it might not be important after all. If her son really loved this man … Her gaze softened, thinking of this child that had always been way too serious. He might have lost his life because of this person. That kind of love … She couldn’t begin to imagine how serious he had to be about it. If there was anything she could do to help him achieve this one wish … Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad to do it.
Unfortunately, neither did she know whether her son was still alive, nor could she be sure that this wasn’t just a baseless rumor. Even though it seemed to be true, this was still a thing that couldn’t be taken lightly. She had to make sure. She at least had to understand what had really been going on.
Madam Zhang continued to ponder for a while longer. Finally, she said goodbye to her husband, left the house and went to the matchmaking pavilion with one of the servants.
When Xiao Jia knocked on the door to the study, showing the figure of Madam Zhang behind her, Madam Yan couldn’t help but raise her brows. How come the Minister’s wife had come to see her at this time? If she was informed correctly, then Yu Huang Rong and Zhang Shi Lan shouldn’t have returned to the capital city yet. Wasn’t it a little early for the families to inquire about anything from her? Well, she couldn’t not meet up with her so she got up and motioned for Xiao Jia to let the woman in.
Madam Zhang stepped into the study with a strained smile. "Madam Yan."
Madam Yan walked over, giving her a smile. "Madam Zhang, how nice of you to drop by! I’m a little surprised though. I could imagine that your family is having quite a rough time right now. How are you doing? Why don’t you come in and sit down?" She motioned at the seat in front of the table and Madam Zhang nodded.
She sat down and waited for Madam Yan to take a seat opposite her before she gave a sigh. "There’s something I wanted to talk about. It’s …" She glanced back at Xiao Jia and fell quiet.
Madam Yan nodded and then motioned for Xiao Jia to leave. Xiao Jia stepped out again and closed the door behind her, leaving the two of them alone.
Madam Yan turned back to Madam Zhang, folding her hands on the table. "So what was it you wanted to say?"
Madam Zhang took a moment to sort her thoughts and gave yet another sigh. "To be honest, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess you’ve already heard about what happened to my son."
"Indeed I have. This really is a tragedy. The two of them are still very young. To be caught in such a situation and then even being hurt to this degree … I’m very sorry. I hope your son will soon return and be in good health."
Madam Zhang forced herself to nod. "Thank you. Maybe you have also heard about something regarding … the reason my son interfered in the fight."
Madam Yan slightly raised her brows but then nodded. "Somebody has mentioned it once, yes."
Madam Zhang looked at her, her gaze complicated. "Then what is your opinion? Do you think that … I mean you’ve seen the two of them interact while they were in your matchmaking pavilion for these events. Did you feel that that rumor might be true?"
Madam Yan couldn’t help but feel surprised. She wouldn’t have expected either of the two men’s parents to come to her at this moment to ask such a question. At the earliest, she would’ve thought that they would want to talk to about this when the Emperor made his edict. But it seemed she had been wrong about that. Maybe she had underestimated Madam Zhang’s feelings for her son.
Even though she was surprised, she didn’t forget what the plan was. She had to slowly convince these families. If she was able to convince Madam Zhang sooner, then that would naturally be beneficial to their plan.
Thus she evaded the woman’s gaze and shook her head. "I …" She cleared her throat and then shook her head again. "I noticed nothing of the like. Your son seemed rather interested in the women he chose for the second event.
"You know we’ve already talked about them and I think that even though they weren’t ideal, we can work with that and find somebody who will fit your expectations better. I don’t think it’s at the point where he has fallen in love with any of them so it shouldn’t be a problem. Let’s just wait for him to return and feel better again before we see about that. What do you think?" She looked up again, her smile a little strained.
Madam Zhang looked at her, her expression serious. Even though Madam Yan hadn’t said that she was right, the way she behaved still showed that she obviously didn’t quite mean what she said. She probably just wanted to make her feel better considering what had already happened to her son and, well, she was also a matchmaker. She could hardly matchmake these two men, could she?
"I see." Madam Zhang nodded and gave yet another sigh. "I’m sorry about bothering you with this then. I should return home. If my son returns, he will certainly go there first. I should be at home when that happens."
"Of course!" Madam Yan leaped to her feet and nodded eagerly. "If there’s anything else you’d like to discuss, you can come over whenever you want to." She walked around the table and toward the door though as if she couldn’t wait to make her leave.
Madam Zhang really wanted to sigh again. Obviously, the matchmaker felt really uncomfortable with this topic. She had to have seen something but probably wasn’t willing to talk about it for fear of what the reaction would be. Well, now she at least knew that these rumors were likely true. If Shi Lan returned, she would ask him as well and if he truly loved that man … Maybe there would be a way to fulfill that wish of his.
After all, losing a person you loved … That was very painful. She was just experiencing that herself while she didn’t know whether her son would ever return to them. If he could live, she didn’t want to let her son go through the same thing. If he wanted to be with that man, it was better to let him. No need to make things difficult for him when he was given a second chance at life.
With that thought, she nodded at Madam Yan and then left, not pressing any further.