Chapter 136: Marriage Upheaval
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
Pei Zi Yun looked around and observed his surroundings. It was early autumn and he was standing in front of the Zhang Mansion, whose walls were a dark shade of green. On both sides of the wall were flourishing flowers and greenery. Although this was the house of a normal civilian, it looked very impressive.
Today was the day of the wedding between Shen Wan Lin and Zhang Ping. Red lanterns were lined up on the doorway and it was lively all around the mansion. Ox-carts were parked in rows within the mansion. For those people who had sufficient status, their ox-carts were allowed to enter the mansion and park within. For those whose statuses were not of sufficient standards, they had to get off far away and walk over.
Within the compounds, there were more than ten people welcoming the guests. A Zhang family member was standing at the porch, greeting people. However, the guests that he welcomed were the VIPs who had invitation cards. They were people with powerful connections who could enter the honored guests banquet.
Apart from these, there were the casual guests who came to partake in the joyous occasion. All they needed was to give up ten copper coins in order to enter the banquet and partake in the food and drinks. The normal banquets was held in the outer halls, composed of four dishes, and people could eat their fill. However, clearly nobody did that, as that would be a socially disgraceful act.
Pei Zi Yun stepped forward and handed over his gift and red packet. The person receiving the gift looked like a butler, he scrutinized Pei Zi Yun. His job was to assess the status of a person by their demeanor and looks. When he looked into the box, he noticed that there were many silver taels within, divided into five and ten taels. He then smiled, "This way, Young Master."
A servant led Pei Zi Yun into the inner yard, where he noticed the entirely different atmosphere. There were rows upon rows of different trees, including pagoda trees, elm and willow trees. The yard was huge.
Ancient houses were often divided into two sections, the inner and the outer sections. The more expensive houses where noble people resided had even three sections.
When Pei Zi Yun noticed that the servant was leading him towards a canopy deep within the inner court, he couldn't help but smile, 'Giving more money would always reap benefits. I'm being assigned a seat at the inner banquet.'
It was a joyous and lively scene, with red auspicious words were hung everywhere and servants all dressed in red garbs. It was a merry event. After Pei Zi Yun was shown into the hall and was seated, the servant excused himself. Before long, a serving maid approached and offered him some tea. There were many snacks on the table for the guests to eat. There were peanuts, osmanthus pastries, red dates and melon seeds.
Pei Zi Yun picked up some seeds before casting his glance around. The attendants who were welcoming guests all had smiles etched on their faces. The hosts of the wedding were mingling with the guests. Pei Zi Yun could hear all the chatter about the wedding.
"You know, this Shen Wan Lin is really fortunate. Her uncle hails from the Meng house, and her husband comes from the Zhang house. I've even heard that Zhang Ping really loves her."
"You guys don't know, Shen Wan Lin is the daughter of the Shen household. It's just that after her parents died, her uncle took over their family assets and businesses. Even the whereabouts of her only brother remains a mystery."
"It's good that she would marry out of the Shen family. Once she marries out, the entire Shen family assets and treasures will fall into the hands of Meng house."
A person who was privy to the family's internal affairs mocked, as though he bore a particular vengeance against the Meng house. A middle-aged man beside him hurriedly pulled him aside before saluting, "My apologies. My friend here drank too much and the alcohol is speaking. I beg your forgiveness."
Hearing the chatter around him, Pei Zi Yun was not the least bothered. He looked across the banquet with the most people, and where food was served as soon as the guests arrived. He knew that with so many guests there, Shen Wan Lin's brother Shen Zhen was hiding among the huge number of people.
Pei Zi Yun looked around once more and noticed that many people with stone cold expressions were seated around him. It seemed like many people were here just in case something went awry, 'This is getting more and more dangerous and complicated.'
Even in a world where martial arts didn't exist, there would be plenty of gang leaders invited to the wedding. Much less in this world where martial arts existed, even the officials who were invited to this event could not suppress the multitude of gangsters present, coming from various gangs of various places. Over the course of the past thousand years, the gangs had been stabilized and deeply rooted in within the community. It even became accepted as a way of living, a means of survival.
As the saying went, in shallow pools thugs abound. This was the same as the Black Wind bandits within Slow River County. The region started to gradually split the power among ten different households, which then birthed the Black Wind bandits who started operating illegal businesses.
Under normal circumstances, there would be a thorough sweep of illegal activities and gangs with the establishment of the new dynasty. Gradually however, their hold and control of these illegal activities would diminish. The wild grass and weed would then start to grow and multiply once more. However, these gangsters did have some foresight, as they are even getting into fights with each other in order to acquire their rival's businesses. Pei Zi Yun wondered how many of these expressionless faces belonged to rival gangs, observing the climate before eventually reporting to their bosses.
As Pei Zi Yun continued observing his surroundings, he had no intentions of seeking out the bamboo hat assassin - Shen Zhen. He smiled plainly, knowing that Shen Zhen would definitely be around. Ever since the death of his parents, he loved his only sister to death. Since today was the day his sister would be wed, he would obviously show up. It's just that with all the tension and conflict, he had to conceal his identity well, and thus Pei Zi Yun was unable to spot him.
The problem was that, no matter how much Shen Zhen thought he knew his uncle, he would never be able to fully understand how crafty and vile his uncle truly was. This was clearly a trap to lure him out. According to the original owner's memories, this was the moment the conflict escalated.
"The bride is here!" A woman broke the chatter with her high-pitched shout. The noisy and lively crowd turned quiet. The people who were seated within the outer banquets then rushed into the inner banquets, all trying to get a better view of the procession.
The matchmaker was standing at the entrance. It was her who shouted out earlier. Seeing the large crowd of people squeezing through, the servants of Zhang Mansion stepped in to create a path.
The people congested the entire pathways as they rushed to the front. Several children wormed their way to the front, as they watched on.
At this point the cheering sounds started picking up as instruments started playing a lively tune. Firecrackers were being set off. The group of selected people who were supposed to escort the bride and groom were waiting at the entrance of the hall as well. The groom then rode a horse. As soon as he reached the entrance, he leapt of with agility. A middle-aged woman then opened the curtains of the sedan, which was carrying the bride. She then carefully led the bride off the sedan.
A serving maid then carried a porcelain bottle and handed it over to the bride. The bride received the porcelain bottle and held it close in her embrace. Within the porcelain bottle were the five different crops, gold and silver. It was a symbol of a prosperous and blissful marriage.
The bridesmaid lent an arm to the bride as she walked leisurely across. There were two women following behind her, holding up her flowy red dress as she walked unsteadily. As part of the wedding rites, the bride had to walk over a horse saddle and a small pot of fire in order to ward off bad luck before she was allowed to enter the mansion. She then had to cross the courtyard where she had to pay her respects to her parents, parents in law and to heaven.
The groom was holding onto a huge red flower as the bride held onto the tail end of her dress as they walked in together. All of a sudden, someone barged through from the crowd and shouted, "Shen Wan Lin, how can you marry Zhang Ping? Don't you remember how we pledged our undying love to each other?"
The man who was responsible for the outburst was a clean looking man. He stood in front of the door, not letting the bride and groom enter.
"What?" The people around all started to gasp in shock.
"Heh, the bride of Shen household is indeed amazing. Even before she married into the Zhang household, she made a cuckold out of them. How could such an innocent and joyous occasion be tainted like this?" Several people shouted out in angry discussion.
The groom who had been eagerly anticipating this moment for a long time heard the chatter, his face turned red with anger and embarrassment, "You... You!"
He then shouted, "Who are you, you dare to speak false words, don't even think of leaving this place today."
Hearing these words, the man's face turned as well. He forced a cold laughter, "This woman betrayed my feelings and let me down. Since you acted that way, don't blame me for being impolite and discourteous."
The man then raised up a silver hairpin and a book of poems before speaking out loudly, "You should be familiar with this hairpin and poem book, as these were our love gifts."
As he spoke, he took another step forward before speaking loudly to Shen Wan Lin, "Don't you remember that particular night by Cold Light Temple, you agreed to marry me. How could you renege on your promise of marriage? How could you break off our engagement? Don't you remember the night we spent together?"
"That's enough, you adulterous pair." Zhang Ping glanced at the silver hairpin, his face turned severe as his breathing became ragged, his neck had turned red as well. He turned around and gave his bride a huge slap across her face.
"Pia!" The bride who had been holding onto her bridesmaid for support fell over due to the ferocity of the slap. Even the bridesmaid who had been supporting her took her hands back as if she had been betrayed. She looked contemptuously at the bride on the floor.
The bride had just received a tight slap to the face, and it turned a deep shade of red, swelling up as well. The veil across her face was unable to conceal the shade of redness on her face. She then crawled up and started wailing, "Whatever he's saying are lies. I've never met this man in my life and I did not go to any temple with him for a rendezvous."
The man reared his head back and laughed before retreating several paces back. His face turned to anguish, "Now that you're going to marry into the Zhang family, with all the wealth and riches, I'm sure you wish to have anything to do with me. I still remember your favorite poem, shall I read it out for you?"
Hearing these words, Zhang Ping's eyes turned red. He knew that Shen Wan Lin loved poems. In anger, he shouted out, "You bitch, you tricked me into loving you so much."
Shen Wan Lin started wailing, "I did not, Groom Zhang you have to believe me. I am innocent. I've been framed."
The man then stepped forward, "Come with me then. It's clear that your groom doesn't love you. It's I who truly love you."
As she finished, he approached Shen Wan Lin in a bid to pull her away.
The scene before them started turning frantic, with many people screaming out in protest. Even the elderly relatives from both families were taken aback and stepped forward, unsure of what to do. The person leading the relatives was a middle-aged man, dressed in a set of immaculate grey robes. He was Meng Luo Gong. Seeing the situation before him, his face turned ashen, "You... You're good..."
Through gritted teeth he shouted, "Men, come! Beat this scandalous pair to death."
"Ai!" Pei Zi Yun was watching everything unfold before him interestingly. He then heard an old man beside him sighing, "It's such a pity. The Shen family had lasted through three generations. Who would expect something like this to happen?"
Although he felt pity, the pity was for the Shen household and the Zhang household. No sympathy was felt for the pair.
At this point more than ten big burly men stepped forward. They had sticks in their hands which were as thick as a person's arms. They rushed forward with the intention of beating up this adulterous pair, and planned to kill them even.
"Ai!" A loud sigh could be heard as a shadow jumped into the fray from within the crowd. Everyone's gaze was fixed on the stranger. He had a full beard grown, and nobody seemed to recognize him. This man stepped forward to support the bride, "Little sister, are you alright?"
"Brother I am fine." The voice of a woman rang out from within the veil. A dagger then surged out and stabbed towards Shen Zhen. A normal person wouldn't be able to dodge a blow towards his back, and yet, he could feel it coming thanks to his instinct, but he was still unable to dodge it.
The dagger embedded itself deep into his shoulder. The bride pulled out the dagger, ready to stab him again once more. Shen Zhen gave a groan of pain, taking a few steps back from his attacker, before breathing heavily. His face revealed a look of pain and agony.
"Brother, how are my dagger techniques." The lady laughed as she taunted him.
"Ah!" Shen Zhen gave a loud shout as he swung his fist at her, "Pah", the red veil obscuring the face of the bride fell into the air, revealing her face. It was not Shen Wan Lin. The woman was still clutching onto the dagger, blood staining the entire dagger and dripping on the ground. The blood had already turned green.
"What a good plan."
Shen Zhen's eyes were red as he drew out his dagger from his waist.
At this point, twenty men lunged out from within the crowd and surrounded him. They did not attack however, and encircled him. Their eyes were watching him closely. All of a sudden, his right shoulder twitched, and the entire court was thrown into chaos as everyone charged right at him.
"Kill him!" It was a huge mess as the men launched their assault, and the rest of the people who had come to celebrate scattered in fear.
"Everyone, do not look, try to escape!" At this point there were still some people who did not move and remained fixated at the interesting sight. All of a sudden, they realized that they were being chased out. Bailiffs had appeared and were trying to restore order, "Everyone, move aside. Government bailiffs are here to make arrests. Anyone who's blocking me will be charged for obstruction of justice."
"Who do you think you are, really." A man who had been shoved from behind was extremely displeased. When he turned around and saw that it was the bailiffs, he turned around and fled as fast as he could.
The servants who had cordoned off the entrance at the start were helping to chase people away from the scene. Before long, most of the people had already scrambled to safety.