Tome of Troubled Times - C.72: Not Enough

Tome of Troubled Times

C.72: Not Enough

Cui Wenjing left.

Zhao Changhe was stupefied as he sat at the pavilion alone and drank his wine. The expression in his eyes was still blank.

How did things end up like this... Didn’t I come to decline the marriage?

Where the hell did things go wrong? This last solution is supposed to give the Cui Clan an excuse to get out of this embarrassing situation. After three years, as long as nothing happens, then everything will be fine. Cui Wenjing, aren’t you supposed to take advantage of this and reach the same conclusion?

How is it that after beating around the bush, things ended up like this... And it seemed like I was the one who said it all. He was too easy to talk to...

To be honest, Zhao Changhe simply did not feel that the person he was speaking to was ranked ninth on the Ranking of Heaven, the head of a powerful family. He felt not a shred of oppression from him. Other than those few words in the beginning used to test him, Zhao Changhe felt that Cui Wenjing was just a parent extremely concerned for his daughter. They could talk things through; he was quite genial.

After seeing how rich and powerful families dealt with poor men who stole their daughters from novels, television, and movies, Zhao Changhe felt that what he had just experienced was unreal.

However, after carefully examining the outcome, Zhao Changhe knew that Cui Wenjing had gotten everything he wanted. Even though all of it was spoken by Zhao Changhe, he had been constantly nudged by Cui Wenjing in that direction. After being flattered by Cui Wenjing, he could only wrack his brains and think of a solution that everyone could accept.

Actually, becoming adopted siblings was a viable option, and it was the one Zhao Changhe most wanted. In the end, the goalpost had been shifted by that old man. We were supposed to resolve the issue of Yangyang’s reputation. If you were willing to accept me as your adopted son, then of course it would be normal for an adopted brother to escort his adopted sister home. Wouldn’t the problem of her reputation be dealt with? How did it become a problem of whether adopted siblings could marry each other? These are two separate issues. But how did I get hooked into this...

Things turned out like this in the end. If after three years Zhao Changhe did not become anything, then Cui Wenjing would take it as if nothing happened. If after three years he actually made it onto the Ranking of Man, then he would be hailed as a nigh-unparalleled genius. Once they secured such a husband for their precious daughter, the Cui Clan would laugh even in their sleep.

No matter how you look at it, the Cui Clan has nothing to lose. He sold me something and I even helped him count the money he’s earned.

Zhao Changhe felt he was a pretty good person. After he realized all this, he did not know whether to laugh or cry.

This was the Cui Clan of Qinghe.

Powerful families that had been around for so many years had their own methods. One could not view Cui Wenjing as just a warrior of the jianghu; there was no use seeing him as the ninth ranked person on the Ranking of Heaven. To Cui Wenjing, this was a huge turning point in his daughter’s life; it was an important matter for him; furthermore, it was a politically important matter—with Zhao Changhe’s suspicious identity, how could Old Man Cui actually accept him as his adopted son!?

He treated this matter of untold importance with great care. A stripling like Zhao Changhe had no chance of winning against him.

After word of this gets out, how will Chichi kill me?

What a pain.

“Big Brother Zhao! Big Brother Zhao!” Cui Yuanyang’s voice traveled here from far away.

Zhao Changhe looked over. That young lady smiled happily as she lifted her skirt and ran through the flowers toward him. She looked like a butterfly moving through the flowers, and her smile was more beautiful than all the flowers and trees around her.

Is all this worth it if I can make her smile?

Zhao Changhe asked himself if he should have thanked Cui Wenjing. That wily old fox managed to handle the issue properly rather than resolving it with the blade.

As for future matters, Zhao Changhe was really too tired to think about it.

“Big Brother Zhao!” Cui Yuanyang happily ran into the pavilion. She looked like she was going to throw herself into Zhao Changhe’s embrace, but suddenly blushed and urgently stopped in front of him. With her face head, she lowered her head. “My father s—said...”

Zhao Changhe could not help but rustle her hair. “Whatever the case, I don’t want to run off right now. I can stay as a guest for a few days.”

Cui Yuanyang lowered her head and played with the hems of her clothes. “My father thinks that you won’t be able to meet his conditions in three years and can put an end to the matter, but I...I know that you’re stubborn. When you say you’ll do something, it’s because you’ll do it, and not because you want to find a way out of this situation for everyone.”

Zhao Changhe smiled. “This isn’t something I can do simply by wanting to do it. One can’t take the Ranking of Man too lightly.”

Cui Yuanyang’s head lowered even more. Her voice was softer than a mosquito. “I...I want you to do it. I feel like you can do it.”

What she said was equivalent to saying “I hope you can marry me.” But saying it in this indirect way was more moving.

Zhao Changhe sighed, and could not hold back from saying, “Yangyang, have you ever considered that because you’ve stayed at home since you were a child and barely left for the jianghu that you’ve met too few people?”

“What you mean is that I don’t really like you. It’s just that we faced life and death together this time and my heart was moved for a moment. In the future I’ll meet other outstanding men, and perhaps only then will I find out about love. Is that it?

“Why are you less and less stupid? Are you supposed to have this sort of emotional intelligence?”

“It’s because this was something that many people kept saying to me last night. I’m sick of hearing it. I thought that you were carefree. Who knew that you’re like an aunt.”

Zhao Changhe broke out into laughter.

“Big Brother Zhao, do you feel like I’ve made things difficult for you... In your heart, I’m only a child. Indeed, things are not like what other people think. That’s why you’re saying the same things as them. You want to convince me to... But...” Cui Yuanyang finally raised her head and bravely looked him in the eye. “I’ll grow up. I’ll make you like me!”

The young lady’s soft gaze was enough to melt even the most steely of hearts. It was like a thread was wrapping itself around Zhao Changhe’s heart, no longer able to be untied.

Zhao Changhe knew he could not untie this knot by himself. Whether or not he liked her before, now he did.

So this is the taste of a woman’s love and confession. With a test like this, who can possibly pass!?

His thoughts fluttered around. He had no idea what he was thinking when he said, “Yangyang, you don’t need to grow up. Your Big Brother Zhao likes this Yangyang.”

Cui Yuanyang smiled. As the tip of her brow and the corner of her brow brightened up in delight, the flowers around them appeared to lose their color.

She happily took Zhao Changhe’s hand and started strolling around the garden. She said softly, “The number of men I’ve met isn’t small. My father is on the Ranking of Heaven and well-known; my uncles are in the Ranking of Earth and Man; and my brother has become the third Hidden Dragon at the age of twenty. The different generations of the family are all on friendly terms, they all have their own views and together form an assemblage of talented individuals. I thought they were the great men of this world, so I never thought...”

Zhao Changhe could not help but interject, “You never thought that there’d be someone like me on this earth? I believe that’s what you were going to say.”

Cui Yuanyang tilted her head and looked at him for a while in surprise. She held back her laughter and smiled. “How shameless.”


Cui Yuanyang replied bashfully. “Since you want me to finish my line like that, then we’ll go with that. Anyway, it’s not much different from what I was going to say.

“Hey... That sounds quite perfunctory.”

“I just want to say, regardless of how good other people are or how boorish or like a bandit you are, I’ll believe in you.” Cui Yuanyang did not look at him. Her eyes made rounds around the butterfly by the side as she picked flowers. “If you don’t rise to the Ranking of Man in three years, I—I’ll run away with you.”

Zhao Changhe did not know how the butterflies or flowers made her talk about running away. Her face was as red as the sky at dawn.

Zhao Changhe did not respond. He could not say “I’m not capable enough; I’ll wait for you to run away”, nor could he boast that he could accomplish that task. He wasn’t delusional.

However, he now indeed had one more reason to cultivate, and he knew that he would not have to figure things out by himself while cultivating like before. The Cui Clan would definitely help him, whether it was overtly or secretly. To them, this was an investment; they would not just leave him to fend for himself.

As expected, the next moment, Cui Yuanyang said, “Wei County is within our sphere of influence and County Magistrate Zhang is one of our own people. But this isn’t Qinghe. Today, Father will return. There are matters at home that need to be settled... Big Brother Zhao, you should return with us and be our guest for a few days. There are some things we can give you. You’re not allowed to say you don’t want anything. Even if it’s just as a thank you gift, it’s what we should do.”

Zhao Changhe was not unreasonable and nodded. “Well, I also want to see Qinghe. Other than this, after seeing what a sly fox your father is, the one that was sent to the dungeon is most likely not the true culprit. Your father is putting on an act to increase the chance the snake will come out of its hole.”

Cui Yuanyang was at a loss and her eyes went wide with shock.

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