Marrying the Imperial Elder

Chapter 2: Horse Thief

Hence, throughout their whole journey, Zhen Ting Yun diligently took care of the horse like she was serving her ancestors. She even gave the horse a name, Ma Lan Tou. Maybe due to the fear of losing the horse again, or being cursed to death by Zhen Yi Yun, she was extremely cautious on their journey. Not only did she not lose the horse, but it was also so well taken care of that it grew a glossy coat and they became closer like a family.

Thinking up to this point, Zhen Ting Yun was quite composed that she felt a little smug. She believed that she was completely different from the person in the dream, and in the future, she would definitely not end up as miserably as she did.

However, at this moment, there was a sudden clatter from the stable, followed by the sound of hooves. Zhen Ting Yun could not help but jump when she heard the noises. She hurriedly turned back just in time to see a tall man in black galloping out on Ma Lan Tou. In addition, Ma Lan Tou, who had always been aversive to strangers, allowed that man to ride him.

As the man’s back was towards the light, his face was hard to discern. Hence, in that split second, she could not distinguish his facial features.

Before Zhen Ting Yun could take a closer look, she saw the man’s thighs nudge against the horse’s flank and he rode away on her horse.


Zhen Ting Yun, “…”

She was dumbfounded.

It took her a second to come back to her senses. And when she did, she raised her feet to give chase while shouting loudly, “Stop! That’s my…” horse!

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Jwv clqsal pbl lhld nsxrzlvle bla pldvldnl, vbl xyd, obs bye nsxrzlvlzu ktdsale bla, bye tyzzsrle y ekpvydnl yoyu kd y czkdj sq yd lul.

G cwapv sq vbwdela asyale vbaswtb vbl pjklp yde aykd pvyavle rswakdt esod blyhkzu. Rv easodle swv vbl qyekdt pswde sq nzkr-nzsrrkdt. Rd y ckv, lhld vbl rlapsd’p pkzbswlvvl oyp ds zsdtla hkpkczl.

Hbld Mkdt Zwd pvsse pvwddle yv vbl rlakxlvlap sq vbl pvyczl. Gqvla clkdt assvle vlxrsayakzu, pbl pbswvle kd ydtla, “Zsw elyvb-plljkdt bsapl vbklq! Psd’v zlv xl nyvnb usw sa R’zz valyv usw zkjl y bsapl yde akel usw!”


Ekvb vbl zspp sq bla bsapl, Hbld Mkdt Zwd bye yzps zspv bla pswz. Gp pbl pzwttkpbzu xyel bla oyu wrpvykap. Fbl sdzu nyzzle swv y pkdtzl tallvkdt yv vbl pktbv sq Xze Yyeyxl Hbld, “Qaydexy.”

Xze Yyeyxl Hbld oyp yzps zkpvldkdt kd sd vbl nsxxsvksd qasx ycshl. Ju vbld, vbl bsapl vbklq bye zsdt pkdnl ekpyrrlyale. Gzvbswtb pbl oyp ekpvalpple yv vbl zspp sq vbl bsapl kv oyp sdzu xsxldvyakzu. Fbl xshle sd iwknjzu vs nsxqsav bla taydeeywtbvla, “Wsatlv kv, qsatlv kv. Rpd’v kv fwpv y bsapl? Jynj yv swa sze rzynl, ol bye xwzlp, esdjlup, yde nsop yzz sq obknb usw nswze akel vs uswa blyav’p nsdvldv cwv R esd’v pll usw clkdt ps ldvbwpkypvkn ycswv kv. Ebu yal usw rzynkdt pwnb kxrsavydnl sd kv dso?”

Hbld Mkdt Zwd rwqqle swv bla nblljp yde byaawxrble, “Tso kp vbyv vbl pyxl? Mbkp bsapl oyp tkhld cu Ozelpv Fkpvla. R yzps blyae vbyv vbkp bsapl oyp prlnkyzzu byde-rknjle cu Wyvbla swv sq vbswpydep sq nszvp. Ohld okvb tsze, usw xktbv dsv cl yczl vs tlv kv.”

“Ebyv ‘tkhld cu Ozelpv Fkpvla’? Tso sze kp uswa Ozelpv Fkpvla? Ebyv nswze pbl alyzzu tkhl? Fkzzu tkaz, vblpl yal yzz uswa Wyvbla’p rspplppksdp,” Xze Yyeyxl Hbld zlnvwale Hbld Mkdt Zwd yde alzlyple y nbwnjzl. “Gzps, fwpv vbyv bsapl? Pke usw alyzzu vbkdj psxlsdl oswze wpl tsze vs lmnbydtl qsa kv? R vbkdj usw pvkzz byhld’v osjld wr qasx uswa ealyx pkdnl ulpvlaeyu.”&dcpr;

Zhen Ting Yun, “Even if it’s not worth gold, it should still be worth some silvers, right? Now that the horse is gone, there wouldn’t even be an ingot of silver.”


This time, her words caused Old Madame Zhen to feel heartache. “You say, this horse thief sure knows how to spot a good horse. In the whole entire stable, I’m afraid only this horse is considered a superior one. Just so happened that it got picked by this horse thief. Sigh, it’s rare that your father gifted such a good horse, why didn’t you take more care of it…” After her heartache subsided, she could not resist nagging that this granddaughter of hers had no fortune and was born to dissipate the family’s wealth.

Zhen Ting Yun pouted, “Isn’t it all because Grandma kept rushing me to come back up? Otherwise, I would’ve stayed longer in the stable, and the horse thief wouldn’t have dared to take action.”

Old Madame Zhen, “Pei, pei, pei1Onomatopoeia for spitting., you crafty lass! It was your misfortune that you lost the horse but now you’re blaming it on me!” After saying that, she came back to her sense and added, “It was a good thing that I called you up when I did instead of leaving you in the stable. What if the horse thief became agitated and hurt you instead? Silly girl, what would we do then?”

Zhen Ting Yun, originally depressed, felt her heart warming upon hearing those words. Yet, verbally, she refused to let it go, “then it should be fortuitously. Without this granddaughter, you can merrily make your way to the Imperial City to hug your grandson.”

“You just have to be so guileful!” Old Madame Zhen could not win this argument against her granddaughter. She snorted and pulled Zhen Ting Yun to sit beside her, “Alright, alright, stop pointing your cannon-like mouth at me. Since the horse is gone, just take it as one less thing to worry about. Accompany me to do some needlework. At least when you meet your father and younger brother, you’ll have something to take out to give them.” 

Zhen Ting Yun naturally refused to accompany Old Madame Zhen in making clothes for others. However, she was very eloquent when it came to coaxing Old Madame Zhen. She listened to Old Madame Zhen and sat beside her. When Old Madame Zhen handed her the socks, she pretended to examine them before exclaiming in surprise, “Wow, Grandma, your stitches are so exquisite! It’s definitely as good as those from Qian Embroidery House in our hometown.”

Old Madame Zhen could not help but brag, “The things I made might not be comparable to those fanciful designs from outside, but they are a hundred times more comfortable and carefully crafted. Your father is used to wearing the clothes and socks I made. When it comes to comfort, he said that it’s second to none… I don’t mean anything by saying this, but you better not follow your Mother’s footsteps in being prodigal. She believes that everything from outside is better and can’t wait to buy everything back. She doesn’t understand how to be frugal and economical.”

While doing her needlework, Old Madame Zhen continued to impart her knowledge on financial management to her granddaughter. The more she rattled on, the more spirited she became.

Especially when she talked until her mouth ran dry, Zhen Ting Yun would be eagerly serving tea and complimenting her with words like ‘Grandma is right’ or ‘Grandma’s words are correct’. In short, it was a series of bootlicking that floated Old Madame Zhen’s boat causing her to have even more life lessons that she wanted to impart to her granddaughter. 

It was only after Old Madame Zhen drank a cup of tea, did she finally noticed something amiss and glared at Zhen Ting Yun. “You need to shut up now. I ask you to do some needlework but you spouted so much crap that you haven’t even picked up the needle yet!”

Zhen Ting Yun had no choice but to pick up the needle and thread and pretended to do some sewing. Occasionally, she would ask how to embroider a certain part. Sometimes, she would ask which stitch she needed to use for another part. 

In conclusion, this gave Old Madame Zhen a terrible headache that she waved her hand and sent this useless granddaughter away, “Enough, enough. It’s about time for dinner. You go downstairs and instruct the servants to bring the food up. We’ll have our meal here.” 


Coincidentally, Zhen Ting Yun was itching to go down and ask what should be done now that the horse was stolen. Because of her panic just now, she forgot that her father also sent an experienced and shrewd steward to take care of matters along their journey. She might as well ask him for advice. Since Old Madame Zhen had opened her mouth, Zhen Ting Yun swiftly placed down her needle and thread before briskly going down without a second thought.

Old Madame Zhen, “…” Sigh, having such an eloquent granddaughter is really worrisome.

Speaking of which, when it came down to being articulate, Old Madame Zhen was definitely not inferior.

Even Zhen Ting Yun’s mother, Pei-Shi, suffered quite a bit after marrying into Zhen family. One had to know that when Father Zhen, a poor village boy who was highly valued by his mentor and was even promised his mentor’s beloved daughter, was considered to be extremely lucky. In addition, since young, Pei-Shi, alongside her brothers, took after their father and was allowed to go to school. She was beautiful, and her talents were not inferior to men. It was no exaggeration to call her a female scholar. Pei-Shi and Father Zhen knew each other for a long time and grew affection towards each other. After their marriage, they were able to complete the other half of each other’s poetry, were in perfect harmony, and were extremely loving. The only downsides of her marriage were her crafty mother-in-law and her lack of fate in bearing a son. 

Pei-Shi was not very fortunate. She did not conceive until a year into her marriage and when she gave birth, her first child was a daughter. Old Madame Zhen was a mother-in-law who preferred sons to daughters. Hence, she treated Pei-Shi with frigid irony and scorching satire. However, Pei-Shi did not bother about Old Madame Zhen. She named her eldest daughter, Yi Yun2The ‘Yi’ in Zhen Yi Yun [甄倚云], is the same as in 倚靠, which could be directly translated to ‘rely’. as she believed that her husband was the only one she would rely on for the remaining of her life. She devoted herself to accompanying her husband through his imperial examinations and was a very good wife. 

When Father Zhen went to the Imperial City to take his exams, Pei-Shi happened to conceive again so she had no choice but to stay at home to take care of her fetus. After much difficulty during birth, she gave birth to another daughter. This time around, without Father Zhen, Old Madame Zhen became a picture of an evil mother-in-law. 

In fact, Pei-Shi, herself, was a little discouraged. Hence she named her second daughter, Ting Yun3The ‘Ting’ in Zhen Ting Yun [甄停云], which could be directly translated to ‘stop’.. Hoping that the fate of having daughters would stop with this child and the following child would be a son.

Maybe due to her heartfelt sincerity, Pei-Shi was later blessed with a young son. However, that was a story for later.

Back in the beginning, an angry Pei-Shi carried her eldest daughter and departed for the Imperial City, leaving her younger daughter at home. To leave her under the care of such a cunning and evil mother-in-law, she was also extremely worried. But it just so happened that Zhen Ting Yun happened to be Old Madame Zhen’s little nemesis.

Although Old Madame Zhen valued sons above daughters, and she always said that ‘raising a little girl is useless’. But whenever she saw her baby granddaughter crying, it was not like she could let her cry to death. When her daughter-in-law ran away, her baby granddaughter have yet to wean off milk, she could not possibly let her starve to death as well… 

On one hand, Old Madame Zhen was angry at herself for being cheap by picking up her daughter-in-law’s slack. While on the other, she raised her granddaughter. With much difficulty, the baby finally became a little girl, but she turned out to be a very delicate one. She was unwilling to do farm work. Asking her to do some needlework and she only knew how to hold the needle, now a pair of socks might be an issue. Even asking her to cook, Old Madame Zhen had to worry that she would burn down the kitchen! 

It turned out to be quite the opposite of what she initially thought. Old Madame Zhen turned out to be the one who was coaxed and persuaded by this little granddaughter. For the first time in her life, she took out her private savings and bought two maidservants. As Zhen Ting Yun said, “My Father is now an Official, and you’re already an Official’s mother. Yet, we do not even have a single servant serving us. Even our meals have to be prepared by ourselves. If this spreads out, wouldn’t people treat Father as a joke?”


In no better words, Old Madame Zhen did not get to enjoy the blessings of having a granddaughter at all. In fact, she lost a lot of money instead. How true it was when people said that having girls were all money-losing assets~

Even now, while Old Madame Zhen was doing needlework, she was inevitably worrying over her granddaughter’s prospective marriage. ‘Aiyoo, such a cunning, and squeamish little girl. Doesn’t know how to do anything, even sewing a pair of socks she has to come up with excuses to avoid doing it… So worried she won’t be able to marry in the future…’

The author has something to say:

Zhen Ting Yun: You death-seeking horse thief! Don’t let me catch you, or I’ll treat you like a horse and ride you!

Male protagonist: I’ve laid down, come on~

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  1. Lioness94

    After looking at author’s little theater: huh? So the ML stole her horse? Then he’ll probably protect her when that elder sister wants to causr trouble because of the horse later, right? 🤔

    Thanks for the chapter.

  2. KarmaLady

    Can’t say I like our FL’s wanting to avoid small chores (like girl, you can at least do some small needlework) but I can’t say no to that humanly fault in her. Definitely a good characterization of her.