The Divorcee is a Wicked Black Belly Chapter 90: Then Damn It, You Marry Her

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The word reverberated inside the suddenly silent room like a shot.

War.

The capital's safety and future was again put on the line.

Xiang Yun was as shocked as they were.

"W...war?" she stammered. "He can't be serious. He's not that stupid."

"Apparently, he is," An Ning said dryly.

"My father can be a nut sometimes. But deep down he really does like me. It must be my mom who's doing this. Bitch," Xiang Yun said, shocking her listeners.

"You don't have an er, good relationship with your mother?" the emperor delicately asked.

"She's actually not my mother. My biological mother, I mean. She married my dad when our real mother died. I think she drugged him or something then pretended she was pregnant. My dad of course believed her. He's an honorable man and this bitch was only sixteen at that time," Xiang Yun's voice was so casual it was hard to believe she was actually airing her family's dirty laundry in public.

"But why does this...bitch wants to start a war with Yuqui?" Mu Xing asked, perplexed.

"The whore probably wants something out of it," Xiang Yun's casual mention of a cursed word amused An Ning so much that she laughed.

"You know, I initially thought you're one of those pure white lotus girls whose mouth would melt if they said a curse word but I guess I was wrong. You're one tough cookie as it turns out," An Ning complimented.

"I don't suffer fools gladly, you see," Xiang Yun casually accepted the praise. "I've always known what kind of people my family are, even my sisters, since I was five. My father is a foolish man but he's not the type who can be deranged on his own, if you know what I mean. He needs stimulus and the bitch is good at that."

An Ning again laughed.

"Are you really serious about pursuing your education here in Yuqui?"

"I have all my valuables transferred here six months ago," Xiang Yun was so casual and so blase about it that she again left her listeners speechless. "I even bought a house near the district under my own name. My family doesn't know, but I've been quietly amassing wealth since I realized my beauty was only going to give me grief. My father loves beauty and he's proud of the fact that my sisters have all married such exemplary men of wealth and talent. Makes him believe he's a good dad, you see."

The casual yet derogatory summary of her father's character and failings again left Xiang Yun's audience stumped. They looked at each other, dazed and confused. Xiang Yun was so young, how can she be this spot on when it came to her own family? And so frankly and brutally honest about her conclusions.

"Your beauty gives you grief?" queried Kang Jun, who looked at her like she was a moron.

"I see you like beauty," Xiang Yun said, showing her contempt by dismissing his words. "I probably would, too, if I were an ordinary person like my sisters. Don't get me wrong, I love my siblings but I know they're practically airheads." In the background, An Ning snickered joyfully. "But I'm not like them. I like other stuff like science and math and alchemy and magic. I also enjoy cooking. I'm rich because I know stuff. They're not. I don't depend on anyone, unlike them who has dad and now their husbands to take care of them. I can run away, even go to the moon if I want, and I wouldn't starve."

"A girl after my own heart," An Ning approved. "But there's still the problem of why your stepmother wants this war and how to stop it."

"Nobody can stop it. Not once the bitch makes her mind up and tells my dad. She's like a dog that way."

"So, what do we do now?"

"I don't want to make trouble for Yuqui so I might as well kill myself because I will not go back."

Xiang Yun again left her audience speechless.

"You can't!" Mu Xing cried. "I mean, it would be a sin."

"I don't believe in any of that stuff," Xiang Yun shrugged casually. "I'm dead anyway if they succeed in taking me back. My dad will marry me off to this old man. I'll have my first child when I turn sixteen. And after that, just a hell hole of a life to get through everyday in complete misery. No. I'm too rebellious for that. So, might as well kill myself and get it over with sooner."

She looked so resolute yet somewhat naive that instead of pity, she instead awakened some kind of chivalry in their hearts. How can a young and beautiful girl like her chose death so casually as if it was just a choice between going left or right? But then again, for someone with Xiang Yun's weird mindset, a life of domesticity was indeed hell on earth. If she couldn't live the life she wanted then she wouldn't give anyone else the satisfaction either of living her life for her.

"Your majesty...," Mu Xing was staring at the emperor with a complete look of panic on his face. The appeal though was there, insistent and yes, desperate.

"I don't see how...," the emperor said, looking helpless. "Maybe if we talk to your father...," he added, looking hopefully at Xiang Yun.

Xiang Yun smiled somewhat pityingly at him.

"He won't change his mind."

"Maybe there is a small chance," An Ning suddenly said. "A window, if you will. I don't know if it will work though since it's something you're averse in doing."

"You mean?" the emperor said, staring at An Ning with something like awe.

"That's what I mean," An Ning agreed, smiling at him.

"What? You mean what?" Mu Xing asked, totally without a clue.

"A marriage. Xiang Yun must get married."

Her suggestion left some of her audience with their mouths hanging open. It was totally unexpected of what they expected the empress to say. Xiang Yun was running away so she wouldn't have to marry anyone and yet she's telling them Xiang Yun has to get married so her crazy fool of a father would stop hounding her and issuing war threats against anyone who harbors her in safety. So, which was it?

An Ning read the confusion on their faces and laughed.

"I don't get it," Kang Jun said.

"But I don't want to get married," cried Xiang Yun.

"Marry who?" asked Mu Xing with a frown.

"Now, that's the right question to ask," An Ning nodded approvingly at him.

"Yes, dear mother, who is this young girl going to marry?" Gu Sheng asked, sitting back in his chair.

"What about you?"

The question literally left all of them, except An Ning, totally nonplussed. The emperor was so shocked at the unexpected he stared at his stepmother with his mouth open.

"Him?" Mu Xing squeaked. "Why him?"

"Why not him?" An Ning asked, smiling. "Between the three of you here, Little Gu is, I think, the best qualified suitor for Shao Wu."

"But..." Mu Xing again said.

"Are you insane?" the emperor asked, glaring at his stepmother. "I don't want to marry her! You said yourself, I'm too young. Besides, I don't want to marry anyone."

"Why not? You have to, sooner or later," An Ning argued.

"I prefer later. Later!" the emperor emphasized. "I don't have anything against you, young lady, but...no. I absolutely refuse."

"But Yuqui will most likely be dragged into another useless war if you don't," An Ning pointed out.

"I don't give a fuck about any of that," the emperor said explosively. "I'd rather abdicate than be forced into doing something I don't want to do. An Ning, you can't really be serious about this, can you?"

"But I see no other alternative," she insisted.

"Why do I have to marry him? He's a kid, for god's sake," Xiang Yun suddenly inserted herself in the conversation in a spectacular way. "He's what? Twelve years old?"

The emperor eyed her with fulminating eyes.

"Excuse me? For your information, I am nearly sixteen years old," he corrected stiffly.

"A kid," Xiang Yun was dismissive. "I don't like to marry him either."

"Who asked you?" Gu Sheng totally lost it and almost screamed at her. "I'd rather marry a boa constrictor!"

"Oh, you'll marry one alright. With your temper...," Xiang Yun sneered.

"So help me, An Ning," the emperor transferred the blaze of fury in his eyes on his snickering stepmother.

"But, Little Gu, even if you abdicate, there's still the threat of war. We can't get away from that even if all of us were to leave Yuqui."

"No! Everyone else but me! I won't do it!"

"Why do I have to marry him or anyone for that matter?" Xiang Yun said, eyeing the emperor with disgust. "Will you please stop bawling like a brat and let the grownups talk?"

Gu Sheng was so stunned and so angry at her words, he gritted his teeth and again turned thunderous eyes at An Ning.

"Because it's the only way Yuqui can protect you," An Ning said, chuckling. "Single, you're the property of your father who can decide your entire future. Married, you belong to your husband who will make the decisions for you. That's why it's important who you marry. Gu Sheng is a reasonable man. He will not bully you or force you to give up on your dreams."

"Oh yes I will. If that's the only I can get out of marrying this brat, I promise to bully her every day and even forbid her to go outside. If she doesn't listen to me, I'll have her whip into submission," the emperor said with an evil glint in his eyes.

"Hah! I bet my martial arts are better than yours. I'll have your ass whipped even before you could say anything. Baby," Xiang Yun jeered.

"I. Am. Not. A. Baby!" The emperor was so provoked by her words his face was turning purple in his anger.

"This is hopeless," An Ning sighed, shaking her head.

"What happens when she gets married, your grace? Surely that will only provoke her dad even more," Mu Xing asked worriedly.

"And if she marries the emperor and she and he gets into a fight...I mean, will the kingdom even be safe with a cat and dog relationship like that?" Kang Jun said, frowning and looking at the two people like he can already see into the future and predict the downfall of the capital under their reign of terror.

Xiang Yun and Gu Sheng glared fiercely at him.

"It won't come to that," An Ning laughed. "As for the benefits of marriage, as I said, it's a transfer of ownership, from dad to husband. Besides, this marriage is going to be her safety net. Who looks kindly at a father who forbids his married daughter to go and live with her lawfully wedded husband? In marriage, the bride follows the husband and acquires his legal identity, so to speak. Including his nationality."

Her words stunned them into silence. Xiang Yun looked at her like she was a god.

"That actually makes a lot of sense," she conceded, praising An Ning with her eyes.

"Of course it does. That's why it's important that you find the right man to marry. Look, I know this is not something you like to do. This is basically forcing and blackmailing you but, girl, you have no choice. First of all, the law is against you. Your father owns you, plain and simple. Not a good thing to hear but there's no getting around it.

"So, what I'm actually proposing is the transfer of that ownership to someone who will not abuse you, hurt you or cheat on you. Someone who will find you special enough to allow you to do as you want without being threatened by it. That's why it is very important who you marry. This way, we can avert this war and you can continue to live your life as you see fit, under the protective watch of a husband who will take good care of you. Make sense?"

Xiang Yun was thinking hard. She didn't like the word ownership one bit but the empress was right. As things stand now, she didn't have any rights at all. Even if she was independent and can take care of herself financially, her future was still subject to her father's approval, and that includes the person and family she marries into. Her beauty was also its own burden. Marry her off to a rich old man who can further increase her father's worth and social standing. That must be the reason why the bitch was insistent on having her back. There was something about this old man that she wanted to have.

"I don't agree with all you've said but I recognize the sense in the proposal. I don't like it but yes, I concede," Xiang Yun said. "But the choice of husband is going to be decided by me not anyone else," she added, looking directly at the emperor.

"As I said, I'd rather abdicate than marry you," the emperor said, without apology. "This is as repugnant to me as you thinking the same. I'm sorry but I decline."

"But your majesty, you must marry her," Mu Xing said, his face pale. "The alternative is war."

"Then damn it, you marry her!" The emperor nearly shouted. "I don't want to be a part of any of this. If you're that concerned about her and Yuqui's future then marry her. Because I certainly won't."

"Okay, I will," Mu Xing said, exhaling a deep breath.

Everyone looked at him disbelievingly.

"What?" The emperor was caught off balance by his simple words of consent.

"You can't! You're too old for her," Kang Jun's words suddenly provoked another unexpected response from Mu Xing.

"Twenty is not old," he glared. "I'm only what, three or four years older than her?"

"Try a hundred years," Kang Jun smirked.

Mu Xing almost fried him with his fiery stare.

"Are you sure, Mu Xing?" An Ning asked worriedly. "I mean, we still have Kang Jun here in the running."

"This idiot?" Mu Xing mocked. "He doesn't even have enough sense to cross the road unaided. He's a total moron who will only make Shao Wu unhappy."

Kang Jun sputtered but failed to make a comeback. Mu Xing eyed him with triumph then suddenly met Xiang Yun's eyes and he blushed, caught in the act of almost sticking out his tongue at a rival.

An Ning smothered a laugh then asked Mu Xing, "Are you sure about this? I mean, there's still enough time to find a more suitable candidate to be her husband."

"No!" Mu Xing almost shouted. "I mean, I'm sure, your majesty. I'm willing to be Shao Wu's husband if she'll have me," he said almost shyly.

"Well, since I have no choice..." Xiang Yu said in less enthusiastic tones which seemed to crush Mu Xing.

The emperor looked at them both and suppressed a smile.

"That's it then. Since you've both agreed, then this engagement is now official. When do you plan on having the wedding?" he asked, turning to An Ning.

"As soon as possible," she answered. "It has to be done before we meet her father."

"Meet my father?" Xiang Yu asked, surprised.

"Because he's already here. We have exactly five hours before his deadline ends so I suggest we make this marriage happen before all hell breaks lose again in Yuqui."
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