“Look! Sister-in-law’s belly is getting bigger! She’ll give birth to a baby soon.” Cao Song’s friend Cai Yong smiled.
“Right. She keeps saying she is getting fat these days!” Cao Song responded as he gently touched his wife’s belly. “By the way, your wife is about to be in labor, right?”
“Yeah, but she doesn’t gain weight even though she ate a lot. She is worried about the the health of her babe. Even her doctor said she worried too much.” Cai Yong said as he scratched his head. Speaking of her wife, he was a bit embarrassed.
Both Cao Song and Cai Yong were not only ministers in the court, but also friends. They often exchanged knowledge and discussed politics. They were blood brothers although not biologically related. As the power struggle grew worse at court, Cai Yong was the only person that Cao Song could rely on and trust. The two were talking volubly again; Cao Song’s wife sat quietly, sewing a cloth for her baby.
“My wife and your wife will soon be in labor. If our babies are boys, let’s make them sworn brothers; if girls, they’ll be sworn sisters; if a boy and a girl, let them be a couple. What do you think?”
“Sure!” Cai Yong promised promptly.
On a stormy night, Cao Song’s wife gave birth to a boy. Gently touching the newborn infant, Cao Song and his wife smiled in sincerity.
“His name is Cao Cao. Cao, means conducts of ethics. I hope he’ll become a man of integrity.”
A few days after the birth of Cao Cao, Cai Yong’s wife gave birth to a girl. She was named Cai Yan, courtesy name Wenji. While Cao Cao and Cai Yan were babbling, they were already betrothed by their parents.
Although they were engaged, the first time they met were actually ten years old. As Cai Yan followed her parents through a garden, a childish voice drew her attention.
“I said don’t buy any animal fur home, didn’t I?” Looking at the direction of that voice, she saw a boy of her age, with arms akimbo standing right next to a girl named Xiahou Dun. The servants were bowing down their heads in awe.
“These are the gifts given by the guests, Master——”
“I don’t need it, but throwing away is a real waste. Just give them to someone in need!”
“Master Cao Cao, after all, those gifts are for you. The servants just follow orders.”
“Humph! Next time they will be punished!” Cao Cao and Xiahou Dun laughed together. Feeling someone staring at him, Cao Cao looked at Cai Wenji, which gave her a shock. He reached out and smiled: “I’m Cao Cao. You must be Cai Yan, right? My father always talks about you. Can I call you Yanny instead?”
“Let’s go. I’ll take you to the living room.” Cao Cao took her hand to jog; his intimate behavior did not overwhelm Cai Wenji at all, but she rather looked forward to what happened next. Although this was the first time they met, Cai Wenji was glad to have an engagement with him.
Sometimes, she visited Cao Song and Cao Cao with her father. The two became much attached to each other. Cai Wenji was longing for grown-up, so that she could marry Cao Cao to live a happy life.
One night, Cai Wenji could barely sleep. She tossed and turned on bed, attempting to slumber. Thinking of some honey water which may help her sleep, she got up and walked to the kitchen. When she passed through her father’s study, the candlelight was still on.
“It’s getting late. Why didn’t my father sleep?” She peeped at a gap out of curiosity, and she saw his father was talking to a fat man she had never met before. She was unable to hold back her curiosity and eavesdropped on their conversations——
“Is Wenji your only daughter?”
The fat man whispered some words in Cai Yong’s ear, which threw him into a panic. He whined as he kneeled down promptly: “Master Dong Zhuo! I’ll do anything for you! I beg you! Please don’t hurt my daughter!”
“I need you to do an easy task for me. First, tell Cao Song that you’ll send him some cloth for his son. Then I’ll ask the servants to put some “gifts” at Cao Song’s residence; when the time is right, you and I will hunt this “usurper” down.”
“Very well! Hahahaha!” Dong Zhuo laughed as he left. As he opened the door, Cai Wenji did not have enough time to run away. He said in a obscene voice as he bent over and raised her chin: “You’re really a pretty little girl!”
Cai Wenji shook him off, running over to Cai Yong; Dong Zhuo left slowly, finally disappearing in the darkness.
“Father! Are you going to set uncle Cao Song up? Father!”
Slap! Cai Wenji stopped asking——she was slapped!
Since Cai Wenji was born, she had been spoiled by Cai Yong like no other. He even never snapped at her. Therefore, the slap of her father made her utterly stunned. Coming to himself, Cai Yong hugged her as he crouched down: “...Everything I did is to protect you and our family...Guards! Keep an eye on my daughter and don’t let her leave home without my permission!”
Cai Wenji was placed under house arrest. The only thing she could do was put the animal fur on the edge of the wooden crate. Hopefully it could draw Cao Cao’s attention. However, she never expected, or maybe it was destined that, the fur actually dropped during delivery…
After the decline in Cao’s clan, Cai Yong completely disowned Cao Song, and the engagement of Cai Yan and Cao Cao was therefore in vain eventually...