Zong Ching's manipulation did not only influence Mingxia but her entire family as well, especially Mingxue. Mingxue was known for being the innocent lady in the house, she excelled in all the feminine arts, weaving, singing, painting and such. Because of this she received a good amount of attention and a long list of suitors wanting to marry her. Unfortunately she only had eyes for one man, that man was of course Zong Ching.
While Mingxia had no feelings for this guy from the beginning, Mingxue had fallen in love at first sight but she was just too shy to confess. Her one sided love continued for two years, but she wasn't dumb, she could see the growing feeling inside her sister for the same man. Then when she learned that he possessed the same feelings for her sister, her world collapsed. She cried for days and days until she had no more tears to shed.
Watching the two grow closer only made her heart cringe and allowed jealousy to swallow her whole. Jealousy changed her, causing her to transform from an innocent maiden to a scheming fox. She purposely humiliated her sister in public by challenging her to weaving contests or dancing shows. But her sister was full of kindness and never took the losses and humiliation to her heart, angering Mingxue even more. Then she was more and more vicious with her attacks, purposely tearing her clothes for a dance show to humiliate her even more. She even spread rumors of how her sister was playing with two men. She acted out more and more after Ching announced to the public that the two were in a relationship.
From that day on she would carefully scheme to hurt her sister, she even went as far as trapping her sister in a room and piercing her whole body with needles. All this was the result of her jealousy for her sister. Of course no one knew of her acts until much later, she kept her innocent personality in front of others and grew exceptional in acting. Zong Ching found ways to manipulate the Wei family to get what he wanted. He got the vast army he needed, with the Wei's family connections he successfully persuaded a general in a nearby kingdom to help him. He needed the trust of Mingxia since he knew that she can beg her father for anything. So he purposely helped her against Mingxue's schemes.
This act ignited the fire inside Mingxue and got him the trust he needed from Mingxia.
Two cunning and scheming foxes. What a pair.
When Mingxia was fifteen, Mingxue was fourteen. Ching arrived at the Wei family when Mingxia was fourteen, she noticed that she had feelings for this bookworm when she was sixteen, the prime age for a women. When a girl turns 16, she becomes a woman, and to celebrate that, a giant party is thrown for her and gifts are showered over her. In this society, women are meant to marry at twenty years old, if you are past that age then you are considered unwanted.
On her party, Ching danced with her in the moonlight under the stars. There she noticed how handsome he was and she wanted to stop time so that they could dance forever. This party also marked the second year of Mingxue's one sided love.
As for why Ching needed the relations of the Wei family, well it was because the Wei family was technically related to royalty. Mingxia's father was a humble man so he did not bring public attention to this but he was actually the cousin of the ruling empress. The empress was the princess of the neighboring empire. In addition his wife, Mingxia's mother, was the daughter of a prime minister in the Han Empire and his concubine, Mingxue's mother, came from a family that has a very large and successful merchant business. This large web of connections spread long and wide.
When Ching found out he decided to use this to his advantage.
He is the 9th son in line for the throne, all of his brothers are talented and has their support for the throne. Being 9th meant that he was the least favored one. He was born from a small concubine unlike his brothers, their mothers' were at least the rank of a consort. He may be excellent in his studies but in his father's eyes he would never be good enough. His only support was his weak mother who was diagnosed with a disease that was incurable at that time. So when she died his heart blackened. He began to despise his brothers and their mothers. He was twelve when this happened and he had begun his plan for revenge ever since that day.
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