As tension stretched on, the man standing next to Madame Lu unexpectedly spoke up.
“Younger cousin Huan, you go too far. Apologize to this miss immediately!”
Madame Lu started, then whipped her head around incredulously at the man. “Second brother Heng! How can you help outsiders like this!?”
Lu Heng rose, casting but a single glance with his lanky form. Despite a lack of visible wrath, it was readily apparent that he was in fiery rage. An aura of dominance kept Madame Lu down so low that she didn’t dare voice another word of objection.
How could she forget that Lu Heng wasn’t her blood brother, but instead an older cousin in the clan? When it came down to it, her own family was just a minor Lu offshoot, but Lu Heng was the official second-born of the eldest main branch! He was someone that her own big brother had to greet respectfully and curry favor with.
Just what had gotten into her that she’d dared raise her voice at Lu Heng??
The madame glared at the Qin fourth miss standing off to the side. How would she have lost her temper if not for that girl purposefully acting this way?!
Madame Lu grew even more irate.
Meanwhile, Lu Heng declared with a frown, “To think that you’re this ridiculous and out of control outside of the house! The miss spoke rightly just now, the foundations of aristocracy are never built off of suppressing others. With your behavior, the family’s good reputation of several hundred years will be ruined in your hands. Don’t your father and brothers know to keep you in line? They allow you to atrociously throw your weight around like this, even turning right into wrong and black into white!”
Lu Heng’s tones were gentle and urbane, even when scolding others. He neither raised his voice nor quickened his speaking pace. Those further away might not even hear him clearly, but the self-possessed, seething undertones sent cold sweat pouring down Madame Lu’s back.
“Don’t be angry, second brother Heng. I was too brash.” It was a rare moment of submission from the older woman.
Lu Heng turned his gaze onto Qin Yining, smoothly meeting the girl’s limpid eyes. The man’s eyelashes half-fluttered and he looked down, but then seemed to think better of his actions and swiftly raised his eyes again. He smiled faintly at the Qin fourth miss and looked back at his cousin.
“You shouldn’t be be apologizing to me, but to the lady whom you insulted.”
Madame Lu turned purple with umbrage and she questioned disbelievingly, “Second brother Heng, you, you want me to apologize to this bitch? Do you know who she is? She’s the née Qin who seduced the Faithful Prince of the First Rank as soon as she entered the capital. She was carried off for days of pleasure at the Pang Manor!”
Qin Yining really wanted to inquire after the ‘good health’ of Madame Lu’s entire family. If she’d still possessed her temper of old, slaps would’ve been flying long ago.
But she wasn’t at home and she’d only make trouble for her father if she acted on her thoughts now. The Qins weren’t on solid voting yet. She had to keep it in and not lose her temper.
It turned out that Lu Heng was even more furious than her. “Your manner of speech…” he intoned. “Forget it, apologize to Miss Qin first. I’ll pay a visit to your father and brothers later.”
That was an unequivocal order, and he was going to have words with her father and brothers!
Madame Lu’s face ballooned, and she glare at Qin Yining with fury and humiliation. Her lips twitched, finally squeezing a few words after a long moment. “I’m sorry.”
Qin Yining smiled faintly. “I wouldn’t dare.” She turned and dipped a curtsey to Lu Heng, then turned to depart with her people.
Lu Heng didn’t retract his gaze from her body until the Qin fourth miss’ delicate figure slowly disappeared around the turn of the stairs. His own lack of composure just now was rather astonishing!
That he would form good feelings at first sight and not dare to meet a girl’s eyes! And he even tracked her form…
Man, Lu Heng, the older I get, the more like a kid I am!
Lu Heng turned and headed outside. When he saw that Madame Lu wasn’t trailing in his wake, he questioned lowly, “What, not leaving yet?”
The madame didn’t dare disobey. She left with a petulant stomp. She’d thought that a fearsome loss of dignity for Qin Yining was at hand today, given Lu Heng’s backing. But she’d been the one to emerge worse for the wear!
From their vantage point on the third floor, Qin Yining and Missus Liao could clearly see the Lu family carriage slowly drive off.
“In case you didn’t know, Alliance Head, that Second Master Heng is very prominent character. Born of the eldest main family branch, he’s the second official son in his family. Even though he’s only 26 this year, he’s been famous in the business circles for more than ten years. He didn’t do that with help from his family, but did so anonymously on his own. He didn’t tell the public he was a Lu until he made it big.”
Qin Yining nodded. “He looks like a highly shrewd and crafty individual. A noble house such as the Lus would naturally be able to cultivate such a stunning talent.”
“Absolutely. That Madame Lu wasn’t like this at first, either. Although she’s born of a Lu side branch, she’s still a proper, official daughter. In the early days of the revolution, the farmer army worked with the Lus for a time. In order to solidify relations, His Majesty had one of his generals marry one of the side branch misses. That was how General Mi wed Miss Lu Cuihuan.
“Miss Lu has extraordinary looks and a high sense of self. Naturally, she didn’t think much of a common-born, average looking bumpkin. As time passed, she started keeping her own harem. But since the marriage had been dictated by the Lu elders and the general rather liked Miss Lu, there was nothing to be done. As we all know, he died in the end anyways.”
Qin Yining listened to Missus Liao’s explanation with a smile and nods. “It looks like our alliance’s intelligence network is still in good working order.”
The older woman blushed. The alliance head really does hold a grudge! She smiled obsequiously, “Just give your orders if you’d like to know anything in the future.”
“Then I thank you for your troubles.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
And this, everyone, is why you need to distill good manners and behavior into your kids... A middle-aged brat? Yeesh.
By the way, there's one advance chapter up on the site. If you'd like to support me and read ahead, or support me for merch and graphics, it'd be deeply appreciated!