Lu Dehan’s curiosity was piqued when he saw how self-assured Qin Yining was. “Miss, do you have a plan to handle Madame Lu?”
The Qin fourth miss nodded with a smile. “Mm. I need to go back and discuss this with my father, but don’t worry. Just go about your days as usual. The madame wants to take me down, so her plans will only target me. She’s just trying to scare you. If you sell the manor to her, that will be a blow to the Qin dignity.”
“Ai!” Lu Dehan sighed after hearing all this. “Miss, you noble people sure live tiring lives.”
The older man was a straightforward sort and spoke whatever was on his mind. His bluntness teased a smile out of Qin Yining.
After seeing him off, she instructed Qiulu, “Go to the front yard to wait for my father. Let me know immediately when he returns and tell him that I have urgent business to discuss with him.”
The maid nodded solemnly and scampered out.
When Qin Huaiyuan returned later that day, he was hastily met by his daughter. She summarized the events of the day and concluded with worry, “Father, the second master of the Lu clan isn’t a friendly sort. It looks like he wants to befriend you, but he’s actually stirring the pot. How should we respond to this?”
Li Qitian had allowed the surrendered Great Yan officials into the capital only because he wanted to balance out the tripod of native aristocracy, old Northern Ji officials, and homegrown officials wielding military power. The emperor would be intensely displeased no matter which side the Great Yan officials threw their lot in with.
But since Lu Heng’s invitation had been delivered, the emperor would probably form the wrong impression that Qin Huaiyuan was close to the Lus, no matter whether or not the invite was accepted.
If Lu Heng had bothered to think on the Qins’ behalf for even a second, he would’ve never so blatantly sent the invitation.
The Qin patriarch slowly lifted his teacup for a sip, asking in a measured pace, “How do you think we should handle this?”
Qin Yining smiled. “I’m asking you, father. Why are you asking me instead?”
Qin Huaiyuan looked at his daughter in mock anger. “Are you putting on an act in front of your old man? You already have an idea! Out with it and see if us two heroes think alike.”
The girl smiled to hear her father talk this way. “It’s actually very simple. He did this undoubtedly to worsen your relations with His Majesty. If you don’t answer the invite, you’re looking down on the Lus. But if you do, the emperor is sure to be displeased. Therefore, my idea is to play along with them.”
The minister’s eyes lit up and he merrily put his teacup onto the table to look at his daughter.
“Didn’t Madame Lu say that she would kill Lu Dehan if he didn’t sell the manor to her? She’s a daughter of a noble house at the end of the day, how can she behave in such a barbaric manner? I need to teach her a lesson so she doesn’t pop up annoyingly all the time.”
“And so, you want to use this matter to take care of Madame Lu as well?”
“That’s right.” Qin Yining nodded confidently and came close to whisper a few words to her father.
The man couldn’t resist pinching his daughter’s cheeks after hearing her plan. “How did you think of all this, young lady? We do have similar thoughts!”
Qin Yining giggled. “Because I’m father’s daughter, so we naturally think alike! Father, what do you think about my idea?”
“Of course it’s a good idea if it’s the same as mine.” Qin Huaiyuan cracked a rare joke. “Don’t worry, I’ll respond to the calling card in a bit and say that I’ve reserved the third floor of the Drunken Immortal. I’ll have him meet me tomorrow.”
“Alright, father will be observing all of the courtesies that way and won’t offend the Lus. Leave the rest to me.”
Qin Huaiyuan nodded, completely at ease.
Qin Yining gave instructions to rent out the second floor of the Drunken Immortal and summoned Jingzhe and the others to relay further wishes. The four respectfully received their marching orders and divvied up the missions between themselves.
Soon, it was afternoon of the next day.
Qin Yining was seated in a room next to the window, watching her father wait on the first floor.
When there was still fifteen minutes until the agreed upon time, an opulent carriage slowly stopped in front of the Drunken Immortal.
Several servants stepped forward, setting out a footstool and rolling up curtains. Everything moved like a well-oiled machine, fully displaying the flashy, luxurious air of the aristocracy.
A young gentleman wearing a sky-blue cloak with a white fur collar alighted from the carriage—Lu Heng.
When he saw Qin Huaiyuan waiting on the first floor, he quickly stepped forward to make his greetings. “You must be Master Qin? This young one is Lu Heng. Lu Heng greets Master Qin.”
“No further courtesies are necessary, Second Master Lu.”
“It was supposed to have been this kid expressing my respects to Master Qin, but the honorable lord is treating me instead! I am ashamed.” Lu Heng raised a cupped fist salute.
Qin Huaiyuan smiled in response. “This old man has long wanted to pay my respects, but have never had the time to. It’s fortunate coincidence that we can meet at the Drunken Immortal today. I’ve reserved the entire third floor. Please come with me, Sir Lu.”
“Of course. Master Qin is most thorough and conscientious.”
The two men exchanged friendly pleasantries all the way in, passing through the great hall, up the stairs, and to the second floor. Lu Heng subconsciously looked at the rooms at this point, noting that it was business as usual on this floor when he saw maids and pageboys in front of a door.
He didn’t think much of it and followed his host to the third floor.
Being seasoned and worldly, Qin Huaiyuan demonstrated his vast reserves of knowledge in his relaxed and mild manner of speech. He could get along with anyone when he cared to.
Likewise, Lu Heng was also a refined scholar of much knowledge. His every move and gesture spoke of innate nobility, and an uncommon air shaped his words. If disregarding the fact that the two stood on opposite sides, they really would’ve enjoyed an absolutely lovely conversation.
At this time, Madame Lu received certain news.
“What did you say? That bastard dares ignore my will and has gone to the Drunken Immortal to hand over the deed to that Qin girl!?”
“Yes. That Lu Dehan is a pigheaded idiot. He says that because he has an agreement with the Qins first, he’s going to honor that promise. No matter how much silver we offer him, he’s going to sell to the Qins. All of our people saw the Qin girl head to the Drunken Immortal to meet him.”
Madame Lu’s body shook from fury.
“Pah! How dare that lowly animal bear the surname Lu!? He’s not worthy in the slightest! Servants!” Her voice was exceedingly shrill.
Servants and escorts outside the door answered her call.
“Bring all of the guards and hired help, all of the pageboys too! Everyone grab a weapon and come with me to the Drunken Immortal!”
Currently, Qin Yining was listlessly sitting next to the window, drinking tea and whiling away time.
Given that they weren’t discussing serious business, her father and Lu Heng must be having a delightful time. I wonder if the big fish has taken the bait yet?
She’d just started wondering when a hubbub of noise drifted up from downstairs. The girl cracked the window open for a peek and saw roughly two dozen servants arriving as part of the entourage for a carriage with scarlet wheels.
The vehicle stopped in front of the Drunken Immortal.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'm so excited for an epic face slapping!