All of this analysis filtered into Lu Heng’s mind in the span of a breath. However, none of it reflected on his face.
“Please quell your anger, Miss Qin. It’s all a massive misunderstanding today. I only seek to be friends with Master Qin and have nothing else in mind. I absolutely don’t intend to insult the honorable minister. Why would I ever orchestrate this affair to embarrass Master Qin? There’s nothing in it for me!”
Qin Yining smiled. “Yes, there’s nothing in it for you, but plenty in it for Madame Lu. She’s the one shouting all through town that she’s going to run the Qins out.”
Lu Heng smiled benignly in return. “The Lu heritage goes back a hundred years. It's inevitable that we have some bad mixed in with the good. I’ll be sure to enact strict discipline when I return home.”
At this point, he suddenly lowered his voice and whispered next to Qin Yining’s ear. “Miss Qin is dissatisfied with what Madame Lu has done. I’ll go back and take care of it all for you. Since your scheme succeeded today, both of us should quit while we’re ahead. Neither of us can claim a full victory, so let’s call it a draw. What do you say to that?”
The Qin fourth miss was quite taken aback by these words. Lu Heng had seen to the heart of things in such a short period of time!
No wonder he boasted of such accomplishments at such a young age.
Qin Yining didn’t feel awkward at being indirectly exposed. She smiled frankly instead. “The Qins naturally have to show Sir Lu face after you’ve expressed these sentiments. However, are you sure that it’s a draw?”
It really is her!
The connotations of her response were that she really was the mastermind behind everything.
Lu Heng’s heart pounded to see her confidently and candidly telling Madame Lu that she’d set everything in motion today. Even though he already had a wife and had seen countless people in his life, he’d never felt his heart race in front of a girl.
As the Lu second master looked at Qin Yining with an inscrutable look, Qin Huaiyuan descended the stairs to stand next to them.
Now that everything was out in the open, it’d be inappropriate for the Qins to erupt in anger.
“I trust Sir Lu’s sincerity in befriending the Qins,” commented the Qin patriarch. “I know Sir Lu has absolutely no malicious intent. Let’s just have everything today blow over. We can get together some other day.”
Lu Heng smiled in agreement. “Yes. Lax house rules were the cause of today’s matter. Don’t worry, Master Qin. I will thoroughly deal with this affair.”
The minister flashed a faint smile. “There’s no need to go to such trouble. It’s not worth it. This old man will be taking my leave with my daughter then.”
The Lu second master snuck a quick look at Qin Yining. Stunningly charming looks branded themselves into his mind. “Then I’ll send Master Qin out.”
“I wouldn’t dare be so presumptuous. Please remain here.”
Qin Yining called out to her own people and followed her father down the stairs.
When the Qin contingent were far off into the distance, Lu Heng slowly turned to look at his cousin, his hands behind his back.
“Out with it. What happened today? If you can’t give me a good explanation, I’ll have to bring you up before the family elders and have them pronounce judgment on you. It won’t be up to me, then.”
Tears that Madame Lu had held back for so long finally trickled down. She went into exhaustive detail about everything that had happened today and concluded in choked sobs, “Second cousin, I really didn’t do it on purpose. I just couldn’t help myself when I heard that damn wench was publicly defying me.”
Lu Heng smiled faintly and looked exceedingly tenderly at the madame. “Listen to my words. Don’t make moves against the Qins in the future, especially Qin Yining.”
“Why?? I need to take revenge for the humiliation I suffered today!”
“Humiliation suffered? It’s because of your crooked and abrasive character that landed you in the waters you’re in. If you come to your senses now or are willing to live out your days in a countryside manor, I can promise you won’t ever go without and can live happily for the rest of your life.”
Blood drained from Madame Lu’s face when she heard ‘countryside manor’.
“No! I can’t possibly go there! I won’t be able to eat or sleep in a place like that! Cousin, will you really just stand by and watch me suffer??”
“Stand by and watch you suffer? You really are something now, aren’t you? You dare haggle and bargain even with me.” A smile still clung to Lu Heng’s lips, but it was slowly evening out.
He was someone at home in a business environment after all. If he wanted to, he could flare an intimidating aura with the slightest movement.
Madame Lu wasn’t the highly observant type, but her cousin’s impatient expression pricked painfully at her.
“Second elder cousin, I’ll be so suffocated in a place like that. I don't want to go.”
“The views are delightful in the countryside manor and the staff simple. You’ll be free as a bird if you go there, so why not?”
The woman was convinced by the romanticism of being free as a bird. She’d already unwittingly thoroughly offended her cousin because of her own decisions. In the end, she left with her head hanging, taking her men with her.
Lu Heng, on the other hand, remained where he was, staring dumbly at where Qin Yining had been standing. He broke out into an involuntary grin.
Interesting. Things were getting interesting.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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