Chapter 407: In Full Combat Readiness

“Is that Qin girl still on your mind?” All traces of joviality erased themselves from the Lu patriarch’s face as he looked solemnly at Lu Heng.

He still remembered clearly the day of his grandson’s return from the empress dowager’s palace, the boy’s robes a mess. He’d shut himself in his room all day. Family seniors were beside themselves with worry, and the young man refused to impart the reason why, no matter how they asked.

He only spoke of the matter the next day, when his mind had cleared.

But it was already too late. News of the emperor bestowing marriage onto the Faithful Prince of the First Rank had circulated. Only if the Lus went to rob the wedding would Lu Heng’s desires be satisfied.

However, would they possibly go toe-to-toe with imperial authority over a woman?

Lu Heng could only concede with regret.

Looking down, he remarked calmly, “It’s such a pity that though the falling flowers pine for affection, the heartless brook babbles of unrequited love. I would’ve fought for her if she’d shown me even a hint of warmth. But she is to be wed now. Such an intelligent and beautiful woman is to marry that brute! And this is all because of that one’s selfish desires! He doesn’t care about tying a good girl to such a beast as long as it’s done in the name of consolidating his own power!”

“Grandson Heng!” 

The boy had lost control of his feelings over the girl yet again! Even when his late wife lived, the patriarch had only ever seen them treat each other with mutual respect.

Who would’ve thought that his grandson wasn’t cold-hearted after all? He just hadn’t met the right person to move his heart.

“Grandfather, don’t you worry.” Lu Heng recovered his aplomb after yelling out his frustrations. He was once more his usual mature and genteel self.

But the more he acted thus, the more worried Patriarch Lu was.

“My grandson, just what kind of girl is that Miss Qin for you to like her so much? Were the two of you in a relationship? How far did it progress?”

The young man looked at his grandfather with a wry smile. “Grandfather, we might have actually progressed to that step had she liked me. Do you think I would’ve given her up to another then?”

“So that means you actually didn’t interact with her?”

“We only saw each other a few times, but each time left my heart pounding. Her beauty is worthy of cities and her intelligence unparalleled. Matching wits with her is always a happy time. This is the first time I’ve experienced the joy of finding a worthy opponent in a girl.”

Lu Heng relayed the truth behind Madame Lu being exiled, astonishing his grandfather.

The Lu patriarch quickly breathed a sigh of relief. No interaction meant that the hurt inflicted on Lu Heng wouldn’t be as deep.

However, the old man quickly grew indignant on his grandson’s behalf. What girl was so blind to not like his outstanding grandson!

“It’s her loss for not returning your affections. My boy, don’t be too saddened. There are plenty of other fish in the sea. You are so exemplary and there are plenty of noble girls who like you. You’ll meet a better girl than that Qin lass sooner or later.”

Looking back into his grandfather’s caring gaze, Lu Heng couldn’t bear to have the elderly man worry about him. He nodded. “Don’t worry, grandfather. While I’m searching for the treasure, I’ll work through my feelings. Trust that I’ll have adjusted them properly after returning to the capital.”

“That’s just as well. The mountains are breathtaking and waters beautiful out there. But the formr Great Yan is suffering from a drought. Though it’s better than how things were last year, you should keep your wits about you. Floods always follow a long drought, and that’s precisely what the emperor is worried about these days. Pay attention when you’re outside.”

“Yes, don’t worry grandfather. I will be careful.” Lu Heng smiled at his grandfather.

He slept at his grandfather’s that night and left at the crack of dawn the next day. When the city doors opened for the day, he followed a group of commoners out, pushing a wheelbarrow and dressed like an ordinary farmer.

Apart from Secretariat Lu and Lu Heng’s bodyguards, no one knew of this.

In the study of the outer Qin residence, Qin Yining had just finished partaking breakfast with her father.

When Qin Huaiyuan and the Silver Masks came home last night, the girl hadn’t asked anything due to how late it was. She just prepared hot water for them to wash up and went to bed after dinner. Catching up was left for the quiet hours of early morning.

“Father, how have you been these days?” Qin Yining asked lightly because her father’s complexion was very good. It didn’t look like he’d been kept against his will at all.

Qin Huaiyuan picked up the tea cup and took a sip with a smile. “Though we were grounded, we had good food and drink in the palace. They asked me about the treasure, but how do I know about it? I think the emperor stopped asking after he realized that I really don’t know anything about it.

“The Silver Masks were questioned quite a few times, but the emperor didn’t dare do anything overboard because of your plan. He’s too concerned with scaring off those still outside.

“I then heard the young eunuch serving me say that Old Master Gu and Patriarch Lu were summoned consecutively into the palace. That’s when I thought things were taking an unexpected turn.” 

Qin Huaiyuan put down his tea cup, touching it softly to the table. He put on a serious expression. “Alright, my daughter. Tell me how you did it this time.”

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