Chapter 35.2: Internal Struggle

Court Lady

Fu Yin arrived outside the study room, she was about to go in when Ling Long held her back.

Ling Long was unhappy. “Is it not enough that you broke one ink slab? Do you want to break another? Hmph, you made me spend half a day cleaning up your mess and I haven’t taken it up with you.” One of her hands held a teacup while the other pinched Fu Yin’s arm.

Lu Qi’s voice floated out of the room, “Yin’er, are you out there? What’s taking you so long, hurry up and enter.”

Ling Long froze as Fu Yin hurried in.

Lu Qi was standing by the table and gestured slowly with his finger. “I called you to come early to serve me, where have you gone? You are a servant, do you think you are a master? You sleep until the sun is up. Be careful or I will hit you with a cane. Come over.”

Fu Yin replied, “I filled the water jar before coming over.”

Lu Qi frowned. “You are a servant in the study room, why do you need to fill water?”

Fu Yin replied honestly, “Ling Long asked me to fill the water. I fill the water jar in the small garden every day.”

Lu Qi suddenly grabbed ahold of Fu Yin’s hand and held her wrist. “No wonder you are so skinny. I thought Housekeeper Wu did not feed you enough. So it turns out you are working too much. Listen, from today onwards, you don’t have to fill water anymore.”

Fu Yin withdrew her hand. “But Ling Long…”

“If Ling Long has any opinions, tell her to talk to me.” Lu Qi handed a brush over to Fu Yin. “Take this.”

Fu Yin grabbed the brush awkwardly. Lu Qi then pushed her shoulders till she was standing in front of the study table. “Draw.”

“Draw? Draw what?”

“Draw an old tree. Didn’t you speak very well? Something about a blunt edge and transitions. Draw an old tree for me to see. If you draw it well, I will reward you. If it is not nice…” Lu Qi suddenly stood close onto Fu Yin as he whispered into her ear, “I will punish you.”

Fu Yin was shocked as she immediately took one step to the side. She began to draw. Initially, Lu Qi relaxed and drank his tea. He looked at how focused she was and slowly became absorbed. 

Not long later, a servant came to deliver an urgent letter. After reading the letter, Lu Qi’s expression changed as he knocked the teacup over. He ordered the servant to quickly alert his father. At the same time, he realised that his anger had frightened Fu Yin and dismissed her.

Fu Yin was unsettled as she left the study room. She then saw Ling Long’s bitch face.

“Impressive looking but useless. When it comes to serving, he still needs me to do it. Hurry and get lost. Don’t embarrass anyone when the Old Master comes!” Ling Long had other thoughts. Now that she was the only one serving in the study room, wouldn’t it be convenient to eavesdrop?

Very soon, Lu Yunji arrived. When he saw the letter, he did not get angry but laughed instead. “I was stupid. In order to help my children collect surplus gain, I accepted the valuables that Hong Yide presented and allowed him to live. In the end, the grain did not reach my old family house and it has been stolen by Yan Zifang. Now that Yan Zifang has been offered amnesty and is General Zhenhai, my efforts have gone to waste. As if that wasn’t enough, the remnant of Hong Yide’s rebel army is also unsettled and has actually gone to Guangzhou. If the Emperor were to know that I privately allowed the rebels to leave, it won’t end with me simply going to prison.”

Hong Yide is the leader of the rebel army that Lu Yunji annihilated. In order to stay alive, Hong Yide used all his valuables to bribe Lu Yunji. This was the ship that Lu Hanxing was on in Guangzhou previously. Alas, Yan Zifang had robbed them. Lu Yunji was guilty and thought that Fu Rou would be able to see through them. Hence, he wanted to kill Fu Rou to silence her, resulting in the huge fire at the Fu Residence.

Lu Yunji immediately instructed Lu Qi to write to Guangzhou telling them that pirates were hiding in the city and to search for them. When they found Hong Yide, they were to kill him immediately.

As the two of them spoke, Ling Long came to serve tea. She walked gracefully and offered tea in a well-behaved manner.

Lu Yunji saw this and waited for her to leave before asking Lu Qi what he was intending to do regarding taking a concubine.

Lu Qi pursed his lips in the direction that Ling Long had gone. “I wanted to promote her, but she lacks tolerance. None of the pictures given to me have also caught my eye.”

“Women are simply used to give birth to children. Moreover, it is just for the position of concubine. You should not be so picky. Just take one. In the future, if another one catches your eye, you can just take them as well. You are my son. Look at your status. You can have as many women as you want. The most important thing is their ability to bear you sons and spread your branches. This is the only way our Lu family can continue to thrive for generations. Yingying’s marriage situation has been paved with hardships. Your expectations are too high. You don’t like this, don’t approve of that. I am still looking forward to having grandchildren.”

Lu Qi laughed, “Father don’t worry. I know what to do.”

Lu Yunji stood up and massaged his own waist. “It is impossible not to acknowledge my old age. It is time for me to worry about my children. Your aunt wrote a letter to me to ask me to help Hanxing with marriage. This sister-in-law of mine became a widow early. It has not been easy for her to raise Hanxing. Hanxing lost his father since he was young and has been following me. Naturally, I will have a say in his marriage. In my opinion, Assistant Minister Zhao’s daughter might be a good match.”

“The one full of pimple scars and stutters?” Lu Qi was surprised. “I am afraid Hanxing--”

“So what if she has pimple scars and stutters? When one is looking for a wife, what they want is a gentle and considerate lady. After all, he can take concubines. Assistant Minister Zhao comes from an aristocrat family and has a good official position. In the future, he will be able to lead a ministry. Ultimately, it is Hanxing who gets the good connections and our Lu family needs this marriage.” Lu Yunji switched the topic and looked at Lu Qi. “You can choose you own concubines. However, your official wife has to be the princess. With the Emperor’s appreciation for you as well as my contributions to Great Tang, it is still reasonable to ask for the princess’ hand. You better not learn from that useless Sheng Chumu. He actually behaved so impudently because of a commoner girl. He even dared to reject the Emperor’s offer to marry Princess Xinnan. You can like any girl you please but you definitely cannot marry her as your official wife. Understand?”

Lu Qi did not hesitate to express that he understood.

Ling Long heard everything from outside the study room. She immediately went to find Lu Hanxing.

“I heard something about a rebel leader named Yi. Old Master received a lot of valuables from him and secretly let him go. Now, that person is unsettled and started to make a move once again. They were discussing how to get rid of him.” Ling Long sat on Lu Hanxing’s thigh.

“Is his name Hong Yide?”

Ling Long nodded. “Yes, I think so.”

“No wonder.” Lu Hanxing came to a realisation. “I was wondering how they got so much money after quelling the rebel army. They even managed to fill several huge crates and were going to send them back home secretly. It was an illegal transaction.”

Ling Long casted a side glance. “Oh right, I also have to congratulate you. You are going to marry. I heard Old Master say that he managed to settle a marriage between you and Assistant Minister Zhao’s daughter.”

“Assistant Minister Zhao? What? His daughter is literally the ugliest girl in the capital!”

Ling Long laughed. “Yes, the ugly one. She has pimple scars all over her face and even stutters. Old Master said that the Lu family needs this marriage.”

Lu Hanxing exclaimed, “If the Lu family needs this marriage then why don’t Lu Qi marry her? Why must I be the one to marry her?”

“Lu Qi is Old Master’s biological son. What are you? Officially, you are his nephew but you are actually just a subordinate.” 

Seeing how Lu Hanxing’s expression changed, Ling Long grabbed onto his neck and acted cute. “I am not the one that made you angry, don’t take your anger out on me. Don’t be anxious. The marriage with Assistant Minister Zhao’s daughter cannot be settled within two or three days. You can take your time to discuss it. Now, I have good news for you.”

Lu Hanxing was suspicious. “What good news?”

“Haven’t you got your eye on Yin’er? I am a generous person and decided to let you try her.” Ling Long had realised that Lu Qi was starting to care more and more about Yin’er.

Lu Hanxing could see through her. “Don’t think I don’t know what you are planning. She is serving Lu Qi’s study room. If I do something to her, Lu Qi will give me trouble.”

“You are his cousin. Even if he creates trouble for you, it will just be a fight or a scolding. Can he really kill you? When the time comes, you can just say that Yin’er was the one that seduced you. When she is dirty, Young Master will no longer care for her. He might even give her to you. Let’s make it clear. This is not just for me. I am doing this for you too. If Yin’er gains more of his favour, how will I be able to hold my position in the study room? If I lose my position, how will I help you get information? Even if you cry, you won’t be able to find out anything.”

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