Chapter 170: Something Fishy (1)
Although she had only met that person once before, Chu Lian knew she would never forget his face.
Back when she had returned to her maiden family for a visit, Chu Lian had served him tea together with He Changdi as a rite of respect. His attitude had been cool and indifferent as he received the cup of tea and returned to them a red envelope, just as if he were merely conducting some routine business transaction. Then, when she had been led away by the womenfolk of the family, he hadn’t given a single word of advice to her, his own daughter. She didn’t know if the biological father of her current body was happy with his new son-in-law, He Changdi, or whether or not they had bonded together over some wine.
Chu Qizheng was dressed in an elaborately embroidered grey brocade robe. He stood before the entrance to an estate with some manservants by his side.
He was pacing back and forth, seemingly anxious and impatient.
In actual fact, this Second Master of House Ying wasn’t considered that old. He was only thirty-five. He didn’t keep a beard or moustache, and he had a jade crown on his head. Coupled with his slender figure, he looked about six or seven years younger than his actual age.
Chu Lian’s almond-shaped eyes slightly narrowed. She looked up at the signboard above the residence he was standing in front of, which read ‘Pan Estate’.
As she watched, a servant who had been guarding the doors quickly ran into the estate. Shortly after, two strongly built retainers carrying swords came out together with the servant who had gone in. The servant pointed in the direction of Chu Qizheng and his party.
The two retainers strode over to Chu Qizheng in a few steps. One of the retainers pushed Chu Qizheng forcefully. If not for Chu Qizheng’s personal manservant reacting quickly and catching him, he might have been completely pushed onto the ground and lost all his face.
Immediately after that, Chu Qizheng’s expression contorted and he started arguing with the retainers. His personal manservants could tell that the Pan Estate’s retainers had some martial arts skill, so they shielded Chu Qizheng behind them.
The two retainers were annoyed by Chu Qizheng’s scolding. Their rage showed clearly on their faces and their hands shifted towards the swords they carried at their waists, as if they might draw them at any moment.
Chu Lian knocked on the carriage wall and ordered the driver to slow down a little. She lifted the curtain a little and continued watching the entrance of the Pan Estate, but she did nothing else.
She wasn’t the original ‘Chu Lian’, after all. Upon receiving such cold treatment from this father of hers during the tea ceremony, she already understood that she wasn’t loved by him. Chu Lian didn’t care much for that. She was someone who would give as much as she got. Since Chu Qizheng didn’t care for her, she wouldn’t bother going out of her way for him.
Wasn’t it more fun to simply sit back and watch the drama?
When Wenqing noticed Third Young Madam’s instructions to the driver, she peeked out of the window as well. When she noticed the signboard on top of the estate’s entrance, she gasped quietly and exclaimed, “The Pan Estate!”
Wenlan saw that Chu Lian seemed to be intently watching the show, so she secretly pushed Wenqing a little. Wenqing quickly covered her mouth, and her eyes blinked in apology.
Chu Lian didn’t have the mood to care about what Wenqing had been surprised about. Her eyes were fixed on the drama unfolding in front of the Pan Estate’s entrance.
Just as the two retainers were about to use force, a carriage came out from the alley next to the Pan Estate’s entrance. The carriage quickly stopped in front of the entrance. The manservant guarding the doors ran to the carriage and eagerly lifted the curtain doors before helping a white-haired, bearded old man who looked to be about fifty or sixty off the carriage.
At this distance, Chu Lian couldn’t hear what they were saying at all.
The white-haired man was about to enter the estate immediately, but he seemed to have heard something that Chu Qizheng had shouted while being restrained by the retainers. He abruptly turned around and sent a shocked and dangerous-looking gaze towards Chu Qizheng. The bearded old man stopped outside the Pan Estate’s mahogany doors with his hands behind his back and looked at Chu Qizheng, as if trying to bore a hole through him with his gaze alone.
Time seemed to slow from the intensity of this man’s gaze. Finally, the man waved away the two retainers. Chu Qizheng’s originally nervous expression finally relaxed; he even seemed to be a little pleased with himself. A hint of evil shone in his eyes.
Chu Qizheng forcefully pushed away the two retainers who had been holding him back. After doing so, he seemed to feel relieved of his frustration from before. He even kicked at them twice.
After releasing his previous frustration, Chu Qizheng smoothed out his clothing, which had turned to disarray from the scuffle. He placed his hands behind his back and strode into the Pan Estate with his manservants.
It wasn’t until Chu Qizheng’s figure had disappeared past the first wall of the Pan Estate that Chu Lian let down the curtain. A few expressions flitted across her face. Her original desire to go shopping in the capital had been completely erased by witnessing this strange incident.
Chu Lian lowered her head in thought. Wenqing and Wenlan didn’t dare to disturb her, so they sat in silence by her side.
After a long moment, Chu Lian finally lifted her head and turned to Wenqing. “Wenqing, which official in the capital occupies the Pan Estate?”
She remembered that Wenqing had gasped in surprise just now, so the owner of the Pan Estate must be someone important in the ranks of the court.
Wenqing replied honestly, “Third Young Madam, the Pan Estate of Pingkang Lane is owned by Pan Gelao.”
At the moment, there were five ministers in the cabinet. Amongst these five, they were also ranked differently. This Pan Gelao was the man who had the highest status amongst the cabinet. He was only one rank below the Imperial Scribe, a real first-ranked official!
Chu Lian didn’t care much about the court matters of the Great Wu Dynasty. In the portion of the original novel that she had read, there was no mention of this high and mighty Lord Pan, so she wouldn’t know anything about him.
Chu Lian nodded. “I understand now.”