Chapter 171: Something Fishy (2)
Although Wenqing seemed to be curious about the identity of the middle-aged man Third Young Madam had been staring at, since Third Young Madam didn’t seem to want to speak about it, she held back her questions.
The servants who had accompanied her today were all from House Jing’an, so none of them had recognised Chu Qizheng as her father.
When Chu Lian heard Wenqing’s reply, she slipped back into deep thought.
Judging by that situation just now, Lord Pan hadn’t wanted to see her father at all. What changed his mind was something that her father had said at the last minute.
Back then, Lord Pan’s expression had looked very complicated, with a bunch of emotions all mixed together. It could send shivers down anyone’s spine.
In the slowly declining House Ying, Chu Qizheng wasn’t the eldest son, nor someone who was very smart. He clung onto the protection of his family to survive. Up until now, he hadn’t managed to get even a low-ranked slack official position in court. He was essentially useless.
This kind of noble would normally keep meeting the same small number of friends to pass the time. They wouldn’t interact with officials who held actual power in court.
Lord Pan hadn’t even glanced at Chu Qizheng when he first arrived at the estate. However, after Chu Qizheng said something, Lord Pan had not only looked at him, he had even invited him into his estate. It was clear that they were going to be discussing something related to business.
Could her father have found something to use against Lord Pan?
But Chu Lian found this thought too ridiculous; she shook her head and snorted.
How could that be possible!
How could someone in a high position of power like Lord Pan be an average person? Those with power had to have the charisma, ambition, and cunning to get them there in the first place. Even if Lord Pan didn’t have all of those traits, he likely had one or two at the very least.
The very notion that an idle noble like her father, who played around all day, could somehow outplay Lord Pan, who held actual authority in his hands, was laughable. Even the thought of Chu Qizheng holding some sort of weakness of Lord Pan’s was absurd. Perhaps not even a child would believe that!
Furthermore, House Ying had never been connected with the Pan Estate. The two men had probably never even met before, so the chances of such a thing decreased even further.
Chu Lian frowned and tried to recall the events of the book. However, she couldn’t think of any details relevant to the current situation as it was now. In the end, she could only give up.
She would cross that bridge when she came to it. Even if her father was plotting something, it was none of her business now. Married daughters were like water; once thrown out, they were no longer connected to their original family. She was now a member of House Jing’an as He Sanlang’s wife.
After reassuring herself, Chu Lian finally relaxed.
When Wenqing saw that Chu Lian’s expression had relaxed, she spoke up and asked, “Third Young Madam, would you still like to shop around?”
By this time, they had already left Pingkang Lane and were driving along Zhuque Avenue.
Chu Lian had already lost her initial anticipation after witnessing that scene. She was about to order them to return home directly, but she suddenly remembered that it would be Countess Jing’an’s birthday in a few days. She didn’t have a suitable gift for her mother-in-law yet. Thus, she held back her words.
“Let’s look for a few stores to shop in. Mother’s birthday is coming.”
Although she didn’t have to buy something extremely valuable for her mother-in-law’s birthday and Countess Jing’an wasn’t one to mind, the entire estate knew that she had received a nice sum of money from Imperial Concubine Wei, thanks to Imperial Princess Leyao’s golden qilin. When she had been given the title of Honoured Lady, she had also received an award of one hundred gold taels. If she didn’t spend a good amount of money on Countess Jing’an’s gift, she might draw the gossip of certain jealous people.
Chu Lian inwardly sighed. That sister-in-law of hers, Madam Zou, was waiting for her to make a mistake! How could she let Madam Zou have any chance of reprimanding her or punishing her?
It didn’t matter what gift she picked this time. It just had to be suitably expensive. She could have claimed that she didn’t have any money in the past, but she couldn’t do that now.
Chu Lian pouted, feeling a little angry inside. It was just two measly awards, but the people around her were already jealous. How annoying! She was better off hiding whatever money she made in the future. Her husband wasn’t by her side, so there was a real chance that someone else might try to take the money from her using all sorts of reasons!
Wenqing lifted up the curtains a little and pointed at the stores on both sides of Zhuque Avenue. She introduced them to Chu Lian one by one. “Third Young Madam, that’s Hengsheng Medicine Hall, Luohe Calligraphy, Lanqiao Clothing, and oh, that one over there is Jinshi Pavilion. These are all famous stores in the capital. Many high-ranked nobles and young ladies like to shop here.”
Chu Lian nodded. Since she hadn’t thought of what she wanted to buy, she decided to look around each of them.
Wenqing told the driver to stop and she helped Chu Lian off the carriage together with Wenlan.
There were many people walking on Zhuque Avenue. Some richly dressed men and women would also pass by from time to time.
Chu Lian looked around her. Her impression of the Great Wu Dynasty increased a notch. This dynasty wasn’t as restrictive towards the freedom of its women, unlike the old Song and Ming dynasties. The openness of this dynasty seemed more like the early Tang.
Most of the ladies out here didn’t even cover their heads while they were out. There were even women studying at the capital’s Imperial College.
It was normal for noble ladies to be out shopping as well.
Chu Lian entered Hengsheng Medicine Hall first. For the sake of her incognito visit today, she had dressed plainly. Her clothes were made of ordinary fabric. With two young maids like Wenqing and Wenlan by her side, she looked like the newlywed wife of a minor official.
When she entered the medicine hall, none of the staff came up to greet her. Chu Lian didn’t mind this at all. She slowly looked around the store with Wenqing and Wenlan.