It was pretty common knowledge that only those with reputation could be seated on the third floor, and so there was rarely ever an issue over it. After all, the capital wasn’t as small as they said, though, its governmental circles were intertwined with many hidden connections and shady deals, so no one could really be sure what their exact relationship with someone was.
The one who refuted the "Fan Xian trash publication" was a proper scholar, named He Zongwei. He was well-known in the capital and praised by his peers, so his arrogance was understandable. A few days ago, he read the "Dream of the Red Chamber" at his friend’s place. Although he was very displeased with the contents of the book and unimpressed by its literary style, he was still impressed by the fact its author had put down several hundred thousand words.
Today, in this restaurant, gulping down three cups of yellow wine had made him a bit inebriated. Hearing a few youngsters making unrestrained outbursts about "Dream of the Red Chamber" from the next room made him angry. So he let loose that remark.
At that precise moment, the three Fans had finished eating and were chatting over some tea. Hearing what He Zongwei just said, Fan Sizhe thought about his boast, and then realized that the scholar was addressing Fan Xian. Because it made him lose face also, he was enraged. Born to the great Fan family, Fan Sizhe was too privileged to endure embarrassment from a mere scholar. He raised the curtain and went to the main hall on the third floor.
Fan Xian though that since it was his first time in the capital, it would be best if he kept a low profile, and he hinted this to this sister. Fan Ruoruo knew what he was thinking and smiled while shaking her head, signaling that Fan Sizhe shouldn’t go overboard.
In the past year or two, Fan Sizhe had grown up a bit. Thanks to Fan Ruoruo’s intense upbringing, he matured slightly, just enough that he no longer played rowdy games in the streets. Because of that, Fan Ruoruo wasn’t worried.
Fan Sizhe barged into the hall, picking out He Zongwei from the crowd. With great swagger, he walked up to the scholar and said: "Was it you who said that?"
"And what if it was?" He Zongwei’s skin was a tad tan and his face had a pronounced shape to it. Overall, he was on the ugly side. Seeing someone barge out of a private room, he knew his words had caused offense. However, the sight of an arrogant rich kid had made him very hot-blooded. So he tried to brush Fan Sizhe off: "watch it, child. Where are your manners? Who were you raised by?"
While this scholar was well-connected in the capital, he had never met the twelve-year-old Fan Sizhe and wasn’t afraid of the youth.
Fan Sizhe was only planning on scolding the guy, but now that he heard "where are your manners", he was reminded of his mother’s constant berating. He retorted angrily with a shout: "And you?! Which family’s scoundrel are you?"
At this moment, Fan Sizhe had already forgotten his sister’s discipline. He leapt forward trying to slap the scholar.
He Zhongwei wasn’t expecting to have to deal with uncivil behavior in a place as high-class as Yi Shijiu. He took half a step back, avoiding a slap to the face, though the green cloth on his head was ripped away, leaving him embarrassed.
Other scholars and an honored guest were sitting at He Zhongwei’s table, and were infuriated by what they saw: "How dare you behave with such insolence?! Have you no sense of the law?"
"Law?" Fan Sizhe snorted: "I am the law." As soon as he said this, he swung his fists at He Zhongwei.
Suddenly, a hand came from the side and firmly grasped Fan Sizhe’s skinny wrist!
Fan Sizhe felt as if his wrist was caught in red-hot shackles. The pain pierced through to the bone, forcing him to shout out: "Can someone come help me, please?!"
His bodyguard went forward, but there was a flash of shadow as he received two palm strikes to his chest and abdomen, forcing him to back down.
The man holding Fan Sizhe’s wrist was none other than the bodyguard of the valued guest. While appearing ordinary, the bodyguard’s eyes hinted at how skilled he was.
"Toss the child aside; don’t ruin Mr. Zhongwei’s mood."
The skilled bodyguard swung his arm. Fan Sizhe was thrown out like a hatchling chicken!
Fan Xian had thought there would simply be some bantering. He had no idea things would get this ugly so quick. He expected Fan Sizhe to throw temper tantrums in spite Ruoruo saying otherwise, and seeing his expectations play out; he wanted his little brother to learn a lesson.
However, he was not expecting the other party to have someone so skilled, not to mention someone with such merciless methods. That toss had hidden intents. If things went badly, Fan Sizhe would end up with broken bones—for all his insolence, Fan Sizhe was only a twelve-year-old child, and using such a move on him went way over the line.
Somehow, Fan Xian was already outside the private room. With a single flick of the wrist, he caught the collar of Fan Sizhe’s shirt. Following the body’s rotation, he twisted his right hand clockwise, making Fan Sizhe spin.
Once, twice, thrice… Fan Sizhe stopped spinning. Nauseous, he could only stare blankly, not knowing what had happened.
Fan Xian let go of his brother’s shirt and left him in Ruoruo’s care with an uneasy smile. Stepping forward, he looked at the refined bodyguard, and in a meek voice, said "While my brother may have offended you due to his youth, what you did went a bit too far.."
The people at the table could only "give a haughty snort in response. They couldn’t retort because they agreed with Fan Xian. The young man who had bodyguard only drank his wine in silence; he didn’t even look at Fan Xian.
He Zhongwei felt embarrassed after adjusting the cloth on his head. Seeing the beautiful looks of the youth in front of him, a sudden, unforeseen wave of anger overtook Zhongwei. To him, Fan Xian’s smile appeared malevolent and despicable. He spat out: "You have such an unruly brother; what’s wrong with giving him some punishment?"
Fan Xian ignored He Zhongwei. His smile was directed to the bodyguard. He took two steps forward. In response, the bodyguard who had just witnessed this young master cancel out the force of the toss felt a sense of unease. He couldn’t measure up this youth. The bodyguard frowned slightly and took two cautious steps back.
Fan Ruoruo’s figure came into view as their steps shifted.
Fan Ruoruo was known throughout the capital, and everyone in the restaurant had heard of her name. Some of them had even seen her from far away in government meetings. The crowd gasped and paid their respects from a distance.
It was only now those guests at the table realized which family that brat came from. Naturally, they became nervous. And when He Zhongwei saw Fan Ruoruo, his expression changed just so slightly, as if he was about to say something.