A garden was found at the back of this courtyard. Luxuriant trees and beautiful flowers were planted everywhere, with palaces and towers standing among them quietly. Everything looked splendid and extravagant. On the contrary, the three-layered courtyard found at the front portrayed an air of stateliness and ancientness. The buildings were all built with huge wood logs and large rocks, and there wasn't any decoration that could be found on the outside. Patches of mosses could be seen everywhere within this three-layered courtyard, giving these buildings a touch of antique, and surrounded by a faint scent of aging.
Tie Yuewu was sitting in the main hall of the front courtyard. She was drinking tastelessly a bowl of tea, which had been refilled with hot water many times and tasted no different from plain water. The quality of the tea was bad; it was coarse, dried, and came together with a strong bitterness. If not because she was led here by Lu Qiuluo, Tie Yuewu couldn't have believed she was really sitting inside the mansion of the Grandmaster of Imperial Family Court, Duke Yanxing, Yu Xuan. She thought this was merely a residence for some random small tradesman or porter.
The seemingly empty main hall was over one hundred feet in length and width. It was spacious, and the ceiling was tall. However, there weren’t many decorations or furniture that could be found. Except for a rather worn-out red carpet on the floor, bronze candlesticks placed in four corners of the hall, and a few tables which had their paint peeling off, she couldn't see anything else. The floor in the hall was uneven as well, and earlier when Tie Yuewu entered through the door, she even saw two mushrooms sprouting from the rotten threshold.
Though there were four large bronze candlesticks in this hall, each of them only had three finger-sized white candles lit. As this was a large hall, with just these few candles, the surrounding was poorly illuminated with a dim light. When Tie Yuewu stretched her palm, she could barely see her fingers.
Together with the patches of mosses in the courtyard, the crude decorations and furniture, and two mushrooms sprouted on the threshold, was this really the mansion for a Duke of Great Yan Dynasty? It was clearly a haunted mansion that hadn’t been occupied by any humans for at least few hundred years, and even the ghosts seemed to have been lingering around for over one hundred years.
A few serving ladies were standing absentmindedly in the hall. They looked listless, their bodies as thin as a bamboo stick. Their faces were full of holes and scars that made them look ugly, and their eyes were staring straight like some dead people. Their appearance made the hall no different than a real haunted mansion. In addition to that, the clothes clad on their bodies were woven from burlap. Not only were they not washed and starched, there were also many patches that could be found.
Tie Yuewu frowned as she gave these few serving ladies a glance again. She twitched her lips, took up the cup of tea and gulped down a few mouthfuls of the bitter beverage.
She was wondering how Yu Xuan could find these few serving ladies. The world they lived in was filled with abundant natural energies, and there were plenty of beautiful ladies to be found everywhere. Opposite to that, it was rather tough to find a few girls who looked ugly. The butler of Yu Xuan must have been working really hard in order to find these few serving ladies who looked like some rotten potatoes.
Tie Yuewu sighed inwardly and shook her head lightly.
After she entered the city, she immediately took a bath, changed into clean clothes, and rushed to Yu Xuan's mansion. Although such behavior didn't accustom to the formality, as she was too impatient to get things done, she couldn't care so much of formality. As a matter of fact, she did enter Yu Xuan's mansion smoothly, and was brought to this main hall by the butler, waiting to meet with Yu Xuan. However, she had waited since late in the afternoon until the moon climbed up to the middle of the sky, yet Yu Xuan didn't show himself. Even worse, no one of proper status ever came to her and gave her an explanation.
Tie Yuewu clenched her fists tightly under her sleeves.
Back in the Lu Kingdom, who dared to neglect her like this? But she was at Great Yan Dynasty now, the mother kingdom of all few hundred vassal kingdoms under the heaven. Moreover, Yu Xuan was the man who held real power in the Great Yan Dynasty's Imperial Family Court, and he owned a high authority in supervising all kingdoms under the heaven. Even if he did something extremer to her, Tie Yuewu would still have to endure it, let alone casting her aside and let her wait for a long while.
Tie Yuewu breathed out a long sigh noiselessly, took up the cup of tea and finished the remaining beverage in the cup.
A really ugly serving lady, who had a thumbnail-sized lump grown on her cheek, came forward while smiling foolishly. Without asking for permission, she grabbed the teapot and poured Tie Yuewu another cup of tasteless tea. The movements of this serving lady were rough and reckless, causing the tea to spill and splash from the cup, smearing all over Tie Yuewu's dress.
Trying her best in hold back the impulse of slapping this serving lady's face, Tie Yuewu gave her a charming smile, nodded her head lightly and said, "Thank you, young lady."
The serving lady responded with a few foolish laughs, grabbed the teapot and returned to her original position, standing absent-mindedly like a wooden puppet.
Tie Yuewu bowed her head and rolled her eyes without being noticed by anyone. As she stared at the water stains spreading on her finely made and expensive dress, her muscles became tensed up. Her palms were clenching tightly under the sleeves, barely managing to press down the murderous impulse boiling crazily in her mind.
The front courtyard of the Imperial Family Court was aged and worn-out like a haunted mansion, yet the back courtyard of it was a garden luxuriously built and decorated.
An old man clad in a peculiar designed red robe was standing at the edge of a pool smilingly. He was beardless and had a fair complexion. His face was as smooth as a boiled egg with its shell removed. His gaze was now fixed on a skinny old man inside the pool.
After a full half an hour, the skinny old man finally let out a long satisfying moan. His body trembled a few times, before he arose from a soft and beautiful body. While stroking and rubbing the fair, delicate body under him, the skinny-looking old man, who surprisingly had a lordly face, asked, "Is the lady of Lu Clan still here?"
The old man in red robe answered with a smile, "Yes she is. Your servant had asked someone to inspect the three coaches she brought together here. They didn't find any tawdry items such as gold or silver, but instead, they found pearls, tortoise shells, energy stones, beast cores and some other good items. Though the quantity is not much, the total value should be over three million golds."
The skinny old man, the Grandmaster of Great Yan Dynasty's Imperial Family Court, Duke Yanxing, Yu Xuan's face brightened in an instant. "Oh? Three million gold? Though they come from a little clan of Lu Kingdom, they are really rich."
Yu Xuan breathed out a long sigh, patted the body of a young girl under him before he rose and frowned. "I've made a mistake, a big mistake. Initially, I though since she came from a little clan of Lu Kingdom and only brought together three coaches of gifts, they didn’t seem worth a lot. That's why I just let her wait. But to my surprise, she actually came with gifts worth three million gold? Sigh, this is an impressive gift. Since she came with such a magnificent gift and we had neglected her for so long, if this is known by others, my reputation would be greatly affected!"
The old man in red robe let out a few dry laughs. "This can't be blamed on you, my master. It is your servant, me, who didn't handle this matter properly. As those items found in the coaches were not gold and silver coins, your servant couldn’t be sure of the total value of those treasures. Therefore, your servant had asked two old shopkeepers, who had keen eyes for treasures, to help me in valuing them. It took them quite some time to finally confirm the total value." He explained with a low voice.
Yu Xuan sighed again, shaking his head as he said, "Not right, this is not right at all. I've made a mistake today. If any people know about this, my reputation would be ruined. Quickly serve me and change into clean clothes. I need to get this matter done for them quickly!"
Dozens of fully naked, sexy and beautiful young girls hurried up and clustered around him, helping Yu Xuan to put up a clean cloth.
Yu Xuan blinked his eyes a few times, pulled the few strands of loosely grown beard below his cheek while frowning and pondering for a few moments. He then strode to a big tree planted beside an abode, bowed down and picked up a cobblestone as large as a toddler's head. Without hesitation, he brought it forcefully toward his own face and gave it a strong smash.
A shrill cry was heard. Yu Xuan had just broken his own nose, causing two streams of blood to burst out from his nostrils.
Sighing briefly, Yu Xuan asked his serving ladies quickly help him stopped the bleeding. Then, he used some powder and carefully put on some makeup on his face. After doing all that, he looked at the puddle of blood on the ground, breathed out a long sigh and said, "Money is hard to earn these days! I'm a Duke, the Grandmaster of Great Yan Dynasty's Imperial Family Court, and for the sake of three million gold, for the sake of my reputation, I have no other choice but to do this."
He shook his head and asked the old man in red, "How much money did you sell Lu Chengfeng's information for?"
The old man in red hastened up a few steps and said smilingly, "The information of Lu Chengfeng was sold for ten thousand gold coins. The replica of Imperial Family Court's token, which was secretly forged by the master, was sold for fifty thousand gold coins. Rest assured my master, your servant had completed the job in a good manner. All sixty thousand gold coins had been placed in the coffer."
Yu Xuan nodded his head satisfyingly. He then pulled the burlap clothes clad on his body, sighed and said, "That's good, that's all well. I just want to make some extra money. Do you really think being a Duke like me is an easy job?"
Tie Yuewu had nearly run out of her patience in waiting endlessly. While she was pondering on how she was going to revenge for Yu Xuan's ill treatment, she suddenly heard a strange cough coming from the back of a screen . With a bloody nose and a swollen face, Yu Xuan came in with a rather sorry look on the arms of two ugly serving ladies.
Before Tie Yuewu could rise and gave him a greeting, Yu Xuan hurried his steps and came in front of her, waving his hands quickly in the air and apologized, "I'm sorry, my lady! I fell from my mount today when I was on the way for a meeting in the palace. It broke my nose and hurt my face, and I just woke up from the wound. I'm sorry for keeping my lady in a long wait, I'm sincerely sorry for this!"
Tie Yuewu was startled when she looked at Yu Xuan's broken nose. She hastily rose and said with a charming smile on her face, "Don't mention it, my Lord. Rongyang didn't wait for a very long time either. The purpose of Rongyang's unexpected visit is actually for my son, Chengfeng. In those days, Rongyang and Lord West Supervisor..."
When she mentioned about that, Tie Yuewu's face blushed at the perfect timing, showing a look of biting on her tongue.
But before Tie Yuewu could continue her words, Yu Xuan began to talk eagerly, "I understand, I can totally understand you. Tomorrow, I'll get this matter done for you, my lady. Chengfeng is a blood descendant of Great Yan, and in fact, he ranks as my brother's grandson. We're a family!"
After a few loud laughs, Yu Xuan continued and said, "Buji didn't have any son born by the legal wife, yet he had left behind many descendants on the outside, and we all know about it. And, anyone of Buji's sons who becomes the first to arrive Ji City will inherit his title of nobility and fiefs, this is also the decision made by the Imperial Family Court."
The seemingly respectable Yu Xuan gave Tie Yuewu's lofty breast a quick leer, then said with a solemn and righteousness voice, "As long as we can prove young mister Chengfeng has the bloodline of Buji, then he'll be the West Supervisor of Great Yan Dynasty. This matter is my due responsibility, why did my lady still bring three coaches full of gifts here? As if you're treating me as an outsider!"
Yet, he still didn't let Tie Yuewu say out her thoughts, and immediately followed with a loud laugh. "Please don't do this again in the future. I'm an honest man free from corruption, and I'll never take a single coin from this dirty money. Nevertheless, since Chengfeng is my brother's grandson, I'll make an exception this time and receive your souvenir! Little You, bring the souvenirs brought by my lady into the coffer. No matter what, those are her tokens of appreciation!"
The old man in red quickly answered, proceeded to yell at a few servants and drove three coaches into the inner courtyard.
Smilingly, Yu Xuan rested his eyes on Tie Yuewu, who was now having a rather odd expression. Without being disturbed by it, he said, "If not because of Chengfeng, I would never accept the souvenirs brought by my lady. Please have a look around, my lady, my mansion has been worn down to such a miserable state, and my clothes are of simple and poor quality. During normal days, I never accept even a single coin from that ill-gotten wealth!"
A strong night breeze suddenly came blowing by, making the candlelights in the hall sway and almost die off. The outer robes of Yu Xuan made from burlap were coiled up by the strong wind, exposing his luxurious inner-wear woven from the silk of thousand-years ice worm, which glimmered like a fresh spring water, and a row of buttons made from supreme quality gemstones.
The peaceful and quiet night of Ji City was suddenly pierced and ripped by a loud boom.