Chapter 519 - Grandmaster Dai’s Decree
The Lu family was the leading illustrious family in the Jadeite Forest. However, compared to other extravagant, high-profile, and prominent families, the Lu family was so low-profile that no one seemed to notice their existence. Whether it was Lu Chen or Lu Mingxiu, neither of them had done anything that was preposterous. Their strict and prudent family culture was praised by many people.
The study room of the Lu family’s patriarch was unusually simple and crude.
The wooden planks that made up the floor were filled with traces of aging. They would produce creaks whenever someone walked on them. There were also a few wooden planks which had a different color from the rest. Clearly, these few wooden planks had been repaired before. Every wooden plank gave off a dark luster. One could clearly tell that they were often used and cleaned with utmost care.
The four walls of the study room were filled with various books, looking extremely messy.
Sunlight shone through the wooden fretwork window, leaving a slanted, flower-shaped shadow on the wooden floor. The wooden fretwork window had a seven-leaf flower design. That was a Seven-leaf Flower. This kind of design used to be very popular when the Avalon of Five Elements was first established. It symbolized family harmony and prosperity.
After about 100 years, this kind of design was gradually replaced by newer and more beautiful designs. One could hardly see this kind of design in modern times.
An elegant-looking man who was around 50 to 60 years old was fiddling with a loom in the corner of the room. It appeared that he had finished building the loom halfway through. The floor around him was filled with various components.
Thud, thud, thud. Someone was knocking on the door.
The man, whose forehead was dripping with perspiration, answered without raising his head, "Come in."
The person who entered the room was Uncle She. He looked at the floor attentively. Uncle She was very familiar with the room itself. He knew which area of the floor had just been repaired and which area was broken. As such, he was very careful with where he placed his feet.
Master repaired the floor of the study room by himself. He did not want anyone to interfere with it.
As a servant, Uncle She was always mindful not to create any trouble for his master. This was part of his experience from being a servant for so many years.
He quietly walked behind the man. When he saw the half-completed loom, he smiled. "Master, you have said that you will complete it by tomorrow. It seems like things aren’t going your way."
"I guess I can’t complete it!"
The middle-aged man stood up from the ground. His body was covered in wood shavings, making him look like he was in a sorry state. He brushed off the dust and wood shavings from his body and took the wet towel Uncle She passed him. Then, he continued, "This Ai Hui is rather capable. The [Needle-subduing Peak] is very weird. There are a lot of areas which I don’t understand. It’s a pity that Mingxiu is such a stubborn girl. She just doesn’t want to bring back the [Needle-subduing Peak] and let me study it."
This middle-aged man was the patriarch of Lu family. He was also the father of Lu Mingxiu, Lu Zhian.
No one had expected that the Lu family patriarch was trying to make a copy of the [Needle-subduing Peak].
"It’s not like you don’t know Miss’s temperament." Uncle She smiled.
"That’s true." Lu Zhian chuckled. "Usually, she might appear very smart. In reality, she is a very stubborn individual."
After cleaning his hands, Lu Zhian threw the towel back to Uncle She and strode to his desk.
He picked up the cup of cold tea on the desk and downed it. After feeling much cooler, he spoke again, "Yesterday, Lu Chen sent me a letter and requested for me to investigate the incident thoroughly. He is such an anxious boy. Tell me, how is the investigation?"
"From the looks of it, there is a very high chance that it was Young Master Feng," Uncle She replied with a prudent voice.
"Tell me everything that you have found."
"We caught a remaining member of the Grass Bandits. He was the archer who tried to assassinate Miss when she was ascending to the Master level. This fellow was very tight-lipped. No matter how we tortured him, he refused to say anything. However, Young Master Qiu eventually came up with a solution. He used a few herbs that were gathered from the depths of the Wilderness and made a [Soul-grabbing Pill]. With the help of the [Soul-grabbing Pill], we finally made that fellow talk."
"Mingqiu, this boy… He doesn’t even come to our house when he returns! I have doted on him in vain!" Lu Zhian was unhappy.
"In Young Master Qiu’s eyes, Master’s house pales in comparison to Miss’s embroidery workshop." Uncle She laughed.
"That’s true!" Lu Zhian burst into a laughter.
Suddenly, he stopped laughing and asked, "Mingqiu didn’t visit his teacher?"
"No, he did not." Uncle She looked at his master and shook his head.
Lu Zhian furrowed his eyebrows and sighed, "Forget it, I don’t want to interfere in their business. Continue."
Uncle She glanced at his master and said an earth-shattering sentence, "Young Master Feng is interested in Miss."
"Continue," Lu Zhian’s facial expression did not change.
"From the mouth of that Grass Bandit member, the Grass Bandits had received a huge business deal. The other party offered them a huge sum of money to attack Asakusa City and kidnap Miss. According to the original plan, the other party would even pay an extra sum of money to buy Miss. The Grass Bandits greatly valued this business deal. Furthermore, they have always hated the Lu family, so they set their hearts on this mission. Because they were worried that news of their plan might be leaked, they sent a batch of vanguards to kill everyone along their path. Unexpectedly, they encountered Master Ai and were killed by him instead."
Lu Zhian’s facial expression was as calm as water. One could not tell what he was feeling.
Uncle She kept his tone calm and tried not to add any emotions to it. "At that time, Young Master Feng’s Fiery Floating Cloud was heading toward Asakusa City. Looking at the time frame of the events, if the Grass Bandits really attacked Asakusa City according to their plan, Young Master Feng’s Fiery Floating Cloud would have reached Asakusa City in the heat of the battle. I have intentionally sent some people to ask a few members of the Grass Bandits to understand the situation. They have verified that Young Master Feng arranged a huge number of training sessions on sieging a city, attacking a city, and saving a hostage. Some of the training sessions also included familiarizing themselves with the city plan of Asakusa City. He also taught them some special battle tactics. After we showed these battle tactics to that remaining member from the Grass Bandits, he was extremely shocked. However, from the contents of the training sessions, I can see that Young Master Feng did not have any intention of hurting Miss."
Lu Zhian nodded his head and exclaimed in admiration, "Lu Feng has done a rather good job for coming up with such a meticulous plan. If it was not for Ai Hui’s accidental interference, his plan had a high chance of succeeding. Mingxiu had been away from home for many years, and her relationship with Lu Feng had become estranged. Even though the method of playing hero to save the beauty is old-fashioned, it’s still very effective. At that point in time, Yu Mingqiu was nowhere to be found, so he managed to find an excuse to get close to Mingxiu."
Uncle She did not dare to make any judgemental comments. He continued, "As for Zheng Xiaoman, she was offered a chance to seek revenge when a mysterious fellow approached her one day. The internal department of the Grass Bandits strongly objected to this matter. However, Zheng Xiaoman insisted on seeking revenge. No one could stop her. Her subordinates did not understand why Young Master Feng wanted to deal with Master Ai."
"Jealousy is a toxic poison. Have you ever seen Mingxiu treating someone so good? Lu Feng was raised as an adopted son. He might look very strong and determined, but in reality, he has an inferiority complex and is a very sensitive individual. He is nothing like Mingxiu. Meanwhile, Lu Chen is a carefree and simple man. As for Mingxiu, she is an iron fist in a velvet glove. She handles things logically and reasonably. How I wish she was a man!" Lu Zhian said calmly.
"She’s just like you," Uncle She replied.
"Your flattery comes just at the right time!" Lu Zhian burst out laughing.
Uncle She grinned.
Lu Zhian withdrew his smile and sighed. "How would I not know Lu Feng’s shortcomings? However, who else is more ambitious than him in this residence? Lu Chen is a carefree and simple man who doesn’t care about fame. Mingxiu put her heart and soul into embroidery. She treats her junior better than her father. Lu Feng is too anxious. If he did things step-by-step and let nature take its course, wouldn’t the Lu residence be in his hands sooner or later? Anyway, no matter how strong Mingxiu’s future husband is, he can’t be someone who has the surname Lu!"
Uncle She did not dare to say anything. He listened to Lu Zhian respectfully.
"As for Ai Hui’s message that he asked you to pass to me, even though I know he cares for Mingxiu and it’s reasonable for him to say those words, he is still somewhat arrogant. However, I now know that I was wrong. The bloody words on the wooden board in Lemon Camping Ground have yet to dry. Who in this world dares to underestimate? The Central Pine Valley has a hidden tiger."
"I have just received news of the great victory for Beyond Avalon at the front line. Even though Skyheart City commended the three combat divisions as a whole, Shi Xueman’s Spear of Heavy Cloud was really the key to that victory. The Central Pine Faction is well-established and has a huge number of talents. I am more than happy that Mingxiu is from the Central Pine Faction. Therefore, why would I want to risk having a conflict with the Central Pine Faction?" Lu Zhian muttered.
"Mingqiu is back. No matter how estranged his relationship with Grandmaster Dai is, he is still Grandmaster Dai’s disciple. How would it be possible for Mingqiu to put up with the fact that someone is targeting Mingxiu?"
Lu Zhian sighed with sorrow as a tinge of sadness appeared in his eyes. "Being too anxious is hurting Lu Feng. Everyone who is involved in this incident is not someone he can provoke!"
Uncle She sighed in his heart as well. No one understood more than him about how much hope Master had placed in Lu Feng. Master had spent a lot of time and effort nurturing Lu Feng.
Lu Zhian’s facial expression returned to normal as he continued, "Hand Lu Feng over to Lu Chen. After all, Lu Feng is Grandmaster Dai’s disciple-in-name. We can’t handle him anyhow. Let them resolve their matter by themselves.
She replied respectfully.
Just as he was about to leave, someone knocked on the door.
"Master, Sir Hai Qing wants to seek an audi ence with you," a guard outside the door reported.
A glint flashed across Lu Zhian’s eyes as he opened the door and walked out of the room.
There was a middle-aged man standing by himself at the bottom of the flight of stairs. When that middle-aged man heard the sound of the door being opened, he turned around.
As Lu Zhian walked down the stairs, his face beamed with smiles. "Rare guest, rare guest… It has been a very long time since Sir Hai Qing visited my humble abode. Come in, come in. This time around, we have to reminisce about the good old times."
As usual, Hai Qing did not smile. He bowed and replied, "Nice to see you, Patriarch! I am afraid we can only reminisce about the old times next time around. I am here to pass you a message from Grandmaster Dai."
Lu Zhian respectfully bowed in return and replied, "Feel free to tell me the message, Sir."
"Grandmaster Dai said that even though Lu Feng has done something wrong, brothers should not argue with each other, let alone injure each other. Lu Feng will be stripped of his position as the division leader of the Deathgrass Division. He will be punished by entering the Grass Hollow for the three years. Whether he lives or dies, it will have to depend on his luck," Hai Qing said with a deep voice.
"I will obey as Grandmaster Dai has decreed!" Lu Zhian replied respectfully.
Mingxiu Embroidery Workshop.
Yu Mingqiu looked at the man in the mirror. The stubble that had covered his face was now completely shaved, and his long hair was tied up using a red string once more. He looked invigorated now.
The traces of aging on his face had disappeared. He seemed to be looking at a reflection of himself from the past. A self who had existed five to six years ago.
What would have become of him if the blood catastrophe and everything else after had not happened?
He laughed at himself and shook his head, throwing these distracting thoughts out of his head. When he thought of the fact that he could live in the embroidery workshop, he became extremely excited, and his entire body was filled with vigor even though he was staying under the pretense of protecting Mingxiu.
The enchanting image of a beautiful girl was so close to him. The absolutely empty room in his heart was sprinkled with sunshine at this point in time.
After straightening his collar, Yu Mingqiu walked out of his room with a radiant smile on his face.
What should he say when he saw Mingxiu later?
His skills were slightly rusty…
Hai Qing set foot upon the street after leaving the Lu residence.
No one on the street took notice of him. No one knew that this grumpy-looking man who had no guards around him was actually the butler of the entire Jadeite Forest.
After he walked through the street and made a turn, he arrived at the doorstep of an embroidery workshop. He raised his head and looked at the signboard. On the signboard, there were three words written in ink: "Mingxiu Embroidery Workshop." The handwriting was unusually graceful.
Hai Qing, who seldomly smiled, had a subtle smile on his face. Soon after, the smile disappeared.
He was all too familiar with Lu Chen’s handwriting.
Just as he opened the door and was about to enter the workshop, a familiar voice resounded through the air.
"The whole year must be planned for in the spring. The whole day must be planned for in the morning. The early bird catches the worm… Hehe… Mingxiu, good morning!"
Hai Qing thought he saw a witty-looking young man with a pair of beady eyes and his hair tied up by a red string who was swaying his head while reciting a poem.
He could not help but smile. However, why was he sighing in his heart?
As Hai Qing set foot inside the workshop, a familiar view of a back appeared in his eyes. He was still the same…
Hai Qing set his gaze on Yu Mingqiu’s back for a few seconds before withdrawing it.
A lot of things had changed.
When Yu Mingqiu saw who the visitor was, the smile on his face disappeared.
Hai Qing said emotionlessly, "Xiao Qiu, long time no see. Grandmaster Dai has invited you to his residence."