Zhong Luochen supported Old Zhong, arriving at Gu Yue Zhai.
Zhang Qingrui had been waiting at the hall. She then led the two to Zhang Li Lanfang's room upstairs.
Old Zhong and Zhang Li Lanfang looked at each other without a word. After a while, Old Zhong spoke first, "The item, I here to return it. Luochen."
As per Old Zhong's instructions, Zhong Luochen promptly opened the box in his hand. Zhang Li Lanfang glanced at it, then nodded.
Zhang Qingrui received the box from Zhong Luochen.
Just then, Zhang Li Lanfang said, "Qingrui, put this back in its original place. Remember, keep it carefully."
"Yes, grandmother." Zhang Qingrui replied in a soft voice.
Zhang Li Lanfang added. "Zhong's Luochen, I have something to talk about with your grandfather, so leave us alone."
Zhong Luochen seemed a little hesitant, but Old Zhong waved his hand. "That's alright. Wait for me outside."
Zhong Luochen could only say, "Ms. Zhang, if you don't mind, I'll accompany you, what about that?"
Zhang Qingrui said coldly, "I can do it myself."
Zhong Luochen smiled faintly but didn't insist.
After the two youngsters left, Old Zhong gave a sigh. "Lanfang, how are you these years?"
Zhang Li Lanfang tidied her Cheong Sam, then turned sideways, looking out of the window instead of gazing at Old Zhong, before saying, "Better than you, an old guy that almost entered a coffin."
Old Zhong gave a wry smile. "It's really time for me to sleep forever in a coffin. Thank you for lending your black card this time, or I wouldn't have an opportunity to drop by to visit you for the rest of my life."
Zhang Li Lanfang said indifferently, "It was to return a debt of gratitude since your grandson came to see me with the jade lock. I agreed to meet you today not because I'm pleased to see that you are still alive, but to see what you've paid in exchange for extending your lifespan. I'll be even happier watching your terrible appearance."
Old Zhong sighed again. "Lanfang…You still haven't forgotten that matter all those years ago?"
Zhang Li Lanfang laughed grimly, "Why? Do you wish for me to forget it? Or you think I would go senile at my age and forget that event?"
Old Zhong answered hurriedly, "No, no! That's not what I mean! We both knew that we were at fault… After that event, we've been feeling guilty, so we decided to take care of your Zhang Family. We never thought you would leave one night without saying goodbye. When we asked about your information, and found out that you came here, I wanted to visit but was afraid that you were still mad, so I waited till now."
While saying that, one could hear the sorrow in Old Zhong's voice. "Actually…I was too ashamed to see you. If I wasn't at death's door this time, alas…"
Zhang Li Lanfang sneered, "Don't act helpless in front of me! I know all your tricks! Hum, you acted like that all those years ago as well, preaching and forcing my husband to go to that place in the name of a righteous cause! I've not heard from him ever since. And I don't even know if he is still alive. Good! Good! Very good! You even dare to come to see me!"
Old Zhong shook his head. "Say whatever you like. But I came here this time for only two things."
Zhang Li Lanfang didn't seem to care about this words, so he continued speaking. "First, to thank you for lending us the black card, even though you declare it was due to a debt of gratitude… I was saved, Nevertheless, I've paid a large price for it. However, that is all in the past now. The second thing is that I hope you can allow our Luochen to marry your granddaughter."
"Pardon me?" Once Zhang Li Lanfang heard that she pounded the table indignantly. "Dare you say that again?"
Old Zhong said in a hurry, "Please let me finish my words. The marriage will only be helpful to your granddaughter without any disadvantage. Listen, I'll designate Luochen as the only successor to inherit all my property. That means, your granddaughter will be the first lady of the Zhong Family…you should know what I mean. If it wasn't for the sixth child's sacrifice, our families wouldn't exist now, so whatever I owed him, I'll pay it back for him."
Zhang Li Lanfang sneered at once, "What a nice saying…but wouldn't all the property belong to the Zhong Family at last?"
"The family name of their kid will be 'Zhang'." Old Zhong replied in a low voice, "If they get married, the surname of the first kid is 'Zhang', whatever it's a boy or a girl, he or she will be the next successor of the Zhong's Family."
Old Zhong stood up suddenly, holding the chair and kneeling down in front of Zhang Li Lanfang in tears. "Lanfang, it was all our fault, Old Zhong will kowtow as an apology!"
Three not very loud but very heavy kowtows.
As Zhang Qingrui was passing through the hallway, she heard the sound of something breaking. Hence she hurried over. The scene shocked her. "Manman, what happened to you?"
A receptionist of Gu Yue Zhai laid on the ground with broken teacup beside her.
She was Manman, a girl had been working here for half a year.
"I…Sorry, manager. I was on the way to serve tea to Mrs. Zhang and her customer, but I got careless…" Manman said in fright. "Sorry, I'll pay for the broken teacup."
"Pay?" Zhang Qingrui helped her up and said, "You're hurt by the shattered pieces and even bled. It's an occupational injury, we should pay you instead."
"Oh, no, no, manager!" Manman shook her head. "It's not necessary… it's all my fault due to my fumbling behavior."
Zhang Qingrui said, "Come to my office, I can help you stop bleeding."
"Ah, manager, how can I bother you…I can do it myself."
"Did you hurt your foot? Are you able to walk?" Zhang QIngrui said. "Come now. Let me help you."
In the manager's office, Zhang Qingrui was looking for something in the other cabinet near the bookshelf, "That's weird. I remembered I left it here. But I can't find it."
Manman glanced at Zhang Qingrui, making up her mind, she opened the box Zhang Qingrui left on the tea table.
She took out an identical black card and replaced it with the real one in the box.
Enduring her fear, she hid the black card she stole before calming her mind, "Manager, it's not serious, I can handle it by myself. A customer is coming, and it's not necessary to waste your time on me."
"I found it, it fell here." Zhang Qingrui turned and walked to her, and applied the medicine to stop her bleeding. "It used to be called 'The Miracle for Bones and Muscles Injury' and is effective as it doesn't leave scars."
Manman witnessed the whole process. Once the white powder was applied to her wound on the leg, the blood stopped immediately and a cool and refreshing feel replaced the pain. She sighed with emotion. "It's really magical! Only important figures such as you, manager, would use it. We common people just use a bandage for everything."
Zhang Qingrui cleaned Manman's wound. "A girl should cherish herself. Nobody will take care of you if you don't pay attention to yourself."
"I'm good now." Manman abruptly said.
Zhang Qingrui said, "I'll give you half day off to go see a doctor. If you still feel pain, take another day off tomorrow. It's a sick leave with pay, don't worry."
"Thank you, manager," Manman said.
Zhang Qingrui smiled. Then she stood up and took the box. After seeing Manman off, she headed towards the collection room.
She opened the box and took out the black card. After glancing at the card, she gave a start. It gave her a feeling that she never felt before.
She was doubtful. But nothing could be wrong since her grandmother had checked it before sending it here. Plus her grandmother had frequently told her not to touch it.
She was curious but could still feel something strange about that black card, so she locked it promptly.
Soon, she came back to Zhang Li Lanfang's room.
"Grandmother, has Old Zhong left?" Zhang Qingrui looked at Zhang Li Lanfang and asked in amazement.
Zhang Li Lanfang said, "Did you put it away?"
Zhang Qingrui nodded, "It has been put back to its original place."
Zhang Li Lanfang said, "My girl, come over here."
Zhang Qingrui then walked close to Zhang Li Lanfang, who held her arm softly, "What if you get married to Zhong Luochen?" ①
"Grandmother, why do you suddenly…" Zhang Qingrui's face changed a little but did not lose her composure due to her good upbringing.
"Answer me, do you agree or not."
Zhang Qingrui shook her head without hesitation.
Zhang Li Lanfang forced a smile, "I know your answer, but what if I force you to do so?"
"Grandmother…are you joking with me?"
"Do I look like I'm joking?" Zhang Li Lanfang said in a deep voice, "You kept asking me what happened all those years…I will tell you now, then you may understand why I made such a decision."
Ren Ziling's workplace. Luo Qiu had been there several times---because sometimes he had to deliver items which this woman left at home.
He had an impression of Ren Ziling's office since he came here before. So he teleported himself to the office immediately.
Just like her bedroom, the office was extremely dirty, disorderly and bad.
Luo Qiu sighed and left the document on the office table, but then saw a partly exposed picture on a document under the files.
He was curious, thus opened the document and took out the picture.
"This guy…what on earth was she investigating?"
1 According to ancient custom, a girl's spouse used to be chosen by her elders, usually male relatives such as father or grandfather, sometimes her uncle or other relatives would also suggest a person. The girl herself was usually not allowed to select her spouse based on her own preferences. Even in modern society, the comments from a girl's parents or other seniors in her family play an important role. Their words hold great weight in determining her marriage partner.