T/N: I’m going to update for three consecutive days until the ML finally shows his face, because this elusive guy is driving me nuts. Rawr! After that I’ll settle on a more consistent updating schedule. Here is the first update. Enjoy! ~ V. Muse
Chapter 23.1 – Unexpected
Steward Su rushed over from An Yuan County. His old bones were jostled in a horse carriage for two days.
Originally he was supposed to accompany the young master, but there needed to be someone left behind in the An family to make decisions. As he was the man most trusted by the deceased old master, An Zi Ran left him at home to oversee things.
But that was only for the time being. The one who witnessed the two families forging that marriage contract was Steward Su, therefore it would be more persuasive to have him here. That old man (Fu Feng Zheng) shouldn’t have forgotten about Steward Su.
“Young Master, I have settled things back at home. I have already instructed the four managers. In addition, Su Zi is there to help and keep an eye out, there should be no big problems.” Steward Su drank the tea that Chun Lan poured for him. Tiredness was written in the lines of his face. So as to not delay the time, he did not rest much these past two days. He also could not rest in the horse carriage, because it jostled too much.
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Seeing this, An Zi Ran told Qiu Lan, “Take Steward Su and have him rest. If there are anymore matters we will talk about them tomorrow.”
He directed that last sentence towards Steward Su.
Steward Su rubbed his temples. He was tired and did not object. With a sound of acknowledgement towards An Zi Ran, he then followed Qiu Lan out. A room was prepared for Steward Su from the moment they rented the courtyard, so they could just go in without having to clean up the room.
After the two left, An Zi Ran picked up a ledger that was on the table. It was very thick.
“Young Master, this kind of crude work, just allow this servant to do it.” Chun Lan hurriedly received the heavy ledger from his hand. She had always been pretty strong. Back at the An family household, what kind of manual labor did she not do?
Ever since the young master lost weight and was no longer fat, she felt that more and more the young master seemed like a frail young master to her. Along with the baby fat on his face, she thought he was particularly cute. During this time, the young master was still losing weight. In fact, she thought it was already fine, he didn’t need to lose more weight, but it was a pity that she was only a servant and did not dare to voice her thoughts out loud.
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An Zi Ran’s eyes fell upon Chun Lan’s face. There was a staunch tenacity to his expression, and also a bright smile on his face without a hint of impurity. He could not help but laugh. These account books were all brought over by Steward Su. They were really important and normally should not be handled by outsiders. However, it was not completely a bad thing to have her help with one.
When Chun Lan turned her head she saw that fleeting smile on the lips of the young master. She couldn’t help but be stunned. It was like she saw an incredible picture. The young master was laughing?
“Let’s go to the study.” An Zi Ran took the lead to go out.
Chun Lan finally regained her senses. Her cheeks floated up as a smile tugged on her lips. She quickly lowered her head and followed him out.
On the next day, the people that An Zi Ran sent out for information returned with results. The person he was looking for was a local of Jun Zi City and said to be an idle man. His name was Liu Er. The news of this type of people was generally fast and abundant. To this end, he (An Zi Ran) spent five pieces of silver.
Liu Er saw that An Zi Ran was generous and likely to give more with good results. Asides from a few things that could not be found out, most of the things that An Zi Ran wanted to know about was met with successful inquiry.
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The two sides decided to meet up at a teahouse.
An Yu Zhi’s cheeks were dusted red. Since early morning, she had been waiting in the lounge. This time, she was also going along, because An Zi Ran wanted her to personally hear about her marriage partner.
After a little while, the brother and sister pair plus the maidservant Qiu Lan went out together.
An Zi Ran chose not to have the appointment at the same restaurant he went to the day before. That restaurant was good, but the behavior of that server made An Zi Ran a little cautious. Due to his previous career, he had a keen eye for observing human expressions and body language. An Zi Ran could tell with one look whether that server had lied or not.
As soon as he entered the restaurant, An Zi Ran heard someone calling him. Looking inside, he saw Liu Er sitting in a private room on the second floor. Liu Er beckoned to him from the opened window. “Gong zi*, over here.”
[*T/N: 公子 gong zi: son of an official / son of nobility / your son (honorific)]
An Zi Ran declined the teahouse server’s offer to lead them, and brought his sister and maidservant upstairs.
Liu Er saw that there were two more people. His eyes turned about, but he made no comment. He only chuckled a bit and then diligently poured a cup of hot tea for An Zi Ran and said charmingly, “An gong zi, please have some tea. The tea in this teahouse is quite good, a lot of people like it, but of course, the price is a little expensive.”
An Zi Ran quietly said, “You drink it ba. What happened to what I want you to inquire about?”
Hearing her brother mention this matter, An Yu Zhi nervously tightened her hands around her handkerchief.
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When Liu Er heard him, he also did not beat around the bush and immediately explained, “I already have the information. Old Fu wang ye is the emperor’s uncle*. He’s coming along in years now. A few years earlier, he still insisted on attending the emperor’s morning court assembly, but he has stopped in recent years. Reportedly, he stays in his palace and rarely comes out. He has one grandson named Fu Wu Tian, who was conferred the title of jun wang by the emperor himself. Speaking of jun wang, he’s a man that makes one feel intimidated at the first glance!”
[*T/N: 叔叔 shu shu: father’s younger brother]
“Why do you say this?” Hearing such an idiom* used to describe that man, An Zi Ran’s expression wavered.
[*T/N: 望而生畏 wang er sheng wei: intimidate at the first glance (idiom)]
Liu Er smiled darkly. “It seems that gong zi have not heard of jun wang’s title?”