Chapter 8 – Recognition (1)
Despite their sudden fame, it still couldn’t be denied that the Lu family was no different to the common folks before. Nothing but a small family of merchants, no titles and such, who somehow prospered by establishing ties with the palace – the emperor to be specific. Although Lu Lingzhi was lowborn, he was as handsome as he was brave and militant. Outstanding in his work as general under Mo Rongzhan’s command, he proved himself useful, a utilitarian in siege tactics.
Therefore, as soon as Mo Rongzhan claimed the dragon throne for his own, he gave the position to Lu Lingzhi with a silver plate. An assistant war minister was a high position and an even higher position for a commoner, which may seem ridiculous to the many.
Lu Shiming is Lu Lingzhi’s uncle. Lu Lingzhi’s father pivoted the third generation of heirs in the family who chose not to inherit the family business and became officials. Now the business of the Lu family is handed over to Lu Erzhi, his uncle also. His father had passed away, leaving only two sons and one daughter.
The most senior person in the Lu family is Old Madam Lu.
Ye Zhen had simple understanding between the relationship of her family and the Lu family. She was not even truly integrated with the ladies of the family including Lu Wushuang, who became the imperial concubine, the one who took her place. And most of all, the name of the Old madam nor her reputation had never crossed her awareness before.
“Grandmother is strict, but her heart is the most kind! Don’t be timid when you meet her and eldest brother as well.” Lu Xiangzhi comforted Ye Zhen in a garrulous way. Ye Zhen just smiled, nodded and spoke no more. She knew better than anyone how gentle Lu Lingzhi looked, but it is people like him who should be feared. A vile creature behind a beautiful mask indeed.
After two years of acquaintance with him, she really believed that he was gentle and credible as he appeared to be. Helplessly gullible, she treated him like a big brother, not knowing how despicable and shameless he truly was inside. She wished she could drink his blood oozing from his lacerations she herself would want to inflict!
Their conversation took a longer course with Ye Zhen answering timidly all the way. Lu Xiangzhi reflected on how his sister seemed to be a different person. How a chatterbox has turned mute from everything. He turned to look at his sister’s emaciated side face. When she was in the border town, the climate was much warmer than Kyoto. Her love for outdoor activities made her tan, yet now, she looked significantly pale. . Her cheeks lost their ruddy colors and she has become more poised and womanly. It perturbed Lu Lingzhi to witness how his sister’s days of confinement inside the mansion had morphed her into an entirely different person. Although her appearance would still not pass as a prim woman of Kyoto, she no longer looked like a wild girl he knew..
However, this change was not only physical. Her black and smart eyes seemed to be a little more sharp than usual, like those of hawk’s observant gaze. Also, when she thought he was not looking, her lips were pinched like she finds everything distasteful.
Probably because of nervousness! Lu Xiangzhi surmised. He faced his sister and smiled as if his sister’s sudden change is brought only by the new environment. It was her first time settling in Kyoto after all!
“Relax. Grandma is not as strict and harsh as some old madams. Just take care of the usual rules.”
Lu Xiangzhi’s comfort was returned by Ye Zhen’s acquiescing but tight smile. In her heart, she thought how this family rose from blood. Lu family was not a famous family but a lineage of incompetent businessmen. Rules? What rules are there to follow? This family didn’t know rules! All they knew was to step on other people to make their way on top.
She now felt a deep resentment towards the Lu Family. If she hadn’t wanted revenge and remembered Lu Shiming and his wife’s sincere love for her twin sister, she would have never considered staying here for long.
Making herself presentable as possible, Ye Zhen left her room to meet Old Madam Lu.
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