“It’s my first time to arrive in the capital city and I will take the Metropolitan Exam next year. I want to make the acquaintance of some future peers and Hua knows some of them. That’s why I met her several times.” As soon as the gate closed, Ruan Qingyan gave a dry cough and hurried to explain, “The other day, she introduced me to Earl of Jingchuan’s youngest son, young master Ling. I made an appointment to treat him a dinner today, but I didn’t know he also invited Hua. Just now I heard that you were here, and I wanted to come back early. But Hua insisted to follow me. I had no time to waste on her, so I got on my horse and left. I never thought that...”
Qiu Yelan glimpsed at him and thought this cousin of her was really clever. As the General’s Mansion was in decline, if he said he was the grandson of General Ruan, most probably no one would take notice of him and he would even be despised. Asking a famous courtesan to introduce him was at least a better way.
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What’s more, he could ask the courtesan their likes and make a specific plan to each.... For men like Ruan Qingyan, this was the quickest way to meet the middle- and upper-class people in the capital city. But certainly, this method didn’t fit everyone. It only worked when one was both handsome and brilliant enough to make the courtesan willing to help.
Although she didn’t know about Hua Shenshen, from her look and powerful manner to fight for a man, if she was not the best courtesan, she must have been liked by numerous guests. She couldn’t be a common prostitute.
“No wonder he said he was confident in passing the exam.” Qiu Yelan thought for a moment and said, “Don’t get it wrong, Cousin. I’m just afraid that as you are still in mourning for my mother if you and Miss Hua openly...” Speaking of this, she thought of a memory from her last life. Pausing for a minute, she continued, “...meet each other, someone may use this against you.”
Ruan Qingyan secretly observed her facial expression. When he made sure there was no disdain, he felt relaxed and smiled, “Don’t worry. I had dinner with young master Ling in a decent restaurant. Till now, not so many people know me. And the carriage that Hua took today was not hers. If she hadn’t got off from the carriage, others would not have known she was in it.”
Although Qiu Yelan didn’t seem to care about what happened just now, Ruan Qingyan felt embarrassed and changed the topic, “I didn’t think that Prince’s family would agree to let you come here. Now that you are here, don’t go back. There is no good one in Prince’s Mansion of Xihe! I won’t relax when you stay there alone!”
Qiu Yelan knew from his words that he had asked Princess Yang and others to let her come back to General’s Mansion many times but were all refused.
That was not a surprise. First, the Prince’s family were looking for the two dowries. Then, as Ruan Qingyan was worried about herself alone in the Prince’s Mansion, he had to visit them often, every time with some gifts. If she lived in the General’s Mansion, Ruan Qingyan didn’t need to go there.
As she was thinking about what she should do when she stayed in the Ruan Family, she spoke concisely of the reason why she came here.
Ruan Qingyan frowned and said, “Yulu Ointment? That’s hard to get. Let me think...”
“Young master, Commandery Princess doesn’t want to marry Deng Yi!” Qiu Yelan didn’t speak but Su He behind her suddenly said!
“Su He? Shut up your mouth!” Qiu Yelan was angry and turned back to scold her.
Ruan Qingyan looked at Su He with blame, and then said to Qiu Yelan, “Why did you hide your worry from me? Why do I have to hear it from your maid who’s so worried about you?”
Qiu Yelan looked at Su He coldly until she looked down with a pale face. Then, she said, “It’s not a worry. The Lunar New Year is coming now. I planned to discuss it with you after that.”
“Listen. Settle yourself down here first.” Hearing what she said, Ruan Qingyan’s face relaxed a little. After thinking for a moment, he said, “The day after tomorrow will be the Lunar New Year’s Eve and it will be hard to make an appointment. I can go to visit Deng Yi in the first lunar month and ask him whether he can cancel the engagement.”
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Qiu Yelan didn’t think he was so quick to respond. She was stunned for a while and said, “That Deng Yi seems to live in Prince’s Mansion of Guangyang. Are you sure you can see him?”
“Young Master Ling calls Young Prince of Duke of Guangyang cousin, so he is also a relative to Deng Yi. It should be no problem to request young master Ling to ask Deng Yi out.” Ruan Qingyan said calmly.
Qiu Yelan knew that he only just got an acquaintance with that young master Ling. If he asked him for a favor so soon, he would be despised even if he sent him a great gift as a reward. If by any chance he didn’t do well, he might lose this friend. Ruan Qingyan would attend the Metropolitan Exam in next year’s spring. The people he made friends with now would benefit him in his future official career. If he made use of them now for her, it was like that he would kill the new bud that he had cultivated with great care!
But Ruan Qingyan didn’t hesitate at all!
Qiu Yelan looked at Ruan Qingyan with a complex face, “You are so good to me.”
“My mother passed away early. When my father was approaching his end, he gave me a large sum of fortune, more than any of my brothers.” Ruan Qingyan seemed to understand her doubt. He walked ahead to shield the wind for her and said lightly, “So they don’t like me. After the mourning period of my father was over, they tried to cheat me to go overseas in order to seize my industry. Luckily, the faithful servant sympathized with me and told me about that in secret. However, I was alone in the family, so I could only dispose of my industry in a hurry and left.”
He took a look at Qiu Yelan, “There was no one I could go to. I remembered my father once told me he used to work for General Ruan, so I came here hoping to get the old General’s help. When I came here, I found he had no grandson, so I decided to be his grandson and became a member of the Ruan Family.”
“Therefore, apart from the old General, only you are my family.” Ruan Qingyan sighed, “I see you as my own sister.”
“My brother passed away very early. Though you are my cousin, you are also my brother.” Qiu Yelan said sweetly but still doubted in her heart. Perhaps because she had seen so many despicable people in her last life, she couldn’t believe a good cousin from heaven, well, pennies from heaven falling in front of her.
Ruan Qingyan turned his face aside for a while and then turned back, saying, “I didn’t know you would come. The rooms were not cleaned. Look, you sleep in my place. Other places of this mansion have been emptying for years and it will be bad for your health to sleep in those rooms.”
“But what about you?” Qiu Yelan asked in surprise.
“I have to take care of my grandfather. I can make a bed in his living room.” Ruan Qingyan said without care, “You only have Mrs. Zhou and Su He to serve you. That’s not enough. I will let my maids Chunran and Xiaran stay with you. They have followed me for years and you can trust them.”
After a while, they went to see General Ruan. Then Qiu Yelan was pushed to Ruan Qingyan’s Lvqiang Court by him. Her luggage was put in.
“If you need anything, just tell Chunran and Xiaran,” Ruan Qingyan saw her simple luggage and turned to tell Ruan An to write down a long list of things and try to buy them all within a day. In spite of all these, he still kept telling Qiu Yelan, “Don’t hesitate to ask for anything!”
Also, he told her she could use anything in the room. Even if she broke something, it would be okay.
When she finally sent her suddenly chatty cousin out, Qiu Yelan thought of two things for Chunran and Xiaran to do. After the two maids went out, she struck the table and asked Su He angrily, “Who taught you to interrupt like that? Or did you teach yourself?”
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