Chapter 212 (Part 1): Opening Move
Translated by Gumihou
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“Has Brother Su managed to find out anything about those couple?”
Lu Feng Yu was having tea with Su Dong Lou under a grapevine pergola. It was in a section of King Xiangyang’s palace garden that had been allocated to him. At Lu Feng Yu’s question, Su Dong Lou said firmly, “I am here especially to speak to you about this. I shall be frank with you, you should just hand those two over to me.”
“And what do you mean by that?”
Lu Feng Yu’s heart skipped a beat, but his expression remained serene as he drawled out the question.
“From what I have found out, these people’s background are not simple.” Su Dong Lou’s expression became serious as he leaned closer to Lu Feng Yu, “Do you know? Three months ago there was news that Duan Tingxuan and his wife was heading towards Niu Tou Mountain. However, until now they still haven’t made an appearance at Niu Tou Mountain yet. Isn’t it suspicious?”
“Surely not? Even if Ms. Wang and her husband are spies, they can’t actually be Duan Tingxuan and wife? With their noble status and pampered lifestyle, would they actually risk themselves by coming to Jiang Nan? Moreover, Suzhou is His Lordship’s own stomping ground.” Lu Feng Yu said all this while looking into his teacup.
Then, he raised his eyes slowly to stare fixedly at Su Dong Lou. “Unless… you have managed to find out something?”
There was an audible [gu du] as Su Dong Lou swallowed. Ever since Lu Feng Yu professed to trust him, he had been coming over here nearly every day for the past three months. Though no one would call them bosom buddies, he had to admit that his feelings towards this man had clearly changed.
“Do you think I’d be sitting here if I have anything concrete? I’d have my people haul those two over to King Xiangyang already. I don’t have anything definite, only suspicions. I managed to find out that there was indeed a Ms. Wang who had recently quit her job at An Le Restaurant. The husband was an odd job man who feared his wife. On top of that, close associates heard that those two intended to move to Jiang Nan after their resignation.
However, whether the same people actually made it here could not be proven. And you, you ultimate foodie, you. If I actually made a mistake and dragged innocent people away, you’ll probably hate me to death, right? In fact, I’ll probably die from some unknown cause. However, if we just leave them alone, what if those two concocted some scheme against you? How is a weak scholar like you going to fight them? In fact, if they plan to kill you, all they have to do is pour a pound of powdered croton seeds into your meal, and you’ll die from excessive diarrhoea…”
“Can’t you think better of me?” Lu Feng Yu snapped, glaring hatefully at Su Dong Lou.
The man of Jianghu gave a faint smile and drawled, “Well, never say I didn’t warn you. No matter what, I’ll leave the decision in your hands. If you say snag them, we’ll snag them. If you want to watch and wait, we’ll watch and wait. If you’re unsure what to do, you may send those people back to my place and I’ll keep an eye on them for you. Once we’ve ascertain their identity, we can reconsider their fate. Well, this younger brother has given you three options to choose from, surely that’s plenty, right?”
“Humph, aren’t they all the same?” Lu Feng Yu rolled his eyes. He picked up a piece peach and bit fiercely into the soft flesh, using the movements to hide his unease. Have I really miscalculated all this while? Had Su Dong Lou always been this trustworthy?
On Su Dong Lou’s part, he narrowed his eyes as he studied the man before him, after having gotten together with Lu Feng Yu all this while, he felt that he had gained better understanding over the man. At the sight of the celestial looking man’s expression, he relaxed a little, knowing that he had narrowly escaped suspicion once again. As long as Lu Feng Yu could not be sure of Duan Tingxuan and Su Nuan Nuan’s identity, his craving for gourmet food would prevent him from doing anything drastic.
In fact, Su Dong Lou had really underestimate Lu Feng Yu’s obsession with gourmet food. This treacherous person had in fact, known about the couple’s true identity, but had stayed his hand for the sake of gourmet food. In the past three months, Su Nuan Nuan and Duan Tingxuan had planned their menus with great care for Lu Feng Yu. Turning what most considered to be plain or unsightly food into unexpectedly delicious gourmet dishes, causing Lu Feng Yu to entertain defection many times. This was their counterattack against King Xiangyang’s number one strategist and confidant. For the moment, it looks like that their strategy seemed to be working.
“You just make sure to investigate their background properly. Don’t look lightly at Niu Tou Mountain area either. Leave these two at my place for now, if they really are the Duan couple, they’ll expose themselves soon enough.”
Lu Feng Yu, after much careful thought and consideration, finally said what Su Dong Lou had hoped for most.
For his part, Su Dong Lou had thought to pester Lu Feng Yu to allow him to stay for dinner, but seeing the how the other had remained pensive and gloomy all afternoon, he decided to make himself scarce.
Once Su Dong Lou left, Lu Feng Yu laid on his bed, staring up at the canopy ceiling contemplatively. After a time, he suddenly stood up, changed his clothes, and went to sit for a while with King Xiangyang. When he left, he happened to encounter Liu Qiang coming in from outside. He quickly hailed the man, “After reporting to His Lordship, come see me. I have something for you to do.”
Liu Qiang quickly agreed. Lu Feng Yu loitered elegantly within the prince’s courtyard, waiting for Liu Qiang. When the man came out, he whispered a few words to the man before returning to his own little courtyard.
First, there was Long Pingzhang, and now Duan Tingxuan. Clearly Jiang Nan was starting to gain the attention of the emperor. These past few years, in order to not attract attention from the Imperial Court, King Xiangyang had made no attempt to raise an army. Because there was a high possibility that their lives could be in jeopardy due to their schemes, having the power of Mingyu House was even more crucial than the year before. Their plan did not involve mustering an army to rebel against the imperial power, and because of this they had not set aside resources for soldiers. If Mingyu House could really be of use, it would solve a major headache for him and His Lordship.
At the very least, even in the face of gourmet food, Imperial Historian Lu was still able to maintain some form of integrity and continued to sincerely scheme for King Xiangyang. As before, he imagined a future where he had successfully assisted the King in gaining the throne, bring honour to his ancestors and finally, have those official examiners who had ruined his future prospects as a scholar dragged into court and beaten.
[Gumihou: Uwooh, I wonder what’s Lu Feng Yu’s story with the official examiners?]
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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