On the second day, Yue Manor received a letter addressed to Ning Chen, one penned directly by Marquis Li Yu himself from the looks of it. Its heavy strokes belied a strength and oppressive aura that could’ve only come from a martial practitioner at his peak.
Having received the letter, he left to meet the man. This time however, he didn’t bring Ah Man along with him.
He didn’t know much about Marquis Li Yu’s personality so this risk wasn’t one he was willing to take.
Logically speaking, a military marquis shouldn’t be an unreasonable person but as they say, a man’s heart is separated by a layer of skin. A degree of carefulness was still required.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the invitation was addressed directly to him and that it was penned by the marquis himself, he wouldn’t have come at all. Of all the habits he picked up since birth, he didn’t pick up a suicidal one.
Furthermore, the might of a military marquis wasn’t all that either given his experience with the Northern Marquis.
What would the Xia Emperor think if he saw this letter?
The prince’s manor wasn’t that far off from the marquis’ estate. These mansions belonged to the two most powerful factions of Saint’s Abode and they weren’t on best of terms either. The estate of Marquis Li Yu wasn’t only stationed here to deter the Man Dynasty, it was also here to suppress the prince’s faction.
Based on this alone, one could see how much the Emperor guarded against his siblings. It was only the lackadaisical Prince Yan who enjoyed the slightest degree of trust from the Emperor.
Upon arriving on the marquis’ doorstep, the gates of the manor swung wide open in welcome and a heavily armored officer stepped out to greet him. Seeing that, Ning Chen couldn’t help but furrow his eyebrows in confusion, what was this marquis up to?
There was no way the marquis was big hearted enough to let bygones be bygones after he beat up his son to that extent. Even forgiving him would be a miracle let alone sending a person out to welcome him. There had to be something going on.
Within the main hall of the marquis estate, Marquis Li Yu sat there, face slightly pensive as he looked at the book within his hands. At the side was a cup of tea he brewed by his housemaids. No matter how one looked at him, the man looked more like a scholar than a military marquis.
Rolling into the hall, he gazed at the man who looked up at that same time and began evaluating him as well. A long while later, the marquis smiled and said, “No wonder they say a hero comes from the younger generation.”
“Lord Marquis is too kind.”
“Do you know why this Marquis has invited you here?”
“Please enlighten me, Lord Marquis.”
It was a simple name said in the solemnest of tones that revealed nothing yet everything at the same time.
Ning Chen smiled a smile that stretched to his ears. So that was what all this was about.
He just knew that there couldn’t be such a big hearted man in this world. Looks like even your own son’s grudge can be endured if you had something to ask of someone.
“What is your Excellency’s offer?”
“What do you want?”
“Lord Marquis jests, if your Excellency wants what Ning Chen has then your Excellency needs to show enough sincerity.” Ning Chen replied with a thin smile.
Marquis Li Yu paused in thought for a few seconds. “I can have a Xiantian cleanse your meridians and cure your crippled legs.
Hearing that, Ning Chen chuckled coldly in his heart yet as he did so, he put on an agitated look and asked in an anxious tone: “Is that true Lord Marquis? Can a Xiantian really cure my injuries?”
“There’s nothing a Xiantian can’t do.” The marquis nodded as he said that.
Bullsh**, Ning Chen silently swore. Did he think that Ning Chen has never seen a Xiantian before? The amount of Xiantian he knows was almost enough for a mahjong table.
In the midst of those musings, Ning Chen still put on a conflicted look on his face as if he had just undergone a violent battle within his own mind.
After a difficult round of “contemplation”, he let out a sigh that seemed to signify that he had come to a decision. “May I know which Xiantian does the Lord Marquis plan on inviting over?”
“I can’t say who it is but as long as you give me what I want, this Marquis will settle it himself.” Promised the man after taking a sip of tea.
“Can you heal my legs first?” An undisguised look of disappointment flashed across their eyes as Ning Chen griped.
“Such a matter can’t be rushed, cleansing one’s meridians isn’t something that can be accomplished in a couple of days. Even the Xiantian has to expend their True Essence in order to do so. Naturally, this Marquis has to fork out a suitably large price for this. Without seeing that item first, this Marquis can’t take such a huge risk.”
The marquis’ voice was filled with his sincerity but at the same time, it held a certain sense of confidence. He didn’t doubt for a second that Ning Chen would make the right choice. Compared to an external object like that, his legs were obviously more important.
His majesty was just too hurried and extreme in his methods, that’s why this teen was forced to flee time after time again to the point where there was no longer any room for negotiation.
“Lord Marquis, with your permission, I require some time to consider this matter, I’ll have an answer for you soon.” His face changed several times as he said that.
“Ten days, no, five!”
Marquis Li Yu nodded his head solemnly. “Alright, this Marquis will give you five days. This Marquis will eagerly await your answer five days later.”
“Many thanks, Lord Marquis.”
Marquis Li Yu swept his eyes over the heavily armored officer and said, “Officer Li, please see our guest out.”
The officer strode forward and with a slight bow, said, “This way please.”
Ning Chen simply nodded his head and wheeled out of the main hall.
Suddenly, the wheelchair stopped and Ning Chen turned around to gaze at the Marquis. In a soft voice, he said, “ Lord Marquis, Prince Yue brought up this matter last night with some vague promises of wealth, power and a high position in the court. While Ning Chen wasn’t interested in the slightest bit, he was still puzzled. Putting aside the matter of wealth and power, isn’t His Majesty the only person who can promise a high ranking post in the court?”
Hearing that, Marquis Li Yu’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Many thanks for the reminder!”
“Hah.” Ning Chen laughed lightly before turning his head around to leave.
Yet just as he was about to wheel out of the hall, a calm voice sounded out from behind him. “If it’s possible, this Marquis would like to have a look at the power of that object. I hope it won’t disappoint this Marquis.”
Ning Chen’s lips cracked into a strange smile. “Definitely.” Having said that, he wheeled out of the hall and disappeared from sight.
With the departure of his hated foe, Li Yuntang stepped out of the shadows, a look of displeasure and unwillingness on his face. “Father, why didn’t you detain him and take revenge for your child.”
“Fool!” The marquis coldly snorted before exclaiming, “Right now the entire estate of Prince Yue knows that Ning Chen has left for my manor, do you want me to provoke the ire of Her Majesty and Prince Yan by attacking him!?”
“Stop causing trouble for me in the future, this teen isn’t someone you can touch!” As he said that, a glint of danger flashed across his eyes. Such a character mustn’t be provoked, if one were to do so, he must do it with the determination to kill and leave no traces behind.
While Li Yuntang wasn’t too happy about the outcome, he didn’t dare to go against his father’s wishes either so he merely left with a bellyful of anger.
A soft sigh escaped the lips of the marquis. This child of his might seem willing to endure such indignations on the surface but in truth, there wasn’t much thought or machinations behind this action. Compared to that teen just now, there was a world of difference between the two.
That last sentence he threw behind was without a doubt, a vicious stab in the prince’s back. Ironically, said prince was currently hosting him.
Thinking back on the implied meaning of that question, Marquis Li Yu narrowed his eyes and coldly muttered to himself, “Prince Yue, oh Prince Yue, exactly what are you planning, don’t tell me you are still dreaming that impossible dream.”
Upon returning to the prince’s manor, the prince immediately approached Ning Chen to express his concern.
Ning Chen smiled superficially and brushed it off saying that he didn’t suffer much.
Yet his words hid words within them, while the teen was laughing on the surface, Prince Yue noticed the a hint of anger and unwillingness within his voice.
He mused to himself, the boy probably met with some hardship in the manor.
This was good news for the plotting prince. The more these two were at odds with each other, the more likely he would leans towards him.
Leaving behind another word of concern, he strode out of the room, extremely pleased with the outcome.
As for Ning Chen, he left for his own accomodations having handled the matter with the prince. What greeted him on return was a bored Ah Man, pacing around his courtyard, he chuckled and waved to the princess: “Ah Man, come over here for a second.”
Having spent all that time with those bunch of old foxes, he ended up picking up the bad habit of lying at every step. Rather than accompanying them, he would much rather spend time with Ah Man and make her happy.
Hearing his voice, a radiant smile crossed her lips as she walked up to him and asked in a bubbly voice, “What’s the matter?”
“I have something fun in mind, want to come?” Ning Chen answered with a smile.
“Definitely.” She chimed without a moment’s hesitation.
“Let’s go. Give me a push.”
Ah Man walked up to the teen’s back as adorable as ever. With her hands on his wheelchair, she made sure to remind him one last time, “No more fighting.”
“Mhm, no fighting.” Ning Chen answered with a nod.
He knew how shocking the sight of him spitting out blood was for her. It even left her a trauma of sorts when it came to fights.
In this world, Ah Man was probably the person he had the hardest time understanding. At the same time, she was also the easiest person to understand. Even after all those deaths yesterday, she didn’t even bat an eye and yet the moment he spat out blood, she immediately balked.
The reason was actually really simple, Ah Man was never one to be bound by the rules of this world. As long she thought that he was right, then he had to be right so whoever he fought against had to be bad.
“Do you know how bored I was after you left me alone in the morning?” Her lips pouted slightly as she unabashedly stated what she thought.
“There won’t be a next time, I’ll be sure to bring you along next.”
“So, where are we headed yo?”
“Shopping, the tailor and the pharmacy.”
“I’m broke,” she declared honestly.
“It’s fine, I’m paying.” Declared Ning Chen in a tone as generous as she was honest.
Prince Yan’s salary was still in his hands so he might as well borrow it for now. All he had to do was pay back the money later.
However, to think she actually left home without a single cent. How careless of her.
Ah Man pointed at a store front.
The two entered the store and after giving the store a quick look around, Ning Chen pointed at the cheapest cloth roll on the table and said, “I want 15 cm of that.”
Hearing that, the boss immediately the teen a scornful look. Of all the misers he had encountered thus far, this kid had to be the worst.
“We don’t sell that in those amounts.” He answered with an obvious tone of displeasure in his voice.
Ning Chen frowned, yet just as he was about to reason with the boss, Ah Man pointed at the most beautiful roll of silk on the shelves and said, “I want that one.”
It had an elegant hue that was neither too dark nor too bright. Just by looking at its clear sheen, one could tell that it was from a famous workshop and was worth a princely sum.
“…I’ll buy it!” Ning Chen forced out those words through gritted teeth that were still gnashing audibly despite delivering their payload.
Hearing that, the boss’s face immediately changed, his lips stretched into the widest grin they could manage, “No problem, Young Master still wants this roll right? Don’t worry, there’s no need to cut it, you can have it all for free!”
Ning Chen gnashed his teeth once more as he unwillingly handed over the silvers and rolled out of the store, cloth rolls hugged tightly in his arms.
How could he have forgotten that this little lady was a bonafide princess. Her standards couldn’t be compared to an ordinary person’s.
More importantly, she was a woman and whenever a woman saw something pretty, they had to have it.
Two rolls of cloth for a total of 132 taels even with his own roll being given away for free.
This silk might as well have been made of silver.
“Ah Man, what did you buy that for?” Ning Chen asked, heart dripping with blood with every strained word he enunciated.
“To sew a garment.” She answered with eyebrows slanted and lips grinning.
“Don’t you have a lot of those already?” Ning Chen simply didn’t understand her. When they left the palace, all she brought was clothes and nothing more.
“But I still don’t have this kind of garment.” Ah Man declared in a matter of fact tone.
“……” He didn’t know how to reply to that. He had truly done his best but he still couldn’t understand her unfathomable train of thought.