Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Ning Zhao felt a little helpless. She didn't know what else she could do to persuade him otherwise, so she simply pursed her lips and didn't say another word.
When Young Master was in a good mood, it meant someone else was in for trouble.
She became alert. Ning Zhao changed her attitude after what had happened with Han Lianxiao.
As long as she lived, she would never let anyone touch a single hair on Young Master's head, even though she really couldn't tell exactly how powerful Young Master really was.
But since she was supposed to protect Young Master, his life was everything to her.
There was a pier on the side of Beiluo Lake, and two or three fishing boats were moored there.
The boats were meant for fishing. Beiluo Lake was full of large and plump sea bass. If the fish's color was good, one could sell it for as much as two pieces of silver.
Bass was a favorite among the aristocratic families.
At night, several recreational boats heavily decorated with lights would come from Drunk Dust Court on Beiluo Lake Island, and the entire lake would become lively and festive, turning into a place of pleasure and self-indulgence.
In the daytime, these recreational boats were moored by Beiluo Lake Island.
Ning Zhao found a fishing boat, and the skipper was an old man in a conical hat with a huge gap-toothed grin on his face.
Lu Fan remained in the wheelchair and was carried into the small fishing boat by Ning Zhao and Nie Changqing.
Once everyone had gotten on board, the old skipper held the long, thin paddle, stabbed it with a loud "dong" into the lake, then pushed it through the water so that the fishing boat slowly moved forward and glided along the surface of the lake.
The deafening sound of horses galloping came from the shore after the little boat Lu Fan was in had already traveled quite a distance across the lake.
On the shore, Chen Beixun, Liu Ye, and Zhu Yishan had arrived on horseback. They pulled the reins and stopped their horses as they looked out across the lake.
"He still dared to go?" Liu Ye remarked in surprise as he watched the small boat float off into the distance.
"He has a First Resonance Grandmaster maid and a Sixth Resonance Grandmaster coachman with him. That's his source of confidence."
Chen Beixun turned to look at Liu Ye, his beautiful hair flowing in the wind.
He turned back around to look at the fishing boat, which was gradually becoming more and more blurry as it advanced further along the misty surface of the lake and twirled his hair.
"But then again, all men are philanderers. There are some scholars who were capable but didn't gain recognition, and they've used Drunk Dust Court to spread glamorous stories about themselves to become famous. Touching down on Drunk Dust Court will only bring trouble upon oneself, and even someone like Lu Changkong would think twice before going there."
"Lu Fan is a scholar who's read nothing but Confucius. If all of Beiluo's Confucianists went up against him, I imagine he'd become disheartened and would lose focus, or even fall into depression. And if he falls into the lake by accident and drowns, even if Lu Changkong comes back… nothing can be said about it." Chen Beixun held onto his horse's reins, and a confident smile played about his lips, which were covered by his hair.
Liu Ye and Zhu Yishan's eyes also lit up.
Since they were heirs to aristocratic families, they naturally weren't useless, empty talkers.
"Beixun, this is an incredibly vicious move."
"Lu Changkong left the city this morning and went to the capital. If Lu Fan has to go up against all those Confucianists, even if he becomes disheartened, the two Grandmasters by his side will be difficult to deal with."
"But I'm a Confucianist, and all Confucianists have Righteousness Qi. Confucian Righteousness Qi is fearless, even in the face of a Grandmaster."
"Besides, all the Confucianists present are capable, and many regard the Imperial Advisor as the greatest of them all. If Lu Ping'an allows his Grandmasters to kill at random, that would be the same as offending the Imperial Advisor of Great Zhou, which would be a really difficult situation for Lu Fan to wriggle himself out of," Zhu Yishan laughed.
"Scholars' tongues are evil and poisonous," Liu Ye added.
Chen Beixun pushed his hair aside and dismounted his horse. He looked out at the misty lake and said calmly, "Lu Ping'an's Grandmasters aren't a problem. Sword Sect from my side… also has a Grandmaster on standby. Lu Changkong thinks the Sword Sect wouldn't dare to do anything too drastic, but he's wrong. Times have changed. Today, I'll step on Lu Ping'an's dead body and let Lu Changkong know… that Sword Sect has stepped up its game."
With that, the three of them found a small boat, and it cut the water's surface as it chased after Lu Fan's little fishing boat.
They weren't going to miss out on any of the action that was going to take place at Beiluo Lake Island.
The old man gripped the paddle and thrust it through the surface of the water, startling the fish.
The fishing boat cruised onward and created a misty, cool breeze that blew through Lu Fan's hair and made it fly elegantly in the wind.
Ni Yu had the chessboard on her back. She was sprawled on the side of the boat and holding her stomach, her face covered in tears and snot.
She was close to puking up last night's dinner.
She… was seasick.
Nie Changqing and Ning Zhao both had their hands on the hilts of their weapons. They stood alert on either side of Lu Fan, sternly scanning the misty and blurry surface of the lake.
As Grandmasters, they had heightened senses and could detect danger nearby. This lake… looked calm, but it wasn't really calm at all.
The old man also seemed to sense that something was amiss, and he slowed his paddling down.
"Uncle, continue to row… and I'll pay you double the amount of silver," Lu Fan said calmly as he sat in his wheelchair, one hand under his chin and the other gently playing with a black chess piece.
The old man looked a little conflicted, but he eventually revealed a smile, which was missing two front teeth.
"You're a really practical boy."
The old man raised his paddle high again and even started singing a Beiluo City folk song to bolster his courage.
His singing lingered on the surface of the lake, and it made for a rather unique experience.
Lu Fan glanced at the old man, who was singing with great gusto, while his thumb lightly tapped on the chess piece between his index finger and middle finger.
Beiluo Lake Island actually wasn't very large.
The entire island was round and was only about three miles in diameter.
There were peach trees on one half of the tiny island, and the flowers were currently in bloom, so the trees were all pink, and there were large clusters of flowers everywhere.
Besides for Drunk Dust Court, there were no other structures on the island.
As the fishing boat rocked along, Lu Fan and the rest could make out Beiluo Lake Island, which had earlier been shrouded in mist.
He could make out a six-story building. Its walls were painted vermilion, and it had glazed roof tiles that curved upward at the corners… there was a large red lantern on each floor, and its red cloths flying in the wind accentuated its gentle charm.
This was truly a place that was depraved to its core.
Lu Fan narrowed his eyes.
His Physique Strength was now at 1, and his eyesight had improved by quite a bit. He could sort of see that each floor of the building was filled with pretty courtesans, who were all laughing merrily. Some of them were daintily holding silk handkerchiefs. A few wore intricate makeup, while others used paper fans to cover half of their faces. All of them were looking at the rocking fishing boat Lu Fan was on as they continued to gently nudge and push each other and laugh coquettishly.
Nie Changqing's expression didn't change, but Ning Zhao frowned and said in a low voice, "How unbecoming!"
Ni Yu continued to puke.
She was still seasick…
Lu Fan put the black chess piece back into its box and intertwined his fingers on the woolen throw over his legs.
The expression on his face hardened.
He lifted his head and looked in front of him.
Rocking back and forth in the mist… one boat after another broke through the haze and sailed toward them.
Twenty-odd recreational boats came in succession and filled the lake.
All the recreational boats that Drunk Dust Court had were in use.
Lu Fan slightly raised an eyebrow.
The old skipper panicked a little and thrust the paddle into the lake to stop the small boat from moving.
Each boat that came toward them through the mist was bigger, prettier, and more opulent than their old and battered fishing boat.
Scholars in long robes and scholarly headdresses stood on the recreational boats, looking at Lu Fan and the rest on the fishing boat. They either had a look of self-righteous anger on their face, a cold look, or no expression at all.
"Young Master Lu… our brothers Liu Ye and Zhu Yishan have told us that Young Master Lu has selfish reasons for wanting to take over Drunk Dust Court and dismissing all the young ladies here. Is this true?"
"Lu Ping'an, we are all scholars, and we all seek justice in our hearts. How has Drunk Dust Court wronged you? Do you want to destroy it just because your legs are disabled, which makes it difficult for you to indulge in this area of life?"
"There is righteousness in this world, and there is justice in people's hearts. Courtesans are humans too, and they represent a profession that has widely been accepted by the people… Since it's a profession, they have pride and dignity. If you do this, these young ladies will lose the place where they belong, and their lives will be ruined. This is a sin!"
"We will never agree to this!"
All the Confucianists stood at the helm of their recreational boats with their hands behind their backs. They faced the billowing wind from the lake, and the outline of their determined bodies was well-defined, and their words were firm and carried great weight.
Their words resounded like thunder, scaring a group of birds.
There were nearly thirty recreational boats, so there were more than a hundred Confucianists.
All of them were looking coldly at Lu Fan.
Behind Lu Fan's fishing boat, there was another fishing boat that had stopped several hundred feet away and was now bobbing on the surface.
Chen Beixun, Liu Ye, and Zhu Yishan were standing on the boat and looking out at the lake in anticipation.
More than a hundred Confucianists were coldly looking at Young Master Lu.
They had spent the night planning this and had imagined it over and over again in their minds, but now that they were actually seeing it unfold, their hearts pounded with excitement.
They were getting back at Lu Fan for the indignation they had felt at Lu Manor that morning.
Chen Beixun gently stroked his beard and narrowed his eyes, as if he had everything under control.
"These Confucianists are capable, but many of them are depressed because they haven't been able to make a name for themselves, so now they need a platform where they can make themselves known. For Confucianists, the most important thing is building a reputation. Even if they know all of this is just a ploy by the aristocratic families, they're willing to take part." Chen Beixun smiled faintly.
He was very pleased with all of this. He loved the feeling of being able to defeat his enemy without bloodshed.
Liu Ye and Zhu Yishan were also smiling.
The aristocratic families may have lost their standing and their control of Beiluo City, but… since Lu Fan actually dared to touch their assets, they couldn't be blamed for making sure he didn't come out unscathed!
They were very curious to see how this crippled Young Master Lu would handle this.
In the fishing boat, Lu Fan looked at the grand scene before him and laughed.
Nie Changqing had his calloused hand on the hilt of his butcher knife.
His butcher knife could kill pigs, and it could also kill people, especially if those people were unreasonable.
Ning Zhao's face had turned white from anger.
Those who were unreasonable were scholars, and those who were argumentative were also scholars.
Young Master had instructed her the day before to make sure each young lady was properly relocated after he dissolved Drunk Dust Court.
She wanted to argue back against the scholars, but facing a hundred scholars' scolding tongues was like standing before a hurricane; instead of a storm of water, it was words. Ning Zhao's words stuck in her throat, and she found it difficult to speak.
Lu Fan comforted Ning Zhao, patting her waist. His smile was like a beam of sunshine as he said, "Don't be angry. Don't be angry. You know I'm kind to people."
He then turned to look at the Confucians in the recreational boats, and the smile on his face slowly faded.
"But… when it comes to idiots, it's hard to say how I'll behave."
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