Chapter 729 The Young Minister of Public Works of the Yan Kingdom
“Excuse me, is your miss inside?” A clean voice came from the corridor. It sounded familiar. Mo Xuetong put down the medical book in her hand and listened. But she could not figure out who it was for the moment.
“Our miss is inside; may I ask who you are…” Qing Zhu put down the fan in her hand and asked in confusion. The medicine pot was still on the stove where a small fire was burning. The smell of medical herbs was strong.
In front of her stood a clever little maidservant in green clothes, followed by a young lady who was about 15 or 16 years old. This young lady also had a handsome and straight young master beside her. The two looked similar. One might wondered if they were siblings. At the sight of this handsome young master, Qing Zhu’s face changed greatly.
She took a few steps back and made a big bow. “Greetings, Minister of Public Works!”
In the Yan Kingdom, it could be said that there were no people who did not know about the Minister of Public Works, Lan Yanwen. The most outstanding person in the Lan family was Lan Yanwen, who was from the main branch of the Lan family. He had been engaged in politics since he was 16 years old. It took him only four years to rise from a small eighth-grade official to the Minister of Public Works.
Even though he was not a minister who was in charge of the civil affairs, nor was he in charge of military affairs, he was so powerful that he was able to contend with the Crown Prince and the First Prince. He was the most powerful person in the Yan Kingdom and was also the successor of the Yan family. How could Qing Zhu not be suspicious when such a powerful person suddenly appeared in the Beauty Gathering Palace? Qing Zhu could not help but feel a little nervous. Even though Mo Xuetong’s identity had not been revealed, could it really be hidden from the intelligent Minister of Public Works?
“You don’t have to be so polite. I don’t know if your miss is free. Is it convenient for her to meet us?” Lan Yanwen asked with a polite smile.
“Our miss is free. I will report to her,” Qing Zhu replied. She straightened up and entered the room. As she turned around the flower screen, she saw that Mo Xuetong was looking at her with wide eyes. She hurriedly lowered her voice and reported, “This is Lan Yanwen, Minister of Public Works of the Yan Kingdom. He is extremely smart and I don’t know why he is here.”
Mo Xuetong immediately understood and nodded, indicating that she had understood. Even though she had no idea why the Minister of Public Works came to her, it was definitely not a good thing! It wasn’t her real identity and of course, her identity could not be exposed.
“Elder brother, are you really going to see her?” Outside the room, Lan Yuyan asked in a low voice with disdain.
She was also the girl of a branch of the Lan family, who had a status similar to Lan Luo. But because of her delicate appearance, she had been raised in the main branch of the Lan family. Usually, she went to school with the daughters of the main branch of the Lan family and thought highly of herself.
The Lan family had always done one thing. Unlike other aristocratic families, no matter whether it was from the main branch or not, as long as a beautiful girl was born, she would be raised in the main branch of the family. Then, she would become more and more beautiful. Therefore, the Lan family’s daughter’s good appearance was well-known in the Yan Kingdom. Even two of them became the in the Yan Emperor’s consorts.
“I heard that this younger sister is extremely beautiful. The elders of the manor asked me to come and have a look,” Lan Yanwen said casually.
In fact, when he had seen the list of the Beauty Contest, Lan Yanwen didn’t care about Lan Luo, his distant relative, at all. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been here until today. However, the Beauty Gathering Palace was in the imperial palace, and it was inappropriate for him to come here rashly. So he took Lan Yuyan with him.
There were many beautiful girls in the Lan family. Lan Yanwen didn’t think that a girl, who had been away from the Lan family for years, was important.
“Minister of Public Works, this way please.” Qing Zhu walked out of the room and respectfully invited the guests.
Lan Yanwen threw his sleeves and walked in gracefully. Behind him, Lan Yuyan followed him with the help of a maidservant. What kind of lady was Lan Luo? The main branch asked the most famous male cousin to take a look at her.
The room was unusually elegant. The lake-colored gauze curtain was lifted high, revealing a bead curtain. Although it was not gorgeous, it added a little coolness to the bustling palace. The window curtain made of green gauze was blown up by the wind and then slowly fell down, making it look a little colder.
Mo Xuetong had grown quickly these past few days. Her eyes grew clearer and prettier. She stood there in a fearful manner. Her black hair was tied into a bun which looked as if it was about to fall, which made her even more charming; she was extremely beautiful and her black lashes were as long as a brush; her nose wings were small and her lips were pink and as tender as honey. She looked like a blooming white lotus; her eyes were filled with water, giving off an indescribable beauty.
She looked kind of pure and kind of charming. These two qualities strangely blended together to form a fascinating charm!
Such a beauty was so delicate and attractive. When they looked into each other’s eyes, Lan Yanwen only felt that all the blood in his body seemed to have been sucked away in an instant. After a pause of his breath, the blood immediately flowed into his heart. For a moment, his mind was blank, and his body suddenly became unusually hot.
“Are you Sister Lan Luo?” Lan Yuyan sized up Mo Xuetong carefully. A hint of astonishment flashed across her eyes, but then turned into enmity. She would never have thought that a girl of the distant branch of the Lan family, who had been away from the family, would be able to grow up to be such a fairy-like lady. She was alarmed.
They both came to compete for the position of the consort in the East Palace. The meaning behind this was enough to make Lan Yuyan jealous.
“Excuse me, who are you?” Mo Xuetong looked at the people in front of her indifferently. She did not want to have too much contact with the Lan family. The more she interacted with them, the easier it would be for her, a fake Lan Luo, to be discovered.
“Sister Lan Luo, this is Cousin Lan Yanwen from the main branch of the Lan family. I am your cousin, Lan Yuyan. When we came to the palace that day, I wanted to chat with you.” Lan Yuyan hid the hostility in her eyes and went forward to hold Mo Xuetong’s hand as she said warmly.
Mo Xuetong took two steps back calmly. There was a hint of wariness and coldness in her bright eyes as a faint smile appeared on her lips, but this smile seemed distant. “Minister of Public Works, Miss Lan, it is rare for you two to come today. I should have made tea for you. However, I have no good tea. Hence, I might as well not embarrass myself.”
These ladies, who had come to the palace to join in the Beauty Contest, had not yet become the Crown Prince’s consort, so the private items they used were brought in the palace by themselves. Given Mo Xuetong’s new identity, she really had no good tea, but she definitely had tea. It was said that her uncle, who was a business, loved her very much. One could tell from the fact that she was in poor health but had never used inferior medical herbs.
In fact, Mo Xuetong was asking them to leave in disguise!
The smile on Lan Yuyan’s bright face immediately stiffened. She did not expect Mo Xuetong not to know how to appreciate kindness. When people of the main branch came, every branch of the Lan family would fawn on them. If they could get involved with them, everyone would try their best to climb up. Just like that year, in order to send Lan Yuyan to enter the main branch, her parents had put in a lot of effort.
They gave the main branch money and antiques, only hoping that her daughter could learn how to be a decent lady in the Lan family and win the favor of the noble.
“There is no need for any good tea. A bowl of boiled water is enough!” Lan Yanwen had returned to normal at this time. He smiled peacefully before he strode in, came to a chair on one side and sat down.
Lan Yuyan followed him in and sat down on the other side, her maidservant standing behind her.
According to the two’s behaviors, it was not easy to get rid of them. Mo Xuetong sighed and had to sit down on another empty chair. She had said that there was no go tee, so Qing Zhu brought three cups of plain boiled water. Mo Xuetong had been drinking plain boiled water these days because she had been drinking herbal soup and was afraid that the medicine would be diluted.
So she picked the cup up and naturally took a sip.
Looking at the plain water in the cup, Lan Yuyan frowned. She turned her head with a hint of sarcasm in her eyes. “She is really raised outside the family. She is extremely green and inexperienced. She doesn’t even have tea leaves when having water. She is inferior to the servants of the Lan Manor.” However, Mo Xuetong’s behavior made her heave a sigh of relief.
“Although she is pretty, she has no grace at all. As she has been cultivated to a girl of low class, how could she be favored by the Crown Prince? How could she be a match for me?”
As Lan Yuyan thought of this, the sarcasm in her eyes dissipated, and a gentle smile appeared on her face.
Lan Yanwen was not particular about it. He picked up the plain water and took a sip naturally. His eyes involuntarily landed on Mo Xuetong. Her makeup was extremely light. There was not a hint of rouge on her pink face, but she was outstanding. She was dressed in a lake-colored dress and had tied up her slender waist. She looked natural and elegant. Her behavior was neither humble nor overbearing. She didn’t like the kind of young lady who grew up in a business’ family, but looked like a young lady from a noble family.
Her pair of watery eyes was extremely intelligent. With a slight roll of her eyes, she had a hint of charm; It was breathtaking charm!
There was charm in her purity, and her charm was mingled with delicacy and pity. Coupled with her stunning face, her charm was beyond description! For the first time, Lan Yanwen felt that he must clearly see his cousin who was out of the power of the Lan family.
“Is there anything inconvenient to be here, Sister Lan Luo? If there is, get someone to the manor to inform me. I’ll make your life more comfortable.” Lan Yanwen’s smile grew even more friendly after he measured Mo Xuetong’s value. He started to gently care about her life. Glancing at the dim curtains that had not been shone by the sun, he stated meaningfully.
At first glance, one could tell that it was not a sunny courtyard. It was indeed the best direction in a hot summer day. But the problem was that it was still winter, but it was not a place where the sun could shine. What was more, the decoration was cool. After staying for a long time, people couldn’t help but feel a little cold from the bottom of their hearts. Ordinary people couldn’t bear it, let alone the person on Lan Yanwen’s opposite side, who looked even more delicate.
Lan Yuyan was also assigned to the northern courtyard, but was transferred to the southern courtyard because of him.
“Many thanks, Minister of Public Works. The environment here is very good,” Mo Xuetong smiled.
Lan Yanwen’s expression was still calm and elegant even though Mo Xuetong did not accept his help. “You don’t have to be so polite. We are cousins and there is nothing that you can’t tell me. Ever since we found out that you’ve come to participate in the Beauty Contest, our family has been worried about you. We were afraid that you would come in the name of your uncle and be looked down upon. That’s why we came specially to visit you today.”
“Oh, thank you very much, Minister of Public Works.” Mo Xuetong remained unmoved, still cold and distant, as if she could not feel Lan Yanwen’s deep care for her at all, or understand the meaning behind his words. Lan Yanwen tried to lure her with the influence of the Lan Manor. He had underestimated her.
As she refused calmly, Lan Yuyan smiled and said, “Sister Lan Luo, you don’t have to hurry to refuse. Anyway, people of the Lan family are your clansmen. You have been raised in someone else’s family since you were a child, but no matter what, you can’t change the fact that you are a child of the Lan family. Sister, don’t be angry with our cousin. he was still young at that time, so he didn’t know anything.”
Mo Xuetong’s expression changed the moment she finished speaking. She stood up suddenly and shot a cold glance at them. A trace of annoyance came to her pale face. However, it was immediately suppressed. “Miss Lan, Minister of Public Works, I’m not feeling well. I’m afraid I can’t stay with you any longer.”
After that, she directly turned around the screen and went straight into the inner room without saying anything.
“Elder brother, she… how could she!” Lan Yuyan stood up, stomped her feet and pouted after being embarrassed by Mo Xuetong.
Lan Yanwen glanced at her thoughtfully and stood up as well. Then he said to Mo Xuetong behind the screen, “Since you’re not feeling well, I’ll take my leave first. I’ll come to see you in a few days.”
After finishing his words, he turned around and strode away, glancing at Lan Yuyan out the corner of his eye, without waiting for her.
He was born in a big aristocratic family. He had already known that Lan Yuyan wasn’t trying to persuade Lan Luo, but in fact, she was trying to embarrass her. She mentioned what had happened in the past, which would only make Lan Luo embarrassed and resentful. After all, Lan Luo’s parents had died in the hands of a member of the Lan family. If Lan Luo was filial, she would ignore them!
Lan Yuyan wanted to catch up with him and suck up to him, but for some reason, his cold gaze made her astonished and she didn’t dare to catch up with him.