The next morning came and Zhang Shi Lan sent a servant to Qian Mu Qing’s house with a letter asking whether he would be available to meet up with him and Yu Huang Rong. He hesitated a bit and then wrote another letter, making sure to sound just the same way he had in the letter to Qian Mu Qing before he handed it to another servant to deliver it to Yu Huang Rong’s house.
In the General’s manor, one of the servants walked in with a complicated expression. He had just gotten the letter that Zhang Shi Lan had sent and was supposed to deliver it to the General. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem at all. He remembered very well that this Zhang Shi Lan person was the one that had taken part in the event at the matchmaker’s together with the General though. In that case … What if this was about the event? Shouldn’t the Madam know then? But he couldn’t just give the General’s letter to the Madam, could he?
He paced up and down, not knowing what to do. In the end, he waved at one of the maids, calling out. “There’s a letter to the General. The person that sent it is the Zhang Shi Lan that was in the event together with him. Do you think we should tell the Madam?”
The maid looked at the letter in his hand and then back up at the servant’s face. “Of course, we should! Why shouldn’t we?”
The servant scoffed. “Why shouldn’t we? It’s a letter for the General! What if the Madam wants to see it? Then what should we do?”
The maid pursed her lips. That was true though. “Then … How about you bring the letter to the General and I’ll tell the Madam about it?”
The servant nodded. “Right. If we do it that way, even if she asked for it, it would already be with the General. Then she can only go and ask him about it if she wants to see it.”
The maid nodded and the two of them parted ways, each going to one of the masters of the manor. Even though the servants relied very much on the Madam and felt that pleasing her was still more important than pleasing the General at the moment, they still wouldn’t dare to go overboard. After all, he was still the young master of this house. And the achievements he had made for their Chen country … It was better not to anger this person.
The servant rushed to the door to make sure that the Madam wouldn’t be able to send somebody to him and ask for the letter before he could deliver it. He knocked and waited for the General to ask him in.
Yu Huang Rong whirled around and almost rushed over himself. He only barely held back and took a deep breath, clearing his throat before he called out. “Yes?” He had to tightly clasp his hands behind his back to hide his nervousness. Maybe this would be the message from Zhang Shi Lan he had been waiting for? It should be.
The servant opened the door and handed the letter to Yu Huang Rong. “General, that Mister Zhang send a letter.”
“I see.” Yu Huang Rong forced himself to walk over slowly as if he didn’t care at all about the letter he had waited for. He took it from the hands of the servant and looked at it, admiring the elegant handwriting on top. Ah, as expected of Zhang Shi Lan. His writing was just as beautiful as he himself.
Yu Huang Rong turned away and carried the letter over to the desk, sitting down to open it. He glanced at the servant as if he had only remembered that he was still standing there and waved. “Thank you. You may go now. I’ll write a reply and send somebody over.”
The servant nodded and left, closing the door behind him. He couldn’t help but feel a little unlucky though. Now, he had no idea what had been written inside that letter, what the General was going to reply or where any of these two letters would be when the Madam asked for them. He wouldn’t have to search the whole room, would he? He shook his head and hurried away, trying to find a task that would hopefully give him an excuse to leave the manor.
Meanwhile, Yu Huang Rong heaved a sigh of relief at finally being alone and rushed to open the letter. He eagerly unfolded the paper and looked at the neatly written words. What he saw …
His brows furrowed. There were some polite pleasantries, a reference to their conversation in front of Zhang Shi Lan’s house two days ago, a mention of Qian Mu Qing and how he had been invited, some more pleasantries and then, he finally asked if he would be willing to join them at a restaurant in the eastern part of the city. All of that was followed by some more polite words and then Yu Huang Rong was already faced with the end of the letter.
He looked at it in a daze, not quite comprehending what he was seeing there. Where were the sweet words? The sugary greeting for his lover? The anticipation of finally seeing each other again? Don’t tell him Zhang Shi Lan wasn’t feeling anything of that?!
He sighed and put the letter down on the table, chastising himself. What was he even thinking? As if Zhang Shi Lan would be able to write something like that. No, that was impossible. He knew that so why had he still expected something else?
He picked the letter up again and carefully read through it once more. Maybe there was at least a hidden message in there? Unfortunately, when he got to the end once again, he hadn’t found anything.
Yu Huang Rong rubbed his forehead and cursed. He really was such an idiot. He also knew that the situation wasn’t very good. They had to be as careful as possible. Naturally, Zhang Shi Lan wouldn’t risk their future together just to include a few sweet words in his letter.
He understood that. He knew it was the right decision. He couldn’t help but feel that it was a bit of a letdown though. This was the first letter he had gotten from his sweetheart, alright? Couldn’t he hope to get a bit more than just politeness and pleasantries? He had wanted something more. Just a bit more. At least one sweet word. Was it really impossible?
Ah, when they went to that restaurant today, he should ask for paper and ink and then hand it to Zhang Shi Lan so he could write a letter then and there. He could tug it in his clothes and take it home and then read it just as if the letter had been sent. Then, he would also have a sweet letter from the person he loved. It should be exciting, shouldn’t it?
Yu Huang Rong smiled at the idea and wrote down his answer, going to call for a servant and letting them bring the letter over. Then he went and picked out a nice robe. This one wasn’t as good as the one he had worn to the event at the matchmaker’s but he hoped that it would be enough to impress Zhang Shi Lan a little.
Well, maybe impressing him wouldn’t be too important. After all, Zhang Shi Lan already was in love with him and they had even confessed their feelings. It might be alright if he was just himself. Maybe that was impressive enough in Zhang Shi Lan’s eyes.
Yu Huang Rong put his robe on with a big smile on his face and then wondered what to do to pass the time until they were supposed to meet. He definitely didn’t want to stay in the house. If he did, his mother might just come to interrogate him once again. If he could somehow prevent that, he would definitely do so.
Mn … Since he was meeting up with the person he loved … maybe he should bring something. If this was a woman, then going out to buy some jewelry would be the right thing to do. But considering what Zhang Shi Lan had said two days ago, he wouldn’t be willing to be treated like a woman.
In that case … What would a man like him want to get? It had to be something he’d be happy about. It couldn’t be anything too simple though. Otherwise, he might get something like that from another friend too. He couldn’t let that happen! No, his present had to be the most special so that whenever Zhang Shi Lan saw it, he would think of him. Ah, come to think of it, it might be a good idea to take something that Zhang Shi Lan would see very often. That way, he would think of him regularly too.
Yu Huang Rong nodded to himself and then left his room, going to the market while ignoring the servant that was once again following him. Seriously, was his mother never getting tired of this? Sure, he didn’t talk much about his affairs. But did she really think that the servants would be able to tail him if he really had something secret going on that he didn’t want anybody to know? Certainly not! Ah, maybe he should tell his father to advise her sometime that this was stupid.
Well, then again this might work in their favor. After all, he could purposefully do things that would let his family believe everything was going the way they wanted up until the moment when he and Zhang Shi Lan could finally get married. Or well, at the very least up until the moment when they finally told his parents that he wanted to marry Zhang Shi Lan.
Ah, he’d really like to know just when that would be. He didn’t want to wait too long. After all, they had already lost several years. There shouldn’t be any need to wait even longer.