The two of them separated, unwilling to draw too much attention to them when the final stages of their plan were right in front of them. Nothing could go wrong by now.
Yu Huang Rong walked through the streets of the capital, wondering what to do. He should go to see Madam Yan as soon as possible to find out what they were supposed to do next. He couldn’t help but worry though. So far, her plans had been slightly strange but nothing too out of the ordinary. Actually, this was probably something he could also have come up with himself. Letting their parents get along well, making sure they didn’t take a liking to any of so other candidates … That was the obvious thing to do.
He really wondered what she wanted to do about the rest though and he couldn’t help but feel that things might become difficult. After all, she had told him that he might need Luan Xin’s help. Well, she had probably thought that they’d be able to arrange things even without him but that didn’t mean that he shouldn’t be alarmed if she said that it would be easier with his help. Just what kind of thing had she come up with?
The teahouse where he had met with Zhang Shi Lan was also on the bank of the Fen Hua River so naturally, he soon arrived in front of the matchmaking pavilion where he had met with Madam Yan for the first time. Looking at the place and thinking of those rumors about how everyone who was led here would be able to find true love, his heart finally settled.
Regardless of what was to come, there was some truth to these rumors: He had found the love of his life and the person was even in love with him. Without Madam Yan, he wouldn’t have been able to realize this. He also wouldn’t have been able to come this far. Even if the last plan was strange, he should trust that they would be able to make something out of it. Anyway, he didn’t have a better idea so he might as well go along with whatever Madam Yan said.
Yu Huang Rong stepped into the main building, looking around to find either Madam Yan or one of her two aides. He didn’t need to look for long. He had just walked down the corridor when Xiao Xi turned around the corner, almost colliding with him.
Yu Huang Rong sidestepped, nodding at her at the same time. “Miss Xiao Xi. I’m here to see Madam Yan.”
Xiao Xi tensed up when she saw who the person in front of her was. “Gen… General … Yu.”
Yu Huang Rong nodded, trying to be patient.
Xiao Xi’s gaze darted around before she finally motioned to Madam Yan’s study. “Madam Yan is inside.”
Yu Huang Rong nodded. “Thank you. Then I won’t keep you any longer.” He didn’t wait for her answer and just went to the study himself. Anyway, the girl was obviously afraid of him. It was much better to just go over and take care of things himself. Madam Yan didn’t seem to mind the protocol much in any case.
Yu Huang Rong opened the door and stepped in, walking over to the table and flopping down in the chair opposite Madam Yan. “What’s the next step?”
Madam Yan glanced up from the document she had been writing and raised her brows. “What is General Yu doing here?”
Yu Huang Rong propped his elbow up on the armrest of the chair and gave her a smile. “Didn’t I just say that? I want to know what the next step is. We found out about the women, you’ve managed to discourage our mothers and we’ve made our fathers meet. I don’t know if it was just a stroke of luck or if they are just naturally compatible. They’ve been meeting up several times since then. So I think that it’s time to implement the next step.”
Madam Yan sighed, put the brush to the side and put away the document, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “So you’ve marched over here to tell me that we should do that.”
Yu Huang Rong nodded. “Precisely.”
Madam Yan looked at him, her gaze unreadable. In the end, she just shook her head at him. “Well, what did I expect? Anyway, we’ve sufficiently prepared now. All that is left is to give both your families the last push and then to get married.”
Yu Huang Rong nodded. He had expected that there wouldn’t be many more steps to this plan. Anyway, the more complicated it got, the more time they’d need and the less likely it was to work. With this kind of matter, it was still better to choose the direct approach. “So? What will we do?”
“Staging an ambush.” Yu Huang Rong nodded. “Staging an …” His brows furrowed and he put down his arm, staring at her in a daze. “Come again?”
Madam Yan’s lips curled into a smile. “Aren’t you supposed to be a master martial artist? How come you didn’t hear what I said?”
Yu Huang Rong’s brows twitched. This woman! “I heard very well what you said. I don’t understand what you meant though. Why would we stage an ambush? Who will we even ambush?”
Madam Yan looked at him as if waiting for something but Yu Huang Rong could only requite her gaze uncomprehendingly.
Madam Yan sighed and leaned back. “Your father’s getting along with Minister Zhang. Your mother is getting along with Madam Zhang. Your mother isn’t impressed by any of the candidates she has seen so far. Does that mean it’s likely that either your father or your mother will accept Zhang Shi Lan as your future spouse?”
Yu Huang Rong furrowed his brows again. “Naturally not.” If it was that easy, then he certainly wouldn’t need her help to arrange things and a complicated plan wouldn’t be needed to enable the two of them to get married. He didn’t understand what that had to do with planning an ambush though.
“Since just getting along with the family and not having any other person in sight that would do isn’t going to help, then what do you think would need to happen for your family to accept you and Zhang Shi Lan?”
Yu Huang Rong’s eyes narrowed. Looking from that perspective … “Your meaning is that if they felt there was an even worse outcome, they’d be more susceptible to accept it?” In general, she was right. Unfortunately … “I’ve served at the border for ten years. How often do you think I’ve gotten into life-and-death situations? If anything, this would make my mother only more anxious to have a woman marry into our family and give me some children.”
Madam Yan raised a hand and wiggled her forefinger. “You’re thinking too simply. We’re not going to stage just any ambush. This one will be a little different from the ones you’re used to from the war.”
“And how so?” An attempt on his life was an attempt on his life, wasn’t it? How will that relate to … His brows raised before his expression darkened. “You want Zhang Shi Lan to be involved? No.” He got up and shook his head, pacing up and down in the room. “I don’t agree to that! It’s not a problem if it’s just me. My body is good enough to get through it even if something happens. But Zhang Shi Lan is a scholar. He won’t be able to take it. If something were to happen … That’s not worth it. Being able to see him every now and then even if we’re not a married couple is still better than seeing him die.”
Madam Yan sighed deeply. “You’re making it sound as if I was going to hire some martial arts masters and have them attack you without any preparation. Is it that you’ve been in the war for too long or are you just not trying to understand what I’m saying? We will be staging this. Naturally, nothing will happen to him.”
Yu Huang Rong shook his head, walking back to the table but he was unable to sit down. “I’m afraid it’s you who doesn’t understand. Weapons have no eyes. I don’t want him to get close to that.”
“So do you have a better idea?”
Yu Huang Rong kept mum. Naturally, he didn’t have one. He had thought about what they could do but in the end, he hadn’t been able to come up with anything. These first few steps had been very good. They were logical and rather simple: Making sure that none of the candidates are received too well so he wouldn’t be matchmade hastily by his family and at the same time, making his family feel better about Zhang Shi Lan and his family.
Unfortunately, this feeling better was in terms of their son having a friend in the capital that he could rely on. Maybe having relations with another family but that was it. It didn’t change the fact that Zhang Shi Lan was a man and that they wouldn’t find it suitable for them to marry.
Yu Huang Rong sat down after all and closed his eyes. He had no idea but he still didn’t like it. “Is there no other way?”
Madam Yan smiled when she saw him like this. Frankly, she hadn’t liked this General Yu very much. In her opinion, he was too overbearing, too demanding, not giving his partner enough room to grow for themselves. Originally, he also had wanted to marry just for the sake of it. That was something she didn’t believe in it all.
But seeing him this worried about Zhang Shi Lan’s well-being, she couldn’t help but feel that he wasn’t as bad after all. At the very least, there was a bottom line he wouldn’t cross. And, well, some people just had a different outlook on life. He was probably used to being so overbearing with his position in the army and in his family. Anyway, she wasn’t the one who wanted to marry him so she could ignore that. “There’s one simple way but I’m afraid it won’t be enough.”