Liangqiu Min didn’t notice the strange looks the two of them were giving each other and just continued with his story. “To be honest, quite a few men would likely be disturbed by this kind of answer. Personally though, I admire her view. If I am allowed to prefer having a beautiful wife, then why shouldn’t she be able to prefer a beautiful husband? Having to look at me every day, naturally, it would be better if I was handsome.” He smiled to himself as if it really wasn’t a big deal. “Anyway, since she said so, I asked my friend to do a portrait of me as well. I then send it to her family.”
Shangguan Yu turned back to Liangqiu Min at that. “Her family wouldn’t happen to be going by the name of Wang, would it?”
Liangqiu Min shook his head. “No, their name is Gong. As a matter of fact, this is a family of merchants and they are in direct competition with that family surnamed Wang.”
Shangguan Yu gaped at him. So it turned out that there was such a plot behind this! “Then were you on your way to your fiance? Could it be that he somehow wanted to prevent the wedding?”
Liangqiu Min looked at this person that had almost killed him and didn’t quite know what to say. “Well … I guess he wanted to do more than that.”
Shangguan Yu almost wanted to ask again but then took a step back and thought about it himself. Anyway, he was able to figure this out. If Liangqiu Min didn’t manage to get to the city, the wedding would definitely be through. Anyway, he would have been dead by then. So even if it somehow came out that this was a misunderstanding, there was nothing this girl or the Gong family would be able to do. Then … They would be lacking a son-in-law. Could it be … “They didn’t have a son?”
Liangqiu Min shook his head with a smile. “They do. He is younger than her by a few years and still a little immature but he will be able to take over in the future. In fact, that was not why they wanted us to marry. But my family does have some background. It would be beneficial for them to marry their daughter to me. At the same time, my family is in a position where the Gong family’s money would come in handy. We’re doing it mostly for business relations.”
Shangguan Yu sighed. “I guess asking to marry because of love is asking for a little too much.”
Liangqiu Min gave him a strange look as if he had no idea what this crazy person was talking about.
Ao Jing rubbed his cheek. Sometimes, he really wondered if Shangguan Yu was taking this game seriously at all. Maybe they should have played something different in the first place. He cleared his throat to call the two of them back to attention and turned to Liangqiu Min. “You think that this merchant Wang will try to use your death for some sinister plot against the Gong family, right?”
Liangqiu Min nodded. “Yes. At least I think that it is part of that. He doesn’t have a relationship with my family. And if he blames this on somebody else, and maybe even helps with capturing the culprit, then he would be able to establish that connection.
“While he doesn’t have a daughter the age of any of my brothers, he does have a niece. He’d probably try to worm his way in while my family is grieving. At the same time, he could maybe make it out as if the Gong family was behind all this. After all, what was used to goad you into doing this was the painting I sent her. That is quite suspicious.
“Even if that isn’t possible, he might just spread the rumor that she is cursed to have her husband die. She wouldn’t be able to marry, making it so that her family didn’t have any option to use her to form better relationships in the future. It might set them back, letting him have an easier time to rise himself. Well, they might not need to if my family became angry and made them pay for their supposed involvement in my death.”
Ao Jing nodded while Shangguan Yu looked a little offended on behalf of that girl.
“She’s really just a bargaining chip for all sides in this, isn’t she?”
Liangqiu Min turned to look at him, seemingly not quite sure what to say. “She’s my bride. Naturally, she will become part of my family in the future. Currently, she is still part of the Gong family though. Naturally, what happens around her will influence her family. I’m not quite sure why you find this puzzling.”
Shangguan Yu just sighed again. “Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to. Anyway, this Merchant Wang was really daring. He made me almost kill an innocent person. Well, I did kill the guards.”
Liangqiu Min looked around, slightly distraught at seeing the men around him that wouldn’t get up anymore. “Well, it was their task to guard me. Sooner or later, something like this would’ve happened. I will compensate their families when I get back. As for you … I will not pursue this matter if you help me catch the real culprit behind this.”
Shangguan Yu stared at this Liangqiu Min, feeling more and more that he was really cold-blooded. Between him and that Merchant Wang, there might not be that much of a difference. Well, at the very least, he was only asking him to catch a person and not murder somebody. He could probably accept that. “Alright. I guess I owe you. What do you propose?”
Liangqiu Min nodded and got up, dusting off his clothes. “I would suggest we beat him at his own game. Since he doesn’t know that I’m still alive, we now have the upper hand. We just need to investigate some things and then we can come up with a counter plan. Are you alright with that?”
He looked at the two of them and Shangguan Yu and Ao Jing exchanged a glance before nodding.
“Very well. Then we’ll do it that way.”