The sound of fireworks being set off on the bustling streets in the distance resounded throughout the tranquil night sky. The dazzling light of the fireworks illuminated the night sky. Such contrast made the thousand year old alley seem even more quiet.
Courtyard 19 was in the shape of a perfect square. Within the courtyard was an old Japonica Tree with twisted roots and gnarled branches, and it was extremely luxuriant.
It was the night of the reunion dinner, so the courtyard was covered in bright red lanterns, causing it to emanate a joyous atmosphere.
The ground was covered in shiny and mottled tiles that were filled with a feeling of age.
Chen Lan walked by Mu Qing’s side, and he was slightly surprised all along the way.
“What’s wrong?” She’d been constantly worried that Chen Lan would feel uncomfortable, so Mu Qing had been observing Chen Lan’s expression all along the way. Thus, she’d naturally noticed that wisp of surprise that he revealed.
“The arrangement of this courtyard has a slight sense of seeking tranquility amidst chaos and a gathering of elements to bring happiness.” Chen Lan spoke casually.
Mu Qing was stunned and smiled, “You even know some Feng Shui?”
Chen Lan said, “A little.”
Zhao Zhicheng who was leading the way had heard this as well, and he couldn’t help but turn around and say, “You’ve made quite the mistake. What do you mean by slight? This courtyard was the residence of King Yun of the last dynasty. When he designed this residence all those years ago, King Yun paid a huge price to hire an expert in Feng Shui, and he adopted the style of ‘a dragon swallowing an ocean and convergence of the violet qi of the east’. It’s absolutely a top-rate arrangement in the entire world.”
His voice contained a faint trace of disdain, and then he smiled and said, “Actually, it really is quite rare for you to be able to discern that.”
While these words seemed like praise, it was actually like someone of supreme position judging another. Mu Qing naturally discerned that, but Zhao Zhicheng had concealed the thorn in his words so skillfully that she couldn’t retort on the spot.
As for Chen Lan, he just nodded and didn’t react at all.
When he saw that Chen Lan didn’t seem like he’d been provoked and infuriated at all, Zhao Zhicheng felt powerless like striking a punch against the air. He couldn’t help but feel disgruntled and said with a smile, “Right, I suddenly remembered that you’re from the science stream in the Imperial Academy. Why have you studied Feng Shui instead? That’s not amongst the subjects you should focus on at all. Chen Lan, you should restrain yourself and avoid taking a wrong path.”
Mu Qing frowned. She was just about to say something yet noticed that they’d arrived before the door of the house, and Zhao Zhicheng had walked in already.
Mu Qing felt slightly gloomy and puckered her lips. She looked towards Chen Lan yet noticed that his expression seemed normal, and only then did she finally heave a sigh of relief.
Zhao Zhicheng’s grandfather, Zhao Guangpu, was one of the seven great generals who fought for the creation of the empire, and he was an absolutely authoritative figure. Even if he’d retreated behind the scenes, he still possessed great authority and influence in the empire.
On the other hand, Zhao Zhicheng’s father, Zhao Pingbo, was the current commanding officer of the Star Ocean Fleet, and he’d just been promoted to lieutenant general. He was a formidable figure of the younger generation who had two golden stars on his shoulder. He was at the prime of his life, so if nothing unexpected occurred, then he would definitely advance a step further and ascend to the position of admiral.
With such a deep military background, it was obvious how dazzling Zhao Zhicheng, a third generation member of the Zhao Clan, was. He was definitely a renowned figure amongst the young nobles of the capital. They called him Young Master Zhao. He’d been rather scheming since a young age, so regardless of how much aversion and displeasure the words of such a person made one feel, it was utterly impossible to grab onto any flaws in his words.
When Zhao Zhicheng had suddenly appeared in her house, Mu Qing faintly understood something, and she couldn’t help but feel a headache on the horizon.
She’d already been worried about gaining her parents’ approval during the reunion dinner. Never had she imagined that this third generation son of a military family would be here as well.
She couldn’t help but sigh in her heart.
The central room was where the master of the house entertained the guests.
At this moment, the door to the central room was wide open and it was brightly illuminated. Moreover, there were already some figures seated at the square sandalwood table within the room.
The person seated at the position of the host was a thin middle aged man. He had a fair complexion, an elegant and refined bearing, and had some wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. He seemed to emanate wise and mature charm as he sat there.
A beautiful woman sat by the thin middle aged man’s side. Her long hair was tied into a bun behind her head, and she seemed dignified and graceful. The beautiful appearance Mu Qing possessed was 70% similar to the woman.
Besides them, there was another fat middle aged man at the table. He was grinning as he sat on one of the 8 rosewood chairs before the table, and he seemed rather amiable.
After Zhao Zhicheng entered the room, he immediately smiled and said, “Qing’qing is back. We can finally start eating.” After that, he sat down in a very casual manner, and it seemed like he was displaying that his relationship with the Mu Family was very close.
He naturally did that because of Chen Lan.
After Mu Qing entered the room, she smiled as she said to the middle aged man and woman, “Father, Mother.”
She seemed to be pleasantly surprised when she noticed the middle aged fatty, and she said, “Uncle Ning is here as well? I haven’t seen you for a very long time. You have to stay for some time.”
The fatty roared with laughter and pointed a finger at Mu Qing as he said, “Brother Mu, just look at this little girl of yours, her mouth is getting sweeter and sweeter.”
The thin middle aged man smiled, and then he gazed at Chen Lan who stood by Mu Qing’s side, and his calm gaze carried a heavy force that made others involuntarily arouse a trace of reverence towards him.
Meanwhile, the beautiful woman looked at Chen Lan as well.
“Father, Mother, this is Chen Lan who I told you about.” Mu Qing swiftly introduced Chen Lan.
Chen Lan stepped forward and said, “Hello Uncle, hello Aunty.”
He’d heard from Mu Qing that her father was Mu Tianyuan while her mother was Liu Xiuzhi. Both of them ran the family business, and it was a very huge business.
As for everything else, Chen Lan knew nothing, and Mu Qing hadn’t given him any further details about her family.
“This is Uncle Ning, he’s a childhood friend of my father’s.” Mu Qing introduced the middle aged fatty.
“Hello Uncle Ning,” said Chen Lan.
The middle aged fatty roared with laughter and said, “Make yourself at home and sit down quickly. We’re having a reunion dinner today, so happiness is most important. There’s no need to show restraint.”
“Sit down.” Meanwhile, Mu Tianyuan withdrew his gaze that was sizing up Chen Lan, and he indicated that Chen Lan should take his seat. Merely based on his reaction on the surface, it was utterly impossible to determine exactly what he was thinking.
Once Chen Lan and Mu Qing took their seats, the dinner began.
The foot was quite ordinary and consisted of both vegetable and meat dishes, but their taste was rather unique, and the preparation was very meticulous. Obviously, it wasn’t cooked by an ordinary person.
Chen Lan didn’t speak a single word and just concentrated on eating. Mu Tianyuan and Uncle Ning were having a conversation while Zhao Zhicheng was talking about health and fitness with Liu Xiuzhi, and he even spoke a little with Mu Qing from time to time.
All of them seemed to have intentionally overlooked Chen Lan and given him the cold shoulder.
Mu Qing noticed all of it, and she felt rather uncomfortable. She was prepared to help Chen Lan deflect any tricky questions her parents might throw at him, but never had she imagined that such a situation would appear during the dinner.
Obviously, they were using silence to reject Chen Lan, and such a blow was exceptionally terrible to any person.
After all, it was the first time he’d visited his girlfriend’s home, yet her parents couldn’t even be bothered to make things difficult for him, and they directly disregarded his existence. Could anyone endure such a blow?
Mu Qing bit her lips lightly. She glanced at her parents, glanced at Zhao Zhicheng, and then she wasn’t able to control the flames of rage in her heart any longer. She suddenly tossed her chopsticks on the table, took a deep breath, and said, “Father, Mother, Uncle Ning, I’ve brought him home with me and all of you’ve met him. So do you have anything to say?”
Her voice was calm yet seemed like she was ready to risk everything.
The sounds of conversation in the room stopped abruptly, and everyone’s gazes shot towards Mu Qing.
At this moment, Chen Lan had finally stopped moving his chopsticks, wiped his lips, and just sat there silently without doing anything.
Mu Tianyuan frowned, picked up his cup, drank a mouthful of tea, and fell silent.
When he noticed that the atmosphere was slightly off, Zhao Zhicheng hurriedly said, “Qing’qing, stop causing trouble. We’re having a reunion dinner today, so how can you speak like that to your parents?”
Mu Qing glared at him, “Zhao Zhicheng, stop trying to act like you’re the good guy here. Don’t even think that I’m unaware of your intentions!”
Her words were absolutely blunt, and it was no different than shedding all pretenses. It clearly showed how aggrieved and furious Mu Qing was right now.
Zhao Zhicheng’s face froze and changed indeterminately. As a renowned son of a military family in the capital, would anyone dare to speak to him like that?
If it were any other person, Zhao Zhicheng had countless methods to destroy that person. However, he was in quite an embarrassing and difficult situation when it was Mu Qing who’d spoken those words.
“Enough!” Mu Tianyuan frowned as he berated, and his expression had become serious while his gaze was fierce.
“Alright, she’s just a child that doesn’t know any better. There’s no need to make a fuss about it.” Liu Xiuzhi persuaded.
“Right, my actions were slightly inadvisable. Don’t blame Qing’qing, Uncle.” Zhao Zhicheng smiled before his expression returned to normal. He was clearly in control of his emotions.
Only Uncle Ning gazed at Mu Qing and Chen Lan with interest, and he grinned while remaining silent. No one knew what he was thinking.
“Since you want to know the answer, then I’ll be direct.” Mu Tianyuan spoke calmly, “It’s impossible for the two of you to be together.”
Just the word impossible clearly displayed how firm his decision was.