[If you’re not reading this on chichilations, then you’re reading a stolen copy. Reposts are not allowed anywhere or for any reason!
Links for mobile viewers: Ko-fi Donation — Chichi’s Twitter — Project Index — Digital Version Library
I see all your likes and comments~ Thanks in advance~
The sponsors of this large-sized (7k) chapter are: sevensleeper (3), Chu W. (2), nao (5), Cindy N. (3), and Shelby (1)! Thank you all!
(Click here for details on how sponsored chapters work.)]
The He family was not a parvenu household; despite their many misgivings, there was no way they could go from respect to disdain to the point that they swept someone right out the door.
Patriarch He treated Tang Fan with the same courtesy as he had before, also telling the servants not to slight him, but the news of his dismissal spread quickly throughout the family, even being heard of in Xianghe County.
People not clear on the truth took on the mindset of watching the excitement unfold. Despite the Eldest He being a fourth-rank Prefectural Magistrate, local officials and capital officials were not equivalent; all outsiders had thought that the He’s had a lot of credit in having an in-law that was a capital official, but now they either felt pity for Tang Fan, or felt that it would be difficult for him to make a comeback. Either way, the He’s had probably lost a strong backer.
When it came to the womenfolk’s ideas, they naturally differed from those of the men, with their focus set much more on Tang Yu.
Tang Yu’s parents were already passed, and to say that she had nothing to rely upon wouldn’t be undue. It had been believed that she still had her officially-posted little brother to rely on, but now, she didn’t even have that. The pitiful Second Lady of the He’s had been a minor ghost in the family to begin with, and would likely lose standing all the more, perhaps passing life in hardship.
Regardless of how high the walls were, they couldn’t block the words on the wind. It was unknown what thoughts Tang Yu had, but Tang Fan himself didn’t mind, regardless; it was of no sort of importance to him whether others looked down upon him, and it wasn’t like he was going to be staying in this place for all his life. He only worried after his sister and nephew.
He inquired about things with Tang Yu in private, but she only smiled. “Being an official has always been a harrowing livelihood. Since you liked it before, I was happy for you, and you’re not depressed now that you’re not one, so as long as you’re happy, your sister is happy, too. As for the gossip of others, have I not heard no lack of that over these past years? If I cared about it for no reason, I would have never been able to even live my life properly. Don’t you worry!”
In Tang Fan’s mind, there was no better big sister in this world than Tang Yu. As she had said as much, he didn’t ask further, only having Yan Li and Qian San’r quietly probe around.
On account of the fact that he didn’t have a deep understanding of the He’s at all, and thus had no idea which people needed heavy attention and which could be skipped, he gave the gifts he had brought from the capital to his sister, giving her full power over them. He stayed in the bamboo courtyard the He’s had prepared for him, reminiscing on old times with her and bringing little He Cheng out to play every day, living the good life.
Despite Patriarch He’s order making the servants dare not overlook him, the male heads of each family branch were still somewhat affected. The most obvious incarnation of that was that when Tang Fan had just arrived, they were all exceedingly enthusiastic; He Xuan in particular had grabbed his hand and called him Runqing over and over again, yet after his dismissal had become known, the other had rarely set foot inside the bamboo courtyard. Whenever Tang Fan ran into him outside, he would invite him in for a chat, and even though the other would be warm and cordial, he would also reject him any way he could.
Still, that was just human nature. Many in this world didn’t hesitate to play nice when the weather was good, but few would be able to send firewood when it snowed. Tang Fan naturally would not request such a high standard of the He’s, as big families were always about saving face. The previous generation had a deep friendship, but that was a thing of the past; only towards the Patriarch did he still have much respect.
He Cheng had been completely emancipated after his young uncle’s arrival. With his parents’ permission, he took time off of familial studies to specially keep his uncle company. In addition to bringing him out on the streets to play, Tang Fan would buy him various trinkets, and help him with his homework when he had spare time.
The more they spent time together, the more Tang Fan felt that He Cheng was a very sensible and adorable boy. Other things notwithstanding, whenever he saw someone come looking for Tang Fan, he would thoughtfully take his leave on his own initiative. If Tang Fan asked for him to stay, he would obediently stand to the side and not make a peep. When Tang Fan asked himself what he had been doing at He Cheng’s age, the answer was that he would climb trees to steal bird nests, or take advantage of times his parents hadn’t been paying attention to run off and catch the fish in the lotus-flower pond at home — compared to that, little He Cheng could practically be described as gentle and courteous.
However, it was precisely due to that that Tang Fan felt distressed. It stood to reason that a kid his age ought to be active and stirring stuff up all over the place; furthermore, as a Young Lord from an official’s family, he had nothing he needed to fret about, as opposed to children from poor families. His demeanor should not be so stuffy. He had likely been constantly growing up in oppressive circumstances, for him to have developed a taciturn personality.
Even so, kids were still kids. Following his initial shyness and fear of strangers, He Cheng had quickly accepted his amicable uncle that was willing to play with him as a part of his family. The amount of time he spent smiling also increased, the shadow of being somewhat like his peers gradually appearing on him.
On this day, Tang Fan was teaching him how to write some characters when a maidservant came to report that Yan Li and Qian San’r were asking for him outside.
This place was a neighboring courtyard and wasn’t likely to have the He’s womenfolk come and go near it, but because Tang Fan’s sister would sometimes drop by, he couldn’t allow Yan Li and the others to come right in, lest they run into each other and arouse suspicion.
He Cheng, who had just finished writing one character, raised his head and looked over. Tang Fan pet his hair. “Go on out and play for a bit.”
The boy nodded sensibly, said that he was taking his leave, then left with the maid. Not long after, Yan Li and Qian San’r came in, and sat down separately after bowing.
“Have you had results?” Tang Fan asked.
That question came out of nowhere, but the others knew what he was asking after. Qian San’r looked at Yan Li; seeing that he had no intention of speaking, he went for it. “This lowly one asked around. The Second Lady doesn’t appear to be having too good of a time in this family.”
Tang Fan’s hand that was lifting the lid of his cup slightly paused. “How so?”
“I heard that amongst the three He sons, the eldest, He Yi, has the most promising future, and the most favored is not the Second, but the Third, He Xuan — though the eldest is an abroad official and can come home only a few times a year, He Xuan has now passed the provincials as well, and he’s been called young, capable, and one that brings glory to his ancestors. In contrast, the Second Lord is a bit unremarkable.”
Tang Fan nodded, sighing. “Not only is he unremarkable, but with how arrogant he is, he likely can’t stand being under his brothers’ halos, right?”
“Right. Reportedly, the Second Lord previously planned to get a separate household, only to get severely reprimanded by the Patriarch and never bring it up again.”
“What about my sister?”
Qian San’r shot a timid glance at him. “The He servants said…”
Yan Li kicked him. “Don’t play coy, just say it!”
Qian San’r cried out in alarm, forced to explain quickly. “They said that since the Second Lady’s husband is a failure and she doesn’t have a natal family to rely on, her days haven’t passed easy. The He’s are so busy with social niceties, it’s inevitable that she frequently has to interact with all those women and officials, while the spending money the family gives is limited. The Eldest Lady of the He’s isn’t in this county, while the Third Lady is supplemented by her natal family, leaving only the Second Lady that can’t get money for these expenses. She’s had no choice but to have her maid go pawn pieces of her dowry every couple of days!”
Tang Fan’s brow creased deeply. “If she’s in such a predicament, why wouldn’t she tell me?”
Qian San’r put on a show of sighing. “Sir, this lowly one has always admired your strategic wisdom, but you don’t get what goes on between the women of rich families at all.”
“Strategic wisdom? Don’t randomly use phrases you don’t understand, or claim that you understand women that well,” Tang Fan scolded him with a smile.
The other laughed. “I used to travel all over the place to do shameful thievery, so I naturally heard about a lot of things that happen in inner courtyards, unlike you that does important things…”
“Saying even more nonsense, are you?” Yan Li said with disdain.
Qian San’r frowned, miffed, but didn’t dare to say as much. “Think about it. Cosmetics need money to be bought. When it comes to interacting with women, when they treat you to a banquet of chrysanthemums, won’t you need to repay them by inviting them to a banquet of peonies? Also, other people getting married or their children making the one-month mark are all things that require niceties. Even if the people don’t show, the ceremony still has to. Average people are like that, too, so the He’s are even more meticulous about it than them.”
Tang Fan nodded. “Before she married off, my sister often had to deal with her friends in the inner chambers, and it did cost a considerable amount.”
“Furthermore, I heard that studying in the clan doesn’t cost money, but as a Young Lord born of a He’s proper wife, the remuneration for the tutor, brushes, and ink cannot be cheap. There’s the Second Lord himself, too; even though he’s only a County Honorate, he still has a group of friends he needs to treat, and that all requires money. The money the He’s give can only meet their daily necessities, at best, so these extra expenditures need to be provided by them. The Third Lady’s natal family is wealthy in this county, while the Third Lord receives favor from the parents, so the Old Madam certainly gives them no lack of supplemental income. People like the Second Lord and Lady can only make their own way.”
Tang Fan had not expected him to have asked about so meticulously. “Had you not said as much, I genuinely wouldn’t have picked up on all that,” he praised. “As that’s so, my sister and brother-in-law really are struggling financially.”
“Aren’t they? If the Second Lord passed the provincials, life would be much better for him, but he hasn’t passed it for all these years. Every year, the coin spent on buying books, on brushes and ink, is a lot.”
Why was there such a clear distinction between Provincial and County Honorate? If He Lin passed the provincials, he would grasp the qualifications to become an official, and it wouldn’t even matter if he failed the palace exams. With the He’s connections, it wouldn’t be a huge problem to pass him through a key one and get him the cap of a Head Magistrate or County Deputy. In that way, He Lin would basically be stepping into officialdom, as even if he went to an impoverished county, he would still get a lot of under-the-counter income, which would be an improvement over Tang Fan’s fifth-rank capital post in a clearwater bureau. He would also be able to support his wife and children, then.
The problem here was that he had never been able to pass, remaining as a County Honorate. Those could still act as teachers or tutors, but he was a Don of the He’s — how could he go out and toss away the He’s face like such? That was tantamount to him completely wasting over ten years’ worth of effort, only able to rely upon the He’s living expenses and his wife’s dowry to pass his days.
All said County Honorates were poor — no one was ever heard to say that Provincial Honorates were. This was the reason.
Even parents that loved their children unconditionally would likely still have some complaints upon seeing that they had accomplished nothing into their thirties. On top of that, the He’s had no shortage of accomplished children; what sense was there in him failing exams for over a decade, then putting on his daily airs of others owing him money, and needing to rush up to be considerate to him?
In brief, that was the situation He Lin was currently in.
After Qian San’r was done, it was Yan Li’s turn to speak. “Your honored sister had a fight with her husband last night.”
So, this one had hid out in a corner to eavesdrop on a married couple. “Was it over me?” Tang Fan asked.
The other nodded, then shook his head. “At first, yes, but not later on.”
“What did they say?”
“It started with your brother-in-law saying that since you had such a hard time coming here, that she should persuade you to stay a bit longer.”
“It seems like even though he’s repeatedly failed the exams and is a tiny bit resentful, he still has a good temper. What did he start arguing about?” Tang Fan wondered.
“He said that after the whole family learned of your dismissal, they’re all high-strung, especially his third brother, who’s certainly worried that this will damage his exam next year. What makes his family unhappy, makes him happy.”
“…” He had apparently thought too highly of him.
“Your sister said that Patriarch He isn’t like that, and that he should get along better with his elders so that it wouldn’t be so hard for them to maneuver around like this. He said that he just wanted to make trouble with them because that was the only way the Patriarch would agree to a separation of homes; otherwise, if he continues living under the same roof as them like he is now, with everyone giving him mocking looks wherever he goes, there’ll be no way he could stand it.”
“What came after?”
“She said that he would only bring troubles onto himself like this, and he should be more open-minded, not taking the looks of lowly people to heart. The amount of gray-haired men that go to take the exams are too many to count, and he’s only thirty-four, so he has plenty of time.”
Tang Fan nodded. “With how considerate she is, he should have listened to her, eh?”
Yan Li looked powerless. “Well… he actually got angry, saying that she was hexing him to not be able to pass the exams until he’s eighty.”
Tang Fan felt like a feather getting messed up in the wind. “…”
“He then heard about your sister pawning her dowry again, and said that she was deliberately embarrassing him. He also asked whether she had complained to you or not. She said no, but he didn’t believe her, and the two had a huge row. She later ended up crying as she left.”
A typical person hearing a married couple quarrel would have felt a bit awkward, but Brocade Guards had the year-round duty of interrogation. Yan Li wouldn’t have a change in expression even when listening to demonic spirits scuffling and warring for three hundred rounds, so these trivialities weren’t anything to speak of.
He noticed Tang Fan’s speechless expression. “His misunderstanding towards her appears to be profound. He won’t listen to any sort of advice.”
The other nodded, sighing. “Right. I had believed that he was just arrogant and couldn’t accept the discrepant feeling of once being sought after everywhere, yet now being unable to pass the provincials. I didn’t expect that the knot in his heart would be that deep. Were it not for the two of you’s assistance, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to find this all out about my sister by myself. Asking you to inquire after this stuff is like using a horse-cutting sabre to kill a chicken, Old Yan.”
Yan Li laughed. “It’s fine, I’m not doing anything, anyways! What are your plans, though, Don? It looks like your sister really isn’t living well at the He’s.”
“If she was still by herself right now, this would have been easy. I would have found a way to get her a separation no matter what, then get her a better family to marry into. There are plenty of women that remarry in the Great Ming, and do so well; there would be no way that I would let her suffer grievances. That’s difficult to do now, though. Separation requires both parties to be willing before it can happen, but even if my brother-in-law consents, my nephew exists, and my sister definitely wouldn’t be willing to leave Qilang behind to leave with me. This has to be discussed in the long term. Everything will have to follow my sister’s wishes — if she isn’t willing, no one can force her, not even me.”
This was what they called every family having its quarrels, and good officials being powerless at handling family matters. Yan Li and Qian San’r both felt distress, the latter even sighing. “Isn’t that just it? Women fear marrying off to the wrong man, especially for this large family that has so many rules. Violate one, and the gossip comes — how very difficult!”
No matter how he looked at him, Yan Li felt that this guy needed to get beat, kicking him again. “Act less! A shifty-eyed bloke like you talking like some wealthy lady is gross to look at!”
Qian San’r nimbly avoided him, chuckling afterwards. “You don’t know yet, Sir, but Old Yan has a sweetheart that is a ‘wealthy lady’!”
Tang Fan had been worrying over how to help his sister; upon hearing what Qian San’r said, he couldn’t help but be surprised. “Who have you taken a fancy to?”
Yan Li was slightly awkward, but Qian San’r was quick to speak. “The Eighth Miss of the He’s!”
Tang Fan recalled that the Eighth Miss was his brother-in-law’s little sister, but she was concubine-born. “Is what San’r said true, Old Yan?”
Yan Li typically appeared to be forthright, but this time around, he became bashful. “I only accidentally ran into her once, when I was going around getting information for you…”
The other smiled. “I’ll help you ask about her, later. If you fancied a wife-born daughter, I would probably be helpless, but I’d generally have some say in concubine-born ones. If she’s not yet engaged, and if the Patriarch agrees, your status would be a good match for her.”
“The He’s are a family of learned scholars,” Yan Li hesitated, “while I’m a martial artist…”
“Don’t worry. I’ll look for a chance to survey his feelings on it,” Tang Fan consoled him.
“Then, many thanks, Don!” Yan Li answered, ecstatic.
Having learned his sister’s exact circumstances, Tang Fan privately found an opportunity to have a long talk with her, telling her that she shouldn’t just bear with it all. No matter what, he would stand by her side and help her with things.
Yan Li listening in on her from a corner ultimately failed the rules of honor, so he couldn’t exactly tell her that he had sent someone to eavesdrop on her fighting with her husband, else she’d lose face. He was only able to circuitously express his support for her over and over again.
And yet, she was apparently set on hiding things from him to the end, refusing to have him fret about her business after making such a difficult journey here. To be further blunt, this was considered a civil affair of the He’s, and according to law, as long as He Lin didn’t beat his wife or try to replace her with a concubine, Tang Fan had no right to intervene.
And, as of right now, none of the He’s were talking badly to him, with He Lin acting even more normal in his presence. For the time being, there was no justification for him to go asking around.
These years living with the He’s, the surrounding environment, and the bondage of He Cheng had been enough to make Tang Yu turn from a lively and magnanimous maiden to a woman that could silently bear with things for the sake of her son, adapting to the pace of life in the He Estate.
Despite Tang Fan’s vast wisdom, his hands were tied in the face of such a situation, so he could only hang around for longer and keep watch on it.
On this day, a rich merchant of Xianghe, Wei Ce, threw a banquet at the Wei household, and had invited all the gentry of the county over to partake in his son’s one-month party.
Wei Ce was the father of Lady Wei, He Xuan’s wife, and also had the County Honorate title. Like He Lin, he had failed to pass when young, but he had not had He Lin’s arrogant self-esteem; he had realized that if he continued taking exams like so, it would probably just be a waste of his whole life, so he had given up the path of the exams to turn to commerce.
The Great Ancestor had had a deep abhorrence for corruption, without any good notions towards merchants, either. He had made a rule that officials fourth-rank and higher were prohibited from trading, even putting up policies like the merchant registry. Having a County Honorate status had made Wei Ce unlike that of a pure merchant, however, and he had utilized that to quickly befriend the gentry of Xianghe County, as well as Shuntian Prefecture. His mind and means were quite sharp, allowing him to accumulate a huge sum of money for over twenty years. In this county, the Wei’s monopolized the majority of staples, like the rice and salt businesses.
In this era, the salt industry was government-regulated. Should a merchant want to sell it, they first needed to obtain a salt permit. That he was able to run salt shops demonstrated that he had extraordinary interpersonal connections, and that Lady Wei, his daughter of a County Honorate background, had been able to marry into the He’s precisely because of that reason.
Thus, with her natal family’s solid financial backing, Lady Wei didn’t need to rely on the He’s in day-to-day life like Tang Yu did.
In addition to his eldest daughter, Lady Wei, who had been born of his original wife, Wei Ce also had four younger daughters, all of who had been born of concubines. The Wei family was beyond rich, yet had never received a son, which had vexed him.
Following the passing of his original wife, he had taken in Lady Chai, but she had not given an heir, either. That had left him with no choice but to accept several concubines, one after the other, only to still unfortunately have nothing but girls born. After managing to have this one son, the Wei’s naturally viewed him as a gem, resulting in them having not hesitated to throw a big party for his one-month milestone, inviting a vast range of guests to celebrate over him. As could be imagined, in such an environment, the Young Lord of the Wei’s was the recipient of a myriad of doting.
Everyone here was a relative, and the He’s certainly wanted to grant face to the Wei’s youngest’s one-month party. Even Patriarch He attended in person. Wei Ce, one to handle things thoroughly, knew that Tang Fan was now staying at the He’s, so he also sent an invitation to him, which led to Tang Fan coming over with his sister and her husband.
Even though he had no official’s post now, he still was one, and could not be slighted like he was a common citizen. As a result, the instant he arrived at the Wei’s home, he was invited to the head table, ranking higher than He Xuan.
At this table with the head-of-household, Wei Ce, there was Patriarch He, Magistrate Weng, County Deputy Lin, Registrar Wang, and so on, as well as other such officials and gentry of Xianghe. Tang Fan’s seat was ranked fourth, right after Magistrate Weng; it could be seen from that that Wei Ce had made some mental calculations. He Xuan was also seated at the head table, as he was Wei Ce’s son-in-law.
He Lin was placed at the third-rank table, which was for Wei Ce’s friends in the industry. Reasonably, there was no issue with that set-up, but He Lin still felt that Wei Ce was looking down on him, to have placed him alongside businessmen.
As for Tang Yu and the other women, they had naturally separated from them the moment they had come in to go to a separate table for women, not staying with the male guests.
At the start of the feast, when everything was warm and harmonious, Wei Ce said a round of gratitudes. Since it was his son’s party, he carried him out and showed him off to the guests, whereupon everyone accommodatingly said some luck-bringing words to him, wishing for the child to grow up safe and sound, then toasted each other and got down with the food and pleasantries.
As the richest folks in Xianghe, the Wei’s dishes had been painstakingly made, not a bit inferior to the big restaurants of the capital. Most of them were Jiangnan cuisine, too, which was quite up to Tang Fan’s tastes. He, of course, was not overly polite; though he ate slowly, he had sampled almost all of the delicacies set before his eyes. Contrasted with the others that were preoccupied with courtesies, gourmets like him were more welcomed by chefs.
Many had already heard of his dismissal. As was natural, there were a lot of people that sought out advantages and shunned problems, like He Xuan — that wasn’t meant to rebuke him or anything, but at the same time, there was no small amount of those that had principles and no fear, like Magistrate Weng.
After hearing that the reason for Tang Fan’s dismissal was that he had offended someone of Head Vizier Wan’s, Magistrate Weng contrarily became quite enthused about his attitude. Nowadays, there were hardly any people in society that could stand to even look at Wan An’s party. When it came to capital officials and their future roads, most of them elected to remain silent, but officials of other localities didn’t have such scruples, Magistrate Weng being one of them.
What a shame it was that his official’s route had been rife with potholes, as even though he had become a Palace Honorate three years before Tang Fan had, he was still struggling as a seventh-rank Magistrate.
Tang Fan chatted with him a bit, then discovered that the other was a fan of his teacher, Qiu Jun, resulting in their friendship promptly getting a lot closer. Magistrate Weng was nearly forty years old; his know-how wasn’t bad, but he just wasn’t too skilled at being a official. He had been evaluated impartially several times, yet always found to be average, resulting in him being unable to obtain a promotion, in spite of that decent knowledge.
As opposed to talking to old foxes like Patriarch He, Tang Fan was more willing to converse with Magistrate Weng, making the time fly by once he was done eating. Midway through, due to business in the county bureau, the Magistrate had to take his leave early, whilst Tang Fan found an excuse to go for a walk and dissipate the effects of the alcohol.
The Wei’s had considerately prepared an internal room for guests to take rests in, with a maid attending and a screen partitioning the place from the outside, nevertheless being much more comfortable.
In the opinion of Tang Fan, someone who loved quiet, this place was comparatively relaxing to the outside. He rejected the maid’s offer of a foot massage, requested a glass of kumquat juice, then reclined in a chair, shutting his eyes in rest.
All of a sudden, a voice came from nearby him. “The food here is vastly inferior to Immortal Cloud’s! Eating it almost makes this old man want to puke!”
With that entering his ears, Tang Fan spewed out the juice he had had in his mouth.
Turning his head in disbelief, he looked at the man seated next to him.
The other was around thirty or forty with a face full of beard, and wore a lake-blue, round-necked outer robe. One glance said that he resembled Wei Ce’s business friends, but from the way he sat to his voice, Tang Fan could only think of one person.
He couldn’t help but rub his forehead as he sighed. “Why are you here?”
The bearded man rolled his eyes. “If you could be here, could I not?”
Tang Fan looked at him wordlessly. “Is it that the Wei’s have committed some major treason?” he asked in a hushed voice.
The man shook his head.
“Then what are you doing here? It can’t be that you’re looking for me, right?”
“Well said, I did come to find you. Now let’s go!”
“When we’re there, you’ll know!”
“Hold on. I needed to be connected with the He’s to get here, and the Wei’s sent out invitations… how did you mingle your way in?”
The other party laughed coldly. “There is nowhere under this sky that I can’t get into!”
Sure. How about you go jump on the Emperor’s bed a couple of times and have me take a gander at that, then, Tang Fan said to himself. He wasn’t going to continue bickering with the man, though. “Is there something urgent?”
Ah, yes — the one who was speaking with Tang Fan was Eunuch Wang Zhi, who he had been separated from for many days.
Why was he, who had been doing perfectly fine in the capital, running off to find Tang Fan in Xianghe County? The place wasn’t too far from the capital, but Tang Fan definitely wasn’t narcissistic enough to think that the other had come to gossip with him because he was bored.
The only possibility here was that something had happened in the capital.
Meanwhile, Wang Zhi didn’t wait for him to agree or refuse him, getting up and walking out after he was done talking.
Tang Fan had no choice but to leave with him, telling Qian San’r afterwards to go inform Patriarch He and He Lin that he’s had to leave the banquet in a hurry and would return later, so they didn’t need to wait for him.
What urgent matters could an idler with no post have to leave a party partway through for? He wasn’t like Magistrate Weng, who had official work to do. This was quite rude behavior.
Even so, he didn’t care about what the He’s would think right now. He followed Wang Zhi out of the Wei home, then came to a county inn.
From how many interactions he had had with the Western Depot, he could make out that around the inn, inside and out, were disguised Depot wardens on lookout. Those unconcerned were barred from entry, as well as exit.
In all likelihood, Wang Zhi had rushed over here, which truly wasn’t good to make public.
The two headed straight for a guest room on the second floor. Once the door was shut, Wang Zhi ripped off his fake beard, finally resuming his original appearance. He looked rather impatient. “Sticking this piece of crap to your face is really goddamn uncomfortable!”
“…It looked awkward to me, too. It’s good that you’ve taken it off.”
Wang Zhi narrowed his eyes at him. “Are you mocking me?”
Uh, it really was embarrassing. Did you even see yourself? Tang Fan thought, but only thought, as he felt that a well-bred person like himself shouldn’t be fighting over things that didn’t matter at all with Eunuch Wang. “What is actually going on, to be deserving of you specifically going incognito to come find me?”
“Something happened on the Crown Prince’s end.”
The translator says: It’s this guy again! Wow!!!! He has nothing better to do!!!!!!