Chapter 215: Not Following the Common Template
“Really? But how unfortunate it is that Mrs. Zhao has something else to attend to and already left early… Obviously, I can’t hand her over now. I’m actually very eager to see what kind of impolite treatment Miss Hua has in store for me.” Lu Xue had decided to go openly hostile with Hua Xiangrong. Her Yi Cui House had no fear of the Holy House anyway.
Hua Xiangrong frowned slightly. A capturing Taoist magic art already came into being in her palm.
She was ready to cast it out to uncover that Mrs. Zhao who had slapped Xin’er and now hiding in the darkness.
But just at this precise moment, a man’s voice was heard.
“What are you people doing here?” Liu Chenglong, the manager of the Musical House, marched over here in the company of several group leaders.
Everyone’s expression altered in a trice, and they all bowed at the manager with respectful greetings as he passed.
In the Musical House, Liu Chenglong was practically as powerful as the emperor, because the fate of many women was up to him. Even Lu Xue, an owner of one of the branches of the Musical House, was merely a small potato in his presence.
After learning the cause of the stir, Liu Chenglong said blandly, “How come someone dared get violent and make trouble during the Top Beauty Competition? Does she intend to spoil my big event? How audacious! Guards, find that old bit*h who slapped the maid and then drown her in the Rouge River.”
“No, no, no! My apology! Your honor, don’t kill me! Your Honor, pardon me…” Mrs. Zhao, who had been hiding in a corner and watching the scene with a sneer, instantly went panic-stricken at Liu Chenglong’s remark. She dropped to her knees and almost cried her eyes out to beg for mercy. The overbearing arrogance and resolute ruthlessness she demonstrated when beating Xin’er were nowhere to be seen now.
Nonetheless, Liu Chenglong showed no forgiveness towards her, because in his perspective, killing such an old bit*h was no difference from crushing an ant.
Thus, how could he pardon her?
Plus, no one was appealing to her mercy.
This Mrs. Zhao had worked along Lu Xue for a long time. She usually tended to be extremely mean and bossy. Cursing and punishing the girls around her had become her routine. Accordingly, she had made enemies out of a load of people and no one wanted to be her friend.
Several guards working for the Musical House soon came over, stuffed the old lady in a sack, and hauled her out of sight.
Lu Xue, the Madam of Yi Cui House, and her most popular girl, Lu Hongxiu, both paled in fright.
“The manager clearly has taken the side with Hua Xiangrong!”
“Tonight’s climate doesn’t seem right. We have played to hard luck! Crap!”
“Madam Lu, you’re a senior worker of the Musical House. But how come you don’t know when to behave? At such a juncture, why did you let your people go provoke others and stir up trouble?” Liu Chenglong turned to look at the madam.
Pale as a sheet, Lu Xue stammered, “Your honor, I… actually… I…”
“Save it. When the competition is over, you go to the Holy House and apologize to Madam Bai in person,” said Liu Chenglong flatly.
He was a highly perceptive man who ascertained what had happened with a mere glance. So, how could he not know what Lu Xue was thinking at the moment and waste time to hear her quibble?
However, the second prince had also rewarded Lu Hongxiu with ten thousand flower baskets. Although the reason, he did so was just to demoralize Hua Xiangrong, Lu Hongxiu was still a woman whom the second prince showed some favor, so Liu Chenglong could not discipline her at will. For that scruple, he was not very harsh on Lu Xue, the culprit of the mess.
Killing that Mrs. Zhao was already an open act of giving Hua Xiangrong compensation.
“Yes.” Lu Xue gritted her teeth and admitted her defeat with reluctance.
“It’s fine. At least I didn’t get more horrible punishment.”
“Everyone, go back to your place.” Liu Chenglong waved at the onlookers.
Those from the brothels who gathered around the scene quickly scattered.
Everyone could tell that the manager was showing kindness to Hua Xiangrong.
Many people cast jealous looks at Hua Xiangrong. “These days, it seems that luck has favored Hua Xiangrong only. First, she won the heart of Li Mu; then, she took the world by storm with a stunning performance at the Top Beauty Competition and obtained a record-breaking amount of rewards. Now, even Manager Liu starts giving her special treatment.”
“How blessed she is!”
The crowd dispersed.
Liu Chenglong, however, did not leave.
“Your honor.” Hua Xiangrong gave a little bow.
The maid, Xin’er, and four other chaste girls from the Holy House also dared not be careless on manners and all made the gesture of respect to this big shot who controlled the fate of hundreds of girls in the Musical House at once.
“Well, Miss Hua’s singing and dancing have amazed the world. I did overlook your talent. Never knew there is such a fairy-like figure in the Musical House in Chang’an.” Liu Chenglong revealed a trace of a smile.
“I’m so flattered.” Hua Xiangrong said with a serene look.
If this happened in the past, she might still be anxious when she encountered this manager of the Musical House. But ever since she met Li Mu and went through so many things, her current mindset was no longer the same as before. Thus, she remained quite unflustered when talking to Liu Chenglong.
“Miss Hua’s talent is indeed very stunning.” Liu Chenglong said with a smile, “But I didn’t know Miss Hua is also a warlock with profound cultivation.”
“It’s merely some simple skill, not worth mentioning. Your honor, when this Top Beauty Competition is over, I hope to redeem the freedom and household register of Xin’er and mine. I was wondering if you can help us, please.” Hua Xiangrong pleaded. She had long since wished to free herself from the Musical House. But since she also had to pay the grace back to Bai Xuan, she agreed to participate in this Top Beauty Competition and stayed till now.
“Uh, well… Let’s deal with it after the Top Beauty Competition. But removing your household registration from the Musical House is a little trickier than from a normal brothel. After all, it requires the delivery of paperwork to the court.” Liu Chenglong gave her a non-committal reply and assessed the difficulty roughly.
Hua Xiangrong’s brows cocked up a little. A surge of moon-like coldness flitted across her face.
After practicing the Xiantian Skill, her intuition was unusually sharp. She already sensed that this time this manager of the Musical House had come to her with no kind intention.
The old Hua Xiangrong might be a little fragile flower struggling on a windswept land. She was beautiful, tender, delicate, always seized with fear for the unknown future. Her beauty was never aggressive. And she was surely an obedient, virtuous, sweet girl. However, the current Hua Xiangrong had changed completely.
It was not only an alteration in her air but also her disposition. She became aloof and remote, making everyone to admire her from a distance as if she was a fairy living in another world. Anyway, it felt like she had become a totally different person.
Now, even a powerful man like Liu Chenglong started to weigh his words unconsciously when taking to Hua Xiangrong.
“As long as it’s just the paperwork review, the procedure isn’t too hard to complete, is it? And there are many precedences of famous prostitutes of the Musical House redeeming their freedom.” Hua Xiangrong stared at Liu Chenglong with a frown. Then, she added, “If I have Manager Liu’s approval, it’ll all be done with a word of yours.”
Liu Chenglong gave a wry laugh and said, “Generally, it won’t be a problem. But I’m afraid some important figures are reluctant to approve… In that case, my word doesn’t really matter.”
“Important figures?” Asked Hua Xiangrong in confusion.
“Yes… Oh right, Miss Hua, are you free to go to the Moon-hugging House now? A distinguished guest is waiting for you there. If he says he approves, then, it’ll be much easier for you to remove your registration,” urged Liu Chenglong at the good timing.
Hua Xiangrong put on a stern face and shook her head. Without thinking, she answered, “Please forgive me, your honor. At the moment, I prefer not to entertain any guest.”
The man that even Liu Chenglong had to address as distinguished must be somebody. Still, she rejected the offer without any hesitation.
Because she had an appointment with a man who she thought was much more important.
Liu Chenglong was a little astounded, for he did not expect Hua Xiangrong to turn him down straight away, disregarding his prestige. Despite his agitation, he managed to restrain himself. Given that Hua Xiangrong was the woman the second prince adored, she would enjoy tons of love and care when she went with the second prince. If he upset her now and she spoke ill of him before the second prince in private, he certainly could not bear the consequence.
“Miss Hua, please reconsider it. This distinguished guest is not just a normal man. I bet there is nothing in the Western Qin Empire that he can’t handle. What he wants is only to see Miss Hua in person and have a drink with you. I assure you, he expects nothing else.” Liu Chenglong tried to persuade her very patiently.
However, Hua Xiangrong still shook her head. She was very much determined.
Liu Chenglong beamed at her and tried again in another way. “As far as I know, Young Master Li has caused a lot of trouble recently. Even though he is genius as ever, his power is limited. If he has the help of this distinguished guest, surely he can stay unscathed.”
That was the strategy of luring by a promise of gain.
Being sly and crafty, Liu Chenglong could easily see through a person. He was clear about who the current Hua Xiangrong cared most. For him, it was a piece of cake to deal with an unsophisticated girl from a brothel. After all, in terms of scheming and cunning, the two were not standing on the same footing.
Upon hearing that, Hua Xiangrong was indeed a little intrigued.
“If this can be helpful to Brother Mu, maybe I should give it a thought?”
“Emm, that distinguished guest wants to see me… for what?”
The answer was self-evident. Anyway, what else could it be? But she still uttered the question, which exposed her indecision.
Liu Chenglong felt more confident. He knew he had made a correct estimation on Hua Xiangrong’s stance. Smiling, he said, “Miss Hua, there is nothing to worry about. He admires your talent and merely hopes to chat with you over tea.” He made the meeting sound as ordinary as possible to dissolve Hua Xiangrong’s vigilance.
But surprisingly, Hua Xiangrong did not act like what he predicted.
After deliberating it for a while, Hua Xiangrong suddenly changed her mind and said in a firm tone, “I’m sorry, your honor. I won’t visit him.”
That was because a remark that her Brother Mu once mentioned abruptly crossed her mind.
After that day Yuan Wu from the Supervisory Department threatened Li Mu with the safety of her, Xin’er, and the other sisters in the Holy House and almost tricked her, Li Mu brought it up once and told her seriously that no matter what happened, the first thing she ought to do was to believe in him. She must not doubt if he could fix it on his own or deal with anything arbitrarily in the spirit of self-sacrificing. In any case, she needed to tell him what the matter was first and then they would discuss it and figure out the solution together.
That was a way to show him respect as well as trust.
Just as Hua Xiangrong’s will started wavering, that remark immediately occurred to her.
Yes, she should trust her Brother Mu.
In a relationship, the most important thing was trust.
Her Brother Mu had emphasized it not only once.
After refusing the offer, Hua Xiangrong did not want to share any more words with Liu Chenglong and directly turned around and entered her tent.
Liu Chenglong was left there, dumbstruck.
“What just happened?”
“She didn’t follow the common template!”
At this scene, his trusted leaders around him all snorted and swore that they would break into the tent and take Hua Xiangrong by force, but Liu Chenglong waved them down.
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