Chapter 22

A splashing sound rang out as another small boat rowed over. Shen Qi stood on the boat waving and shouting.

Luo Huai Yuan’s cursed in his mind as he said: “Little second Shen, how did you get here….” So fast!

The last two words were left unsaid as Shen Qi interrupted: “Little fatty Luo. We clearly agreed on a time but you actually ran off first, and even took little Ah Yan along.”

Little second Shen and little fatty Luo were nicknames the two of them came up with for each other. Shen Qi was quite satisfied with “little second Shen”, and even told his mom about it. As for Luo Huai Yuan, he bitterly hated “little fatty”.

“I’ve told you so many times, don’t call me little fatty. I’m stout, not fat.” Luo Huai Yuan hopped around angrily while secretly glancing at Yan Yan’s reaction.

Shen Qi leapt over onto their boat. The small boat immediately started rocking. The grannies in the back cried out in alarm and Xiao An Zi wailed in fright.

“You don’t call this fat? Look at this stomach.” As he spoke, Shen Qi stretched out his hand and copped a feel, “It’s so round!”

Luo Huai Yuan was about to flip out when Yan Yan smiled and said: “Big bro Shen, why’re you speaking about big bro Luo like this? Big bro Luo’s appearance—-” She paused a little. “Is rather cute.”

Instead of flipping out, he smiled until his eyes became slits.

“You see? You see? It’s cute! How frighteningly ignorant!” As he spoke, he stuck out his stomach in satisfaction.

Shen Qi cried out: “I am literate, ok!? I was taught long ago, and am even planning to go study at an institution.” He planned to go but hadn’t gone yet. Shen Qi didn’t actually want to go, and since Yan Yan was here his dad mercifully allowed him to stay and accompany her.

Luo Huai Yuan looked at him disdainfully.

“Hey, little fatty Luo. This place is unique. How did you discover it? I’ve lived here all my life and thought I knew all the fun places. I actually didn’t know about this one!”

Luo Huai Yuan smiled smugly and said: “What would you know about fun?!”

Shen Qi made a face at him and stretched out his hand to touch the lotus leaves and lotus roots. “This place is good, this place is nice.” He first pulled off a lotus leaf and put it on his head before pulling at the lotus root.

One of the grannies smiled and said: “Young master, be careful. Don’t fall into the water.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. I know how to swim.”

“The lotus roots can be peeled. Inside are lotus seeds. Once the flowers wilt, it’s time to harvest them. That’s when things get lively here.”

Shen Qi pulled one of the lotus roots off and played around with it curiously. He then pulled off another one and threw it to Yan Yan. Luo Huai Yuan asked with his eyes “what about me?” and he responded with a smirk “go get it yourself.”

Luo Huai Yuan glared at him and helplessly went to pick his own lotus root. As he withdrew his hand, he brushed against a budding pink lotus flower. His heart moved and he plucked it along with its stem.

He turned around and casually gave it to Yan Yan, “Little sis Ah Yan. This flower is very beautiful, I’ll give it to you.”

Yan Yan also didn’t think it was a big deal and accepted it. She mischievously leaned in and sniffed.

“Is it fragrant? Is it fragrant? Let me smell.” Luo Huai Yuan said loudly, but when he leaned in he whispered: “Do you want to figure things out? I’ll wait for you here tomorrow.”

Yan Yan froze before suddenly understanding what he meant.

Luo Huai Yuan swore on his own little member: he definitely wasn’t luring the underage girl out for a date. He was really trying to solve her problems. Really!

***

Yan Yan somehow understood Luo Huai Yuan’s meaning.

She even thought about this the entire night. She wondered how he could come up with a solution when he was only two years older than her. If it could be easily solved, her grandmother wouldn’t be moping about recently. But she also had the strange feeling that big bro Luo would have a solution.

Yan Yan wasn’t fussy or complicated, and she showed up at the Calm Lake the next day.

There was a boat on the shore with a granny on board.

“Greetings to Miss Yan. Young master Luo has gone ahead. He said if you or young master Shen came, this servant should bring you over.”

“Then I’ll have to trouble matron.”

“No trouble at all, no trouble at all.” That granny smiled.

Before long, they arrived at the same spot. Luo Huai Yuan was lying on the front of the little boat, his outstretched legs were crossed and a thin reed was held in his mouth.

Seeing Yan Yan in the other little boat, his eyes shone and he jumped up with a nimbleness that didn’t fit his shape.

“Little sis Yan….”

Was there a need to sound so excited!?

Yan Yan lightly jumped and landed on the other boat. Luo Huai Yuan quickly made to help support her, but it turned out that she stood very steadily. He could only withdraw his little chubby hand in embarrassment.

The two sat on the boat. Yan Yan got straight to the point and asked: “Big bro Luo, you said yesterday you had a solution. Tell me about it.”

Luo Huai Yuan also didn’t beat around the bush. He wanted to help her with her troubles to begin with. He didn’t want the tragedy of his past life to reoccur, and also didn’t want this lively girl to have such a deep emotional wound.

He considered for a bit before saying: “Actually, have you considered the main cause of the current situation?”

“The main cause?” Yan Yan truly didn’t consider this before. She just felt that her mom was really muddled, making her very sullen. Concubine Pei and her grandmother had many schemes, and she hated that household a lot….

“A problem should be solved at its roots. Only by finding the roots can it be easy to solve the problem.”

Yan Yan sank into thought. Luo Huai Yuan’s eyes flashed with a trace of sympathy. He looked at her: “This will be a very difficult choice. Have you prepared yourself?”

“Choice?”

“That’s right. Your choice will depend on what sort of outcome you want.”

Yan Yan looked at the round face in front of her in a daze. This was the first time she didn’t see any smiles on his face, which was very solemn instead. It was so solemn that it made her heart tremble. She involuntarily averted her gaze.

After a long time, she still raised her head and met his eyes. “Tell me.”

“The low-level method is to ignore it and turn a blind eye. Pretend nothing is going on. Sometimes playing dumb also brings a sort of happiness.”

Yan Yan didn’t speak and merely looked at him. She forced herself to remain calm but her hands were clenched tightly.

“This method doesn’t suit you, and you aren’t able to do so. If you were, the situation wouldn’t have turned out this way.” Luo Huai Yuan sighed, and then said: “The mid-level method is to use status to suppress things. As long as the Zhenguo Duke supports you, nothing will be a problem. Once you get married, none of this will be your problem anymore.”

“Just tell me the high-level method directly, stop talking so much nonsense.” This sort of deep analysis of her heart made Yan Yan feel completely exposed, and she couldn’t help but become fidgety.

Hearing her blunt rebuke, Luo Huai Yuan squinted nostalgically.

“The high-level method is to strike the snake in its weak spot and solve things once and for all. However, you will suffer a lot.”

“Suffer?” Yan Yan froze: “I’m not afraid.”

Actually she already had some thoughts during this period of time. But these thoughts were too fragmented and vague. Luo Huai Yuan’s words shed light on her thoughts and she suddenly understood.

Of course, even if Luo Huai Yuan didn’t say anything, Yan Yan would have understood someday in the future. However, time waits for no one and opportunity doesn’t wait either. Once Yan Ting no longer had any misgivings, they would have lost their best method to muzzle him.

Luo Huai Yuan also felt very conflicted because he knew if things developed according to his thoughts, Yan Yan would have to bear the brunt of things. Would she be able to endure it? He was her dad after all. The Grand Xi emphasized filial piety. Actions to screw her dad over could already be called “unfilial”.

You might not be scared, but my heart will ache. Not everyone was able to act emotionlessly against their own relatives. Especially since there was still such a “mother-in-law”….

“Do you know what you will face in the future?” Luo Huai Yuan’s voice was a little gloomy. “You might find that everyone will turn against you. Actually, it’s not always necessary to be so enlightened. Being muddled can also bring a sort of happiness.”

He didn’t know why he spoke such pessimistic words. For the sake of a better future, he should be instilling the little consort with confidence. But he just wasn’t willing.

“Enough, stop saying such nonsense. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if I was able to be muddled.”

How could one’s nature be easily changed? If she could change, Yan Yan wouldn’t be Yan Yan anymore.

Luo Huai Yuan sighed twice and cleared his throat, saying: “By examining the root cause, the thing he’s after is actually very obvious. The Weiyuan Marquis title can only be passed down for five generations. The current one is the final generation.”

Luo Huai Yuan didn’t name “him”, but Yan Yan understood. She felt too embarrassed to show her face, as well as a sort of sullenness that couldn’t be vented.

Her face was rigid and she didn’t speak.

“Only by cutting off the source can the flow be stopped.” Luo Huai Yuan left the following words unsaid, but Yan Yan understood.

She strangely understood. She normally didn’t bother with the affairs of her elders, but she still overheard bits and pieces that she kept in her mind. Had she predicted long ago that such a day would come?

This question was too profound.

Yan Yan pondered for a very long time.

……

While Yan Yan was pondering, the Zhenguo Duke was pondering as well.

He was much more experienced than Yan Yan, and even Luo Huai Yuan. Actually he had thought of this sort of method on that very day, but in the end he was afraid of breaking the jade vases while beating the rat.

These days he thought about many things for a very long time. His old partner’s tear-filled face was also in his mind. But although women could cry, men could not. Problems needed to be fixed in the end.

But how to fix them needed delicate consideration.

…….

Yan Yan snapped out of it. In front of her was a field of enchanting lotus flowers she could touch by reaching out her hand. Next to her was someone who was also staring at the lotus flowers while lost in thought.

She let out a breath in her heart and said quietly: “I want to go back.”

Luo Huai Yuan nodded. He stood up and called Xiao An Zi over, and instructed him to have the granny bring them back. Because their conversation needed to be kept secret, he had even sent Xiao An Zi away.

When the boat reached the shore, Yan Yan gave Luo Huai Yuan a sincere smile, “Big bro Luo. Thank you.”

“No need, no need…..” You’re my little consort after all. But what came out of his mouth was “We’re friends after all.”

Yan Yan nodded and said her farewells.

Her steps were very quick, unlike the others girls her age who walked slowly and took care to maintain their posture. However, this gave her a sort of fiery energy.

She should have understood, right? His little consort had always been a smart one.

Translator’s notes:

Minor spoilers below.

Author’s notes:

Little fatty Luo knows to give girls flowers at such a young age, haha. Unfortunately, Yan Yan completely doesn’t understand the implied meaning.

It’s very normal for the Zhenguo Duke to be hesitant. After all, his daughter Shen Yi Yao is still between them. He also has more to consider. If he screws Yan Ting over, Shen Yi Yao and his two grandchildren would bear the brunt of things. Going back home to screw dad over in the next chapter…there are still many battles to be fought in the future. However, there won’t be any more sullenness. Yan Yan was someone who didn’t suffer in silence in both lifetimes. She was sullen in the beginning due to her age, and mostly because she was suppressed by Shen Yi Yao. It’s time for other people to be sullen. This author is secretly rubbing her hands at the thought.

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