Seeing State Duke Lu charging in with a group of people, the guests were quite startled,
wondering what was going on.
It occurred to some guests that State Duke Lu and Prime Minister were in-laws as well
as neighbors, but he was not invited by Prime Minister to the proposal ritual; they
wondered what had happened between these two families. Many gazes were reflexively
fixed on the Lu Ming couple.
Lu Ming had already approach the group, and asked in a seemingly surprised tone,
"Father, you are not in good health these days. Why did you suddenly decide to come
Yet, his wife's surprise was genuine, as she asked her father-in-law in a trembling and
faltering voice, "Father, what are you…what are you…"
State Duke Lu waved his hand to signal for Lu Ming to step aside, indicating that there
was no need to pretend today. Then he turned to his daughter-in-law and said,
"Nothing. I'm here just to have a friendly talk with your father."
Having said that, he headed for the front of the courtyard.
The guests parted a path for him hastily, bowing to him in reverence. They didn't dare
show even the slightest hint of disrespect.
State Duke Lu used to keep a low profile, but he had helped Jing Jiu take care of so
many things over the years, and as a result, he couldn't keep the same low profile any
longer. By now, who didn't know that he was undoubtedly the most favored chancellor
of the Emperor?!
Looking at the approaching group, Prime Minister recognized the official walking by
State Duke Lu was Jing Shang, and the young man behind Jing Shang who looked a bit
agreeable…must be Jing Li. He took a deep breath and forced himself to suppressed
his anger. "State Duke suddenly comes here today. And do you have anything
important to talk to me about?" he demanded sharply while staring at State Duke Lu.
State Duke Lu pretended to be displeased as he said, "We are in-laws. You are going to
marry off your granddaughter. Why can't I come here? You didn't invite me; that's your
fault, and yet you blame me now."
Prime Minister Qin pressed expressionlessly, "Don't you know why I didn't invite you?"
Then, he pointed his finger at Jing Shang and exclaimed, "Even though you have a
good reason to come here, what about Master Jing? Why do you bring him here? Is he
here to investigate a case for Taichang Temple?"
His voice was raised at the end, indicating that he was furious.
"I thought that our three families were neighbors and that it was inappropriate for you
not to invite him. But it looks like you know why he comes here, so I'll just let him speak
Having said this, State Duke Lu stepped aside to let Jing Shang come out.
Many years ago, Jing Jiu suddenly became famous in Zhaoge City. Under the
intentional arrangement of certain people, the Jing house was expanded; as such, the
Jing house was connected to both the Manor of State Duke Lu and the Manor of Prime
It was at that time that Jing Li got to know Qin Shi over the courtyard wall when they
were still children.
The guests might not know the details of the matter, but the three families were fully
aware of it.
Prime Minister Qin stared into Jing Shang's eyes and demanded, "Master Jing, are you
really going to put me in a difficult situation?"
Hearing this, it became deathly quiet in the house.
Some guests felt astonished, asking in a low voice, "Isn't he Master Jing at Taichang
Temple? Why would the Prime Minister…?"
A few people gazed at Jing Shang with contempt.
An official sneered, "Don't you know who Master Jing's young brother is? The Jing
house becomes the neighbor of the Manor of Prime Minister and the Manor of State
Duke; haven't you thought why he is qualified to do so?"
After the Plum Meeting that took place hundreds of years ago, the Jing imperial court
became the bridge between the mortal and Cultivation worlds. Though the commoners
didn't know who Jing Jiu was, the chancellors in Zhaoge City were fully aware of who he
It was generally recognized that Jing Jiu was the strongest swordsman among the
young Cultivation practitioners, and that he was someone involved in the affairs of
Zhaoge City on behalf of Green Mountain.
Yet, they were all baffled. This was the occasion when State Duke Shan proposed the
marriage to the Manor of Prime Minister; what were State Duke Lu and Jing Shang
Jing Shang sighed, "This subordinate does not dare offend Prime Minister; I'm simply
fulfilling a father's duty."
Prime Minister Qin was well aware of Jing Shang's background. If it were a few years
ago, the Jing family would be a good choice for an in-law association.
However, he was currently the leader of the officials who were against Jing Yao
inheriting the throne, so he couldn't possibly marry his granddaughter to Jing Li, the
study partner of Jing Yao with a connection to Green Mountain.
Not to mention that Jing Jiu was merely an elder on Shenmo Peak, and so even if he
were the Sect Master of Green Mountain, it would be still impossible for Prime Minister
Qin to agree to the marriage between Jing Li and his granddaughter; in fact, he might
even object to it more strongly.
State Duke Shan took two steps forward, and demanded expressionlessly, "What do
you wish to do? Do you object to this marriage?"
"No," Jing Shang replied, "I just wish to propose the marriage to the seventh mistress of
the Manor of Prime Minister on behalf of my son."
State Duke Lu remarked sentimentally, "Jing Li and Little Seventh have known each
other since they were young. They loved and trusted each other ever since. Why are
you interfering with their affair, Prime Minister?"
Though State Duke Lu directed this statement to Prime Minister, his gaze was instead
fixed on State Duke Shan's face.
State Duke Shan was furious, thinking this old guy was evidently insulting him. "I'd like
to see who dares impede this marriage!" he exclaimed sternly.
Three generations of State Duke Shan were the external disciples of the Center Sect,
and he had a close connection with the army; he was not scared of State Duke Lu in the
least, though he was not as favored by the Emperor as State Duke Lu.
Some of the officials present had a quick mind, as they thought that State Duke Lu who
always acted in a low-profile manner charged in and interfered with the marriage
proposal, and that maybe…it was the intention of the royal palace.
As expected, instead of arguing with State Duke Shan, State Duke Lu took out a royal
decree from his sleeve, and said calmly while looking at Prime Minister, "Prime Minister,
please receive the royal decree."
There was an uproar in the Manor of Prime Minister at first, and soon it became
noiseless, and deathly quiet.
Looking at the clean courtyard and the candles prepared for praying to heaven, Prime
Minister Qin curled up the corners of his mouth, flashing a wry smile; but he had no
intention of kneeling down.
State Duke Lu's heart skipped a beat when he saw this. But he couldn't think too much
into this act, and opened the royal decree, starting to read it.
The majority of people in the courtyard knelt down along with the rustling sounds, but a
few of them didn't, including Prime Minister Qin.
As expected by many people, the intention of the decree from the Emperor was crystal
clear; he wished to designate the marriage between Jing Li and Qin Shi.
Having read the royal decree, State Duke Lu handed it to Prime Minister, as he
reminded Prime Minister again, "Old Qin, receive the decree now!"
Prime Minister Qin gazed at State Duke Lu quietly with his hands folded behind his
back, saying, "I married my favorite youngest daughter to Lu Ming who was at the time
the most obnoxious son of yours. I've thought that I had a far-sighted judgment, and of
course you have taught him well. Our two families are in-laws; but what do you intend to
do today? Are you trying to twist my arms for the matter?"
State Duke Lu fell silent.
All of Chaotian knew that the Emperor wished to appoint the second prince Jing Yao as
the Crown Prince but was opposed by the officials and generals of the imperial court,
the leader of whom was none other than Prime Minister.
The royal decree of designating the marriage might have other intentions.
It was deathly quiet in the courtyard; the atmosphere was extremely intense.
Prime Minister Qin took a deep breath, and said, "Even though the Emperor designates
the marriage, I still won't agree to the marriage proposal. As such, I will not receive this
There was a commotion in the crowd; but it quieted down soon. The officials eyed each
other in silence.
Prime Minister Qin said expressionlessly, "Though I studied at the One-Cottage House
for only seven years, I don't dare forget this advice: 'If the emperor's order is
inappropriate, chancellors don't have to comply'."
If the Emperor had a hidden intention when designating the marriage, the Prime
Minister's reply had a deep meaning as well.
State Duke Lu stared at his eyes and said, "You are well aware that this isn't just the
"Is the Green Mountain Sect that formidable?"
An indifferent voice burst out behind State Duke Shan.
As the crowd looked over, they found that the speaker was a man who hadn't knelt
That man was tall and well-built, with a cruel and violent bearing, giving off a dreadful
Bai Qianjun was ranked second in the Dao Competition, and was a talented swordsman
in the Yuanying State; more importantly, he was a kin of the Immortal Bai.
The reason he appeared at the Manor of Prime Minister was because the Center Sect
intended to side with State Duke Shan.
It was then that a voice rang out behind State Duke Lu.
The voice sounded lazy as well as drowsy; but its content made many people quiver
"That's right. The Green Mountain Sect is indeed formidable…"
Zhuo Rusui walked out from behind State Duke Lu.
The guests didn't know who he was, but they had guessed his identity; a commotion
Bai Qianjun had a terrible look on his face.
Zhuo Rusui looked at him and said droopily, "If you think you are so powerful, go
ahead…beat me up."
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