Murong Xue stood up and leisurely walked out. Her elegant and long robes dragged along the floor, and lightly brushed the clean surface, forming a long mark.
“Sister, where are you going?” Murong Ye looked as she walked further away, filled with uncertainty.
“Going to Yutang Court to see step-grandmother!” Murong Xue did not stop and answered without looking back.
His sister and grandmother had never gotten along. Why did she suddenly think of going to Yutang Court?
Murong Ye was confused, “Sister, I will go together with you.”
“There’s no need. Just wait her for me to come back!” Murong Xue is going to Yutang Court to teach Du a lesson. If Murong Ye went along, it wouldn’t be convenient for her to carry out her plan.
His suggestion rejected, Murong Ye frowned and unwillingly pulled back on the step he took. He said dejectedly, “OK!” Hearing his sister’s reasoning, it seems like she has something private to speak to grandmother about and it is not appropriate for him to follow. Then he shall not follow, but send someone to watch outside of Yutang Court instead. If the two start a dispute, it will not be too late for him to rush over.
Yutang Court was Du’s permanent residence. It was filled with maids and house servants in and out. Seeing Murong Xue coming over from afar, an old maid quickly went indoors to inform Du!
When Murong Xue stepped into Yutang Court, a level three maid and lowly old maids were in the courtyard sweeping and cleaning, going about their work. A level two maid walked up and politely curtsied towards her, and said smiling, “The lady dowager is inside, please come in Young Mistress!”
Murong Xue lightly hummed in reply and slowly walked through the curtain that the maid had pulled aside into the room, only to see Du lying on the soft couch against a large cushion, slowly eating a bowl of double-boiled milk! Faint golden sunlight shone on the sapphire on her forehead, reflecting a bright light.
Du saw Murong Xue and lifted her eyes, calmly saying, “Anything’s the matter?”
Murong Xue lightly smiled and leisurely said, “It is not anything huge. My brother wants to fight dogs but has no money. I have come to borrow some from step-grandmother.”
Du paused mid-action of eating the milk pudding – Chen’s (Murong Xue’s mother) cash in the dowry had cleverly been spent and finished by her. She had let Xiangqiao reveal the information about the cash in the dowry to Murong Ye to make Murong Ye look for Murong Xue for money. If Murong Xue is unable to produce that much money, shouldn’t she pawn some of Chen’s dowry to pool the money? Why has she come here to borrow money?
The noble Marquis’ wife-born daughter borrowing money to spend. Isn’t she afraid that she will be a laughingstock?
However, this is good as well. This way she can openly ask for Chen’s dowry, “How much do you want?”
“A hundred thousand taels!” Murong Xue said lightly and pretended to sigh helplessly, “My brother has always been a spendthrift. These hundred thousand taels will probably will be enough for ten days…”
Du’s eyes formed a smirk. She is clearer then anyone else about how prodigal Murong Ye is. The more playful and incompetent he is, the better it is for her. Naturally, she is willing to allow it to connive it. However, her condition for conniving is that it does not hurt her interests.
“A hundred thousand taels is not a small sum. Converting it into physical money can fill a few large carts. We don’t have an blood ties. If I were to just lend it to you, it wouldn’t be too good, right?”
Murong Xue smiled, “I can write you an IOU. When my brother wins money, I will immediately return it with interest.”
Du raised her eyebrows and looked at her. She snorted, “Out of every ten bets, he gets nine losses. If Murong Ye can never win back that hundred thousand taels, will you never return the money then?”
Murong Xue blinked, “Then what does step-grandmother think?”
Du thought about it and pretended to be casual saying, “Use a trunk of your mother’s dowry as collateral then. When you win the hundred thousand taels then you can retrieve that trunk.”
Murong Xue coldly smiled. Of course Du had her eye on her mother’s dowry. Every trunk of that dowry is worth 200-300 thousand taels. Du actually wants to buy that with a hundred thousand? How overconfident and whimsical she is!
“I remember that my mother’s dowry accounts had listed a few shopfronts. They are all managed by step-grandmother, is that right?”
Du was taken aback. From money, to dowry and suddenly to stores, Murong Xue really changes the topic quickly.
Back then, Chen had quite a number of stores that came with her dowry. The store names and locations are all clearly written on the dowry list. She cannot deny it and therefore unabashedly said, “So what if they are?”
“Those stores are located on a busy area. Ten years of profit probably equal to a few hundred thousand taels, isn’t it…” Murong Xue trailed off and didn’t continue, smirking at her. For the past ten years, the original owner did not see a cent of the profits as they were all pocketed by Du.
“Those six stores are not doing very well and are seldom visited by customers. Each store has at most a thousand taels of profit every year, hardly enough to cover household expenses…” Du lied unabashedly.
“Really?” Murong Xue looked at Du and casually said, “Then I would like ask step-grandmother to bring out the accounts and let me see.”
“It’s not the start nor the end of the month. The accounts are all in the hands of the store managers. How would I have it.” Du lightly said, her mouth curved in joy. She never liked this step-granddaughter and every time she sees her beaten down and suffering a setback, she will always feel exceptionally comfortable!
“Someone go and call the 6 managers of my mother’s dowry stores here and ask them to bring accounts of the past ten years!” Murong Xue coldly instructed, her gaze cold. Didn’t Du say that there are little profits? Then she will question those 6 managers in front of Du to see if they really have little profits or someone cooked up the books.
“Yes ma’am!” Hongxiu, who was standing outside, acknowledged and went.
Du’s face suddenly turned black until it almost dripped black ink. Naughty girl, going against my wishes and suspecting my words – how unappreciative she is of my kindness! Calling the managers over with the accounts is really because Murong Xue suspects that the accounts are not right and wants to verify. She’ll see what problems this unworldly young lady can discover.
An hour later, the managers arrived and waited outside the room.
Murong Xue lifted up the curtain and walked out, “You have been waiting for long!”
The managers lifted their heads only to see a young lady walking over. Her bright and small face, and delicate hair-do, was filled with attractiveness, fascinating people. She just lightly smiled, fresh and natural, but her eyes were very deep and carried a hidden devilishness, stunning everyone with her aura that they held their breath.
The managers immediately woke up from their infatuation and quickly bowed, “My respects to the Young Mistress!”
Murong Xue lightly smiled, “You managers do not need to be so polite, sit down and have some tea. I will first take a look at the account books and if there is anything I don’t understand I will ask for your help!”
A middle-aged manager with a moustache under his nose smiled brightly and said, “My lady is too kind. If there is anything you don’t understand please ask. I will tell you everything I know.”
“Yes, yes, yes. Please instruct us if anything, young mistress!” The other five manager agreed with all smiles.
Murong Xue lightly smiled and leisurely sat at the round table piled with accounts and picked up the topmost account book, carefully analyzing it.
The managers sat at the long table not far off and slowly drank the tea. The large waiting room immediately quietened.
The sun rose higher and higher. Murong Xue continued to sit there without moving, flipping through the accounts. The more she saw, the more she frowned.
The managers rested their heads on their hands, bored, with their eyes slightly closed as though they were sleeping.
Suddenly, “clap!” a bright sound rang and the sleepy managers were immediately alert. They quickly turned their heads to look only to see Murong Xue closing the account book and furiously looking at them…
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