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116 Conversing Rivalries

    Hundred Flower Hall.

    Recently, with all the troubles that madam Lu faced, she seemed rather happy, walking towards the third floor. Lady Lan had invited her to tea this morning. She would have declined if not for Servant Zhao urging her that there were some important things that should not be delayed.

    This meeting, of course, would not be held in the usual room where lady Lan kept the most important information. It was a room that was in the middle of the hall. The place was very much similar to the decoration of a restaurant that could be found in the imperial capital. Yet, this was not the capital.

    Perhaps madam Lu did not feel the similarities, or she could no longer be bothered to remember her days in the capital. The room was like any other, with a table covered with brocade cloth and two chairs. She sat herself down to wait on a brocade cushion. The wait was not long today, as lady Lan knew that putting up airs in front of that woman would only result in making it harder for them to communicate with each other.

    She understood that it was only with full cooperation that plans would go on smoothly. There were hopes that if she showed madam Lu some face, that madam Lu would know her place and not be so stubborn the next time around.

    "You're early today."Madam Lu spoke as soon as lady Lan showed up in her usual blue clothes and face veil. Her clothes, along with her aura made her seem like an untouchable immortal that descended upon the mortal realm. Yet to madam Lu, she was merely one who liked to pretend.

    "Of course, have you been waiting long?" the voice from beneath the veil.

    "It's fine." Madam Lu waved her hand dismissively to get away from the conversation, "Haven't you invited me for tea today?"

    Lady also sat down in the chair across from madam Lu, delicately clapping her hands. At the sound of those claps, the doors opened, with a young girl bringing in a bamboo tray that had a clay teapot with two pots. Madam Lu watches the young girl with an interested gaze that could only be described as a fox stalking its prey. The girl could feel the gaze on her lowered her head slightly. She hurriedly set the tray on the table before leaving.

    "Is this how you train people?" Madam Lu looked towards lady Lan and asked. "Why don't you give her to me, and I promise I will train her to be an obedient young lady."

    Lady Lan seemed to be as unfeeling as ever. She took placed the plain porcelain cup in front of madam Lu, while the other was for herself and said "Your definition of obedient does not match mine." Her graceful hands reached for the teapot, slowly pouring the tea into madam Lu's cup, "Besides, the ones that you train can only ever become courtesans. They can never be among the likes of true noblewomen. I like the ones who can be true young ladies of noble birth." As she finished, she placed the teapot back down with a thud.

    "Different places call for different methods. Besides, what's so good about being reserved, there are men who like women willing to take the initiative, and not some piece of deadwood that is all virtuous and reserved." Madam Lu snickers for a moment before realizing it was inappropriate and covers her mouth.

    "Indeed, there will be times that we will need courtesans, but they never last long. Men are so forgetful to the women that jump into their arms, and those that you say are a piece of deadwood will stay around longer because they are presentable." Lady Lan said with confidence.

    As she finished speaking, she picked up her teacup and took a small sip.

    "Recently, I feel as though I am being watched." Madam Lu brought up a random thing to complain about as she also took a sip of her tea.

    "That shouldn't be." Lady Lan's delicate eyebrows furrowed a bit. She had not ordered anyone to keep watch over the Hundred Flower Hall, and even if she did, strictly speaking, madam Lu should not have been able to sense anything out of the ordinary.

    Seeing lady Lan's change in expression, madam Lu added on "Yes, there is definitely someone watching me, I even received a pair of eyeballs. The guards said they saw nothing, I don't even know how that person snuck in to put it in my room. There is someone that knows what we're doing."

    Lady Lan listened to madam Lu's worries, and when the complaints stopped, the lips under the veil rose into a smirk and she said: "Do not be to keen on telling me this, if someone found out, you would be the one taking the blame."

    The silence in the room was magnified as soon as those words were said. Madam Lu as well knew that this signified the end of her invitation to tea. "Yes, I understand." She said stiffly. It was not only her voice that was stiff but her body that felt the same way. She excused herself as she walked towards the door. Before she could reach out her hands to push open the door, lady Lan's voice came from behind, prompting her to stop. "You should keep watch on your Hundred Flower Hall and deploy more guards, lest someone with bad intentions gets in."

    "Yes." Madam Lu said as she closes the door. On the other side of the door, it was less stifling. She knew that it was all due to lady Lan's aura that she felt that way, but no matter how unsatisfactory she felt listening to lady Lan's orders, she had to obey. This wasn't simply because lady Lan's position was higher than hers' but also because the woman was terrifying. If she were to get killed, it would not be worth it.

    Lady Lan on the other hand continued sipping tea as though nothing had happened. Today, she had attained some information from madam Lu. Sure, it wasn't good that there was someone watching in the shadows, but she would have never known if she and madam Lu had been so wrapped up in a silent war that they did not talk to each other. In the end, the winning party would be the ones silently watching them.

    That was why she even considered talking over tea, and it had indeed paid off. Thinking about this, the corners of her lips under the veil faintly curled upwards.
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