C35 – This Is Truly a Promising Future
Zuo Yunyang didn’t want to miss out on such a golden opportunity. Regrettably, his son was only nine years old, and even if he wished to make an appearance in front of Master Lu, it was simply not feasible.
As Liu Tie left Zuo Yunwen’s study, he paused in his tracks, absently stroking his beard before turning toward Zuo Shaoqing’s residence.
His Third Nephew was truly extraordinary, and he felt compelled to win him over.
Upon Zuo Shaoqing’s return to the courtyard, he instructed Nanny Liu to prepare a large basin of hot water. He indulged in a refreshing bath to alleviate his weariness. Before he could finish, he was informed by Luo Xiaoliu of Second Master’s visit.
Zuo Shaoqing wiped the water from his face and leisurely reclined against the tub. He had no intentions of rising immediately and instead had Luo Xiaoliu convey his message to Wu Tie, asking him to wait for a moment.
This behavior may have seemed impolite, but Zuo Shaoqing was well aware that the more composed and self-assured he appeared, the more his Second Uncle would have confidence in him.
As expected, Zuo Yunyang displayed no signs of irritation. He patiently waited for the time it took to brew a cup of tea. When he finally saw Zuo Shaoqing emerge, he chuckled and remarked, “The tea here in Shao Qing’s residence is quite lacking.”
Zuo Shaoqing made no pretense of formality and respectfully bowed, saying, “Then, I thank you, Second Uncle.”
Upon seeing his nephew with wet hair and a complexion that seemed even more radiant than usual, Zuo Yunyang couldn’t help but sigh inwardly. Among all the offspring of the Zuo family, regardless of their gender, none could rival this particular nephew’s beauty. Unfortunately, he was a male, leaving Zuo Yunyang to ponder whether this was a blessing or a curse.
Zuo Shaoqing was drying his hair, unaware of Zuo Yunyang’s inquisitive gaze. He inquired, “Second Uncle, what brings you here at this hour?”
Zuo Yunyang snapped back to reality and grinned, “Nothing significant, just that with Grandpa around earlier, I didn’t get the chance to ask you. Did you pass this year’s national-level exam smoothly?”
Recognizing the polite inquiry, Zuo Shaoqing didn’t delve into it. “Everything went well. We’ll have to wait for the results to be announced.”
Zuo Yunyang expected modesty but received this answer instead. He praised, “Your great-grandfather became a High Scholar at fourteen. My nephew is just thirteen this year; his potential knows no bounds.”
If Zuo Yunyang had indeed come because of Zuo Shaoqing, then there was potential for the young boy to reach great heights. Zuo Yunyang’s gaze toward him became somewhat more passionate.
Zuo Shaoqing didn’t want to discuss this further, so he playfully remarked, “Second Uncle is too kind. I haven’t had a chance to thank you for the gift. I’ve been busy lately and haven’t even had time to check on the store. I’m not sure if the manager is still there.”
Zuo Yunyang’s expression stiffened. He had initially wanted to probe Zuo Shaoqing’s intentions by sending this understated shop. He offered a coy smile, saying, “Of course, I’m here. That shop is just a way for my nephew to earn some pocket money. As long as you don’t mind, it’s fine.” Internally, he planned to discuss alternative arrangements with his wife when he returned home.
Zuo Shaoqing seemed to have something in mind as his face flushed slightly. He added, “Nephew isn’t well-versed in business matters, so I’ll rely on the shop manager a lot. Second Uncle, if you could…”
Zuo Yunyang pondered briefly and grasped the implied request. He promptly added, “I’ll arrange for the transfer of their contract once we’re back.”
Zuo Shaoqing believed that Zuo Yunyang had concerns about his youth and his ability to manage the household staff. However, Zuo Shaoqing was open to providing some personal incentives to put his mind at ease.
Having achieved his objective, Zuo Shaoqing expressed his heartfelt gratitude. He then suggested, “If you find the time, please invite your second cousin to visit. She’s around the same age as my elder sister, and having a companion would be pleasant.”
Zuo Yunyang was taken aback, his expression turning grave. “Are you implying…” Was his older brother’s suspicion correct? Was Master Lu seriously considering a union with the Zuo family?
Zuo Shaoqing offered a cryptic smile, tapped the table, and whispered, “I may not know everything, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, right? My elder sister is on the brink of leaving the maiden pavilion. If we don’t make a move now, it might become more complicated in the future.”
Zuo Yunyang felt as if he were floating, struggling to swallow his saliva. After a few deep breaths, he managed to digest Zuo Shaoqing’s words. He stood up and respectfully bowed to Zuo Shaoqing, saying, “Should that day come…” Second Uncle will definitely support your feelings.”
Despite the pang of bitterness in his heart, Zuo Shaoqing concealed it with a warm smile. He appeared genuinely sincere as he replied, “Second Uncle, there’s no need for such talk among family. Any favors or assistance can always be reciprocated in due time!”
If Lu Zheng were to choose a bride from the Zuo family, Zuo Shaoqing would readily endorse Zuo Shuyu as his choice. After all, there were no major grievances between them.
However, the thought of Lu Zheng marrying Zuo Shuyu left a bitter taste in Zuo Shaoqing’s mouth. In his view, Lu Zheng deserved a better match, even if she were unworthy of the title of the Duchess of Zhen.
Lu Zheng’s status, talents, and dedication were all qualities that Zuo Shaoqing greatly admired. He even believed that if he were a woman, he would never forgive a man like Lu Zheng.