385 – First time seeing Cui Jian!
Chapter 385: First time seeing Cui Jian!
Walking along the streets to the Cui family’s residence, Li Muyang was very restless.
This was his first time seeing Cui Xiaoxin privately after the farewell at Jiangnan. In the past there was Li Shinian next to him and Li Shinian was always the main character. Cui Xiaoxin’s sight very rarely fell on him.
Li Muyang was holding in his arms the new ‘Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly in snow’ painting that he drew as soon as he woke up. Ever since Li Shinian had noticed the painting, she had been mocking him all morning. Even when he was about to have breakfast she told him to eat at the Cui family’s house and the cakes at the Cui family’s house were known to be the best in Tiandu——This girl’s mouth was still so poisonous.
Of course, Li Muyang had long been accustomed to all this.
Back then Li Shinian would suddenly pull Li Muyang over by his sleeve and made him turn around to use his dark face as a mirror——Li Muyang did not mind such insults before, besides those were just harmless sarcastic remarks.
Originally Li Muyang wanted to have Li Shinian accompany him to the Cui mansion. He was worried that he would be too afraid to enter through the Cui family’s door.
But Li Shinian rejected him with the reason that Li Muyang had already hurt her.
Li Muyang stood at the door of the Cui family’s residence and asked the guards to pass on the message that he came to see Miss Cui Xiaoxin and it was Cui Xiaoxin who told him to come over.
The several guards looked suspiciously at Li Muyang for a long while, before they finally decided to go in to ask. Although they did not understand why the Young Miss would want to the grey-robed lowly servant, but since this person dared to say that the Young Miss wants to see him, then it may indeed be true.
Otherwise, who would dare come to the Cui family’s door and behave atrociously?
Holding the painting scroll, Li Muyang stood waiting alone at the doorway.
The Cui family’s mansion and the Lu family’s mansion were on the same street, but one was on the east of the street, and the other on the western corner of the street.
They both had the same tall entrance and huge courtyards, and the same red lacquered door.
There were two beast head statues on the double doors, and on both sides of the steps was a guardian lion statue.
There was a side door next to the main door, which usually did not open and would only open to distinguished guests or important people.
Li Muyang stood at the side door waiting, as a number of blade-wielding fierce guards were standing on the steps above glaring at him like tigers eyeing on their prey. Li Muyang was accustomed to such scenes, because he had experienced the same thing at the Lu family’s door.
The door with the bronze beast’s head was pushed wide open, and a group of men in black attire appeared and split into two rows. They stood on either side, as a man came out wearing the uniform of the Monitoring Division with a three-headed snake totem on the lapel.
He scanned the surroundings and his eyes were instantly locked onto the very eye-catching Li Muyang who stood at the door.
“Who is that?” Cui Jian asked in a low voice.
“He said he is Li Mu, Miss Li Shinian’s driver, and came to see Miss Xiaoxin.”
“Li Mu?” Cui Jian frowned, “is it that driver who can paint?”
After last night, there were two explosive news that became the conversation topic of all people.
Firstly, Li Shinian was invited by the Song family to participate in the Still water dew gathering. All people of Tiandu knew about importance of the Still water dew scholar gathering. It can be said to be a social gathering to meet and interact with the Prince or possibly the future Emperor. But Li Shinian was just a servant’s daughter.
The second news was also related to Li Shinian, because Li Shinian’s driver knew how to paint, and his painting was even praised by Song Tao, one of the most accomplished youngster in the way of the painting. Moreover the famous young talented lady Chen Wenting had also highly praised that person’s painting.
Li Shinian shot to fame, although Li Shinian was always rising in fame.
Cart driver Li Mu also rose to fame. A lot of people wanted to know more about him, his relationship with the Li Muyang whose name had been circulating around Tiandu, and why all people of the Li family were good at painting. Even a cart driver was no exception——
Cui Jian, as one of the senior investigating censorate officials of the Monitoring Division, had the task and heavy responsibility of monitoring the hundreds officials and civilians. The happenings during the Still water dew gathering were already written into a report and placed on his study desk.
“Should be.” The bodyguards were also not certain. Fearing that his dereliction of duty would cause him to be punished by the young master, the guard hastened to add, “he said Miss Shinian told him to come.”
Cui Jian did not stoop to the level of the guards. He instead stared coldly at Li Muyang, “tell him to come over.”
The guards obeyed right away, dashing over to ask Li Muyang to come to the gate to greet Cui Jian.
Li Muyang was still holding the painting scroll firmly as he made his way over and the guard introduced to him, “this is our senior investigating censorate official of the Monitoring Division, hurry pay your respect.”
Li Muyang had to stoop and bow down. “Li Mu pays respect to senior investigating censorate official Cui.”
Cui Jian knitted his brow, thinking: ‘when a cart driver sees me, he should be kneeling and kowtow, rather than bowing like a scholar——does he really think he’s an important person now?’
“You are Li Mu?” Cui Jian asked in a low voice.
“Yes.” Li Muyang replied bowing his head.
“Raise your head.”
“Yes.” Li Muyang lifted his head and met Cui Jian’s gaze.
Seeing Li Muyang’s wax yellow face and bloodshot eyes, Cui Jian did not look too happy.
A scholar should have the demeanor of a scholar. This person looked sickly, where was his spirit and energy? He did not believe that a person like him can draw something that would be praised. He also did not know what Song Tao was doing to help such a trash rise to fame.
Cui Jian stared at the painting scroll in Li Muyang’s hand, asking, “you want to see Xiaoxin?”
“What is it for?”
“To deliver a painting.”
“The painting you’re holding?”
“Bring it over for me to see.” Cui Jian said aloud.
Li Muyang stood still where he was and did not pass the scroll over according to his instructions.
“Are you deaf?” Senior official Cui told you to bring over the painting scroll.” The black-clad monitoring official next to him shouted.
Li Muyang grasped the scroll tightly. “This painting is Miss Shinian’s present to Miss Xiaoxin, yesterday she took the wrong one, so she sent me over here early this morning——This painting was already gifted out yesterday evening, it belongs to Miss Xiaoxin. Without Miss Xiaoxin’s agreement, Li Mu cannot make a decision.”
“You want to die.”
The several black-clad Monitoring officials drew their swords from their hip and assumed a fighting stance. As soon as they receive a nod from Cui Jian, they were ready to hack Li Muyang the disobedient driver into pieces of flesh.
Cui Jian glared sharply at Li Muyang, “you are not afraid of being killed?”
“Li Mu did nothing to deserve death, you draw your sword to kill someone at a little disagreement? Is Senior official Cui not afraid of tarnishing your reputation?” Li Muyang counterattacked, lifting his head to look Cui Jian in the eye.
He thought that since he now had a bit of reputation, it would be more convincing to pretend to be an ignorant and conceited foolish scholar. If he had blindly said yes, not only would he suffer injustice but other people may also notice some flaws.
“What if I must see it?” Cui Jian’s eyes flickered with a fierce glint as he said firmly.
“Then you must ask Miss Xiaoxin. It is not up to me.” Li Muyang pushed the final decision over to Cui Xiaoxin. It was unlikely that they would have some internal family issues over just a painting.
“It seems you are intentionally going against me?” A sneer curved Cui Jian’s lips. There were numerous people of similar talent, in Tiandu, and most of them had already been trampled into some mud, pit unable to climb back up. But a driver dared to come to the Cui family’s door and cause trouble?
“Li Mu does not dare.”
“If you do not dare then who dares to?” Cui Jian fumed. “Somebody, drag him away and behead him.”
“Yes.” A group of Monitoring officials charged toward Li Muyang like a pack of wolves.
“Please calm down Young Master.” Ning Xinhai suddenly trotted out from the side door, bowed to Cui Jian and said, “Young master, this painting really is Miss Xiaoxin. Miss Xiaoxin told me to take Li Mu into the small courtyard to see her.”
Cui Jian knitted his brows, looking at Ning Xinhai. “Uncle Ning, why does Xiaoxin want to see a cart driver?”
“Miss’s deep intention, I don’t understand.” Ning Xinhai smiled.
Cui Jian’s gaze shifted between Ning Xinhai and Li Muyang, until he said with a smile: “since Uncle Ning came to find me to ask for him, then I must give face.”
He waved, and those that surrounded Li Muyang all scattered.
“I still have other business, Uncle Ning go ahead.”
When Cui Jian finished, with a group of black-clad monitoring officials, he headed toward the carriage parked at the entrance.
Very quickly, a group of people crowded around the black iron carriage and disappeared in the distance.
Ning Xinhai came closer to Li Muyang, thoughtfully looked at him, before he asked aloud. “If I did not come out in time, what would you have done?”
“Be beaten by them.” Li Muyang uttered.
“Young Master said he was going to behead you.”
Li Muyang smiled bitterly. “I think Miss Xiaoxin would not bear to see me being beheaded.”
Ning Xinhai shook his head. “I still think you are not one that will easily suffer losses.”
Li Muyang laughed without saying anything else. He thought how he would have fought back if Cui Jian really did try to behead him?
At Tiandu, there really were traps everywhere, and danger lurked at every step.
The most depressing thing was that if you fought back, you could possibly reveal your identity.
If you don’t fight back, you’ll be killed cleanly.
Life really is hard!
Ning Xinhai led Li Muyang into the Cui mansion’s inner courtyard, which was where the Cui family lived at and other people cannot enter.
If Ning Xinhai was not here to show the way, Li Muyang most likely would have been hacked into pieces by the experts hiding in the dark.
Passing through one garden after another, then through a corridor after another, and leaping over a rockery, they finally came to a quiet small courtyard.
But he did not think there would be a carriage parked at the small courtyard entrance, and Cui Xiaoxin’s personal servant Liulu was standing at the side of the carriage. She looked over at Ning Xinhai. “Butler Ning, Miss heard that there are plum blossoms blooming at West mountain, she wants to go view the plum blossoms there.”
And she then said to Li Muyang: “Li——wait a moment. Miss told you to travel with her, and she wants to take you to the plum garden to draw the plum blossoms.”
Because Li Muyang’s identity was a driver, bluntly calling him Driver Li seemed to be a bit too rude, but calling him a butler would be disrespect to Ning Xinhai disrespect. Liulu avoided this issue altogether and avoided greeting him fully, just repeating Miss Cui’s orders.
“View the plum blossoms at West mountain?” Ning Xinhai scrunched his brows together.