“Laoye, this is the news from the palace.” The servant walked behind Liu Liu with a stooped back, delivering a letter with both hands.
Liu Liu, dressed in his regular robes, stretched out his hand to take the letter. He had his own eyes in the palace. As an official now, who hadn’t planted a few people in the palace?
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After reading the letter, Liu Liu laughed: “The Emperor is a romantic man, and he actually still has the inclination to play keeping a mistress in a golden house.”
The servant was Liu Liu’s old servant who had followed him for a long time. He looked very simple and honest, but he had a clever head. He knew what could be asked and what could not be asked. At this time, he also showed a smiling face: “The Emperor is young, at the age where one likes to have fun.”
“Don’t know which Niangniang has such a good fate.”
Liu Liu sneered: “If she is a Niangniang, would she still have sent this letter to me? What can be said about those things in the palace?”
The old servant was a little surprised: “If it isn’t a Niangniang, then could she be a palace maid? This…..”
Since ancient times, there was no lack of palace maids being promoted to be part of the emperor’s harem, but Han Lin’er was different. The women in his harem were almost all chosen by Liu Futong. Him pampering a palace maid, wasn’t that slapping Liu Futong’s face?
“That palace maid has some ability.” Liu Liu walked into the house, burned the letter, and said, “Although she has no status, she is able to be by the emperor’s side, and even the imperial study room she can enter and leave at will. Forget about the Empress, even Noble Consort Li can’t match her. If she is a fool, then fine, but if she is a fool, how can she win over the Emperor?”
The old servant said: “In the end, it is a matter of the harem, which has nothing to do with the imperial court, moreover it will not be in the way of Laoye’s business.”
Liu Liu: “This is not the case. The imperial court and the harem have always been interconnected. The affairs of the Emperor have never been divided into family affairs and national affairs. Everything can be considered family affairs.”
The old servant didn’t understand: “What does Laoye mean?”
Liu Liu smiled and said, “That palace maid’s surname is An. She is the younger sister of a minor official in the north of the city. She has no father and no mother. Only her elder brother and sister-in-law are alive. If I can recruit her brother and sister-in-law before anyone else, wouldn’t I have complete control of her?”
The old servant understood: “Laoye is wise! Laoye is wise!”
“So go prepare the gift for me and send it to the An family. Also set up a table at the Hongyun Restaurant, and invite that palace maid’s brother to the restaurant.” Liu Liu, “She is by the emperor’s side, and naturally knows the emperor’s movements better than others, know more than others, and naturally there will be more benefits.”
Although Han Lin’er had no real power, no officials were willing to offend him either. After all, Han Lin’er was young, and Liu Futong’s advanced age was also a fact. When Liu Futong died, Han Lin’er would inevitably regain power. At that time, all officials would have to once again find their positions.
Liu Liu didn’t want to wait until that time to find a way out.
An Laosi was shocked when he learned that Liu Liu had invited him for a drink and he was in a state of extreme excitement all day long. He and his wife had been in Anfeng for too long. After staying for so long, they still had not yet made any progress and he didn’t even know what to write in the reports sent to Lin Yuan. An Laosi had been working as a minor official and all the money he brought before were all used up in bribery and getting things in order, so now he really depended on his salary for a living.
Lady An was doing well socializing with the women of nearby families, and she also took up some needlework to subsidize the family.
An Laosi had been depressed for a long time. He tried to look for ways everywhere, but when it came to the interests of others, the routes he could find were very limited.
He believed that he could climb up by his own ability, but time waited for no one, he didn’t have the time to do things gradually.
Liu Liu’s invitation gave him a boost of energy.
An Laosi’s depression was swept away instantly and he said to his wife: “This is probably Hong Xiu’s credit.”
Lady An said worriedly: “Don’t know how she is doing in the palace. She hadn’t sent a letter back for many days. Before there would at least be the occasional oral message to tell us that she is safe and well in the palace.”
An Laosi: ”Believe me, the South Bodhisattva has definitely not forgotten Anfeng, he will attack here in the next year at the latest.”
Lady An: “And how do you know?”
An Laosi smiled and said in a low voice, “You don’t understand people like the South Bodhisattva.”
“In the eyes of people like them, everything in the world belongs to him.” An Laosi said, “So what he wants, he must get in his hands. Now that the imperial court has barely any strength left to hold up against a single blow, and the South Bodhisattva has also taken Hanyang, Anfeng is the last stumbling block.”
Lady An: “You go and sound it out, that Liu Liu is looking for you, it must be because of Hong Xiu. If Hong Xiu has the favor of Han Lin’er, then that’s fine, but if she has caused trouble…..”
An Laosi: ”Don’t worry, if she really caused a serious incident, it would not be Liu Liu who comes to me. At this time, the government soldiers should have us surrounded. Oh you, you are at a loss the more concerned you are.”
Lady An smiled: “Yes, I actually forgot about this.”
An Laosi changed his clothes and went directly to the restaurant Liu Liu spoke of.
This restaurant could be regarded as the most luxurious restaurant in Anfeng. The people who come to dine here were either high-ranking officials or wealthy merchants. They wore silk and satin and ate expensive delicacies.
An Laosi felt a little amused.
They rebelled against the Yuan Dynasty, and they talked about finding justice for the common people of the world. But now that they were in power, how were they any different from the Yuan Dynasty?
Those high-sounding words were in fact, just a way to seek one’s own interests.
“Brother An has come.” Liu Liu was a capable person, able to advance and retreat when necessary. He was even willing to call a minor official like An Laosi brother. Liu Liu smiled, “I have heard of brother An’s name before. You are a capable official and I had always wanted to see you, but unfortunately I have been busy with government affairs, and only now have the free time to do so.”
An Laosi looked very flattered, he tried hard to act as an ordinary minor official who was narrow-minded and short-sighted. He laughed: “This, I, you really praise me too much! It’s all part of my duties! Much thanks to Lord Liu for thinking so highly, this humble one is really, really…..”
As he was talking, his eyes reddened and he cried directly: “This humble one is dedicated to my duties and is diligent everyday. Having gotten these words from Lord Liu, this humble one has not done it in vain!”
Liu Liu’s smile was a little stiff, thinking that this person was probably not able to be dealt with by just handing him a small official post.
“Come, come, sit down first, sit down and talk later, us brothers can drink and chat.” Liu Liu filled the wine cups.
After a few cups of wine, An Laosi became more talkative.
“Lord Liu, you don’t know, I came here as a refugee and I was separated from my family. Only my wife came to Anfeng with me.” An Laosi cried sincerely, “I finally established a footing here and even found my sister. But before our family even had enough time to reunite, my sister entered the palace.”
“We grew up together and I know she has a timid nature with one of her own opinions. She is timid but she is beautiful. I am afraid that she will suffer in the palace.” An Laosi spoke with a sniffling nose, “Although I don’t have much ability, I can still feed and support my family. I don’t want anything else, I just want the whole family to be together.”
Liu Liu saw that he was drunk enough, and asked, “Your sister has a timid nature?”
An Laosi nodded: “She hasn’t liked talking since she was a child. In our village, when other children bullied her, she only dared to cry secretly. Our parents bought her sweets only to have other children take it away from her but she only dared to say that she ate it herself. With that kind of temperament, how is she fit for living in the palace?”
Liu Liu filled An Laosi’s wine cup again, and smiled: “You can’t say that. Smart people have a place for smart people, and timid girls are not bad girls. Maybe they are even more worthy of affection.”
An Laosi stared at Liu Liu in a drunken daze: “What do you mean…..someone is interested in my sister?”
“Which lord is it?”
Liu Liu looked at him with a half-smile, as if everything was in tacit understanding.
An Laosi suddenly widened his eyes, and he seemed to sober up in an instant. He stammered and asked, “Could it be…..”
Liu Liu smiled and said, “Brother An, you have a good sister.”
An Laosi: ”This…..this…..”
Liu Liu: “This is her good fortune. Of the women in the world, how many have her good fortune?”
The expression of An Laosi was shocked and disbelieving.
Liu Liu said: “This official also thought about it, brother, you have never had any bad records, and you are also literate. Why don’t you come and be my clerk? The salary will be more than what you have now, and it will be easier to climb up in the future.”
Liu Liu’s meaning was very clear. It was equivalent to directly saying to An Laosi: “I am helping you because of your sister. Since I have helped you, I will also benefit from it. We are all sensible people, so don’t pretend to be confused while knowing the truth.”
After drinking all night, An Laosi would be taking up his new post tomorrow.
After he went back, he said to his wife: “Hong Xiu has now done quite well in the palace and she is quite favored by Han Lin’er. Otherwise, Liu Liu would not spend such efforts to win over a minor official like myself.”
After thinking about it, the Lady An said: “I imagine Liu Liu has planted a lot of his own people in the palace, as not many people outside know that Hong Xiu has gained such favor, otherwise our courtyard should be buried in invitations and gifts at this time.”
Treating people according to their social status. Many people didn’t have to learn this thing at all as they were born with the skill.
An Laosi got a big basin of hot water, put it under his wife’s feet, and rolled up his sleeves to wash her feet for her.
After coming to Anfeng, the couple acted in the role of a poor couple. He spent all their savings to buy a minor official post, and he had to rely on the wife to do needlework to subsidize the family. Over time, An Laosi had really changed somewhat. He would never do something like wash his wife’s feet, since in his opinion, it was not what a man should do.
While washing his wife’s feet, An Laosi said, “I just don’t know when Hong Xiu will send us a letter. It would be better to be able to see each other. I imagine she has already collected a lot of news these days.”
But his wife didn’t listen to what he was talking about. She suddenly said, “I know why Liu Liu came. It was Hong Xiu who revealed the news of her favor to Liu Liu.”
An Laosi said strangely: “Why disclose it to him? Although he is a high official, he is of little use.”
Lady An sighed at her husband’s habit of overlooking things. She reminded: “Du Zundao.”
An Laosi: ”…..”
He took a breath and said to his wife: “Hing Xiu is really…..really too daring…..”
Lady An also felt admiration: “She has scheming and ability, as well as daring and decisiveness. An Laosi, you are inferior to her.”
An Laosi: ”…..How do you call your husband?”
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Lady An couldn’t help but laugh: “If you ever fix your habit of overlooking things and stubbornness, I won’t say anything about you again, and instead praise you day and night, what do you think?”
An Laosi shuddered: “I can do without praises day and night…..”
He also muttered in a low voice: “I don’t know where you learned it, you are more and more able to talk back and choke people with your words.”
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