Chapter 91 – The One Who Coveted Tenth Older Brother
If this person really was Ge Lan and Ran Yan did not save her, she would be haunted by a guilty conscience for life. As for the consequences, Ran Yan estimated that the chances of this matter happening was low. After all, the master and servant have not met for two years, and she had most of the previous owner’s memories intact. Even if anyone was to doubt her, there was no evidence to back it up. A reasonable explanation was her encounter with a life-and-death situation which led to her personality change.
After she made up her mind, Ran Yan voiced her suspicion to Xing Niang.
Xing Niang couldn’t hide her excitement. She choked and said, “Then Miss has to hurry! This matter can’t be dragged on. Who knows how much Ge Lan has suffered!”
The Yin Family’s case has been handled so it was certain that the family would be in turmoil. The guard assigned to Ge Lan should have their guards down, that’s why Ge Lan was able to send this piece of news to her. However, the people who have imprisoned her would feel that Ge Lan no longer has any value left and would kill her in a fit of anger.
Ran Yan naturally could not confirm Xing Niang’s worry. Until this matter was resolved, she could only say, “We have no one with us. We have no means to rescue Ge Lan. There are only a few solutions to this problem. First, I could go down the mountain and request Provincial Governor Liu for help. Second, I could ask Tenth Brother for help. Third…”
Third, ask Su Fu for help.
However, Su Fu said that he would only assassinate people. If he was asked to help, Su Fu would probably take another life. At that time, she would not be able to explain to Provincial Governor Liu. Moreover, why would he help her?
“I think Miss should ask Tenth Master for help. Tenth Master is a businessman, so he should be accustomed to dealing with all kinds of people. It shouldn’t be a problem for him to find a few people to save Ge Lan. If Miss tells this to Provincial Governor Liu, there would be a big commotion; what if those people were to be alarmed and transfer Ge Lan to a different place, or even silence her!” Xing Niang wiped her tears as she suggested.
Ran Yan nodded at Xing Niang’s comments. Currently, she could not meddle with worldly affairs. Her house being placed under house arrest was a disguise. If she went down the mountain to look for Provincial Governor Liu, she was uncertain on how many problems would arise from her actions. “I will write two copies; one for you to give to Tenth Older Brother, and the other for Wan Lu to give to Provincial Governor Liu.”
Xing Niang also felt that this was a feasible solution, so she went straightaway to grind the inkstone.
Ran Yan had just written a few words when she heard Wan Lu’s voice from outside the door, “Miss, Tenth Master is here!”
“Just in time.” Ran Yan put down her pen and straightened her skirt, ready to go out. When she looked up, she saw a white hand has pushed open the wooden door.
“Tenth Older Brother?” Ran Yan couldn’t help but call out.
From outside came a bright face with a gentle smile like the spring breeze. Her eyes immediately brightened up. “I didn’t expect Tenth Older Brother to come here.”
Ran Yan asked Ran Yunsheng to come in with a smile. After they sat down, she poured water in a glass before handing it over to him and said, “Doesn’t Yingmei Nunnery prohibit male pilgrims?”
Ran Yunsheng swallowed his saliva and leaned closer to Ran Yan with a sly smile. “I told them that I’m a woman dressed as a man…”
“Ha!” Ran Yan took a closer look at Ran Yunsheng’s face. The bodyline was soft and flawless. With his words, Ran Yan noticed that the wide-sleeved robe he had deliberately worn today appeared slim and slender. He looked more and more like a woman. “Tenth Older Brother is really mischievous. The entire Suzhou knows that Tenth Older Brother is a dazzling beauty. I wonder if those nuns knew you were Tenth Older Brother, but they couldn’t bear to chase such a person away.”
“You’re indeed getting bolder! You are teasing Tenth Older Brother.” Ran Yunsheng flicked his finger on her forehead. Even though he said that he didn’t have the intention of blaming her. Instead, he was happy that his younger sister wasn’t letting others hurt her anymore.
“Tenth Older Brother, you’re here just in time! I need your help.” Ran Yan restrained her smile and said in a serious tone.
Ran Yunsheng saw her solemn face, his smile subsided. He hurriedly asked, “Did you encounter any trouble?”
“Yes.” Ran Yan handed the note with the address to Ran Yunsheng and told him about Ge Lan.
The more Ran Yunsheng heard of it, the more surprised he became. “Why didn’t Provincial Governor Liu find Ge Lan’s body? On the day of the public trial, I was there listening in the back hall. Recounting the records from two years ago, between late July and early August, two drowned female corpses were salvaged from the Pingjiang River. They were unrecognizable. They assumed that Third Miss Yin and Ge Lan were the ones who have died!”
“Provincial Governor Liu has only found two female corpses of the same age. Moreover, when the corpses were recovered they were already beyond recognition. At that time, they were unable to identify the corpses. Could it be that one of the corpses was determined to be Ge Lan just because it matched with the case?” Ran Yan did not want to accuse Liu Pinrang of anything. The trial procedures have always been like this since ancient times. As long as they did not make a mistake in apprehending the wrong murderer, the reasoning on the case was smooth, and the evidence was conclusive. It was already a justified trial. Who would care about the real identity of the nameless corpse from two years ago!
Without saying anything, Ran Yunsheng grabbed the note with the address and stood up. “All right, I’ll go find someone right away.”
Regardless of whether he believed that Ge Lan was still alive or not, for the sake of reassuring Ran Yan, he has to find the person without delay.
Just as Ran Yunsheng had arrived, he had also left in a hurry. He had left behind two maidservants. They brought in two food boxes, and bowed to Ran Yan before saying, “Seventeenth Miss, Master has ordered these servants to bring these foods inside.”
Ran Yan looked at the two delicately carved food boxes in their hands. She recognized that they were from Heaven’s Incense Pavillion. “Why are there two boxes?”
One of the maidservants replied, “Tenth Master went to the North of the city in the morning and hand-picked from twenty maidservants in Chang’an. Before he had eaten, he took two food boxes from Heaven’s Incense Pavillion and said that he wanted to eat with Miss.”
Ran Yan felt warm inside. She remembered that she had promised to cook for him last time, but she had to put it aside because there were a lot of things happening. This time she really had to compensate him.
“Serve the food. Take Tenth Older Brother’s portion and share it with Xing Niang.” Ran Yan ordered.
The two maidservants quickly brought the food out and Wan Lu, who was carrying the Nunnery’s food box, has walked inside and said, “Miss, the little nun who had sent the food was still spying on us. It seemed that her intentions were not pure. Do you want this servant to tell the nunnery master?”
Ran Yan quietly swallowed the food in her mouth and looked at Wan Lu indifferently. “You have five days left to copy the medical book. Do you think you still have the time to file a private complaint?”
Wan Lu’s mental strength that had just recovered was instantly suppressed. She lowered her head and led the two servants of Ran Yunsheng to eat.
Wan Lu and the others knew that Ran Yan didn’t like her food being served by others, but the two maids didn’t know. They looked at each other before walking out with their heads lowered.
Ran Yan ordered Xing Niang to go to the village at the foot of the mountain to buy some food for after breakfast. Then, she wrote another letter and asked Wan Lu to immediately hand it to Provincial Governor Liu.
Wan Lu’s face was full of joy. Anything that could delay her writing tasks, she would gratefully accept it all even if it meant that she has to run for an entire day.
The next step was to wait. Ran Yan analyzed the current situation again; there was a mess in Yin Manor, so Yin Wenshu should not have the time to care about anything else. There should be no danger in finding people to go over to the mansion.
Ran Yan looked at the few medical books that Ran Yunsheng have sent over yesterday and took a random book from the pile to read. After flipping over for a while, she heard the faint sound of the zither in the distance. The tone was elegant yet it contained leisure. The sound flowed through the misty mountains and sounded ethereal as if this was the sound of nature.
Ran Yan didn’t know much about music, but she couldn’t help but be attracted by the artistic arrangement behind the song. She felt as if her heart has been cleansed, returning to her original pure and carefree self.
“That was excellent.” At the end of the song, Ran Yan sighed reluctantly.
“Miss, it seemed that the sound of the zither came from the temple at the foot of the mountain.” Xiao Man said.
“There is a temple at the foot of the mountain?” Ran Yan remembered the night she came over, there were only grasses and trees all around. There were no signs of temples or any other buildings.
Xiao Man smiled and said, “Yes, there’s a large temple. The temple is called Yun Cong Temple. It’s around a mile or two away from here. The temple’s located in the Southern part of the woods.”
“The person who played the zither must be an expert.” Ran Yan casually said.
Xiao Man said, “There were several eminent monks in Yun Cong Temple. This servant heard that their Master Huaiyin of the Commandment Hall was a twenty-seven-year-old handsome monk. Zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting were all mastered by him. Many women lamented his decision to become a monk.”
Ran Yan put down the book in her hands and gave an oh with great interest.
Xiao Man saw that she was interested and continued in a gossipy tone, “This servant heard that Sixth Miss Qi often went to Yun Cong Temple to burn incense. She even went to meet Master Huaiyin a few times. Everyone said that she was interested in Master Huaiyin! This servant felt that the reason Sixth Miss Qi was so proud and cold was that she got her heart broken into pieces. That’s why she took a stance that no one could enter her eyes. Sigh, how pitiful!”
Ran Yan raised her eyebrows and said, “I think you can write down this story anonymously and sell it to the bookstore. I’m sure you’ll make a fortune.”
Ran Yan’s voice fell when she heard a livid and fragile voice. “Wouldn’t this be a good thing for that cheap woman?! She’s not an ice-cold and pure Celestial woman. All she did was act shamelessly and lowly!”
Ran Yan raised her head and saw the little girl standing at the door. The girl was about thirteen or fourteen years old. She was wearing a light yellow gauze dress, her palm-sized face had willowy eyebrows. Her large eyes were filled with contempt and anger, making her already delicate face appear even more vivid.
She looked into Ran Yan’s cold eyes and was stunned for a moment. “Are you Seventeenth Sister?”
Ran Yan raised her eyebrows and carefully recalled the figure in front of her and remembered that this girl was Ran Yunsheng’s sister, Ran Yun. The last time she saw her, Ran Yun was just an eight-year-old child. Now, she has become graceful, and her face was even more beautiful. Although her beauty couldn’t be compared to Ran Yunsheng, she was a beauty of her own caliber.
“A’Yun!” Ran Yan’s relationship with Ran Yun wasn’t very good in her memory. Ran Yun couldn’t bear her former self. Delicate, weak, and self-pitying attitude. She has always rolled her eyes at the sight of Ran Yan, but because of Ran Yunsheng’s relationship with Ran Yan, she had to be good to her.
Ran Yun couldn’t accept it for a moment. The weak Seventeenth Miss Ran had become so quiet after two years of absence. It also made her impression of Ran Yan change by a bit. She looked at her and said, “In the future, you are not allowed to praise the Sixth Miss Qi again! That woman has been extremely hypocritical. She dared to covet my brother and asked him to be her lover! Chi! She doesn’t even deserve my brother’s shoes!”
Ran Yan’s eyes narrowed slightly. Her eyes darkened, and her voice unconsciously turned cold. “She really said that?”
Ran Yun felt Ran Yan’s ill intentions, and she was slightly surprised. However, she still gave a reply, “Of course it’s true. Although my Brother told me to not mention this matter to anyone, I just don’t like her!”
Ran Yan turned around and angrily asked, “Where is Tenth Older Brother?”