Chu Li pushed the door open and entered the courtyard of the Garden of Jade. He could feel the pores of his body suddenly expand as the spiritual energy of the Glory's Will Tree entered his body. The feeling was like a waterfall cleaning his spiritual energy and all the stress that he had built up from traveling had been washed away.
Xue was in a white gown, growing under the moon. Her face was similar to a jade and her movements as elegant as a crane's.
"Just continue, no need to care about me." Chu Li said while waving his hand.
"I'll prepare some supper for you. Oh, Chief was looking for you. She was in a rush," Xue said.
"She didn't tell me, but she was in a real hurry.",Xue shook her head.
Chu Li nodded.
He knew that if it was very urgent, Su Ru would know that he was returning and she would have immediately made her way there.
"Then I'll prepare extra servings for supper."
Xue agreed and went to prepare a pot of tea. She then gracefully walked into the kitchen.
Chu Li gently took a sip of tea. The aroma entered his inner organs and he felt comfortable as he let out a sigh. It felt great to finally be home.
He pushed the door of the courtyard. A yellow gown was floating about. Su Ru gently moved in and entered the pagoda and took a seat opposite Chu Li.
Chu Li passed the pot of tea, smiled and asked, "Chief, is there anything urgent?"
Su Ru took the white jade teacup and fiercely rolled her eyes at him.
"You're quite reliable!"
"What happened?" asked Chu Li.
"It's about the Second Lady!" exclaimed Su Ru.
"Do we need to go over there?"
"By tomorrow!" scoffed Su Ru.
"If you had returned one day later, we would've been late!"
"The Second Lady has a lot of Protectors. There'd be no difference with or without me." Chu Li smiled as he slowly took a sip of his tea.
"If the big guys up there have no worries, there is no point you carry out their job for them" Su Ru angrily replied.
Chu Li put down the teacup and with a serious tone in his voice asked, "Is this errand very important?"
"Lady Siao put a lot of effort and fought for it and if you really delayed or messed this up, it would have pissed me off!' Su Ru angrily stared at him.
Chu Li looked at her, confused.
Normally, the Second Lady had many Protectors with her. There would be no difference with or without him because he was just a young man gaining experience.
Su Ru rolled her eyes and scoffed, "The Second Lady and Lady Siao are different".
Chu Li nodded as he was in deep thought.
Master Siao and the Second Lady were the children of the Great Madam. They were both from the same parents. However, the Third Lady was the child of the Third Madam and the Forth Master was the child of the Second Madam. Lady Siao Shi's status was more precious because of her mother's status as the Great Madam.
To add to that, the Second Lady was far more precious and weak compared to the other three siblings who were in great health. She was extremely weak and could not even cultivate which naturally made her more pitiable and be given extra care and attention.
"If you can get the Second Lady to set her eyes on you, it would definitely secure you a higher and stronger position" Su Ru said to Chu Li.
"I appreciate Lady Siao's effort" Chu Li said.
"Hmph! You're fifth in rank, but you still joined the Public House too late, and you're so young as well. It is difficult for Lady Siao to promote you right now because you don't have enough experience", Su Ru scoffed.
"However,if the Second Lady thinks highly of you, it would be easier for Lady Siao to promote you!"
Chu Li slowly nodded.
He thought that the Second Lady affected Master Siao more than Lady Siao did. If the Second Lady thought highly of him, it would have directly affected Master Siao's impression of him which would really reduce his obstacles.
"Chief, will the Second Lady depart tomorrow?" Chu Li asked.
Su Ru gently took a sip of tea and elegantly put down the teacup.
"The Second Lady wanted to celebrate Grand Secretary Kang's birthday. We're going to Zhao Jing Hai Town."
"Zhao Jing Hai Town" muttered Chu Li.
"That's not a safe place. It's full of Hu Ren Public House's people. They'll definitely attack us!"
"I don't think they will. Lady Siao is the one Lu Yurong is looking for. It has nothing to do with Second Lady" Su Ru said as she shook her head.
"Is that what Lady Siao thinks?"
Chu Li furrowed his brows.
Su Ru put down her teacup.
"Is there a problem?"
"It's different now. Both our Public Houses has already burned the bridge. They're sure to attack us if they have the chance!" Chu Li said.
"Second Lady is not a menace to them. She doesn't know martial arts and doesn't care about the problems of the Public House. She's detached from the world. Why would they want to hurt her and make Master Siao angry?" Su Ru said as she shook her head again.
"If they hurt the Second Lady, Master Siao will definitely go crazy and both the Public Houses will go into an all-out war. Both sides will suffer in the end. Not even Lu Yurong would dare to do it!"
Chu Li shook his head.
"They had suffered quite the huge loss last time. They'll definitely come back for revenge." Su Ru said as she frowned.
"My guess is that Lu Yurong will not kill the Second lady but might kidnap her and want Master Siao to pay ransom for her release. What would happen if Master Siao complied with their demands? Wouldn't this weaken the morale of the Public House?" asked Chu Li.
Su Ru frowned again.
"It has already been decided. The Second Lady won't bring too many Protectors. She doesn't want to make it obvious and anger the Grand Secretary. He dislikes people from the martial arts world the most."
"How many Protectors is she bringing?" he asked.
"This is top secret, how could I just say it out loud?"
Chu Li nodded.
"Then tell Second Lady to please reconsider."
"It won't work." Su Ru said to reconfirm her previous statements.
She then added, "The Second Lady's personality is different from Lady Siao's. She's a very hard egg to crack."
Lady Siao's personality could be described as white snow. She was cold and detached, strict with people but tolerant with those who were close to her. She accepted the suggestions of others because she was tolerant. The Second Lady, however, was the complete opposite. She looked gentle and soft like water, but her mental barrier was very strong. She did not accept any mistakes from anyone else. Both her and Master Siao got this trait from the Great Madam.
"I'll do whatever I can and leave the rest to the Gods."
Chu Li raised his teacup.
"Master, Chief, supper is ready," Xue said.
Xue used the Angsana plates to serve four different, beautiful and delicious dishes followed by warmed wine.
She stood behind Chu Li and poured the wine for them. The green wine in the white jade cup made the cup look greenish.
Su Ru grabbed the white jade cup and gently took a sip, then nodded in satisfaction.
"Remember not to talk too much when you're with the Second Lady. She isn't tolerant with other people. If you aren't careful, you might end up offending her and cause her to hate you instead," Su Ru reminded Chu Li.
Chu Li nodded while he ate with silver chopsticks.
Su Ru took up the silver chopsticks and took the stewed meat, slowly chewing it.
Chu Li smiled.
"Then I'll act dumb and not say a thing."
"It's better to be like that. My only worry is that you might crack quickly under the pressure." Su Ru smiled.
Chu Li drank the wine.
"It can't be that difficult, right?"
"Wait until you meet Second Lady, then you'll know! Remember, the Second Lady doesn't like talkative people. If you want to leave a good impression, you need to be quiet!"
Su Ru shook her head and smiled.
"And you need to be careful of this one person. The Second Lady brings him along no matter where she goes."
Chu Li look at Su Ru.
"Guo Mulin, Elder Mulin!" Su Ru said.
Chu Li made a gesture showing he was listening intently to her.
He had thought that Mulin was the Second Lady's maid just like Su Ru. They were together since they were young as maid and master but their relationship was more like sisterhood rather than a master-slave relationship.
"Mulin's medical skill is beyond normal. The Second Lady's body is weak and precious so she always needed to be wary of her health and if she wasn't careful she might fall ill. If it weren't for Mulin, the Second Lady would've already" Su Ru said.
"I understand. I can't offend him." Chu Li said.
"Elder Guo had one child, but he was killed." Su Ru said as she shook her head.
"He only saved people his entire life and had never stained himself with blood, either. But his son was killed by martial artists. Think about it, what kind of impression would he have about a martial artist?"
"So he hates people from the martial arts world?" Chu Li asked.
Su Ru sighed.
"He hates anyone who cultivated martial arts, so don't even think about making him like you. Just put him as far away as you possibly can."
Chu Li nodded.
However, Su Ru was still worried.
"Just remember, your errand is to get experience, not to create a stir!" she reminded Chu Li.
"Don't go and try being the hero!"
"Don't say a thing and leave the Second Lady and Elder Mulin far far away!"
Su Ru smiled.
"I'd be relieved if you could make it."
"I will" Chu Li smiled.
Su Ru shook her head.
"The Second Lady has six Grandmasters with her, so she is definitely safe from danger. There's nothing you should be worried about except protecting yourself"
"How many Grandmasters does the Hu Ren Public House have?"
"So little?" Chu Li said in shock.
The Great Ji Dynasty has twelve Public Houses and each Public House had about ten Grandmasters which meant that there were hundreds of them including the ones from martial art sects. He was realized that there were less than three hundred Grandmasters, which would be less than he anticipated.
As a comparison with modern society, the foundation was like going to college, reaching innate mastery was like becoming a professor and becoming a Grandmaster was like being an academician. For the level of acquired masters, it would have been compared to the minds of Isaac Newton and Albert Chen Yingstein. It was not impossible, but extremely rare.
In this world, the area of the Great Ji Dynasty was already ten times the size of Earth with a population of four hundred million. The fanaticism of the pursuit of martial arts was crazier than the modern obsession with money. There were only about three hundred Grandmasters which was far too little and the average lifespan of a Grandmaster was about two hundred years old.