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    Perhaps it was due to the fact that he had saved her before, and perhaps because of his familiarity when speaking of her mother, Rong Shu held a favorable impression of Lu Shiyi.

    Taking advantage of her uncle's absence, she would often sneak off to Ciying Lane to listen to Lu Shiyi's tales from all corners of the world, finding them both novel and entertaining.

    Today, Rong Shu arrived at Lu Shiyi's residence with two jars of wine, knocking on his door with a cheerful smile. "Uncle Shiyi, Zhaozhao is here."

    No sooner had her words faded than the doors of neighboring households creaked open, with their respective matriarchs poking their heads out to greet Rong Shu.

    "Oh my, which deity has returned? It's Miss Rong!"

    "You've become even more enchanting over time. If you hadn't returned to the capital, who else could have claimed the title of Yangzhou's fairest?"

    "It's been almost six years since you left Yangzhou, I hear you're married now, to a top scholar no less!"

    A chorus of chattering voices filled the air.

    Rong Shu smiled and bowed politely, not getting a chance to speak as the door behind her swung open.

    Lu Shiyi laughed heartily, "Miss Zhaozhao is here to see me, ladies. Please carry on with your chores."

    Looking at Rong Shu, he said, "Come in quickly. What fine wine have you brought me this time?"

    "Two jars: one of Autumn Dew White, one of Cold Pond Fragrance," Rong Shu replied with a smile as she entered with Lian Nu.

    As the two went in, two figures slowly emerged from behind the willow tree at the end of the alley.

    Shiiun glanced at Gu Changjin and said, "It seems our Master has a connection with this person. They only just parted ways at the ferry, and now they've crossed paths again, both looking for the same person. Could it be that they share a telepathic bond?"

    Gu Changjin ignored his jest and asked, "Is she very close to Lu Shiyi?"

    "Certainly. Miss Rong was kidnapped by bandits when she was young, and it was Lu Shiyi who found and returned her. The ruffians in Yangzhou all know and respect Lu Shiyi."

    Upon hearing this, Gu Changjin turned to look at him. "She was kidnapped as a child? You never mentioned this in your letters."

    "What's the point of dwelling on old news?" Shiiun teased. "If I had written about it, Master might have called me tedious. Of course, if you want to hear more now, I can tell you everything about Miss Rong's childhood, one story at a time. How does that sound?"

    Gu Changjin's dark eyes stared at Shiiun, a gaze that usually made Chang Ji's scalp tingle, but Shiiun was not the least bit intimidated.

    He shrugged and said, "Since Master likes her, why did you divorce her? With your personality, you might not encounter someone who touches your heart in a lifetime."

    Gu Changjin had three attendants by his side, and among them, Chiiun was the one who knew his master best.

    When they went to the ferry to pick up someone earlier, their master hadn't blinked an eye while staring at that young lady. When had Chiiun ever seen him like that?

    He instantly understood why Chang Ji had sent a letter filled with sorrow and wailing when the two of them parted ways.

    Gu Changjin didn't respond.

    Recalling the relief on her face when she handed him the divorce papers and the cheerful scene of her chatting with Mu Rong at the Hundred Performances Pavilion, a bitter sensation gradually rose in his throat.

    Gu Changjin tore his gaze away from the half-closed wooden door and said, "There's no need for you to ask Lu Shiyi about 'Lady Phoenix'."

    Chiiun raised an eyebrow. "Why?"

    "Someone else will ask for me," the man said before turning to leave Ciying Lane. "Take me to the Spring Moon Building. I'll look into Liao Rao."

    Chiiun was initially taken aback but quickly put two and two together, remembering how familiar that Miss Rong had been with Lu Shiyi just now. He immediately understood who Gu Changjin was referring to as "that person."

    He chuckled nonchalantly and replied, "Very well, then I won't bother with it."

    Chapter 46

    Lu Shiyi's house remained unchanged, every item bearing the marks of time. Though old, the windows were clean, and the place was tidy, not at all shabby.

    "As you came ashore today, someone came to pass me a message," said Lu Shiyi, glancing at Luo Yan standing guard outside the door. "Is this your new maid?"

    "No, Sister Luo Yan is Lady Danzhu's bodyguard. She accompanied me back to Yangzhou to look into some matters."

    Lu Shiyi hummed in response. "What sort of matters?"

    Pausing for a moment, he added nonchalantly, "Is something wrong with your mother?"

    Rong Shu lifted her gaze to look at him. She detected a hint of unease in his voice.

    When she was young, Uncle Shiyi often mentioned her mother, always saying that although she didn't resemble her physically, her temperament was an exact replica, a vexing disposition that could make one grit their teeth.

    It was as if he knew her mother intimately.

    Back then, Rong Shu missed her mother terribly, and her uncle was always too busy with work to be at home. So she would often run to Ciying Lane to find Lu Shiyi, asking him to tell her stories about her mother.

    Uncle Lu Shiyi is well aware of Mother's past in Yangzhou when she was young.

    When Rong Shu was younger, she couldn't perceive the hidden affection in Uncle Lu's words.

    But now, Rong Shu is different. Recalling those years, how Uncle Lu spoke of her mother, she has come to understand his feelings for her.

    This might also be why he hasn't taken a wife all these years.

    Considering this, Rong Shu said, "Mother hasn't encountered any trouble yet."

    "Not yet? What do you mean? Will there be trouble in the future?" Lu Shiyi's expression shifted. "What exactly has happened?"

    Rong Shu chose her words carefully. "I cannot tell you the specifics just yet, as I'm still in the dark about many things myself."

    Her voice carried an unintentional tinge of bitterness. "Uncle Lu, I want to investigate my uncle."

    Lu Shiyi gazed at her for a moment before asking, "Why do you want to investigate him?"

    There were certain matters that, if not shared with Uncle Lu, would likely make it difficult to convince him.

    Rong Shu pondered earnestly for a few moments before filling Lu Shiyi's bowl with a full serving of Autumn Dew White. She said, "Zhaozhao has heard rumors that the pirates along the Great Yin coastline cannot be utterly eradicated because some Great Yin people, driven by profit, have chosen to collaborate with the enemy and aid in their wicked deeds. I wish to clarify if my uncle has ever been involved in such matters."

    Lu Shiyi's gaze remained fixed on Rong Shu for an instant, not wavering for a moment. After a long while, a hint of a smile tugged at the corners of his lips as he said, "In this regard, you are indeed more lucid than Shen Yizhen."

    He raised his hand to down half a bowl of wine, speaking calmly, "I told her long ago not to heed your uncle's words, foolishly marrying into the Marquisate to become some trifling Marchioness. Your mother never liked being confined within the walls of a single estate. If Shen Zhi truly had her best interests at heart, he would not have advised her to marry Rong Xun. Zhaozhao—"

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