Chapter 15 Bestowing Tea
Having lived for two lifetimes, Qu Chenzhou had never been like this before, and sincerely felt that God was just playing him for fun.
The more he wanted to see him, the more he couldn’t ask for it. The more he wanted to avoid him, the narrower the road was.
There was no way to escape in the woodshed, so he was forced to take a look. He didn’t expect that he would be in the Liu Mansion now. He hadn’t even figured out how to face Liu Zhongming.
His life was really bitter. Every time he bumped into a situation, it was a hundred times worse than imagined. If he knew this before, how could he still sleep?
Now Liu Zhongming had no relationship with him, and he was an extremely meticulous person. It was by no means a good thing to fall into Zhongming’s hands.
What’s more, he can see it clearly.
Originally wanting to die, he planned to throw the teapot at Qi Wang. However because of the momentary rush, he strayed because Du Quan threw him down and the pot of tea was accurately smashed on Liu Zhongming.
Zhongming, this person…Although he was not as violent as Panhe, he was not a good thing, and was even more difficult to deal with than Panhe. Did he have to follow a set pattern to thoroughly infuriate him to finally have someone finish him off straightforwardly?
Qu Chenzhou buried half of his face in the quilt, with his back to the door motionless, trying to adjust his breathing and pretend to sleep.
The door was closed, blocking the noise outside, only one footstep approached unhurriedly. It leaned over the bed, fiddled with the food and tea set that had not been cleaned before leaving the bedside.
Qu Chenzhou didn’t dare to relax. He only hoped that someone could leave quickly. After a while, the person sat down at the table, and he even heard the sound of flipping a book, as if he was competing with him on patience.
It was very difficult to maintain a posture for the entire time. The stiffness spread from his pressed left shoulder to his neck and toes. The numbness stirred up the scars all over the body. It was like thousands of ants gnawing every inch of skin on his body.
It was no less torture than the dark prison.
He held his breath. He did not dare let a moan escape from his mouth. He was boiled with a thin layer of sweat on his forehead, then he heard someone ask unhurriedly: “When will you lie down until?”
Qu Chenzhou could only give up resisting, and turned over in resignation. He was finally freed from the shackles of his body.
Sure enough, he didn’t have much luck.
Zhongming learned martial arts with General Bai and the brothers since he was a child. With sharp ears and keen eyes, he long heard the problem with his breathing.
“Greetings to the… prince.” He slowly sat up from the bed with support. These words were difficult to say. His chest seemed to be blocked by a rag, and he could not vomit anything out after retching several times.
The candlelight in front of him was blocked by a close figure. He couldn’t care about chest tightness and wanted to get out of bed to greet him ceremoniously, but was grabbed by a hand.
The temperature between the touch made him tremble. Before he could react and withdraw his hand, a breath of pure qi swept through, like someone slapped him from behind. He couldn’t help but throw himself on the edge of the bed and vomit a mouthful of black blood.
The stagnation in his chest finally disappeared, and he coughed up a few more mouthfuls of blood. He panted and leaned against the bed, unable to get up immediately.
A cup of tea was handed to him. His mind was a little dizzy. Before he had time to think about anything, he habitually stretched out his hands to pick it up, but when he touched the edge of the teacup, he suddenly woke up and withdrew his hands.
The teacup that no one caught fell to pieces on the ground.
Qu Chenzhou gritted his teeth and slid down from the bed, and fell on his knees: “Prince, forgive me…”
Liu Zhongming, who was usually very calm, was so startled that he didn’t speak for a while. Did he misperceive the gesture when the other party reached out for the tea?
If he was wrong, why did the other party suddenly shrink back his hand?
The room was quiet again, and Qu Chenzhou’s fingers curled up slightly on the ground.
This was what he feared the most.
Although he was reborn and returned to his boyhood, he was no longer the timid and ignorant slave under this skin. He had been in the palace for more than ten years with an imprint on his body that couldn’t be erased. Every step he took had traces of his past.
Even if he tried his best to change his habits in the past few months, many things were carved into his bones, sometimes he didn’t even know how he was different from ordinary people.
In Qisheng Building, he was taciturn and unobtrusive. He did rough work usually, but in the face of the bright eyesight of Zhongming, he could hardly guarantee that he would not be seen through.
With the gaze in front of him, he gradually found the feeling of walking on thin ice in the palace, and gradually quieted down.
Liu Zhongming lowered his head, watching the curled fingers relax on the ground, squinted his eyes slightly, then stepped back. He sat down on the chair, and looked down at the person kneeling on the ground.
Under such panic, he could calm down so quickly.
“Did you get scalded anywhere?”
He leaned down, took his hand, and looked at the slave ring on his wrist.
This thing was uniformly created by the Department of Control in accordance with the roster of the slave status. It was engraved with the characters of the slave’s name, birthday, and the owner’s name. Whenever one went out, one must wear this on their hands, otherwise one would be treated as a fugitive slave and sent to the yamen.
“Qu Chenzhou…” He turned his slave ring. His wrist ring glowing with copper luster and was thick and rough. It made his clasped wrist appear so thin, it could be snapped with one hand: “This is a good name, who gave you it?”
Qu Chenzhou did not expect that he would not pursue the teapot being smashed on him, nor be held accountable for breaking the tea cup. Instead, he asked such a normal question. He leaned over and replied softly: “Replying to the prince, when I was born, Monk Youfang happened to stay at our home. It was the name he gave me.”
“Monk Youfang,” Liu Chongming slowly repeated these words, then asked: “Have you read a book before?”
Qu Chenzhou’s heart sank. It truly is whatever you are scared of will come. With Zhongming’s quiet questioning where he does not even bat an eyelid to a person who can’t lie, he is basically his nemesis.
“Replying to the prince, my master once taught me.”
He was naturally telling the truth, but Du Quan was only afraid that he would lose face because of his illiteracy and could not convince others of his divination, so he hastily taught him a few words.
After entering the palace, the emperor thought he couldn’t be presented on stage, so he sent him to study at Jinxi Academy. Every word he can read and write now was taught by the person in front of him.
Liu Zhongming stopped asking more questions. He pulled him up with force, “Sit and talk.”
Qu Chenzhou smiled bitterly in his heart, he would rather kneel.
There was an appointed palace official in the palace to teach him etiquette, but he was too timid at the time, and he couldn’t learn it tremblingly. It was Zhongming who used a small bamboo stick to help him correct his posture in private.
These habits had immersed in his bones, but now he had to work hard to hide them.
When sitting on the chair, he sat up to the base of the backrest, curled up his legs, stepped on the beam below, and then drew his hands on his legs.
In the past, because of this crouching posture that he had developed as a habit from Qisheng Building, Zhongming was so angry that the palms of his hands would turn flushed. After the beating, he knelt down in front of him with annoyance and rubbed the ointment carefully on him.
It was in this stumbling that he gradually straightened his waist in front of others, and slowly became the indifferent and iron-hearted Qu Si Tian.
Thinking of the past from a long time ago, Qu Chenzhou couldn’t help but purse his mouth. He didn’t expect that the things Zhongming had bothered to teach him would be returned to the original owner.
Liu Zhongming just watched him calmly. Seeing this, Qu Chenzhou couldn’t help sighing in his heart——he knew the other party better than anyone else. Zhongming was suspicious of him, but these habits could not be changed overnight.
“Does Du Quan treat you well?”
“It can’t be counted as good.”
“What kind of person do you think he is?”
He shook his head, but the other party obviously didn’t let him go so vaguely: “What do you mean by shaking your head? I want to listen to your answer.”
Qu Chenzhou did not speak.
He certainly knew what kind of person Du Quan was, but he didn’t know how to describe it. Or it was he didn’t know what his former scared self would say to describe Du Quan.
The more he speaks, the more Zhongming will discover that his words can never be taught to him by Du Quan.
Liu Zhongming seemed to be very patient. He didn’t want to answer, so he didn’t force him. He changed the question: “Why did you hit Panhe?”
Qu Chenzhou thought about it and replied softly: “I thought I was dreaming.”
Liu Zhongming froze for a moment, then laughed scornfully. He had imagined many possible answers, but never expected to hear such a childish answer.
“Are you serious?”
Qu Chenzhou nodded, then remembered that the other party was dissatisfied with the vague nod and shook his head, adding: “I never lie.”
This matter had been heard several times, but Liu Zhongming always only believed in his own judgment: “Then the second time? Why did you hit him? Did you have grudges with him?”
The answer to him was silence.
“Do you know me?” Liu Zhongming continued to ask, changing the subject.
If he didn’t answer this question, it was like tacit consent. Qu Chenzhou thought about it: “The prince came to see me in the woodshed.”
“On the street… I saw the prince once.”
“What about before?”
Qu Chenzhou shook his head.
“Speak!” Liu Zhongming’s tone was cold: “Or do you want me to hang you outside to show the public?”
Although Qu Chenzhou knew that he was talking about the matters outside Pan He’s house, he still couldn’t help but feel a pain in his heart. Something was blocking his throat, and he didn’t say a word in the end.
Liu Zhongming watched his fingers on his legs motionless. He got up and left, leaving him to sit under the dim candlelight.
It wasn’t until the footsteps outside the door was distant that Qu Chenzhou relaxed his hands and feet. He took a long breath and couldn’t help but smile. With great difficulty, he was reborn again. Does God want him to kill himself?
Qu Chenzhou looked at the broken tiles and slowly buried his head between his arms—he had lived in the palace for more than ten years, and the person who bestowed him the most tea was the emperor, and he was most used to accepting tea in that posture.
Those were traces that cannot be erased from his body.
Although the other party didn’t say anything and didn’t make it hard for him, he knew very well that Zhongming was suspicious of him.
How could a person with flaws like him escape Zhongming’s eyes?
But what was the result of the inquiry?
Should he admit to him that he killed all of Chongming’s close relatives and friends?
Did he reborn again just to be tortured, to atone for his bloody hands?