Chapter 30 Unforeseen Event
Relaxing Bamboo Pavilion, like Qisheng Building and Chunqing Building, was an establishment under Du Quan’s name. The two were not far apart; just separated by a fork in the road.
Although there were no banners hung up for divination, there were still guests. After a meal, they would mention the little monster under the name of Shopkeeper Du, and call him over once to take a look and have fun.
So Qu Chenzhou would occasionally go to Relaxing Bamboo Pavillion and now the waiters had even started recognizing him.
“Steward Lin, it’s over so soon?” The waiter saw a few people coming down from the wing upstairs, to the first floor. It just so happened that he was bored, so he made a special trip to say hello to them.
Steward Lin smiled and said: “It’s nothing too important. We’ve just been looking around for a while.”
“Little Brother Qu has grown taller, but why are you still so thin? Your face also seems better.”
“It’s gotten better.” Qu Chenzhou stopped, then waited for everyone to greet the waiter before finally telling him: “Brother Zhang, long time no see.”
The waiter was also a warm-hearted person, so instead of treating them as outsiders, he hurried to wipe a chair for Steward Lin and help him sit down.
“By the way, we heard from our shopkeeper that you were visiting, so we asked the chef in the back to leave some dessert for you. Steward Lin, you can rest your feet, I will bring it to you.”
Steward Lin smiled and responded to him, “Am I not too old to sit down and have fun with you guys? And eating sweets at my age?!”
Although he said that, he didn’t stop them. Hence it was seen as tacit approval. Several people waited in the lobby and it didn’t take long for the waiter to come back with a tray. He looked very happy and distributed the sweets to everyone in turn.
The rest of the lot were domestic servants, while Qu Chenzhou was a domestic servant who had signed a contract of slavery. Thus according to the rules, his turn was last.
When the waiter handed him the bowl of dessert, he bent over to thank him. He pulled out the hand stove from his sleeve and placed it on the table beside him. Then, he took the dessert with both hands, and after he touched it only lightly with his lips, he simply held it in his hand.
When the others were about to finish their drinks, a group of guests happened to arrive outside, calling out to them, being all lively. The waiter quickly apologized, left them, and went to entertain the guests.
Steward Lin urged them to finish the dessert quickly and put the bowl down. Then not bothering to greet the busy waiter again, he went out to the street and walked towards Qi Sheng Building.
Soon after they left the house, an idle man who had been sitting outside, looked at the people who had left, and then looked at the hand stove left in the main room. He sauntered in through the door, picked up the hand stove carelessly and put it in his sleeve.
The waiter who happened to pass by swiftly grabbed his hands and took away the hand stove: “Is this yours? Did you just casually take it?”
The vagrant pushed him, snatched the hand stove, and barked: “Don’t look down on people. If it’s not Lao Zi’s, is it yours?”
The waiter didn’t note who had actually left the stove behind, but he could see that the thing was quite exquisite. And thus, it naturally shouldn’t belong to the famous rascal of the street.
The two argued back and forth a few times, but the homeless man didn’t seem to want to talk nonsense with him. He slapped the waiter’s face and was about to go out when he was surrounded by the people in the hall.
“What’s the matter?” Du Quan was talking to some important guests in the wing upstairs before he heard the noise coming from below. He assumed that something had gone wrong, and decided to go take a look.
The waiter covered his face and got up, and pointed to the homeless man: “Shopkeeper! it’s this rogue! He keeps saying that the hand stove is his. I said it’s not! How could he own that kind of thing!”
“Bah!” Seeing that a crowd had gathered, the vagrant felt even more embarrassed: “I told you, this thing was given to me by my old friend!”
Du Quan saw what the man was holding and recognized it at a glance as his daughter-in-law’s property. Listening to his dishonest mouth, he trembled with anger: “Nonsense! Come, someone grab him and beat him to death!”
Everyone in the street ran in one direction as if rushing to see the excitement. Qu Chenzhou stayed put.
“Chenzhou, what are you doing? Let’s go.” Steward Lin also stopped, urging him.
“Steward Lin, Young Madam’s hand stove… I didn’t take it back. After I finished the dessert, I left it on the table in the lobby.”
Steward Lin hesitated. It didn’t matter if it was someone else’s – they could just grab it later. But with it being one of the Lady’s things, he hurriedly sent someone back to fetch them.
Qu Chenzhou still didn’t move, but his eyes moved, following the people running on the street. “Steward Lin, these people on the street are going in the direction of Relaxing Bamboo Pavillion. Is something wrong?”
“Don’t worry about these things so much.”
Because Qu Chenzhou had been convicted too many times in the past of escaping, Steward Lin didn’t dare to let him stay in the street for too long, especially when so many people were squeezing past them.
He said, “Let’s go back quickly. Whatever could possibly happen over there?”
But Steward Lin had predicted it completely wrong this time.
Relaxing Bamboo Pavillion did not only have an accident, but also a major one.
The famous rogue on the street had settled down in the lobby to provoke and make trouble, and he just so happened to meet Shopkeeper Du of Relaxing Bamboo Pavillion.
Somehow both sides had a sudden argument and Shopkeeper Du had become furious. Without wasting any more words on him, he called the guys in the shop to make a move.
The troublesome idler was outnumbered and his eyes turned red after three punches. Then like a desperate criminal, he rushed Shopkeeper Du, took out his knife, and stabbed him several times.
Relaxing Bamboo Pavillion thoroughly erupted.
All the people in the lobby rushed over and were busy trying to bring shopkeeper Du out to find a doctor. On the other side, they began to beat the man with all their might and without a care. As a result, the rogue was killed on the spot.
Shopkeeper Du couldn’t get to the doctor in time, so he breathed his last.
The rogue naturally could not pursue the matter, and the capital’s government could only lock all the people who killed him at Relaxing Bamboo Pavillion in the yamen.
If everything ended here, it would be nothing more than the death of two people, and wouldn’t be a major event.
But the people in the yamen seemed to have been given advice from someone. After the trial, the matter quickly became a big deal. Not only were the servants who killed the person arrested, the young master of Qisheng Building was also implicated. There seemed to be an intention of paying with one’s life, for a murder.
Although nothing was stated in the open, many had guessed who the “person” was. In all likelihood, it was Pan He, who was offended by shopkeeper Du some time ago.
The two backbones of the family were immediately gone, and the people who used to be brothers with Du Quan disappeared.
The madam and the young wife cried together, and they hurried around begging for help, hoping to get the young master out of the prison.
For a time, silver was spent like flowing water.
However, not many people wanted to patronize a place tangled in lawsuits dealing with lives. Not only the sealed Relaxing Bamboo Pavillion, but also Chunqing Building and Qisheng Building were deserted at the same time.
Now there was only money leaving and not entering, and soon, they were squeezed out of money. Several shops in the capital, including Chunqing Building, were sold at discounted prices and only Qisheng Building was left.
The word “Qi” in Qi Sheng Building was originally formulated from Qu Chenzhou’s yin and yang demon pupils. After the divination sign was removed, Qisheng building became an ordinary restaurant, which was not so prominent compared to other places.
There were people who came to enquire, all thinking about finding a leak and hitting the person while they were still down, and to keep pushing the price down.
As the days passed, they could only ask for help from the yamen, while waiting for someone to pay a good price for the Qisheng Building.
All the changes that occurred outside were being passed on uncomfortably in the whispers of servants and domestic slaves, and no one knew what the future would look like.
Qu Chenzhou has never been a social person. No one liked to talk to him, so he still worked as usual. Now that he has less work, he would look at the sky in a daze for a long time.
Although he knew what happened outside, he was not sure of the final result.
Zhongming once told him that everything in this world has a cause and effect, and for ordinary people, cause and effect are unpredictable.
He was the only exception.
His eyes guide him, and not only can he see what the effect was, but also even take the initiative to reach out to it, and have cause and effect that shouldn’t be connected, connect together.
Just the way the ordinary hand stove became the cause, and the divination image displayed on the rogue ——Du Quan’s death, the effect.
In his previous life, he was just one person, and the waves oscillated at random.
This hand stirred the pool water, again and again, watching the huge waves swallow lives with cold eyes, until he saw the waves rushing toward his face as he wished.
Under Zhongming’s little guidance, he used to be ecstatic, thinking that he really was omnipotent, but when he saw that terrible divination on Zhongming, he felt cold in his hands and feet, and his heart was flustered.
“The red qi offends ziwei, the white rainbow pierces through the moon, the soldiers will usurp in treacherous times, the ruler of the world.”
At that time, he was no longer a young man who had no knowledge of the world. In that short while, he couldn’t think of what mishaps caused Zhongming to have such a rebellious divination.
But he couldn’t shake this prophecy off no matter how much he thought of intervening, and then Yu Gonggong happened to call him. It was only at the last moment that he could barely leave a fleeting chance of life for Zhongming.
“The day after tomorrow at Chen shi (7-9am)…, wait for my news at the Nianhua shop.
But the expectant young man did not wait for his news. He only saw the billowing smoke from the Anding Marquis Mansion. He only waited until he was desperate.
He didn’t expect that to be the last sentence he would say to Liu Zhongming. Afterwards, when they met again, he was already a mute, bathed in sins, and he couldn’t even ask him one last sentence.
“Zhongming, have you ever thought about me all these years?”
In fact, he was not a tough person who can endure torture, and he couldn’t even save anyone.
He was just thinking that maybe within his pool of stagnant water with no ripples, he could once again try to struggle against his own predicament.
He was already bloody, who cares if he added a few more strokes.
Before the first snowfall in winter, Qisheng Building was resold, and everything outside was finally settled.
After squeezing out every bit of the profits, the young master was released. The family gathered up the last bit of valuables and went back to their hometown.
Qu Chenzhou naturally followed the Qi Sheng building, and was sold to a new owner.
But the new owner was wealthy and didn’t care much. He only selected a few old stewards to stay, and sent a few people over to take care of things, but did not show up.
The boss was kind, and the servants received a not-so-small reward of silver. Even the place where the slaves lived was expanded to three rooms. Everyone had a lot of space for activities, and they also received some new equipment. Each and every one of them was deeply grateful.
Qu Chenzhou even got a room on the second floor. Although it was not big, it was much more comfortable and spacious than the previous place.
When asked, Steward Lin told him that he didn’t know who the new owner was, but he saw several newly assigned Stewards.
Liu Zhongming had been careful enough to send people that he hadn’t seen in the residence to take care of Qisheng Building, but he had seen them in Jinxi Academy in the past.
In the days that followed, he still worked in the backyard every day, doing the same things as before, as if nothing had changed.
When everything in the building began to return to normal, the busiest days of the year also came.
Greetings floated everywhere in the building, and every family had posted couplets and hung lanterns, reflecting the heavy snow that had just fallen. It was truly festive and beautiful.
During the festival, the stewards allow them- the ones who had nowhere to go to light the oil lamps all night. And then they locked the door, packed their things and went home for New Year.
Although there was no one to accompany him, Qu Chenzhou still sat under the candlelight waiting for midnight. The sound of firecrackers outside never stopped, and it was really lively.
Living this kind of life over the years made him a little accustomed to passing it alone in such lively times.
Unknown to him, the sound of firecrackers suddenly became louder, and the building guard delivered dumplings right on time, locked the door and left.
It was a bit cold on the ground. He carried the dumplings to his bed, wrapped himself in the blanket, then ate it all at once before he felt warmer.
After listening to the sound of firecrackers for a long time, he said softly to himself: “Congratulations, it’s another year…”