Chapter 35 Sarong
Liu Zhongming didn’t sleep well all night.
Firstly, all of this had happened so unexpectedly that he didn’t even know for a while whether he was still dreaming.
Secondly, Qu Chenzhou’s calmness made him look ugly in comparison. For the first time, he felt that his own calmness in front of outsiders was like that of a toddler copying others, a complete failure.
Or it should be that his fake calmness was something he disliked. Even Bai Shiyan sometimes said that calmness was the venting that could gush out any time.
And even though Qu Chenzhou told them a lot, he obviously hid a lot more, but he couldn’t do anything about it. He didn’t know what else could be done to people who are not afraid of death, to make them give the truth.
Not to mention, if those things he said were indeed true, they would surely have to rely on each other for many things in the future.
Tossing around thinking about it all night, he felt that no matter what his own thoughts were, he was being crushed by someone. He couldn’t stomach this kind of weird stalemate.
When Qu Chenzhou stepped into the study, what he saw was Liu Zhongming with a haggard and unkind look.
This was the first time the two of them met after reaching an agreement, and the atmosphere was a little stiff.
“Prince.” He nodded casually, which was regarded as a greeting.
Liu Zhongming was frustrated at first. Seeing him so arrogant, a floodgate was opened for his night of depression to vent, and the pen in his hand was slammed on the table.
“I haven’t asked you what you would like to be called?”
Qu Chenzhou was not surprised at Liu Zhongming’s temper. Zhongming was originally not someone suitable to put on the pretense of a modest gentleman.
“The Prince is being too polite, you flatter me.” He leaned slightly.
“I have come alive in Qu Chenzhou’s body, and I have all his memories. He is me, I am him, and we are the same person. There is no need to distinguish between us. It is good enough for the Prince to call me Qu Chenzhou.”
“Qu Chenzhou?” Liu Zhongming sneered: “If I remember correctly, Qu Chenzhou is a slave I bought. He is a trivial citizen. Do you know how he would be punished for not kneeling in front of his Lord?”
Qu Chenzhou looked at him in silence for a moment, then he simply and neatly stepped back and turned to face the wall, and knelt.
Liu Zhongming didn’t expect him to not say even a single word in protest, and really kneel down. But looking at his straight back, he didn’t feel any joy. On the contrary, he felt even more suffocated. He felt like he was being commanded by others.
He didn’t want to show his weakness anymore, and he didn’t plan to let the person get up. He gave a cold snort, and was about to lower his head to continue his unfinished schoolwork, but he heard the other person open their mouth, clicking their tongue.
“The Prince has a noble status, not to mention my cheap beginnings. Even if not for that, if the Prince believes he has suffered injustice, and you really want to insult me, there are plenty of other ways to do that.”
“Perhaps tying me and bringing me to the streets and being whipped publicly, or returning me to the Control Department to re-learn the rules would be better in relieving the grievances of the Prince.”
“Or, would the Prince be willing to only use such naive and half-hearted methods?”
“If the Prince intends to use such innocent methods to seize the Di position in the future, it is better to tell me earlier. My poor life is not even worth mentioning, but the poor Bai Liu family will suffer together!”
Liu Zhongming was stunned by this non-stop lesson, and after a long time he yelled: “You are really bold!”
Qu Chenzhou sneered at this response.
“Moreover, isn’t the Prince targeting the wrong person? I have already swallowed Shuo Ye, vowing to the Prince one hundred deaths with no regrets. What would the Prince gain from humiliating me?”
“Not distinguishing between enemies and your own or right and wrong – is this the Prince’s worth and his way of doing things?”
“If someone wishes to be loyal to the Prince in the future, is this how the Prince behave towards them?”
“In the past, Meng Changjun carried three thousand freeloaders, before he found his great opportunity to escape. How does the Prince know that this cheap person is useless and someone you can trample at will?”
“If the Prince is so narrow-minded, he should stay still at home and stay away from going out, to avoid making a fool out of himself.”
How could Liu Zhongming bear to be reprimanded in such a face-to-face and unrelenting manner? The blood all over his body instantly rushed to the top of his head. Without even thinking about it, he drew a three-foot whip from the drawer under the bookcase and stepped forward. The whip lashed loudly to the ground.
“Do you think I really won’t dare to hit you?”
Before he could finish his words, Qu Chenzhou pulled off his belt, and pulled his shirt and coat to his waist, exposing his back, and propped his hands on the wall.
“This slave Qu Chenzhou committed a crime and the crime deserves ten thousand deaths. I thank the master for the punishment!”
Liu Zhongming firmly pinched the handle of the whip, staring at the scarred back, and somehow he was reminded of that body under Du Quan’s feet, that did not lift his hands.
This one hesitation, and he knew that he had lost again in this confrontation.
Qu Chenzhou paused for a moment, lost patience, shook his hand and hurriedly covered his body. Then he stood up and looked back at Liu Zhongming.
“Liu Zhongming, I thought you really wanted to avenge your brother and really wanted to find a way out for the Bai Liu family.” He asked coldly, “Am I wrong? Did I overestimate you?”
Liu Zhongming lowered his head under this compelling question, feeling ashamed, and didn’t know what to answer.
Him finding faults today was indeed not being open and honest, even a bit willful. He was just venting his anger, without considering the consequences.
“Since I am here from more than ten years in the future, I have seen the situation of the Bai Liu family more clearly than the Prince.”
“Even if it has nothing to do with your brother, do you really think that you have a way left to retreat?”
“Although I serve the Prince, you and I both take what we need, and we work together on an equal footing. It would be too naive of the Prince to think that he could treat me like a cow or horse.”
“I will only give the Prince one last chance to think about it.”
“By sunset today, if the Prince wouldn’t have figured it out, why don’t we just stop there?I will also ask the Prince to grant me death, so as not to trouble the Prince again in the future.”
After all was said, Qu Chenzhou left without turning his head.
Although Qu Chenzhou had a compelling tone in front of Liu Zhongming, he was very calm. This was the beginning of them getting along, and it would be impossible for them to get along well.
He had gone through too many big things to get angry at such small things.
With Zhongming’s violent temper, he knew that there would be such an unpleasant confrontation sooner or later, but he didn’t expect it to come this soon.
In the past, he was young and he had only admired and relied on Zhongming blindly. Zhongming was his heaven.
But only now when he looked back, did he realize that Zhongming was this impatient, there were still many differences between the person in his memory and the one he is facing now.
The depressed Liu Marquis, the young and energetic Zhongming, the general Bai Shiyan who was not good at crafty schemes, the straightforward Bai Shiyan, and the confused and ignorant him, it is no wonder that this good hand had ended up in a mess.
The childishness and sharpness of Zhongming that should not be exposed, let him slowly polish it.
He sat quietly by the window, watching the sun sink a little bit, and sighed slightly.
He knew that Zhongming didn’t really distinguish between right and wrong, otherwise he would not have been allowed to leave the study unharmed. But he hadn’t yet figured out how they should get along with the inevitable conflicts and running-ins.
He didn’t know how deeply Zhongming had thought about it, and he didn’t know how much of his proposal he would listen to in the future.
It wasn’t until twilight was about to be sucked in by the horizon that there was a knock on the door. It didn’t last a long time and stopped after three knocks, waiting for his response.
It seems that the anger has disappeared.
Qu Chenzhou opened the door, and when he saw the person outside the door, his head lowered and he knelt down without thinking about it.
Unexpectedly, Liu Zhongming had long been prepared. He opened his arms and stopped him as soon as he lowered himself. Qu Chenzhoukneeling appeared as if he was throwing himself into his arms, and he was hugged.
The two of them were both in their growing stages, but they were three years apart after all. When Liu Zhongming held him to his feet, Qu Chenzhou found that his feet were off the ground.
His face flushed immediately, and he struggled desperately, and found that this kind of unnecessary resistance made him appear short-legged, even his arms were restrained, and he could only be hugged in mid-air like this.
“Liu Zhongming!” He kicked hard, not knowing where he was aiming.
“If you have something to say, say it. I’m not deaf.” Liu Zhongming snorted in response, then indifferently, turned to go out.
Qu Chenzhou was anxious: “Prince, don’t! Going out like this will damage the reputation of the Prince!”
“My reputation? Do I still have a good reputation? Why do I not know that?” Liu Zhongming sneered and carried him a step, stepping out of the room: “And now you are pretending to think of my reputation? What were you thinking of before?”
Qu Chenzhou knew that he was talking about him screaming recklessly before. Speechless, he was unable to break free. He could only watch as Zhongming walked down the corridor, and all those people who passed their way gave them a look of surprise.
“This?Is this the result of your consideration?”
He was embarrassed, and his voice was trembling: “You…you let me down!”
In his previous life, except between the bed covers, Zhongming had never treated him this roughly. He had heard Bai Shiyan say that Zhongming is sometimes willful and unreasonable, but this was his first time to witness Liu Zhongming being that.
“Yes, I have considered it clearly.”
Liu Zhongming felt that the person in his arms was tense and stiff, struggling in vain like a wild cat with exploded fur. Ignoring the silence and estrangement of these past days, he felt that he was still a little…cute. He grabbed him: “Behave yourself!”
Qu Chenzhou suddenly fell softly on his shoulder.
Liu Zhongming reached out casually like that, but didn’t know that he had scratched the birthmark on Qu Chenzhou’s lower back. It was both painful and ticklish. This one touch took away all the strength of Qu Chenzhou’s resistance.
He walked through the reception pavilion, went straight to the bedroom, and threw the person on his back into the sarong. Before Qu Chenzhou could get up, he restrained his hands and placed his knees on his abdomen.
Qu Chenzhou was set in place and he couldn’t move. He gritted his teeth bitterly and turned his face away.
“You want to kill me?”
“It’s too early to kill you,” Liu Zhongming lowered his head and looked down: “What you said in the morning is wrong. Although you and I take what we need, before others, I am the master and you are the slave. Away from their gazes, I am still the master and you are an accomplice. For your sake, don’t talk about equality with me. You are not qualified yet.”
“I don’t care who you were before. So don’t you talk to me condescendingly. If you want to be capricious, I will naturally have ways to punish you.”
“You can try and see if I will become the second Du Quan.”
“About what you were like today, let me tell you that I will only be bearing it once. And the next time, I will not be showing any mercy!”
“And for what happened this morning…” he loosened his restraints, his chest rose and fell, and he stared at Qu Chenzhou for a moment, turned his head, and said dully, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault.”
Qu Chenzhou was in the midst of struggling to sit up, and when these words were uttered, he froze.
Liu Zhongming glanced at him, then looked away, feeling aggrieved.
“I know you have gone through more things than I have, but between you and I, there is an order of superiority and inferiority, and you shouldn’t be teaching me in that way.”
“Even my father has never reprimanded me like that.”
“If you don’t want to kneel, just say it. I was just angry and didn’t know what I could do to you, but why speak to me as if I am so unbearable.”
“I have figured it out clearly. I need your help.” Liu Zhongming endured the embarrassment and stared at him, got up and left the edge of the bed. He bowed and said, “In the future, I will require the teacher’s directions.”
After a while, he reluctantly added: “But don’t talk like today, I’m afraid I can’t bear it the second time.”
Qu Chenzhou was stunned for a moment, and his shame was squeezed out of the clouds by this sentence. At first he just smiled, but it has been a long time since he had seen this arrogant and aggrieved child.
The corners of his eyes flushed in the memory of him.
Zhongming considered it more clearly than he thought. It was enough to bend and stretch, but by putting down all his pride, frankly, the conflict between them was resolved much smoother than expected.
It seemed as if it had always been this way.
He lowered his head slightly. After a while, he raised his head and answered earnestly: “I thank the Prince for his sincere words. I was reckless, and I hope that the Prince will forgive me.”
Hearing Liu Zhongming give another dull “En”, he moved out of bed: “This applies to both, the Prince didn’t have to make a big fuss like this…”
He was halfway through his words, and then he suddenly reacted: “Is the Prince planning…”
“Yes,” Liu Zhongming quickly confirmed his guess: “Qu Chenzhou’s – that is to say your eyes, can see the tricks, and you must see the person to be able to do it, right?”
“After entering the officialdom, I will inevitably take you out often. But there needs to be a reasonable explanation—— So from now on, you live here, and later I will instruct people to put some words out in the city.”
He didn’t need Liu Zhongming to speak too clearly. Qu Chenzhou could also gues what the identity of a person living in the sarong would be.
“You don’t have to worry about the future.”
Liu Zhongming groaned slightly.
This kind of thing was nothing to him- at most a few words of gossip. But for Qu Chenzhou, if he wanted to return to the life of an ordinary person in the future, it would be a stain that cannot be removed.
But other than that, he could not come up with a better explanation that would allow him to bring the person around at all times.
“The Prince is overthinking.” Qu Chenzhou knew his thoughts: “It is already great for a person like me to be alive, and there is no need to think about such long-term things.”
“For someone like you? Or like Qu Chenzhou?”
Qu Chenzhou answered him with a smile: “Prince, didn’t I say it earlier? I am him and he is me. Wouldn’t it be troublesome if I need to repeat myself every time?
“When you were provoking me like that today, weren’t you afraid that I would really kill you?” Liu Zhongming asked.
He doesn’t think the other party is stupid enough to do that.
In the beginning when Qu Chenzhou was determined to seek death from Pan He and himself, he could vaguely understand a thing or two, but now that it has been clarified, there was really no need to force him to this point.
Unless the other party knew him very well, and was sure of his final choice.
Moreover, the person in front of him always gave him a sense of something being out of sorts. This person, who once lived above all, actually accepted the humble identity of Qu Chenzhou so frankly?
This ability of the other to bend and stretch seemed very terrifying to him. He had once wondered if he woke up and found himself trapped in a cheap slave’s body and was subjected to humiliation, could he still maintain such calmness?
The answer was no.
But Qu Chenzhou only simply woke up, thought that he was dreaming, and fled into the street uncharacteristically, and then there was no sound.
The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to get rid of this disguise and see who was inside.
“Qu Chenzhou,” Liu Zhongming stared at him, and asked: “Did you know me before?”
Not only know me, but were you familiar with me? Just like he had guessed when he saw that look before, as well as heard those soft whispers calling his name?
But the other party had talked about knowing Pan He and was also familiar with Jiang Xingzhi and Qi Wang, but did not mention him.
For a moment, Qu Chenzhou regretted his decision this time. With Zhongming’s dedication, he would dig out his own details one day.
But life and death from the previous life was separated. If he did not say anything, no one would know what happened in the past.
“If the Prince wants to find out about me, it’s too early. The Prince only needs to know that I will definitely help you without any disloyalty.”
The inquiry was blocked, and Liu Zhongming was left a little embarrassed, so he abruptly went back to the previous topic.
“Don’t worry about things in the future. If we can really achieve our goal, I will take away your low status for you, and protect you your whole life, and then…”
The last sentence made a few twists in his mouth. He didn’t know why. It was a bit unpleasant, but he still spat it out vaguely.
“Finally… I will find you a good girl to start a family with.”
Qu Chenzhou sat on the edge of the bed, quietly looking at the ground, and gently curling the corners of his lips.
“I thank the Prince… for his care.”
The author has something to say: So from now on, the two will act as [disguised] master and pet.
Little Qu: Prince, go and pick up that plate.
Zhongming: Wang (dog’s bark in chinese) [Wait, isn’t it me who’s supposed to be the master? 】