Chapter 36 Liao Guangming
After the noise outside the sedan chair increased, the speed of the sedan chair also slowed down, probably because it had entered the busy city.
Liu Zhongming was not in a hurry to go to the banquet, so he allowed them to proceed slowly, then he closed his eyes to enjoy the drowsy rhythm.
Feeling the sunlight from outside the carriage curtain become mottled and faint, he carelessly lifted it, and a few pear blossom petals whirled towards him.
Beside the distillery on the street, a few pear trees were entangled, and they showered flowers in a snow-white hue.
It was the season when pear blossoms were in full bloom.
He made a detour to come here, also specifically to see the wine shop opened under this tree.
“When socializing outside, if the Prince feels like having a drink, you can go to the wine shop under the pear tree on Yuhua Street. There are traditional sobering medicines. I’ve heard that the effect is good. If you are interested, you can also taste the pear white wine there. It’s sweet and soft, and the taste of the wine is not heavy.”
Except for the details of the clues related to his identity in his previous life, Qu Chenzhou did not hide anything.
When going out for an appointment this morning, he also suggested that they take a look here along the way.
Even if it was unbelievable, Liu Zhongming had to gradually believe that there was indeed another soul hidden in Qu Chenzhou’s body, otherwise it would be impossible for him to know the affairs outside Qisheng building. And it would be even more impossible to understand the people of the court.
Now it was his turn to be the guarantor for Qu Chenzhou to Bai Shiyan–this person is telling the truth. If Shi Yan hadn’t heard it with his own ears, maybe he would have thought that he was bewitched in some way.
The girl in the wine shop saw the sedan chair that had stopped not far away, and yelled enthusiastically: “Little official, do you want to taste the wine? It’s a high-grade Pear white.”
Liu Zhongming nodded, and the manservant ran over hurriedly. He took the wine bottle from the girl, and brought it over.
Usually, even when socializing, he would try his best to limit his drink. Had it been in the past, he would definitely have not stopped in front of the wine shop.
But the words “Pear White” were taken delicately on the tip of Qu Chenzhou’s tongue, his lips and teeth seeming extra sweet and fragrant. He stared at the pink tongue that disappeared between lips and couldn’t help licking his dry lips.
Maybe he could taste some… Pear White.
The warm and mellow scented wine gently slipped into his throat. Lacking a choking pungent taste, this Pear White unexpectedly fit his taste.
Originally, he had come to just see the sobering medicine for himself, but when he left, he carried two jars of wine.
At today’s banquet, he was just a guest. The newly appointed assistant master of the Ministry of Revenue was someone who did not understand the affairs of the capital. He wanted to earn a reputation for being impartial and unselfish, so after checking the accounts in his hand, he made a detailed list of additions and reductions.
Not waiting for a kind reminder, someone already knew the contents of the list clearly—— and that its aim was certainly to reduce the cost of Jinxiu Ying’s expenses.
Within a few months of his new appointment, this person had offended someone who shouldn’t be offended. Only after chasing away all relationships, did someone finally organize an event to gave him the opportunity to apologize to the others.
The person sitting in the main seat didn’t care about anyone initially, and only coldly watched a group of people laughing and talking. However, he stood up, giving great face when Liu Zhongming entered the door. He pushed everyone away and walked over.
“Zhongming, what a good day it is today for me to actually be able to invite you. I had thought you were holed up in some room getting rich, and forgot all about this brother.”
“Commander Liao must be joking.” Liu Zhongming walked a few steps quickly, then shook hands with that person to enter the venue: “Commander Liao is busy with official duties, but I, am an idler. This time I heard that you would be here, and thus I rushed over. I haven’t blamed the Commander for forgetting me, yet the Commander gained the upper hand by speaking first.”
Although he was the Prince, he had no official position, and was at a young age; thus he sat on to the left of the man, and pushed the man to the main position.
The man laughed loudly: “I can’t win against you. Don’t bother saying anything else, you are late again today, so go honestly accept your punishment wine!”
Liu Zhongming took the wine glass from the person and drank it in one fell swoop: “Commander Liao rushed to me, forgetting the host. And now are you just going to stand there watching me drink?”
The man did not let him off so easily, and stared at him while he gulped down two more glasses: “Okay, Zhongming, I see that your drinking has gotten better. For my event another day, you better not hide.”
After chatting with him affectionately for a while, the man turned to the middle to chat with the others, and asked him to sit down as he pleased.
This time Liu Zhongming was just giving the person a chance to subdue him.
Before, the Ministry of Revenue was not able to make a timely turnover of money and grain, and was a bit at odds with this person. He learned about this through his second uncle, offered favors to both sides, and added a hand in the middle.
There was no loss both inside and outside, but he had formed a friendship with Commander Liao. Not to mention, the Ministry of Revenue was under the jurisdiction of his second uncle, so he should at least cross this stage.
The banquet did not start yet. He was holding a teacup, looking at Commander Liao through the thin water vapor, thinking about the conversation with that person before.
“Where did you learn that song that you sang to me that day, or did Qu Chenzhou know it?”
Qu Chenzhou didn’t want to deal with him, and answered something else: “The Prince is asking me the wrong question.”
“Rather than caring about that piece of music, the Prince should be asking who our first target is, isn’t that right?”
He was a little annoyed. Although there indeed were more important things to do at the moment, the person in front of him was a mystery, and he couldn’t help but be distracted.
“Okay… well, what do you want me to do?”
“The Prince is wrong again,” Qu Chenzhou grew impatient with him failing to meet his expectations. He corrected him: “It’s not what I want, but what the Prince ought to do. Not for me, but for you. Has the Prince ever considered becoming an official?”
Of course he had considered it, but he was still unable to decide where to go, and no one could give him any directions.
In fact, in a sense, the appearance of Qu Chenzhou seemed to be like a driftwood falling from the sky, giving him a support to float in the water to some unknown whereabouts.
Hope appeared in the confusion, but unknown fear had also appeared. He didn’t know where they would drift together, and what would be waiting at the end of the river.
“I have thought about it. The Ministry of Justice, Dali Office, the Ministry of Appointments, I have considered them all, but I still can’t figure out where to go.”
It didn’t matter where these three places were, he had considered them all for the purpose of investigating the death of his older brother.
“The Ministry of Justice and Dali Office can be considered, but these two places are just springboards for the future. The place you should aim for most is…”
Liu Zhongming’s eyes fell not far away. Enduring the humiliation and the need to apologize to the Minister of Revenue, it moved to Commander Liao.
His uncle was a person who had walked the bloody road of the battlefield properly, but he did not have the hostility between his eyebrows like Commander Liao. Although he was smiling, it seemed as if he could fall out with another at any time, slashing at the next moment.
No wonder it is said that people in official uniforms are all enemies of Commander Liao.
Qu Chenzhou dropped his word: “Jin Xiu Ying.”
“Do you want me to go to Jinxiu Ying?”
He had never thought of Jinxiu Ying. For two reasons, one, it’s not possible. Two, he simply didn’t want to.
Jinxiu Ying is a yamen set up by the emperor outside the 3 departments and belongs to the emperor’s direct confidants. Although no one has said it blatantly, everyone knows that in addition to being responsible for assistance, many things taken care of inside Jinxiu Ying were inconvenient to be done on the surface.
It was a loyal dog led by the emperor, and Liao Guangming was also the candidate that the emperor decided after careful consideration.
Even if Jinxiu Ying’s waters are said to be muddy, as long as Liao Guangming’s strings are held firmly in the hands of the emperor and he listens to the emperor’s will, there is nothing left for them to do there.
What’s more, it was established to do things that couldn’t see the light of the day. So in the end, what was the point of being so majestic?
Liu Zhongming was a dignified Marquis Prince, and even when facing the emperor, he couldn’t imagine himself being so low and small.
Seeing him frowning and not speaking, Qu Chenzhou didn’t force it.
“Prince, Marquis Liu is fair and honest, and he is not partial to the Princes. He is regarded as the leader of the neutral faction in the court. But whether or not he really is neutral depends on what the emperor thinks.”
“The Lord Marquis silently conducting matters for the court is worthy of admiration, but repeated rumors become a fact. If there is a slander, do you expect the emperor to inquire meticulously?”
“If you really want to display loyalty, you should go to the emperor and let him see it clearly. Let him feel that your strengths and weaknesses are in his hands. With the emperor’s trust as a backing, everything would be easy to do.”
Liu Zhongming wanted to justify this to himself.
For how many years has Liao Guangming been the emperor’s confidant for?How could he be so easily replaced by him?
In addition, the Bai Liu family’s influence in the court is not to be underestimated, thus his father chose to hide deep within his residence. If he really assumes the position of commanding the Jinxiu Ying, wouldn’t he be pushing the two families to the forefront?”
“We exactly want to be at the cusp of the storm, begging for wealth and danger. Until the imperial concubine is pregnant, you can’t hide even if you want to.”
As if seeing his difficulties, Qu Chenzhou answered him honestly: “When I was still alive, the Prince didn’t become the leader of Jinxiu Ying. I too considered it for a long time before choosing this way.”
“Compared to other positions, the position as the leader of Jinxiu Ying is the safest. It is the closest to the emperor, although it is also the most difficult to get.”
“Prince, have you ever wondered why despite the Bai Liu family being so powerful, the emperor doesn’t seem to want to have a hold on the Prince?”
“Who is the best spear if you want to deal with the Wang Ye’s?”
Qu Chenzhou stared at him and spit out two words: “The Emperor.”
His heart moved.
In the last half of a month or so, Qu Chenzhou had hardly spoken to him, saying that he needed to quietly smooth out many things from the past, and to try his best to find a relatively easy way.
He had therefore specially arranged a room, and did not disturb the person. It was just that when he would deliberately pass by the window, several times he would see Qu Chenzhou still holding a pen in one hand, but having fallen asleep on the table tiredly.
After seeing such exhaustion, how could he remain hard-hearted?
So even though Qu Chenzhou turned all the things he had written into black ash in the incense burner and didn’t even show him a glance, he came to the feast without complaining.
“My Prince, before the end, how can I know who is the dog being led and who is the spear being danced?”
Does Qu Chenzhou really have the power to bewitch people? He couldn’t help thinking like that.
For the first time in an unprecedented way, he obeyed another person’s arrangements.
Otherwise, how could he act not of his own volition? He hadn’t even discussed his decision to choose the path of rebellion with his father and sister, yet had set foot on it without hesitation.
Before going out this morning, he softened his voice in front of the person like he was bewitched the first time: “Chenzhou…Don’t let me down.”
“Prince.” Qu Chenzhou tidied his clothes and sent him out: “I will never turn my back on you.”
He was sitting in the carriage alone, his nose sour. With just these four words, he felt that the two months were not in vain, and that he had not been disappointed.
Seeing that the Minister of Revenue assistant minister had said something, Liao Guangming grinned, but didn’t buy it. The middleman was talking anxiously, and Liu Zhongming took his wine glass and went over.
“Commander Liao said that he missed me before, but since I came here, for so long, I have only sat on a cold bench.”
Liao Guangming laughed, took the wine glass with one hand, and held Liu Zhongming’s shoulder with the other. He patted him heavily: “Zhongming, you can’t say that. This Brother wouldn’t be here today if I had not heard that you were here.”
“If this is the case, I would love to hear it.” Liu Zhongming took the wine from the others and laughed. “It’s been a long time since I saw you. Why don’t we drink a few more glasses?”
“Fine, I know your tolerance of alcohol,” Liao Guangming raised his hand and clinked a glass: “Your intent is enough. Just in case you get drunk, even if Lord Marquis doesn’t blame me, the emperor will blame me sooner or later. Another day, this brother will find something else…”
When he said this, he suddenly tilted his head, lowered his voice and snickered, “I hear people say that you have also been a regular visitor at Huanyi building? There is a young man who has been praised as your top card. Why did you suddenly get enlightened?”
Since going with Bai Shiyan once, Liu Zhongming has indeed been there many times. If one didn’t look closely, there was indeed a two-point charm of Qu Chenzhou’s between the young man’s eyebrows, and he couldn’t help it.
It is precisely because of those two points of Shen Yun that he would not be upset for a long time after coming back from Qi Sheng Building to see the person in secret.
Even the sycamore tree would make him plainly irritated. He hated how the tree had no flowers, so there would be no figure holding the flowers and sleeping soundly in the corridor.
Every time he went, the boy named Zhiwei would prepare tea according to his preferences, and then dance for him.
He stared blankly. He did not expect the piece of wood to dance for him, he was just thinking when he would see the man smile happily.
Liu Zhongming nodded and admitted: “The child was born looking well and is well-behaved. I like it.”
“Why don’t you take it away?” Liao Guangming was curious: “I heard that you recently received a little thing in your room?”
Going to the Huanyi Building in the beginning, even earlier, when Madam Liu asked Du Quan to take the person back, Liu Zhongming’s social interactions were indispensable for such topics. From the embarrassment at the beginning, he had learned to cook up nonsense.
It’s all thanks to a certain someone.
“If I am receiving one, of course I want a pure one. The outside ones are all familiar and overused, something I just play with occasionally.”
Liao Guangming couldn’t believe it: “The things I gave you last year were all clean and they were rejected by you. Can this one be better than mine?”
Liu Zhongming turned the glass and sneered: “Of course it’s good, it’s the only one in the world. If there is a second one, I will give him my head.”
“What? The only one? I heard it’s the little monster in Qisheng building. Isn’t it because the eyeballs are different from a normal person?” Liao Guangming curled his lips, disapproving: “I heard that it’s ugly? Yet you’re willing to swallow that?”
“Isn’t it all the same after blowing out the lamp? I exactly like how refreshing his eyes are.”
Liao Guangming touched the table and educated him: “Zhongming, you are still too young. What are eyes? If you want to play, appearance is not important. The key is how unrestrained they are. All of my guys are all fine-tuned, top products, do you want to try?”
“Commander Liao, a great product has it’s good, and the little monster has his own wonder.”
“Where is the wonder?”
Liu Zhongming smiled deeply: “Wonders beyond words.”
The two looked at each other. At a glance, everyone burst into laughter, and the people around finally let out a sigh of relief.
Liu Zhongming held up the wine glass and watched Liao Guangming pour him wine, then it was as if he heard the man still talking in his ear.
“Liao Guangming is just a mediocre person who can only play around. He is just suitable to stir the water between the Wang Ye, so leave him for a period of time.”
“In four years, you will replace Liao Guangming.”