Chapter 43 Red Rope
The two were lying on the table, less than a palm apart.
Liu Zhongming looked at this small face, the size of a palm, with fine sweat still dripping from his forehead. The frenzy in his eyes subsided quickly and he finally breathed a sigh of relief.
He was now slowly trying to understand why Qu Chenzhou looked so uneasy in the carriage before – it was not because of his nonsense, but because he heard Liao Guangming’s voice.
Liao Guangming was indeed not a pleasant character.
If the former Qu Chenzhou died in Jinxiuying, then the current reaction would be quite understandable.
He was thinking about it when the tip of his nose became itchy. There was some warm, moist moisture coming towards his face very delicately following every breath that Qu Chenzhou let out.
He didn’t know if it was the aroma of the table, the smell of Qu Chenzhou, or his illusion, but he actually felt that the breath was so sweet that his lips were a little dry.
As they breathed, the shiny table top was stained with an invisible layer of moisture. He stared at it for a while, his eyes raised up a little bit.
Those eyes that were as clear as amber glass were close at hand and they looked like glass beads he played with when he was a child. They were immersed in water and they reflected the unpredictable light of the waves of the water.
He was engrossed for a moment, then suddenly realized that Qu Chenzhou was looking at him, or in other words, looking at the birthmark under his right eye.
Suddenly, he was a little angry.
The birthmark was not obvious when he was young and the color was light. When he grew up, it gradually became clear and turned into a light brown, like a winding snake, which was a big worry for him. No matter how much Yulin ointment was applied, it was of no avail, so he had to give up.
Fortunately, it hadn’t gotten darker for a long time and no one mentioned it usually, so he ignored it.
Now that Qu Chenzhou was staring at him from such a close distance, he felt uncomfortable, as if his body was covered with ants.
Qu Chenzhou just suddenly saw that face from a long time ago, which brought back unpleasant memories, but he quickly regained his usual calm.
Aware of Liu Zhongming’s unkind eyes, he just looked at the person, and then placed his eyes on the birthmark.
He remembered that it was a very sensitive place for Zhongming and he usually wouldn’t do anything about it. However, when their feelings were surging in a turbulent mood, he couldn’t bear his kisses there, turning red all the way to the roots of his ears.
When Zhongming couldn’t stand him wanting to kiss it, Zhongming would turn him over and bite his lower back in revenge.
There was a little smile on the corner of his mouth. With these bits and pieces to remember, no matter how tragic the past was, it was diluted to the point of him no longer caring about it.
Liu Zhongming couldn’t bear it seeming him smile. He raised his eyebrows, moved his lips lightly, and asked, “Does it look good?”
Although the voice was small, he asked it in a vicious tone. He was clearly being ironic. Qu Chenzhou took a few more glances and was even more honest: “Ugly.”
Liu Zhongming squeezed his lips tightly to prevent him from opening his mouth. He gritted his teeth and asked again, “Does it look good?”
Qu Chenzhou dipped his fingers in the tea, wrote on the table backwards, and gave Liu Zhongming a look again – ugly.
“…” Liu Zhongming’s brows jumped. He had called him ugly in the carriage and he had been waiting for his revenge until now.
This man was not only a bad character, he was simply wicked.
He turned his face away, no longer letting the person see his birthmark. He just raised his head slightly, glanced out the window, and released him: “Get up, the people are gone.”
Qu Chenzhou then sat up again and looked outside. The people were gone without a trace: “Liao Guangming looked up?”
“En. This person is not that easy to mess with. Not even mentioning trying to mess with his plans, even those that didn’t care about him, he can figure out to some degree the enmity from their words. Don’t look at his usual careless look, my uncle said that he has true skills.”
“Pei Xiao can lead three divisions, naturally he has his ability. Liao Guangming is his apprentice after all, if he was an idiot, even the emperor will not use him this long.”
“Are you sure you can do it?”
There was no clarity in the question, but Qu Chenzou knew what he meant.
“I don’t know. If the seat of Jinxiuying is so easy to win, I wouldn’t be thinking about it for so long. It mainly depends on Shizi.”
“It depends on whether the Shizi sincerely acted or not.”
Liu Zhongming couldn’t say anything – this person is really annoying. Is he planning to push the responsibility on himself in advance?
He suppressed his anger and asked with a sneer, “What? You fell into Liao Guangming’s hands before?”
Qu Chenzhou glanced at him: “Sorry to disappoint Shizi, he died earlier than me.”
“Have you suffered because of him?”
The voice that didn’t answer this time made him feel something in his heart. If he was a Shizi or a royal grandson, even if he committed a serious crime of beheading, it would not be Jinxiuying’s turn to make a move.
Excluding this possibility, the only person living in the palace can be a Gonggong. But in this way, all suspicions would be turned into dead knots that could not be understood.
He sighed in his heart and asked again, “Do you have a grudge against Huai Wang?”
Qu Chenzhou showed his usual harmless smile: “To tell the truth, those who have a grudge with me, just with their head and face, I’m afraid we can line them up from the palace walls to the Xijiang River.”
Xijiang was the dividing line that separated Jiangnan and Jiangbei. Liu Zhongming estimated the distance, and sincerely praised: “You have skills.”
Qu Chenzhou said modestly: “You flatter me.”
“Then what?” Liu Zhongming asked back the main question: “Today’s result?”
“I’m ashamed,” At first, he didn’t see Jiang Xingzhi, then he was in a trance for a while, and regretfully missed the divination of these two important people. Before waiting for Liu Zhongming to say anything, Qu Chenzhou asked, “I saw that the people who came out before were full luck with their love. What place is this?”
He was in the palace all year round and he was not familiar with these things outside.
If it was in the past, Liu Zhongming wouldn’t know it, but now he was able to enter and leave these bureaus, thanks to Qu Chenzhou.
“It was the practice of Xingyuan first, to open a show for the little prostitutes who want to show their faces and show them to others. The person with the highest price at the beginning of the night will get them.”
Qu Chenzhou nodded. Du Quan had Chunqing Building under his name, so he knew this scene.
“There are a lot of people going to Xingyuan and sometimes there are vulgar troublemakers. The influential families are gradually unwilling to bid with others. They feel that they are not elegant enough and will lose face, so they have their own private offices.”
“Because the buyers are considered to have identities. If you can afford a good price, after that, whoever chose an outstanding servant will be sent here to be allowed to be picked first.”
“If you really find something outstanding, you will call your friends to set up an office, drink and enjoy bidding against each other.”
“Jiang Xingzhi’s popularity and sight are good, so many people are vying to go to his office.”
“Has the Shizi ever been there?” Qu Chenzhou asked, “Did you see any you like?”
“What?” Liu Zhongming raised his eyebrows and suddenly there was a sense of complacency in his heart: “Have an opinion? To be honest, Xingzhi’s vision is indeed not bad.”
“Did the Shizi not buy one?” Qu Chenzhou asked knowingly.
“When I meet the right one, I will buy it naturally,” Liu Zhongming tapped on the table lightly, with a frivolous tone: “What do you want to say?”
“I think…” Qu Chenzhou pondered: “Next time if Jiang Xingzhi sets up office and invites the Shizi over, Shizi can consider bringing someone back. If he is doing something for a purpose, we might as well take advantage of it.”
The little complacency just now was like a ball being punctured by a needle. Liu Zhongming didn’t expect the other party to tell him to buy someone else to go home. He was stunned, then suddenly pushed the teacup to the table: “Let’s talk about it later.”
He took the cloak from the bed in a few steps and wrapped Qu Chenzhou on his shoulders without any explanation: “Let’s return home.”
Qu Chenzhou noticed that he was angry and didn’t know why until he went downstairs and asked softly, “Is the Shizi reluctant to spend money?”
The atmosphere inside the carriage was inexplicably solemn. Liu Zhongming did not speak and Qu Chenzhou would not take the initiative to speak. Twilight gradually set and he looked at the lights on the side of the road, completely dazed.
The carriage gradually stopped at an unknown time, then when it started to move, Liu Zhongming’s voice broke the silence.
Something was thrown into Qu Chenzhou’s arms. He picked it up and saw that it was a Qigu red rope with a few vermilion wood beads strung on it, with red Acacia hanging from the ends of the rope.
His status did not allow him to wear gold ornaments and jade easily but these things were allowed.
“Throw away that string on your head,” Liu Zhongming said with disgust. He definitely wasn’t thinking about buying this kind of thing, he just saw it by chance: “Don’t let people think that I, Liu Zhongming, am so poor.”
He had already turned toward the window, but in the corner of his eye, he saw Qu Chenzhou, with his long and thick eyelashes drooping down. He tore off the simple hair tie, then bit one end of the red rope with his white teeth. Warm red light passing through the window screen reflected on him clearly.
One slender hand wrapped his hair, his joints shining like light, while the other hand dexterously went around a few times, then finally tied a slipknot.
“Does it look good?” Qu Chenzhou turned his head to show him.
The silky satin black hair made the red even brighter. The ends of the rope adorned with acacias dangled beside his thin porcelain neck and the scars on his face that had been seen for a long time did not seem so unsightly.
Liu Zhongming’s chest felt stuffy, and he turned his face to look outside: “Average.”
“Hahahaha,” Bai Shiyan acted as if he didn’t see his friend’s dark face and laughed: “What, you even guessed he was your nephew before. Isn’t that right?”
Liu Zhongming pushed him out with his feet: “I’m telling you seriously, what are you laughing at? Get out and when you’ve laughed enough, then come back.”
Bai Shiyan was almost kicked out of the carriage. He turned his body back, then holding back a smile, he said, “Zhongming, you are so young, but you are getting more and more angry now. Who is messing with you?”
Liu Zhongming rubbed his eyebrows, not wanting to speak.
“Have you ever guessed this possibility?”
“Is it possible that he was a palace concubine?”
Liu Zhongming almost slipped off the soft couch, his face flushed red. He stammered and raised his voice suddenly: “No…impossible!”
Bai Shiyan laughed loudly: “I’m teasing. With his etiquette, it can’t be. Why are you panicking like this? What I want to say is that maybe it’s possible that he is lying with some of the things he says.”
Liu Zhongming sighed. If there were lies in the clues that they had traced to the source, it would be impossible to tell the difference. If Qu Chenzhou was not only able to tell the truth, the trouble would be even greater.
“It’s someone who entered the palace later on and is a permanent residence in the palace. He’s not a Shizi or a eunuch. He had a close relationship with Jingchen and had the same teacher as you, where even the handwriting is the same.” Bai Shiyan took out his fingers to calculate: “Saying he could be your nephew, it doesn’t seem like an excessive guess. However, if it isn’t the case, there is only one possibility.”
Liu Zhongming looked at him sideways.
“Zhongming, have you ever thought about… If his real identity is you?”
Liu Zhongming spat out his sip of tea, stood up, was hit by the roof of the carriage again, and sat back down.
“Bai Shiyan!” He roared, “Am I so disagreeable?”
“Disagreeable?” Bai Shiyan clicked his tongue: “What? Why are you are so angry, did he provoke you? But I was there a few days ago. I saw him on the street, didn’t you let him out?”
Liu Zhongming humphed impatiently.
“I heard that you gave a whole lecture to Shopkeeper Chen because of him?” Bai Shiyan felt that his friend was very strange. He clearly said that the little monster was annoying, but he continued to protect him: “I don’t think you hate him. ”
“It’s not for him, I’m just managing things.”
Liu Zhongming said vaguely, but his heart burst into flames.
Qu Chenzhou went out for a few consecutive days and finally got rid of his fear of the threshold. After wandering aimlessly in the city, the first place he went to was a tailor shop under his name, intending to tailor two outfits for himself.
It was not unexpected.
However, even though Shopkeeper Chen was measuring him for a tailor-made outfit, he was very temperamental. As soon as he saw the slave ring in Qu Chenzhou’s hand, his expression changed. Understanding the identity of this little slave, he was even more contemptuous.
The clothes were done and his stomachful of grumbling was thrown in Qu Chenzhou’s face.
Steward Lin listened to Liu Zhongming’s instructions and followed Qu Chenzhou, reporting everything to him at night.
Hearing the harsh humiliation, he thought that Qu Chenzhou probably stood there silently when being pointed at for being a “dirty thing that climbed into one’s bed” in front of his face. He didn’t know why but he felt his heart feeling unwell.
Punishing him as an example, he scolded Shopkeeper Chen in front of many stewards.
Afterwards, from Steward Lin’s word of mouth, he quickly knew that when Qu Chenzhou went to his shop again, his situation was much better, and everyone became respectful and polite.
But it was precisely because of this that he vaguely felt that he seemed to have been fooled.