Chapter 60 Food
Qu Chenzhou smelled the aroma in his dream.
“My son has grown up…”
In a trance, he repeated a few words, but no sound came out of his throat. After a few months of being mute, no one knew whether he was going to be mute for the rest of this life.
Even the piercing pain when the Department of Control gave him bruises only made him open his mouth in vain, unable to shout. He was still a mute.
Shopkeeper Du gave up on him, and was most annoyed by his half-dead appearance, so he left him there to die on his own.
It turns out… he thought, it turns out that he can only live to ten years old.
It was long enough. Long enough that he wanted to die countless times.
He didn’t need to open his eyes to know where he was. The smell of blood was the familiar firewood house. He couldn’t hear or moan, only the aroma from the tip of his nose could wake him up.
It was the refreshing plum fragrance that still bloomed in the cold, mixed with the warm aroma of food.
Qu Chenzhou raised his eyes slightly tiredly. In front of him was a mottled wall, and further up was a window with a broken window paper.
In August, it was cold enough for the wind to break the window paper, not to mention that the window was opened by a crack at this time.
A hand came in through the crack of the window and a young white hand stretched out from the sleeve of a splendid robe, holding a piece of cake. Both sides were cooked golden and the tempting fragrance was desperately slipping into his nose.
The hand was shaking at him, as if to signal him to take it. He didn’t know if he was talking, but unfortunately he can’t hear anything now.
He didn’t move and he didn’t withdraw his hand.
Actually there was no need for it to be so troublesome.
He retracted his gaze and stared at the wall, curled his body even tighter, retaining the last bit of heat on his body.
Just throw it on the ground. Anyways, he eats everything. He just didn’t understand why he needed to eat and why he needed to continue to live.
But the man outside the window had already seen him move, and he didn’t give up. Raising his toes, he tried to bring the cake a little closer to him.
The newly branded slave marks on his lower back hurt badly, and after lying on the cold ground for too long, his whole body was stiff. He really didn’t want to move, but the smell of the cake amplified the hunger in his stomach infinitely.
The instinct to survive made him stretch out his hand tremblingly.
The temperature of the cake was just right. Even if there was no water, he bit it bit by bit and swallowed it hard, until he had the strength to twitch his nose, only to find that his cheeks were wet.
He didn’t know when a big cloak, embroidered with white plum blossoms, was put on him while his other hand was covered, no longer so cold and stiff.
On the left was the food that allowed him to survive, and on the right was someone generously donating their warmth.
Suddenly he didn’t want to die anymore.
Death was a thorny road. He hesitated and timidly walked forward, while looking around, longing for someone who would say a word to him, give him a piece of bread, and hold his hand.
A reason to live was sometimes as simple as that.
Who would want to die if they could live?
When Liu Zhongming was introduced into the Xuanzheng Hall, it was already full of people.
Completely reversed from the situation a few days ago, Huai Wang, Mu Jingyan, supported Concubine Yu to stand beside Emperor Yu. Concubine Yu’s eyes were still flushed, and from time to time she dabbed the corner of her eyes with a handkerchief.
A palace maid and Madam Liu were on the left and right, helping the Empress up, then sitting her on a chair on the side. She had a sick look on her face, still crying in depression; even Madam Liu on the side was weeping along with her.
Yu Dexi bowed and was serving Emperor Yu to smell the agarwood.
Before kneeling down, Liu Zhongming glanced hastily, and knew that more than half of the drama had been sung and done with. After all, it was the face of the Royal family, it was not good for him to see nobility crying and making a ruckus.
Since him and his mother were called, but his sister was not there, it was obvious that in the Emperor’s heart, this farce had nothing to do with the Liu family.
If that’s so, then it’s good, the best.
Now, Huai Wang and Concubine Yu have cleaned up their grievances, and the Emperor will comfort them after that. However, Huai Wang knows in his heart that he may have won his face, but lost his heart this time.
It is said that the Emperor originally planned to assign Huai Wang to lead the guards for training, but in a blink of an eye there was no movement.
The Emperor’s thoughts were the heaviest blow to Huai Wang.
On the bright side, Ning Wang looked like he had been trampled the hardest; this piece of mud had nothing but a piece of skin. If it weren’t for the Empress’s support, he would have been crawling on the ground, not even worth mentioning.
The Empress and the Tang family behind him were the bones under the skin of Ning Wang.
Therefore, this scoop of sewage would rather be poured on Ning Wang’s head, than have it touch the Tang family. It is impossible to count all the unreliable things about Ning Wang, thus him doing something like this was normal.
Emperor Yu only beat Mu Jingzhao, but as long as Ning Wang still bore the title of his Dizi, and had the support of the Tang family, even if he continued to loiter like this, his position will not be shaken.
Liu Zhongming sighed in his heart.
In the past few days, he took the time to go to the suburbs again, watching the progress of the Mass Burial and gathering with Shi Yan to listen to the situation outside.
There were a lot more refugees than before, and the newly built shacks spread layer by layer into the distance, as if they were splashes and stains on the ground Yet the people living inside were probably worse than stains.
Recently, he was often invited to gather at the Zhichun Building, where the newly arrived slaves were bought and sold, and then they would be taken away directly by the Department of Control.
The more people outside the city, the hotter the business here. Strong men in their prime were on one side, the woman was on one side, and the boys and girls were timidly squeezed on the other side.
And the well-dressed people in the audience rushed to throw out signs, like hyenas eating bones in the wilderness.
He went there once and when he saw the people locked together like a skewer under the stage, he couldn’t help but think of that person.
Fang Wuyang had told him that no one would buy a three-year-old child. It was too young to survive, not to mention Little Brother Qu’s stubborn and stubborn temper.
But Liu Zhongming forced himself to think.
He thought about how the pink and jade-carved child was holding melted candy in one hand and crying, no longer able to see the shadow of his home.
Thinking about how that sensitive birthmark was branded with slave marks again and again.
Thinking about the torture that face that should have been flawless has gone through to have welts are all over the place.
He came out of the Zhichun Building with a blank face, and when he got into the carriage, he choked silently.
The more he thought about it, the more he could understand these despairs, and the more he understood the heavy pain when the person said “have all the memories of Chenzhou”, not to mention, that person was still carrying his last life when he was resurrected from the dead.
No wonder he crushed Changshui Town.
“Zhongming, what do you think? Is this a troubled world? Or a prosperous world?” Bai Shiyan pointed at the homeless people and asked him.
He couldn’t say it.
For some it is a troubled world, for some it is a prosperous world.
For more people, it may be neither.
Everyone was struggling with their own destiny, and had no time to take care of others. This is just… an ordinary world that everyone wants to try to survive.
This year it was just that the flooding was particularly severe. When the waters eased up next year, everyone would continue their new lives numbly.
The living people were like dandelions fluttering in the wind, and they settled down wherever they went.
But no matter how noisy it was outside the city, it couldn’t shake the iron heart here.
When a person dies, the next batch will be regenerated soon, just like the weeds on the roadside, there are always a lot of them. After all, the important thing is the gains or losses for the nobles.
——Including the one on the seat, not one of these people was qualified to be in that position.
These outrageous words always echoed in his mind over and over again.
He sometimes thought that if Ning Wang hadn’t become like this, if he was more like Qi Wang or more like Huai Wang, he wouldn’t be stuck in the current situation.
Liu Zhongming suddenly shuddered, and a thought he had never had before suddenly slipped in—perhaps it was precisely because there was such a merciless scoundrel Dizi Ning Wang in the middle that Qi Wang who held military power and Huai Wang who held financial power wouldn’t really fight each other on site.
——If Ning Wang was even a little bit better, would the ownership of that seat be settled long ago?
——Does the Emperor really like to watch his sons fight and does not want anyone to shake his position?
——If you thought about it this way, is it a coincidence that Ning Wang was brought up like this, or is it for some other reason?
“Your Majesty,” Yu Dexi took away the incense and reminded softly in Emperor Yu’s ear: “Liu Shizi is here.”
He didn’t dare to think any more, his forehead pressed against the ground, and he replied softly, “Liu Zhongming greets the Emperor.”
Ning Wang covered half of his face, but there were still red marks under his fingers that could not be removed. He begged him in a low voice with a sad face: “Zhongming, Zhongming save me.”
“Shut up!” Emperor Yu shouted angrily, then coughed again. Yu Dexi was busy rubbing his back and comforting him softly.
Ning Wang was also frightened by the few slaps on the face just now, and he was silent for a while, only looking at Liu Zhongming with pitiful eyes.
It took a long while for Emperor Yu to slowly come over. Leaning on the chair, he pressed his thumb on his temple, frowned and shouted to the side, “Yu Dexi.”
Yu Dexi understood and hurried down the steps and bowed to Liu Zhongming before asking, “I dare to ask Shizi, has your mansion ever bought a favored slave named Danlang?”
“Yes.” Liu Zhongming replied .
This was his only role in this play. He only needed to play an ignorant and innocent passer-by, and he only needed to honestly answer to Yu Gonggong’s questions about Dan Lang one by one.
Who is Dan Lang? It’s just the slave that Cao Shilang bought for him as thanks.
That’s all, but Dan Lang was still restless and didn’t appreciate his status. On one hand, he hooked up with Ning Wang, borrowing Ning Wang’s hand to bring in the Empress’s most taboo, Gardenia lip rouge into the palace, on the other, he took advantage of his favor to steal the account books.
What happened before and after, no matter who entrusted Cao Shilang to send the person to him, or why Dan Lang poisoned the Empress, or why Dan Lang stole his account books, or why Dan Lang died in the end, there were naturally many people to stand up and speak, he did not need to say another word.
In the end, as usual, Emperor Yu taught him a few words, telling him to put benevolence and filial piety first, not to disobey his parents, and not to quarrel with them again.
He routinely confessed his mistakes to his mother, and his mother hugged him with tears like rain, and everyone was happy.
So happy that he wanted to vomit.
Those who knew them knew very well, knew what they would look like after they left the palace gate.
Liu Zhongming’s role ended here. He looked at Emperor Yu’s gestures and stepped aside, coldly watching Ning Wang climb down the steps, weeping and repenting, not easily taking on the role of the villain.
On the one hand, he admitted that he had brought lip rouge into the palace, but he was flustered for a while and then threw away the lip rouge without the knowledge of his mother. On the other hand, he shouted loudly that he was being accused wrongly.
The Empress covered her face with her hands, tears falling down. She took off the hairpin on her head to plead guilty, to be punished for not being able to teach her son and for not taking care of the harem properly, so Concubine Yu was wronged.
The mother and son hugged each other and cried.
What a good accusation, Liu Zhongming looked at them numbly.
It was a good show. Ning Wang took all the guilt in the appearance of a playboy, and the Empress was still sitting in the hall, unmoved.
Until he exited Xuanzheng Hall, his mind was still ringing like cymbals and tambourines, but he knew very well that this commotion just had a lively appearance, and would eventually be picked up heavily and put down gently.
This result was not surprising, the only person who surprised him was his mother.
His mother was born in a branch of the Tang family, and she had been close to the Empress since childhood. Willing to stand here and criticize Dan Lang was good for the Tang family and Liu family.
He guessed that his mother would not be confined to just a trivial account book in order to force Danlang’s death, but he did not expect that his mother would sentence Danlang’s crime as poisoning.
Dan Lang, who was kindly brought back to the Marquis Mansion, tried to poison Madam Liu. It was just as inconceivable as Dan Lang, who was favored by Liu Shizi, stealing the account books and giving them to outsiders.
But when the latter happened, no one doubted the former.
What he cared about is how his mother could really get the evidence, is it possible for his mother to get something like poison and medicine?
Or did someone else sent it?
The author has something to say: Chenzhou fled at the age of nine. When he was ten years old, he was mute for a year, so he was delisted [also mentioned before], and it was Liu Zhongming who gave him cakes to eat