Chapter 67 Bai Shining
According to usual practice, on the first day of August, Liu Zhongming would go back to the Marquis Mansion early in the morning. Only this year, he stayed until noon before leaving.
“Ling He that person, rather than being an enemy, why not keep him as a friend.”
He leaned on the door frame and watched the people in the room pack their things.
“I’m not good at making friends with people,” Qu Chenzhou replied without turning his head: “Instead of playing emotional cards and make friends, I’m more used to pinching people’s weak spots and making them willing to cooperate with me.”
Liu Zhongming laughed, this really did fit the character of the little fox.
“Teach me too. Show me where you want to pinch him, and I’ll pinch it for you.”
He watched Qu Chenzhou tidy up for a long time, but the bed was still covered with empty furskins, so he couldn’t help but stop talking to remind him.
“It’s cold, you should bring some warm clothes. After you go there, change out the dirty clothes, no need to wash them. When you come back in a few days, have Shiyan send someone to bring them back, just have Shiyan prepare everything.”
Qu Chenzhou slowly tucked half of his body into the suitcase, and slowly took out a set of clothes.
“Forget it, have Steward Lin settle things up for you, you don’t have to worry about it.”
Liu Zhongming saw that he was not used to packing things when he went out, so he just pulled him out and sat him down in the yard.
The autumn wind was refreshing, the sun was warm, and it was good weather to bask in the sun.
“After you get there, tell Shiyan if anything comes up. He is also a person who knows the bottom line and won’t treat you badly. If you need something from the house, let someone come over and pick it up, anyways, you will be back in half a month.”
“But Shiyan is very busy, so it’s impossible for him to always look after you, so take care of yourself. Don’t kick off the quilt when you’re sleeping and don’t drink cold water at night, so as not to have the same stomach ache as before.”
“Don’t run around everywhere, uncle’s house is not as relaxed as here.”
Liu Zhongming said a few more words, only to realize that he was becoming long-winded, like a mother lecturing him, but the person in front of him really made him feel uneasy.
A few nights ago, this man had been curled up with stomach pain and refused to bring it up. Fortunately, he heard the messy breathing outside and went out to take a look.
If it was not the last resort, he did not want to foster the person in someone else’s home.
Qu Chenzhou hummed softly, stopped, and waited for the chatter to be swept away by a gust of wind before asking, “Does Shizi want to win over Ling He?”
Liu Zhongming sighed in his heart. He knew his nagging was a waste, this man was far more concerned with things outside than he is with himself.
“Not completely. You should have heard about Ling He’s temper, he won’t stand on anyone’s side. If I go to Dali Temple after this year, we will have to deal with him. Since the target is Liao Guangming, we will need him and being a friend is better than being an enemy.”
“Ling He is a rigid and serious person,” Qu Chenzhou glanced at him: “Shizi now…is not a person on the same path as Ling He.”
“Heh,” Liu Zhongming said with a smile on his face: “Thanks to you.”
He used to focus on his brother’s business, but in the capital, he was only seen as not doing his job properly and was addicted to doing business, that’s all. After encountering Qu Chenzhou, the banquets he went to became more and more off taboo.
Although it is true that a wider path has been opened and many people have become closer to him, coupled with the embarrassing storm with Ning Wang, half of Liu Zhongming’s reputation was stained with the word dandy.
Qu Chenzhou looked away from his face.
“Lin Xiang is Ling He’s mentor and has the grace of supporting him before. He also has a good relationship with Marquis Liu. Should the Shizi consider starting from this side?”
Liu Zhongming gritted his teeth and laughed.
Ever since Qu Chenzhou’s weak spot in the lower back was pinched, he has been wise not to confront him head-on and if he encountered a question that was difficult to answer, he immediately pretended to be stupid and changed the subject.
He couldn’t find fault, so he said with a sullen stomach, “If Lin Xiang didn’t have a tough temper, how can he favor him? Let’s just see and make a plan first.”
When they mentioned Lin Xiang, it was exactly the Zhongshuling*, Lin Baiqian, who with Marquis Liu and the Empress’s elder brother Tang Shuxin were in charge of the three provinces. It was precisely because of this tough temper and compliance with instructions that the Tang family’s hand has not stretched too far.
* official who helped the emperor handle government affairs in the palace, and was responsible for presenting secret memorials directly to the emperor
Qu Chenzhou nodded and asked again: “Has the Emperor approved it? The position for Dali Temple?”
“He hasn’t said it yet, but listening to the rumours, it should be soon.”
“Shizi, do you want to hear my divination?” He paused for a moment, didn’t hear a refusal, looked a few more times, and said, “It’ll be hard to get what you want.”
No matter what these words point to, it would make a person feel uneasy.
Liu Zhongming frowned. Knowing that he only had divinations and didn’t understand them completely, he asked, “Can it be changed?”
From the hand furnace case, he knew that Qu Chenzhou’s intervention could change the fate of some people.
“It’s okay, I’ll wait.”
Since it’s a divination that even Qu Chenzhou can’t intervene in, he could only just wait and see.
The two of them stopped talking and watched the shadow of the tree casting into the yard stretch longer and longer.
The days to come will be like the mottled and swaying mess on the ground; who will be able to grasp it and who can say it for sure?
The servant with the tray came quietly, placed down the things, and left quietly.
Liu Zhongming took the medicine bottle and water and handed it over—today was Shuoye. He saw Qu Chenzhou raise his head to drink it. hHs profile was delicate and beautiful, his throat undulating gently, swallowing the antidote, his heart suddenly felt as if it had been pulled.
“Chenzhou…” He looked down at the medicine bottle in his hand: “Shiyan said that there is no antidote that can completely remove Shuoye.”
He took the Qihui ointment, giving half of it back.
The antidote smelled bitter, and Qu Chenzhou couldn’t eat sweets. This was the Qihui ointment specially made after he instructed the kitchen.
The tiny peppercorns in the cake cracked open in his mouth, filling his nose with a pungent smell. He heard a nasal tone in his voice: “You…”
His heart skipped a beat. He wanted to ask, but he was afraid to hear the answer.
Qu Chenzhou took a small bite of the Qihui ointment, and when he heard the words on his side, he couldn’t help but purse his lips, and there was a little smile on his lips.
When the shadow of the canopy crossed the steps from one end to the other, he patted the debris on his body and stretched out his hands.
Liu Zhongming stared at the slender wrist for a moment, took the slave ring from the plate, and the lock fell down with a crisp sound, and he turned it around in his hand.
On this rough iron ring, the names of the two of them were engraved.
“If Shizi wants to succeed, it is right to use some means.” Qu Chenzhou’s calm voice sounded, as if he was saying something natural: “I don’t blame you.”
His breath was stifled at his throat. He looked at the man’s hand, then watched the figure disappear outside the Hanging Flower Gate, and was stunned for a long time before looking back at the bedroom behind him.
There was no one in the corridor or courtyard.
As if something important was taken away, only a deserted yard was left for him.
It was getting dark early in this season, and after the lights outside came on one by one, the carriage stopped at the corner gate of the Bai residence.
Qu Chenzhou got out of the car and saw that, unlike ordinary families, there were soldiers with halberds standing beside the door hidden in the shadow of the eaves.
He had heard of it countless times, but it was the first time he had seen Bai Mansion with his own eyes.
A long time ago, when everything had not deviated from the track, every time Bai Shining entered the palace to meet Empress Sheng, he would meet these important officials on imperial orders.
At that time, General Bai walked like a tiger, with a valiant attitude. The two would meet at His Excellency’s Star Watching. With both hands cupped, he bowed solemnly: “Graceful Qu Sitian, I hope you have been well since we last met.”
“General Bai” He cupped his hands towards him and returned the ceremony: “Excuse me for not going out to see you.”
When the two entered the Star Gazing Pavilion side by side, Bai Shining laughed at him in a low voice: “Xiao Chenzhou, Zhongming said that you still want to eat lotus root boxes. Why don’t you just take your aunt and I’s Bai family name and marry into the Liu family tomorrow.”
He blushed and whispered, “General Bai, don’t make trouble.”
Bai Shining was unhappy. With a stern face looking at him, he could only call out again: “Uncle…”
The corner door opened with a creaking sound, and he was led to a small yard to stay.
Liu Zhongming was right, this place was not comparable to their courtyard. Although Bai Shiyan knew his origins, but with the Mid-Autumn Festival banquet right in front of him, they could not be careless. To not upset the family or create opportunities to, he couldn’t attend to him too much.
Although Bai Shiyan planned to send someone to serve him, he knew that the mansion was full of soldiers, and it wouldn’t be the best to take away a family servant, so except for the three meals a day that had to be delivered, he did everything by himself.
Spending most of the day in the small yard, there was only one thing that kept him going out—he needed water, but the well wasn’t in his yard.
After observing for a few days, he chose to go out at dinner time to fetch water from the nearest well. There were few people along the way, which saved him a lot of kneeling.
This place was remote, and there were few lanterns hanging under the eaves. He used the dim yellow light to fill a bucket of water, poured it into the pot first, drank it, then washed his hands and face. He did not rush back immediately and sat on the edge of the well.
The last time he came here, he heard the sound of water in other places nearby, like a pond. It was inconvenient to wash up these days, and he didn’t bother to boil water for himself, so he was afraid he was going to stink.
After sitting quietly for a long time, he heard the sound of water waves slamming on the stone platform on the shore, not far away.
The guards receiving Bai Shiyan’s instructions, checked his waist card, and let him go after only reminding him of the depth of the pond.
Passing through the Moon Cave Gate, it was a world of it’s own. The half-pond lotus pods stood upright from the huge dilapidated lotus leaves. Intertwined and covering the area densely, one could not see between them. A stone bridge penetrated through them with the end not in sight.
Qu Shenzhou put down the water jug, rolled up his trousers, sat down on the shore, and carefully put his feet in.
The water was a little cool and the coolness was sobering. The moonlight was also addictive. He sat in a daze for a while in the dark, then remembered that he couldn’t stay out for too long. He busily washed his calves, and then picked up the water jug beside him.
But he paused when he got up.
Through the shimmering water, he seemed to see someone in the water with his back turned to him, more than three feet away.
After taking a closer look, he noticed something was wrong. The man only exposed his head and shoulders from the surface of the water. He also had his head raised towards the sky, undulating slightly with the water waves, without making a sound.
His mind exploded – he had seen someone like this before, he was drowning!
“Someone! Someone! Someone fell into the water!”
Qu Chenzhou shouted a few times, threw away the jug, ran a few steps, and swam forward to the person.
His water ability can only be regarded as average. In the past, Liu Zhongming had told him that people had drowned in every pond in the palace. Worried about this fact, he hurriedly took him to learn swimming and how to take breathes in the water.
Jumping into the water at this time, he choked on a few sips of water before he remembered how to calm down and how to stick his head out of the water.
Fortunately, after the ventilation was smooth, his body slowly floated up.
The distance was getting closer, and the man was still floating motionless, which made him even more anxious. He threw out his hands and feet a few times, jumped forward, and grabbed the man’s collar.
It was a grown man, looking much taller than him, sinking like a rock in the water.
Qu Chenzhou dragged the person with one hand and paddled the water with the other, his strength and body temperature were quickly consumed like straw burning in a fire. The cold water was more terrifying than the winding water plants underwater that was dragging him down a little bit.
But like there was divine help, every time the water surface was about to drown his nose and mouth, he didn’t know where his strength came from, and he could dash forward for a while.
Tumbling forwards, he finally dragged the man desperately to the shore.
He panted heavily, turned around, and forcefully dragged the man’s upper body out of the water, then vomited a few saliva aside and slumped on the ground.
The lanterns approached quickly with the sound of chaotic footsteps, and someone shouted, “Who is there! Who fell into the water!”
The soldiers in the mansion, having been trained, immediately had someone bring fire to the stone bridge. The person who spoke just now lifted the lantern to his face.
Qu Chenzhou hurriedly turned over and bowed at the shore: “Greetings Soldier Sir, there was someone drowning in the pond just now, and this slave has rescued him. Please Sir, call the doctor.”
Lying on his back in the half-person-height grass on the shore, he looked like he was about to slip into the water. He hurriedly crawled over with his hands and feet, and hurriedly wrapped his hands around the man’s neck, and was about to drag him out.
“Sir, the person is here…”
Before he could finish speaking, the man he was dragging suddenly moved, not only move, but also loudly made a “wa”.
Qu Chenzhou’s scalp exploded, and he fell to the ground in fright, his heart almost popped out of his throat, but his body was like a piece of wood, stabbing onto the ground dully.
Seeing that the man had succeeded in frightening the person, he couldn’t help laughing loudly. With so much energy, he didn’t look like he was half drowning and when he came up from the water, he was holding a few lotus pods in one hand.
The soldiers on the shore immediately lined up, stood upright, and shouted: “General!”
Qu Chenzhou woke up like a dream with this loud call, and he didn’t know if he was cold or what, but he started shaking uncontrollably.
Just now, this person made a prank “wa”, not only letting him know that this person was safe and sound, but more importantly, letting him know who this person was from this familiar voice.
This naughty person was the father of the Bai brothers, the steel city wall of Dayu, Bai Shining.
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