Chapter 8 Willow Shade
The noon sun was very bright, shining softly through the window paper, making people lazy.
Lunch has finished, and many people were taking a short nap at this time. Everywhere was quiet and Liu Zhongming liked to slowly flip through the accounts and documents in this peaceful state.
Since he was a child, he has been interested in silver and debt, at least far more interested than getting mixed in the filthy muddy water. It is said that he grabbed an abacus and silver ingots at his first birthday banquet.
In the past, his older brother used this incident as a joke.
It was ridiculous, but his brother still patiently taught him about this matter. He also thought that he would only count money in the future, until one day, he replaced his brother and took the place as the first son.
Since that year, the reunion festival has become the most reluctant day for their family to mention.
On this day, his brother was sent home with no life.
Bandits in Dingling Hill were rampant, and no one thought that they would rob An Ding Marquis’s prince. His brother and dozens of guards, none of them survived.
He never had the chance to be teased by his brother again.
Bai Shiyan’s words seemed to roar in his ears again: “What about your brother? Are you just going to let it go?”
Of course he didn’t believe that any robber would dare to kill An Ding Marquis prince, but he didn’t dare to think that anyone would dare to kill his brother.
The emperor also sent people to search and arrest them. He and his father even went to the prison to personally torture those wicked people, but found nothing.
In four years, he spread the dark hall of the shop in all directions, especially paying attention to the surrounding area of Dingling Hill, but he still didn’t get the slightest clue. He didn’t even know which direction to look towards.
Is it really necessary for him to admit that his elder brother just had bad luck and was intercepted by robbers who wanted to get his money?
But even if he was not reconciled, what can he do? In the past four years, how many valuable clues could be left?
Liu Zhongming squeezed the pen in his hand for a long time, then he patiently flipped through the pages. It was all the news collected from various shops-even if the hope was small, he would seize it.
After reading a few copies, he took out a piece of paper and looked at it carefully, a little surprised.
The Liu family not only bought and sold things on land, but they also did it through water routes. This season, the sea was turbulent. He hadn’t received any news for more than half a month, and he was also considering whether to send someone to provide support.
The letter was indeed to report safety. Although the Liu family’s fleet had encountered heavy rain, fortunately, the boatmen were all experienced and the boat was big enough to arrive at the ferry crossing safely.
Not only that, they also picked up another ship at sea, and the people and cargo on that ship were saved by half.
There was also an account book attached to the letter. It had not only the income and expenditure of this sea trip, but also the number of people who were rescued from the ship, their identities, the inventory of their cargo, and the owner behind it.
Liu Zhongming paused when he looked at the name.
He did not want to be in an official position because on one hand, he didn’t enjoy feigning civility. On the other hand, he did not think clearly about which connection he needed to make progress in his brother’s affairs.
If he went the wrong place and got caught up in intertwined interests, he was afraid that he would not have time to take care of the others.
But as An Ding Marquis succeeding prince, not being an official does not mean that he can break away from these people.
This Pan He was one of the godsons that Yu Gonggong received. Recognizing a godfather at his old age, it was really shameless, but Yu Gonggong was the closest eunuch to the emperor.
Some favors should be sold after all.
Liu Zhongming smiled and circled Pan He’s name.
This Pan Gonggong has become famous in the capital recently. Even when they were having a drink together, they were all saying that Pan He was not only smashed in the face by the little monster with an oracle bone, but also stomped on his chest.
Presumably Pan He must have had a wonderful expression at that time.
He couldn’t help but think of the little boy lying curled up on the ground, thinking of his beautiful bright and calm eyes.
Shi Yan had clearly said that the child was timid, how could he suddenly become so bold?
Is it true that he became crazy?
When he threw the oracle bone out of his hands, Qu Chenzhou knew that he couldn’t live anymore.
His hands were tied behind his back, and the rope around his neck hung him, so that he could only stand on his tiptoes desperately.
Although he was reborn once again, there were not many things in this world that made him feel nostalgic. He had even seen Zhongming already, so he should have no fear of life and death. However, his instinct to survive still made him stand up straight again and again, while the rope strangled his neck. He struggled to breathe.
In his trance, it seemed that he was still stuck in the dark prison day and night.
But Liu Zhongming wants him to live, while Pan He wants him to die.
He wounded Pan He’s face again, and he didn’t plan to live anymore. The life of a lowly person was just a little matter for others.
He had hated and complained before. He hated how his parents did not want him. If that was the case, why give birth to him? He hated all the injustices, but struggling to the end, he had no strength left.
At one time, he felt that as long as he could live, it was okay.
The only warmth that he missed used to push him with all his strength, so that he finally learned to stand in front of people with his head high. But after that person disappeared, he really became a stone person.
Just like what those outsiders said about him, cold-blooded and cold-hearted.
It didn’t matter to him whether he lived or died, to him it was nothing.
Qu Chenzhou felt that the surrounding area seemed to be vast. For some reason, he only remembered these words: The river of forgetfulness is hard to cross.
Was he someone who can’t even cross the river of forgetfulness?
He remembered a long time ago, the person who named him said that he did not belong here, just like the stars in the sky falling on earth.
If this is the case, why did he come to this world?
The rope on his neck was lifted up again, and the person guarding by the side seemed to have had enough fun. Thinking it’d be better to report back earlier about finishing his task, he began to get impatient with his dying struggle, and kicked his ankle.
Vaguely, it seemed as if there were layers of onlookers roaring, asking him to die quickly.
He staggered, his toes were lifted off the ground. The thin air in his throat was suddenly cut off. The terrifying suffocation instantly filled his whole body, and he could only raise his neck and breathe greedily.
As if flying away from his body when he was dying, his whole person was floating in the ice water, shivering with the cold. He didn’t know which direction he was going to go.
Floating up and down, his body moved upwards, as if someone had picked him up. The refined warmth enveloped him, and there was a nostalgic breath surrounding him.
“Who are you?” He struggled to wake up from his nightmare, but he couldn’t open his eyes. He could only hear his own muffled question: “Are you…Are you…”
He couldn’t help mixing sobs within his voice. He seemed like a person who had been wronged a lot, and finally found a place to vent.
No one answered him, and he fainted amidst the good smell.
When he woke up again, when it was time to go to bed at night, he could hear the familiar walking sound outside.
He saw the beams above his head that had been gnawed halfway by mice, and the tattered window paper that rustled with the wind. There was a curtain that had not been cleaned for a long time beside the bed, and his body was covered with his quilt that was thin as a piece of paper.
When he turned over gently, the old wooden board creaked.
All previous life and death matters seem to be yesterday’s dreams.
This was his residence in Qisheng Building. It was only the size of a bed. The wooden box under his bed was for daily changes of clothes and utensils. There was nothing else.
Outside the curtains lived other people, and in every small space separated there lived people like him, who were not enslaved due to various reasons.
They were crowded like this, living in a big dirty room in the West Yard.
He laid on his back, listening to the sound of a woman cursing while weeping a few compartments away, then he finally remembered.
Thinking of which, he was afraid of divination, but why did he have to do that terrible divination for Pan He?
It was for that woman to keep the child who would be sold. He went to his master and in exchange for earning two thousand taels in a month, he begged the master not to separate the mother and child.
Qu Chenzhou covered his eyes with the back of his hand, and felt that his skin was damp, and something cold had slipped from the corner of his eyes to the pillow.
He couldn’t save anyone, including himself.
He didn’t know if it was because he had been repressed for too long, so now the him who should have been cold as a rock was now so fragile.
Hearing the movement on his side, no one bothered to look. People like them didn’t know when there would be vacant beds, or if they would be sold, or if they would die.
Anyway, it won’t be long before new people would come.
If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you have any energy to look after others?
Although Qu Chenzhou lived for a long time, he was always reticent and rarely talked to people. He huddled in this corner as if he did not exist.
But he knew that every time he was brought back dying, someone would bet whether he could survive. Yet, his life was very hard, and he struggled back from the line of life and death again and again.
This time, he didn’t expect to be alive, not even he himself had thought that.
He stretched out his hand and looked at the bruise on his arm strangled by the hemp rope with the faint light passing through the curtain. There was also a ring on his neck that was sore, and extremely painful.
Being at Panhe’s place was not a dream.
Who saved him?
Why did they want to save him?
Qu Chenzhou placed his hand on the tip of his nose——the nice smell, like a sycamore flower that has been exposed to the sun, was so familiar that he wanted to shed tears.
Was it Zhongming?
But how is it possible?