Chapter Four: Lone Star
Rain poured from the sky as if trying to wash away the evils in the world.
Before the paper money (i.e. money for the dead) could be thrown up, they were already washed away by the rain. There was no drum music. The funeral procession consisting of a dozen people marched bleakly on the rainy streets.
"She is the Lin family's little girl?"
"Yes. That girl is very pitiful."
Hearing a customer ask about this, the waiter passionately described the circumstances.
"The Lin family is a rich family within our Wu County. The Lin family's second master was amazing. In the past few years, he earned a great portion of the family fortune from maritime trade. Unfortunately, at the end of last year, rumor has it that he was trying to get back in time for New Years without completely repairing his ship. In the end, he encountered a storm and the ship sank. Both the second master and the fifth young master died. They left only the wife and a little girl.
"The Lin family's girl was originally betrothed to the Wu family's third young master. Oh customer, do you know about the Wu family? They are a single clan with three 'tanhua' (third place in the national examination) and five generations of senior officials. This Wu County is the Wu family's ancestral home. Of course, this girl was betrothed to a member of the branch family, but the family is still one of the most famous households. At least three members are ranked scholars in the nation, with limitless potential.
"Right, back to the story. So, she was originally betrothed to the Wu family's third young master. But after the Lin family's ship sank and hundreds of people died, the Lin family head–that is the Lin family's first master– asked for an answer from a deity. He discovered that this girl's life is cursed. She would bring death to all of her relatives. Hearing this, the Wu family cancelled the marriage. The Lin family head also threw this girl out of the family. All the money from the second master was taken back. But this little girl is quite brave. She petitioned to the county to gain independence with her mother. Unfortunately, now even her mother has passed away. This little girl is all by herself."
"Cursed by the heavens?" snorted a young man dressed in blue sitting next to a window in the tea house. He said to the young man across from him, "This Wu Yiren is quite daring. Doing something so despicable to gain favor from the Wang family."
The young man's face was hidden in the shadows. It was impossible to distinguish his expression. As he watched the figure of the young girl dressed in funeral attire slowly depart, he asked the waiter, "How much property was stolen from the Lin family?"
"Quite a bit," said the man dressed in blue while taking a sip of tea. "Even without counting cash, they lost four large class ships, more than fifty shops and more than ten large estates, with a total of around a thousand hectares of farmland."
"Didn't the Lin family have five large ships in their fleet before Lin Jiashen's accident?"
"Yes, only the ship he was on was damaged. All the other ships returned safely. I heard after Lin Jiaxuan sold all the commodities on these ships, he made tens of thousands. After Lin Jiashen died, no one in the Lin family dared to sail the seas anymore. They even sold their crews to merchants in Guangzhou. Oh right, the damaged ship was traded for the estate that used to be part of the Lin girl's mother's dowry. The estate consists of hundreds of hectares of good farmland. To be traded for a broken ship; what a shame."
"Even if she didn't trade the estate away, it is unlikely she could have retained it. In this Wu County, who can say no to Lin Jiaxuan and the Wu family."
"Then should we help?" the blue-dressed man smirked.
"Since the Wu family gained such a large fortune, why don't you stay if you are not busy?" Hearing these words out of the young man's mouth, the blue-dressed man's face stilled.
"Right." The blue-dressed man laughed lightly. Just an orphan girl. She is not worth fighting for. Furthermore, rumor has it that after she gained independence, she raised tablets for her father and brother, changed her name, and sold her mother's dowry. She is only waiting to complete her mother's funeral before leaving the Wu County.