As Miss Jun sat in the dust-covered room, she suddenly felt like laughing in the thickly depressive atmosphere.
She had been born into nobility, but because of that nobility she had been constrained.
She strove wholeheartedly to cure Father, but in the end, when her learning was complete, Father had died.
She had admitted to her fate, married, and started her life anew, but suddenly she came to know a deep enmity for her.
The knowledge of the enmity was the herald of her death.
And right after her death, she had been reborn.
It was like Old Heavenly Father was playing with her life. He had given her the same things, then taken them away. Then he gave them again, then took them away.
What she wanted was in sight, but it was not something she could easily grasp.
It was interesting.
Miss Jun smiled.
"Then ask them how much money they will sell it for," she said.
Hu Gui frowned slightly and opened his mouth, but she din’t give him the chance to speak. She stood up.
"I will buy it for that price," she declared. She grabbed her signboard.
The board was wide, and although she was taller than other girls her age, she was still a delicate girl. It looked like a struggle for her. The board was also dirty and left smudges on her clothing when she held it.
"Young Lady, I’ll do it." Lei Zhonglian hurried to step forward.
She raised her hand at him.
"You take care of Young Master," she refuted. She looked to Hu Gui again, and said gently and sincerely, "Uncle Hu, I must trouble you to speak with the other person. I will open the Jiuling Hall again, so I need this building. I hope that they can sell the deed to me. Please ask them to quote a price."
Hu Gui was stunned.
"You are going to reopen the Jiuling Hall?" he asked.
Miss Jun nodded.
"So I must trouble Uncle Hu," she said respectfully again. She then strode out while hugging her signboard.
Fang Chengyu also nodded respectfully at Hu Gui, while Lei Zhonglian helped him walk out.
Quite a few people had already gathered outside the entrance. They couldn’t help but push forward curiously when they saw Miss Jun walk out while holding the signboard.
"Is it the Jun Family’s young miss?" an elderly woman asked.
Miss Jun smiled and nodded at her.
"Aiyo, you’ve grown so big," she said happily. "We didn’t recognize you."
The others surrounded her.
"So you’ve come back to take a look, I see."
"Are you staying with your maternal family?"
"But you haven’t come back in so long."
Everyone was speaking at once.
These were the villagers that knew the Jun Family.
Jun Zhenzhen’s family had been doctors for generations, since they wandered the streets as bell healers till they became physicians at a clinic. The marks of their history had been almost completely synonymized with Runan City.
"For generations, we have watched over the Jiuling Hall. Normally when there were no patients, I would go in and sit," said one old woman cheerfully. "When Old Doctor Jun was no longer here, the Jiuling Hall closed its doors. Every time I pass by here I feel a sense of loss."
At this she started fumbling for something.
"I-I still owe Old Master Jun some medicine money."
Miss Jun smiled at her.
"Grandmother, do not be anxious. It’ll be picked up in another day, and then you can come in to sit again," she said.
Everyone who heard this looked shocked. They paid close attention to Miss Jun’s signboard.
"So you’re saying, you will reopen the Jiuling Hall?" everyone asked.
Miss Jun smiled and nodded.
"Aiya, this is great!" exclaimed everyone happily.
"Then I will first go find somewhere to rest. Tomorrow the Jiuling Hall will be cleaned, and then several days after it will open for business," she said simply.
However, a drug store could say that it would
welcome everyone to come in.
"Where will you go to rest?"
"Did you travel far? Are you tired? Come to my house and have a drink of water."
"Yes, yes, are you hungry, Young Miss? Come to my house for a meal."
Everyone was talking. Someone came forward to carry the signboard for her. She smiled and urged everyone to cease and sat on the carriage.
Everyone saw her help Fang Chengyu up into it. They had noticed the beautiful youth before, and now they could not stop their questions.
"Oh him," she said lightly as she glanced at Fang Chengyu. Her lips curled into a smile. "He is my husband."
Ignoring their shocked expressions, Fang Chengyu smiled and nodded at the crowd.
Everyone returned the warm and mannerly greeting. They watched the carriage leave, but no one in front of the Jiuling Hall would disperse. They were discussing the Jun Family and this Miss Jun.
"This child is different from when she was young," said one woman. "As a child she did not care about anyone, but now she seems much wiser and kinder, just like her grandfather."
"And she actually is married."
Everyone was silent for a moment.
"Why would she marry that cripple?"
"But that son-in-law is very good-looking..."
"You can’t eat good looks."
"I think the girl’s husband is excellent. You didn’t see, but when we were talking, he looked at Miss Jun with great delight and affection."
"That’s useless. If I was a cripple, I would treat the beautiful maiden I married well."
"But how can Miss Jun open the Jiuling Hall? Wasn’t she staying with her husband’s family?"
"I reckon her husband’s family is not doing to well. They came here to make a living."
"It’s just a pity the Jun Family left behind only one child."
The gossipers gradually dispersed, leaving behind only Hu Gui in the doorway of the Jiuling Hall. His expression was complicated as he watched Miss Jun’s carriage in the distance.
"Master Hu, should we still clean up this building?" asked several people squatting outside the door.
"She really did not come early or late. Why now," he said. "Don’t clean up first. I’ll go ask what to do."
Fang Chengyu settled into a steaming bathtub inside the inn.
As Miss Jun dumped in a bucket of medicinal concoction, the pristine water immediately turned murky and then black.
Fang Chengyu exhaled loudly.
"It shouldn’t hurt now," said Miss Jun.
"It doesn’t," Fang Chengyu replied. He cracked open his eyes to look at Miss Jun who was rolling up her sleeves. "You go wash up. I can do this myself."
Miss Jun didn’t stand on politeness. She walked behind the screen.
There was another tub there.
Since going out, she had told him they could not be an inch apart. They could not even separate while washing their faces.
It was a rigorous guard.
Fang Chengyu watched each piece of clothing being placed on the rack, then quickly averted his eyes.
"I don’t know if the exchange firm in Runan will have enough money, or if we should go to Cai prefecture first," he commented.
"No need," she said from behind the screen.
Fang Chengyu first thought about it, then said, "It is said in books that hearts do not grow old. This Hu Family would choose to sell the land now obviously because your grandfather and father’s influence on them is no longer great," he said. "Buying this land won’t go so smoothly."
"En," she responded.
"However," he began. "I think that that is not a bad thing."
Sounds of splashing water came from Miss Jun’s side.
"How is it not bad?" she asked.
Fang Chengyu turned around and saw Miss Jun poking out her head from behind the screen. Her eyes were glittering and looking straight at him, and her glistening neck was exposed.
"Because things that are rare have value," he said. "The other party was not permitted to sell it, so they cannot set an unreasonably high price for this would definitely attract everyone’s attention. The Jiuling Hall’s reopening is public knowledge, so this is good."
"It’s not a bad idea," she said.
His ideas, how could she have not thought of them already.
"Get back into the water." He waved a hand at her. "Be careful of getting cold."
She chuckled and retracted her head.
Fang Chengyu also smiled as he leaned into the bath.
The next day, when they left the inn, Lei Zhonglian spotted a large crowd in the distance.
When he saw the scene there, he hurriedly pulled back the carriage.
"Young Lady, it’s not good." His voice was slightly unsmooth.
Fang Chengyu and Miss Jun exchanged glances, and the carriage curtains were lifted.
When the crowd saw the carriage, they made way. Their faces were strange.
"This must be more shocking than a high price." Fang Chengyu was still calm as he faced ahead.
The dilapidated Jiuling Hall that had been there yesterday was nowhere to be seen. In its place were ruins.
Miss Jun’s face was still calm. She took out the deed from her sleeve and tossed it away.
Without a building, the building deed was useless.