Since the day Hu Gui had kneeled and admitted his fault in front of the straw shack, and cried and gave the deed to Miss Jun, (though she paid him a hefty sum), he was unshakeable. He was always hanging around Miss Jun.
"I also have no money, and I have no store to give to you," he had said while wiping his tears. "Miss Jun, I cannot compare to your generosity, but I cannot go on with having committed a fault. Please, take pity on me, and allow me to show my good will."
Miss Jun was indifferent, while Fang Chengyu cared even less. The group of people shut the door and slowly went along the road in the carriage.
It was not raining hard, but there weren’t many people on the streets. The summer vegetation had bloomed wonderfully; it was a feast for the eyes.
Hu Gui colorfully spoke of Runan’s past seasons with humor. From time to time, Miss Jun would smile, and Fang Chengyu would sigh.
He didn’t know why, but Miss Jun’s mood of late had not been too good. She often would look at the calendar blankly. When he poked his head in to see, he saw that the callendar had been flipped to June 28.
What was on June 28?
These days he was involved with the exchange firm’s business while also investigating about Miss Jun.
Before, he didn’t want to know anything about her, let alone her past, but now he wanted to understand more.
June 28th. It wasn’t Aunt’s or Uncle’s birthday or death day, and it wasn’t her birthday. Even her grandfather and great-grandfather had no relation to this day.
Or perhaps this day was a personal day for her. For example, this day she was very sad, or happy, or something hard to forget occurred, or she had met someone she couldn’t forget.
Fang Chengyu suddenly thought about Ning Yunzhao, but felt that thinking about it was no good.
He lowered his head , his fingers itchings.
"Jiuling," he suddenly called out.
Miss Jun turned around.
She really liked this name. Whenever he called it she would always respond quickly, just as if she had always been called so.
As they spent more time together, he understood her more and more, and so there were more things he could understand.
"I looked at the exchange firm’s accounting books. There has been an especially large flow of money in the capital for the past few months," he commented.
"Next year will be the imperial examination. All the students are going to the capital, and they are cashing in their banknotes for their expenses," she said.
Fang Chengyu nodded.
"I have found through these accounting books that you can see very many local changes," he said. "It’s very interesting."
In the exchange firms, businesses, money and goods are not the only thing to flow north and south. There is also news.
So the Jinyiwei had planted many of their subordinates in businesses.
That’s why Miss Jun had stayed with the Fang Family, riding their boat. Besides needing enough money, the De Sheng Chang’s exchange firms were ubiquitous.
"Is that so? I don’t understand the accounting books, so I wouldn’t be able to see it."
"You don’t need to understand them. It’s fine if I do. If you want to know anything just ask," he said with a smile.
"Okay." She nodded. "I’ll keep it mind."
He smiled and nodded.
"I don’t know what the capital is like." He changed the topic and spoke with longing. "I wish I could go there to visit."
He smiled again.
"Am I being too greedy? I’ve just learned to walk and now I want to run."
She shook her head
"There’s nothing greedy about it. You should go where you want."
She also really wanted to go to the capital.
It was her birthday, and the day she and Lu Yunqi had wed.
The Jinyiwei had said that Lu Yunqi and Princess Jiuli’s wedding was set for June. Although they hadn’t mentioned a specific date, she thought that it would likely be the 28th.
Really, how sickening.
This day would make Elder Sister sad.
Was this to make Elder Sister remember how she had died? A warning and a threat?
But it wasn’t so sickening for the two sisters. The matter itself was nauseating. They didn’t care about a specific date.
Miss Jun lowered her gaze.
She hoped that Elder Sister didn’t know about this.
This was why she would go to the palace to take revenge alone. If she succeeded she succeeded, and if she lost, she’d at least prevent it from involving Jiuli and Jiurong.
At this, she smiled bitterly.
This was just her own wishful thinking.
With their identity, no matter what they did or didn’t do, no matter if they knew or didn’t, they were always guilty, on guard, someone everyone wants to get rid of.
That kind of life was full of hardship.
Sometimes she wanted Jiuli to know the truth. After all, it was a hatred steeped in blood. But she also didn’t want them to know.
If they didn’t know, perhaps they could have live a little easier.
Jiuli was different from her. She had always been raised deep in the palace like a princess. She was timid. When she climbed a tree, Jiuli would scream the Heaven down. When she ate a sweet on the sly, Jiuli looked like she was going to die.
When she was young, Jiuli was as annoying as an old woman.
Miss Jun pursed her lips to stop her smile. After she left the imperial palace, she came back once a year, perhaps she was more distant or she grew older, but she was no longer that annoying person who made a fuss about nothing. She was warm and demure.
When Father and Mother died, Jiuli was staunch and resolute. She told her siblings that they had to look forward, and not be bothered by other people’s opinions.
And thanks ot her, Jiurong still lived happily these years.
It would be good if they could be that happy forever.
Miss Jun lifted her head to relieve her sore eyes.
Fang Chengyu lightly held onto her sleeve.
"Jiuling, I’m hungry," he said.
Miss Jun looked at Fang Chengyu pensively. He wasn’t looking at her. Rather, his eyes were sparkling as he looked outside the carriage.
There was a restaurant there with a splendid banner hanging from it. On it was written "donkey meat".
"I’ve never eaten donkey meet before." He leaned against the window.
"Young Master, you have a sharp eye. This is the best dish in our Runan," said Hu Gui who was outside the carriage. "Some say that the heaven’s have dragon meat but the earth has donkey meat. It’s a first-rate delicacy."
Miss Jun smiled and got off.
"Then we shall eat here."
Lei Zhonglian helped Fang Chengyu off the carriage. Hu Gui had gone in first to reserve some seats. He said something, and the owner and employees came rushing out of the restaurant to receive them.
Miss Jun was going in when she heard people talking by the roadside.
"No way no way, I couldn’t solve that Go arrangement. I lost a great sum."
"I don’t believe it. How great can it be; I’ll give it a try."
Go arrangement? Money?
There was someone who was also using an endgame Go arrangement to make money?
Miss Jun could not help but be interested. The two people continued on their way.
They were headed to a tea house which was surrounded by quite a few people.
When Hu Gui saw Miss Jun’s gaze, he scuttled back.
"There is someone who set up a Go arrangement to swindle money," he said. "It’s already been two or three days."
"Why is it cheating. If you don’t understand it, you don’t understand."
Hu Gui chuckled.
"I don’t understand this, but no one has been able to solve it. Everyone said it was strange," he said. "This guy has won quite a bit of money."
‘Quite a bit? Was it ten taels of silver to pay for a five thousand tael prize?’ thought Lei Zhonglian. ‘Swindling money. The ancestor of this tactic is right before your eyes.’
The Go arrangement made Miss Jun think of things from the past, but they were not pleasant things. It was better not to be reminded of them.
Without saying anything, she smiled and helped Fang Chengyu forward. When she went in, she heard people laughing inside.
"What quite a bit of money. How much is it to try once, and how much money can be won? I’m telling you, I saw this once in Yangcheng," said a bright male voice.
Yangcheng, Go arrangement?
It had already reached here?
Miss Jun paused. Lei Zhonglian also looked.
It was not time to eat, so there weren’t many people in the restaurant. There were only three tables of guests, and one of them only had one person. It was a young man wearing a dark black shirt.
His straightforward back was to the entrance. His appearance could not be seen, but his shoulders were wide and his waist narrow. He sat like a pine tree and was talking to the other two tables of guests. He seemed happy as he spoke and he slapped the table.
"That person who set up the Go arrangement there was a dunce hard to find on earth and heaven," he said with a laugh.
Miss Jun’s countenance changed, and Lei Zhonglian stiffened.
"‘Dunce’ is not a part of our dialect," Hu Gui said quickly. "It’s a phrase from the northern area. I have heard merchants from there use it. It means someone who is foolish or stupid."
At this he smiled, not letting a chance to pat the horse’s ass slip him by.
"I think that Master Yan is a dunce."
Lei Zhonglian looked at Hu Gui.
‘I think that you are the dunce,’ he thought.