The slap almost knocked the petite Ji Lingzhi to the ground. She cupped her cheek and looked up in shock, body shying away by reflex.
Ji Yunshu lectured her with a stern expression, “Such a severe lack of manners at a young age. Let me teach you a lesson today since your parents didn’t teach you how to treat others with kindness and politeness.”
“Don't think that you can use your young age as an excuse, hiding behind the protection of your family name to bully others and get your way. If no one is going to teach you a lesson, wouldn’t you easily justify setting fires and killing people in the future? Didn’t your school teacher teach you that you should ‘do as you say and say as you do’? Don’t you know that was how your Third Brother died, do you want to end up like him?
Ah! Ji Lingzhi could only stare at her with a pair of large, round eyes, hand on her burning cheek, thoroughly terrified. The Ji Yunshu she remembered was weak, gentle, and easy to bully. How did she become so fierce after just a few months? She sniffed and hiccuped tearily. “I’m going to tell Father that you beat me.”
“As you wish.” Pal, I’m afraid that old man would give YOU a beating first!
Ji Lingzhi wailed even louder in response.
In the next moment, Ji Yunshu revealed her domineering side and snatched the cactus from her, raising her eyebrows mockingly, “Don’t you like taking things from others? This cactus seems pretty nice - I’ll take it.”
“Give it back to me!”
“Dream on!” Ji Yunshu proudly held her spoils of war and sauntered out, heartrending cries drifting out from behind.
Outside the Wei residence.
Jing Rong was still sitting on that chair, leisurely sipping his tea. Beside him were two pageboys waiting on him as respectfully and attentively as if they were waiting on their own parents. As she walked out, Jing Rong rose up to greet her, only to stop short when he noticed the two things she carried in her arms.
One was an unidentified object wrapped in cloth. The other was a little round cactus! Did this woman go in just to retrieve these two things?
“This is my mother’s memorial tablet; I didn’t want to leave her there. As for this cactus, I snatched it,” Ji Yunshu explained herself with a proud tilt of her chin.
Snatched? “What a miracle! Yunshu has even learned how to snatch others’ things?”
“I have to learn a little; I can’t always let others snatch my things.”
“This prince likes your words. Nobody should even dream of snatching what belongs to this prince.” Of course, what he meant was Ji Yunshu! Cheesy!
Back in the Wei Residence.
Wei Yi sat on the stone steps at the main entrance, chin propped up by both hands, head lowered to look at his clean shoes. He lightly tapped his foot once in a while to some mysterious rhythm, but he looked to be daydreaming.
Hearing a sound, Wei Yi immediately jumped up and split into a wide, sunny grin. “Shu’er!”
“Why are you here?”
“Waiting for you.”
Ji Yunshu smiled and patted his head, then gave him the cactus. He tilted his head. “What is this?”
“A potted plant. Give it to Uncle Bo to take care of.”
“Alright.” He agreed immediately.
Right then, one of the residence’s pageboys ran out and bowed towards Jing Rong. “Your Highness, the former yamen Lord Liu is waiting for you inside.”
Jing Rong narrowed his eyes. “Liu Qingping? What’s he here for?”
“He brought a lot of gifts.”
“Gifts are never given without a reason!” He commented lightly.
“Then I’m going to visit Fu Bo.”
“Mm.” The two parted ways.
In the back courtyard, Fu Bo’s rooms.
Mo Ruo had already treated, applied medicine, and bound the criss-cross whip wounds on his back. “Luckily your tendons and bones were unharmed; you’ll be fine after a few more days of rest.”
“Many thanks to Master Mo.”
“You’re welcome. Fu Bo, you’re already so old, but you’re still looking after the memorial hall, passing your days with only these corpses for company. You help strangers to find a suitable resting place and even offer them three sticks of incense daily. Your dedication makes this junior ashamed.”
That was true. It was said that other than coffin-makers, all those who came into contact with corpses were unlucky. They were looked down upon and avoided by all others who were deathly afraid of being ‘infected’ with their unlucky aura. As a result, Fu Bo didn’t have any frequent visitors, nor did he try to make friends. Year after year, he remained alone in the memorial hall. If no one came forward to claim a body that was sent to him from the yamen, he would use his own resources to find a burial place for them. Otherwise, he would cremate them, place the ashes into a jar, and store it behind the memorial hall. If one passed by at night, they would often be scared half to death by the many jars of ashes.
Other people did good deeds that were easily visible, but how could you say that what Fu Bo did was not a good deed as well?
Hearing Mo Ruo’s words, Fu Bo felt comforted. “There are few youngsters nowadays that think the way you do.”
“Few people in this world have the ability to see this clearly.”
“Right, Fu Bo, don’t you have family?”
Family? Fu Bo’s face darkened and became desolate. He sighed with tears in his eyes. “Dead, they’re all dead.”
Mo Ruo’s brush stopped abruptly in the middle of writing his prescription. “Please don’t mind me.”
“It’s alright. It happened a long time ago.” He glanced at Mo Ruo again. “If my son were still alive, he would be about the same age as you.”
This piqued Mo Ruo’s interest. “Do you mind if I asked what happened to your family?”
“They were killed in a large fire. It’s a sin when the white-haired have to send off their black-haired descendants!” How pitiful! Mo Ruo didn’t dare to continue asking, afraid of hitting a raw nerve.
Soon after, Ji Yunshu arrived with Wei Yi. She relaxed when she saw that Fu Bo appeared much better. “Fu Bo, Take care and recover here without worry. The Wei Residence will take good care of you.”
“Teacher Ji, I really must thank you. If not for you, I wouldn’t have lived for more than a few days at my age.”
Wei Yi spoke staunchly without waiting for her reply, “That won’t happen. Fu Bo will live to a hundred. You’re so kind, heaven will protect you!”
Fu Bo looked at him and smiled, eyes unwittingly revealing an indulgent manner mixed with bittersweet feelings. Wei Yi sat beside the bed. “Fu Bo, you can keep staying in here. Brother Mo Ruo is a godly doctor and will definitely cure you.”
“Many thanks to Young Master Wei.”
“No thanks needed. Mother said that saving a life is better than building a seven-story pagoda. Fu Bo even let us rest in the memorial hall yesterday. You’re a good person and will have good karma.”
Fu Bo’s eyes shone with tears. Tightly grasping Wei Yi’s hand, he patted it lightly. “What your mother said is right; saving a life is better than building a seven-story pagoda. Both of your parents were good people.”
“Mm!” He nodded his head vigorously.
But these words and this scene made Ji Yunshu’s heart sink a little...Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Poor Fu Bo... but those undercurrents hurhurr.
Translator: ChouFleur, Editor: Dray