“My little brother and I brought a total of one hundred and seventy copper coins to our older brother. If there is an extra copper coin, then it’ll be yours!” Xiaocao was confident about the number of coins on the string. Her older brother was very frugal. If there wasn’t anything important, then he wouldn’t touch his money.
Shopkeeper Zhang spread the string of coins on the palm of his hand. He silently counted the number of coins in his mind. Sure enough, there were one hundred and seventy copper coins in total, not one coin more or less. Originally, he got drunk and didn’t hold back his strength when beating Yu Hang. Yu Hang had fallen unconscious after spitting out blood from the beating. After Yu Hang had fallen unconscious, he had found this money after searching through Yu Hang’s room. Today, Yu Hang’s family came here to get an explanation from him, so he hurriedly took out the money as an excuse.
The crowd surrounding them saw that Shopkeeper Zhang’s expression had slightly changed. The people who were closer to him could clearly see the thread that was used to keep the copper coins together were just as Xiaocao had said, a multicolored embroidery thread. The crowd’s heart once again tilted towards Xiaocao’s favor.
But Shopkeeper Zhang rudely and unreasonably replied, “Humph! You are just a group of poor country bumpkins. If you could, you would’ve split a copper coin in two. How would you be willing to give Yu Hang over a hundred copper coins as an allowance? Little girl, your tongue will be pulled out in hell for lying!”
“Shopkeeper Zhang, if you falsely accuse other people, you will be tortured after you die!” Xiaocao’s jet-black eyes looked just like night sky as a cold ray of light flashed by her eyes, making people can’t help but shudder, “Moreover, we pay one tael of silver each month for Rongxuan Academy’s tuition for my younger brother. Since we’re able to afford that, why wouldn’t we be willing to give Yu Hang a trifling one hundred copper coins?”
The crowd had just noticed the short little boy who was wearing Rongxuan Academy's primary class uniform. They couldn't help but feel admiration and respect towards the little boy. After all, Rongxuan Academy wasn’t just open to anyone. They had all heard that inside Rongxuan Academy’s doors, there are hidden dragons and crouching tigers . It was said that people from the big government officials’, dukes’, and marquises’ residences were all trying to get into the school!
When the grandson of the prefectural magistrate of the Jinwei Prefectural City passed the exam and entered the primary class, the prefectural magistrate had invited many people to dinner! Then wasn’t this little boy a classmate of the magistrate’s grandson? If he reported this to the prefectural magistrate, then it wouldn’t be good for Shopkeeper Zhang!
Is Rong...Rongxuan Academy that great? Even if...the crown prince breaks the law, he will bear the same crime and punishment as commoners. Does it mean that just because you’re the family of a student from Rongxuan Academy, you can steal things?” The shopkeeper tried to appear fierce ashe was a coward at heart. He was trying to bluff his way out by making unreasonable excuses.
“Shopkeeper Zhang, how can you prove that it was this little brother who had stolen the copper coins?” Within the crowd, a handsome young man wearing a white scholarly robe, couldn’t bear the injustice any longer so he spoke out for them. If Xiaocao was in the mood to check the young man out, she would’ve recognized him as the grandson of the foodie headmaster, Yuan Yunxi.
Shopkeeper Zhang’s rat-like eyes looked around for a few moments before he looked at them and said, “But there is no one who can prove that it wasn’t Yu Hang who had stolen these copper coins!”
Yu Xiaocao raised an eyebrow and sneered at him, “Shopkeeper Zhang if I can prove that he didn’t steal these copper coins, what would you do?”
“That…” Shopkeeper Zhang frowned and hesitated.
“I have earned these copper coins by selling braised food, so there should be a small amount of oil on each of the copper coins. Can anyone bring me a basin of warm water?” Yu Xiaocao didn’t look at Shopkeeper Zhang; her gaze was directed at the crowd.
The crowd around them suddenly became silent. They all had some misgivings regarding Shopkeeper Zhang, so they all avoided Xiaocao’s gaze.
Xiaocao felt an ice-cold burst of wind attack her heart. No matter what time period it was, there were always not enough people who had the courage to stand up and confront evil forces!
Yuan Yunxi squeezed his way out of the crowd to a literary store not far from here. He pushed up his sleeves and filled a large basin with hot water. Yuan Yunxi squeezed through the crowd again with the basin of hot water and said, “Miss Xiaocao, the hot water is here!”
Yu Xiaocao gratefully looked at the handsome young man who had a warm heart. She sincerely thanked the young man and grabbed the string of copper coins from Shopkeeper Zhang’s hand, “I will throw these copper coins into the water. If grease appears, then it’ll prove that I wasn’t lying. It’ll also prove that I have indeed, given these copper coins to my brother.”
After she finished speaking, she broke the string that was holding the coins together and threw all the copper coins into the basin of warm water. Sure enough, rainbow-like grease appeared in the warm water. The crowd looked at Shopkeeper Zhang with condemnation and disgust.
Shopkeeper Zhang continued to retort, “Just because there’s grease on the coins, it doesn’t prove that those coins belong to you. Maybe these copper coins were given to me by a butcher! Every day, I would go buy meat and oil, so it’s natural for those copper coins to be stained with grease. My assistant had seen Yu Hang wandering around the account room before. Am I right, Xiaoxing?”
The person that Shopkeeper Zhang addressed as ‘Xiaoxing’ was the shop assistant that would help Xiaocao call Yu Hang out every time she visited. Originally, he was standing on the side, watching the scene. But when he was suddenly called out by the shopkeeper, he began to panic. After a burst of panic, under the shopkeeper’s warning gaze, he said, “Yes, yes…in the past, I’ve seen Yu Hang sneaking and wandering around the account room...he must be harboring some evil intentions!”
Yu Xiaocao’s gaze was as sharp as a knife, her voice was brimming with fierceness when she interrogated the shop assistant, “This big brother, you will have to take responsibility for what you say! Have you seen my brother enter the account room with your own eyes? Have you seen my brother steal money from the account room with your own eyes? Since you haven’t, why are you so sure that my brother harbors evil intentions?”
The shop assistant was young, he had only said those groundless accusations under Shopkeeper Zhang’s pressure. But he began to stutter and insist that he was right after Xiaocao’s questioning.
Shopkeeper Zhang glared at his assistant while secretly scolding his assistant for being useless. He countered, “If he didn’t have any evil intentions, why would he be secretly wandering around the account room? It’s clear that he’s doing that because he wants to steal money!”
“Shopkeeper Zhang, I’ve heard that your business has been doing well. Recently, I heard that you’ve received a job from an influential official from the capital, is that true?” Yu Xiaocao abruptly changed the topic of conversation.
Zhang Dongming stroked the goatee on his chin and proudly said, “That’s right! The woodwares from our Zhang Ji Carpentry Shop is famous throughout the capital! The man who works for Royal Prince Yang, Sir Fang, has ordered a screen and a bed from our carpentry shop. Humph! It was already nice of me not to report this Yu boy to the officials for stealing things, so what does a beating count for?”
Yu Xiaocao indifferently looked at how Shopkeeper Zhang was intoxicated by his success and said, “Since the business in Zhang Ji Carpentry Shop is doing so well, the amount of money going in and out of the account room should be around a few hundred to a thousand copper coins, right? You said that my brother has been stealing for a long time, but instead of stealing more money from the mountain of money inside the account room, he only stole a hundred copper coins. Is my brother stupid or what?”
“Uh…” Shopkeeper Zhang choked on her words. He looked around before he replied, “Your older brother is timid, so he’s afraid that he’ll be discovered if he steals too much. Little girl, stop making excuses and quickly take your brother away. I will be merciful and no longer look into the matter anymore.”
“Shopkeeper Zhang, the gods can see everything. My older brother isn’t a thief, the gods know this and will do something about it! I, Yu Xiaocao swear to the gods that everything I said is true! I dare to use my life as a guarantee that my older brother would’ve never stolen anything!” Yu Xiaocao simply exchanged a few words with the little divine stone in her heart before she vowed, “If these copper coins are stolen, my whole family is willing to be struck by lightning. I don’t know if Shopkeeper Zhang is willing to make a serious vow like me?”
Although Shopkeeper Zhang had a guilty conscious, he pretended like he was unperturbed. He sneered and said, “Vow? It’s only considered glib talk, who doesn’t know how to do that?”
He looked up and pointed at the sky, which was swimming with thick, dark clouds. He said with a strange voice, “Gods, I, Zhang Dongming vow…”
Zhang Dongming hadn’t even finished speaking yet when thunder began rolling in the dark clouds. Bright rays of lightning were faintly discernible in the clouds. Shopkeeper Zhang was frightened by this and retreated a few steps. In the beginning, his eyes were full of contempt but now they were full of fear.
It couldn’t come true, could it? He had lived for over 50 years, and if he hadn’t made thousands of oaths, then it should’ve at least been around hundreds, wasn’t he still living well? Humph! It was only a little girl who put a lot of importance on making an oath. What could a verbal oath do? What had happened before must’ve been a coincidence. Today was a cloudy day so it’s natural to see some thunder!
While Zhang Dongming’s heart was rolling over and over, the other people didn’t notice the ray of light that shot forth from Yu Xiaocao’s wrist and directly into the dense and dark clouds in the sky.
Above the clouds, the God of Thunder lazily fiddled with the thunder hammer in his hand. The God of Thunder had blue skin and a pointed mouth. After he yawned, he finally absent-mindedly hit the hammer in his hand. After he hit the hammer, thunder immediately began to roll in the sky, enveloping the earth its muffled sound.
The Goddess of Lightning had silver hair reached the ground and an enchanting figure as if she had just walked out of a painting. She was directly facing the mirror in her hand, trying to pop the pimple that had mysteriously appeared on her face.
“Old wife, stop shamelessly showing off your beauty! We must make more lightning! The God of Thunder couldn’t help but remind her of their job. However, the Goddess of Lightning had actually exploded in fury after hearing his words.
“Who are you calling ‘old wife’? I’m charming and as beautiful as a flower; beautiful to the point that even birds and beasts are attracted by my looks… (Author’s note: after a thousand words later) yet you’ve called me ‘old’ right in front of me! I think that you’re tired of living!” The Goddess of Lightning raised the hand that was holding the mirror and a ray of lightning shot from her hand, heading straight towards the God of Thunder.
The God of Thunder easily dodged the lightning as he half-heartedly apologized, “Okay, I’m the one to blame. It’s my fault for calling you an ‘old wife’, you are ‘beautiful wife’, is that okay? We were demoted to this tiny space where there is barely any spiritual energy. Every day, we hit the hammer, beat a drum, and look at a mirror. There are no prospects here. When will we be able to return to the ninth gate, where we can serve the Goddess of Spirits? I’m willing to give up being the God of Thunder to serve as a doorman just to return!”
When the Goddess of Lightning heard what the God of Thunder had said, she became extremely angry. She ruthlessly pinched him and hatefully said, “Wasn’t this all because of you? You offended the silver wolf that the Goddess of Spirits doted the most on! Otherwise, why would we be exiled to this damned place?”
“How would I know that the beautiful silver wolf is the Goddess of Spirits’ beloved pet? The silver wolf is too narrow-minded. I merely burned a few strands of his hair, but he went as far as to complain to the Goddess of Spirits.” The God of Thunder felt very regretful such that his intestines had turned green.
At this time, a flash of golden light passed by, and a small golden cat which was the size of a child's fist, appeared in front of the God and Goddess of Thunder and Lightning.
"Which evildoer are you? Quickly reveal yourself!" The God of Thunder stood in front of the Goddess of Lightning and pointed the thunder hammer at the small golden cat in alarm.
"Humph! Little Thunder, you have a lot of courage! You dared to address this Divine Stone as 'evildoer!' Do you not want to return to Spiritual Space?" The small golden cat looked at him with disdain as it spoke.
 Hidden dragons and crouching tigers (藏龙卧虎) - talented people in hidingPrevious Chapter Next Chapter
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Once an imperial princess, now reborn among the lowest of slaves of the nobility.
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