Chapter 122 - Retribution

By the time the group of people had arrived at the back door of Zhenxiu Restaurant, the steward from the Yao Family had already been waiting for a long time. If the guard at the back of the door wasn’t strict, he would have long barged in to find the person he needed.

“My little lady ah! You’ve finally come out!!” The steward from the Yao Family had already promised his master that he would definitely make sure to succeed in his mission to buy vegetables. If something went wrong at this point, then he wouldn’t know what he could do!

Yu Xiaocao replied somewhat apologetically, “I’m sorry, Steward Yao! I was delayed by something that happened in Zhenxiu Restaurant.”

“Steward Yao, we had a situation come up at Zhenxiu Restaurant that required this girl’s help, so we went over our time.” Zhou Zixu had the most perfect smile on his face. “Hopefully I didn’t delay your issue for too long?”

“Of course not, of course not!” Steward Yao repeatedly affirmed. What a joke! Just what were the backgrounds of this father and daughter pair that made Third Young Master Zhou, the most capable son of the Zhou Family, personally escort them to the door? And also have him treat them so courteously?

Yu Xiaocao casually waved her hand at Third Young Master and said, “We’re leaving!! If you have any other issues, just come to Dongshan Village to find me! Oh right, my family moved back to our old residence. It’s at the foot of the West Mountain, so don’t go to the wrong place ah!”

“Alright, safe travels!” The smile on Zhou Zixu’s face became more sincere when he was interacting with Xiaocao.

Suddenly, Yu Xiaocao remembered how much her family’s donkey cart jostled on the road and couldn’t help but ask one additional thing, “Third Young Master, would you happen to be able to get ahold of some rubber cart wheels?”  Zhou Zixu glanced at her simple and crude looking donkey cart, slightly smiled, and promised, “I got it! I guarantee that I will get you a donkey cart with inflatable rubber cart wheels!!”

“The cart can be more simple, but the shock absorption qualities of the wheels must be very good. You also know that we have to travel through a stretch of mountainous roads. Sitting on our current cart right now is simply just torture!” Yu Xiaocao stuck out her tongue and smartly replied.

“I promise I’ll complete the mission!” Zhou Zixu asserted confidently.

After they left Zhenxiu Restaurant, Steward Yao sat in the Yu Family’s plain donkey cart. As for the Yao Family’s horse cart, there was a small servant driving it, following the donkey cart from behind.

Steward Yao wanted to say something a few times, but instead looked at the father and daughter pair with a complicated look in his eyes. 

“Steward Yao, if you have anything to say, just say it! Looking at you right now makes me feel uncomfortable!!” Yu Xiaocao said in an outspoken manner.

Only then did Steward Yao open his mouth, “Miss Yu, does your family have a special connection with the Zhou Family? Why does Third Young Master Zhou treat you guys so intimately?”

Although the Yao Family was also considered to be one of the rich families in Tanggu Town, but compared to the Zhou Family, their information sources were much more lacking. One was a nouveau riche, while the other was a newly promoted imperial merchant. One hadn’t held wealth for more than three generations, while the other was a famous tycoon in the previous dynasty. They were not at the same level!

Even the eldest son of the Yao Family couldn’t say much in front of Third Young Master Zhou. However, this Yu Family father and daughter pair, who were both plainly dressed, were capable enough to have Third Young Master Zhou treat them well. Steward Yao was also someone who was smart, so he naturally restrained his usual arrogant and high-handed manner. 

“Nothing really, just helped Third Young Master Zhou with some small matters before!” Yu Xiaocao mildly replied and had no intention of clarifying the situation for him. 

But Steward Yao didn’t believe her! Third Young Master Zhou was a business genius that was rarely seen. It was rumored that he had even more potential than his nominal father——the business genius blessed by the Heavens, Second Master Zhou. Whoever could help him, and even have him treat them with respect, was obviously someone who had immense talents.

Just as he was about to say something additional, the donkey cart was blocked by a group of people on the road. Steward Yao felt his anxiety skyrocket. If delays continued to happen, then he would not be able to get back to the residence before it got dark.

Steward Yao jumped off the donkey cart and pulled aside one of the people watching the bustling scene in front of them. He inquired, “What’s going up in front?”

“What’s going on? Why, the bureau is handling a criminal case right now!” The person who was pulled aside replied exhilaratingly.  

Yu Xiaocao stood on top of the donkey cart out of curiosity and stretched her neck towards the crowd to catch a peek. From her height looking down, she could see a few bailiffs using chains to shackle a middle-aged man. They then pushed and jostled him in the direction they wanted him to go. The surrounding crowd also followed them along. 

Yu Xiaocao asked inquisitively, “Uncle, who did they catch? What sort of crime did he commit?”

The person standing next to them described the situation in excitement, his face full of astonishment, “You guys haven’t heard of it? The person who got caught is Shopkeeper Zhang from Zhang Ji’s Carpentry Shop! Hasn’t he always bragged about having the nobility from the capital admiring his craftsmanship and buying his wares? Wasn’t he so arrogant? Who would have thought that this time he got stuck in a situation that didn’t give him glory and instead smacked into a lawsuit?!” 

When she heard that Zhang Ji’s Carpentry Shop fell into trouble, Yu Xiaocao immediately felt her spirits rise, “Uncle, stop holding back on us. Quickly tell us what’s going on, okay?”

“Don’t be in such a rush ah! Let me recap the story slowly!” A brilliant smile crossed the man’s face. It was obvious he knew that he had come across a piece of juicy and exciting gossip. “The yamen said that Zhang Ji’s Carpentry Shop used shoddy wood in their furniture. Apparently, the materials they used had been partially eaten by ants or termites. The noble from the capital didn’t use the furniture they made for more than a few days before an accident occurred! I heard, ah, that when the red sandalwood screen fell to the ground it almost injured the princess consort of Prince Jing!!”

“Isn’t that right!” An old man next to them, who also wanted to gossip, interjected, “I heard that the princess consort has a weak constitution since she is always worrying about her son who is out at sea! After being scared by this event, her health has even gotten worse. Her condition only stabilized after the emperor sent several imperial doctors over to see her!”

“Out of all of the imperial uncles, Prince Jing is the one closest to the emperor. Although he recently withdrew from court due to illness, he still has an intimate relationship with the emperor. Furthermore, his youngest son, Royal Prince Yang, is even more highly regarded by the emperor. You all know that, when the emperor was young, he liked to sail overseas. Thus, he constructed a shipyard to build ships that could travel far. Now that he’s the emperor, he no longer can travel as much as he desires, so he must feel a bit dejected. However, Prince Yang is like the emperor and likes to sail overseas too. Now ah, one could say that Prince Yang has inherited the emperor’s ambitions and often travels in his stead to explore the world. The emperor also said that it is intolerable to close the country from the outside world, and it is best to remove the restriction against foreign, overseas trade. We need to use these new goods to strengthen our Great Ming Dynasty…”

The original topic of the criminal case of Zhang Ji’s Carpentry Shop had already been lost by these two people. Now they had somehow gotten onto the topic of strengthening the country to be prosperous and mighty. 

After hearing about this, Yu Xiaocao was completely satisfied with the outcome! That cruel and ruthless Shopkeeper Zhang had gotten his just desserts. Retribution had come——truly, karma always happens for both good and evil deeds. If the consequences hadn’t happened yet, then it would come in the future!

Xiaocao played with the multicolored stone on her wrist and silently asked, ‘Little Glutinous Dumpling, were you involved in this case?’

Her intuition told her that this event could not be separated from the little divine stone. 

Out of nowhere, a mini golden kitten jumped onto her shoulders. The little cat licked its claws and cleaned its ears. It asserted arrogantly, [This divine stone only used its claws a little to create this event! Are you grateful ah?]

In actuality, it was finding it difficult to calm down. After helping its master again, it could truly feel the good effects of its actions. It was convinced that, in the near future, it would be able to restore all of its spiritual power and be released from its shackles, and then return back home next to the Goddess Nuwa. It was so looking forward to that day!!

[Tell me quickly, how did you arrange this to happen?] Xiaocao took the little golden kitten off of her shoulder and placed in the palm of one of her hands. She lightly pinched at its soft and fluffy paws, but the kitten quickly slapped away her hand out of dislike. It wasn’t enough force to hurt or tickle. In fact, in other people’s eyes, they would have thought that the ‘cat’ was playing around with its master.

Yu Hai suddenly noticed the little kitten in his daughter’s hands and inquired, “Eh? When did Little Glutinous Dumpling get here? How come I didn’t see it until now?”

Yu Xiaocao paused for a second before she came up with a plausible excuse, “I’m also not sure how it followed us. Little Glutinous Dumpling often appears and leaves like the wind. Maybe it was hiding in one of the vegetable baskets, taking a nap, and we accidentally brought it into town? Is that the truth, Little Glutinous Dumpling?”

She grabbed onto the little fellow’s paw and lightly waved it around. The arrogant little divine stone forcefully pulled its paw back and glared at her fiercely, [Do you think this is a plausible excuse? Sounds stupid to me!]

The two people next to them wound down their conversation and noticed the kitten in Xiaocao’s hands. The old man stroked his shaggy beard and smiled, “This little kitten has a bright coat color. It’s so rare to see a cat that’s so beautiful! It’s just too small, must be only a month old right? It’s not easy to take care of a kitten that left its mother too early!”

[You’re the one that’s hard to raise, your whole family is hard to raise! Hmph!!] The little divine stone erupted in anger again and whipped its paws at the old man, revealing its sharp little nails. 

Yu Xiaocao gently stroked the little fellow’s back and managed to placate it with great difficulty. She was really afraid that the little divine stone would leap up and start clawing the old man’s face.

[Alright! There’s no use staying angry at a person who does not know he is wrong, so don’t lower yourself to his level. Quickly tell me, how did you create this situation?] Yu Xiaocao deliberately changed the topic to catch the little divine stone’s attention. 

The little kitten arrogantly lifted its head up and snorted coldly, [Hmph! Stupid humans, if this divine stone decided to go to his level, wouldn’t that be lowering my status, eh?]

[Quickly tell me! Stop dawdling ah!] Yu Xiaocao kneaded its head.

[Stinky master, you’re messing my beautiful fur up!] The little cat used its paws to scratch an ear and forcefully shook its head.

In order to avoid having its master get another chance at rubbing its head, it continued, [In actuality, it was quite simple. That day, when we were confronting him, this divine stone smeared some mystic-stone water on the furniture in his warehouse. After a period of time, it will naturally attract insects! That wooden screen for Prince Jing’s estate had been inhabited by termites. Termites are astonishingly destructive, so it’s obvious that a wooden screen with termites in it wouldn’t stand up for long. That princess consort is quite unlucky, the screen only broke and fell when she was passing by…]

“This Shopkeeper Zhang won’t ever be able to dig himself out of this hole after startling Prince Jing’s wife! Retribution really came quickly!!” Yu Xiaocao curved her lips up into a smile, which revealed the depths of her happiness. 

‘You’re too cool, Little Glutinous Dumpling! That princess consort is really too unlucky to be an accidental victim in this case! I sincerely hope she recovers soon! After all, I do have some sort of connection with Royal Prince Yang.’

Judgement came down quickly. All of the evil things Shopkeeper Zhang had done in the past had also been revealed. It was said that officials had dug up the old skeletons of some adolescents in the back courtyard of the carpentry shop. All of the families of the apprentices who had been accused of stealing by Shopkeeper Zhang had suddenly become the families of victims. They all wailed and howled for Shopkeeper Zhang to pay in blood. 

Yu Hang had also been summoned by the officials and was accompanied by his family when he acted as a witness in court. All of the scars on his body as well as the testimony from Tongren Medical Hall’s Doctor Sun became the ironclad evidence proving that Shopkeeper Zhang cruelly mistreated his apprentices.  

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Myst's Thoughts

Sanguine’s Thoughts: Ahahaha, karma strikes! This was very satisfying to translate.

Translator: Sanguine