Chapter 36: Request A Master to Teach Me in the Future (1)
Once the crowd dispersed, Zhou Xiaoxiao sat in her neat room and felt very satisfied.
Though the furniture was old, it was rustic and simple. Zhou Xiaoxiao rubbed the cracks and holes that had been formed from the nibbling bugs over the years on the wooden tables and chairs. Instead of finding them disgusting, she found them very interesting.
Facing the streets were windows on the upper floor. As she opened them, the noisy bustle from the crowd poured in.
Zhou Xiaoxiao didn’t find the noise bothersome at all. She sat on the chair by the window and poured herself a simple cup of tea, enjoying it to the sounds below.
Now this is the type of atmosphere, she thought, that could allow her a serious life, save from all the sadness and injury, this will also help make her up from her dreams.
At night, Aunt Wu and her husband were talking in their room.
“This Miss Zhou is quite a wonderful girl despite her young age. Despite being in the general’s prosperous mansion, she did not seem the least bit timid. She was able to get along perfectly well with the madam like they were sisters!” Aunt Wu was doing her needlework under the lamp, “I had a careful look at here now that she’s come to our run-down house, but she didn’t complain in the slightest. Instead, she looks even more content.”
Her husband was busy grinding ginseng with his stone roller and did not respond.
Aunt Wu seemed to already be used to this, and continued on by herself, “I figured that she was quite pitiful, being by herself without her parents, nor was she willing to become the Fifth Master’s concubine. It is difficult for her too in the general’s residence, and since she wanted to rent a house, we might as well let her stay in ours. We can also watch after her here.”
“Since she saved the Fifth Master, we can take this as a favor paid back to the old lord duke by taking care of her. So why should you charge her the rent?”
“Now, don’t be angry. Did you know? This Miss Zhou may look gentle, but she is quite proud in her bones. She would not have come if I did not accept rent. When I first saw her, she was so heavily injured, and yet I saw not a tear in her eye. She even smiled at me!” Aunt Wu stopped her needlework and suddenly recalled the past. “If our own daughter had not been taken away that year, she must be as big as she is now. I figured she would add on to the liveliness of the house if she moved in, the emptiness with just us and Old Chen, three old people, is actually quite sad.”
Wu Daoquan put away his medicine grinder and coughed. “She can stay if she wants, what are you bringing up the past for?”
And so, Zhou Xiaoxiao began her stay in the Wu Residence.
She was not in a hurry to open up shop, so first of all, she went around the market each day to have a taste of the snacks offered locally.
After that, she hired some craftsmen to decorate the store and to create her appliances.
During her spare time, she ended up taking over all the physical labor of the Wu Residence of fetching water and chopping firewood. Then, she tried to create all sorts of baked goods and invited Aunt Wu and her husband to try them.
Aunt Wu prepared the three meals of each day and would invite Zhou Xiaoxiao to eat with them.
Sooner or later, they got closer and closer together. Then, even Old Chen would smile to her every time he saw Zhou Xiaoxiao.
Only Wu Daoquan was still neither hot nor cold to Zhou Xiaoxiao, but that did not bother her.
One day, Zhou Xiaoxiao got up early. The first thing she did that morning was to fill up the water jars for the house. Then, she wandered around the courtyard with nothing to do. Her hands felt itchy when she saw the weapons laid out in the courtyard, and could not help but pick up one of the sticks, following the teachings of Father Zhou that was still present in her mind, and performed a dance in the courtyard. The dust rose up from the ground and the breeze flowed. She could feel her mind ease up as a feeling of heroism washed through her.
Suddenly, she heard, “Complete and utter mess. All brute force with no use in actual battle.”
Zhou Xiaoxiao stopped her actions, but she was not bothered by the criticism. With a smile, she said, “I studied a few tricks from my father in my youth, but he passed on early before I could learn much. Since Uncle Wu is strong in these arts, may I request a lesson or two?”
Without saying a word, Wu Daoquan picked up a rod from the rack and stepped into posture.
Zhou Xiaoxiao said, “Please pardon my rudeness.”
Then, she rushed straight towards Wu Daoquan and beat her rod down.