Chapter 9: Yellow Bird (3)
There were many rumors about this unruly youth. He liked to claim he was a general who led soldiers to war which is why his family had the armor passed down generation after generation.
Chen Ping had seen it before, but it looked ugly like a wart on a human’s body or a scar knot on an old tree.
However, Liu Xianyang’s peers tell a different story and say that his ancestors were deserters who fled to this side of the town. Told the people they were lucky enough to avoid being hunted down by the imperial government. They said it with great certainty too like they’d personally witnessed Liu Xianyang’s ancestors fleeing from the battlefield and wander all the way to this small town.
Chen Ping was lost in his thought. Then, he squatted beside the doorstep and lowered his head to blow the ashes away.
Some point of time, Song Jianfeng arrived and stood on the side of the wall with his servant girl, Chu Yu.
“Do you want to play with us over at the locust tree?” he shouted.
Chen Ping raised his head. “I won’t be coming.”
The corners of Song Jianfeng’s mouth twitched. “How boring.”
He turned to his servant girl and smiled. “Let’s go?”
“Young master, let’s go!”
“I’ll buy you a whole pot of peach blossom powder from the soil’s belly.”
“A little cricket jar is enough,” the servant girl said shyly.
Song Jianfeng clasped his hands behind his back and held his head high. Puffing his chest up, he strode forward. “My Song Family has always lived a life of humiliation. How can we be humble? Isn’t it insulting…?”
Chen Ping sat on the doorstep and rubbed his forehead in frustation.
This Song Jianfeng actually did not give off a bad impression when he was not blabbering nonsense, but a time like this, when Liu Xiayang’s presence was still lingering, he’d definitely say that he’d like to smash a brick at the back of Song Jianfeng’s head.
Sighing, Chen Ping leaned against the door and thought of the future tomorrow. It’d most likely happen today, or tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or the day after that…
Chen Ping would continue to be like this all his life ‘till he ends up like Old Man Yao.
A man eats the earth his whole life.
Finally, he closed his eyes, then opened them.
This was an important matter for his next life.
The youth lowered his head to look at his sandals and suddenly laughed.
Stepping on the limestone was different from stepping on a muddy beach indeed.
… … …
Liu Xianyang left. As he passed by a fortune-telling stall, a young Daoist called out his name.
“Come, come, I can see that you’re burning with anger. This is not a good omen! However, don’t be afraid. This humble Daoist will find a way to help you…”
Liu Xianyang was a bit surprised. He remembered the way the Daoist unraveled many deals in the past though he wasn’t exactly accurate. Odd. This person never took the initiative to do business before as almost all of them were willing to take the bait. Is it because the imperial government closed the dragon kiln that the Daoist felt like he was losing his fortune? Is this why he’s going in for the kill rather than remaining complacent?
Liu Xianyang laughed. “Your method is to eliminate disasters while making money, right? Screw off! Do you want to cheat money out of my pocket? In your next life!”
The young Daoist was not angered one bit. Towards the tall youth, he shouted loudly, “We were counting on this year’s Hundred Swords, but who knew there’d be misfortune… we should burn some incense!”
Liu Xianyang turned around and ran towards the stall. He rubbed his palms together. “Burn the incense? How ‘bout I burn your stall?!”
The Daoist screeched softly, obviously frightened. He stood up, no longer caring for his stall as he clutched his head and scurried away like a rat.
Liu Xianyang, who stood beside the stall, laughed out loud seeing the Daoist’s miserable figure. He glanced at the stall and casually kicked it down.
He pointed at the Daoist who stopped in the distance. “If I ever see you again, see if I don’t beat you to death!”
The young Daoist cupped his fists and bowed, begging for mercy.
Liu Xianyang harrumphed and dropped his arms to his hide.
The Daoist waited ‘till the youth walked far away into the horizon before he dared to go back to the stall and sit down.
He sighed dismally. “The world is difficult and the hearts of men are troublesome. It isn’t easy for this poor Daoist to make a living…”
Just then, the Daoist’s eyes flashed and he quickly closed his eyes. He said in a clear voice, “The pond brims with the sound of frogs. It’s heart-wrenching! This is the only place where the wind moves in all four directions!”
A young man and woman heard the Daoist’s words, yet they had no intention of stopping.
He opened his eyes a little and saw that he’d soon miss his chance. He slapped his thighs and raised his voice slightly. “The top scholar is a mortal and the prime minister a mortal!”
Song Jianfeng and his servant girl, Chu Yu continued moving forward.
The Daoist was dispirited as he murmured, “There’s no way we can live our days like this.”
Without warning, the youth turned his head and threw one copper taels towards the young Daoist. He beamed brightly. “Your words are good! I’ll use it!”
The Daoist hurriedly caught the copper taels and opened his palm to look. His eyebrows knitted tightly. This was the smallest copper taels he’d ever seen. It was the smallest copper he found.
The young Daoist gently placed the copper taels on the stall.
In the blink of an eye, a yellow sparrow landed on the table. It lowered its head and pecked at the copper taels before putting it in its beak. Its cute, innocent eyes looked up at the Daoist.
“Go, we can’t stay here for long,” he said softly.
The yellow sparrow disappeared in a flash.
The Daoist looked around before his gaze stopped at the tall archway building in the distance. Coincidentally, there was a signboard inscribed with the words “Rushing With the Bull Wind” in front of him.
He sighed emotionally. “What a pity.”
He looked up again. “If I sell it outside of this place, it would at least be 1800 silver taels, right?”