Chapter 60: We Shall Be Men Again
Holdmydonuts: The old man’s probably senile…
For three days straight, Wen Rou along with Wen Shouchai dragged the metal trough, firewood and various ingredients for their barbecue stall. Their regular spot was near the stone entrance of Qing Shi Street, south of the main city.
The days passed similarly, a people crowded around Wen Rou’s stall. Aside from Sui Mo, Chang Sheng, Ren Yue, there was also the villagers brought over by Madam Zhen.
Naturally, every time Sir Song Tao appeared, everything would be sold out.
“It’s for ??? person.”
“Someone made a reservation.”
“I haven’t eaten anything yet.”
“We’re out of coal.”
“My mood is not good, don’t feel like cooking, do you want the raw sticks?”
All kinds of excuses fell out of Wen Rou’s mouth, each time Sir Song Tao would flick his sleeves in anger and leave.
After a few days, even Wen Shouchai started to get a glimmer of what’s happening. “Rou’er, do you have some grudge against that old man?”
“Second uncle, where got such thing! He’s just unlucky, what’s sold out is sold out! ” Wen Rou did not bother to explain anything, still nursing her grudge. Hng, weird old fart, as long as you don’t take my brother in as a disciple, I will continue to do business in front of your house. Tease you to death! Infuriate you to death![… if such an intelligent old man can’t solve this really simple problem, why would anyone want to be his disciple? He’s clearly an idiot, if he’s every been clever or intelligent, he’s now senile.]
“Yi, what’s going on today?” Wen Shouchai was looking round, clearly waiting for something.
Among the crowd of people waiting, the figure of a certain pretty older lady could not be seen.
“Auntie, where is Madam Zhen?” Wen Shouchai did not stop looking and caught hold of an auntie who was selling grilled intestines to question her.
.”Oh, you’re talking about that Madam Zhen, ah! She’s too pitiful, she was sold by slave traders to the Fan family as their servant, but was bullied by the Fan Family head maid because she has neither family nor strong patron to protect her. At her previous village, she had been living quite comfortably with two cows as her property, however due to some bad luck, the cows died from illness. Poor Madam Zhen was left all alone in the world and spent her days doing some sewing jobs for others. We have no idea what happened to her today, whether she’s well or sick.” The old auntie sighed, presenting Madam Zhen’s entire history on a plate for them.
“That’s right! As a woman living alone, with the weather so cold. Aih, I heard that her roof has a leak for days now. With the weather changing so rapidly, she might have caught a cold, ba?” Another gossipy auntie chimed in.
Wen Shouchai got more and more anxious as he continued to listen, a very bad premonition crawling up spine.
“Shui Mo, why is there only yourself?” Wen Rou shot Wen Shouchai a glance and was about to make some joke about his fascination with the pretty Madam Zhen when Shui Mo turned up.
“Good day Miss Wen! Young Master Ren and Uncle Sheng has gone to the city. There’s only me and my Master at home. Miss Wen, how about letting me buy some to bring back for my master, ah!” Shui Mo raised his delicate and pretty face, making the request with a fawning voice. [How half hearted, this is your best effort? Can’t you say you want to buy for Ren Yue? You’ll get to buy some stuff, they’ve gone to the city after all.]
“Shui Mo, I don’t even have enough for the people who wanted to buy directly from me! How could I let you take away, ah? If he wants to eat any, just come and get it himself. If he’s late, everything would be sold out!” Wen Rou absolutely did not give face, she had already prepared her excuse for that day.
“That’s not good, ba! Whatever, I’ll just eat my portion here and go back and tell master that everything is sold out!” After considering a bit, Shui Mo made his order and started eating. [Looks like none of his disciples actually respect the great Sir Song Tao, are you really sure you want to let your brother join this lame group? He probably picked his disciples based on looks]
Stay here and eat, that’s just too amusing.
“Aiya, let’s not talk about it any more. I’ve already eaten my fill. I’m going to look for Madam Zhen!” the gossipy woman’s words just now had left a deep impression, with this word, he turned and to leave.
“Rou’er,” there was a trace of red around Wen Shouchai’s ears, he really did not seemed to know how to express himself.
“Second uncle, please go and check on Madam Zhen, ba. I’m busy here, and can’t leave.” Wen Rou was understanding. [Because she has more brain cells than the rest of the cast put together.]
“Ah, in that case, please give me two grilled biscuits, and two lamb sticks. Let’s talk about the cost later.” As Wen Shouchai talked, he collected the skewers from the cooling rack, and ran like a rabbit towards the two aunties.
Qing Shi Street was located at the outskirts of the outskirts of Xian Yang City, populated by farmers living in scattered homes. Though the land was not especially fertile, the land itself was quite flat. Though it looked quite desolated and lonely now, when spring really arrive, the land will be covered in green swaying willow trees, the sight will be quite spectacular!
Wen Shouchai followed after the two aunties for quite a distance before they stopped in front of a slanted thatched cottage.
“Well, we’re here, this is it!”
Wen Shouchai looked at the crooked house and felt his heart strickened.
This was a bit too crude ba!
“Madam Zhen! Madam Zhen, are you there?” The moment he called out, a series of noise came out.
“Don’t come over, get out! I’ll scream for help!” Madam Zhen screamed.
“Hei, hei, hei, hei,” a man’s creepy laughter was heard.
Wen Shouchai’s heart went ‘thump’, he suddenly pushed past the two aunties and charged into the cottage.
Within the dim space, a finely dressed man stood with two servant boys. A terrified Madam Zhen huddled in a ball on a crude straw mat before them.
Scattered around round her were household items that had been clearly thrown to the floor, indicating that a struggle had taken place.
“Fan!” The word exploded form Wen Shouchai’s mouth.
There was not a single person alive in Xiang Yang who would not recognise this Great Young Master Fan, son of the wealthiest family in that area. He heard from somewhere that Madam Zhen worked as a maid at their mansion?
“Who’s that spoiling our master’s good thing? Leave!” One of the servants demanded.
“Madam Zhen, this…” Wen Shouchai stood stock still where he was.
“This elder brother, save me!” Madam Zhen’s eyes started to tear up, her voice quavering as she pleaded for help.
Wen Shouchai had never seen a woman cry, to think that the first woman to cry in front of him would be such a beauty, furthermore it’s Madam Zhen!
A rush of hatred rose in his chest, overwhelming the heart that laid dormant for over 30 years.
“Hmph, this woman belongs to our Fan Family, since we lack servants at the Fan mansion now, what’s wrong with calling her back?” The other boy servant laughed.
Fan Jian stood in their midst, not speaking a single word, the only thing issuing from his mouth was a creepy continuous laugh.
“Save me!” Madam Zhen’s voice was shaking, fearing that Wen Shouchai would just turn around and leave.
“Still not leaving?” The two servants rushed forward together to throw Wen Shouchai out.
At the rough treatment, the bread and meat skewers that Wen Shouchai had been cradling against his chest scattered pitifully to the floor.
“Don’t come!” Madam Zhen’s voice was high pitched and thin with fear.
Wen Shouchai fell on his knees among the food. He was staring at a grilled bun, soft and warm but now covered in dirt. It brought to mind another warm and gentle lady, about to be trampled into the dirt.
Wen Shouchai’s eye suddenly blazed to life, that rat creature Great Young Master Fan, skirt chaser, defiler of women Fan must not go punished!
“You bastard!” Wen Shouchai howled, rushing into the cottage.
With sudden strength, he grabbed Fan Jian by the waist, nearly toppling the man.
“You f***er, are you tired of living? You dare disturb Great Master Fan’s business? Who do you think you are?” One of the servants dragged Wen Shouchai away and sent a fist to his face.
Wen Shouchai covered his face, shouting, “Nobody thouch her!”
“Just where did this fancy stud come from, could it be that this woman is your mistress?” Fan Jian lightly look over MAdam Zhen, his fingers lightly playing with a jade pendant.
Tears began falling from Madam Zhen’s eyes again.
“Fan Jian! To think that a young master form a great house like you would do such obscene deeds that would make a beast blush in broad daylight!” Wen Shouchai yelled angrily.
“Fancy stud, you have no right talking to us! Madam Zhen was a member of the Fan servants. We like her and want to bring her back, what’s it to you?” the other servant laughed.
“Rascal!” Wen Shouchai finally understood Fan Jian’s true intentions. “To think such an elegant exterior would hide such a filthy heart, bullying defenceless widows. Pei!”
“Madam Zhen and I have a pure relationship. She’s a respectable and admirable customer of ours. To think that a person from a noble position would have such filth in you mind! Come fight me!” Wen Shouchai spat out a mouthful of blood, eyes fierce as he charged for Fan Jian’s neck.
“Really not afraid of dying!”
With this order, both servants charged eagerly, dragging Wen Shouchai to the floor and beating him with their fists and feet.
Though Wen Shouchai was over 30 years old, he had never really gotten into a real fight. It was not long before he had lost even the strength to fight back. He could only curl up into a defensive ball on the floor.
He was beaten black and blue, his whole body a mess.
“Madam Zhen, run!” Even struggling on the dirt floor, he still did not forget MAdam Zhen.
“Where is it?”
In a moment, the cottage exploded into further chaos.
Several tens of people, men and women both, armed with axes, rakes and firewood rushed in screaming.
“Young Master Fan! Isn’t this Great Young Master Fan??!”
“Great Young Master Fan is bullying a widow!”
“Young Master Fan??!”
While the villagers just stood there, shocked, Fan Jian took the opportunity to grab his to servants and fled from the scene.
“Madam Zhen, are you all right?”
“Thanks to everyone, I’m fine. Most of all, thanks to this elder brother.” Madam Zhen tearfully ran towards Wen Shouchai who was still sprawled on the floor.
“Second uncle, are you all right? Where are you hurt?” Wen Rou stared at Wen Shouchai’s body which was covered in blue green bruises, tears brimming in her eyes.
“What’s with all the crying? Rou’er, your second uncle is fine! I use to gt beat up all the time by creditors!” Wen Shouchai had one hand over his face, the other patting Wen Rou comfortingly.
“Second uncle, let’s go home!” Wen Rou rubbed her eyes.
“This elder brother, thank you for your kindness today.” Madam Zhen stood up slightly from her seat, still a little shivery and tearful.
“Hei-hei, no problem, no problem, would Madam Zhen please call me Shouhcai. Once I’m well again, I shall bring some good things over for you to eat.” Wen Shouchai drew up his lips, half grinning, half grimacing.
“Miss Wen, where is your house?” Madam Zhen asked as she walked them to her door.
“Madam Zhen, it’s fine now, please be at ease. My home is near Xiao Xi Street, do come over for a visit one day, haha!” Wen Shouchai said quickly to reassure her.
“Please rest well, I will be hiding Madam Zhen in my house for a bit, so don’t worry,” A fat auntie declared.
Tomorrow would be the Laba Festival, the 8th day of the twelfth lunar month. According to the tradition, one should not travel too far. Moreover, second uncle was injured so Wen Rou did not make fuss.