Nightfall - Chapter 71

Published at 9th of April 2018 09:20:43 AM

Chapter 71

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Upon returning to his back courtyard on Lin 47th Street, Ning Que took out the piece of matte-looking wooden waist tag from his chest area and casually threw it on the bed, as though he was throwing a piece of junk away.

Sangsang sat by the bed with her freezing tiny legs buried under the cozy and warm blanket. She was focusing on mending his old and torn jacket. When she saw the waist tag was thrown onto the blanket, she curiously picked it up and placed it against the sun ray that had seep through the ceiling. She strained her eyes and observed it in details for a long time, before she asked, "Young Master, what's this?"

"Imperial palace bodyguard's tag...for secret guard, referring to those that do things in the dark." Ning Que sat by the table and started drinking a few mouthfuls of water from the small teapot. Recalling that he did not even get a single drink during his visit to the palace today made him felt a little dissatisfied.

Knowing that Ning Que had a position in the officials, just like how she had predicted last night about getting a fat reward from what he did, Sangsang could not help but started grinning from eye to eye. However, that was how straightforward she was when it came to reward.

"How much can you earn per month?"

Ning Que was taken aback. He put down the teapot in his hand and recalled the previous conversation he had in the palace. He then hesitated and said, "I suppose it will be about 40 to 50 silvers?"

Sangsang started frowning as her tiny dark-toned face revealed a sense of displeasure. She commented, "That's not a lot."

Ning Que shook his head as he laughed and reprimanded her, "Now that we are richer by 2000 taels of silver, we got to be more generous in the way we express ourselves."

Upon listening to his words, the displeasure on Sangsang's face disappeared as she smiled and gestured her little hands. She said, "Young Master, when you left, that person secretly sent the silvers over."

Ning Que felt a little confused. He walked towards the bed and leaned beside his handmaiden before he asked curiously, "Where did you put them?"

Sangsang secretly took a few glances outside the shop before she put down her needlework. She then used her pair of small hands to grab onto the two corners of the blanket as she nervously pulled open a small gap, gesturing him to look into the gap.

Ning Que raised his brows as he suspiciously looked beneath the blanket. First, he saw a pair of thin legs. Then beside the legs were several stacks of silvers. Even though they were covered by the thick blanket that blocked off most of the lights, even though there were only dull lights reflecting on the silvers, they were still as attractive and as mesmerizing as ever.

He opened his mouth slightly and forcefully suppressed the agitated emotion within him. He then pretended to be calm and reprimanded, "I said before...*cough*...we need to act generous. It's only 2000 taels of silver and you're already so excited...No wonder I find it weird when you were covering yourself with blanket in the bright daylight. In the end, you're just worried about these taels of silver. Don't you find them blocking your way?"

Sangsang lifted her face as she shook her head with determination. This meant that silvers will never block her way.

Ning Que coughed twice again as he snuggled his handmaiden's head and said, "It's still possible for you to hide 2000 taels of silver under the blanket. What if your young master earn much more taels of silver in the future? How are you going to hide them?"

The spring in Chang'an was very beautiful as the rain poured down at times, watering the grasses and flowers along the street. Whether you were standing within the barricade or under the shelter, you could see colorful and lively scenaries everywhere. The Lin 47th Street of The Eastern City seemed alive as it was filled with bright, lively colors and crowds of people.

After the incident at Spring Breeze Pavilion, the Minister of Revenue was demoted and the whole of Logistics Department was swept out. There was no conclusion on the matter on reclaiming of lands, which went on for months. The walls surrounding the Logistics Department warehouse were also as quiet and deserted as a graveyard. Though Fish-dragon Gang was forced to surface to the public, it did not forget its role of "cleaning" the underworld of the city. At this moment, no one dared to do anything on Chao Xiaoshu's street, not even to speak of it.

It was actually a very ideal place for business and commerce. Now that there were no more pressures from the officials and gangsters, the shops opened their doors again for business. Whether they were new shops opened by newcomers, or old bosses who saw the opportunities to purchase back the shops, all of them were motivated to do big and earn big for this year's spring.

Business would require public relations, hence the main focus would be on gathering people to do business with you. In the past, there was only one store on Lin 47th Street, and somehow, it gave off a deadly aura which made people unwilling to get near. Hence, business was bad. Yet now that all the shops are opened for business, and with such a nice spring weather, more people started to gather and shop around the street.

As compared to the neighboring shops, the business at Old Brush Pen Shop was not considered good. However, as compared to their first few days of business, it was much better. Though Sangsang was busy everyday, her smile on her face did not seem to fade. She even told her young master that there was no need to hire more helpers.

Afterall, Ning Que still had the mindset of a young scholar. As he stared at the crowds, he started to recall how poor business was in the past. The more he thought of it, the more he despised the customers who came to buy his calligraphy. Now that he was 2000 taels of silver richer, he somewhat could not be bothered with the small income Old Brush Pen Shop provided him. That was also why he had increased the price of his calligraphy sharply. To him, he was not in need of money now. Since all of them were so cheap to come forward and purchase his calligraphy, then the more they should pay. That was how he could earn back his reputation, at the same time, revenge for himself.

Nevertheless, things always happened beyond his expectation. The higher the price of the calligraphy in Old Brush Pen Shop, which eventually was five times the original price, the more the number of customers who came to purchase them. Though Old Brush Pen Shop was still not considered famous in Chang'an city, but within the small area of the Eastern City, it was pretty popular among the commoners.

"So that's how the game should be played?"

Ning Que, with a small teapot in his hand, leaned by the door as he observed the customers in the shop. He then happily sipped two mouths of tea from the teapot as he listened to the argument in the fake antique shop beside them. Life was f*cking awesome.

However, the shop owners along the street would never know that the reason for Lin 47th Street and their businesses to be revived again was closely related to the young owner of Old Brush Pen Shop. They would never know if Ning Que chose not to help Chao Xiaoshu that night to kill the men, this street would still remain dead quiet. Yet now in their eyes, the young owner of Old Brush Pen Shop was just a useless bum who could not earn money and only knew how to torture his own handmaiden.

With good business and great profit, everyone was happy, but this would result in new problems arising. When basic needs such as food and shelter were fulfilled, humans would start to think of women and entertainment. Now that business had recovered for days, the owner of the fake antique shop was hoping to get concubines. This issue had sparked off an argument between the hubby and the wife today in the shop.

"Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you think you have the rights to get concubines?"

"Why can't I?"

"I said no means no. If you're going to force your way, I'm going to the Chang'an Local Government to sue you!"

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"The Empress does not even have the rights to bother about such trivial matter, moreover the Chang'an Local Government! That Ning Que can have handmaiden! Since you always kick me off the bed, I don't see the reason why I can't get someone to give me some warmth!"

"You wish that I could give you some warmth? Fat hope! Unless that Ning Que become the Emperor!"

"He's not from the Lee family! It's impossible for him to be the Emperor!"

"Yuelun Kingdom, South Jin Kingdom, Big River, it doesn't matter for which country, as long as he become the Emperor!"

Ning Que enjoyed his time sipping the tea from the small teapot as he listened to the argument with great interest. He secretly praised that the citizens of Tang Empire were indeed aggressive and open-minded. Even a small quarrel among the couple could relate it to the Emperor. Suddenly, his facial expression froze as he realized that the couple was talking about himself, which made him slightly frustrated.

Just when the customers in the shop started to disperse and Sangsang was busily packing the display sets on the table, he angrily stomped into his shop as he exclaimed, "What's wrong with the both of them? It's just a quarrel between husband and wife yet both of them can relate it not only to me, but to the politics. Do they think I am a bodyguard for fake? Tomorrow I shall pull them into the palace and exterminate their entire family!"

Well, at least he was not lying for there was a secret guard tag tied on his waist, so it was indeed his responsibility to assist the imperial court to listen to the news spread among the commoners. Since someone was talking about the Emperor, he could certainly report to the upper management. However, even though the laws in the Great Tang were strict, the empire was pretty lenient to the commoners about free speech. Trivial matters like illogical words that were spurted out during the argument between husband and wife would only make the people in the bodyguard office and palace laughed off as a joke.

Yet Sangsang became worried upon hearing his words as she thought of the issues that troubled her for days. She frowned her brows and asked, "Young Master, when I was young, I recalled that you told me a story saying that spies usually have terrible deaths. Now that you are a secret guard, will there be trouble?"

Ning Que placed down his teapot, shook his head and said, "Though the waist tag is a secret, but to be honest, this is just a low-rank officer. Who will care about me? Furthermore, should there really be trouble in the future, do you think your young master doesn't know how to avoid?"

He paused for a while before he looked at Sangsang and gently explained, "I accept this identity for another reason as well. In future should anyone wants to investigate on those cases, on those murders, my identity as an imperial palace bodyguard can help me."

Sangsang was a handmaiden who was always lazy to think about things. When she felt that what he said sounded logical, she stopped thinking about such matters. She then added, "The jacket for umbrella, knives and you are all ready. Young Master, when are you going to kill the second person?"

"What about the knives? Do we need to sharpen them?" Ning Que asked.

Sangsang replied seriously, "Even if you use them to slaughter pigs, the knives will definitely become blunt after slaughtering ten pigs. Of course they need to be sharpened."

The conversations between the master and the handmaiden were usually random and any outsiders would certainly find it difficult to understand them. This was especially when the facial expressions on the two people were absolutely normal. Should any outsiders overheard their conversations, they would never think that what they were saying was about the massacre on that rainy spring night and whether they should sharpen their knives for the next murder.

Right at this moment, a sudden clear loud talking noise was heard from the end of Lin 47th Street. A crowd of people dashed towards the direction of the noise. Ning Que curiously walked to the entrance of his shop and took a peep at that direction. The expression on his face changed slightly.

In that direction, he saw a group of bodyguards dressed in green from top to bottom surrounding and protecting a middle-aged man in turquoise robe who appeared to be unrestrained and elegant. A warm and joyful smile was on his face as he shook his hands, laughed and chatted with the shop owners along the street. He seemed to be assuring the owners that they could do their businesses at ease on this street and should they face any issues, they were free to voice out to his subordinates.

As the middle-aged man spoke, the five to six men who quietly stood behind him all these while cupped their hands before their chests towards the shop owners as a form of politeness.

That middle-aged man in turquoise robe would patiently stop in front of every shop to assure the owners as his surrounding subordinates slowly followed behind him. The group was gradually approaching to the other end of the street.

And at the end of the street, there stood a calligraphy shop whose name was Old Brush Pen Shop.



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