When the shop opened, the first guest was the owner who had the right to collect rent. From any perspective, this wasn’t a good sign. Then almost immediately, he heard bad news but Ning Que’s feeling didn’t get worse.
He believed that a man who owned an entire street in Chang An was definitely very wealthy or had a strong patron. Since the owner already promised to free him three months of rent when he left, his worried would be unnecessary. Just this point was enough to make the master and maid happy.
The thing that did make him worried was his business. The business that was as light as smoke.
The spring rain in Chang An actually lasted for 5 days. The rainwater continued falling with no end in sight. Because of the cold air and the wet roads, people obviously didn’t want to come out. Now, on the entire street only his shop was open. The shops next to his all were closed so people were not gathered together. This make the street look even more desolated. Everyday, there were only two or three people walked by. Other than them, there were only two or three sparrows jumping around. How could there be any business.
What Ning Que called “spring rain as thick as oil” on the first day became “spring rain as thin as urine.” He sat on the chair and looked at the rain. He couldn’t help but sighing. IF human’s eyes could have power, if he was a Psychist in Fate Seeker stage, then his eyes filled with anger and resent were probably enough to erase the grey wall.
That mid aged man said that the entire 47 street was his, but it didn’t include the gray wall facing the Old Brush House. Behind the gray wall was the department of transportation storeroom, which was one of the reasons Ning Que felt mad.
At noon, a group would step into the desolate store. A fat old and rich business man and two disciples were the people that would come to the store. Ning Que realized that they meant trouble. Ning Que thought that they were persuaders hired by the empire’s department of dismantle so he kept hard to avoid them and be cautious of them. Until after Ning Que and them exchanged a few lines, Ning Que realized that they were simply another group of people seeking a shelter from the rain.
Since they were not guests, Ning Que wasn’t motivated to stand up and serve them. He held a slightly warm low quality teapot and looked outside. He narrowed his eyes as if he were to fall asleep any moment comfortably. In truth, his heart was about to burst due to his urgent desire to make money.
That fat wealthy elder kept his hands behind him. He leaned his face near the wall and read carefully. For some unknown reason, the people who entered the Old Brush House all had a habit of keeping their hands behind their back as if they that they had good eyes. This wealthy elder had lived in Chang An for a really long time. He had mingled with men of letters for many years so he could actually spot some good work. He stared at the scrolls for a while before he spoke to his disciple, “Honestly, I didn’t expect to see some good writings in this shabby place.”
These words were probably counted as a praise, but it sounded arrogant and supercilious. Such tone obviously wouldn’t make Ning Que consider him a bosom friend. Ning Que still sat on his chair seemingly indifferent, but actually interested to what they were saying. He carefully listening to what the rich elder would say, hoping to sell his first scroll.
“Youngster, who wrote these words?” The fat rich elder turned head and asked.
“I wrote them.” Ning Que slightly leaned his body forward and replied politely.
The fate rich elder stopped saying anything. He stared at the scroll a bit before shaking his head and sighed regretfully, “Sigh…..unfortunate, so unfortunate. These scrolls could be considered beautiful. However, the writer was too young and tried to pretend have a great calligrapher’s maturity and vicissitude. Anyway, since I saw it today you got lucky. San Er, take the scroll down, I want it.”
Ning Que turned around and looked at the three people. “This guest, how much will you pay?”
“If this scroll was sold on the street, it would be worth 500 copper coins the most. But since you have to pay for the rent, I think you are still young and have potential. I will pay 2 silver coins.” The rich elder smiled and said.
Ning Que picked up the tea and drank it. He then put it down and cursed, “Fuck off.”
The rich elder suddenly became mad and yelled, “You little kid, how could you not know how to appreciate favors!?”
“Youngsters can be expected but they can’t be teased.” Ning Que replied, “Before you claimed that I am too young but tried to pretend to have a great calligrapher’s maturity and vicissitude, I was prepared to tell you to fuck off. But before I did, I wanted to see how much you are willing to pay. If you offered a high enough price, I wouldn’t care even if you teased me. Unfortunately, the price you offered me was not enough to tease me.”
The angry rich elder left with his disciples. Sang Sang who was washing the veggies ran out from the backyard and looked at the the men’s shadow disappearing in the rain. She felt unwilling and regretful. She stared at Ning Que, who was sitting in the chair, and said irritatedly, “Master, that was 2 silver coins!”
Selling two inkstones and three stacks of paper were the sole income of the Old Brush House in the past few days. Even though the renter freed their three months worth of rent, Sang Sang thought about the horrifying expenses in the future and could not sleep well every single night. Therefore she would feel mad when Ning Que rejected the offer.
Because no one came in anyway, Ning Que closed the store after eating lunch . Ning Que kept trying to comfort the little maid’s young but heavily wounded soul. In reality he wanted to relieve his own worries. He walked with Sang Sang and went to the famous Chen Jin Ji make up store. On the way, they also bought several light readings in a bookstore called Zhan Ming.
The effect of the walk on the two was great. Sang Sang held a stack of books in one hand and a cosmetics box from Chen Jin Ji in the other. On her dark face was a smile that she couldn’t hide. Ning Que also felt really good. Ning Que held the big black umbrella with right hand and and collected rain drops on his left hand. Raindrops that landed on the surface of the umbrella and his left hand made “pa pa” sounds. His boots stepped on to the rainwater and made “pa pa” sounds. The master and maid couple, like two little sparrows, jumped around and returned to the 47 street.
Suddenly, the black umbrella slightly shook. Ning Que stood in the rain looking at a location ten meter away from his shop. The location was the gray wall that had became black due to the rain. Ning Que saw a man with a black face but pale due to blood loss leaning on the wall. His right hand that grabbed the handle suddenly tightened up.
Pa, like hitting a war drum! He suddenly took a step with his left foot into the puddle on the green flagstone and caused a splash. He stored the power of his entire body on the waist and the belly, ready to run to the gray black wall any time.
But at this moment, the bloody dark face guy looked at him and made a smile with lots of effort. Then he shook his head in a determined way. — There was a scary looking wound between his chest and belly. His black clothes all ripped, blood spread out, and fragmented bones sticking out. Even the great xiu xingists who entered the legendary Limitless stage wouldn’t be able to save him.
Seeing this, Ning Que understood his determination. Then he heard the dense footsteps and shouts. He slowly and awkwardly took back his left leg. His right hand that grabbed the handle trembled.
“The military department is a chasing a spy! Unrelated people please stay aside!”
Several tens of Tang Yu Lin soldiers ran to the street. They surrounded Zhuo Er who was leaning on the wall. Their facial expressions were stern and cautious. The general who was leading the soldiers saw Zhuo Er’s wound and loosened his breathe.
The spring rain dropped down faster and harder flushing the gray wall. The gray wall turning blacker and blacker. The rain flowed along the wall, like a small brook, quickly flushed out the blood Zhuo Er dyed on the wall.
(TL Note: RIP friend A of Ning Que. Say your Graces guys)