Ning Que looked at the man and said honestly, “I have to admit, your compensation is very generous.”
The man laughed and answered, “I work for the government, so of course my actions are for the good. I’ll tell you this young owner, “the government is not lacking in funding and I don’t need to earn much from the transaction. If you are willing to move, then the price can still be changed. In the end, it will be good for you, for me and for everyone else.”
To be honest, the price that the man gave was fair, or even more than fair. If Ning Que was willing to move out of the Old Brush House, not only would he not lose anything, he would actually earn a good amount of money. But he knew as well that his shop was a card in the man’s hand. Although it wasn’t a big card, when the man argues with the government, he could hold his ground. If it wasn’t for this reason, the small card wouldn’t be worth this much money.
He instinctively looked at Sang Sang and wanted to ask for her opinion. However, Sang Sang’s face was still expressionless and it was hard to determine if she was for or against it. Suddenly, Ning Que remembered the landlord that had walked into the Old Brush House when it was opened for the first day and felt that there are some hidden meanings behind this.
The man looked at Ning Que and wrinkled his eyebrows, “Young owner, no matter yes or no, won’t you make a decision?”
Ning Que got closer to the man and lowered his voice, “Brother, I am from a small village and I don’t want to go against you and your purpose. I am just curious, if this trade goes unsuccessful, then what would you do?”
If this sentence was said by some rich and fat shop owner, then the man would probably find the owner aggravating and slap him on the spot. But Ning Que used his young age as his advantage and the man started to explain seriously, “We will probably dump garbage in front of your shop, and throw bricks at your windows at midnight. These actions are unavoidable. If we are truly angry, then we could sneak into your shop and destroy the well in your backyard. You know, young owner, we make a living from this business.”
Hearing this answer, Ning Que was stunned. He said to himself quietly, “If there is a bright moon in the night sky of Tang Empire, then the moon shined upon the Tang and the past is same as present.”
(Translator: The author was referencing an Tang Poem by the famou Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai. The meaning of the original poem is that when the people are looking at the never changing moon they would express their thoughts on the shortness of life and people should value the previousness of time. However, Mao Ni changed the words and order of the poem slightly to remark that the business of the dismantler was the same as the past as the present. In addition, in the world of Jiang Ye there is no moon present in the night sky, thus Ning Que said “If there is a bright moon in the night sky of Tang Empire.” Lastly, since Ning Que was originally from the present time and was warped to the world of Jiang Ye, he was commenting upon the similarities and the forceful actions of dismantlers from the present and past when a resident decides not to move. <——-Do the you guys want explanations or rather leave them out?)
The men surrounding the Old Brush House were obviously gangsters who made a living from being dismantlers. Plus, they were actually working for the Chang An Government and the Department of Housing Project. It would be troublesome to disobey. Ning Que knew that although they were advising him nicely to move right now, if he stayed in his house, who knew how many bad things could go down. Although he wasn’t scared to going against the gangsters, the important thing was that he had just killed a censorer and will join the entrance exam of The Academy. He didn’t want any more things to happen and was interested in the offer presented to him.
Just this moment, a crowd’s footstep could be heard from the other end of the Forty-Seventh Street. A sharp voice came along with the crowd and it was filled with hatred.
“Dumping garbage, throwing bricks and contamination wells? When did you imbeciles dare to do these things? Are you saying that you’ve have done such things before? If you have done these things, then how come your hands are still attached to your wrists?”
A group of men wearing blue shirt, blue pants, and blue shoes walked into the street from the other end. The person who spoke had thin eyebrows, thin eyes, a thin voice and a thin body. The blue shirt on his body was waving in the wind as if it was hang from a bamboo.
He walked to the entrance of the Old Brush House and bowed to Ning Que. Then he turned around and looked at the other men and mocked, “A group of gangsters who couldn’t make a living in the southern part and want to force dismantle? You guys dare do these things I said previously in the Forty-Seventh Street? You are really not scared of getting your legs chopped off!”
The man who previously discussed with Ning Que about the compensation showed a hint of fear, but after he saw the official guards behind him, straightened his back and smiled coldly, “Fourth Master Qi, we need to speak clearly about this. We have never done those things because they are shaddy. If this young owner is a smart man, then why would I need to do those things?”
Fourth Master Qi spit toward the foot of the man, “Yeah right, you, Poor Gu should shut your mouth! If Forty Seventh Street wasn’t the business of my brother, would you imbeciles act nicely?’
Poor Gu yelled, “What are you going to do? Firstly, I never used a knife. Secondly I never used a stick. I followed the rules and discussed business with this young owner. I used my money to buy his contact and this is still bad? If you believe that I violated any Tang Rules, then we can go to the court and sort this out!”
Fourth Master Qi spit again, turned toward Ning Que and bowed once more, “Young owner, your willingness to open your shop here is a sign of respect to my three thousand brothers. Don’t worry, you can stay here and do your business. If anyone dares to touch you, I, Fourth Master Qi will chop off their heads for you.
Seeing the two sides collide, Ning Que’s face was filled with nervousness but he was actually not disturbed. He observed the actions of the Chang An gangs with interest and then noticed that the middle aged man who rented the shop to him was clearly a big character in the capital. While he was being a spectator of a gang violence show and guessing when they would start fighting, he didn’t expect the problem to move to him once again. He smiled and gestured, “Fourth Master Qi, the previous landlord dismissed three months of rent, and I’m truly grateful of it. But the price that Mr. Gu gave is fair as well.”
Ning Que purposely didn’t finish his thought so that the others could continue their argument. Poor Gu heard Ning Que’s words and joy filled his face. He looked at Fourth Master Qi and laughed, “Fourth Master you heard him, the young owner spoke for himself.”
Fourth Master scoffed and turned around to look at Ning Que, “How much money did he promise you?’
“Two hundred silver coins,” Ning Que stuck out two fingers and thought for a moment and added a comment, “If my business was harmed, Mr. Gu is willing to compensate more.”
Fourth Master Qi looked at Ning Que mockingly and suddenly pointed at the road beneath his feet and said seriously, “Two hundred silver coins? Is there still such a fair price in the entire Chang An? Yeah there actually is, only on Forty-Seventh Street! Why? Because my brother is kind enough to protect all of the shop owners of this street! The southern gangs have no way of forcefully dismantling and therefore had to give such a high price. But what’s the result? Those bastard shop owners took the money and left!”
Poor Gu’s face was filled with embarrassment. Speaking from truth, the business in the street continued for about half a year. After fighting for such long time, the backgrounds of the two sides were angry as well. They stopped caring about the benefit and wanted to occupy this street disregarding the cost. The government couldn’t intervene and the southern gangsters couldn’t cause the landlord trouble on this street either. Therefore, they could only use money to get the land. Some shop owners ran after obtaining the money and some owners sold their land for a low price because they didn’t want to start trouble with either side. Regardless of what happened, the southern gangsters earned some money without violence.
After hearing this and calculating silently, Fourth Master Qi noticed that the actions of the landlord didn’t regard his own profit. If he really cared about the shop owners, then he was a kind person.
Fourth Master Qi looked at Ning Que coldly and was about to get angry, but suddenly he remembered his brother’s words and pushed down his anger and yelled, “They will give you two hundred silver coins? We’ll dismiss one year of your rent, and secure your safety without charge!”