Zhou Yun Sheng thought that Zhu home would be desecrated by the bandits. In the original plot, the bandits had hated Zhu’s rich looking mansion. They’d not only took all of Zhu Jia’s property away, they also started a fire that destroyed half the house. But, when the carriage arrived at the house, Zhou Yun Sheng found only slight damage to the door, which was still intact. Even the flowers on the side of the walkway were undisturbed.
A soldier came out of the door and quickly approached, he asked, “Are you Zhu Gongzi, Zhu Ziyu?”
“Yes, I am.” Zhu Ziyu let go of Lushi’s arm support and gave a proper greeting.
“Zhu Gongzi, your compound was captured by me to become a temporary command post. Now that the bandits have retreated, we will return it to you.” From his military clothing, this sergeant’s position should be pretty high up, but his attitude was very humble.
General Ding Yuan was one of Qin Ce’s right-hand men, he had a lot of integrity, he wouldn’t steal Zhu’s property. Zhou Yun Sheng let go a relieved breath, he quickly gave his thanks, and also ordered Tweety to hand him a bag of silver.
How could he neglect guarding the mansion when the Commander himself ordered it? He was also naturally afraid to accept the silver. He resolutely refused, gathered his squadron of soldiers and hurriedly left.
Zhou Yun Sheng sat in the intact living room and gave a comfortable sigh, he was about to let Tweety start dinner, when a servant informed him- Zhu Lao Si has returned.
“Come on now, tie the man up and toss him directly into the administrative building.” Zhou Yun Sheng gave a ruthless smile.
Zhu Lao Si didn’t expect the boss to suddenly launch an attack on him, he was very unprepared. His account books, which showed clear evidence of his indiscretions, were easily found by the guards.
Zhou Yun Sheng wanted a big fanfare. He circled several villages with the hogtied Lao Shi on his way to the County’s administrative building. He contrasted Zhu Lao Si’s and Zhu Jia’s account books in front of the crowd, the villagers buzzed with excitement: Zhu Lao Si not only pocketed a large portion of the unauthorized rent, he also forced the tenant farmers to give him annual gifts, otherwise, he threatened to take away their fields. These gifts were all stuffed into his private pockets, Zhu Jia never received any of it. When his son, Zhu Fushun, fancied a beautiful girl and a Ger, disregarding their marital status, he’d captured them under the boss’ name, causing several families to hate Zhu Jia to the bone.
At this point, everyone realized that Zhu Ziyu was wronged. He was only an ignorant new master, pressured by his father to keep the old rules, how could they hate him?
Qing Min County’s official was Qin Ce’s subordinate, his character was extremely honest, he immediately accepted the case and ordered a search of Zhu Lao Si’s properties. Sure enough, they really rescued an abducted girl and Ger. The crowd of villagers had a big reaction after that, one side fiercely scolded Zhu Lao Si, and one side showed sympathy for Zhu Ziyu.
All the bad things were perpetrated by that heartless father and son, but all the infamy was thrown onto Zhu Ziyu. Injustice, such injustice!
Because of the bandits’ incoming attack, Zhu Lao Si had taken refuge in the mountains, but in their greed, they’d also stolen some of Zhu Jia’s property and hidden it away in the forests. They’d planned to blame the missing properties on the bandits, but now they refused to return it. The County official ordered that he be severely beaten with forty lashes, and only stopped when he was about to break.
More than a dozen carts of goods and food was recovered from the mountains and brought to the County official’s doorstep. The villagers gasped in awe. They had seen greed before, but never to such an extent, did that heartless Lao Si empty the whole mansion?
Zhu Ziyu opened the account book and checked the inventory, then he handed it over and said, “Magistrate, after the natural disaster and bandit attacks, the people are destitute. Their goods and foods were swept away by Lao Si for a long time, so I would like to donate these to help the villagers. I want us to all make it through this difficulty.”
The villagers had long been staring at the carts of food in jealously, if not for the guards watching over them, a fight would’ve already broken out. But after listening to Zhou Yun Sheng, they kowtowed in gratefulness, tears falling freely, some even called Zhu Ziyu the living Buddha.
The County official was also worried that the warehouse would not have enough food to help the villagers, so he was very overjoyed when he heard Zhou Yun Sheng. He actually rushed to bow deeply to him, and said he would pass this matter to the imperial court, so Zhu Ziyu could get a commendation.
Since then, Zhu’s bad reputation was finally washed clean by Zhou Yun Sheng. Zhang Jiarui and the loyal dog had no reason to suppress Zhu Jia in the future.
Qin Ce was standing at the edge of the crowd of villagers, he watched Zhu Ziyu drive away in the carriage, then slightly nodded toward the county magistrate.
Zhang family also watched the lively villagers crowding into the County official’s door, collecting bags of food, then happily going home.
Zhang Shulin exclaimed, “I didn’t know Zhu Gongzi had been used by Lao Si to such an extent. His father and mother are dead, and he was inexperienced when he took over his family. He was unaware that his own servants were using him for so long. He actually collected such a bad reputation for no reason, how sad. ”
“Why should you feel sad for him? He’s still filthy rich, his life is more comfortable than anyone’s here.” Zhang Jiarui sneered.
“You’re using his land, naturally you have to pay him rent. Does he have to give you everything he owns before you consider him to be a good man? Where in the world would you find someone worthy of such expensive respect?” The always silent Qin Ce suddenly said this, his face clearly gloomy.
Zhang Shulin glanced at the indignant Zhang Jiarui, then smiled and nodded his agreement to Qin Ce.
At this time, the village head walked up to them, he rubbed his hands together and said, “Shulin ah, the army is about to leave, but the bandits aren’t completely suppressed, I’m afraid they might come back again. We’ve decided to send a few carts of food to the military to supply them, so they will guard us a few more days. Does your home have any surplus? We’re collecting bags in the ancestral hall. If you need anything just notify me, I’ll be talking to the other households.”
Zhang Shulin nodded to the village head, then went home to figure out the bags of food. Zhang family had a total of seven people, including Black, but just enough food. They were already worried that they wouldn’t have enough to make porridge till next spring, but now, they actually had to give some out to others. How could he be willing?
Zhang Jiarui was also very reluctant, he proposed, “Send half a bag, our meaning will be clear. The army obviously had the means to completely clear out the bandits, but the soldiers suddenly withdrew halfway. Now we have to face the bandits again. They’re probably using the bandits to blackmail the villagers to supply them, how despicable. ”
This kind of thing wasn’t uncommon in Chu Yunguo, those squadrons we even called the ‘official bandits’. But those troops were not under Qin Ce’s command. The reason why his troops withdrew halfway was because he’d sent them to the capital to kill the Queen Mother’s son and help save the small prince. He wanted to wait for the situation to stabilize before returning to deal with the bandits. Zhang Jiarui’s words were completely unwarranted slander.
Qin Ce darkly glanced at Zhang Jiarui. His impression of him sank directly down to the bottom.
Zhang Shulin unexpectedly nodded his consent, but he also scolded him for his harsh words. He scooped out half a bag of grain and began walking toward the ancestral hall.
Suddenly someone ran out to report, “Don’t send any grain! The landlord has gathered his own food and sent his people to deliver it to the barracks.”
“Such a saintly man!”
“I have to pray for the landlord’s longevity!”
“I will too, if there was no landlord to help, my family would’ve starved to death!”
The people all clamored together, praising and showing their gratitude to Zhu Ziyu. Zhang Shulin originally thought that ancient landlords were all tyrannical, he didn’t expect his luck to be so good that he actually ran into one that was so generous. He carried the bag of food back and smiled happily.
Zhang Jiarui’s face paled, he took a few breaths but didn’t know how to ridicule his actions, in the end he just disdainfully said, “He just wants fame!”
“Whether or not he wants fame, it’s still to your benefit.” Qin Ce glanced at Zhang Shulin, “Gather some of the produce, let’s give Zhu Gongzi our thanks.”
“Ay, let’s do that.” Zhang Shulin busily packed up a basket and walked towards the door, but was stopped by Qin Ce, “The house needs taking care of, stay here, I’ll deliver it.”
Zhang Shulin no longer hated Zhu Ziyu, but meeting him always made him feel some embarrassment, so he agreed. Qin Ce got his wish and immediately strode out the door.
The summer was always hot, but after successive months of drought, the hot temperature was really unbearable. Zhu’s excess property had been sent out by Zhou Yun Sheng, they had no spare ice to add to a basin. He had to wear thin clothing, and stay barefoot. He fanned himself with a bamboo fan, half dead, lying in the pavilion’s lotus pond.
When Qin Ce arrived, he was preparing to eat lunch. His bowl had golden, shiny pig ears, sprinkled with green onions and red chili oil, and some cold noodles. The strong aroma entered straight in the nose.
Qin was a food lover, but the first thing he noticed was not the food, but the young man sitting on the sofa, his bare feet hanging off. His pale, jade-like skin showed an outline of his blue blood vessels. He looked like a mysterious and magnificent beauty. Qin Ce could almost see his pulse, and even smell his unique aroma.
He wanted to kneel beside him, hold his pair of jade feet and kiss it, toe by toe. Licking and sucking as he appreciated his beautiful and unparalleled trembling face, watching his peach eyes dampen in lustful tears.
One after another, crazy ideas assaulted Qin Ce’s mind, making him feel obsessed. His eyes became fierce and intense, like a hungry wolf.
Zhou Yun Sheng got up on his feet, he noticed Qin Ce’s focused gaze, but thought he was just interested in his cold noodles. His heart cursed the food addict as he lazily opened, “You can have some if you like, no need to look like a starving beast.”
“Seriously?” Qin Ce suddenly looked up, he eyes disbelieving. His eyes tinted in ecstasy, and his palm immediately dampened in nervous sweat.
“Naturally. It’s just a bowl of cold noodles, not a treasure.” Zhou Yun Sheng laughed.
Qin Ce’s excited eyes immediately dimmed. He licked his lips, and wiped his sweaty palms on his pants. He picked up a bowl of cold noodles and chowed down. He ate very slowly, but his chewing was particularly ruthless, like he was punishing the bowl of noodles.
Qin Ce wanted to spend the afternoon by Zhou Yun Sheng’s side, but he had to leave. He got up, his face instantly gloomy, and walked out the gate. No matter how magnificent Zhu Ziyu looked, he was a man. But the man was so charming, it drove him crazy!
This made Qin Ce feel very tangled, but the more tangled he felt, the more he was reluctant to give up. He began to seriously consider the possibility of pursuing the man.
Zhu Ziyu was already over twenty, he was beautiful and ruled over a huge estate, someone would propose to him sooner or later. He couldn’t afford to delay chasing him.
But, what about Zhang Shulin? Can he really treacherously abandon him?
Thinking of this, Qin Ce suddenly found himself caught in a dilemma.