114 Asking the Curtain Rollers
The red candle was burning on the desk. The bride had two lines of tears on her cheeks that left two visible marks on her heavy makeup.
Before marrying the State Duke Lu’s son, she had heard the old lord had an odd personality; though she hadn’t realized it would be this bad. He suddenly disappeared during the wedding ritual, and now he called the bridegroom out during their wedding night. Was he not satisfied with her or with her grandfather? If that were the case, why did he agree to the marriage in the first place?
Lu Ming didn’t know what was on his bride’s mind in their wedding room. As the youngest son of State Duke Lu, he was calm and observant, unlike his rumored personality, which was a rich, spoiled child of a duke. He knew his father must have had something important to tell him; and he also noticed something had changed in the room.
Here was State Duke Lu’s bedroom. On the shelf by the window had been placed a very precious porcelain bowl, manufactured in the Ru kiln a thousand years ago, as he was told. He had been warned not to touch it ever since he was a young boy, he had an unambiguous impression of the big bowl. But why was a new bowl placed there today?
"I was in a hurry, so I picked up a bowl randomly to replace it. Tomorrow you go to the storage room to bring that big bowl made from the Xing kiln here."
Wearing plain clothing, State Duke Lu combed through his gray hair with his hand and reminded his son, "Don’t forget to do that."
Lu Ming acknowledged. "Father, what has happened?" he asked.
Lifting his head to look at his son, State Duke Lu said, "They all say I like you the most. It’s true. I’m going to pass the title of State Duke to you."
Though he had thought that a possibility over the last a few years, Lu Ming still felt surprised upon suddenly hearing this, asking, "What about my two older brothers."
State Duke Lu raised his hand to motion for him to stop talking. "Others think I’m an old fool, that I have spoiled my youngest son; but they don’t know that what I like about you is the way you handle things, reasonably and composed."
Lu Ming didn’t know how to respond.
"However, to obtain the title of State Duke, you also have to carry this family’s secret."
Having said that, State Duke Lu felt a bit tired, but also a lot relaxed. "Back then, I learned this secret from my father at my wedding night. Your first mother blamed me for many years. So when you go back to your room later, don’t forget to please your bride," State Duke Lu said with a smile.
Lu Ming felt even more nervous, asking, "Father, what is the secret?"
State Duke Lu gazed at the shelf, and said slowly, "To tell you about this secret, I have to talk about this bowl first."
The room was plain and simple, appearing quiet and peaceful. No precious items were placed on the shelf by the window; it was mostly in-stone, ink, and yellow stone, a suitable environment for Cultivation practitioners.
Feeling satisfied with the arrangement, Jing Jiu took out a bamboo chair and sat in it.
This time he didn’t forget to bring the bamboo chair with him when leaving the Green Mountain.
Accompanied by the sound of rain outside, Jing Jiu slept soundly. As he woke up by dusk, the rain didn’t stop yet.
After some thought, he walked out of his room, along the corridor to the front yard and into the living room.
Those family members were still sitting in the living room, still on the same spots; but the dishes on the dining table were gone.
As Jing Jiu came to the living room, the atmosphere there suddenly became intense.
The young woman held her child in her bosom more tightly, feeling anxious.
Gazing at Jing Jiu, they didn’t know whether to stand up to greet him or if they were to do something else.
Jing Jiu asked, "May I sit here for a while?"
The middle-aged man stood up abruptly and said, "Sit, sit, sit down."
He wanted to say "Please sit down," but thinking of the master’s instruction and the practice over the years, he forcefully swallowed the word "please".
After checking the time, Jing Jiu asked, "Is it time to eat supper?"
"Yeah, you…what do you want to eat?"
The young woman stood up, nervously holding her lapel. "I’m going to cook right now," she said.
"I’m not going to eat. You don’t have to take care of me," Jing Jiu said.
As the young woman got up, the child in her bosom slid down on the ground.
Toddling to Jing Jiu, the child said with opening arms, "Hug, hug."
Everybody liked beautiful things, and was impossible for a little child to conceal his wishes.
The atmosphere in the living room grew even more intense. The parents wanted to pull the child back but didn’t dare try. The young woman’s face turned even paler.
Looking at the child, Jing Jiu said, "No."
He really disliked children. It was hard to communicate with them, far too troublesome unless that child was smart enough and more mature than his actual age.
Like the little monk of the Fruit Formation Temple, and Liu Baogen in the small village.
The child felt neglected, and almost cried out with a pursed mouth.
Seeing this scene, all family members in the living room felt relieved.
"Would you like some tea?" the young woman asked Jing Jiu carefully.
As Jing Jiu had realized his curiosity brought such a pressure to this family, he picked up his conical hat, heading toward outside of the courtyard.
He stopped at the courtyard door, spinning around and saying to the family, "Thanks for your help over the years."
The rain was still coming down, and nobody was in the alley.
Jing Jiu put on the conical hat, wiped his face with his hand, and walked into the rain with his head lowered.
It got darker, and the drizzling continued nonstop. The pedestrians were in a hurry, and nobody noticed Jing Jiu wearing a black mask.
On the eastern side of Zhaoge by the White-Horse Lake, the streets were very busy, inhabited by various business. Those popular restaurants and brothels had already lit up the lanterns, beautifully illuminating the drizzle.
Even though it was raining, the hustle and bustle had filled the streets, and pedestrians everywhere. The clapping sounds that cued the stepping of various shoes and boots into puddles that formed between the spaces of green stone could be heard all over the street.
There was a medical house on the western end of the street.
Jing Jiu didn’t pay attention to the words on the plaque, but he knew "it" was here, as he recognized the begonia flower carved on the plaque.
Nobody could have guessed that the most mysterious intelligent organization on the Chaotian, the Curtain Rollers, was located in the most popular place in Zhaoge City.
No one could ascertain who the owner of the Curtain Rollers was. Jing Jiu had heard many secrets about the Curtain Rollers from his Big Brother, but no mention of the owner.
Judging from the way they conducted their business over hundreds of years, the Curtain Rollers leaned more toward the orthodox.
Looking around with his hands behind his back, Jing Jiu found this medical house was quite ordinary…and less than secure.
Regardless of how mysterious the Curtain Rollers were, they still had to do business; they needed a channel to the outside world. The medical houses were indeed suitable for the cause. The exchanges between a doctor and his patient were private, which nobody else should hear, and every city needed medical house.
The doctor responsible for treating patients this day looked up at Jing Jiu, asking, "Do you want to see a doctor or buy medicine?"
Jing Jiu replied, "Neither. I’m here to ask a question."
The doctor narrowed his eyes. "What question?" he asked.
Recalling what his Big Brother had told him, he was sure he came to the right place. "Is the begonia flower still the same?" Jing Jiu tried their secret code.
The doctor was stunned.
Jing Jiu thought this code was not very professional.
After a long while, the doctor finally came to his senses. "It looks like you are really sick. Follow me inside," he said while looking at Jing Jiu dubiously.
"I’m not sick," Jing Jiu said.
The doctor looked at him one more time.
Jing Jiu realized what his early remark meant, saying abruptly, "Sorry."
Arriving in the quiet inner room, the doctor pressed, "Ask me your question."
Jing Jiu said, "I’d like to know the relationship between the Peak Master of Xilai at the Green Mountain Sect and Immortal Taiping."
The doctor looked at him silently, as if seeing a real patient.