The clothes the man was wearing were simple, but they emphasised how unparalleled his appearance was. The little bit of imperial green jade in his hair was the finishing touch. His beauty was like a dream, making people want to reach out and touch him, so that they could confirm that the person in front of them was real.
Deng Jinghe thought this and did this, as if he was bewitched.
Yuan Lu watched Deng Jinghe suddenly stop talking. His eyes only looked in one direction, and that direction was his cousin who Yuan Lu had always liked, so he became even more angry.
“What are you thinking about! Don’t look!” Yuan Lu’s face turned cold, “Kick him out for me, if you can’t get him out, you have to beat him up! I’ll take responsibility if he’s injured or killed!”
The martial artist hired by the shop knew Deng Jinghe. He was afraid that the two families would cause too much trouble, so he kept holding back and just stopped Deng Jinghe for a while. Now that the master gave a direct order, there was nothing he could do.
Deng Jinghe practised martial arts. He had good skills and was flexible. Not only did he dodge, but he was one step closer to Fu Zhiyu.
He was such a character; he would do whatever it took to get what he wanted, even if it meant stealing it. He didn’t take Yuan Lu’s warning seriously at all.
But Fu Zhiyu was much more flexible than he thought. He dodged in a flash as Deng Jinghe rushed up to him, and with a lurch in his step, Deng Jinghe lost his balance a little.
At this moment, Yuan Mingdao just came back with a bag of snacks for his master in his arms. When he happened to see this scene, his face suddenly became ugly. In an instant, he drew the scimitar from his waist and slashed at Deng Jinghe.
Deng Jinghe was stopped before he even touched the corner of Fu Zhiyu’s clothes. Yuan Mingdao’s movements were much faster than those of the martial artist in the shop. Deng Jinghe couldn’t dodge, and his shoulder was slashed by the blade of the scimitar. Although the wound was not deep, it was bleeding.
After a few moves, Deng Jinghe was forced out of the shop by Yuan Mingdao. Mingdao knew this man, and he had a sense of proportion, so he didn’t rush to kill him to avoid the disaster.
Besides, the shop had just opened, and it would probably be difficult to do business in the future if something big happened.
“Hurry up!” Now that Yuan Lu got the helper, he became more emboldened. Seeing that Deng Jinghe was still staring at Fu Zhiyu, he stepped forward and blocked his gaze, “You mangy dog, toad who wants to eat swan meat!”
Deng Jinghe knew Yuan Mingdao. He really didn’t make any preparations today, and he didn’t bring many people. After weighing things for a short while, he knew he wouldn’t be able to win any favours today.
But he was still reluctant to leave and stopped by the door, staring at the hem of the man’s clothes and hearing Yuan Mingdao ask in a low voice, “Master, are you okay?”
“It’s nothing,” Fu Zhiyu shook his head, “I just came out to have a look.”
Deng Jinghe’s actions did seem a bit strange to him, but Fu Zhiyu more or less felt that Mingdao and the others were overreacting.
The master of Yuan Mingdao?
Deng Jinghe was taken aback when he heard this name, and then he reacted.
“Are you Wang Zhao?” He said in surprise, “Wang Zhao Fu Zhiyu?”
It was true that Fu Zhiyu seldom went out, and he shrugged off all the invitations from several big families. Deng Jinghe had been away on business for a long time and had only recently returned, so it was unsurprising that he had not really seen Fu Zhiyu even once in the past few years.
Before Fu Zhiyu could answer, Deng Jinghe seemed to understand. With a weird smile on his face, he said, “Wang Zhao, we are destined to meet again.”
“Who is destined to meet him, a shameless villain?” Yuan Lu looked at Deng Jinghe’s departing back and sneered, “I’ll beat him up once I see him in the future.”
“Then you should start taking your martial arts training seriously now.” Yuan Mingdou reminded him straightforwardly, “Otherwise you really can’t beat him up yet.”
Yuan Mingdao dropped some of the snacks that he bought for Fu Zhiyu, but most of them were intact. He was a little embarrassed, but Fu Zhiyu naturally took them from him and asked, “Are you going home?”
“Well, the new goods have been delivered to the back yard, I have nothing more to do,” Yuan Mingdao said, “I will accompany Master for a stroll?”
Fu Zhiyu shook his head and said, “No more shopping, let’s go back and eat. Today, the kitchen made good dishes.”
Originally, Fu Zhiyu was going to go out for a stroll, but he wasn’t in a good mood anymore.
Deng Jinghe made him unhappy.
What he did in his previous life couldn’t be said to be wrong. After all, he didn’t start what happened to the Yuan family. If the things left by the Yuan family were not taken away by him, they would also be taken away by others. But now that the Yuan family was safe, the tit-for-tat fate couldn’t be avoided.
Doing business was always like this. Although people talked about harmony breeding wealth, the ways to make money were always limited and competition was inevitable.
It was not that Fu Zhiyu doubted the abilities of Yuan Jiangwen and Yuan Lu, but this incident reminded him of the original story. If his own affairs were over, it didn’t mean that the river of destiny had stopped there. The plot would continue in the future, and there was no way to do it once and for all.
Realising this made Fu Zhiyu a little irritable.
Yuan Mingdao saw that he was in a bad mood, and after getting into the carriage, he didn’t talk much, keeping quiet and leaving Fu Zhiyu alone for a while.
A few days after returning to the mansion, Fu Zhiyu tasted all the snacks that Yuan Mingdao brought him. Some were from Southern Xinjiang, and some were bought by Yuan Mingdao on the side of the road. There were all kinds of them. Not all of them were delicious. After all, they were the things made outside, not as exquisite as the ones made in the mansion, but a few were good.
Fu Zhiyu liked the osmanthus candy the most. It was wrapped in greaseproof paper. It was small and sweet but not greasy. It was a bit different from the osmanthus candy that was often eaten in Jiangnan. He specially picked it out and ate it all.
Yuan Mingdao was a little happy and a little regretful when he saw that Fu Zhiyu liked it. He said, “It seemed to have been bought in Southern Xinjiang, or maybe it was in some shop in Jiangnan? I bought too many kinds, and I don’t remember. It was made in a simple way, so I probably bought it casually. I will take a look next time and bring some more to Master.”
With the last piece of candy in his mouth, Fu Zhiyu answered vaguely and nodded.
He was not a greedy person either. Although he liked it very much, there was no reason to bother Yuan Mingdao in particular. He repeatedly told Mingdao not to run around because of this little candy and forget it if he couldn’t find it.
As a result, not long after Yuan Mingdao left, Fu Zhiyu saw the osmanthus candy on the dining table in the mansion. It was served as an after-dinner snack. At first, Fu Zhiyu hadn’t recognised it. The candy was cut into regular squares and the colour was much brighter. He thought it was Steward Zhou who saw that he liked it and ordered the kitchen to make it, but the taste was indeed exactly the same as the one he had eaten before.
Was the cook in the mansion so magical?
“I bought it outside,” Steward Zhou explained. “In the newly opened shop. I saw a lot of people queuing, and I thought that Master liked it recently, so I tried to buy a little bit. Does Master like it?”
Both Fu Zhiyu and Yuan Wanyun liked it very much, but after all, this thing was too sweet to eat a lot of it. It was okay to taste it occasionally.
How could there be such a coincidence?
Fu Zhiyu puffed his cheeks and bit the candy, thinking as he ate. The shop was really newly opened. In addition to osmanthus candy, there were other snacks in the shop. Steward Zhou saw that Fu Zhiyu liked them and bought some others.
Let’s not talk about osmanthus candy. The rest of the snacks were very similar to the bag of things Yuan Mingdao brought to Fu Zhiyu, but because the appearance had become more refined, they looked a little different. However, the taste was exactly the same.
Steward Zhou also knew that something was wrong. He went to inquire about it on purpose, and came back to explain: “That shop is said to be from Southern Xinjiang and the taste is from Southern Xinjiang. It is special for us, but it is an ordinary taste on their side.”
Am I being paranoid, Fu Zhiyu thought.
Yuan Mingdao came back this time, and sure enough, he brought a large bag of candies as promised, but when he saw what was on the table, his face couldn’t help but look surprised.
“I also specifically inquired with the vendor. These candies are unique to the countryside in Southern Xinjiang. Quite a few people can make them,” Yuan Mingdao said. “It was just that people in Southern Xinjiang are rarely willing to leave their hometowns, otherwise I could bring a cook back to Master.”
“There’s no need to make it so big, it is just a snack,” Fu Zhiyu didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry; he relaxed a little bit after hearing this, “You don’t have to worry about it in the future, it is sold at the door.”
As for Deng Jinghe, Fu Zhiyu hadn’t seen him again since that time.
Steward Zhou said that he handed over an invitation, but according to Fu Zhiyu’s usual style, the letter had never reached his hands. Steward Zhou directly suppressed it. When Yuan Lu came over to chat afterwards, he gloated again, saying that Deng Jinghe had fallen into a big trouble with his caravan and that the business he was negotiating had somehow slipped away, making Deng Jinghe lose an unknown amount of money.
“But, Cousin, there is a big event in Jiangnan soon, and you may not be able to avoid this matter.”
“I know,” Fu Zhiyu waved his hand and said, “On the second day of the second month, the dragon raises his head and there is going to be a temple fair in Jiangnan. It is not the first year for me here. I’ve experienced it before.”
“This year is different,” Yuan Lu said. “This year is a rare and auspicious year. As the King of Jiangnan, Cousin will definitely have to attend the sacrifice. The sacrifice is to bless Jiangnan with good weather and rain. Everyone is very concerned. If Cousin doesn’t go and doesn’t pay attention to it, the people will be unhappy if they see it.”
Hearing what he said, Fu Zhiyu became serious.
In the previous years, the temple fair didn’t engage in sacrifice and Yuan Jiangxing attended on his behalf. It would be fine to put a stick of incense at Baima Temple outside Luanzhou City, there was nothing wrong with it.
“In the past, this kind of great sacrifice was done by the governor of Jiangnan. Now that Cousin is the King of Jiangnan, I am afraid that this matter will be unavoidable,” Yuan Lu explained. “In fact, there is no need to prepare anything. Most things are left to the abbot of Baima Temple to do. As long as Cousin goes up in the middle of the day and offers a total of three sticks of incense, it will be fine.”
…It sounded very simple.
Although Fu Zhiyu had always declined things whenever he could, this matter was very important to the entire Jiangnan, and people valued it very much. This kind of auspicious year was rare. If he avoided it, it would be a bit too much.
The governor of Luanzhou also came over to tell him about the process, and demonstrated it on the spot.
“It is very simple,” he said, “Your Highness Wang Zhao, don’t worry.”
The governor of Luanzhou was a simple and honest man, and his manner of speech sounded trustworthy.
“Okay,” Fu Zhiyu nodded, agreeing, “I see, I will prepare carefully.”
“Then it can’t be better,” the governor showed a happy smile that made him look like Maitreya Buddha, “Wang Zhao’s willingness to attend is a blessing for the whole of Jiangnan.”
After speaking about the matter, he got up and excused himself. But this very kind-looking governor of Luanzhou, after turning around and putting away the smile on his face, had a bit of an indescribable gloomy feeling about him.