# 34. Xu Lingyue: This Life I Must Properly Take Care of Big Brother Auntie was right in the middle of crazily dissing her nephew, when she heard the family butler shouting, and raised her voice to reply “If they’re back they’re back, do you need me to go and receive them?” The butler stomped his foot in agitation, “Madam, young Miss Lingyin has traces of blood on her body, Miss Lingyue seems to have just cried, both the Master and Erlang’s faces do not look good, and, Dalang hasn’t come back, something must’ve happened to him.” A “ping pong” sound echoed in the room, as if something was knocked over. After, came the voice of the maidservants, who tentatively asked “Madam…” “Go away!” Auntie lifted her skirt, and ran out of the room, running towards the front hall with a worried face. Auntie rushed into the room with great vigour, her eyes filled with tears, and seeing her husband with a serious face, holding their tiny daughter, the latter unconscious, she nearly cried out. “Don’t worry, she’s just asleep.” Xu Pingzhi said first, stabilising her emotions, and handing over their young daughter, “Take her to her room first.” Auntie tightly held the little girl, and then looked her elder daughter up and down. Seeing that she was unhurt, she let out a sigh of relief, but didn’t leave, rather asking with a sob “What happened? You just went out to the market, how could you end up in this state.” Xu Lingyue immediately started crying. Xu Pingzhi let out a long breath, and recounted through what had happened to his wife. Hearing that Xu Lingyue was harassed by that evil young man, her willow-like eyebrows narrowed together, hardly suppressing her anger. Hearing that Xu Lingyin was nearly trampled under his horse, her face was deathly white, and she tightly held the little girl, scared. When she heard that it was Xu Qi’an who saved the two daughters, and was hurt because of it, she was stunned. Hearing that her nephew was taken to the Ministry of Law, she tightly grabbed her husband’s hand, despair written on her face, “Ningyan he… he…” “It’s alright, he’s already out. For now, it’s all over.” Xu Pingzhi gripped his wife’s hand, comforting her. “Look, if it weren’t for Ningyan, then Lingyue and Lingyin would have both been in danger. Even if his attitude is stubborn, but he’s never bad to the family. Could any ordinary person protect our two little girls? “You never see eye to eye with him, and always thought that him practicing martial arts cost to much money. You think that since you raised him up, what’s a few scoldings worth, thinking that he never speaks with respect, and is always fighting with you. “But have you ever thought, that after living off someone else for twenty years, is really that easy? That he isn’t sensitive at heart? “A woman’s eyes are always shallow, they like to hear nice words, but don’t see actions. When Lingyue was being bullied, he rushed in and risked his life. It’s only fortunate that this time it was only a scare. If Ningyan really never came back, will you really not be heartbroken?” Hearing this, Xu Lingyue’s tears started dropping to the ground like a waterfall, crying silently. She thought that in this life, she must properly take care of her big brother. “I…” Auntie sniffed, looking down. Xu Xinnian looked at his always strong-willed mother. Today her eyes were full of lingering fear and regret, and he suddenly realised something. She had always said “gold-eating monster” this and “Unlucky thing” that to call his older cousin, but in reality his mother really did have Xu Qi’an in her heart. After all, she had raised him for nearly twenty years, and naturally some bond must’ve formed. Xu Pingzhi gave his son a look, and with a humph, said “If instead you were the son accompanying them, perhaps you would’ve been kidnapped and molested along with the others.” Xu Xinnian: “???” … After giving her younger daughter to a maid, and after comforting her older one, Auntie returned with a heavy heart. She glanced at the maidservants, all busy making winter clothes, and suddenly said “Lü’e, make one less set for the Husband and Erlang. When Dalang comes home, get his measurements.” Lü’e raised her head in disbelief, asking “Madam has changed her mind?” Auntie snorted, “Am I such a shallow aunt in your eyes?” *…Yes…* the whole room of maids thought at the same time. … Xu Qi’an left the Stargazing Tower, and hired a horse-drawn cab, finally returning home after two hours. Having a hot bath, he saw that the injuries on his waist have nearly healed. He spread on some healing salve, and returned to his room, grinding ink, and writing a few hundred characters of chemistry knowledge. Then, according to habit, he began to write his diary again. *16th November. This day is one to remember, because I have finally decided to give up the goal of living an ordinary, uninteresting life as a rich businessman with several servants. I need power, I need influence. For this, I had these thoughts:* *First, change my cultivation path, and study Confucianism. As long as I can brown nose the two great scholars enough, they will definitely support me all they can. It would be much better than flailing around with the martial path.* *Aye, others transmigrating all use poetry to show off, but I am using poetry do trade. Perhaps this is the difference between a European Emperor and the masses.* *Two, try harder, and get Miss Caiwei from the Sitianjian into bed. If I have the support of the Sitianjian Jianzheng, then even if I don’t try afterwards, I can still live a comfortable life.* *Three, sell one of the magic items the Sitianjian gave me, and exchange it for an opportunity to open heaven’s gate.* *The problem with the first idea is that it would remind me of the trauma of literature class in third grade, and I’m not necessarily an intellectual. I’m nearly twenty, changing cultivation paths now may be too late.* *The problem with the second idea is that I may have to say goodbye to a life of three wives and four mistresses, say goodbye to listening to music at the Goulan, the sacrifice here is quite large.* *The problem with the third idea is that even at Refining Qi, I wouldn’t be able to fight against the Deputy Minister of Revenues. Furthermore, without someone at my back, it’d be difficult for me to step further with any speed on the martial path. Uncle has been at the peak of Refining Qi for over ten years, being the best example of this.* *Currently it’s best to cling onto the legs of the Yunlu Academy and the Sitianjian, and then plan for the future. I have a feeling that the ripples of the Tax Silver case have yet to dissipate.* … The Xu manor, the front hall. It was dusk, and Xu Qi’an vaulted the wall, to neighbouring Uncle Xu’s courtyard to have dinner. Afterwards, he stood in the front yard, watching Xu Lingyin make shaky martial stances, little fists punching left and right, huffing and puffing and providing accompaniment to herself. She was wearing a lotus-pink little dress, wrapped like a *zongzi*[^1], her hair held by a hairpin specifically for young children. “What are you doing,” Xu Qi’an lightly kicked her buttocks. Little Pea fell on the ground with a smack. “I’m practicing martial arts.” Xu Lingyin picked herself back up, putting her hands on her waist, showing her round little stomach, very much annoyed at her big brother’s ambush. Her little brows furrowed, she said “Big brother are you trying to provoke me?” Perhaps what had happened earlier that morning left a shadow within her little heart, causing this five year old child to think that she should start practicing martial arts. “Yeah, I am.” Xu Qi’an replied. “Daddy said, men fight for a breath, martial artists do too. This is called di…. di…” “Dignity?” “Mm!” Xu Lingyin fervently nodded her head, and then stared at her big brother angrily, “I want to fight you.” Her two little legs flew, as she rushed towards Xu Qi’an, shouting and waving her fists. Xu Qi’an put a single hand on her forehead. Little Pea felt desperation, and simultaneously shouted and flailing her fists, trying to hit her brother. But no matter how she tried, she couldn’t reach. Her face was twisted into a little spiral with desperation. Xu Qi’an felt annoyed by her, and so discussed, “I’ll give you a chicken leg, and you admit defeat.” “Yeah!” As expected, Xu Lingyin stopped flailing her fists, face full of delight. “Where’s your dignity gone?” “Big brother, what’s a ‘dignity’?” “… you have promise.” Holding Little Pea’s hand, they entered the dining room. Not long after dinner started, and it was incredibly bountiful, as if they were celebrating a festival. The maidservants seemingly deliberately, seemingly coincidentally, put the best dishes in front of Xu Qi’an. He couldn’t resist a look towards Auntie, who was wearing a dark flower-patterned dress, with a refined face, and a pair of watery beautiful eyes, that perfectly accompanied her thick eyelashes. She had on her a type of beauty that only a middle-aged woman could have, like a begonia in full flourish. She had the same cold attitude, as if what Xu Qi’an did today was a small matter barely worth talking about. But if it were not for her indicating her wishes, the servants would not treat Xu Qi’an so specially. Xu Lingyue ate small chopstick-full after small chopstick-full, before finally working up the courage, saying “Brother, mum is making winter clothes for everyone. After dinner let me get your measurements, I- I want to make you a set myself.” *Brother… fuck me…* Xu Qi’an felt even his bones soften. His younger sister was wearing rather beautiful and eye-catching clothes: all over her dress were sewn flashing bright lotus flowers, a goose-yellow *pibo*[^2] embroidered with cloud patterns. She was not older than sixteen or seventeen, but with this beautiful dress, along with her delicate and refined features, she gave off an otherworldly beauty. “Is… is that okay?” Xu Lingyue’s skin was thin, and seeing him not replying, she immediately turned red, and lowered her head. *If instead it were the womaniser Jia Baoyu, what would he say…* Xu Qi’an regretted the fact that he did not really read *Dream of the Red Chamber* in his previous life, and nodded, “Thank you.” Xu Lingyue smiled at him warmly, and exchanged looks with Auntie beside her. Xu Qi’an took back his gaze, saying “Uncle, Erlang, after dinner I have something to talk with you two, let’s go to the study.” … The study! Lü’e brought in three cups of hot tea, before leaving. Xu Qi’an picked up the teacup and took a sip, rinsing his throat, and again sighed at the food without MSG. He always felt it was missing something. “What do you two think of what happened today afternoon?” Xu Qi’an immediately got to the point, asking for his uncle and cousin’s opinions. *Has the situation not already passed…* Uncle Xu was confused. Xu Xinnian frowned, “Are you saying, that that Master Zhou may seek revenge?” A Deputy Minister of Revenue, falling head over heel by the actions of a small civil servant, would definitely not give up so easily. Uncle Xu waved his hand, “No, nonsense, at any other time sure, but today the two great scholars of the Cloud Deer Academy, and the Sitianjian’s white-cloaks all showed up. By my reckoning, that one surnamed Zhou wouldn’t dare to stir up the flames,” His logic was sound and reasonable. The constabularies had seen bullying of commoners so often it was barely a thing, but if an incident happened to involve civil servants or influential powers, then they would be more cautious. One half was because from little they were told again and again, that no matter how unethical the constabulary they got themselves into, they must always remember that the water in the capital was deep. Another part came from the warnings of their seniors and predecessors. Xu Xinnian shook his head, “Dad, if big brother is saying this, then he must have a reason.” He looked towards Xu Qi’an. The latter said solemnly, “I heard a rumour today at the Sitianjian, the one behind the tax silver case, was Deputy Minister Zhou.” --- [^1]: Zongzi is a type of food, consisting of steamed rice and filling, wrapped in bamboo leaves, often in a tetrahedral shape. It is traditionally eaten on the dragonboat festival. [^2]: Type of shawl that accompanied female Hanfu