“Uncle, do you know the directions to Landlord Ding’s house?” Gu Ming paid and carried his heavy bamboo basket, looking back to ask the uncle selling wontons.
The round-faced aunt cleaned up the tables and asked, “Why are you asking? If you’re planning to sell dried vegetables to him, then don’t bother. They won’t open the door for you at this time. You and your father should find a place to rest for the night and ask again tomorrow morning.”
“Someone from our village works in the Ding Family. His family wants us to deliver a message and it sounded quite urgent.” Gu Ming made up a story, lying as if it was her second nature.
“Oh...I see!” The round-face aunt pointed at the end of the street and said, “Walk that way. The biggest house within the southern courtyard is their house. You guys should knock on the little door by the alley. Their servants always enter from that door.”
“Ok, thank you auntie and uncle!” Gu Ming thanked them and then pulled his sister up, walking in the direction they were guided in by the owners. Not long later, they encountered a hurried pedestriatian. He politely stopped them and confirmed the Ding Family’s direction. He then relaxed after he was sure they were heading the right way.
Gu Ye found this laughable. “Brother, don’t you think you’re being too cautious? The round-faced aunt doesn’t even seem like a bad person.”
“It’s always good to be cautious. You can’t distinguish a villain by their appearance. Especially since we aren’t adults. We need to pay more attention.” Gu Ming said with a straight face and reminded solemnly, “Especially beautiful young ladies like you. You attract lots of kidnappers. Remember to not trust strangers easily, ok?”
Gu Ye was afraid that her brother would continue to nag her so she hurriedly nodded. Today, her Ninth Uncle and her elder brother had both praised her as a “pretty young lady.” Gu Ye touched her chubby face and covered her mouth, laughing. “Am I really beautiful? Da Zhuang said I used to look like a ghost and I could scare people to death with my appearance.”
“Don’t listen to his rubbish. Nothing good ever comes from him. My sister is the most beautiful lady within the Qingshan Village!” Gu Ming said this sincerely.
In the past, Nee Liu and his heartless woman wouldn’t feed his sister, so she would frequently get sick as a result. She also lost a lot of weight. Later on, they got to live with their grandfather. They rarely had coarse grains anymore and even more, they had three meals a day. They would also go hunting to try something fresh. His sister recuperated and she also gained some weight. If her facial features got chubbier, she’d be more beautiful than the fairy from the New Year picture.
“Will I be more beautiful than Yinggu?” Yinggu was the third grandmother’s daughter and known as the belle within the village. A family from the village suburbs had taken one look at her and had taken a fancy to her. The two families were busy talking about their engagement!
Gu Ming nodded firmly. “When you grow up to be Yinggu’s age, you’d be more beautiful than her. You need to eat more, eat more meat. You can’t be picky, ok?”
Gu Ming only found out about Gu Ye’s pickiness slowly. There would be a fishy smell if the wild animals weren’t cooked properly. To some people, they only ate meat on a rare occasion. Therefore, they would ignore the faint fishy smell. But for Gu Ye, her acute senses enlarged the fishy scent in her mouth. She couldn’t eat it no matter what. Gu Ming worried helplessly. Haa. If only there was a woman in the family that could cook and manage the family!
While talking, the siblings arrived at the Ding Family. True, it was easy to recognize the place. Besides the big courtyard, there was also a horizontal inscribed board with the word “Ding” engraved.
Gu Ming knocked on the door softly. An unhappy voice rang, “Who is it? Why are you knocking at such a late time?” Then there was a series of hurried footsteps.
The door creaked open. A servant in about his twenties furrowed his brows and peeked out impatiently from the door. He casually glanced at Gu Ming before asking sternly, “Brat, do you know where you are? Why are you knocking on the door if you don’t need anything? Shoo, shoo! This isn’t some place you can play at.”
“How do you know we don’t need anything? Like you said, why would anyone knock on your door in the middle of the night instead of sleeping if they don’t need anything?” Gu Ming knew his sister was worried Landlord Ding would run out of medicine, so she came straight here after entering the town without even taking a break in between. Yet, she was mistreated instead. This made him a bit angry.
“Woah! Boy, quite the attitude you have there huh?” The servant looked at the basket behind Gu Ming’s back and said impatiently, “Here to sell items? Look at your wretched self. Nothing good could be sold from you. Our Ding Family doesn’t lack anything. Leave already. Keep staying here and this Laozi beat you up!” (T/N = Laozi is a way of referring to yourself. It literally means ‘your father.’)
“Who are you calling ‘Laozi?’” Gu Ye had the urge to beat someone up. “You’re just a guard dog within the Ding Family. What’s there to act arrogant about? What? You performed CPR on your Lord and now you’re his benefactor? You can be condescending?”
That’s right. This servant who was guarding the door was the unlucky man who was following the Landlord Ding when he relapsed. He had to perform emergency treatment and did CPR on his Lord.
“Who are you calling a guard dog?” The servant’s eyes were blazing. He lifted his right hand and was about to slap Gu Ye when he saw her appearance. As if someone had pressed his pause button, he stayed frozen.
Gu Ming hurriedly got in front of Gu Ye. He refused to let the servant hurt his sister. Even if he couldn’t stop the slap, he’d make sure his sister wouldn’t get hit from it.
Who knew that servant seemed to be possessed. The hand he lifted ended up slapping his own face several times. His arrogant expression had now changed to a smile. He looked at him...at his sister and said flatteringly, “Ah! Look at my blind self. I almost failed to recognize the divine physician! I’ve been wishing for the stars and moon and you’re finally here!”
“Wishing for me to come? For what? To be scolded by you?” Under the bright moonlight, Gu Ye’s face appeared frost. Her pair of clear and bright eyes seemed to have a cold yet determined glow. Her small body was eluding a terrifying awe. This was Gu Ming’s first time seeing this side of his sister. He froze for a moment.
The servant saw the divine physician becoming mad and hurriedly kneeled in front of Gu Ye with a thump. In a crying tone, “Divine physician, it’s my fault. It’s my fault for being blind and offending you and this young master. This servant will kowtow you. Please show mercy and let me go this time…”
Saying this, his head banged against the steps. He found out that his Lord took the divine physician’s medicine and actually recovered when his condition sentenced him to death. He didn’t even feel bad after walking a few times around the perimeter of the courtyard. In the past, his Lord’s chest would ache in pain just from taking a few steps or even talking loudly.
The eldest master listened to the divine physician’s advice and made sure his father leaned towards a more vegetarian diet. He also made sure the Lord persisted on exercising and taking medicine on time. He stopped feeling chest pain and shortness of breath. He also became more energetic.
The medicine that the divine physician had given them was enough to last them for a month. But five days ago, the Lord’s sister had come to visit her brother and noticed this ‘miracle medicine.’ She snatched two bottles of it from the Lord as her great aunt also had heart problems. It just wasn’t as serious as the Lord’s.
After giving the great aunt two bottles, the Lord and the young master’s medicine was barely enough to last them these few days. Afraid that the gatekeeper might not recognize the divine physician, the young master specifically moved the current gatekeeper here. He wanted to make sure the divine physician was treated correctly.
If the Lord and the young master found out he offended the divine physician, he was dead met! Therefore, kowtowing was necessary. He was hoping that the divine physician would forgive him seeing how sincere he was in acknowledging his mistake.
“You offended my brother, Even if you are to apologize, you should apologize to him.” Looking down on her brother was worse than looking down on her. She had been enduring her anger to kick him as she listened to the servant boasting and showing off in front of her brother. She didn’t even bear to yell at her brother. How could she allow a servant to be presumptuous to him?
The servant heard this and changed his direction. He started kowtowing at Gu Ming. “Young master, this servant has offended you. You can beat and scold me as you wish. This servant is just begging you to put in some good words in front of the divine physician…”
Gu Ming’s heart softened seeing the bruise on the servant’s forehead and his sincerity. “He’s only acting like a snob because of who he looks for. It’s not like he had committed an unforgivable mistake. Let him go this time.”
The servant looked pitiful at Gu Ye like a criminal waiting for his sentence. Gu Ye saw that he had received his punishment so she sneered, “Since my brother has pleaded for you, I’ll let you go this time.”
“Many thanks to the divine physician! Many thanks to the young master for putting in good words for me!” The servant sighed in relief. Thankfully, he didn’t anger the divine physician into leaving. Otherwise...he wouldn’t be able to endure the consequences.
“Is Eldest Master Ding at home?” Gu Ye looked at the sky and wrinkled her brows slightly. She was tired from traveling during the day. She wanted to give him the medicine and then find a tavern to rest with her brother for the night.
“Yes, yes!” The servant got to his feet and answered hurriedly, looking down.
He urged the silent and fearful gatekeeper, “What are you standing there for? Hurry and invite the eldest master over!”
“Please follow this servant into the guest lounge to drink some tea and warm up.” The servant’s attitude was even better than the service seen at a five-star hotel. “Divine physician, please place the basket down. This servant will carry it for you!”
Gu Ye didn’t bother to be polite either. She placed the basket full of medicinal ingredients on the ground. The servant bent over to carry the basket. He stood up but the basket remained unmoved and it almost cracked his waist.
So heavy! It was at least 170-180lbs. The divine physician looked quite small, yet she was very strong. It felt like there was no weight to the basket when she was carrying it. The servant’s face turned red and exerted all his strength, finally carrying the basket. He stumbled on his steps as he guided the Gu siblings in front.
The siblings entered the drawing room. The servant placed the basket down and then ordered a maid to bring over tea and snacks and then had his wife bring over a fire pan. He was really considerate.
Before they even finished half a cup of tea, Gu Ye heard a series of rushed footsteps outside. It got closer and closer, quickly reaching the drawing room.