Our Second Master - Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Our Second Master Falls Ill
That night passed rather ridiculously. Many people gave me a respectful smile, and even a few maids came to add food for me. I wanted to tell them I was also a maid like them, please don’t add food for me. But, I did not dare to speak. At this setting, I didn’t even dare to eat, much less speak. Second Master sat by my side from start to end as people entertained him. Although Second Master was smiling, but it was not frivolous at all, in fact, he felt very matured. Everyone was speaking very humbly to him, but he did not have any arrogance at all. As to what they were saying, I could not understand at all. Later, after three rounds of wine, someone suddenly arrived from the other table. He stood in front of Second Master and immediately knelt down. I looked at him and realised, aiyah, this was the head who surrounded Second Master and even beat me up.
He knelt down on the ground but his waist did not bend. He looked like he had drank quite a bit and his face was flushed red. He looked at Second Master and breathing heavily he said, “Second Yang Master, I do not know why you invited me here today. But, there is something I need to say!” You can speak, why must you shout.
Second Master looked quietly at him and said, “Speak.”
The person was so agitated that his nostrils seemed to widen. He spoke loudly, “When Second Master met misfortune, not only did my Wang family not send coal during the snow, I, Wang Zhi, even threw stones down the well. Now that Second Master has flourished, covering half the trade lines of Jiangnan, it is well within reason not to look after my Wang family! But —!!” Wang Zhi truly had drank too much. Everyone on the boat was looking at him as he stared daggers at Second Master, “But! I have no regrets!”
His voice had a trace of tears, “I do not regret! That year, you made trouble at the Osmanthus Pavilion and cut my wife’s long hair. For half a year, my wife did not dare to go out of the house and did not even smile. You, do you even remember this?!” I was silent as I stole a look at Second Master. Second Master was expressionless.
Wang Zhi finally yelled, “So I have no regrets! Yang Yi Qi, my Wang family even without your help can still survive!”
Second Master finally opened his mouth, “Then, why are you kneeling down towards me.”
Everyone was silent, even Wang Zhi. If you really did not need help, why would you kneel? Wang Zhi bent down and cried. Everyone was watching. Second Master pushed away the stool and stood on the ground. He did not hold his crutch. His hand leaned on the table and the other on Wang Zhi’s shoulder. “Rise.” Wang Zhi did not move. Second Master increased pressure, “Gentleman Wang, rise.”
Wang Zhi lifted his head to look at Second Master and finally stood up. After he stood up, Second Master became the shortest in the entire boat. A person came up to carry him to the seat but he shook his head. He poured a cup of wine for himself and turned around. He spoke to everyone in a low voice, “Everyone, those that I invited today – some knew me before and some did not. Some with debts of gratitude, some with debts of grudge. This cup of wine, I give to all those debts of gratitude.” After he finished, he threw away the cup. He moved forward by a step and lifted up his head and said, “This head, I kowtow to those with debts of grudge.” After he finished, before anyone could react, Second Master bowed forward and his forehead knocked into the wooden flooring of the boat with a “thud” sound. He only had half a leg, this kowtow was not easy.
Everyone was stunned, including me. Who dared to accept Second Master’s head? Not even speaking of myself as a maid, everyone here had something to ask from Second Master, even more they did not dare to receive this and quickly got up. But no one was able to predict this scenario, so no one dared to open their mouths. Second Master rose up, his expression did not change as he poured another cup of wine. He announced, “I, Yang Yi Qi, only rely on three things when I do business — courage, brains and trust.”
Second Master’s voice was deep and his gaze was bright, “The mistakes I had committed in the past, Heavens have punished me. If everyone is willing to give me this chance, to trust in me again, from now on, we will share in the prosperity and earn money together. Yang Yi Qi will not treat all of you badly.” Second Master is truly Second Master. He knows how to speak, just a few lines and quite a few people here were crying.
“As for you,” Second Master looked at Wang Zhi, he pointed his thumb with the jade green ring at me and said in a low voice, “Do you remember her?”
Wang Zhi looked at me and nodded. Second Master lightly said, “Kowtow to her three times and pray she will always be alright. Then, we will forget about that day.”
Wang Zhi walked in front of me and dropped down on his knees. He kowtowed three times. I anxiously looked at Second Master but he did not have any expression.
I tried to say, “It’s fi…fine”
Wang Zhi rose and Second Master nodded at him.
On the way home, Second Master called me into the carriage and said, “You have suffered.” I was shocked. I said it was the first time I was kowtowed to by a gentleman, I did not suffer. Second Master laughed and said, “Sit closer.” I leaned closer and did not dare to look at Second Master. My head remained lowered.
Second Master said, “Your head is always lowered, what are you looking at?”
I quickly made up something, “Looking at the ring.”
Second Master took down his thumb ring and placed it in my palm, “Do you like this? You can have it.”
How can I dare accept this? I shook my head, “I was only.. only looking at it.” Second Master took my hand and placed the thumb ring in my palm. Dark green, still carrying the heat from Second Master’s body.
I carried it in my palm and did not dare to speak. This time Second Master returned and stayed. Second Master bought another big house, about the same as the previous Yang Manor. Old Mistress Yang and the misses were brought back. The manor became crowded again. The previously unfavoured Second Master has now become the Manor’s owner. Besides Old Mistress Yang, everyone called him respectfully Master. Since there were more people, the housekeeper hired more maids. I saw at one glance that they were to be sent to Second Master’s courtyard. I sat at the courtyard that day for very long and stared dazedly at the moon.
I’ve calculated in my heart how much money I had presently. After counting for half a day, I calculated a pleasant outcome. It turns out that after all these years, I could be considered a rich person. No, a rich monkey.
In the next few days, I changed my money into paper currency. I pawned the accessories Second Master previously gave me and converted them to loose silver. Only that jade green ring, it was so beautiful, I couldn’t bear to pawn it and kept it in my bag. My contract was still with Old Mistress Yang so I went to find her and told her my reason. I gave her the money so that she could set me free. Old Mistress Yang looked at me and said in a light voice, “There is no more contract. After the incident, everything was destroyed.”
I was dazed, then said, “The humble servant will leave now. Old Mistress Yang, please take care of yourself.” Old Mistress Yang did not say anything. She sat in the pavilion, lowered her head and wiped her eyes. How could I leave? I went over to comfort her, “Mistress, please don’t cry.”
Mistress weeped, “My pitiful Qi Er…” Second Master? I said, “What about Second Master?”
Mistress shook her head and spoke aimlessly to herself, “My pitiful Qi Er, my pitiful Qi Er…” I did not know what she was crying about and said, “Mistress, don’t cry. Our Second Master is presently incredible.” Mistress ignored me and continued crying. Seeing that I could not comfort her, I gave a sigh and turned to leave.
When I turned, I saw Second Master leaning on his crutch, standing not far away. He kept staring at my bag. Old Housekeeper nervously stood by his side. I walked over and gave my respects. I said, “Second Master, I am leaving.”
Second Master smiled at me and said, “Ok.”
I was dazed, and was a bit unhappy. After all, I had suffered with you for so many years, although I was only a little maid, but you don’t have to speak that way right? Of course, I did not dare to show my displeasure. I told Second Master, “Second Master, take care.”
After I spoke finished, I turned from his side to walk away. After walking very far away, I secretly turned around and saw that Second Master was still standing there. The housekeeper was already kneeling by his side. I did not know what he was saying. I felt that Second Master’s back was a little crooked. Then, I immediately turned back my head. How could that be possible? I hired a cow cart and prepared to return to my hometown.
But, I hardly left for three days when I was stopped by the housekeeper. When he saw me, it was as if he saw his own mother and he knelt down. Everyone in the inn turned to look around.
He said, “Miss, please come back! I beg of you to come back!”
I asked, “What are you doing?”
The housekeeper rambled on for half a day and I finally understood – Second Master had fallen sick. I came out by cow cart and returned by horse carriage. On the route home, I asked the housekeeper, “Only three days, how did he fall ill?”
The housekeeper had a face of woe, “Ah, I was a busybody, a busybody.” He did not answer my question properly. I added, “What illness?”
The housekeeper gave a long sigh and spoke with deep meaning towards me, “Miss, Second Master’s heart is bitter.”
I stopped asking. When we returned to the manor, everyone stared at me. I shrunk my neck and entered Second Master’s courtyard. The housekeeper sent me here and then disappeared.
The courtyard was very big but there was not a single person here. I scolded the houseekeeper in my heart, you hired so many maids but not a single one is serving here. I knocked on Second Master’s door and asked, “Second Master, are you there?”
There was no sound. I was worried that something had happened so I immediately pushed the door. Inside, Second Master was wearing his sleeping robes and lying on the bed with his eyes closed. The first sight I had of him and my heart soured. It was no pretence, he was really ill. I walked over and said in a light voice, “Second Master, how are you feeling. Your humble servant will get a physician for you.”
Second Master slowly opened his eyes and looked at me. He spoke in a hoarse voice, “You still care about my life or death.”
I opened my mouth but did not speak. I did not know what to say. Second Master reached out his hand and I unconsciously held it.
Second Master’s hand was very broad, there were calluses all over it. I did not know how Old Master Yang’s hand was like, was it like Second Master? Bearing the wind and snow? His other hand covered my eyes and he spoke hoarsely, “Little Monkey, can you not go? After you left, Master cannot hold on……”
In his whole life, the words Second Master said that were the most unbearable, were these. Compared to the kicks he gave me before – this was much much more painful.
Comment: Too in love with these two!
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