Chapter 3 : Please go aside and scram
Bang, Bang, Bang.
The patrolling night watchman banged his wooden clappers in a rhythm.
The sounds spread into the high pillar houses; Fang Yuan opened his dry eyelids while his heart silently thought, “Its already the hour before dawn.”
He had been lying in bed thinking for a long time last night. He thought up a lot of plans. He probably only slept for a little over two hours. This body has not started cultivating, his energy is not so vigorous and thus his body and mind were still shrouded in exhaustion.
However with 500 years of experience Fang Yuan had long build up deep steel-like determination. This sort of sleep-deprived exhaustion is nothing to him.
Immediately he shoved away the thin silk blanket and got up neatly. He opened the window and found that the spring rain had stopped.
The mix of fragrance of the earth, trees and wild flowers greeted him. Fang Yuan felt his head clear, the sleepiness washing away cleanly. Right now the sun had yet risen, the sky still a deep dark blue, not dark yet not bright.
Looking around, the tall houses made of green bamboo and wood contrasting with the mountain, was a sea of pale green colour.
The tall houses had at least two floors; it was the mountain folk’s unique structure of a house. Due to the mountain’s uneven terrain, the first floor is massive wooden stakes; the second floor is where the people reside. Fang Yuan and his brother Fang Zhen stayed at the second floor.
“Young master Fang Yuan, you’re awake. I will go upstairs and wait for you to wash up.” At this moment, a maiden’s voice floated up from downstairs.
Looking down, Fang Yuan saw his own personal servant – Shen Cui.
Her looks were only slightly above average, but she dressed up well. Shen Cui wore a green robe with long sleeves and trousers, had embroidered shoes on her feet and her black hair had a pearl hairpin. Her body from head to toe radiated youthful vitality.
She looked happily at Fang Yuan while carrying a basin of water, and walked upstairs. The water was at the right warm temperature and was used to wash the face. After rinsing his mouth, he used a willow twig with snow salt to clean his teeth.
Shen Cui waited gently, her face wearing a smile and her eyes lively as spring. After he was done she helped Fang Yuan dress, her plump breasts rubbing against his elbow or his back a few times during the process.
Fang Yuan’s face showed no expression; his heart was calm as water.
This servant girl was nothing but his aunt and uncle’s watcheye and was a vain heartless girl. In his previous life she enraptured him, but after the Awakening Ceremony when his status plummeted she quickly turned away her head and gave him countless disdainful looks.
When Fang Zheng came over he was in time to see Shen Cui smoothing the creases on the clothing of Fang Yuan’s chest. His eyes had a flicker of jealousy.
These years living together with his older brother, under the care of Fang Yuan he also had a servant waiting on him. However his servant was not a youthful girl like Shen Cui but a fat and wide old woman.
“I wonder which day can Shen Cui wait on me like this, wonder what it feels like?” Fang Zheng thought inside his heart, yet he did not dare to.
His aunt and uncle’s biased love to Fang Yuan was no secret to everyone. Originally he did not even have a servant to wait on him. It was Fang Yuan who decided to take the initiative and ask for one for Fang Zheng.
Although there was the status difference of master and servant, but usually Fang Zheng did not dare underestimate Shen Cui. That was because her mother was the Mother Shen(1) who stood beside his aunt and uncle. Mother Shen was the caretaker of the entire household – having full trust of his aunt and uncle, her authority was not small.
“Alright, no need to tidy up.” Fang Yuan impatiently brushed away Shen Cui’s soft small hands. His clothing had long been tidy; she was just trying to seduce him.
To Shen Cui and the brightness of her future, Fang Yuan’s possibility of having an A grade talent was huge. If she could be his concubine she would be able to elevate from servant status into master – it was quite a big step.
In his previous life Fang Yuan was deceived by her and had feelings for Shen Cui. After his rebirth he was clear as a blazing fire, his heart as cold as ice.
“You can leave.” Fang Yuan did not even look at Shen Cui as he tidied up his own sleeve cuffs. Shen Cui pouted slightly, feeling that today Fang Yuan’s puzzling behavior was rather odd and upsetting. She wanted to reply in a spoiled way but being scared by his cold and confusing nature, her mouth opened and closed a few times before she ended up saying ‘yes’ and retreating obediently.
“Are you ready?” Fang Yuan asked Fang Zheng.
His younger brother stood at the doorway, his head bowed down to look at his toes. He muttered a light ‘yes’. Fang Zheng had actually been awake since the fourth watch, too nervous to fall back asleep. He quietly got out of bed and got ready a long time ago, his eyes having black circles.
Fang Yuan nodded. In his previous life he was not clear about his younger brother’s thoughts, but in this life how could he not understand? But right now it was meaningless to him, and he lightly said, “Then let’s go.”
So the two brothers left the house. On the way they bumped into many youths of similar age, all in groups of twos and threes, quite clearly heading to the same destination.
“Look guys, those are the Fang brothers.” Their ears could pick up the small cautious talk. “The one walking in front is Fang Yuan, he’s the Fang Yuan who created the poems,” some of them emphasized.
“So that’s him. His face is expressionless as if he had no regard for others, just like the rumors say.” Someone said in a sour tone filled with jealousy and envy.
“Hmph, if you were like him then you can also act like that!” Someone coldly replied against the person, hiding a sort of dissatisfaction.
Fang Zheng listened expressionlessly. He had long been accustomed to this kind of discussion. His head low, he followed quietly behind his older brother.
By now the light of dawn had peeked over the horizon, casting Fang Yuan’s shadow over his face. The sun rose gradually, but Fang Yuan suddenly felt like he was walking into darkness.
This darkness was coming from his older brother. Maybe in this life, he would never be able to escape from the imprisoning huge shadow of his brother.
He felt a burst of pressure on his chest making his breathing difficult. This damned feeling was even making him think of the word ‘suffocate’!
“Hmph, this talk is a good example of the saying: ‘those who of outstanding talent easily bring about jealous from others’,” Fang Yuan thought with a sneer as he listened to the gossip around.
No wonder when it was announced that he had C grade talent, he would be surrounded by enemies and suffer harsh, disdainful coldness for a long time.
Behind him, Fang Zheng’s breathing got dreary and tried to stop listening.
What Fang Yuan did not manage to realize in his previous life, he could perceive with the finest detail in this life. This was the ability of keen insight that he had gained from 500 years worth of life experiences.
He suddenly thought of his aunt and uncle and how scheming they were. Giving him Shen Cui to monitor him and passing his younger brother an old wet nurse, not including other things in life that were different among them. All these actions had intentions – They wanted to cause unhappiness in his younger brother’s heart and instigate a rift among the brothers.
People are not worried about whether they receive less; people worry about whether whatever they received is undistributed well.
In his previous life his experiences were too little, while his younger brother was too foolish and too naïve, thus his aunt and uncle successfully instigated a riff among them.
After being reborn with the Awakening Ceremony before him, it seemed like the situation was difficult to change. But with Fang Yuan’s evil way of means and wisdom, it’s not like the situation cannot be changed.
His younger brother can be suppressed entirely, that young Shen Cui he could turn into a concubine early on. Not forgetting his aunt and uncle and the clan elders – he had at least several hundred ways of beating them.
“But, I don’t feel like doing that…” Fang Yuan sighed carefreely.
So what if it was his own younger brother? Without the blood relation his younger brother was just an outsider, he could easily give him up anytime.
So what if Shen Cui grew any prettier? Without love and loyalty she was just a heap of flesh of a body. Keep her as a concubine? She’s not worthy.
So what if it was his aunt and uncle, or the clan elders? They’re just passers-by in life, why waste effort and energy to beat these people?
As long as you don’t get in my way, then you can go aside and scram, I don’t need to care about you.
(1) Mother Shen is like a title or way to call a woman of her position.