Chapter 03: Tranquility (catching worms)
Zhou Qing took her purse and briskly walked out of the Luo Household. She adamantly wanted to see her father and mother now. In her last life, the Zhou family plummeted during the year she was pregnant. Her father and brother perished, and her mother, Xi, became seriously ill and remained bedridden for several months; eventually passing away.
Thinking of her loved ones, who she had been separated from for many years, her eyes couldn’t help but redden, and a faint sourness welled up in her nose.
Now that the Zhou family’s medicine store had not yet been burned and her brother was not falsely accused of murder, there was still time to recover. She must protect her blood relatives. No longer like her previous life where she ended up with a broken home.
Because of her eagerness and yearning to see her relatives, Zhou Qing didn’t care to buy food as she directly rushed towards the door of the medicine store.
The Zhou family’s medicine store was located along the main street. The store was not large, but there were quite a few kinds of spices lined on the shelves. Some were cheap, while some were particularly valuable. If not for these spices that were worth a thousand gold and just destroyed by the fire, the Zhou family would not lose all their money.
At the door stood a welcoming fellow, average in stature, withered and thin like a firewood stick. As soon as he saw Zhou Qing he immediately warmly greeted her: “Young Lady is back!”
“Young Lady is back! The master and the lady were talking about you just now.”
The man named Yu Fu was her father’s young apprentice tasked with the mixing of herbs. Although he was not talented, he was born with a clever mouth. Able to coax the customer’s heart, luring them to spend more to buy a lot of spices.
Zhou Qing smiled and nodded as she lifted the curtain, and hurriedly walked toward the backyard. There she saw Mother Xi’s hands holding a tea bowl as she sipped while the copper stove overflowed with wisps of smoke. She breathed in and smelled that the stove was lit by cloves.
When Mother Xi heard footsteps, she looked up and saw Zhou Qing standing in front of the door, her well-maintained face filled with joy.
“Qing’er, why are you back?”
Seeing her mother’s younger and healthier appearance, without the deathly pallor she had when she was seriously ill, Zhou Qing’s eyes turned red. A sheer liquid mist accumulated under her almond eyes, and along with her slightly pale complexion, it made people quite distressed.
Mother Xi took out a handkerchief to wipe her tears as she said, “Why did you suddenly burst into tears? Was Luo Yu giving you a hard time? If he has done something wrong, let your brother teach him a lesson ……”
Her heart stirred. Zhou Qing’s body was trembling gently. She couldn’t help but fall into Mother Xi’s arms and sobbed out.
The maid who was waiting in the house retreated with a wave of Mother Xi’s hand. Mother Xi frowned and asked, “What is going on, tell me?”
Zhou Qing raised her teary eyes, hesitating whether she should say what Luo Yu had done. If she did, her mother would immediately compel her to divorce him. If that’s the case, how else could she take her revenge?
“Nothing, I just missed you.” Zhou Qing wiped her tears while her stomach grumbled.
Mother Xi cried and laughed. “How old are you? How dare you come back to your mother’s house with a hungry stomach?”
Zhou Qing sat on the round bench as she complained, “You wouldn’t know. It’s not that your daughter doesn’t want to eat enough. It’s because the Luo family only has cold steamed buns left, so I couldn’t eat them. I thought I’d come back here to eat something good.”
“Didn’t I send ten taels of silver to the Luo family every month? That’s a lot of money.”
Father Zhou and Mother Xi only have one son and one daughter, and they loved their youngest daughter, Zhou Qing, very much. In the Great Zhou Dynasty, an ordinary family of three could live a good life with one tael of silver per month, and now she gave ten taels, and Mother Luo treated Qing’er like this?
Zhou Qing was unwilling to let the Luo family take advantage of her again. Her eyes flashed and said, “All the silver you have sent went to my mother-in-law’s hands, and your daughter didn’t even see a penny.”
With red eyes, she resolutely spoke and Mother Xi’s heart felt awfully troubled. “I will speak with your mother-in-law about this but with moral sense. Although our family is a merchant family, this isn’t like the former dynasty. Your brother will soon take the examination; if he passes, his status might not necessarily be worse than Luo Yu. Yet they still treated you this way. “
The Luo family’s hearts and livers have long since been blackened. For them, Zhou Qing had nothing to offer them, so she took Mother Xi’s hand and gently advised.
“Mother, you don’t have to go to your mother-in-law. In the future, just give the silver directly to your daughter.”
Mother Xi was a little hesitant. “You married Luo Yu. You are a member of the Luo family. If you don’t impart your private wealth, I’m afraid that son-in-law will not feel good in his heart.”
What Luo Yu thought, Zhou Qing did not care. Anyway, as long as the Zhou family’s medicine store was open, the Luo family wouldn’t dare make too much noise. Otherwise, when the family’s rich in-laws tore their faces, they wouldn’t be able to do as they pleased.
In order not to make her mother worry, Zhou Qing changed the subject and asked.
“Where is my father?”
Mother Xi sighed, pointed to the study not far away, and said, “He’s resting in the house. I don’t know what’s been going on lately. He’s been feeling depressed and stuffy in his heart and chest. He’s not getting better even after taking a few pills.”
Zhou Qing’s heart quivered. She remembered that in her last life, Father Zhou died cruelly because of depression. She originally thought that this problem only occurred after the Zhou family’s defeat, but didn’t expect it to begin this early.
After absentmindedly drinking a bowl of lotus seed porridge, she got up and went to the study. Just after she pushed open the door, she saw her father sitting in front of the desk, holding an herbal book in his hand and studying it carefully.
Hearing his daughter’s voice, Father Zhou put the book down, and a smile appeared on his elegant face. “Qing’er, why have you come back?”
Zhou Qing stood in front of him and snatched the herbal book, her petite face was filled with discontent, worriedly she asked, “Mother has told me that your heart has been feeling stuffy. You should rest. Why were you reading this herbal book?”
Knowing that Zhou Qing was worried about his health, Father Zhou explained, “The herbal recipe records a medicine called Ding Shen Decoction Round. It is made in the shape of a pill. Once placed in one’s mouth, it could regulate the three vital organs, to treat the heart and chest of someone with this disease.”
“Is that so?” Zhou Qing casually flipped through the pages. She sat down and wrote down the recipe for the Ding Shen Decoction Round, intending to return to the Luo family to study it slowly. After all, the aromatic herbs were to be eaten, so there should be no half-assed mistakes.
While transcribing the recipe, she came across another tranquilizing herb that could also relieve depression and calm emotions.
“Why don’t you try this tranquilizing herb first? I’ll mix it for you.”
Zhou Qing sat on her knees before the herb table, took out the spoon from the herbal bottle, and crushed the rice slop-soaked ground elm, xuan ginseng, and the other ingredients.
The spoon was new, polished with good bamboo, and didn’t possess any barbs. However the handle of the spoon cut her finger, and crimson blood dropped on the spices while she felt a burst of stinging pain from her fingertip.
When her father saw this, he hurriedly asked his subordinates to bring medication for his daughter’s wound.
Probably because she had experienced horrendous suffering in her previous life, Zhou Qing didn’t feel any big deal in the face of this small wound, “Father, you quickly mix the tranquilizing herb, I have never smelled this spice before, and I don’t know if it really has a tranquilizing effect.”
Her father couldn’t help so he changed the clip, continuing to mix the herb.
Because of the preparation for the tranquilizing herb, the spices required were quite valuable. Even if it were stained with blood, Father Zhou couldn’t bear to throw everything away, but only to continue. He ignited the spices, and after a few moments of work, there was a light fragrance that spread in the study.
Zhou Qing was reborn less than half a day ago. Originally, there was still a lot of anger in her chest, but after smelling the tranquilizing herb, her mind has surprisingly slowly calmed down.
“This tranquilizing herb is indeed special.” She couldn’t help but praise.
Father Zhou shook his head slightly. He frowned tightly, chanting under his breath, “It shouldn’t be like this. I’ve mixed tranquilizing herbs before. It clearly didn’t have this kind of scent, and the efficacy was far worse. Could it be that today’s spices were of excellent quality?”
After decades of running a herbal store, Father Zhou’s eyes for identifying spices were no longer mediocre. He looked carefully several times, but didn’t find any difference in the ground elm, ginseng and the rest of the ingredients. The only thing that changed was the blood beads that gushed out of Qing’er’s fingertip.
The only thing that changed was the blood beads that came out of Qing’er’s fingertip. Or was it that by mixing in human blood, the efficacy of the anthroposophic herb will increase exponentially?
Zhou Qing also thought of this. She looked down at her finger wrapped in white cloth and tentatively asked, “Father, was it your daughter’s blood?”
Her father looked serious. “Whether it was or not, you mustn’t mention this to outsiders. It is best to keep it in your stomach, remember?”
The Zhou dynasty used herbs, not to mention the Zhou family’s medicine store in the capital. She had known since she was a child that the Zhou people valued herbs. If her blood really had a calming effect, she was afraid it would be a disaster, not a blessing.
Closing her eyes, she couldn’t help but think of her soul staying on the platform during that period. Perhaps because of this reason that it was different.
Zhou Qing was genuinely puzzled. So she shook her head and stopped thinking about it. She stayed at her parents’ house for more than an hour and rushed back to the Luo Household. As soon as she reached the door, she saw Luo Xinyue.
Her sister-in-law walked with slight difficulty, as if she was suffering from pain.
Thinking of last night’s horrible experience, wouldn’t Zhou Qing know what Luo Xinyue had done?
I am afraid that she has already cooked the rice with Wu Yongye.
“Xinyue.” She called out.
Luo Xinyue was horrified. Panicking, she looked back, and when she saw Zhou Qing, her face turned ugly and there was a trace of weakness hidden under her eyes.
“Sister-in-law, why are you here?”
Zhou Qing’s eyes were sharp as she saw the red marks on her neck. In her last life, she was worried about Luo Xinyue being humiliated, so she told her about it, and now she just pretended as if she didn’t see it.
After a pause, she continued, “What about you? I remember that Xinyue left earlier. I didn’t expect you to return this late.”
Luo Xinyue was afraid that what she had done would be revealed by Zhou Qing. She was like a rabbit in her arms, fluttering and jumping. Luo Xinyue said in a trembling voice, “I wandered around the street, but I didn’t expect to forget the time, so I was late.”