Chapter 79: The Repercussions of Splitting a Family
He wants to swindle a proper young lady and convert her into a Buddhist nun?? Is she so poorly off at the Li Manor that she might as well be a nun?!
Song Jiaoyue hurriedly pulled Long Heng back while smiling at Grand Master Hui Guang, “Grand Master, although you have a unique insight into people, Madame Bai is already married. What’s more, her heart hasn’t discarded the secular world. How can Grand Master force someone to convert?”
Unexpectedly, Hui Guang let out a sigh and spoke, “Reincarnation in the secular world is as ephemeral as bubbles in water. This female patron is one of the rare people born into this world with an affinity for Buddha. Why must you be embroiled into the matters of this world again? What a pity.”
“Many thanks for Grand Master’s pointers.” She’d never thought about leaving to become a nun. If it was to guide her back to her world, then she would’ve been delighted to go along.
Grand Master Hui Guang recited Buddha’s name and said, “This old monk will never give up.”
The corners of Bai Xiangxiu’s mouth twitched. This Grand Master was extremely odd! “Grand Master, you are very dedicated.”
She issued a friendly reminder, but who knew that her words would make Grand Master Hui Guang laughed out loud. He replied, “True, true. Lady Patron does indeed stand out from the masses.”
Bai Xiangxiu was a little speechless. She’d merely spoken a few words. How had it turned into her standing out from the masses?
The old master was similarly speechless. He’d merely wanted to take the opportunity of meeting the grand master to praise the fourth madame. How did it turn into Grand Master Hui Guang taking a fancy to her? He thought about the great efforts he had taken to invite the grand master, but never once had the grand master mentioned inviting him to live in the temple, nor expounding on Buddha’s scriptures for him.
Suddenly, Grand Master Hui Shou coughed, and leaned to the side. Astonishingly, he kept leaning further and further until he toppled over. Startled, everyone ran over to him.
“Grand Master! What’s wrong, Grand Master?” The old master was the first to arrive at the grand master’s side. He was also constantly gasping for breath, possibly out of his anxiety. Suddenly, he flushed red and dry-retched twice.
What’s going on? Song Jiaoyue promptly instructed someone to call the doctor. Everyone flew into a flurry of action and tidied up the couch in a side room next to the hall, carrying the two people there.
Bai Xiangxiu also felt that the situation was strange. How could two perfectly fine people fall ill at the same time? Not only that, there was a sweet kind of fragrance permeating the air. What could this scent be? She hadn’t paid attention to it earlier, but she noticed it now that she’d raised her head.
This Buddha hall was surprisingly decorated by many pots of tulips, all of which were in full bloom. It was very rare to be able to see those kind of flowers in this season, not to mention having them in full bloom.
Wait a second, there were no such flowers in ancient times! But she had no time to ponder that issue as she remembered the more important information she once learned regarding those tulips. Although these flowers were very pretty, the plant itself contained a fair amount of poison.
It might not have been a problem if it was only a single plant. However, there were many blooming tulips being cultivated in this closed environment, turning the situation pessimistic. She recalled that the symptoms for tulip poisoning would present itself in the form of chest pain, nausea, dyspnea and even loss of consciousness. However, she didn’t know if anyone would believe her words if she were to say it right now.
The doctor arrived as she was wrestling with her dilemma. After he took the pulse of the two old men, he shook his head and explained, “Their pulses are in complete chaos. Please forgive this one’s incompetence. I am unable to determine why they were afflicted at the same time, and with the same symptoms.”
Song Jiaoyue became anxious. Two more masters of the Song family came in to see their father at this time.
There was now a crowd of five men in the room. The presences within the room became mixed and the circulation of air slowed even further. Even Bai Xiangxiu felt her breathing became slightly labored as her nose filled with the scent of tulips.
She hastily used her handkerchief to cover her nose and searched for a place to hide. Unfortunately, it was now a disordered crowd in the room, which had nothing to do with her as she was somehow partially hidden behind Long Heng’s tall stature.
The male lead’s temperament was molded into that of a typical male lead. There was always one eye catching aspect of his personality that left others unable to ignore him.
Bai Xiangxiu was nevertheless grateful to him. At least, he wasn’t ignoring her and when he shielded her, he was afraid that others would notice, so he silently readjusted his position. He might be chauvinistic and concerned with face, but he still knew how to show consideration.
Unfortunately, he belonged to the female lead.
As she dithered, she discovered that the five men all wore darkened expressions. It appeared that it was a common thing for their father’s complexion to be abnormal. The four of them turned and began to criticize their younger brother.
Their younger brother, Song Hui, was the father of the supporting male lead, Song Jiaoyue. He was an assistant minister, a third rank official. He bore some physical similarities with Song Jiaoyue, but his brows were often tightly furrowed, bearing witness to his strict personality.
There was a common practice amongst the population that the youngest son was in charge of taking care of the parents after the various branches of the family split up, and the youngest usually inherited the family’s properties at the same time. The old master had worked as an official his entire life, thus he had amassed much property.
When the Song family had split up, the other four brothers had more of the property distributed to them. However, the old master had felt that his youngest son had achieved many accomplishments, and his eldest grandson was worth investing in, so he hadn’t gifted his other sons much land.
Naturally, the four brothers were extremely resentful about this state of affairs. However, they didn’t dare to argue with their father. As a result, this resentment was vented on Song Hui. These years when the family met, the brothers never showed Song Hui good expressions.
Song Hui didn’t actually seek his father’s property or businesses, but the old master had said that these properties were set aside for Song Jiaoyue, so he could only look after it for his son.
At first, he hadn’t thought that his brothers would bicker with him. This turned out to be a sad mistake.
The main reason was that his four brothers had no real accomplishments to their name, and had been raised by their father since youth. As such, they’d become prodigal good-for-nothings. They had no plans of making money, and only plans for how to spend it. Even if they had a mountain of gold, it would still be spent until nothing was left.
This was when Song Hui understood the old master’s intentions. Splitting up the family like this was to let them achieve self-sufficiency. After all, he was getting on in his years and couldn’t support his four eldest sons for the rest of their lives.
However, Song Hui never expected that they would bear a grudge and hold him responsible, even going to the lengths of finding an opportunity to criticize him in front of Prince Li! Fortunately, Prince Li didn’t appear to be someone interested in others’ business. He simply sat on the side while being served tea by his concubine behind him.
In fact, Long Heng wanted to turn and leave, but since the old master’s status was unknown, him leaving now would cause Song Jiaoyue to think too much. Their friendship had run many years, and he was naturally different from others. It would just be a burden on that girl, having to stand behind him on her injured foot.
When the five Song brothers came in, they first saw their father and Grand Master Hui Shou before greeting Prince Li. Although Long Heng was a prince not of royal blood, he was still the only official to be bestowed the title of prince in the imperial court.
The eldest brother couldn’t hold his impatience in after he performed his greetings. He asked the doctor, “Tell me, what do you mean you can’t find the cause of this ailment? Why are both of them like this, but you’re still unable to find out why?”
The doctor frowned and replied, “It doesn’t seem to be a disease.”
“If it’s not a disease, then what it is? Are you going to tell me it’s poison?” The second eldest brother smiled coolly, clearly implying something.
Song Hui frowned and said, “Second Brother, how could there be a poisoning in our home?”
Song Jiaoyue was actually mirroring his father’s expression right now, but a trace of frostiness appeared between his furrowed brows. His own uncles were talking thus in front of outsiders! He was really hard pressed to feel close to them with behavior like this.