Chapter 10: It’s him! It’s him!
The servant market was not open everyday, so Gu Yu Qi could only wait until the 15th of this month, which was seven days away.
In Dan Xia courtyard, only Yan Zhi was useful.
However, she was still young.
In order to prevent Liu-shi from causing any more trouble, Liang-shi simply sent Chun Xing to take care of Gu Yu Qi at Dan Xia courtyard.
Only then did Gu Yu Qi realise that Chun Xing was not an ordinary maid and that she knew martial arts.
She had not even noticed this in her previous life.
Every night before she went to bed, she would pester Chun Xing to tell her some things about Liang-shi’s youth.
The more she heard, the more she felt that her mother’s marriage had been too unjust.
She should not be hidden away in this small Marquis’ residence.
She should have a broader world where she could be unrestrained.
Gu Yu Qi even had some thoughts about taking her mother out of the capital.
Whenever she was free, Gu Yu Qi went to Wan Xin Zhai to accompany Liang-shi.
With Gu Yu Qi around her, and with her previous venting, her illness really got better.
Perhaps it was because she had been admonished by Gu Huai Zhong, but Liu-shi became more obedient and came over everyday to greet them.
Even if she had nothing to say, she had to act close.
Liang-shi was displeased but she could not be angry at a smiling person so she went along with it.
Gu Si Yang had suffered a loss from Gu Yu Qi and had been beaten by his father.
He also knew that it was not good to provoke this elder sister and he looked at her with a bit of hatred in addition to awe.
He had also been taught a lesson by Gu Huai Zhong and now when he saw Liang-shi, he knew to greet her as mother.
As for Liu-shi’s daughter, she naturally followed her brother.
However, while Gu Si Yang called Gu Yu Qi his sister respectfully on the surface, he rolled his eyes behind his back.
Gu Yu Qi did not care about this.
Were there not plenty of people who hated her in the past life? So what if a small kid rolled his eyes at her?
Liu-shi had temporarily fallen lower and the entire Marquis’ residence was respectful to Liang-shi and Gu Yu Qi, even if only superficially.
Liu-shi also pretended to hand over the key of the residence to Liang-shi.
Liang-shi did not avoid it and accepted the key.
This Marquis’ residence was hers and there was no need to be polite with Liu-shi.
Liu-shi was so angry that she clenched her back teeth, but she could only smile on the surface.
Seeing the harmony in the Marquis’ residence, Gu Huai Zhong felt pleased.
He specially invited a master to give Gu Yu Qi classes.
Old Chen Han Lin was a retired member of the Imperial Academy and was a great scholar of the Qi Dynasty.
Originally, he had been unwilling to teach a little girl, but Gu Huai Zhong said that Gu Yu Qi was a child prodigy.
He became curious and thought about coming over to see what the so-called child prodigy in the Marquis’ residence was like, so he agreed to come and teach Gu Yu Qi.
Thanks to Gu Yu Qi’s hard work in calligraphy in her past life, she did not even need to practice calligraphy in this life.
She had good handwriting.
A ten-year-old girl wrote such elegant and graceful characters.
Not only was Chen Han Lin pleasantly surprised, he also began to like this smart little girl and taught in the Marquis’ residence with peace of mind.
The more he taught, the more he felt that Gu Yu Qi was intelligent and easily understood everything.
Also, Gu Yu Qi had her own views and opinions and could even discuss essays with him.
Chen Han Lin liked Gu Yu Qi more and more.
Even outside, he was full of praise for his new female student.
Through Chen Han Lin’s mouth, Gu Huai Zhong quietly spread the matter of Gu Yu Qi being a child prodigy.
Gu Yu Qi was unaware of this.
What she had diligently done for herself in her previous life, Gu Huai Zhong did for her in this life, but she was kept in the dark.
Gu Yu Qi learned easily.
Chen Han Lin only came to teach her for two hours a day.
Gu Yu Qi spent the rest of her time practising martial arts.
She had some foundations from her previous life and she was smart, so she practised well and learned everything quickly.
In this life, she worked hard and made progress everyday.
Gu Huai Zhong was born a military commander.
He was happy to see that his eldest daughter was not only outstanding in literature, but also loved martial arts.
When he went to Liang-shi’s place and met Gu Yu Qi, he would wait patiently to see his daughter fight for a while.
With his experience of fighting on the battlefield, he would give tips to his daughter whenever he was interested.
Gu Huai Zhong was willing to teach and Gu Yu Qi had no reason to not learn it well.
Over and over again, Gu Huai Zhong also liked this daughter more and more.
Seeing his daughter’s beautiful and immature face full of seriousness, Gu Huai Zhong was incredibly happy.
Liu Yue had thought that it was too difficult for her child to learn martial arts and because of that, Gu Si Yang did not followed him and had instead entered the Tai Yuan Academy to study.
Originally, everything was bad and only reading was good.
Chinese officials had always been more important than soldiers since a long time ago.
If his son’s reading could be promising, he would also give praise.
Yet, he could not help but feel sad that there was no one who would inherit his own martial arts.
Since it was impossible for Gu Si Yang to follow him to practice martial arts, then all the more he would treat her like a jewel.
This eldest daughter was willing to endure hardship and it made Gu Huai Zhong very surprised.
In the following days, Gu Huai Zhong would go to Liang-shi’s Wan Xin Zhai whenever he was free to watch Gu Yu Qi practice martial arts.
Liang-shi saw it but did not know how to feel.
If it had been before, she would have been happy but she had lost all feelings for Gu Huai Zhong now.
However, she was still happy that Gu Huai Zhong was fond of Gu Yu Qi.
After all, Gu Huai Zhong was Gu Yu Qi’s father.
It was just that although Gu Huai Zhong went to Wan Xin Zhai everyday, he never stayed overnight and would still go back to Wang Yue Ju everyday.
Liang-shi never asked him to stay.
In her eyes, the Gu Huai Zhong that had belonged to her had already died.
Wan Xin Zhai was full of peace and happiness.
Liu Yue gritted her teeth with hatred, wishing she could destroy her Wang Yue Ju inside and out to relieve her anger.
Right now, she was fighting a battle for a virtuous name with Liang-shi, so naturally, she could not strike out first.
She had to watch from the sidelines; there were many days ahead.
When Gu Huai Zhong came over everyday, she would serve him with utmost tenderness, making Gu Huai Zhong feel that his current life was simply too perfect.
Today was the 15th and the servant market in the western suburbs outside the capital had opened.
There were two types of things sold in this market.
One was a death contract, the other was a live contract.
The death contract, as its name suggested, meant that once a person was sold, they could no longer redeem their life and they had no control over their life or death, unless their master was willing to let them go.
However, the live contract had a time limit.
Once the time limit was up, they could redeem their life with money and restore their freedom.
Most of the contracts in the market were live contracts.
After all, even if there was only a slight chance of a way out, nobody wanted to put the rest of their life on the line.
There were quite a lot of death contracts though.
Many of them were people who simply could not survive anymore or they were kidnapped children.
Death contracts were priced higher than live contracts.
Liang-shi took Gu Yu Qi out of the Marquis’ residence early in the morning and also brought her ten guards from Jiangnan.
Gu Yu Qi wore a pink brocade jacket, a plain white pleated dress underneath, and a brocade cape of the same colour as the jacket.
The cuffs and neckline of the jacket were white mink fur, which made her little face more agile and supple.
Liang-shi had combed her hair into a braid and the beginning was coiled on top with the ends hanging fluffy and soft behind her head.
In the braid, Liang-shi had also carefully added a pink and blue hair band with pearls, which made Gu Yu Qi look fresh and light without compromising on luxurious beauty.
She was afraid that Gu Yu Qi would be cold, so after alighting from the carriage, she fastened a hood on Gu Yu Qi’s cloak.
The end result was a little beauty carved in jade and snow.
She held Gu Yu Qi with one hand and put her other hand in a glove made of white fox hair.
In the morning, she was pestered by Gu Yu Qi and she also wore a light pink jacket.
With Gu Yu Qi, they were two beautiful people, one big and one small, walking on the road looking like dazzling scenery.
Two guards and two maids were in front of them opening the way, and they were also guarded by two guards and two maids on their sides, with another six guards and two maids behind them.
They were very conspicuous.
Therefore, when Liang Huai Yu and Gu Yu Qi entered the market in the western suburbs, they caused a stir.
Those with good eyesight knew that a noble lady had come to personally buy someone and they all surged forward but were blocked by the guards.
“Which family’s madam is that, so grand.
She’s also beautiful, but I just wonder what the little girl she’s holding onto looks like.
It would be nice if she was half as beautiful as her mother.” In a restaurant on the side of the road, there were two young men in brocade clothes standing by the window.
Gu Yu Qi had a hood on her head so the two of them could not see her face from their position in a higher area.
The slightly shorter boy had cold eyebrows.
He glanced lightly at the pair of mother and daughter who were walking towards them.
The morning light cast a faint halo behind the them and when the pair walked together with snow under their feet, they looked like beauties with flowers in the clouds.
When Gu Yu Qi and Liang Huai Yu walked into the teahouse, a gust of cold wind suddenly blew up and rolled up the snow on the ground.
The snowflakes entered people’s eyes, making them close their eyes, and the cold wind even blew off the hood on the little girl’s head.
Involuntarily, the little girl raised her head.
When her originally unfocused gaze fell onto the window on the second floor facing the street, her pupils suddenly tightened and the smile on her face froze instantly.
Inside the quaint wooden window on the second floor, a young man in a dark blue robe stood by the window with half of his body visible.
His black hair was like a waterfall and he wore a golden crown.
His skin was supple and delicate like white jade and his eyebrows were like oblique knives.
His eyes were icy without the slightest warmth and his thin lips were tightly pursed.
He stared at her silently for just a moment, but Gu Yu Qi felt that everything in the world had lost its brilliance and in that vastness, only he was vividly cold.
It made her shudder.
It was him!
Gu Yu Qi’s heart palpitated for a while and her fingertips lost warmth in an instant.
Just for a moment, Gu Yu Qi felt as if she was still living in her previous life.
Images of living together with him vividly flashed past her eyes, covered with a layer of red blood.
It was more like the fire before her death, scorching the bottom of her eyes, making the cold young man before her seem more intense.
“Ah Nan?” Noticing something off with her daughter, Liang Huai Yu glanced down at her daughter.
Gu Yu Qi immediately came back to her senses.
She pretended not to care and pulled back up the hood that had been blown behind her head by the wind.
She covered her head and face, and then smiled sweetly at her mother, “It’s just that the wind was blowing and the hood fell off.
“Hm.” Liang Huai Yu did not suspect her.
She smiled and pulled her daughter forward.
The two brocade-robed teenagers upstairs obviously saw Gu Yu Qi’s face, and the taller one couldn’t help but tut twice, “The little girl is actually so beautiful.
It really is a case of excelling one’s predecessors.
Over time, her beauty would definitely cause the downfall of states and cities I wonder which residence they’re from?”
“If Fifth Brother is interested, then I will go and find out,” the cold boy said slowly, his voice like ice water passing through a stone.
“Haha, that won’t be necessary.
She’s still young.” The young man known as the Fifth Brother laughed and shook his head, “I was just curious.”
The cold young man stopped talking, but his eyes followed the petite pink back until it disappeared at the corner of the street.
A dark light flowed in his icy eyes and it was unknown what he was thinking.
It was her…
The boy grasped the windowsill with a slight force and his knuckles turned a little white.
“Yun Ke, I, Gu Yu Qi, will use the light of fire to illuminate the road today with my blood as the guide.
Let the gods in heaven stand witness.
If there is an afterlife, you and I will never meet again in any life.”
The voice that seemed to carry endless resentment, anger, and injustice still lingered in his ears.
It was as if it had just happened but it had been as long as a lifetime ago.
It was so long ago that he had almost forgotten it himself, but the memory had been revived by that small figure in front of him.
A cold smile gradually overflowed from the boy’s lips.
Never see each other again? Hm? Then what was that just now?
“What is Xiao Qi thinking?” Yun Yi’s voice came from beside him.
Yun Ke lowered his head a little and replied lightly, “Nothing.”
Follow me downstairs to the market to take a look.” Yun Yi walked ahead after saying that and Yun Ke followed with every step.
Did he see her just now? Gu Yu Qi’s mind was in chaos and she mechanically followed her mother’s footsteps.
She had not met him for the first time in such a place during her previous life.
Gu Yu Qi felt her heart beating and she was short of breath, as if she was about to have a heart attack.
However, she had never been here in her last life.
Thinking of this, she felt a little better.
It was because of her changes that she had changed the place where she had first met him.
Maybe she would not have to cling onto him obstinately in this life.
That would be good, very good.
Gu Yu Qi could not help comforting herself in her heart.
Her priority was to pave a path for herself! Pave a path! Gu Yu Qi sorted out her chaotic thoughts and pushed aside the disturbing encounter with Yun Ke for the time being.
She looked up at both sides of the street market.
Every 15th of the month, this place would become a servant market and there would be people bringing children of prostitutes or labour workers for people to choose from.
Gu Yu Qi looked at the people sitting or standing on both sides and she could not help but feel a little sad.
Among them, there were young and old; some had apathetic eyes, some were timid, and some others were crying.
However, no matter how they behaved, they were no longer people in the eyes of others, merely a commodity.
She was not a goddess and could not save them all.
She could only go with the flow.
Just as her gaze passed over the “goods” one by one, she suddenly heard a voice which made her turn around and look back.
“Stinky brat! What do you think your father sold you for?! Daring to be picky! So what if it’s a male brothel? Maybe someone will take a fancy to you and take you to eat and drink well! Still being unappreciative of favours!” There was a rude voice, followed by the sound of a whip striking flesh.
The whip landed on the back of a skinny child.
The winter clothes on the child’s body were already worn out.
Two strikes of the whip not only tore through the clothes, but also drew a faint tinge of blood.
“What’s wrong? Still pretending to be a rich uncle? Go ahead and be picky!” The big man continued to yell, “Always trying to die! Being returned by someone every time! I’ll kill you today and pretend the money I used to buy you had just been thrown into away into water!” The whip rained heavily on the child’s back.
The people next to him just watched numbly and no one went up to stop him.
The child was pretty good.
He had been badly beaten until bloody but he still did not say a word and remained unmoving.
Just when Gu Yu Qi thought the child had been beaten to death, he suddenly raised his face and looked at Gu Yu Qi.
Under his messy hair, his face was not clearly visible.
Only his pair of eyes showed and although they were lifeless, they were full of stubbornness and indifference.
He only glanced at Gu Yu Qi before lowering his eyes, but Gu Yu Qi’s heart involuntarily jumped.
She recognised those eyes.
“Mother!” Gu Yu Qi hurriedly pulled Liang Huai Yu’s hand.
She pointed at the child and called out to her mother, “Buy him! I want him!”
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