When Yu Qiu came back, the old man drank the water and finally told the whole story.
The old man’s name was Yu Yuankai. He was a businessman when he was young. He had done a good job in business. Not only did he open many stores, he also bought a mansion that was just one block away from the magistrate’s house. He also married the daughter of a scholar’s family. The husband and wife were very loving. Even when the lady had been gone for many years, the old man never thought of taking a concubine.
It was not until the old man was nearly half a hundred years old that Mrs.Yu finally gave birth to a son for him, which was Yu Qiu.
The old man was very happy. However, the Yu Family’s business wasn’t going well a year after Yu Qiu was born. Later on, the old man had to run around in order to raise his family.
When Yu Qiu was five years old, the old man went out again. At this time, a group of bandits came to Yulian County, where they were now living in. The bandits burned, killed and plundered in the city. Many people suffered, even the magistrate’s house. The Yu Family’s guards took Mrs. Yu and Yu Qiu with them to escape, but the carriage was overturned by the bandits.
Because of this, Mrs. Yu died and Yu Qiu became stupid.
When the old man came back, he was so depressed that he failed all the businesses that he could barely maintain. He also became addicted to gambling and alcohol, and now he had nothing but the four walls of his house.
Since these things happened after Yu Qiu was born, many people blamed him for the decline of the Yu Family. They believed Yu Qiu was a death star through and through. However, Yu Yuankai never thought so. No matter what happened, no matter how difficult things got, he never thought of abandoning Yu Qiu, or even treating Yu Qiu, who had never known the world, as a burden. In Yu Qiu’s past life, Yu Yuankai tried to protect Yu Qiu until he died.
Knowing these things, Yu Qiu was once again deeply moved by his old man.
Then he thought of his first question, “So what’s the relationship between our family and the magistrate’s family?”
“I just said it,” said Yu Yuankai. “Our house used to be one block away from the magistrate’s house.”
“So our two families used to have a good relationship?”
“No,” said Yu Yuankai. “The magistrate doesn’t like me for being a businessman.”
“When I was a kid, did I use to play with their gongzi?”
“That’s it.” Yu Yuankai frowned for a moment and thought, “Xiao-gongzi’s family is very strict with him that he couldn’t see you a few times a year. How could he play with you?”
Yu Qiu was speechless. “So, how does our family and their family seem to have nothing to do with each other?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Yu Yuankai said as a matter of factly.
“Why does Xiao Chunmian help us?” Yu Qiu finally couldn’t help but ask this question.
Yu Yuankai looked at him for a moment in surprise, then nodded his head clearly, “I was wondering why you were curious about their family, and it turns out that you had met him… Alas, that young man of the Xiao family is such a good boy. He is not the same as his black-hearted father at all.”
So the reason why Xiao Chunmian was so helpful… was just because…
“Because he is a good man!” Yu Yuankai said it directly.
Yu Qiu was relieved.
“Xiao-gongzi has the heart of a Bodhisattva.” Yu Yuankai continued to boast vigorously, “He doesn’t put on airs even when he’s the magistrate’s son. He is very kind to everyone. No matter who is looking for him, as long as he can help, he will never refuse!”
The corner of Yu Qiu’s mouth twitched as he thought: That’s a rare benevolent person.1冤大头 – (yuān dà tóu) Refers to a person who is taken advantage of because of their money.
Then, Yu Qiu groped for the silver ingot in his pocket and thought that he would have to pay it back more quickly. He shouldn’t make it difficult for good people…
But then Yu Yuankai immediately boasted, “No matter how much money people owes him, he does not collect debt!”
Hearing this, Yu Qiu almost fell from the bed. “Do you still owe him money?”
“A little…” Yu Yuankai played with his fingers, embarrassed. “Just a little bit…”
Yu Qiu quickly asked, “How much?”
“About more than a hundred or so.” Yu Yuankai answered with a finger.
One or two silver coins were equal to a string of a thousand copper coins. A thousand copper coins can buy two dans2a unit of measure for grain of rice. Each dan of rice was about enough to feed an adult mortal for three months. Yu Qiu had plopped up the abacus in his mind as he tried to convert the money to a value he could understand. The more he calculated, the more dizzy he became.
He was already struggling to pay back the three silver coins he owed Xiao Chunmian, and now he learned that his family owed the teenager enough silver for two ordinary people to live for more than twenty years!
Wait… When it came to owing money, those fierce men who almost killed the old man yesterday (and really killed him in the last life), they also came to collect debt, didn’t they? Although Yu Qiu hated those people so much that he could not bear the pain of gnashing his teeth, and no matter how violent and wrong those men were in collecting their debt, it was all justified, since Yu Qiu and his father should pay off their debt.
“What about those people yesterday?” Yu Qiu then asked. “How much do you owe them?”
Yu Yuankai’s gaze was constantly flickering. “Not much… Fifty-two…”
Well, fifty-two silver coins in debt was already enough to almost kill you. In contrast, they owed Xiao Chunmian more than a hundred coins… Yu Qiu couldn’t help but sigh again. The life of a good person is hard.
“There’s also from the Ji Family bank… probably fifty-two.”
“Father,” Yu Qiu took a deep breath, and then took another deep breath, psychologically preparing himself. Then, he asked with a straight face, “How much in all do you owe others? You can say it in one breath.”
As the saying goes, when a person has too many debt, one would stop worrying about them. With Yu Yuanka’s series of reports, Yu Qiu’s face became more and more relaxed. “Hahaha! What’s the difference between a total of two hundred with a total of five hundred? Father, don’t you agree?”
“Qiu-er…” Yu Yuankai was very worried. “Are you ok?”
“It’s nothing, I’m fine.” Yu Qiu wiped his face and asked. “How much money do we have left?”
Yu Yuankai lowered his head and nibbled on his fingers.
“Five hundred silver coins in total…” Yu Qiu couldn’t help but take a deep breath again. “How did you spend it?”
“Just…” Yu Yuankai’s head couldn’t be hung any lower. “In the gambling houses…”
Alright, Yu Qiu understood.
Thinking how his old man became addicted to gambling after the devastating changes in his life, Yu Qiu went soft in the end.
Yu Qiu silently kept all these debts in mind. He took note of them on by one, and then patted the old man on the shoulder. “Father, I’d better have a good rest. I’ll talk about the rest tomorrow morning.”
While Yu Yuankai was stunned, Yu Qiu had already shrunk in the corner of the bed. Yu Yuankai looked at the sky. Although he still wanted to talk with his son whose mind hadn’t woken up for so long, since it was in the middle of the night, it didn’t take him long to fall asleep.
But Yu Qiu, who had lain down earlier, did not sleep deeply.
This wasn’t because of those debts. The debts that Yu Qiu wrote down were simply the karma he owed to others. The silver itself was not important, for they were merely worldly possessions.
Because Yu Qiu’s spiritual power had finally recovered, he started doing something that he should have been doing a long time ago–integrating Qi refining while he slept, then into every moment of every day.
After overcoming the most difficult step, it was not complicated. Yu Qiu closed his eyes, relaxed his body, and thought about how last night felt like. Gradually, every breath he took made his qi circulate throughout his body.
After concentrating all his spiritual power on refining Qi, Yu Qiu quickly got tired. And because his body was relaxed, drowsiness surged. Still, Yu Qiu did not stop refining qi, nor did he try to suppress his sleepiness. However, as he alternated between qi refining and drooping into dreamland, he eventually fell into sleep.
Early the next morning, Yu opened his eyes with a refreshing feeling.
He was pleasantly surprised to find that, after sleeping for a night, his own zeal and vital essence was honed more powerfully. Yu Qiu was certain that he was now stronger than before.
Because his body had completely remembered the method of refining qi, Yu Qiu no longer had to constantly pay attention to it. He could control it spontaneously with a little spiritual power. Just like breathing, when he inhaled spiritual qi, it would naturally circulate in his body, whether he was sitting or lying down, moving or standing still.
Of course, this spontaneous kind of qi refining was not as efficient as the voluntary and focused type.
However, it was very time-consuming and exhausting to concentrate on refining qi. One should do it for two hours, at most, every day; otherwise the soul and body wouldn’t be able to bear it. In contrast, this spontaneous and natural method of integration was like water flowing out of a trickle–dripping constantly, it could wear through stone.
Yu Qiu carefully bypassed the old man as he got down from the bed. He exercised his limbs and carefully examined his body. After a close look, he felt satisfied with how productive he’d been.
Then he thought of the debts his family owed.
Although money was merely a worldly possession, since Yu Qiu still walked in this mortal world, he naturally knew that a man without money was no man at all.
When Yu Yuankai woke up, he saw Yu Qiu sitting cross-legged in the room, frowning and thinking about something. In front of Yu Qiu was the three silver coins that Xiao Chunmian gave him yesterday, which was almost the total amount that his family could use at present.
“Good son! Where did the silver come from?” Yu Yuankai was very surprised. He rushed to the ground, wanting to grab the silver.
Yu Yuankai’s hand had just reached halfway when Yu Qi took away all the silver.
Yu Yuankai was suddenly dazed. Has his son always been this fast? He didn’t seem so fast before.
Yu Qiu stood up from the ground, patted his trouser legs, and replied, “It was Xiao-gongzi who lent it to me yesterday.”
“I knew it! Xiao-gongzi really is a Bodhisattva!” Yu Yuankai happily reached out to Yu Qiu, “Good son, give it to me.”
Yu Qiu didn’t move, only swept a glance at him. “Xiao-gongzi told me yesterday that he wanted me to spend the money where I wanted.”
“So give it to me…”
“Give it to you?” Yu Qiu looked at him with a forced smile. “What will you do if I give it to you?”
Yu Yuankai rubbed his hands and said boldly, “Of course, it’s to earn back the money!”
Yu Qiu smiled but did not utter a single word.
“I’m sure I can get it back this time! How could I still not win after losing for so many years? My bad luck has come to an end. It must have come to an end. I think I can win this time! I can absolutely win back all that I lost before. Absolutely all… oh… absolutely…”
Yu Yuankai had been talking for some time, but Yu Qiu stilled looked at him silently without any expression.
Yu Yuankai mumbled to a stop. He realized his son was angry. What made him even more uncomfortable was seeing the deep disappointment in Yu Qiu’s eyes.
“Father,” said Yu Qiu. “I will take the money, and I will use it.”
“Qiu-er…” Yu Yuankai reached for his sleeve.
“I’m going out, but I will come back soon. You stay here and rest well.” Yu Qiu dodged him and went straight out the house.
Yu Yuankai looked at his departing back and felt sad, lonely and wronged.
After a while, Yu Qiu returned. He saw his old man nursing his grievances by hugging his knees and shrinking in the corner of the wall.
Yu Qiu paid him no mind and proceeded to clean the dusty stove at home. He added some firewood and then cooked the stuff that he just bought.
Yu Yuankai couldn’t help but go out to have a look. Yu Qiu had already set the table.
Although Yu Qiu had been in the valley for hundreds of years, since Xu Hong was always so greedy for good food, Yu Qiu’s cooking skills were honed.
What surprised Yu Yuankai even more was that half of the good dishes were meat dishes! Meat! There were all kinds of chicken, duck and fish! How long had it been since he last saw meat!
Yu Yuankai pounced on it.
Yu Qiu didn’t stop the old man. He was squatting on the edge of the stove, carefully preparing a pot of medicine.
Yu Yuankai digged into the meat dishes and gobbled them up. Halfway through eating, he suddenly thought that something was wrong.
“Qiu-er, where did these meat come from?” Yu Yuankai trembled as he asked. “Did you buy it?”
“Yes, I bought them.” Yu Qiu replied.
“How much were these?”
“Not much, just a hundred.”
Yu Yuankai was trembling so much that the meat in his mouth was about to fall out. He quickly swallowed and then jumped to his feet. He said, “A hundred coins! You spent a hundred coins on all these?”
“Otherwise?” Yu Qiu looked at him.
“You might as have let me…” Yu Yuankai was still trembling.
“Might as have let you bet?” Yu Qiu laughed. “If you buy these, you can at least eat meat. If you gamble, what could we get?”
Yu Yuankai’s grievances came back. He didn’t want to quarrel with Yu Qiu, but he couldn’t help saying, “We owe so much money now. Let me gamble. As long as I win, I’ll be fine. What’s the use of eating these things?”
“Father, that’s not the way to say it.” Yu Qiu stood up and looked at him and said, “Eating well is more useful than anything.”
Yu Yuankai choked. He looked at Yu Qiu’s thin figure, his son’s yellowish skin and dry face, and couldn’t help but feel hurt. He knew that the child had suffered too much with him. However, this family had already lost. They had already lost to their current situation; what could he have done? What qualifications did they have to pursue a better quality of life?
“Don’t think too much, father.” Yu Qiu came to him and said, “Eat while it’s hot.”
Yu Yuankai looked at the table full of good dishes and thought that the money would go to waste if he didn’t eat. Finally, he opened his mouth and desperately tried to eat everything.
Yu Qiu ate with him while carefully keeping an eye on him, so that the old man wouldn’t get sick if he ate too much. Waiting for the old man to finish eating, Yu Qiu pointed to the pot of medicine he had prepared earlier. “Remember to drink it later.”
“… How much was that? ” Yu Yuankai asked.
“Not much, only a hundred.”
Yu Yuanka continued to tremble, his fingers curling on top of his legs, as he sighed deeply.
“After drinking, take a break.” Yu Qiu went on and said, “Then we will go on the road.”
On the road? Yu Yuankai heard this word and looked at the food in front of him. When he thought more, he was shocked. “What are you talking about, Qiu-er? Where are you going? Don’t think about it!”
Yu Qiu asked, “Can we sell this house for a little silver?”
Yu Yuankai realized Yu Qiu that he had already considered the matter to heart. Still, he looked at him with uncertainty. “What’s wrong?”
“Our family has so much debt here…”
“So we’re running away!” Yu Yuankai was stunned.
Yu Qiu shook his head in a smile. “No, we’re going to another place to make money, and then come back to pay off the debt.”
“What am I supposed to be!” Yu Yuankai sighed helplessly, “I can’t even earn money here. How could it be easy to earn money in other places?”
“At least one place is good.”
Yu Qiu’s next three words scared Yu Yuankai’s face green.