“42.6 jin, we will call that 46 jin. That would be 860 wen!” Shopkeeper Qian knew better than to ask where did these game meats came from. He did the math using his abacus and have the result for her in no time.
“Thank you, Shopkeeper Qian! And please also help me keep my secret. We will be selling you more of my brother’s game meats to you in the future!” Naturally Gu Ye could read his surprise and gave some sort of an explanation. After all, most of these games came from the traps dug by Gu Ming, technically she wasn’t lying.
Gu Ye mumbled to herself on her way back to the mountain on the little path after she received the money from Shopkeeper Qian and also purchased some fine grains from him. The hidden guard, who has been following her from a distance away, heard what she was saying to herself. He recalled his master catching pheasants and rabbits like a food and was very baffled – what was so special about this little girl that could make his master did so much for her? Was he… was he into ribs? But wasn’t this small “ribs” a bit on the young side regardless?
That night, while resting from a tree not far from the Gu’s, the hidden guard heard a plan that was plotted against the subject of his protection.
It was deep into fall and the temperatures vary greatly between day time and night in the mountains. The Gu’s had already lit their stove. After rocking Xiao Zhuang to sleep, Mrs. Gu woke up the man who had just dozed off.
Gu Qiao, who was woken up by his wife, was very impatient, “What is it? I worked all day long, can’t you at least let me get some sleep at night?”
“Hey, daddy of the kids! I have been giving this a lot of thoughts lately. The luck of this family and my voice… everything has to do with Gu Ye! I told you she brings us back luck and you didn’t even believe me!” said Mrs. Gu through gritted teeth.
Gu Qiao frowned and asked, “What do you mean?”
“Look! You were the number two shopkeeper in town before; you married a maid released from a wealthy family. Your days were going up and up. But ever since that girl was born, you were kicked out by your employer and had to come back to this backward and poverty-stricken village. And your late wife Miao. She was fine all along and died so sudden of some mysterious illness. That was all because that girl brings bad luck! Look at my voice! I only lost it right after I scolded her!” No wonder everybody thought Mrs. Gu had been a different person this entire time; she had been quietly thinking about all these things all along!
Gu Qiao thought about what she had said and there seemed to be some truth in it.
See that her man was starting to be convinced, she pressed on with her agenda, “As long as she was here with us, our days will never get any better. Perhaps as she grows older, the effect of her bad luck will be exemplified even more. Our Xiao Zhuang is still so young, I don’t want her to have any negative impact on him….”
“Well, what are you suggesting? She’s a human being, we can’t just kill her!” Gu Qiao had not a shred of concern or fondness for Gu Ye, just nonchalant and displease.
“OH, listen to you. Am I that kind of a person?”1 said Mrs. Gu as she rolled her eye and continued. “I have been asking around. There’s an old woman in town who would pick and buy kids from poor families. She’d then train them and sell them as maids into wealthy families.”
“You mean… to sell her?” There was some hesitation in his voice.
“It’s not that uncommon in these days. You gave her life, you raised her to this age. You can consider the money you get from selling her as a token of appreciation from her to you as her father! Said Mrs. Gu ever so matter-of-factly.
Gu Qiao thought about it long and hard and finally agreed with Mrs. Gu. As such, a plot against Gu Ye had begun.
1. Matter of fact, YES!
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