He knew he was dreaming again.
This dream has been appearing in his life for decades, day and night, entangled. It seems to be deep in the bone marrow, but also flesh and blood. That means that he can not throw it away or dig, and it’s like he is missing something if it doesn’t come in a day.
But he had never had such a clear dream as clear as it really was.
“Gou'er, why are you so stubborn? Isn't my money your money? Do you think I made money for what? Just for you to finish education and make you have a feeling of exaltation upon fulfillment.”
You can give me a reason that why you are so stubborn! And who are you showing this to?”
“I know you don’t like me, but I have been this for many years. I can’t change this, and I don’t want to change!”
“Look at Hong'er, does he look like you?”
Xue Tingxiang felt that someone was shaking himself, opening his tired eyes and entering the dark inner room. Hu San's face was no longer young, and even the lines on his tent were so familiar that he knew he was dreaming.
It was just that the dream was too clear. And the sorghum incense were in the air. The stubborn and tight curl of the corner of her mouth all put him on the spot. And she was crying with anger, crystal clear and shining tears with colorful light. He wanted to reach out to touch but was shaken awake.
“Master, it is time to take medicine.”
When Xue Tingxiang was propped up to take medicine, he was at death's door from his illness. He had to be served even when he drank medicine. He was not like the extreme minister of the highest rank who had lived in the court for decades.
No, he is not the first Grand Secretary anymore.
He has written to resign and intends to return to his hometown to take care of himself. The Emperor has been approved, but he is homeless.
In fact, he didn't plan to go back.
“Minister Zhang, minister Wang, minister Li and minister Cao all come here to visit you. It is to obey your orders to stay out of the door. They come every day and again today. Would you like to meet them?”
What can they do to come here? They just think his illness is an expediency, waiting for him well and continue to take them struggle with the Emperor. But he is really ill and at death's door, all the medicine is ineffective.
“I see, then you can sleep a little longer.”
The room was quiet again, and Xue Tingxiang began to feel sleepy. He blinked again and again, and fell into sleep again.
“Minister Wang, how can you have the free time to visit me?”
Something in the eyes of Wang Mingsheng is complex, but he was still smiling from his face. He said: "After all, as officials, I should visit the first Grand Secretary anyway."
“I didn't expect that you would say such hypocritical words, but I'm afraid you're here to see if I'm dying for the Emperor?” Xue Tingxiang said it merely in mock.
Obviously an old man with a bleak face and apparently dying, but with his unpredictable turmoil, his eyes were somewhat inscrutable, which made people dare not neglect him.
After all, this is the first Grand Secretary Xue, and just the name alone is enough to deter everyone. That's the deep-rooted legacy of Xue Tingxiang's, for he had gone through the three dynasties for decades. It's just like a towering ancient wood. He doesn’t need to do anything but stand there, which is enough for everyone to fear.
Otherwise, why the new Emperor run out of means, but still dare not act rashly, just takes the roundabout strategy.
“It seems like there are many misunderstandings between you and the Emperor.”
Xue Tingxiang snorted and half closed his eyes. He didn't speak. But he was obviously acted out that he doesn’t want to notice Wang Mingsheng.
“Actually I come here for myself, and to see how the social climbers who abandoned his wife and children were lonely and miserable. If you are dead now, I am afraid that will not even a descendant for putting on mourning apparel. In fact, you are also too stubborn. Just a play, and giving a cold shoulder is OK. How can you take the fake play seriously and make yourself look like this? Is it because your conscience is uneasy, or is you afraid that your true face will be known to the world, scolded, and stink for thousands of years?”
“Saying that you have left your wife and children still gives you too much face, it should be killing your wife and children, isn't it, minister Xue?”
No one knows all of this. People only know that minister Xue had an original spouse before Mrs. Xue, but they don't know how is her ending. After all, long time ago. Xue Tingxiang has been standing on the court for decades. His former and current opponents are all trampled on his feet.
The world only knows that the first Grand Secretary is kind, polite and virtuous. However, he also has a vicious side. In these years, anyone who wants to make a fuss about his old things, has become a lonely ghost. No one knows how many injustices have been added to it, and Wang Mingsheng is the only one who can know.
“You, you are...”
Wang Mingsheng approached his face: "unfortunately, my mother's life is great, and my life is also great. The sinking ship didn't kill us, but we were saved by others. Do you know that for so many years, I have wanted to see this scene day and night. It's a pity that you are too tenacious and you have power, I can only climb up step by step until I can step you down...”
“You are... you are Hong'er...” Xue Tingxiang finished this sentence difficultly.
Wang Mingsheng stood up straight and laughed happily: "I am not Hong'er, and my family name is not Xue, but Wang. My mother remarried the man who saved us. I suggest you don't get excited, because even if you die now, I'm not your son..."
Wang Mingsheng has always been known for his calm and introverted character. It is the first time that he has laughed so happily in front of others.
“By the way, you don't need to think that my real surname is Wang, then you can still carry on the family of Xue. Let me think about it. Remember that you sent out the rumour that I was a gay. It seems that you asked someone to do it. I don't like women, that's why I haven't married for many years...”
He looked at the old man on the bed with a smile and saw how shocked, stunned, and remorseful he was.
But what about that?
He suddenly found that he didn't have the pleasure of imagination, what’s more, the smile was too fake. All of a sudden, he lost interest. He straightened his mouth, brushed his sleeves, and said, "Since Mr. Xue is OK, I should leave.”
“I, I didn’t...”
“Sorry, what did you say?”
Hearing this voice, the fog in front of Xue Tingxiang's eyes suddenly dispersed, and he woke up from his dream with a stun. Into the eyes is this dim interior room. Hu San's face is not good-looking or even ugly. There is a bitter smell of medicine in the air. It seems that there is still a smell of decay floating gently.
Xue Tingxiang moved his lips but without voice.
“Minister Xue, what did you say?”
Hu San was very anxious and kept asking, but Xue Tingxiang couldn't speak at all. Hu San could only ask on his own guess: "Are you concerning about the previous things? You can rest assured that your words have been passed on to Master Zhang He has known that minister Wang is your only son and will do as you instruct.”
Xue Tingyun blinked, and Hu San thought he had something else to say, with his ears next to Xue’s mouth, but he only heard one sentence: "I didn't..."
No more after that.
When Hu San looked up, he saw Xue Tingxiang's wide open eyes and gray blue face.
He shook his hands and touched his Xue’s nose, but he was so scared that he sat on the ground.
The cold wind came through the broken window paper, and Xue Gouzi's face was cold.
He was agitated and opened his eyes.
It was a small room with black brick walls and tiled roofs. The walls were plastered with white ash, but it looked gray. The beams were log colored, because they were not exposed to dust. And there were several bamboo baskets hanging on them. There seemed to be something in the basket, which was covered with blue cloth.
He was lying on the bed, covered with a used quilt. The quilt looked clean and tidy, but the cotton quilt inside was hard.
Facing his feet, there was a row of dark brown cabinets with brass leaf nails and brass spike handles embedded in the cabinet, carved with simple clouds and water patterns, looking thick and generous. Although it is nothing in the large households, it is already a piece of furniture that can be easily obtained.
There's no problem passing on generations!
This is what his father said, who is the best carpenter in the village.
Xue Gouzi felt his head hurt, as if he had been hit hard with a hoe. He wanted to sit up, but was weak and fell back on his back.
Then he realized that he was Xue Gouzi and the eldest son of Xue family’s the second wife. Because of something happened, he couldn't help but burn his heart. He had been sick for many days.
He is not Xue Tingxiang, the person in his dream.
How could he be such a parson?
In order to prove that it was only his dream, he deliberately raised his hand and looked at it.
Sure enough! The hand in front of me was slender and fair. He had not yet grown the muscles and bones that a man should have. He was only fourteen this year. How could he live to be in his seventies and finally die and turn in one's grave.
Xue Gouzi exhaled heavily and looked around again, finally calming down.
Someone was talking outside, and the voice came in along the window slit.
“Zhao'er, not to criticize you on purpose, but look at what you are like now. A girl does not settle down in house, but actually learned from those small business hawkers to do business. What business can you do? Like your fourth uncle, he can save a little money by running around outside. If you really have free time, why not help me with some work?”
The voice sounded like a young woman, but the irony in the words was too strong. It is said that appearance is born from the heart, and it is not surprising that Sun has a mean face.
Xue Gouzi subconsciously flashed this idea in his mind, and then he was stunned. He hated the fourth aunts, but how could he think of each other so much?
Before he could think of anything, he heard the sound in the dream.
“Fourth aunt, I'd like to help you do some work, but you also know that Gouzi has been ill for many days. At first, my family gave him some money to take the medicine, but only half a month later. The grandma said that the money at home was not enough, so she ordered us to stop buying the medicine. Gouzi is my husband, I can't always watch him so sick. Fourth aunt wants me to help you with his work. That is possible, otherwise, you can lend me some money to buy medicine. Can I return it to you later?”
The master of the voice is a young girl, revealing a smart and crisp feeling from the tone, and also mixed with some running teasing.
Yes, Zhao'er teased Sun on purpose.
Sun's nature is just stingy. It's more difficult for her to get a penny out than to do anything. What's more, she lends it to the two little children of the second wife.
The second wife only has two children now. The only son is 14 years old and the big sister is just 16. Sun's face is always full of disbelief when she hears about Zhao'er in the village and makes money in any business.
What kind of business can the stupid girl do to make money? She just dug up three melons and two dates from the field and took them out to cheat the city people for a few pennies.
"Your fourth aunt has no money to lend to you. The money in our house is all your grandmother's. You can ask money for her!" Sun patted his butt and went to the house, too lazy to talk nonsense again.
“Since aunt has no money to borrow from me, and I don't dare to ask money for the grandmother. I have to figure out where to get some money and grab the medicine for the Gouzi!”
Zhao'er's voice was particularly loud. Naturally, this was not only for Sun, but also for Zhao, who is sitting in the main room.
Sure enough, after Zhao'er entered the house, Zhao stood at the door and scolded Sun: "You haven't cleaned the pigpen, but you're back in the house?”
Zhao'er shook her lips, lifted up the door curtain and went in. She bumped into Xue Gouzi and looked into her eyes.
The author has something to say:
I have opened a new article! Two ways have developed, different ways of pampering, first females favor males, then males favor females. Although this is based on the big boss in the opera, but don't equate with Xue Tingxiang in the play. The two books can be regarded as independent because many details have changed.
Every time I write a new article, I feel very nervous, but your messages are very supportive to me.
Although the male lead is now called Gouzi, it will change in the future. At that time, all the countrymen had interesting names. In fact, I think the name of Gouzi is very nice, right?
1.扬眉吐气: Yang Mei Tu Qi, A feeling of exaltation upon fulfillment: appear very proud and self-satisfied.
2.病入膏肓: Bing Ru Gao Huang, be at death's door from one’s illness
3.乞骸骨: Qi Hai Gu, resign