Chapter 13 - Curse of the Ghost Marriage
Cai Yan had a habit of going back to sleep around 9 a.m. daily, which would last roughly half an hour. This way, she could maintain her cheerful mind, but it was disrupted today. She laid on the rattan chair while rubbing her tired eyes and saw her father, Cai Zhongpu, walking in with two big luggage bags as he walked in, dripping with sweat.
In her half-asleep state, her hair was akin to a waterfall as it draped down. She had a beautiful and oval face with a straightened nose bridge. She looked like a beauty from a picture.
“Dad, why didn’t you tell me you’re coming back?” Cai Yan stretched her waist as she went up and helped Cai Zhongpu.
Cai Zhongpu wiped the sweat on his forehead and pointed towards the house and whispered, “Yan’er, we’re going to get rich this time! I got a high-quality good this day.”
Cai Yan knew that if the goods were too valuable, it couldn’t be known to too many. She walked into the house with Cai Zhongpu with surprise flashing in her eyes. “Dad, this is a painting from the Song Dynasty!”
Cai Zhongpu raised his thumb. He was delighted with Cai Yan’s eyesight. She had inherited his skill and could be considered as a Grandmaster Appraiser.
Cai Zhongpu revealed joy on his face as he continued, “I have already contacted a buyer that will be here in two days to collect the goods. After this deal is done, I’ll give you a long holiday. Haven’t you wanted to travel around the world? I’ll approve it!”
The Song Dynasty was the golden period where landscape painting was spread around China. There was even a Hanlin Painting and Calligraphy Academy back then. Especially under the period when Song Huizong was the Emperor, since he, himself, was also an expert in painting in calligraphy.
Cai Yan carefully examined the painting before she stored it and placed it in the safe behind the bookshelf.
Cai Zhongpu breathed out as he looked at Cai Yan. “You’ve been going to the next door regarding your illness?”
Stunned by the words of her father, Cai Yan said, “Su Tao’s medical skill is splendid!”
Cai Zhongpu’s brows flashed with a cold light. “I feel that he’s too young and inexperienced. The two of you better keep some distance apart. After all, males and females should be distinguished.”
Cai Yan immediately became a little unhappy. “Dad, we’re in the modern society now, what kind of feudal way of thinking do you have in your brain? Can’t I make friends with him despite our gender?”
Cai Zhongpu was briefly stunned before he sighed, “Yan’er, it was your father’s sin that caused your illness. If I hadn’t been in a desperate situation, I wouldn’t have made use of you. If you join together with a man, your life will definitely be in danger.”
Cai Yan’s face was drained of all colour with beads of sweat seeping from her forehead before she stubbornly refuted, “Dad, I understand your intention, but I have my own life. I can’t always be secluded in a dark world.”
However, Cai Zhongpu was a little agitated and held onto Cai Yan’s wrist. “You must listen to my words. I’m afraid of losing you.”
Cai Yan shook her father’s hand away and coldly said, “I don’t want to live like this. Even if I die, I am willing to accept it!”
When Cai Yan left, Cai Zhongpu’s gaze flashed with complicated feelings. Ten years ago, he had gotten himself in debt and with no choice available, he had signed an agreement which he had regretted many years later; letting his daughter be engaged to a heavily ill man.
The idea behind it initially was to flush the bad luck with good fortune. However, the man had suddenly died, and due to the suppression from that family, Cai Yan was forced into a Ghost Marriage with that man.
When Cai Zhongpu got economically better, he wanted to break off the marriage, but he never thought that Cai Yan would suffer an illness due to that. There would be a time in every month that her body would be frail. According to a Taoist, Cai Yan’s marriage partner had become a malicious ghost, and thus, cursed Cai Yan when she wanted to break off the marriage.
It was also due to this reason that Cai Yan had remained single for all these years.
Cai Zhongpu was involved in antiques for many years; and thus, he was a superstitious person. Cai Yan was a beauty, and many outstanding men wanted to woo her, but they were all rejected by him. He was afraid that his dead son-in-law would cause Cai Yan’s condition to worsen.
He was an intelligent person. He had seen Cai Yan and Su Tao chatting with smiles several times when he passed by the Three Flavour Hall. Thus, he had guessed that Cai Yan probably had some feelings for Su Tao.
In Cai Zhongpu’s view, Su Tao could only be considered as an ordinary person. Even if he had inherited the Three Flavours Hall, he didn’t have much money, since Su Guangsheng did not charge money when he treated the illness of others.
He briefly rested on the chair before standing up and felt his legs going numb. When he revealed his leg, he discovered that the pus on his shank had grown larger. After a brief consideration, he decided to make a trip to the Three Flavour Hall and get some medicine that treated poisonous bites and warn the skirt-chasing thief next door.
Su Tao stood before the counter while grounding medicine. He yawned with tears condensing in his eyes as he watched Cai Zhongpu limping into the Three Flavour Hall.
“Uncle Cai, it has been a long time. How’s your harvest this time?” Su Tao took the initiative to greet.
Why is Su Tao acting so familiar with me after a few days of not seeing each other?
He furrowed his brows and waved his hand. “Get me pseudo ginseng, cirsium setosum and portulaca oleracea. 100 grams each.”
Su Tao did not move but looked at Cai Zhongpu and shook his head.
Instantly, Cai Zhongpu was unhappy, so he slammed on the counter. “You didn’t hear me?”
Su Tao sighed, “Uncle Cai, it’s not appropriate for you coming to my Pharmacy to buy medicine without consultation!”
Cai Zhongpu impatiently replied, “I know my situation. Just follow my words and get me the herbs, cut your rubbish.”
However, Su Tao still did not move and said, “The pseudo ginseng is used to treat the bites of poisonous insects, cirsium setosum is used to treat the poison of snakes, and portulaca oleracea is used for centipede bites. Uncle Cai, your usage of herbs isn’t right.”
Cai Zhongpu’s brows were raised. “Brat, stop pretending to be a doctor. I initially wanted to come and support your business, but since you’re unwilling, I’ll look for another place, then.”
Cai Zhongpu felt that maybe Su Tao was wooing Cai Yan, so Su Tao looked extremely unlikeable to him. Cai Yan was his treasure that far exceeded any antiques. So how could he be calm and polite to talk to someone that was after his treasure?
Seeing Cai Zhongpu’s departure, Su Tao sighed. If it wasn’t for Cai Yan’s sake, he wouldn’t even speak with Cai Zhongpu, seeing as to how rude he was.
But judging from his complexion, Cai Zhongpu was seriously ill. As the saying goes, a doctor wouldn’t go knocking the door of his patient unless the patient had requested it. So Su Tao would just have to wait till Cai Zhongpu’s illness broke out and he begged him. Even if it would be more troublesome, it could still barely be treated.
The commotion caused by the Hongsheng Group was extremely great, and even if the Three Flavour Hall’s business got better, it’s still insufficient.
In the afternoon, Grandpa Xu would move tables and chairs with a few friends to play Go. Su Tao knew that Grandpa Xu was trying to help him raise his popularity, so he would play along and boil two pots of hot water and help them refill their cups.
When Grandpa Xu saw that Su Tao had been watching from the side for a long time, he smiled, “Little Su, you know how to play Go as well?”
Su Tao nodded his head. “I know a little, but I’m no expert in it. But I have to remind Grandpa Xu that I’m afraid you will lose in five more turns.”
Grandpa Xu knitted his brows as he stared at the chessboard for a long time. “Stop speaking nonsense. I have a high chance of winning, and it’s already in my grasp.”
Su Tao shook his head and returned to the counter before he started to arrange herbs. Soon after, heard Grandpa Xu’s roar, “I got tricked by you, old fool!”
Oldman Chen, who was facing him, burst out in laughter, “Little Su had already reminded you, but you did not heed his words, hahaha. I feel that Little Su might even be better than you in this!”
Grandpa Xu immediately looked unhappy. He stood up and dragged Su Tao. “You, go and play with that geezer.”
Su Tao bitterly smiled. “Grandpa Xu, didn’t you see that I’m still busy?”
“You don’t even have a customer. What are you busy with?” As Grandpa Xu spoke, he dragged Su Tao to the door.
Su Tao knew that Oldman Chen has been playing for years and could be considered as an expert that belonged to the top of Hanzhou’s Go Community’s pyramid. It had been a long time since he played Go, so he was out of practice. Thus, he had thought for a long time before making a move.
When Oldman Chen saw how Su Tao placed the stone, he nodded his head. He did not dare to lower his guard from how Su Tao predicted the previous match accurately. Thus, he was careful in his move. In the world of Go, the old weren’t the ones always winning, since younger players would have a better mental capacity as their advantage.
After a few rounds, Oldman Chen furrowed his brows. Su Tao’s movements looked casual, which Oldman Chen reminded, “Little Su, if this goes on, you’ll lose greatly!”
Su Tao lightly smiled in response. “Never be too sure of that!”
After ten-odd rounds later, Oldman Chen’s forehead was covered in sweat as he widened his eyes and stared at the chessboard for a long time. He realised that he had been surrounded and even if they continue to play, he would only fall into the enemy’s trap and lose badly. Thus, he raised both his hands as he bitterly smiled. “I admit defeat!”
Grandpa Xu saw the pattern, but Su Tao’s movements were extremely unusual, since there weren’t such patterns in the record. He had been careful, setting traps up for Oldman Chen and led Oldman Chen by his nose.
Oldman Chen had always been winning and felt that he had lost unjustly, underestimating his opponent; and thus, he was set up by Su Tao. He felt reluctant in his heart, so he dragged Su Tao and smiled. “Let’s play another round. I will surely win this round!”
Su Tao bitterly smiled, since he had inwardly planned to let Oldman Chen lose even more badly so that he wouldn’t be interested in coming after him in the future.
As they reset the chessboard, Cai Yan skimmed over as she panted, “Su Tao, come take a look at my dad quickly! He’s having seizures with foam coming out of his mouth!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter