Chapter 3: Our Second Master is bullied From that day on, I found the method to apply the medicine and to feed Second Master. Something to rejoice and celebrate. Later on, Second Master stopped scolding me and just acted as if I did not exist. Every day, he laid in the same position, staring with his eyes wide open at the ceiling. He ate, drank, shit and peed all on the bed. Speaking of eating, drinking, shitting and peeing, I suffered for the first two and Second Master suffered for the last two. As he could not get down the bed, I had to enter the room and serve him at every few intervals. For peeing, Second Master could pretend he was a dead fish. I only needed to hold the urinal pot at the correct angle. But shitting was like taking his life. I had to carry him up to sit. Although I said sit, it was more like supporting the buttock and then placing the shit basin below. Because Second Master’s right leg was completely removed, for the buttock to move even a little would touch the wound. But for shitting, you can’t avoid exerting some force and once you exert some force, both sides will ache. Every time Second Master passed motion, it was ‘heng heng ah ah duo duo suo suo’ (sounds of pain and exertion). Shit, pee, cold sweat and tears – the atmosphere in the house was as terrible as terrible could be. But the days passed like this. After a month, Second Master’s wounds became better. First Master and Yuan Sheng had not returned yet but the household was already almost falling part. I squatted at the yard and thought over this, if no money was earned, in about four to five days later Second Master won’t even be able to drink sparse porridge water. Thus, I decided to make things to sell. What should I sell? After some thought, I decided to make some handicrafts. Don’t just look at my monkey appearance, I actually have a nimble pair of hands. In the day, after I took care of Second Master, I would run to the fields outside the city to pluck flowers and ferns. Then, I returned home and made flower crowns, necklaces and bracelets. It was presently the good season of spring. Every day, rich gentlemen will bring out their maidens to play outside the city and so I stood at the city gates to sell my wares. I actually sold quite well. It was only a bit tiring. Because the flowers and ferns would wither overnight and they had to be fresh for them to look good, I had to run out every day. But, it was good that I had money to earn, I couldn’t let Second Master starve to death after all. I was feeding Second Master food again when Second Master suddenly said, “Open the windows”. I quickly opened the windows. It was already spring, the weather was bright and windy, the birds were chirping, everywhere was aglow with life and vitality. I looked outside and for a moment, I relaxed. Second Master spoke in a low voice, “Close it.” I swore I really didn’t hear it the first time. Second Master may have thought I was intentionally disobeying him so he shouted, “I order you to close it!” I was shocked and turned around. I saw that Second Master had turned his head away, half hidden under the blanket. Suddenly — in that moment, suddenly I felt that Second Master was a little pitiful. I didn’t know where I got the courage but I told Second Master, “Second Master, let me bring you out to look around.” Second Master ignored me. I walked forward and held Second Master’s shoulders, Second Master tossed his shoulder. “Don’t touch me!” In that moment, I was really possessed, I actually didn’t listen to Second Master and pulled him to sit up. Second Master’s injuries were almost fully recovered but he couldn’t really rise up. To rise up so suddenly, he would immediately feel giddy and dazed. Taking advantage of his dizziness, using my hands and legs, I moved him onto a wooden handcart. When Second Master regained his bearings, he was already lying on the handcart. As he was about to unleash his fiery temper, he turned his gaze at the things next to him. 𝒻𝑟ℯℯ𝑤ℯ𝘣𝘯𝘰𝑣ℯ𝘭.𝑐𝘰𝓂
The flower crowns I have prepared for sale. Second Master asked, “What is this?” I answered honestly. Second Master stopped speaking. I felt that he was embarrassed by the sale of such items, but I didn’t have a better method. Seeing that he did not unleash his wrath, I pushed him out the door. After all, being cooped in the house for so long, it was good to enjoy a bit of sunlight. When I sold the items, Second Master rested on the wooden handcart. Actually, everything went smoothly. But suddenly came a group of people intentionally seeking to find fault. I was really frustrated, why couldn’t they find fault another day? Why come when Second Master was around? It was only later that I learnt that this group of people knew Second Master. When Second Master proudly roamed Hangzhou before, there were many people who didn’t like him. Now that he has fallen, they came to bully. The group of people surrounded the handcart. Although their mouth spoke words of concern, I could see that they were seeking pleasure in the misfortune. Especially, the head, he was quite handsome and he dressed well, but I didn’t know why his gaze was especially poisonous. Second Master did not speak, and did not move, he just laid there. Although he did not make any expression, I could tell that he was so uncomfortable that he wanted to die. Second Master’s lower half was covered by a blanket by me as I was afraid he would catch cold from the wind. The head of the group lifted it up, when everyone saw Second Master’s lower half, they were stunned. Then, they burst into great laughter. In that moment, I erupted. I didn’t care about anything, I picked up a tree branch at the side, shouted a loud cry and aimed for the group’s head. He didn’t expect it and so I hit him straight on. They probably didn’t expect that a servant would dare to do such a thing, even Second Master looked over. The person who was hit was dazed for a moment. When he regained consciousness, he waved his hand and the rest of his scoundrel friends started to punch me heavily. I hugged my head and shrunk into a ball, biting my teeth to hold on. Why hit me so hard? Is there meaning to this? Later, they were tired from beating me and decided to continue on their ways. I rested for quite a while before I climbed up from the ground. At my first glance, I saw Second Master’s expressionless face, and a pair of very dark very dark eyes. I thought, I must have caused him to lose face again. After this battering, the flower crowns were also destroyed and could not be sold, so we could only return home. On the road home, Second Master did not speak a single word. I was a little regretful that I brought him outside. Although laying at home was boring, at least it was better than tolerating other people’s tempers. At night during dinner, Second Master shockingly asked me to carry him up to sit. You must realise that previously he would eat his food while half lying down. After I carried him up, Second Master looked at me. I knew my face must be very dazzling now so I lowered my head. Second Master said, “Lift up your head.” I looked at him with my swollen eyes. After looking at me for half a day, Second Master asked, “Who are you?” I was stunned. My heart said Second Master don’t tell me you have been angered by those men into stupidity? I hesitantly said, “Second... Second Master?” Second Master furrowed his brows and asked, “Are you a maid bought by First Master?” I realised then he was not stupid, it was I that was stupid. I took in a deep breath and said, “Second Master, your humble servant was a maid from the original Yang Manor.” After speaking finish, I added, “I originally came from Second Master’s courtyard.” Second Master didn’t even think and said, “Impossible.” I was speechless. I knew what were the next few words he kept in his stomach and didn’t say — my yard couldn’t possible have a maid that looked like this. So I took in another deep breath and narrated how I was sent to his courtyard. After listening, Second Master did not speak for a long time. After a while, he asked, “Why didn’t you leave?” I paused, yes, why did I not leave. Before I thought of how to properly answer, Second Master already spoke, “Never mind, pass me the rice.” I passed the bowl of rice to him. Second Master leaned on the wall and started to eat by himself. I was still dazedly standing. He sat unstably. Whenever his body leaned aside, he would stretch his arm for support. This whole meal, I didn’t have to use my hands. After he finished, I was going to wash the bowls when he pulled me to stay. “Sit.” I sat. “What are you called?” “Monkey.” “.......” Second Master looked at me with a complicated expression, “What are you called?” I said, “Your humble servant is called Monkey.” Second Master had an expression as if he was choked by the rice. Then he added, “Monkey, how much savings does the household have left.” I said, “Two hundred taels.*” “......” I thought this number was something Second Master could not accept and I was about to comfort him by adding that First Master had travelled outside for business. But, who knew Second Master suddenly said, “Enough.” “?” But Second Master didn’t say anything more and asked me how much I could sell each day. I said, “About five coins.” Second Master’s brows immediately furrowed, “You sold for how much?” I repeated myself again. He said, “Tomorrow after you prepare the items, don’t sell them.” I did not know what Second Master planned to do but I nodded at him. After speaking, Second Master commanded me to bring the grass carpets outside in. After I placed the grass carpets inside the house, Second Master ordered me to place them properly on the ground. I followed his orders. After I finished, he asked me to leave. I went to the kitchen to clean the bowls and thought that Second Master was rather strange tonight. After completing the washing, I went to the yard and heard sounds from Second Master’s room. But since he did not call for me, I did not dare to go in. I sat outside the house to listen, and heard the sound of ‘pu dong pu dong’ (falling) repeatedly. I tolerated and tolerated, until I could tolerate no more and leaned towards the window to look through the gaps. I was shocked. I didn’t know when Second Master had fallen down the bed. He was lying on the ground and he appeared to be trying to get up. I didn’t care and rushed into the room. When I entered, Second Master appeared to be shocked and he glared at me from the ground. “Who allowed you to come in?!” I said, “Let your humble servant help Second Master.” “Get out!” I was still hesitating when Second Master turned his face away from me, “I order you to get out!” Still this temper. I turned around to exit. I stayed at the doorside to listen to the messy chaotic sounds from inside the room. Until deep into the night, a voice finally came from the room, “Monkey, come in.” I pushed the door open. Second Master was completely soaked in sweat, lying down on the grass carpets. It seemed like he had expended all his energy. He spoke to me without strength, “Carry me up.” I carried Second Master back onto the bed. Second Master was still panting heavily. In my heart, I had a slight, very slight understanding of what Second Master was doing. I hesitated for a moment then spoke to him in a small voice, “Second Master, if you want to train your body, you should ask your servant to help you.” I must have eaten the guts of a leopard to dare speak like this. After I finish, I closed my eyes in wait of death. Who knew that Second Master closed his eyes, and when his breath stabilised, he spoke in a low voice, “嗯” (sound of assent). When I came out from Second Master’s room, my heart thought that Second Master was indeed a bit strange tonight.*I’m hopeless with ancient money so I gave a rough estimate.