Chapter 178 Rushing back to Jingtian City
They were busy buying things for a whole day. The money was spent like running water, but there was no other way. When encountering natural or man-made disaster, one should be happy as long as one could survive. How would one still care about money?
When there were too many things, it was naturally inconvenient to carry them around. Therefore, aside from carrying the important things in their washed bags, they also hired a carriage. When the driver heard that they were going to Jingtian City, he was unwilling, but he couldn’t overcome the temptation when Shu Huan put a small piece of silver in his hand. He immediately nodded and agreed.
Before leaving the inn, the four asked for a bowl of shiitake pork noodles. They planned to eat fully before embarking on the journey. They didn’t expect that at this time, the aftershocks came again. It shook for a few seconds before it stopped. The shaking made the dust on the roof of the inn fall down. When Shu Huan looked up, from the innkeeper to the servants and those who stayed in the inn, no one was panicked!
She couldn’t help but reveal a bitter smile. Everyone was already so used to this that they had become numb to it!
Two days ago, when there were aftershocks, some people ran out to escape. Today, no one moved. A person even came in…
When she saw the person that came in, Shu Huan put down the chopsticks and frowned somewhat unpleased.
That person was Zhang Zirong who she saw yesterday. At this moment, he was carrying a cloth pouch and sat down very familiar at their table. He poured a cup of tea for himself and said, “Are you going back to Jingtian City?”
Meijing didn’t know that he was also here. She was a bit surprised at seeing him and answered, “Yes!”
After answering, she saw that Shu Huan’s expression was unpleasant, she immediately understood that this person was not welcomed. When she recalled the marriage alliance between Zhang household and Gu household, she regretted so much that she wanted to slap herself. She quickly put her head in the bowl and dug at her noodles. She didn’t spoke with him anymore.
Zhang Zirong turned a blind eye to their obvious unwelcoming and smiled, “I also want to go back to look for my family. Let’s go together.”
Shu Huan straightened her expression and said, “You are neither my relative nor friend, it wouldn’t be right to go together.”
Zhang Zirong said, “When there is disaster, there is no need to pay so much attention to these things. Although, we are neither relatives nor friends, but in the past, we were former acquaintance. We can take care of each other when going back together.”
Old acquaintance, your ass!
Take care of each other, your ass!
Shu Huan gritted her teeth. She felt that the people of Zhang household had one common problem. They didn’t know how to read other people’s mood and were used to making people hate them!
She ignored him. After she finished her noodles, she stood up and said, “We had hired a carriage and not so many people can sit in it. Young master Zhang, you have to go on your own.”
Who would’ve known that Zhang Zirong would say calmly and unhurriedly, “Doesn’t matter. I also had hired a donkey. I can just follow you. Otherwise, you brought so many things and you are all women, what if you encounter robbers?”
The moment he said this, Meijing remembered her experience of being robbed. She was a bit timid and pulled slightly at Shu Huan’s sleeve. She said, “Miss, why don’t we let him follow us?”
Shu Huan didn’t spoke and threw a copper coin on the table. She paid for the noodles, turned and left.
He had already hired a donkey. To put it in a more beautiful way, he didn’t follow them but happened to be on the same road when returning back to Jingtian City. The road was not hers; could she not let him follow?
Shu Huan was impatient to sit inside the crowded carriage. She sat on the board of the carriage and chatted with the driver. She watched the slowly passing by scenery. When the carriage got out of the city, not far away, she saw many refugees in a distant. They were led by the soldiers to one direction.
“Miss, did you see those people? They have all fled from Jingtian City,” The driver said. “It’s not that I say it, but now it’s very chaotic inside Jingtian City. Others were rushing to escape and it happened that you want to go there!”
Shu Huan didn’t answer him and only asked, “Where are those people taken to?”
“The county magistrate had set up some shacks to settle down those refugees. The wealthy businessmen of the city had also donated money. Two times a day, porridge would be spread and one time medicine,” As the driver talked, he looked up at the gloomy sky. “The weather isn’t good these few days. Perhaps, it would even rain. Those people huddled in those shacks would suffer!”
Meijing probed her head out of the carriage and asked curiously, “Will they be full with just two porridge?”
After the driver heard this, he laughed, “Hearing miss say this, presumably you have never been poor or suffered hunger. Those who had suffered a disaster doesn’t ask to be full and warm. They are already thankful if they had a place to settle down and barely not starving!”
Meijing didn’t give up and said, “Wouldn’t the court send money to relief the disaster?”
“Although, it was like that, but when the money is spread, it would be already very great if one could get a copper coin,” The driver said as he shook his head. “Moreover, the crops of last year was already not good and a disaster had happened. Even if you have money, you have nowhere to buy food! The porridge spread outside of the city is the surplus food of rich families. Some of them had been bought inside the city. The price of food had risen. The days of the citizens both on the outside and inside of the city are not good.”
“Right,” Liangchen also said. “Yesterday when I went to buy baked sesame seed-coated cake, it was originally two pennies for one. No, it had risen to four pennies. I thought it was expensive and went to two more shops. All were this price. It seemed that if the court wanted to relief the disaster, it was impossible to only give money. It was also necessary to send some rice and food.”
Suddenly, a voice sighed at the side, “It’s also useless to have money and food. God let a disaster descend to turn Jingtian City into a ghost town!”
Meijing was shocked, “Young master Zhang, why do you say this? Didn’t the earthquake pass? As long as there is money and food, the houses could be built again. Why would it become a ghost town?”
Zhang Zirong looked once at her, but didn’t answer. It was just that on his always frivolous face revealed a touch of worry. He rushed the donkey to hurry up and surpassed them.
Meijing pouted and pulled at Shu Huan’s sleeve. She muttered, “Miss, I remember that in the past young master Zhang only talked about wind, flower, snow and moon and didn’t have any decent expression. How long had it been since we didn’t meet that he had become so gloomy?”
- Wind, flower, snow and moon: language without substance
Encountering such a thing as an earthquake and whether his family was dead or alive was unknown, how could he be in a good mood?
This time, Shu Huan looked at Zhang Zirong one more time and sighed, but didn’t say anything.
She didn’t say anything, but she knew very clear in her heart that Jingtian City was very likely to become a ghost town!
As the saying goes, it will be colder and colder after autumn rain. Recently, it had rained many times. The weather had cooled down, but it wouldn’t be so fast to get colder. As long as there was sun, the temperature would still rise. By then, how would the Jingtian City where many people had been buried by the earthquake become?
- It will be colder and colder after autumn rain: it will be worse after a calamity.
Not to mention anything else, if the officials of Jingtian City didn’t take precautionary measures and handle the corpses of the victims properly and thoroughly disinfect them, a plague was very likely to happen. Therefore, before they left yesterday, she let Liangchen buy a large amount of vinegar and wine. She also went to the pharmacy and fragrance shop to buy some medicines and spices that could prevent bacteria. She even worked overnight to make some mask for the mouth to be prepared just in case.
However, no matter how useful these things were, they could only used as prevention. If the situation was not right, she could only take the three maids and stay away from the city as soon as possible. Then, when would she be able to see Gu Xiran again?
The more Shu Huan thought about this, the more uneasy she felt. She hoped that this carriage could hurry, let her reach Jingtian City quicker and meet up soon with Gu Xiran.
Where the heart was at ease was where the hometown is!
Only when he was at her side would she feel at ease.