Opening the door curtain, the warm breath of the charcoal fire rushed to his face, making Lin Xin, who was completely frozen through, shiver.
Mrs. Zhao had tied a wind-proof cloth towel on her head and was supporting her face with one hand in a depressed state. She hadn’t drawn her eyebrows today, and the two broken marks between her eyebrows were exposed.
He remembered that when the master came to look for him, the first sentence he said was, “This Mrs. Zhao must be a vicious woman with broken eyebrows and ghost teeth.”
After many years, seeing Mrs. Zhao’s broken eyebrows again gave birth to a kind of intimacy in him.
“Let it go.” Mrs. Zhao raised her chin, not in the mood to pay attention to Lin Xin, and continued to talk to her husband about the Shen family.
“Ma’am, this tea… is going to be cold…” Lin Xin said stutteringly, as if he was a little anxious, but because he was young, he couldn’t express it clearly.
“Hurry up and drink it while it’s still hot, it’s Chitosan tea.” Zhao Wanhu smelled the faint smell of urine and urged his wife to drink it quickly.
Only then did Mrs. Zhao remember the precious medicinal herbs she had asked to be made by the medicine house. She drank it and sighed with relief, rubbing her forehead, “It’s really much better.”
Lin Xin glanced at Mrs. Zhao, who was completely comfortable, and lowered his head again.
He didn’t know when the Shen family would come, so Zhao Wanhu was discussing with his wife the matter of postponing the burial of the eldest son.
“It’s already the third day, and it’s going to go too far!” Mrs. Zhao gritted her uneven teeth and said, “Tell them to come earlier!”
The eldest young master’s death was too strange. The Zhao family delayed for a day to find clues, but now they had to push it further because of the Shen family.
“Nonsense! It is Huan Xinghai, can I urge them to move?” Zhao Wanhu was a little angry at his wife causing unreasonable trouble.
The Zhao family was a hereditary family of 10,000 households, under the rule of Duke Xuan Guo of the Northern Territory. There were ten thousand households in their city, and they were eligible to collect taxes and rents, but had no right to govern officials. In the final analysis, he was nothing but a servant of the Shen family. Where was the reason in the vassal ordering the master?
Huan Xinghai was the center of the entire Northern Territory where the Shen family was located.
The Northern Territory was cold, now it was only mid-September, but snow had already started falling. Earth dragons had been ignited in the pavilions of Huan Xinghai, and even the small pavilion near the water was as warm as spring. The attendants and generals who came and went were all thinly dressed, except for the young man sitting on the water pavilion watching the snow, wrapped in a layer of fox fur.
The guard dressed in dark clothes, holding a bowl of medicine, walked quickly to the boy, knelt down on one knee, and whispered, “Prince, it’s time to take the medicine.”
He didn’t pick up the medicine bowl, “Is there any news about Zhu Xingli?”
“The Zhu family master is still missing. Someone saw him going to the Western Regions a year ago, and then they lost the news.” The guard held the medicine steadily and said each word in a calm tone.
“Western Regions…” Shen Lou slowly pursed his pale lips, “Go check it out again.”
“Yes!” The guard got up, and after taking two steps, he remembered that he was still holding a medicine bowl, “Sir, this medicine…”
“Take it down.”
A purple-clothed maid stood outside the pavilion, and when she saw the guards bring out the medicine intact, she immediately crossed her hips, “How did you promise me when you went in just now? Is this medicine even moved by a mouthful?”
The guard blushed, “The prince said to take it down, I…” He had subconsciously obeyed his orders and walked out.
“Look at how promising you are.” The purple-clothed maid curled her lips, took the medicine bowl, and said a lot, but she didn’t dare to go in to persuade herself, so she could only scold the guards to vent her anger.
After searching for so long, there was still no progress.
Shen Lou stood up and held the low railing of the water pavilion with one hand. Snow fell on the back of the cold white hand and slowly turned into water droplets. The cold touch was also not able to calm the anxiety in his heart.
When he met Lin Xin in his last life, that man was already the mighty Marquis Zhuolu. He seldom mentioned his childhood, and only talked to him once when he was drunk. When he was young, his family changed, and he fled with the guard to the guard’s home and served as his son for many years.
“They all bullied me, why didn’t you take me away?” The drunken-eyed Marquis Zhuolu, clutching his shirt, asked with a smile.
At the time, he just felt inexplicable, but now that he thought about it, it was heart-wrenching. Lin Xin, who was drunk at the time, should have regarded him as his deceased father, begging his father to take him away just like when he was in despair as a child.
He must find Lin Xin as soon as possible, but Yongguo had a vast territory and small families were like the sand of the Ganges, and he didn’t know what his surname was when he was young. They could only find Lin Xin’s master Zhu Xingli first. However, Zhu Xingli was an erratic person, and finding him was no easier than Lin Xin himself.
“Prince,” the purple-clothed maid came over, with a servant behind her, “My lord is looking for you.”
The Lord of the Northern Territory, this generation’s Duke Xuan, Shen Qirui, sat on the throne with a golden sword. Shen Lou entered the door and a retainer handed over the letter in his hand.
“The Zhao family in Weishui?” Shen Lou glanced at it, it was just an ordinary funeral letter, the eldest young master of the Zhao family had died suddenly, he had died young, and was to be buried soon.
“This son of the Zhao family died strangely, and Zhao Wanhu wanted to ask people from Huan Xinghai to help him find the murderer,” explained Dong Shechuan, a retainer next to him.
Hearing “died strangely”, Shen Lou asked one more question: “How strange?”
“The person who reported the mournful news said that the eldest young master died horribly. He was clearly a person who had just died, but his body had already rotted. And none of the three and seven souls responded…”
Shen Lou’s hand holding the letter suddenly clenched tightly.
“Mr. Dong, you are too scary to say this.” The maid in purple rubbed her arms.
Dong Shechuan spoke a bit like a storyteller, with some unnecessary cadence, which made people horrified.
“What’s the name of the young man you recommended to me the other day?” Shen Qirui asked his son, “Tell him to follow Shechuan.” The families of vassals in the Northern Territory were divided into hundreds, thousands and ten thousands. The Zhao family in Weishui, as a ten thousand households, should be taken seriously.
“No, I’ll go in person.” Shen Lou said decisively.
The spiritual body other than the physical body was divided into three hun and seven po. The soul can be separated from the body, but the souls could not be separated from each other.
Lin Xin, who stood in Mrs. Zhao’s room, while listening to the husband and wife accusing each other, thought the same thing. This young master Zhao died at the wrong time and in a way that was too weird. He had to look at the corpse to make sure that this world was different from the world in his previous life.
“Postponing the burial, who will keep the spirit tonight?” Mrs. Zhao had a headache again, because the young master Zhao was under fifteen, and he was considered to have died prematurely. The first two nights, he was guarded by the second young master. Yesterday he had gotten too tired, so Mrs. Zhao went to guard herself and fell ill overnight.
“Tell the second young master to go.” Zhao Wanhu sighed and asked someone to inform the second young master. Unexpectedly, the messenger went and returned, saying that the second young master could not be found.
This time, the couple panicked. They only had two sons. One just died, now the other couldn’t have another accident. They immediately called the guards to find them. After half an hour, Xie Tianhe’s dead body and the unconscious second young master were finally found in a secluded place in the back mountain.
“My son, what’s wrong?” Mrs. Zhao hugged her little son tightly in her arms and checked him up and down.
“Xie Tianhe held the second young master’s sword in his hand, and the young master held a broken sword with blood on his face…” The guard described the scene he saw.
Zhao Wanhu immediately called people to investigate the back mountain, and then he gave his son an infusion of spiritual power, and also called the doctor for consultation, everything was very confusing. In the end, the doctor came to the conclusion that the second young master had fainted because of fright. Coupled with the broken sword in his hand and the blood on his face, it looked like the two people were playing around. Xie Tianhe grabbed the second young master’s sword, and the second young master accidentally killed the man, and he was stunned by the blood that spurted out.
Although some things didn’t make sense, but there was no one else in the back mountain except for some mortal slaves, and the second young master was just a little scratched, so it was not a big problem. Mrs. Zhao immediately demanded that this matter be suppressed, “Xie Tianhe died of a mistake in his own practice, and it has nothing to do with the second young master. Did you hear it?”
The retainers were immortals and could not be killed at will.
The second young master was carried back to his room, and the matter was over, but there was no one to keep watch at night.
Zhao Wanhu, who was at a loss, turned his head and saw his timid nephew standing in the corner, “Xin’er, tonight you go to guard your elder brother ‘s spirit.”
He looked at his uncle with a fearful look, “I, I’m afraid…”
“Crack!” Mrs. Zhao, who was upset, slapped him, “Little bastard, what, are you afraid of guarding your cousin’s spirit?”
The slap hit his face, and Lin Xin suddenly burst into tears and responded aggrievedly.
Zhao Wanhu looked at him, frowned slightly, and told the housekeeper to change Lin Xin into decent clothes, in case the Shen family came over early in the morning and saw the guard like a little beggar, it would be a shame.
Lin Xin changed into a plain cotton robe and tied a thin hemp rope around his forehead.
There was no one in the mourning hall, and there were just a lot of ghosts. The young master Zhao was lying in the coffin that had not been nailed shut, with yellow talisman paper on his face. Obviously, the Zhao family was a little afraid of the eldest young master and did not want him to be summoned, so they pasted a talisman on him.
Lin Xin slept well on the futon, and only got up when the moon was in the middle of the sky. He casually broke a white candle, strenuously climbed onto the coffin with his short legs, and sat on the edge of the coffin to look at Zhao Dashao.
“Tsk, Zhao Shiyao, why did you die so early? Who do you want me to avenge for the broken arm?” Lin Xin said, lifted the yellow paper on the young master’s face, stretched out his hand and poked it, it was sticky. The feeling of touch made Lin Xin feel a chill.
Bringing the candle close, he saw that the face that had not been very handsome was no longer even similar to the shape of a “face”.
After a person died, the hun soul returned to the sky and the po soul entered the earth, the hun soul became the god, and the po soul became the form. This man rotted so fast, his souls were definitely gone.
The author has something to say: Note: Hundred households, thousand households, and ten thousand households refer to the small theater of the Guanneihou system in the Spring and Autumn Period and Qin and Han Dynasties:
Zhao Dashao: Come, come, there will be surprises!
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 Daoist theories consider the Divine Soul to be constituted from the Three Ethereal Souls (hun) and the Seven Corporeal Souls (po). After a person’s death the Seven Corporeal Souls at first disperse, thereafter the Three Ethereal Souls depart [from it].
 A custom in Chinese funerals, especially if the deceased is underage. It is supposed to keep the malignant spirits away.