Inner Residence arc ー Chapter 8 (Part 2): The Xie Brother and Sister and the Secret Chamber
Xie Zhaoying was familiar with the way and as much as possible, he brought me to walk on those desolated small pathways that I couldn’t even notice during the day. Roughly ten minutes later, he brought me to the bottom of a building.
I raised my head and gazed at it. “Second Elder Brother, why do I feel that this looks familiar?”
Xie Zhaoying said, “Of course you should feel that this place is familiar, this is our family’s library.”
“But you said that we came to get money……”
“Hush!” He covered my mouth. “Just follow me.”
Xie Zhaoying fished out a hairpin and fiddled a little with the lock hole. ‘Clang’, it was opened.
I praised, “Bravo!*”
*T/n: She originally said it in English
Xie Zhaoying said, “What?”
I translated, “Great skills.”
Xie Zhaoying was pleased with himself. He entered the library, crouched forward, groped around in the darkness for something. I only heard a ‘patter’ sound that something had been unlocked. After that, Xie Zhaoying heaved a wooden board up. It turned out that the library still had a basement.
We walked down following the flight of stairs. Xie Zhaoying lit up an earthen paper roll*, I saw that the surroundings were rock walls and were damp with green moss growing on them, thus emitting an unusual mouldy smell. This place was not like Ali Baba’s treasure cave but more like Harry Potter’s secret chamber.
*T/n: A roll of paper made from earth to make a very compact roll. It is often used in ancient times and is said to be able to burn for very long.
A few examples here:
After walking for around two minutes, we reached the end. Xie Zhao Ying lit up the oil lamp.
We were in a cellar approximately twenty square metres large. There were heaps of large earthen jars with pickled vegetables (the strange mouldy smell should have been emitted from here) and there were also quite a few barrels of liquor and a huge pile of matter that was beyond recognition.
I trembled with rage, “These…. These are…. These are the silvers you were talking about?!”
I don’t know what Xie Zhaoying did over there for a bit when a wall slid open noisily and revealed a dark passageway. Xie Zhaoying lit up the oil lamp and I saw the inside was glittering with golden rays.
My knees buckled a little for a moment. I pulled Xie Zhaoying’s sleeve. “Second Elder Brother, our father is not a corrupted official right?”
“What?” Xie Zhaoying asked.
I pointed at that room full of gold, silver and jewellery, “He, he, he, is just a Grand Tutor, how much is his monthly salary?”
Xie Zhaoying was exasperated that I didn’t live up to expectations, grabbed my shoulders and exerted all his strength in shaking them as if he was shaking a sieve. “Our father is a literary marquis! A literary marquis! A marquis of the highest rank! Our Xie family has imperially bestowed farmland and manors outside and there are tributes every single year!”
I was shaken until I almost fell apart into many pieces so I hurriedly cried, “I understand already! I understand already!”
Xie Zhaoying left me behind and went to get some cheques.
I tucked two hundred silvers into my clothes, then sized up those antique pearls and jewellery everywhere. Most of them were covered in a layer of dust, bound with cobwebs. They were obviously of high value but were kept here to mould and rot instead. Elder Xie really didn’t have the compassion to care for precious things.
I murmured, “I feel like I can even hear that they are weeping….”
Xie Zhaoying was busy accumulating his wealth didn’t turn his head. “It’s normal. When one of Old Patriarch Xie’s concubine made a mistake, she was sent to be locked in that room in front by Old Matriarch Xie. She died in here afterwards.”
A chilly wind happened to brush past in the dark. My fine hair on my body stood up and I screamed loudly as I jumped behind Xie Zhaoying.
Something I had bumped into dropped to the ground. I picked it up to take a look.
“There’s a book here.” I read out, “Qiu Yang(Qiū Yáng)’s Notes?”
Xie Zhaoying turned around abruptly and snatched that book away from my hand, “Qiu Yang’s Notes? It’s really here?!”
I asked, “What is this?”
Xie Zhaoying said, “This is the notes of the medical sage, Zhang Qiu Yang. It records all that he had learnt in his lifetime. It’s a medical classic that has been lost for many generations.”
“Medical Classic?” My eyes shone as I snatched the book back.
I wonder what materials the book was made of. Even in such an abominable environment, it only had minimal damage. The book wasn’t very thick but the papers were unusually thin. It was full of densely written calligraphic scripts which were as small as a fly’s head and there was also a large number of human body diagrams which I felt that the essence was fully grasped and the ratio was extremely accurate.
My saliva was almost going to flow out. “Can you give this book to me?”
Xie Zhaoying smiled. “At any rate, being abandoned in here is also letting it go to waste so it’s also good if you can bring it back to take a look. It’s just that not only must you protect this book well, you also can’t let others know. There are many people searching for this book outside and many of them like to use robbing as a means.”
I hastily hugged the book into my embrace and asked again, “Why is such a precious book here?”
Xie Zhaoying said, “Divine Physician Zhang had some friendly relations with Old Patriarch. When he met with disaster back then, Old Patriarch had once exhausted all his efforts to save him but unfortunately failed to do so. I think Divine Physician Zhang probably passed this medical expertise for Old Patriarch for safekeeping then. These few years, there were constantly rumours that the book is in our house. Countless groups of thieves had come before but all left empty-handed. So it turns out that it was cast aside here.”
I said, “Everyone probably assumed that the Xie family would be enshrined in the tall building and didn’t expect that it would actually be abandoned in the cellar.”
I sniffed the book. The top indeed had the smell of pickled vegetables.
Not that I have this holy medicine Bible, my passion for Chinese Medicine ignited for the first time ever. All my free time was used to hold the book to read and I even gathered a whole lot of relevant information. If my father – not that old fogey Xie, but the one in my original world – were to know how diligent I am now, he would absolutely be so moved that he burn the incense to thank the Xie family ancestors profusely.
This world was after all, not the world I came from. There were still some types of plants and animals that did not exist in my original world. I would go ask Song Zijing regarding those which I didn’t understand. Whatever I asked, he answered. He never asked me for the reason and was a smart person.
Translated and Edited by: HaruOngy and LalaKurouds