Zhang Junshi was sent out by Nie Bufan to buy New Year goods, which he assigned to his workers as soon as he entered the city.
The worker handed over a letter and said, “Gongzi, this is a letter from the Old Master.”
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Zhang Junshi opened it and looked for a while, his original gentle expression became a little cold. In addition to asking about the situation of the Xishan City branch restaurent, the letter asked him to prepare to welcome the arrival of the tian nu, and must try his best to win her over.
All the pages of letter paper were about the tian nu, not even a word of concern or care for him. Zhang Junshi skimmed it over and put the letter into a box.
He took out brush and paper, and replied simply to the letter. Zhang Junshi’s father was a very strict man. Although they were a merchant’s family, they had all kinds of strict rules.
He had to learn poetry and etiquette since he was a child, so that he could become an official in the future and glorify his family name. However, Zhang Junshi didn’t want to be an official. After being admitted to jinshi (TN: successful candidate in the highest imperial civil service examination), he was reluctant to go further. Instead, he began to take over the family business and showed extraordinary talent in business.
Father Zhang was furious, and drove him to remote places several times, forcing him to fend for himself, but he was still unable to stifle Zhang Junshi’s ability to make money like the God of Wealth. Even if he had no money, he could find business opportunities. Even penniless he was still able to find opportunities and develop his business step by step.
For example, the branch restuarant in Xishan city was one of the products of his “exile” period.
In the end, although father Zhang compromised, he never recognized Zhang Junshi’s achievements. Until the news of the re-emergence of the tian nu came this time, Father Zhang’s calculations showed up again, using his own life to threaten his son to find a way to marry the tian nu.
You must know that although the tian nu was only a commoner, but was quite valued by the emperor. No matter who married the tian nu, he would recieve great rewards. Of course, the price was one of the three divination chances by the Divining Heavens Palace.
Zhang Junshi helplessly shook his head, and called his workers to take the new year’s goods back to Chicken Nest Village. When he arrived at the entrance of the village, he saw a few chickens running to greet him with clucks. His original heavy mood improved slightly. He took a handful of grains from his pocket and sprinkled it out. The chickens first nodded their heads to express their gratitude, before pecking gracefully at their food.
The two workers had strange expressions, but Zhang Junshi was already very used to it.
“I’m back, Bufan.” He shouted.
Nie Bufan’s head poked out from the window and waved his hand: “Come here, there is something good.”
Zhang Junshi walked in curiously.
Nie Bufan handed him a pile of red paper and said, “Write the Spring Festival couplets (TN: the first line of which is pasted on the right side of a doorway at New Year, and the second on the left side), I will post them on all the village houses later.”
Zhang Junshi looked up and found that Li Yi was already working hard at the table. He glanced over and motioned for him to the seat reserved for him.
Zhang Junshi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He first had the workers put the things down before sending them away. Then he walked to Li Yi’s side to see that his writing was powerful and precise, with a strong foundation. His competitive spirit couldn’t help but be aroused and he spread the red paper out, lifted the brush and started writing.
Unlike Li Yi, Zhang Junshi’s words were elegant and graceful, giving people a refined and cultured feeling.
After writing a few words, he was feeling quite cheerful, and the original troubles disappeared without a trace. Looking at Nie Bufan inadvertently, he saw that he was also writing and drawing with a brush. He couldn’t help but lean in curiously to take a look, only to be struck dumb.
“Uh, what are you drawing?”
“Can’t you see it?” Nie Bufan glanced at him contemptuously and said, “This is ‘Abundance year after year’.”
Abundance year after year? Zhang Junshi looked at it carefully, only to see that there was a radish sporting facial features and limbs drawn on the red paper holding a smaller radish that was distorted and out of shape.
Nie Bufan said again: “Look, this is a cute kid holding a big fish, doesn’t it have the meaning that there will be fish every year? (TN: the word for abundance sounds the same as the word for fish in Chinese)”
“……” It turned out to be a radish-like kid holding a radish-like fish.
“Hehe, looking at your expression, I can tell that you have not seen much.” Nie Bufan waved his hand and said, “This is called abstract painting. It breaks the traditional style of realism and uses rich imagination to create. It is derived from reality and is superior to it. It is the pursuit of the highest state of imagination.”
Zhang Junshi now had a different understanding of Nie Bufan’s painting skills.
Li Yi listened to him speaking in such mystical ways, he couldn’t help but also come over to appreciate it, only to remain silent as before, and turned calmly around to continue to write his own words.
Nie Bufan paid them no heed, and continued to waste brush and ink enthusiastically.
After it was all written, they divided the work on pasting the couplets on the village houses.
The originally empty and plain Chicken Nest Village, with these red auspicious words, it suddenly increased in liveliness.
Zhang Junshi and Li Yi appreciated their masterpieces with satisfaction, but were embarrassed when they saw the “New Year paintings” posted on the door. The abstract paintings when put with the exquisite couplets, it was simply hard to look directly at them.
Nie Bufan himself didn’t have any self-awareness at all. This person never knew what shame was.
Well, in fact, these paintings could be used to drive away ghosts and evil spirits with quite effective results.
Zhang Junshi smiled secretly, and Li Yi twitched his mouth.
New Year’s Eve dinner was very rich and sumptuous, with chicken hot pot, chicken meatballs, chicken dumplings, chicken ribs, chicken stir-fry, fish bone chicken soup, etc.
Zhang Junshi warmed up a small jar of wine, one drink per person. Li Yi didn’t say much, but he was in a good mood.
Nie Bufan told a story to the two while eating, not scary, but very embarrassing. For example, the tale A Chinese Ghost Story, was told in this way: “A female ghost fell in love with a Taoist priest but was thrown into reincarnation by a jealous scholar, and was reborn as a chicken.”
“Wait.” Zhang Junshi interrupted, “Why was the scholar jealous?”
“Stupid, because he liked that Taoist priest.”
Zhang Junshi was a little confused: “If I am not mistaken, the Taoist priest should be a man?”
“Yes, what’s the problem?”
“That scholar and Taoist priest are……”
“Bromance, bromance don’t you understand?”
“Bromance……could bromance be referring to the out of the ordinary intimacy between men that goes beyond friendship?”
“You have hit upon the truth.”
Zhang Junshi lowered his head, suddenly a little absent-minded.
Li Yi glanced at the two of them and ate his meal silently.
Nie Bufan didn’t pay any heed to their expressions, and continued to make up nonsense: “In the past, there was a scholar who never dabbled in the pleasures of the opposite sex, practically the epitome of a gentleman. A fox demon who didn’t believe that there were men in this world who were not horny, used her life pearl in a bet with the carp demon. The bet was to rip through the hypocrisy of the scholar, so she then turned into a beauty to seduce him every night, but never succeeded. In the end she had to admit defeat and hand over the life pearl to the carp demon. The carp demon won the bet and happily went to thank that scholar, and afterwards, afterwards was eaten by the scholar.”
“Eaten?” Zhang and Li said in unison.
“Yup, the carp demon was a handsome male demon.”
Zhang and Li both understood magically. This “eat” was not the same as the other “eat.”
Nie Bufan also added: “When the fox demon learned about it, she vomited a mouthful of blood and died. She died with deep resentment, and in the end reincarnated as a resentful chicken.”
Zhang Junshi: “……”
Li Yi: “……”
It’s cold. (TN: refers to ‘cold jokes’ which got its name from when one hears a cold joke, he shivers in terror instead of laughing because the joke is so bad.)
“There is another story……”
“Don’t tell anymore, don’t tell anymore.” Zhang Junshi desperately added food into his bowl with chopsticks.
“Eat, eat.” Li Yi also desperately added food to Nie Bufan’s bowl.
A New Year’s Eve dinner ended amidst Nie Bufan’s spoof stories.
After they cleaned up, they sat around the fireplace drinking tea and holding night vigil.
When the sound of firecrackers came from the direction of Xishan city, Nie Bufan suddenly reached into his pocket and took out red envelopes for both Zhang and Li, and said with a smile: “Happy New Year, here are big red envelopes.”
Zhang Junshi and Li Yi silently accepted the red envelopes.
“As the village head of Chicken Nest Village, it is necessary to give out red envelopes to the younger generation. You are welcome, please keep it properly.”
The two looked at each other, both not knowing whether to laugh or cry, but their hearts were warm, even if there was just a copper coin in the red envelope……
Zhang Junshi also reached into his chest pocket and took out a piece of crystal clear green jade, handing it to him, and said: “An auspicious New Year to you.”
“For me?” Nie Bufan took it and played and fiddled with it over and over with a bright smile on his face that was enough to overshadow the fire embers in the furnace.
Li Yi saw this and felt uncomfortable, and so he also reached into his chest pocket, but only found the few banknotes, which were still stained with blood. It was unlucky to take them out, so he could only stuff them back silently, thinking about a later opportunity to make it up.
“Why don’t us three lonely people talk all night long on this night.” Nie Bufan suggested, “we can sleep in my bed together.”
During the renovation, Nie Bufan specially widened his bed which now can fit four or five without a problem.
“So long as you don’t tell that kind of story anymore.” Zhang Junshi said with fear.
“Okay, no problem, it will be your turn to talk when it’s time.” Nie Bufan jumped on his bed, rolled a few times, and then beckoned, “Come on.”
Don’t know why but looking at Nie Bufan’s disheveled appearance on the bed, Zhang Junshi and Li Yi got a weird feeling in their hearts. They couldn’t help but think of those stories, bromance and male-male passions……
The two layed next to Nie Bufan on either side, the three of them lined up in a row.
Nie Bufan sighed: “Don’t you feel lonely if you don’t spend the New Year’s Eve with your family?”
The two were silent.
Nie Bufan said again: “I have no relatives in this world, but what about you two?”
The two continued to be silent, but at the same time they held Nie Bufan’s hand comfortingly.
“It’s too depressing, let’s tell a story.”
The both of them let go of their hands at the same time and turned to lie on their sides.
Zhang Junshi said: “Suddenly I feel a little sleepy, let’s go to sleep.”
Li Yi simply began to snore lightly.
Nie Bufan sighed, and mournfully recited: “Being a stranger in a strange land alone, doubly homesick for our dear loved ones on each festive season, this night I think of my homeland a thousand miles away, tomorrow is another year, for no reason I feel reluctance, the candle shed tears until daybreak……”
Zhang Junshi turned around and said seriously: “Let’s just tell stories.”
Li Yi also turned around and deeply agreed.
“You said it.”
Zhang and Li nodded affirmatively and surely.
“Well, let me tell you a tear-jerking story about the white snake repaying kindness……”
……The two pitiful people suffered an entire night of pain.
The side effect being from now on their outlook on life and the world have been completely overturned.
They realized that there was a kind of emotion in this world called bromance, which was a stunning love that transcended the ways of the world, transcended class, transcended race, transcended gender, and transcended time and space.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
Nie Bufan, are you a true gay or a fake gay? Are you aware of how to write the phrase “to eat one’s bitter fruit”? (TN: idiom meaning to suffer the consequences of one’s own actions)
May the Buddha bless him.
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