Living Our Lives Well is More Important Than Anything – Chapter 24

Publish Time: 2024-06-07 14:16:51 190 views
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Chapter 24:

Li Chunzhou let Li Sanchun hold her.

Deep down, Li Chunzhou knew Li Sanchun had ulterior motives for her affection and that the money Li Sanchun earned was not clean. In this world, many people could say that the madam of Spring Flowers Tower was greedy and only cared about money, but Li Chunzhou couldn't.

The parents of this body gave birth to her, then paid a small amount of money to sever ties with her, so for Li Chunzhou, her biological parents were not kind to her.

Li Sanchun, the madam of Spring Flowers Tower, raised Li Chunzhou from the age of four or five, fed her, taught her to read, taught her how to win people over, and then made money using her. For Li Chunzhou, Mama Li also was not kind to her.

However, when Li Chunzhou was very young, Mama Li feared her nightmares and often slept with her on the same bed. In the room they used to share, there is still a doorknob at waist level that Li Sanchun specially installed for her. Every night before going to sleep, Li Sanchun would sing her a lullaby to help her sleep and would check on her in case she kicked off the blanket. Coming back from the street, she would buy roasted goose just for Li Chunzhou. On the day of the Dragon Head-Raising Festival, she held up a yellow lantern made of noodles to shine in her eyes and ears. When Li Chunzhou was sick, Li Sanchun would cook delicious food in every way possible just to get her to eat more.

To Li Chunzhou, Li Sanchun was someone who worried about her so much that she couldn't sleep through the night, someone who would always leave a little courtyard just for her, someone who would hug her shoulders and call her daughter, someone who raised her from a young age.

Even when Li Chunzhou was just becoming beautiful and a drunk guest grabbed her hand to pull her into his room, Li Chunzhou instinctively shouted, "Mom!" Li Sanchun, who was chatting and smoking with someone in front, was shocked but immediately turned around and ran towards them, pulling the wealthy and powerful guest away while shouting, "Don't touch my daughter!"

Even though the status of Spring Flowers Tower was not yet stable at that time, Li Chunzhou was not a renowned beauty in the capital city.

For Li Chunzhou, these little details and care were enormous kindness.

Li Sanchun didn't let her eat too much, so Li Chunzhou didn't have any devious thoughts.

Even though she had Li Zhexuan by her side and she was a celebrity next to the Second Prince, with all kinds of exquisite food and treasures, how could she not get to eat what she wanted.

But Li Chunzhou only sneaked a few bites of pastries when she was serving guests.

Even if Li Sanchun's love for her was not pure and clean, it was still love. In Li Chunzhou's shallow life, even this little bit of pitiful love was something she couldn't bear to let go of.

***

Because of the investigation by the Jinwei Guard yesterday, Wang Ruyu, Xinlan, and Wang Ruyu were forcibly expelled from the Spring Flowers Tower while chatting with Xinlan.

So when they arrived at Spring Flowers Tower today, Wang Ruyu still ordered for Xinlan, as she had promised yesterday to bring the book "Dream of the Red Chamber" for Xinlan.

Wang Ruyu visited several bookstores and finally found a beginner-friendly version of the book with illustrations at a small bookseller's.

Xinlan was pleasantly surprised when she received the book, not expecting Wang Ruyu and the others to actually bring the book to her as promised.

Xinlan doesn't know many words, but can understand the pictures. Wang Ruyu reads the chapters that interest her and explains them to her.

Before noon, many people were already sitting in the lobby of Spring Flowers Tower. Besides their main business, the chef at Spring Flowers Tower is also quite talented.

A young man who is a regular at Xinlan's, notices her from afar. His eyes light up when he sees Xinlan and he walks over, frivolously touching her face with a fan in hand, and joking with her.

Xinlan feels uncomfortable in front of Wang Ruyu, pushing away the man's hand and awkwardly saying, "Sir Lu, I'm currently with other guests..."

The young man who is getting too touchy with Xinlan is named Lu Shaofei. He comes from a powerful family and knows all the influential people in the capital. Lu Shaofei glances at the people next to Xinlan, seeing no one he can't offend, he continues to be inappropriately handsy with Xinlan.

He is surprised to see Xinlan holding a book today and exclaims, "You are... reading a book?!"

Xinlan blushes a bit and feels a strange sense of shame, as if she shouldn't be touching a book in the first place.

"Well, well, well, the sun rises from the west today!" Although Lu Shaofei is not considered ugly, his body has been weakened by drinking and debauchery over the years. His eyes are heavy and give off a frivolous vibe. He forcefully grabs Xinlan's face and teases, "Even a prostitute is reading now, what a surprise! Can you, as a woman, understand what you're reading? Ha! I know, holding a book must be to lure in more clients, right?"

Xinlan is usually carefree, but at this moment, she stands there feeling exposed, unable to argue and not knowing what to do.

"Hey, speak up! Can you understand this book?" Lu Shaofei teased Xinlan, who blushed and stayed silent. He smugly remarked, "I knew it, you women can't comprehend these wise books."

Wang Ruyu couldn't bear it anymore, she stood up with a cold face. Yan Qingze stood up beside her, and she went up to Lu Shaofei and asked, "What do you mean?"

Zang Bing also stood up casually and asked, "Do we need special eyes to read wise books?"

The commotion caught the attention of A'ping and the others. They walked over and silently stood behind Wang Ruyu and the others, showing their support.

Wang Ruyu and her friends were new to Dungeon, acting impulsively without considering if arguing at Spring Flowers Tower would attract danger. They just wanted to stand up for Xinlan.

Seeing this, Lu Shaofei got angry too and rudely said, "Who are these nosy people sticking their noses in! She's out here for sale, what's wrong with me touching a bit?!"

He spoke so arrogantly, as if Xinlan was not a person but a piece of meat on a table for him to touch or curse at will.

Lu Shaofei never cared for the opinion of a piece of meat, always feeling superior over her, both physically and mentally.

So when Wang Ruyu confronted him for being rude to others, he found it absurd, as if Wang Ruyu thought Xinlan was offended by him, which he found very amusing.

Lu Shaofei immediately saw that the small boy was actually a girl dressed as a boy. He reached out towards her collar and said with a wicked look, "If she won't be with me, how about you?"

Wang Ruyu stayed still, not showing any intention of dodging, just staring at Lu Shaofei angrily.

Before Lu Shaofei could touch Wang Ruyu's collar, a cold and distant voice came from upstairs, "If Master Lu has any dissatisfaction with our Spring Flowers Tower, he can speak up directly, there's no need to bother other guests."

Everyone looked up and saw it was Gu Lingfan coming down from the stairs, with Bi Yuansi smiling by her side.

Until the new Oiran is chosen, Gu Lingfan is still the top courtesan of the Spring Flowers Tower. With her skills and connections, she is as influential as the Lu family among the nobles and officials in the capital.

In Daliang, the first-class courtesan establishments led by Oirans are often high-end social venues for scholars and noble guests to gather.

An Oiran can attract and include anyone she wants in her circle based on her own charm.

Regardless of the status of the guests, if the Oiran declines, they cannot return to her circle. This is an unwritten rule in the red-light district.

Lu Shaofei didn't dare offend her openly, so he awkwardly smiled, stopped causing trouble, and left quietly.

Even though he tried to hide his expression, Wang Ruyu still saw him spit angrily and mutter to himself when he walked a bit further away, "Pah, who's that Oiran, just a stinky whore that thousands of men ride and hundreds of men sleep with!"

Gu Lingfan probably knew what Lu Shaofei was mumbling about, but she didn't pay much attention, still keeping her cold and proud demeanor.

Bi Yuansi politely thanked Gu Lingfan on behalf of his friend.

Gu Lingfan's unexpected kind attitude towards Bi Yuansi, with her beautiful face and proud demeanor, despite her experience in the pleasure district for years, still exuded an aloof and proud aura. Though not alluring in a seductive way, she attracted men in the hustle and bustle of the city.

Unlike Li Chunzhou who always wore a smile and liked to be friendly with all the men she could use, Gu Lingfan didn't have the air of a woman tainted by the pleasure district. This made her appear elegant and refined, igniting men's desires to conquer her.

Men are often foolish, the more Gu Lingfan acted aloof, the stronger their curiosity and desire to conquer her became. In pursuit of a momentary thrill, they were willing to forsake wealth.

Suddenly, Wang Ruyu remembered the gossip Xinlan had told them yesterday. She said that at the age of 14, Gu Lingfan became an Oiran, excelling not only in poetry and music but also in tea ceremony, incense art, flower arrangement, and even the game of Go. Gu Lingfan was praised as an unparalleled talented woman, exuding confidence and pride.

Ironically, Li Chunzhou, who always catered to others, was still a virgin, while Gu Lingfan, who remained pure and untainted, had sold her body more than once.

In a way, Xinlan could actually understand Gu Lingfan's mindset - no matter how highly these wealthy clients praised Gu Lingfan, in their hearts, untouched young Li Chunzhous like her were still seen as pure and innocent.

Xinlan even felt a bit sorry for Gu Lingfan. When she was young, she was outstanding and always ahead, but as she grew older, she was overtaken by newcomers. No matter how talented and beautiful she was, men always go after something new.

This matter was like a thorn in Gu Lingfan's heart. No matter who brings it up, she would get angry.

So, compared to Li Chunzhou who shows everything on her face, Xinlan was more afraid of the cold and distant Gu Lingfan. But Xinlan was surprised when Gu Lingfan actually helped her today, maybe because of the handsome man beside her.

Seeing Gu Lingfan's focused gaze on Bi Yuansi, Xinlan couldn't help but feel a sense of pity in her heart.

When Li Chunzhou and Spring Flowers Tower were not well-known, the most famous girl was Gu Lingfan. At that time, their relationship was good enough to share the same dress, but now... they can barely stand each other.

Spring Flowers Tower can fulfill all desires in people's hearts, whether it's food, possessions, or other things, but one desire that remains unfulfilled is the desire for love.

Whether it's Lu Shaofei, Gu Lingfan, or other clients and prostitutes, they exchange money for sex. Even in Spring Flowers Tower, the top Oiran establishment where prostitutes prefer, the exchanges between prostitutes and clients are more like "love" than just sex.

Scholars come here to find like-minded friends, while the nobles seek undivided attention and understanding. These intangible goods are sold as substitutes for souls in the process of sharing and listening, to comfort the loneliness in their hearts.

However, when an intimate relationship between two people needs money to connect, it is destined to fade and disappear because of money.

So those who cannot exchange "love" with money will repeatedly say that prostitutes are heartless and actors are unfaithful.

After all, it is much easier to blame others for being lowly and greedy, than to admit that one is not worthy of love.

People like Lu Shaofei will naturally hate women. If he doesn't hate women, he would have to admit that he is shallow and ridiculous, acknowledge that he is not special, and accept the failures in his life.

He wanted to hear vulgar flattery and see women distorting and struggling for survival and money. That's why he subconsciously didn't want to see Xinlan reading, and didn't want her to see a bigger world.

He wanted to drag her down by suppressing Xinlan, making her always appear before him with the title of a "fallen woman."

He didn't want to improve himself, didn't want to love himself, so he didn't allow others to do so either.

Seeing Xinlan looking dazed, Wang Ruyu pulled her closer and said firmly, "Don't mind what that idiot just said, he's just jealous of you!"

Xinlan, looking confused, asked weakly, "What does 'jealous of you' mean?"

Wang Ruyu realized what she had said and awkwardly cleared her throat, awkwardly changing the subject, "Oh, nothing... let's continue reading."

After the group left, Xinlan picked up "Dream of the Red Chamber" again. She turned to the page with the words "Xiang Yun" that Wang Ruyu had just pointed out, accompanied by a watercolor illustration showing a silly Xiang Yun sleeping among peonies.

Xinlan couldn't resist reaching out to touch the rough paper. She stared at the illustration, trying to understand her own seemingly worthless yet invaluable life.

But the ink was too blurry for Xinlan to see clearly.