Living Our Lives Well is More Important Than Anything – Chapter 4

Publish Time: 2024-05-26 10:05:28 326 views
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Chapter 4:

Qi Leyuan couldn't accept the fact that he had turned into a chicken, but his body followed the instincts of a chicken. He woke up before dawn, unable to contain his urge, and let out his first crow.

"Cock-a-doodle-doo!"

After crowing, Qi Leyuan suddenly started thinking deeply. He seemed to remember that he was a rooster and crowing was his job.

In no time, he pushed this thought out of his mind. Since things were already like this, the situation couldn't get any worse. He thought, "Crowing is crowing, both roosters and hens walk together. Who can tell whether I am male or female?"

After waking up, Qi Leyuan couldn't sleep anymore. He paced back and forth in the courtyard.

As dawn approached, all the bells and drums in the city rang in unison. It was two o'clock, the first drumbeat sounded from the tower of Chengtian Gate, the main entrance of the imperial palace. Following that, the drum towers on the intersecting streets of Shengjing City began to follow suit, with the sound of drums spreading wave after wave from the inside out, reaching far into the outskirts.

This was the first time Qi Leyuan had seen such a meticulously detailed Dungeon, and he couldn't help but jump onto the courtyard wall to take a closer look.

In a place far beyond his sight, the major gates of the imperial palace and the gates of various neighborhoods rang in succession, the morning bells of temples mingling with the drumbeats and chimes, creating a solemn and stirring ambiance.

The morning drums were to be struck a thousand times in total, but not continuously. They were separated by intervals, divided into five sessions. The ladies of Spring Flowers Tower usually woke up at the fourth session, while some preferred to continue sleeping.

Chihong walked in, braving the chilly morning air. Her hair seemed to still have some dampness, likely just finished washing and came to help Li Chunzhou get up.

With the "get out of danger free card" given by Li Chunzhou, Qi Leyuan was no longer worried about the serving girl harming him. So, he flapped his wings confidently, flew in through the window, tidied his feathers pretentiously, and then proudly walked towards Li Chunzhou sitting at the dressing table.

But before getting close, Qi Leyuan suddenly noticed something strange - the boy from last night had never left.

At this moment, he stood silently next to Li Chunzhou, with his dark hair flowing.

Li Zhexuan and Chihong were not talkative, standing expressionless on either side of Li Chunzhou, like two wooden statues.

The wooden piece to the right had a vibrant peony flower pinned in a vase, she finished styling Li Chunzhou's hair, then placed the vase on Li Chunzhou's head, calmly saying, "Miss, all set."

The wooden piece to the left just gazed intently at Li Chunzhou, almost overshadowing her in his own shadow, his voice as calm as still water, "...Lady Chun, hungry."

Qi Leyuan stood a bit further away, feeling somewhat heartbroken as he thought, could that rascal have been with her all night last night... sharing a bed?!

The shattered dreams of the young man on this side went unnoticed, Li Chunzhou heard Li Zhexuan's words and slammed the table sternly, lacking much authority, saying, "No, it's too early in the morning, what if my mouth swells up and I can't face people?"

Her voice betrayed a hint of guilt, like a middle-aged man unable to bear the family expenses who was arguing desperately, and like a mother unable to feed her children.

Li Zhexuan obediently lowered his head, Li Chunzhou looked at his blurry reflection in the copper mirror, blinked, reached out and touched Li Zhexuan's cheek, saying, "A'xuan, I know you've been hungry for many days... but it's okay, you'll eat soon."

Then she pulled Li Zhexuan's mouth corners and said, "Smile."

The teenager, who was already a head taller than her, tilted his head towards Li Chunzhou and revealed a quirky smile that had been practiced hundreds of times without any flaws.

This was the one hundred and twenty-first loop they had experienced together, and Li Chunzhou could almost recite what would happen every day in the Spring Flowers Tower.

And finding Li Zhexuan should be considered something that happened "yesterday."

At that time, this child was only four or five years old, without even a name.

If we count the time in the loop as normal passing time, then Li Chunzhou had spent exactly ten years here.

In the span of ten years, everyone except Li Zhexuan had remained unchanged, including Li Chunzhou. The wound on her wrist kept healing, only to reappear when the loop reset to day one again.

But this child named "Li Zhexuan" kept growing taller with each cycle. In these ten trapped years, only his time was passing as normal.

Li Chunzhou watched him grow from a frail child to the tall, sturdy silent teenager he was now. Whenever she saw him, Li Chunzhou could be sure that everything that had happened in the past was not just her imagination.

In the first few months, as long as nothing unexpected happened that day, Li Zhexuan would curl up in Li Chunzhou's arms and sleep with her. As Li Zhexuan kept growing taller, when they slept on the same bed, it became Li Chunzhou who curled up in Li Zhexuan's arms.

It was during the first cycle that Li Chunzhou noticed all the Dark Guards seemed to ignore this black-haired and dark-eyed child, even the people in the Spring Flowers Tower treated Li Zhexuan as if he were invisible.

Li Zhexuan seemed to have a magical ability that made everyone ignore him, allowing him to stick to Li Chunzhou like an invisible ghost.

After ten years passed like this, Li Chunzhou watched him grow little by little beside her, getting used to the presence of this little strange creature.

Occasionally there would be some unexpected "surprises", as even in familiar settings, those with vastly different personalities would react differently, bringing some variety into Li Chunzhou's monotonous life.

Li Chunzhou absentmindedly stroked Li Zhexuan's temple while soothing his emotions, her voice becoming lower as she spoke, like whispered secrets.

Chihong stood not far away, expressionless as she watched, seeming unfazed and indifferent.

Just as Qi Leyuan was busy with a broken heart, a floating dialogue box popped up in front of him, with messages flashing rapidly on the screen:

[Shi Gu], "It seems someone has died."

Yan Qingze, "Is someone dead?! Is it true?"

Liang Jiayou, "Did we time-travel and not get the main character halo?"

Many viewers initially thought Shi Gu was joking, so they made some witty comments. These viewers are mostly newcomers who have never participated in a dungeon before, so they do not understand the seriousness of "dying" in the dungeon.

Gu Cai, "Idiot, open your eyes and look at the top online user count."

Liang Jiayou, "It does seem like it's really down to 29, what's going on?"

Cheng Yingchu: (Picture)

Cheng Yingchu shared the unedited photos of the accident scene taken shortly before with the group, so everyone in the group clearly saw the bloody scene where blood was spreading all over the ground.

There was a dark stain in the center of the deceased's pants, probably due to extreme shock before death, causing them to involuntarily release bodily fluids.

A dagger, about a foot long, pierced straight through the gaping mouth of the middle-aged man. The force used by the attacker was so great that the dagger even pierced through the skull, like nailing a bug, firmly pinning the body to the ground.

The power in the picture is something humans can't do, especially with the deceased's eyes wide open, frozen in a look of fear.

After Cheng Yingchu's message was sent out, the group went quiet for a moment. Experienced players checked for clues, while newcomers were mostly scared by the bloody and horrifying picture.

[Cheng Yingchu], "Tick-tock, feed the chickens with rice. Chickens call at dawn, dogs bark at night, pigs repay debts, cows plow the fields. Feed the children in the study, hire someone to scold the errant. A bride born with grace, gives birth to twins. The day grows long, the old lady's eyes grow dim, it was you wearing the shirt and me wearing the pants, you sleep at the head of the bed, and I at the foot."

[Cheng Yingchu], "I have the clues to this death event, which I shared hoping everyone can investigate together. This Dungeon's level of difficulty is different from any I've experienced before, with very agile NPCs. If anyone has clues, please share them in the group chat, so our chances of survival will be higher."

After she sent out her message, only a few veteran players responded, while most of the following messages were panicked inquiries from newcomers.

Qi Leyuan was reading the messages in the channel intently when suddenly he was lifted up.

A young girl appeared at the door, bringing news that someone had died upstairs.

After hearing the young girl's words, Li Chunzhou's eyes widened. Without time to put on her embroidered shoes, she hurried to Spring Flowers Tower, carrying a small chicken with wooden clogs.

Li Zhexuan, tall with long legs, took big steps, always trailing beside Li Chunzhou like a shadow, making no sound or movement.

Seeing them following, Chihong hesitated and then turned around to look at the two of them leaving. She then turned back to arrange the various fabrics and jewelry that were sent by the Second Prince's men yesterday.

From a distance, Li Chunzhou could see a group of people gathered outside a room on the second floor. Hearing the sound of clogs on the stairs, the onlookers turned their heads and made way for Li Chunzhou when they saw her.

Holding a chicken in her arms, Li Chunzhou was about to enter to see what was happening. She noticed a blurry-faced man lying on the floor from afar. Before she could get a closer look, she accidentally bumped into the madam who was coming out. Li Chunzhou asked, "Mom, what's going on?"

The madam forced a smile and vaguely replied, "Nothing happened. It's nothing to do with our Spring Flowers Tower. It's just too dirty inside. Lady Chun, as a young lady, you shouldn't go in."

Hearing this, Li Chunzhou decided not to insist on entering. She slowly backed away from the crowd. Some of the onlookers smiled at her and greeted her, to which Li Chunzhou responded with a nod. She then leaned on the railing, holding Li Li in her arms, and watched the madam directing the people coming in and out.

"Did you report it to the officials?"

"Yes, we already did."

...

Soon, several men dressed as patrols came upstairs, dispersed the crowd, and started to carry the body. They were going to take the body to the coroner for examination.

All the people around had left, but Li Chunzhou still stood there boredly, watching the madam with a forced smile explaining to the officials. She tried to distance Spring Flowers Tower from the situation, but the two patrolmen remained cold and pretended not to understand, keeping a firm and serious attitude.

The madam had been in charge of the Spring Flowers Tower for over ten years, dealing with the relationships and troubles of the underworld. She spent a lot of money, but everyone in Shengjing City gave her some face. It had been years since she had experienced such cold treatment.

The madam felt a bit uneasy, but she had to suppress her feelings. She knew the bribe of five taels of silver she gave earlier might not be enough. Over the past two years, the officials had become more greedy, from the high-ranking officials to the lower-ranked ones, all wanting more.

Li Chunzhou watched coldly, her hand that was softly stroking Li Li's feathers exerted a little more pressure, while Qi Leyuan grumbled in protest.

Li Chunzhou was about to speak when a clear and ethereal voice echoed from a distance, "Mother, why bother?"

Even before seeing her, the familiar cold fragrance had already permeated the air. She turned her head and saw that it was indeed Gu Lingfan.

Gu Lingfan had a distinctive cold scent of cosmetics and her appearance was striking. Even in the peak of summer, she was tightly wrapped up, not flaunting like other courtesans. However, the glimpse of skin at her neckline was captivating like fine jade.

She was surrounded by a group of elegantly dressed maidens, shining like stars, all following her with an air of superiority higher than Li Chunzhou's.

Gu Lingfan politely greeted the two patrolmen, as if she hadn't noticed the corpse they were carrying. She smiled slightly and said, "The magistrate promised to visit me tonight. Don't forget to remind Lord Wei for me. Fan Nuo is still waiting for him to drink."

She had a smile on her face and spoke calmly but warmly. When she said the final sentence, her voice seemed sharp, making people feel a tingling sensation in their ears.

Hearing the words "Chief Justice," the two martial scouts suddenly became much more alert. They didn't mention money anymore, realizing that if Gu Lingfan mentioned it to their boss, they might not only lose their reward but also their positions.

So, they immediately put on friendly smiles and agreed kindly.

Gu Lingfan glanced at the dead person they were carrying, wrinkled her brow, and said with disgust, "Since you still have official business, please take the body away quickly. Although our place is not prestigious, having a corpse here will definitely affect business... Right, sir?"

Before the two could reply, Gu Lingfan calmly added, "Of course, Fan Nuo also knows that the Chief Justice will certainly support Spring Flowers Tower."

The two martial scouts nodded repeatedly and stopped mentioning "following the rules."

As they left, the brothel keeper hugged Gu Lingfan and called her "sweetheart" repeatedly, pleased to have saved some money, looking at Gu Lingfan with absolute satisfaction.

"Mom always knows best, we are all part of the same family," Gu Lingfan smiled, glanced at Li Chunzhou beside her with a hint of sarcasm in her eyes, and straightforwardly said, "I'm not like those hypocrites... Acting all innocent even after doing something wrong."

Everyone could see who Gu Lingfan's words were aimed at. Li Chunzhou, who had been quiet, frowned upon hearing this, anger in her eyes as she looked at Gu Lingfan's flawless face.

The madam tried to ease the situation between the two people, "Lady Chun is still young, but by mid-month, she will be able to help."

Gu Lingfan's eyes shifted, looking at Li Chunzhou with a complicated expression that was hard to put into words.

Li Chunzhou smiled, even more falsely than before, as if trying to provoke Gu Lingfan. She said with a smirk, "My sister has been the reigning Oiran for three years. This year, since I'm old enough, I will naturally participate in the Oiran Contest."

Holding a small chicken in her arms, she raised her chin slightly and said confidently, "We'll see then, whether my sister can continue to outshine everyone, or if my 'haughty' self will win the top prize."

She was not as tall as Gu Lingfan, but had a strong presence. With Qi Leyuan's head in her arms, it almost bumped into Gu Lingfan's chest.

Despite Li Chunzhou's threatening words with a stern face, she appeared like a sulking child, which made her not annoying at all. When she put on a proud look, she outshone everyone around her.

Gu Lingfan gazed at that face which irritated her to the core, her expression turning even colder. After a deep look, she said no more and left in a huff.