Chapter 181: This Is Your Bill
Under the shopkeeper’s suspicious gaze, Ren Zhixian felt very annoyed. However, he was the type of person to be meek and civil in public but a tyrant at home. In the Shi household, he always felt that everyone owed it to him; he treated everyone with a frown and complained about them, but out in the public, he cared a lot about his reputation and always maintained an aloof attitude.
Even though he was annoyed, he did not flare up. Instead, he straightened his back and raised his eyes to give off an awe-inspiring presence as he said loftily, “I have my own reasons, are you telling me that you are not doing this business with me?”
“No, no, no!” The shopkeeper thought in his heart that who in Qingzhou City would dare to impersonate someone from the Shi family, and which household does not have things that can’t be said, hard to say, and would not be understood if told to others? As long as there’s business, whatever the reason, who cares!
“Then I shall send them to the Shi household later?” The shopkeeper smiled and said.
“That’s right!” Ren Zhixian nodded his head with satisfaction.
The shopkeeper thought about it and summoned his courage to ask again, “May I ask how to address you? We need someone to accept and sign the goods when we deliver it, don’t we?”
Ren Zhixian did not want to say it at first, but he was afraid that the shopkeeper might not be able to explain the situation properly and the Shi family would not accept the bill. If that were to happen, wouldn’t it be terrible? As long as the items were sent to the gate and the Shi family knew those were his, would they refuse only to end up tarnishing their reputation? He said plainly, “My surname is Ren, you can just mention that they’re for Master Ren!”
“Oh, Master Ren! I’ll remember it!” The shopkeeper nodded his head.
“Send those soon and don’t delay for too long!” Ren Zhixian urged again as he turned and left the shop.
“Don’t worry!” The shopkeeper responded loudly. Not daring to delay the order, he ordered for the items to be packed immediately. They arrived at the Shi household almost at the same time as when Ren Zhixian did.
The entire Shi household referred Ren Zhixian as ***** , so when the servant received word that the items were for “Master Ren”, it took him awhile to guess that those were for Ren Zhixian. He quickly smiled and thanked the courier before accepting the items.
However, the courier avoided the gatekeeper and said, “Thankfully it’s here. Master Ren hasn’t paid yet; this is the bill. Please check if——”
Hasn’t paid yet? The gatekeeper had the most interactions with people on a daily basis and had heard many tales and fables about his Shi Household’s Eldest Missy’s husband which made him despise him. Right now, someone had arrived at the gate of the Shi Household. The gatekeeper did not dare to recklessly handle the situation for fear of harming the reputation of the Shi Household. Thus, he smiled and said, “How about this. I’ll take the bill first while you sit here and wait for a while!”
The courier naturally did not have any objection and passed the bill to the gatekeeper.
The gatekeeper took the bill and went straight to Head Servant Yu before telling him the gist of the situation.
“How can there be such a thing!” Head Servant Yu’s eyebrows creased immediately after listening.
Young Mistress had already given the instructions this morning to prepare New Year gifts for that person’s elders, so why would he buy so many Four Treasures of the Study out of nowhere? Head Servant Yu glanced at the bill: nine hundred silvers!
He sure ain’t modest! Head Servant Yu twitched his mouth and folded the bill in his hand before instructing, “Wait here, I’ll go and ask Young Master what to do about this!” He did not dare to make the decision to withdraw such a large amount of money from the household account! Shi Fengju had always been strict about the household account. Other than himself and Sang Wan, no one had the authority to withdraw from there.
Head Servant Yu hurried over to Ning Garden1. Sang Wan was not present but Shi Fengju was. After hearing from Head Servant Yu and seeing the bill in his hand, Shi Fengju’s face turned cold. He did not even have the energy to be angry.
It seemed that the Shi Household had been treating that man too well. There were definitely those in the world he could not be compliant to else they would look down on others! To think that such a shameless behavior was possible!
If this matter were to be ignored, then there would be trouble in the future! In no time, the people in Qingzhou City will know that the one who bought things on credit was the Shi family’s ****, and the reputation of the Shi family would be ruined!
Shi Fengju returned the bill to Head Servant Yu and simply said, “Since this bill is for Master Ren, then send it to him!”
“Yes, Young Master!” Head Servant Yu understood tacitly. He bowed and withdrew.
Ren Zhixian was thinking highly of himself in his study room. Just at the thought, he laughed in his heart: Weren’t they not willing to part with a few silvers? Then I’ll purposely not let them have their way! Hmph, unless the Shi family wants to keep their money and not their reputation, they will surely fork out the money!
Ren Zhixian was happy and proud of himself for being smart. He pictured Shi Fengju’s sullen and irritated face as he had no choice but to give in, and felt very pleased with himself! Hearing that Head Servant Yu was requesting for a visit, he immediately thought that his items had arrived, so he immediately ordered the servant to come in.
Head Servant Yu pushed the door open and entered. Ren Zhixian blinked his eyes upon seeing Head Servant Yu’s empty hands. He looked behind him, but there were no servants behind him, so he asked in astonishment without any thought, “Where are the items?”
“Ah?” Head Servant Yu stared blankly as he did not seem to understand.
“Where are the items that I bought!” Ren Zhixian said impatiently, “Aren’t you here to deliver them to me?”
“Oh, they’re here!” Head Servant Yu smiled and stepped forward to present the bill with both hands.
This time, it was Ren Zhixian’s turn to be dazed as he looked at the piece of paper blankly. He took it suspiciously, and his expression distorted upon seeing it. He glared at Head Servant Yu and questioned coldly, “What’s the meaning of this!”
But why would Head Servant Yu be afraid of him? Head Servant Yu smiled and said calmly, “Please hear this old servant out. The courier waiting at the gatehouse asked to pass this to “Master Ren”. He mentioned that “Master Ren” had bought a few sets of Four Treasures of the Study, and this old servant understood that they should be yours, so I’ve come to deliver this to you personally!”
Ren Zhixian was so angry that he collapsed backwards as he said coldly, “Why would you send it to me? Why didn’t you send it to the account office first?”
Head Servant Yu smiled and said, “That courier indicated that the items were for “Master Ren”, so of course the bill should be sent to you! The account office only accept bills from the household. As for this, they will not accept! Please see if you would like to personally pass the courier the silvers yourself or you could pass this old servant the silvers and I’ll do it in your stead. The courier is still waiting at the gatehouse!”
Ren Zhixian was gloomy and remained silent. He thought in his heart that if he had the money to pay, would he have waited until now to pay? Even a servant from the Shi household dared to show me attitude! This place can no longer be stayed in any longer!
“It seems to me that you might want to go personally, then this old servant shall leave first!” Seeing that Ren Zhixian had not said anything for a while, Head Servant Yu tactfully greeted to take his leave.
“Hold up!” Ren Zhixian said coldly, “Where is Shi Fengju? Is he at home?”
Head Servant Yu felt somewhat uncomfortable from the way Ren Zhixian addressed his young master, and turned around to ridicule him with a long face, “What are you asking? This is the Shi Household; my young master’s home. If Young Master isn’t here, then where would he be?”
His words clearly meant that his young master was the owner and Ren Zhixian was the outsider, so an outsider better not be rude! Ren Zhixian was so furious that he felt dizzy. He exclaimed, “Since he’s at home, pass this bill to him! Take it that I am loaning a few hundred silvers from him as a brother-in-law. In the future, I’ll pay him back with interest! I’ll write him a debt contract immediately!”
Ren Zhixian was peeved and grinded the ink to write while thinking to himself: Don’t think that just because you’ve some stinky money, you’re better! I’ll borrow from you then, you can’t possibly refuse right? I’ll throw this contract in your face and see if you’ve the face to sign it!
Ren Zhixian thought that his move would be a slap on Shi Fengju’s face, and was feeling happy about it. Never would he have thought that Head Servant Yu would reply otherwise, “This bill was instructed by Young Master to be sent to you. This old servant feels that you should not waste your effort! Young Master said that if you really are short of Four Treasures of the Study, he would instruct people to get the best for you, he really does not understand why you would buy so many useless things for. You should know, my young master is a businessman, he will not pay for anything useless.”
The hand Ren Zhixian was using to grind the inkstone stiffened. He raised his head and stared at Head Servant Yu for a long while before nodding, “Good, very good!” He slammed the table and glared at Head Servant Yu while shouting, “This Shi household is trying to humiliate me on purpose, is it!”
Head Servant Yu sneered and said, “If you think that way, then it really is very disappointing! The food, clothing, accommodation and transport, which one of them is a standard less than any wealthy family out there! You are an educated person, so shouldn’t you know how to repay with kindness?”
“You dare lecture me!” Ren Zhixian yelled with disbelief, “You are just a servant but you dare to lecture me! Believe me when I say that I have ways to lay you off tomorrow!”
Head Servant Yu scoffed and said plainly, “I am not a Ren family’s servant, you seem to be overstepping your boundaries!”
“What’s happening, why are you making a big fuss again!” Shi Yumei pushed the door open and entered with frown.
“Great! You’re here!” Ren Zhixian pointed at Head Servant Yu and complained, “This old thing has no regard for rules; he has no respect for his master. You go and tell your mother to lay him off tomorrow! What’s the point of keeping a disrespectful servant!”
“You!” Head Servant Yu was so angry that his moustache was twitching. He had been a servant in the Shi household ever since he was thirty years old and slowly rose to become a head servant. For twenty years, he had never been scolded like this by Old Mistress and all the young masters. However, he was scolded by an outsider today!
“What nonsense are you spouting! Just what happened here?” Shi Yumei could not help but frown and look at Head Servant Yu apologetically.
“Eldest Missy,” Head Servant Yu suppressed his anger and told her about the issue. Afterwards, he cupped his hands and said, “This servant has already delivered the bill here. Please deal with it as you deem fit! This servant still has matters to settle so I’ll be taking my leave first!”
What a person! If he stayed to argue with him any further, he would exhaust the remains of his old life here.
Shi Yumei was both angry and ashamed. She heard that he had gone out with little more than eighty silvers and thought that his frustration would subside after going for a round outside, but who knew that his bad habits would come up again!
This was Qingzhou and not Mengxian. Shi Yumei shared the same thought as Shi Fengju, if they let this slide, wouldn’t the consequence be terrible? If it implicated the reputation of her parent’s household, how would she be able to live with the guilt?
“Head Servant Yu!” Shi Yumei hurriedly stopped Head Servant Yu. She took two steps forward and took the bill from the table before passing it to Head Servant Yu. She instructed with no trace of politeness, “Pass this to the courier at the gatehouse and say that “Master Ren” has something urgent and left the Shi household. Ask him to bring the items back with him! Also, pass these two silvers to him as a fee for the trouble!”
Shi Yumei then took out a few pieces of silver.
Head Servant Yu glanced at Ren Zhixian. Seeing that his expression was dark and did not utter a word, Head Servant Yu took the silvers and the bill before leaving after he agreed.
Stepping out of the door, he heard an intense dispute behind him. He could not help but sigh in his heart: Eldest Missy was so proud and brash in the past; who knew that she’d fall to such a state today! The ups and downs of life really were hard to predict!