Chapter 24 – Fragrance fox

Fang Yun smiled and asked, “Big Brother Niu, who told you to call me Young Master?”

“My parents did. They said you’re different now and can’t be called little brother anymore. You’re Young Master now. When you pass the Presented Scholar exam, I’ll have to call you Master. ” Fang Daniu said.

“We’re all family, no need to be so formal.”

“No, I can’t let our Fang family lose face. I’ll call you whatever I should. Otherwise, how can I be your follower? My mother said that the Fang family in Ji County finally produced a golden phoenix like you. I have to serve you well and bask in your glory in the future.”

Fang Yun didn’t say anything and looked at the three letters in his hand. Fang Daniu was right. His status was indeed different now.

The sun rose, the weather warmed up, and Fang Yun opened the curtains, took out a book of Rites from the book box, and began to recite it quietly.

Yang Yuhuan watched Fang Yun quietly, occasionally smiling, her cheeks blushing, and no one knew what she was thinking.

The carriage continued on its way, and when Fang Yun got tired, he closed his eyes and rested. After a short rest, he continued to recite quietly.

After an unknown amount of time, the carriage approached the Prefecture of Dayuan, and Fang Yun was reading “Gentlemen stay away from the kitchen” when a white figure suddenly jumped in through the window.

Fang Yun was caught off guard and was startled. A snow-white fox pounced on his leg, bringing with it a hint of fragrance and a faint smell of blood, without any animal stench.

Yang Yuhuan looked curiously at the fox, showing a look of pity, but Jiang Pozzi’s face changed drastically and she shouted, “Be careful, Young Master Fang, it might be a demon!”

Fang Yun was shocked and was about to throw the fox out, but the fox suddenly raised its head, looked at him with its pitch-black eyes, showed a pleading look, then closed its eyes and fainted.

Normally, Fang Yun might have thrown it away directly, but just as he was reading “Gentlemen stay away from the kitchen,” he hesitated.

This phrase also appeared in Mencius, and it didn’t mean to look down on the kitchen. It meant that people have compassion. If it weren’t for the cook, they would feel sorry when they saw the scene of killing animals and heard the screams of dying animals. Therefore, gentlemen should stay away from the kitchen.

However, in the era of scholars going to war, this phrase was somewhat outdated, so it was extended and explained as everyone has the right to eat meat, but they cannot take pleasure in killing animals and cannot be cruel.

Yang Yuhuan whispered, “This should be an ordinary fox. Even if it’s a demon, it hasn’t killed anyone. If a demon kills someone, its eyes will turn red, and it will have a smell similar to rotten fish. I’ve smelled it before.”

Fang Yun thought for a moment, lowered his head to observe the fox’s wound, which seemed to have been scratched by an animal’s claws. The blood near the wound had dried up, and the wound had already scarred over, indicating that the fight had lasted for at least several hours. It was unlikely that it was being followed by enemies. Taking it in wouldn’t be too dangerous.Fang Yun didn’t take it lightly, he leaned his head out of the window. The forest on the roadside was quiet, and there were other carriages dozens of zhang away. Looking in the direction of Dayuan City, the outline of the city wall of Dayuan Prefecture could already be seen. Even the boldest monster beasts wouldn’t dare to act recklessly here because the Holy Temple in the Wenyuan was vigilant at all times.

“Little Yun, what should we do with this fox?” Yang Yuhuan asked.

Fang Yun said, “Ask the guard at the city gate when we pass by. If they don’t think it’s a harmful monster, they will let it in. Otherwise, the soldiers will deal with it.”

“Oh.” Yang Yuhuan wanted to save the little fox, but Fang Yun’s attitude was more important, so she didn’t say anything.

Fang Yun sniffed lightly again. This fox was especially fragrant.

He immediately used the miraculous book, Tian Di, to search and quickly found a travelogue by the Semi-Saint Chen Guanhai, which mentioned the most precious fragrance fox of the fox clan, only describing it as “having a unique fragrance” and “rare in the world.”

Fang Yun suspected that this fox was the priceless fragrance fox, and the fur of this kind of fox could be used to make fragrance fox brushes.

A fragrance fox brush could be sold for over ten thousand liang because using it to write war poetry could increase its power by at least ten percent. If it was paired with ink made from monster blood, its power could be increased by more than twenty percent. The larger the fragrance fox, the better the effect.

Fragrance foxes were extremely rare, and it was said that there were only a dozen or so in existence.

This fox was too small, with a tail the same length as its body, and its tail was only as long as Fang Yun’s palm, just like a small squirrel.

Fang Yun carefully examined the little fox’s wound, which had already scarred over and didn’t require special treatment.

When they arrived at the city gate, Fang Yun asked Fang Daniu to stop the carriage, and then he carried the little fox down.

The city wall of Dayuan Prefecture was four zhang high, built of blue stones, and was very secure. It was said that it was built by a great scholar.

There were five armored soldiers on each side of the city gate, but they didn’t inspect passing vehicles or collect city taxes.

Fang Yun walked up to a soldier and asked, “I found a fox on the road and want to keep it as a pet, but I don’t know if it’s a monster. Is there a way to check?”

The soldier looked at Fang Yun’s child scholar robe and answered, “This place is enveloped by the power of the Holy Temple. If there is a problem with this fox, the Holy Temple will immediately suppress it. You can bring it in at any time.”

“Thank you.” Fang Yun thanked the soldier and returned to the carriage.

Fang Daniu continued to drive the carriage to the residence that Liang Yuan had already chosen.

Fang Yun had never been to Dayuan Prefecture, but even though it was bustling, it couldn’t compare to the world of commerce and prosperity in the other world, so he wasn’t very interested. He thought about how to run the bookstore and what books to sell.

Yang Yuhuan, on the other hand, was different. She lifted the curtain and curiously looked at Dayuan Prefecture, which was much larger than Jixian. People were constantly coming and going. Dayuan Prefecture was the capital of Jiangzhou and the political center of Jiangzhou, but the military and commercial centers of Jiangzhou were not in Dayuan Prefecture, but in Yuhai Prefecture, five hundred li away. It was located at the mouth of the Yangtze River and outside the city was the East Sea. It was the trading place between Jing Nation and the Sea Clan, and was extremely prosperous.Five days ago, Liang Yuan had arrived in Dayuan Prefecture. Yesterday, he sent a letter to Fang Yun, helping him choose a cheap rental house – a detached courtyard for three months at five taels of silver per month. He also selected a bookstore that was ready to be sold and was waiting for Fang Yun to go to the government office to handle the formalities.

According to the location on the letter, the carriage came to Lao Shi Lane, where Liang Yuan was waiting.

Fang Yun got off the carriage and greeted Liang Yuan, discussing the details of the residence and bookstore as they walked.

The residence was smaller than Fang Yun’s home and was a very ordinary small courtyard, but Fang Yun didn’t mind. He planned to directly buy a larger courtyard once the bookstore became profitable.

After a brief tidy up and lunch, Fang Yun left with Yang Yuhuan and Liang Yuan to sign the rental contract and then went to the Dayuan Fang family. He had promised to give them a ten percent stake and wanted to borrow the Fang family’s name to avoid trouble, especially from the Liu family.

The carriage stopped at the door of the Fang family, which was open, and the plaque on the door read “Fang Mansion.”

Fang Yun took a look inside and saw not a few large courtyards, but a garden. Behind the door was a bluestone road flanked by gardens. When the bluestone road reached the artificial hill, it divided into two, with the main garden behind the hill.

Two house servants dressed in black were standing at the door, but one had no left arm and the other had his right eye covered by an eye patch. Both had a resolute expression and looked like they had been soldiers before.

Fang Yun respectfully greeted them, “Hello, I am Fang Yun from Ji County, the nephew of Fang Shouye. We have an appointment to discuss investing in the bookstore.”

One of the house servants immediately said, “The General received an urgent report yesterday and has returned to Yuhai City. The Madam has instructed that you be taken directly to her when you arrive. Please follow me.”

Fang Yun smiled and said, “Thank you,” then signaled for Yang Yuhuan and Liang Yuan to follow.

The house servant led the three of them around the artificial hill to the second courtyard, which surprisingly had no houses, only flowing water, flowers, and trees. Except for the door they had come in, there were three circular arches in the east, west, and north directions, each leading to a different courtyard.

And there were more doors and courtyards to the east and west of the two courtyards.

“The legendary rich man, truly worthy of a prestigious family,” Fang Yun thought to himself.

In the third courtyard, Fang Yun finally saw the main hall of the Fang Mansion, which was even bigger than the courtyard and house of his own home.

In the main hall, there were two grand armchairs and six pairs of square tables on both sides, with chairs on both sides of the square tables.

But there was no one in the main hall.

The house servant asked Fang Yun to sit in the main hall and went to find the Madam.

Liang Yuan secretly looked around and whispered excitedly to Fang Yun, “Fang Yun, it seems that the Fang family values you highly. They brought you directly to the main hall. If it were someone else, they would probably have to wait in the side hall. This is a prestigious family. Even an ordinary Presented Scholar would have to go to the side hall when visiting the Fang family.”

Yang Yuhuan involuntarily nodded and put her hands on her lap, looking very restrained.Fang Yun looked around the main hall openly. It was indeed a place of two generations of prestigious families and scholarly households. There were ancient vases, ink treasures, potted plants, and landscapes in the main hall, elegant and simple, without a trace of extravagance.

There was a couplet on the wall:

“The green mountains are like dusk, still standing proudly against the red sun and the wind.

The setting sun drips blood, still flowing towards the clear heart.”

Fang Yun nodded involuntarily.

“Little Yun, you’re here? Your uncle has praised you a lot, let your aunt see our Fang family’s talented child.”

Before the person arrived, her voice had already sounded, full of surprise and enthusiasm.

The three of them immediately stood up, and the sound of jingling jade pendants could be heard. Two little maids lifted the pearl curtain on the east side of the main hall, and a dignified and luxurious middle-aged woman walked in.

The woman was wearing a red long dress, not particularly beautiful, but with clear and elegant eyes, and a rich and noble aura. Her smile was extremely gentle.

Behind her was a slightly younger middle-aged woman, wearing a green skirt, also smiling but with a fake smile.

Fang Yun wasn’t sure who the person behind the lady of the house was, so he bowed and said, “Nephew greets Aunt.”

Yang Yuhuan and Liang Yuan also hurriedly bowed, but did not speak.

The lady of the house smiled and said, “What a handsome young man, no wonder your uncle praises you so much. Come, let your aunt have a good look. By the way, this is your second aunt. We were just talking about you earlier.”

Fang Yun knew that Fang Shouye had a younger brother who was only an accomplished scholar and had a bad reputation for hanging out in Qinglou all day. This should be the second wife of the Fang family, and a concubine could only be called an aunt, not a lady.

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