AIP - Chapter 21: Landscaping Art
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Hahahaha!" Brazen and fearless laughter rang out.
Tang Jie slowly stood up and saw that the lunge and the roll had left the flowerbed in a disastrous state.
On the side, Shi Mo arrogantly said, "In the future, remember that when the young master casts a spell, you do as he says. Don't make me remind you again."
He walked out of the garden, making sure to stomp on the meticulously trimmed flowers, ensuring that the petals and stems were crushed to the ground.
The other boy servant, Shi Meng, also shouted, "Hurry and clean up the flowerbeds! You want to ruin the young master's good mood with your laziness? Useless thing!"
Young Master Wei Tianchong didn't seem to care. As he looked around at the scattered flowers, his eyes flashed. "Eh? These flowers flying about actually look very pretty."
"If that is what Young Master wishes to see, we can make all the flowers fly," Shi Mo quickly said.
The young master was immediately tempted, but fortunately, a voice called out, "What are you messing around for? Shi Mo, don't give the young master any bad ideas. If the lady finds out, she'll have your hide!"
A somewhat older youth approached. This was the head of the boy servants, Wen Qing. He was clearly infuriated over the state of the flowerbed.
Unafraid of Wen Qing, Shi Mo snorted and ignored him.
But when the young master heard the lady being mentioned, the thought of his mother's lash stirred the fear in his heart, and he banished the idea. He shouted, "Come on; let's go!"
The group walked away.
Wen Qing was inwardly furious that Shi Mo had ignored him, knowing that he had a chance of entering the academy in the future and didn't need to worry about such a figure. But there was nothing he could do about his rage. Looking at Tang Jie still standing in the flowerbed, he rudely asked, "Hurry and clean up! What are you standing around for?"
Tang Jie smiled. "I have to go to the storeroom and report first, or else it will become my mistake."
Wen Qing was shocked to see him smiling. "Your hard work was ruined by someone else and you're still smiling?"
Tang Jie indifferently replied, "What was ruined were the flowers of the Wei Clan, not my work. If the young master isn't worried about it, why should I be?"
Wen Qing saw this and was dissatisfied. "Don't you know that they're intentionally targeting you? I heard that the lady was very satisfied with your performance and was planning to transfer you over to the young master's side. It was Yanzhi who told me this."
Tang Jie simply glanced at him and did not reply, continuing with his business.
Wen Qing saw that he was being ignored and angrily said, "You don't believe me?"
"I do, but what of it?"
"You have to strike first!"
Tang Jie gave Wen Qing a strange look.
He knew that Wen Qing wanted to borrow his hand to take revenge on Shi Mo and Shi Meng for their disrespect, but in his eyes, these methods were just as lowly as Shi Mo's.
When striking out, one had to be sure of their target and purpose.
If he had been in Shi Mo's shoes, he would have never openly destroyed the fruits of his labors. Rather, he would have secretly worked to undermine him, doing things like watering flowers that shouldn't have been watered or coming in the middle of the night to destroy the garden he was in charge of, after which he would be charged with incompetence and driven out of the estate by the lady.
The flowers had been crushed, and while that was refreshing for Shi Mo, this was not an error that Tang Jie had committed, only a willful act from the young master. They had destroyed Tang Jie's work, but they had done no damage to Tang Jie himself.
Wen Qing's incitement and Shi Mo's provocation were both actions of this nature. They did not achieve the ultimate objective of 'suppression'.
While these boy servants knew how to suppress their foes, when it came to methods, they still relied on 'venting their anger', amusing themselves by taking revenge rather than specifically working toward their goals.
Tang Jie could only sneer, feeling that dealing with these naughty children was truly lowering himself.
Alas, he needed to stand out, so he needed to crush all opposition, both weak and strong. But it was up to him how they were crushed. He would not fall for Wen Qing's incitement like a fool and serve as his tool.
Hearing Wen Qing's words, Tang Jie answered, "I'm not interested."
"You…" Wen Qing inwardly fumed, pointing at him and cursing, "Truly a spineless coward!"
"If I'm a spineless coward, I guess I am. Servants… If servants aren't the ones who are wronged, who will be?" Tang Jie answered.
Working in the bureaucracy for so many years, Tang Jie had long ago understood the principle that one could not obsess too much over everything.
No matter how many reasons he had or how justified he was, if he fought with everyone over everything, the only impression he would leave in others was of someone who liked to make trouble.
This was certainly not a good impression to leave!
As for being bullied by Shi Mo once?
Let him keep bullying.
Was there anyone in life who would not suffer injustice in some way?
Those who could not suffer injustice were those who had little patience and couldn't carry much weight.
As for secretly killing Shi Mo, Tang Jie didn't even consider it.
The Wei Estate wasn't the battlefield, and it could not tolerate such 'decisive lethality'. Nor was the Rosecloud Domain some primordial forest where the strong brazenly ate the weak. And Tang Jie certainly was not some Son of Heaven who could have an entire family slaughtered on the slightest provocation.
Thus, Tang Jie had no plans to take revenge on this matter. It was meaningless and unnecessary.
Wen Qing saw that he couldn't convince Tang Jie. "Remain lowly if you want!" he said with a huff, and then he stomped away. Tang Jie could only shake his head and smile.
But Wen Qing's words had put Tang Jie on alert. He now knew that there were many complicated relationships between the servants, and they all helped each other.
Today, Yanzhi had only secretly relayed the lady's words, but next time, they could get even more inspired and attempt to frame him or something of the sort, and that would truly be a problem.
Although the lady was a wise person, believing only in another person's wisdom was not a reliable strategy.
Fine… it seemed that he would first have to develop good relationships with the other servants, and some money would probably be enough to smooth things over. In addition, since Shi Mo had caused him a problem today, he would probably try it again. If this continued, the flowerbed would be in tatters, and even if he wasn't in the wrong, the lady would take him to be incompetent.
This thought made Tang Jie realize that he first needed a way to stop the flowerbed from continuing to be destroyed.
But what was the best way to do it?
This matter depended on the young master. He would have to be reluctant to do the deed.
Alas, the young master had no appreciation for… Hold on! Tang Jie suddenly recalled the look on Wei Tianchong's face when he saw the flowers scattered about.
Who said men had no appreciation for beauty?
In truth, it was simply that one didn't care too much about something that was always around them.
Wei Tianchong was still a child, and he naturally found the things in his surrounding environment to be of little interest. It was the fresh and interesting that he found far more compelling.
Tang Jie knew what he should do.
That night, Tang Jie decided to not return to his little hut to research the Dao of Formations, and spent the entire night working away in the flowerbed.
Those boy servants thought that he was still cleaning up the flowerbed, and chuckled to themselves.
Shi Mo and Shi Meng decided that they would teach him another lesson tomorrow so that this bastard would realize how futile it was to try to steal their positions.
The next morning, when Wei Tianchong got up, Shi Mo and Shi Meng once more brought the young master to the garden.
Just when they were about to replay the scenario from yesterday, everyone was dumbfounded.
The flowers of the flowerbed were in a completely different arrangement.
In the center of the flowerbed was a big, smiling face. The eyes were made from black chestnut flowers and white chrysanthemums, the lips from red blood cherry blossoms, and large leaves and string bamboo made up the face. Pink hydroniums made up the ears, blue irises formed the nose, and purple mountain azaleas formed the hair. It was a lifelike smiling face that looked rather similar to the young master.
"This… this is…" The boy servants were gobsmacked.
Only the young master seemed very curious. "Eh? This is fun! This… this is me?"
On the side, Tang Jie respectfully replied, "Yes. This little one worked through the night to repair the damage to the flowerbed. As I was working, I inadvertently noticed that the damaged arrangement looked somewhat like the young master's face. I suddenly realized that it was certain to be amusing if these flowers were arranged to look like the young master's face, so I boldly made an attempt. Does Young Master like it?"
Similar, my ass! Shi Mo and the others mentally roared. How could an arrangement look like someone if you just rolled around in it?
But the young master shouted, "Like it! I like it! It's not bad at all!"
He had said that it wasn't bad and the flowerbed was even arranged to look like him, so even if Shi Mo and the others had been given one hundred times the courage, they would not dare to ruin it now. They could only glare helplessly at Tang Jie.
The young master asked, "What else can you arrange the flowers into?"
These words caused all the servant boys to mentally curse in dismay.
Sure enough, Tang Jie answered, "Tang Jie can make whatever the young master asks for."
Arranging flowers into various forms, merging together gardening and art, was a common occurrence back on Earth. Even some auntie in the supermarket could arrange cans or something else into various forms. But in this world, it was a breakthrough, and it wasn't strange that Wei Tianchong was interested in such things.
Though Tang Jie didn't know landscaping art, he had seen it before, and through his research into the Dao of Formations, he had developed some understanding of design.
While a professional landscaper might treat Tang Jie's work with disdain, the young master wasn't a professional critic.
An amateur landscaper was capable of producing a few sighs of praise from an amateur sightseer.
The young master excitedly asked, "Then could you arrange the flowers to look like my mom?"
Tang Jie was scared out of his wits. This kid! Does he have no limits? He can even have his mother's image modeled.
The young master was young and a boy, so there was nothing wrong with arranging the flowers into his likeness. But the lady was the manager of the house, and the servants would have to pass by this arrangement every day and see it… This was no different from seeking death!
Fortunately, Wei Tianchong knew that this wasn't right, so he promptly changed his mind. "No, not her. What else can you do?"
Tang Jie answered, "This is only a flat image. If I had enough materials, this little one could arrange the plants into actual models, like birds, animals, fish, or even little people. If the young master likes it, I can even make a flower statue of the young master, and a flower Shi Mo and Shi Meng to attend you…"
Shi Mo and Shi Meng mentally cursed, Who asked to be included!?