Proofread by Fu Tianying
Datong Bank was the largest one in the Dams along Donghui River, with three yards and nine gates, as a token of thriving and prosperous business. The gate was covered with iron sheets, nailed with rivets, and there were staggered gate slots on both sides. After the door was closed, even a blade could not be inserted through its crack.
Unlike restaurants, the bank was not so lively every day. People who came in generally kept a low profile. However, the people who came today were not low-keyed at all. A dozen people came together, yelling while holding the bank notes to withdraw.
The clerk knew at a glance that something was amiss, and he quickly called out the head of the bank. These people all came to the bank to deposit taels some time ago. A lot of money was deposited in the bank on and off. However, no one knew why they tried to withdraw their bank deposits simultaneously. The moment the head of the bank came out, he knew that it was going to cause great trouble for most of the taels available to the bank were used to buy Zhuanghua Satin by Ma Tian’en. He quickly arranged a clerk to find Ma Tian’en, and he tried to calm the crowd.
Ma Tian’en was still discussing with the shopkeeper of satin about how many floral dresses and python robes they were going to make when the clerk hurried in, yelling that something was amiss.
Hearing the bank run, Ma Tian’en immediately realized that things were no good. If only a few people came to withdraw deposits, it would be fine. If numerous bank customers tried to withdraw their bank deposits simultaneously, things seemed not that good. Thinking of this, Ma Tian’en quickly left all the things right there and rushed to the bank accompanied by the clerk.
Before arriving at the bank, Ma Tian’en found many people jamming in front of the bank. A keen-eyed person who saw Ma Tian’en shouted, “Childe Ma is coming. Ask him for money!” A group of people rushed up and surrounded Ma Tian’en.
Guo Qi and Tian Ronghua, in a restaurant not far away, stood beside the window on the second floor and looked at the confounded Ma Tianen, smiling at each other.
“A fantastic plan, brother Guo.” When there was no one around, they would call each other brothers. As the old saying goes, a gatekeeper of a prime minister’s house has equivalent power as an official in the court. Guo Qi was a member of Wudinghou House. Even if he was only a subordinate, no one could afford to offend him, not to mention that Guo Qi was shrewd and sophisticated.
“This is human nature. Seeing that there are benefits, one will take risk even if he knows it may be a trap. I just do that according to human nature.” Guo Qi said indifferently with eyes staring at Ma Tian’en. Ma Tian’en was the young childe who grew up in the honeypot. Even if he was a little smart, how could he know the sinister world? Unlike Ma Tian’en, he himself suffered numerous hardships to survive in this sinister world. Was there fairness in this world? Some could just eat, drink and play all their lives while others did their best to keep body and soul together. Since the world was unfair, let him act for heaven.
“But how can you get those Zhaunghua Satin at such a low price? Although they suffered the bank run today, won’t they earn it again when all Zhuanghua Satin are made into winter clothes and sold out?” Tian Ronghua asked in puzzlement. Guo Qi asked him for taels, got Zhuanghua Satin at a very low price, and found someone to sell it to Ma Tian’en. Not only did his money come back, but he made a small profit as well.
“God’s design must not be revealed to mortal ears. How can he get my money so easily?” Guo Qi said fiercely.
The two remained silent and continued to watch the show. Suddenly, Tian Ronghua opened his eyes and yelled, “That little son of a bitch!”
Guo Qi was puzzled and looked at the direction Tian Ronghua was pointing to.
Ma Tian’en was surrounded by the crowd. No matter how he tried to explain, the crowd just wanted to get money immediately. He made great efforts to squeeze into the bank, but it was still jammed with people. The leaders of the crowd were even more clamoring. If the Ma family did not take out taels today, they would sue the bank. Banks did business by reputation. When their fame was ruined, nothing was left.
Ma Tian’en jumped directly onto the counter for he was too anxious, “To be honest, do Ma family owe everyone a penny? We own a restaurant, a silk shop, a wharf. Will we be short of money? ”
“Then give us money!”
“I heard that Master Ma was seriously injured, so who knows where the money is. Maybe all the money has been squandered by you, a black sheep of Ma family!”
“Give us three days and I will give you all the taels.”
“We need the money right now.” Several people in the crowd heckled, and then the others took up the chant, completely drowning the speech of Ma Tian’en.
Just then, someone outside the bank shouted, “I will deposit money!” At that moment, the crowd became silent all at once.
Tian Ronghua saw from afar his stupid brother holding a heavy package, shouting that he wanted to deposit money. Then he squeezed into the bank of Ma family.
Hearing that a fool wanted to deposit money, everyone made a way. Tian Fugui squeezed into the bank with sweat, put the heavy parcel on the counter and opened it. There were actually dozens of silver ingots of various sizes. Perhaps, he has got here all the financial reserves of the Tian family?
Tian Fugui said while waving his chubby hand, ”Have you never seen anyone deposit money in the bank? I will deposit money. You guys know who I am? I’m the second master of Tian family in the first Dam. I have come to Datong Bank to deposit money. Honestly, I do not know why you fear that Ma family will not give back your money. ”
Interestingly, the crowd became quiet. Then some people who had been following suit began to hesitate. If there was a problem, could the second master of Tian family come to deposit money?
At this moment, Tian Ronghua didn’t even care about losing face. He ran downstairs and took a broom.
Ma Tian’en looked at Tian Fugui gratefully. Before she was able to say something, Ma Tian’en saw Tian Ronghua squeezed out of the crowd, holding a broom in his hand while cursing: “I will kill you, the little son of bitch who favors the Ma family! ”
At that time, no one asked for withdrawal. They all watched Tian Ronghua chasing after Tian Fugui. The latter did not dare to fight back, so he ran while shouting: “Quickly deposit money for me.”
Ma Tian’en knew clearly about the whole thing. Tian Fugui stole the money from his family just to help her off the hook. She was touched. Re-wrapping the parcel, she shouted: “Master Tian, take away those taels. We are not short of taels. I count to three, and I will deposit it if you don’t take the money, one …”
After hearing her shout, Tian Ronghua immediately stopped chasing Tian Fugui and ran back to grab the package from Ma Tian’en. At this moment, Tian Fugui also came over and wanted to grab the money back from his brother, but he did not dare to.
“Fugui, I appreciate your kindness. Just go back.”
“It’s only a matter of money. We have plenty of money.” At this time, a loud voice came. Ma Chaosheng and the well-dressed Madam Ma walked towards the bank, followed by a group of maid servants holding heavy boxes.
Everyone stepped aside when they saw Master Ma coming over. The head of the bank quickly moved out a chair. Master Ma first looked at Ma Tian’en with soothing eyes and then sat on the chair.
“Our Ma family have always been kind to you, you …” He pointed to a man in the crowd. “Zhao Shun, you lost money in your business last year. It is me who lent you money and you … Master Ma pointed and counted people in the crowd and those whose names were mentioned all lowered their heads in shame.
“Have Ma family treated any of you badly? Today, I brought taels here. Whoever wants to withdraw can get money immediately. However, if you get your money back today, our Ma family will never have any dealings with you, whether it involves banks or businesses.” While talking, he ordered the maids and servants to open the boxes one by one. Some contained silver, some copper coins, and some treasures of Ming dynasty.
“If it is not enough, just come to Datong Group to get it.” Madam Ma added and her eyes looked like a knife.
“Master Ma, I still have something to do, and I’ll explain it another day.” After a moment of silence, one man said this, and then ran away. Others who enjoyed watching the bustling scene also followed the man and ran away. Master Ma and Madam Ma were no milksop. It was okay to stir up trouble with Ma Tian’en, but they could not afford to offend Master Ma. After all, they were still living here.
The leaders of the noisy crowd who came to make trouble were trembling with fear when they withdrew money. As soon as they got the money, they ran away immediately, as if they were afraid of being beaten.
The crowd finally cleared off. The moment Ma Chaosheng appeared, Tian Ronghua knew that it was all over and done with. He pulled Tian Fugui and left the bank.
“Dad, you are incredible! You have already recovered!” Ma Tian’en jumped happily and wanted to pull his father up from the chair.
However, Ma Chaosheng screwed up his face and coughed violently. Madam Ma quickly leaned forward and handed in a handkerchief. Ma Chaosheng lowered his head and spat out a mouthful of blood.