“Indeed, Mr. Xia. Do you know why this is called the Qípán Chessboard Estate?” The well-dressed middle-aged gentleman questioned, donning a passionate countenance as he questioned the visitor he led into the open-house
Fairly speaking, Xia Lian cared little for the estate, it was only due to its location that provided the ideal privacy and shade did he make up his mind about coming to survey the property. However, hearing the agent’s question, he decided to play along and feign his interest, “Why?”
”You see,“ his agent raised a hand to point to the crossroad that they were gradually approaching. In the center, there is a segregated piece of lawn. In great detail, his agent explained, “It’s because of this square boulder here that looks like a chessboard. Rumours say that this stone existed before the estate was built, and it has stayed immovable since then.”
Looking at the position pointed by the agent, Xia Lian spotted a square stone as big as the length between a teenage boy’s outstretched arms, its surface full of many years of markings. To say it looks like a chessboard seems a bit of a stretch. Besides being square shaped like a chessboard, nothing else reminded him of it. Xia Lian can only give a thumbs up to the founder’s imagination and named it like so.
Up close, Xia Lian noticed on the stone surface, there was a faint carving of what looked like handwriting. But it must have been done too long ago, and the handwriting is now very blurry. In its cracks, green moss grew, it was really a very regular, ordinary, dark grey boulder. Xia Lian could not see anything special about it.
However, there was a large crevice through the middle of the stone, hinting that there was a deeper path going inside than what initially meets the eye. The cracks on the splintering surface spread out like a spiderweb, it probably won’t be long before the stone completely cracks open.
“Hmm? How did this chessboard stone crack? It was fine when I showed it to the client last time, did something hit it and cause it to crack when the whole estate was being renovated last time? ” His agent, who was supposedly familiar with the condition of the stone, was surprised by the large crack and muttered to himself.
“You’re the one who said the stone couldn’t be moved though?”
“Ehm… true, true. It’s what everyone has been saying.” Hearing Xia Lian’s question, the agent who was carefully observing the stone immediately raised his head/looked up. “Back when this estate was about to be built, this stone was to be removed and replaced with a sculpture. But when the old residents around this estate heard of such things, they all banded together to complain and stop the stone’s removal, even going so far with threats. So in the end, nobody could move this stone, and it was left alone. Because of its unique shape, it was soon coined as the property’s name “Qípán Chessboard Estate.”
Hearing this, Xia Lian quietly thought, now that this chessboard stone is all cracked, it probably won’t take long before it turns to rubble. At that time, it might be more accurate to call the Qípán Chessboard Estate as the ‘Collapsed Qípán Chessboard Estate’.
“Hmm… Oh right Mr. Xia, the main house is this way~” The agent who finally remembered his actual job interrupted Xia Lian’s thoughts. He signalled to the closest building located at the exit on the right side of the chessboard song, hinting that he wants to take Xia Lian to see the mansion.
“Alright, let’s go see it” Xia Lian, who had absolutely no interest in the stone, immediately turned to move on and headed towards the building mentioned by the real-estate agent.
1. 棋盘嘉苑 Qípán jiā yuàn aka. Chessboard Estate. Pinyin was added in for smoother flow.