Hi readers! I’m sorry for being MIA for the month of November, I’m really sorry (T_T) I got distracted by a few novels I started listening to (hopefully I’ll get the reviews up soon). I’ll definitely try to post more frequently this month as all the action and drama is starting to happen, as soon as we enter Jinling 😉 To refresh your memories, last chapter we left off to where Mei Changsu had played a Jiang Zuo Alliance melody and scared off the assassins, I also included a little excerpt from the last chapter.
As always here are some key words to note:
- Da Ren: 《大人》is used as a sign of respect for government officials/really important/nobles; you can think of it like the Japanese suffix ~sama.
- State Office: 《官府》which literally translates to official residence of government officials, it’s basically where the officials work and stuff
- Yamen: 《衙门》it is kind of like city hall, so a government office
- Zongzhu: 《宗主》once again it means leader/boss/overlord
Lastly, 《破釜沉舟》which is literally like burn one’s boats, means cutting off all means of retreat and deciding to fight to the death
As refined and exquisite Mei Changsu was, just a glance told him why Xie Be was hesitating, he didn’t say anything, only retrieving medication for the more serious wounds of the middle-aged man. The man claimed to be called, “Ba Dao Zhu Ming Hai,” and although he was not on the Lang Ya Bang of martial experts, he was a famous cavalier, seeing grandpa and granny Hu getting hunted, he righteously protected them after hearing their story. But who was to know that there would be so many assassins, it would be difficult for him to defend against so many, this time if they had not accidentally fled into the Jiang Zuo Alliance’s boundary, it was possible they wouldn’t have lived to see another sunrise.
“Hero Zhu,” Mei Changsu said slowly, “I greatly admire your righteousness and courage, but the Jiang Zuo Alliance has its rules, we never leave our 14 states, this is why for so many years our jianghu friends have never intruded nor invaded us, if the three of you rest here, no matter how long, we will guarantee your safety. But if you insist on going to the capital, then I regret not being able to help,” as Mei Changsu spoke, his eyes glanced at Xie Bi.
Zhu Minghai knew that this youth spoke the truth so he brought his hands together and slightly bowed, saying, “Today’s saving of our lives, we have already received great kindness from the noble Jiang Zuo Alliance, of course we wouldn’t ask that you would break your rules for the three of us. But Grandpa and Grandma Hu have been wronged, and furthermore they carry with them the hope of the victimized people, they refuse to die of old age here. I have already promised that I will go with them and cannot break my word, I’m afraid that we can’t accept gongzi’s good intentions.”
Seeing his chivalry, Xie Bi couldn’t help but be touched, he advised, “Let’s not talk about how it would be impossible for you to reach the capital, even if you did reach the capital, I’m afraid the courts there wouldn’t dare take on the Qing Guo Duke.”
Grandpa Hu cried, “We are only commoners, we are not going to bring down the Duke, we are only hoping that the country can take charge and give us back some land so that in the future we can have food to eat…”
Seeing the old couple crying their eyes out, Xie Bi couldn’t bear the sight, he turned his head to look at Mei Changsu, the pleading in his eyes for him to give an idea was very apparent.
Mei Changsu’s understanding of the common people’s situation was more profound the Xie Bi who had grown up in a Marquis’ mansion, now his expression was calm, seeing Xie Bi’s desperate look, he said, “It’s not that there is no way, across the river it’s the State of Fu, if we were to go the state office, even without telling them the happenings, with the the fame of Xie and Yan, asking them to send a few dozen soldiers to escort them to the capital is not a hard thing is it?”
“A few dozen soldiers are enough?”
Mei Changsu smirked, “You are a nobleman’s son, to you the local government officials are nothing, a few dozen soldiers are but a small, small force, but in the jianghu, who can win over officials? Even though the soldiers are small in numbers, they are after all, government officials, if they were to kill them it would be as if they were declaring war on the monarchy. The assassins were all jianghu assassins, they know that if they were to break this unspoken rule, the jianghu will hunt them down, they wouldn’t risk this just to kill their target.”
Xie Bi thought that what he said was reasonable and asking for troops wasn’t a difficult task, and with Yan Yujin’s attitude, he would definitely intervene in this matter, there was no option for him to sit back and watch. Only that if he were to intervene, the Xie’s and Bai’s relationship would be strained.
Just as they were planning, outside of the carriage the sound of horses’ hooves grew louder, Mei Changsu had the best hearing and had already distinguished that two horses were racing towards them, he laughed and tied the carriage curtains to the top of the roof.
The riders were of course the two people who had been waiting at the side of the river for a long time but who hadn’t seen even half a person’s shadow – Yan Yujin and Xiao Jingrui. The two of them rode up to the carriage, Xiao Jingrui checked to see that his brothers were alright while Yan Yujin loudly complained, “What are the two of you dawdling for? We waited at the riverbank for so long we almost turned into mummies, and we didn’t even see a ghost!”
Xiao Jingrui had carefully inspected Mei Changsu and Xie Bi and seeing them safe and sound, he finally put his heart at ease and turned his gaze to the three figures leaning against the carriage. Yan Yujin had also noticed them and curiously asked, “Who are they? Did something happen here?”
Xie Bi noticed that Mei Changsu seemed tired, so he took the initiative and told them what had happened when they were gone as well as the solution that Mei Changsu had proposed. When Yan Yujin heard it he was outraged and hitting his chest exclaimed, “No problem, I’m taking charge of this whole situation, if the officials of the State of Fu don’t send the troops, see how I’ll deal with them!” After declaring his intentions, he paused and then looked over at Xie Bi saying, “You don’t have to be conflicted, borrowing these soldiers using my name is enough, you don’t have to say anything, my father doesn’t get along with the Duke of Qing Guo anyways, we don’t need you to get your family involved as well.”
After listening to this, Mei Changsu felt his heart move, and felt some admiration for Yan Yujin, saying he’s inconsiderate, but he can see what Xie Bi was thinking with only a glance, he is not only a naive noble.
Once the terms were set, they didn’t want to delay so all of them set out, Mei Changsu let the injured ride in the carriage. Fortunately the river wasn’t too far away and it wasn’t that tiring. The Fen Jiang was a large river, the waterways were very busy, numerous boats were docked at the harbour, Xiao Jingrui only left for a moment before he hired a sturdy wooden boat. They sent off the carriage driver and brought their horses with them onto the boat. The journey was smooth sailing and they safely arrived at the Fu State harbour.
When they landed, naturally they first thing they did was to go to the state office, the name ‘Yan’ was shocking, and before long, they were greeted by the officials and invited to the inner hall and treated to tea and snacks, with the officials shouting at the servants to prepare a banquet.
“There is no need for the hassle,” Yan Yujin said, waving his fan, giving off a nobleman’s air, “How should we address Da Ren?”
“Your humble servant has the surname ‘Fei’, Fei Xin….”
“….uh…” For a moment, Yan Yujin stopped his fan waving action, slowly he resumed his motion. “Good….good name….Fei Da Ren has been in Fu State for quite a while now right? Seeing that this city is orderly, commerce is booming, Da Ren’s achievements have been pretty impressive….”
Fei Xin wiped the cold sweat off of his forehead, he really didn’t want to make it awkward for the lord gongzi of the Emperor’s brother-in-law, but he couldn’t not speak the truth, “Gongzi is mistaken….your humble servant has received heavenly grace, and only arrived here five days ago…”
“…..uh….” The paper fan paused yet again. “But indeed you did receive heavenly grace, Fu State has always been prosperous, and the people have always been law-abiding, being promoted is indeed your reward.”
“I dare not conceal anything from gongzi,” more cold sweat appeared on Fei Xin’s forehead, “I was originally a rank three official but because of two homicides, I was demoted to become the prefect of Fu State….”
Yan Yujin snapped his fan shut, and glared at Fei Xin, “Are you purposely going against everything I say?”
“Your humble servant wouldn’t dare,” Fei Xin hurriedly bowed in apology, “It’s just that since gongzi has mentioned it, I can’t lie about it can I?”
The trio standing on the sidelines were already clutching their stomaches in laughter, Mei Changsu accidentally chocked and began coughing, Xiao Jingrui patted his back while saying to Yan Yujin, “Don’t waste your time talking about irrelevant stuff, hurry up and tell Fei Da Ren what you want him to do.”
“I wanted to talk to him and get more comfortable,” Yan Yujin explained before turning to Fei Xin, “Fei Da Ren, today’s visit was because we need your help.”
“Gongzi has what request, please say.” Fei Xin said.
“Fu State is large, and in the city there are over one thousand soldiers, I want to borrow around eighty of them to escort three of my friends to the capital, can Da Ren help us?”
Fei Xin originally was worried that this nobleman’s precious gongzi was there provoke trouble, hearing that he only wanted a few guards, he discreetly let out a breath and hurriedly said, “There’s no problem, I’ll pick eighty of our best soldiers for gongzi.”
“En,” Yan Yujin nodded his head, “Actually we are all going back to Jinling, it’s just that one of my friends has a weak body, and travel has been slow, I have a few letters I have to deliver back to my father, thus I’m sending those three. This journey, we not only have to trouble you for your protection, but it cannot be delayed, the sooner they can get to Jinling the better, I will thank you for your trouble after you’ve arrived.”
“Where do such words come from? My teacher was once under Yan Taishi’s command, having this opportunity to help gongzi is my honor. May I ask when your three friends will be leaving?”
“Today the hour is late, they will leave tomorrow morning.”
“Yes, then gongzi please have a seat, your humble servant will personally attend to this matter.”
“Thank you for your trouble, Fei Da Ren.”
That prefect, Fei Xin, bowed, and after exiting the hall, hurriedly walked away. Xiao Jingrui saw that Grandpa and Grandma Hu had an expression of tiredness on their faces, and Zhu Minghai’s energy needed recuperation, he left with them together with an escort. Yan Yujin saw that there were no more outsiders and then let out a breath of air saying, “Finally we got rid of this problem, it’s just that we do no more for them after they arrive in Jinling, we can only hope that the three of them have good luck.”
Mei Changsu sat in an armchair, one hand propped up against his cheek, lightly said, “I’m afraid that even getting into Jinling will be a problem.”
Yan Yujin turned around in surprise and asked, “Weren’t you the one who suggested this method of solution? Didn’t you say that the jianghu people wouldn’t bother the officials?”
“What I meant was that solving the problem of the jianghu assassins was an easy matter, we only didn’t to borrow a few soldiers,” Mei Changsu’s eyes were faint, looking out the hall, “But to say that they can deal with all the circumstances, that I’m afraid is not too realistic. Think, jianghu people fear government officials, then what do government officials fear?”
“They fear…..they fear….”
“They fear their superiors.” Mei Changsu answered his own question. “The eighty soldiers the state office of Fu State sent out are more than enough to suppress ordinary jianghu assassins, but if they were to send out more soldiers from other states, then the eighty soldiers will be of no use…”
“Ah? Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” Yan Yujin urgently said, “If these soldiers are of no use, then didn’t our whole days accomplishments go to waste?”
Mei Changsu glanced over at Xie Bi, the latter of which unconsciously avoided his gaze. Xiao Jingrui already understood the happenings of the matter and sighed, explaining, “Yujin, we have personally seen the jianghu assassins, the soldiers will solve the matter of them for us, how can you say we’ve wasted our time? As to why Su xiong didn’t tell us….it was actually to give second younger brother some time to think….”
“Time to let Xie Bi think about what?” The words burst out of Yan Yujin’s mouth, before it was immediately followed by an “ah” sound, it seemed like he had finally realized what was going on.
The reason Xie Bi became involved with this matter was largely contributed towards the fact that Grandpa and Grandma Hu were only going to sue the relatives of the Duke, and not the Duke himself. If the soldiers could suppress the assassins and allow the old couple to successfully reach the capital, that would be the most preferable result, however, if someone could send out soldiers higher in rank than the ones from the state office, then it would be apparent that it the case involved not only the relatives of the Duke. The Duke must know about what his family was up to and was helping them.
In the household of the Marquis of Ning Gou, although Xiao Jingrui was the eldest son, he had declared that he would not be inheriting the title of his father because of the unique circumstances surrounding his birth, thus, he had left everything to Xie Bi. Since Xie Bi had grown up, he showed that he was more proficient in dealing with political matters than Xiao Jingrui and more adept at handling affairs. In the past two years, the Marquis of Ning Guo, Xie Yu, had handed Xie Bi half of his matters, and in many important occasions had gotten Xie Bi to attend on his behalf. In outsiders’ eyes, the heir to the Marquis, Xie Bi, was more than capable of replacing Xie Yu. In this way, Xie Bi’s standpoint, and the matters he had to think about were more complex than simple gongzi’s like Xiao Jingrui and Yan Yujin.
The reason Mei Changsu didn’t say from the start that the Duke of Qing Guo may have been involved, and only mentioned, “finding some soldiers as escorts,” was because he didn’t want to force Xie Bi into helping them. Because of Xie Bi’s thoughtfulness and sensitivity, even without Mei Changsu saying it aloud, Xie Bi would be able to realize the possible involvement of the Duke himself. Then he would have had the time they spent traveling to Fu State to think about such matters quietly without the interference of other people’s opinions.
Mei Changsu felt that only the decision made after a long period of consideration, wouldn’t have caused Xie Bi regret in the future.
Because of the three people currently sitting in the inner hall of the state office of Fu, only Mei Changsu could accurately predict what kind of storm would rise once the seemingly ordinary couple arrived in Jinling.
And the position that the Ning Guo Xie family would be in during this storm, and the results of the future, perhaps all depended on the outcome of Xie Bi’s decision at this point.
In the silence of nearly a quarter of an hour later, Xie Bi finally looked down in embarrassment and earnestly said, “My father is a cautious man, but he has a personal friendship with the Duke, if it were only some relatives of the Duke, then I can help, however if it interferes with the Duke himself, then I am afraid I would be going against my father’s wishes. The matter so far, has already reached my bottom line, please let me leave now, what you discuss after will have nothing more to do with me.”
Mei Changsu was a little disappointed but his appearance remained like a calm surface of water, without any sign of ripples, he lightly said, “It is understandable considering the friendship of your father. Xie gongzi understands the importance of self-preservation, if you want to leave, what reason do we have to deny you? Please do as you wish.”
Xie Bi pondered from a moment but did not immediately leave, instead he looked deeply at Xiao Jingrui, although he did not speak, the meaning in his eyes were clear, he wanted Xiao Jingrui to also drop the matter.
At the same time, Mei Changsu’s eyes also swept towards the same person.
Xiao Jingrui composed himself and then stared at Xie Bi saying, “Younger brother, I understand your meaning, but I am known to wander around, I don’t have to be as cautious as you. Since I already know that Grandpa and Grandma Hu may still meet more danger, how can I pretend that nothing is going to happen? So please, if younger brother wishes to leave, leave. I still wish to stay and discuss a solution.”
“What is there to discuss?” Xie Bi stomped his foot, “If you wish to suppress other officials, then what better method is there than having the two of you personally escort them? But you have to think carefully, if you were to journey with Grandpa and Grandma Hu, if nothing happens then so be it, that proves that the Duke of Qing Guo has nothing to do with it, at that time he’ll only hate his relatives. But if he was really involved in the matter and sent soldiers to hunt you down, if you two expose your identities, then you’ll be witnesses. When Grandpa and Grandma Hu give their petition to the Yamen, they’ll come to you, at that time will you personally testify against the Duke of Qing Guo?”
“If the Qing Guo Duke is committed wrong, then naturally we will testify against him.”
“Don’t be stupid! What kind of person is the Duke? He comes from a military background, and has always been one to get his revenge. Even if the petition reaches the Yamen, it might not be enough to convict him of anything. If one day he decides to take revenge, what will you do? If you don’t mind, then what about your parents?”
Xiao Jingrui shook his head, “Although my father is a cautious man, he has always been clear about what is right and what is wrong, if I am obviously right, then why would he blame me? You have always been careful and that is your strength but if you do everything so carefully, then will you not be biased?”
“Okay, okay, you two brothers don’t dispute,” Yan Yujin walked between them while waving his fan, “Xie Bi has always been like this, I don’t find it strange. I can escort Grandpa and Grandma Hu by myself, it is better that Jingrui doesn’t get involved. Everyone knows that trouble follows me, so doing this wouldn’t be so strange. Besides even if the Duke wants to take revenge on me, it won’t be so easy since my dad spoils me. You don’t have to worry about it, I’ll take charge of this whole thing.”
“How can I do this…how can I let you by yourself….” Xiao Jingrui started before Yan Yujin cut him off, “In all honesty I originally wanted to escort them personally, but in consideration of Su xiong’s body, travel would be slow. I also wanted to travel with the you for the excitement, but now it seems like we’ll be temporarily separated.”
“You can stop nagging. Su xiong is your guest, of course it is your responsibility to accompany him, unless you want to leave him behind and hurry into the capital by yourself? That is not hospitality.”
Mei Changsu focused on Yan Yujin, thinking that not reminding such a warm-hearted would be against his heart, he immediately said, “Yujin I admire your chivalry and courage, but you do you know……that this case is not as simple as it looks on the surface?”
Yan Yujin paused, then eventually nodded, “I know that….even Xie Bi didn’t quit only because of the Duke of Qing Guo. In the past two years, the nobles have been privately collecting property, and the Emperor is becoming more and more uncomfortable with it. This case is like a knife to the Emperor’s heart so he will take charge of this case for certain. In the end I will have to deal with not only a Duke of Qing Guo…”
Mei Changsu felt his heart stirring, struggling to control his expression he said, “If you are so clear, then why do you insist on making so many enemies?”
“There are too many righteous words in this world, so I won’t tell you all of them,” Yan Yujin laughed, still maintaining that careless, slightly heartless look of his, “I only know that what I am doing is the right thing to do.”
“Good,” Mei Changsu stood up, a bright smile unfurling upon his face, “Such open mindedness makes me bow in shame, let this cup of tea replace wine and let me toast you!”
Yan Yujin accepted his cup and drained it in one gulp before suddenly emitting two words, “I’m hungry.”
“When that Fei Da Ren is done with preparations he’ll come, just bear with it,” Xiao Jingrui laughed.
“And Xie Bi?” Mei Changsu smiled and looked at Xie Bi who was standing at the side looked bored, “Are going to leave immediately, or wait until tomorrow morning before parting with Yujin?”
Naturally Xie Bi knew that leaving immediately would have been the best choice, but Mei Changsu and Xiao Jingrui wouldn’t leave Yan Yujin behind at this point and leave together with him, not to mention he didn’t want to seem too cold-blooded, so he mumbled, “Just celebrate, eventually you’ll know the dangers. I’m here worried that the Duke will burn his boats and decided to be ruthless towards Yujin.”
Xiao Jingrui shuddered, thinking that such a possibility wasn’t impossible, cold sweat appeared in the palms of his hand, “No, I’ll do with Yujin, when it gets dangerous I’ll protect him…”
“You protect me?” Yan Yujin curled his lip, “Even though you rank higher than me on the gongzi list at the moment, but in terms of martial arts, you’re not much better than me, who will be protecting who?”
“Don’t worry about this,” Mei Changsu leisurely laughed, “Although we have left the territory of the Jiang Zuo, I still have a few friends who can help. Before you depart tomorrow, I have four people to introduce to you, as long as the Qing Guo Duke doesn’t send a few thousand people after you, these four people escort you to Jinling unharmed.”
“Then thank you very much!” Yan Yujin was overjoyed but still had some doubts, “Didn’t you say that the people of the jianghu don’t like to mess with government officials?”
“This matter is between the Emperor’s nephew and the Duke of Qing Guo, those four people are only Yan gongzi’s guards, what do they have to do with the jianghu?”
“Wait,” Xiao Jingrui suddenly remembered something, “Didn’t you say that after crossing the river there would be someone to protect you? Where is that person?”
Mei Changsu’s features lifted, and his black crystal eyes gleamed, he smiled and said, “He’s been here since we crossed the river, didn’t you see him?”
The three people widened their eyes in surprise, three pairs of wide eyes searched around, but they couldn’t see even half of a sleeve.
“Fei Liu, come and meet the three gongzi, we will be staying with them for a while in the future,” the Jiang Zuo Alliance’s Zongzhu lightly called.
Hehe I can’t wait to introduce you all to Fei Liu 😀