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    The Black Horse

    Chapter 11


    The Unyielding Bai Shiqi

    Translated by Wook
    Edited by Wook


     


    Chapter 11 : The Unyielding Bai Shiqi


     

    The sky was still dark. Yu Jinsheng, who was working under Shu Changfeng and the best at gathering information, knocked on the door of the room where Young Leader Bai had stepped into last night.

     

    The narrow and low cabin door was pushed open with a creaking sound. It was pitch-dark inside the room. Yu Jinsheng opened the fire fold and found that there was no one on the bed, the quilt was half-rolled, and the window was wide open, making the water vapor hitting his face.

     

    He touched around and found that the bed still had some warmth.

     

    “You’re saying… Bai Shiqi is missing?” Zhao Wujiu was already waiting on the deck even before the sun rose. The cold wind blew on his face, and Shu Changfeng who was afraid that he would catch a cold, specially covered his legs with a blanket. He was happy that recently Master went out of the room frequently, his heart was full of gratitude towards Bai Shiqi.

     

    In the army, Yu Jinsheng was an expert in gathering information. Who would have known that after getting on the ship of Jiangsu group, he repeatedly bumped into the wall when encountering Bai Shiqi. The golden reputation was almost smashed down by Young Leader Bai.

     

    He lowered his head, feeling ashamed: “This subordinate had been staring at the room that Young Leader Bai entered last night and did not even catch a wink of sleep. Early morning when this subordinate knocked on the door, apparently… apparently he has escaped from the window.”

     

    The cabin window where Bai Shiqi slept last night was facing the water, there was not any kind of path at the side. Yu Jinsheng was unresigned, he mumbled: “It is unlikely that Young Leader Bai… fell into the canal when he jumped from the window, right?”

     

    Zhao Ziheng was dragged from the bed by Zhao Wujiu, and he just sat there on the deck pretending to be dead. Hearing what was said, he curled his lips: “Don’t worry, even if Shiqi falls into the canal, he will not drown.” He leaned over and held the wheelchair’s armrest and cried, “Cousin Brother, I have a fever ah! Yesterday I was soaked in water and fell ill, you still have the heart to make me exercise?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu’s slightly cold hand touched his forehead: “It’s a bit hot.” However, he did not pity him: “It is because of the poor physique. After running a few laps, sweating will reduce the fever.”

     

    Zhao Ziheng cried piteously and he was already carried up by two guards to stand up and run…

     

    Above the canal, lanterns were hanged at the bow of the ship during the night. Time crawled slowly in the midst of Zhao Ziheng cow-like gasps of breath. The sky above appeared like a pitch-black cauldron, but at the moment, it was as if someone had opened the cauldron’s lid with a crack, and a ray of light penetrated in. The farmland and village on both sides of the canal were painted in vague silhouette.

     

    The silhouette gradually became clear. The sky was magnificently bright. The darkness faded in a flash, just like the tides. As the new day approached, the sun spared no effort to stride out of the horizon, spreading out golden light along the banks of the river.

     

    Shu Changfeng stood guard quietly behind Zhao Wujiu, hearing the villagers on the riverbank leading their cows while singing country tunes. The time moved slowly and peacefully, seemingly capable to wash clean the dust of ten years of journey.

     

    The boatmen got up one after another and began to move about on the deck while some people went to replace their companions who were on night duty, making the whole ship lively. Zhao Wujiu finally gave his word to end Zhao Ziheng’s morning exercise for the day.

     

    Zhao Ziheng’s whole body was dripping with sweat, even though he had been exercising for a few days, his skin was still as soft as before. His legs were trembling as he tried his best to climb onto Yu Jinsheng so the other party could take him back to his room.

     

    As soon as the group reached the top floor cabin, Bai Shiqi’s indolent voice could be heard: “Who first perceives a big dream, I know myself in my lifetime…1

     

    Zhao Ziheng waist was not sore anymore, his legs no longer hurt, yet his breathing… was still rough. He pushed open the cabin’s door in annoyance. The scene inside the room was unobstructed, and he immediately saw Bai Shiqi leaning against the headboard with her legs crossed and the quilt covering up until her waist, with the appearance of someone who had just awoken. Seeing the group of people who were silent at the door, she smiled and waved at them: “Cousin Brother, morning ahZiheng, good morning to you as well!”

     

    Ziheng stomped on the floor with a dong dong dong and chong chong sound making his way through, then he vented his discontentment: “Bai Shiqi—“

     

    Bai Shiqi shifted to the inner part of the bed in a good manner, she patted the outer part of the bed and looking very empathetic: “Are you tired? Do you want to lie down and rest? I reckon in a moment it will be time for breakfast to be served.”

     

    Zhao Ziheng: “Are you still my brother?”

     

    The astonished Bai Shiqi: “Why are you saying these words? If I wasn’t your brother, would I jump into the river to save you when you were drowning?” With a condescending look: “Tch tch tchZiheng you’re truly kicking your benefactor in the teeth2 ah. This is how you treat your lifesaver?”

     

    Zhao Ziheng was unable to put forward any convincing arguments, but he was so exhausted while his good brother was being a lazybones sleeping in on a comfy bed, how could he feel happy? He could only send a look for help from Zhao Wujiu, pitifully he said: “Cousin Brother—“

     

    Zhao Wujiu pushed the wheelchair in, and with a disapproving expression: “Shiqi, the day is excellent yet you stayed inside the cabin to avoid doing any work. Don’t you know that excellence in work is only possible with diligence, moreover, neglecting practice for amusement…”

     

    As soon as his preaching tone came out, Bai Shiqi was getting goosebumps all over her body. She bounced off the bed in a hurry: “Cousin Brother, I still have stuff to do today, the next competition still needs to be arranged. May your esteemed self has breakfast with Ziheng, I will go first and deal with it.”

     

    Several guards around Zhao Wujiu were blocking the door. She pulled the window open and suddenly jumped out, making the rest of the people taken aback. Zhao Ziheng already cried out in alarm: “Shiqi, don’t jump ah! It’s dangerous!”

     

    The window here was facing the river and the room was located on the top floor of the ship. It was the same as jumping straight into the river. Zhao Wujiu urged the wheelchair hastily and rushed straight over, Zhao Ziheng also threw himself over to the window. The two brothers extended their heads out to look, and they saw Bai Shiqi hanging from the window on the floor below like a monkey, and she still made faces at the brothers.

     

    Below her was the surging canal. Her fiery red attire fluttered in the wind, and like a bird, she fell into the canal. Zhao Ziheng shrieked from the fright and closed his eyes.

     

    Zhao Wujiu had been fighting for many years and he had gone through many life and death situations. He nearly sweats all over from the fright as well, but then he saw that before she nearly fell into the canal, the stinky youngster stepped aside and treaded on the railings beside the cabin.

     

    The protruding side of the ship railings was only about a fully grown man palm’s wide, however, without any regard to others, Bai Shiqi tread on the railings and passed through the most dangerous area. Clearly, the area under her feet was only so wide, but she stretched her hand and grabbed the beam. As if noticing Zhao Wujiu’s gaze from the cabin above her head, she made a grotesque face towards him again, before the fiery robe ducked out and the person disappeared.

     

    Zhao Ziheng was still covering his eyes, slightly trembling he asked: “Did… Did he fall?”

     

    Yesterday he had choked on a few mouthfuls of river water, up until now, whenever he recalled the feeling when he was down there, he still had lingering fears.

     

    Zhao Wujiu patted his younger cousin’s head: “It’s okay, the person has walked away.” Just now when Bai Shiqi was leaping about, he could not help but holding his breath as well. At that time he suddenly had a complete understanding of Leader Bai’s method of educating his child—since the person was born like this, even using a rod to control is still insufficient.

     

    How could Bai Shiqi be called white silk trousers ah? She was clearly that reckless stinky youngster. Her countenance was unyielding and she would be at wherever danger existed. It was no wonder that his subordinate Yu Jinsheng suffered many losses under her hands. She went through danger as if walking on flat land, and most people did not have this ability.

     

    After thinking this through, Zhao Wujiu knew that ordinary morning exercise would not be able to restrain her. For the first time, he could only concede defeat.

     

    Before long, the kitchen delivered their breakfast. The cousins sat together to eat, and Zhao Ziheng kept asking again and again: “Cousin Brother, is Shiqi really okay?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu wished he could hit his big head: “Do you think anything could happen to him?”

     

    “You’re right, even if Shiqi falls into the river, he won’t die from drowning.” Even so, he somewhat admired the good brother’s ability. In order to rebel against his cousin brother’s oppression and evade the morning exercise, one would even jump into the river. Unfortunately, he did not have the courage to do the same. If only he had half of Shiqi’s courage, maybe he would not have to be dragged every day by his cousin brother’s subordinates to do those exercises that left one wanting to die.

     

    But, Zhao Ziheng was merely thinking about it. After going through the danger yesterday, he had thought things through. Once they arrived at the deck, he gave up on the remaining competitions. He decided to be content just from being a spectator. Seeing the excited Bai Shiqi, he gave her a hug: “Shiqi, as expected, you’re fine!”

     

    Bai Shiqi smiled cheerfully: “Ziheng, are you not participating today?”

     

    Today Zhao Ziheng was clothed not inferior in any aspects to Bai Shiqi. A jade pendant was hanging on his waist, a golden crown on his head, a wide-sleeved gown, and a bone jade folding fan on his hand. If pen, ink, paper, and inkstone were delivered over, he could immediately write a crooked poem: “Participate what ah, today I’ll just look around. Why don’t you participate? The boatmen under you all said that you’re very good at mast climbing, why don’t you let me see?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu thought secretly: I’m afraid that mast climbing… is probably just a piece of cake for Young Leader Bai.

     


     

    FOOTNOTE

    1 Who first perceives a big dream, I know myself in my lifetime (大梦谁先觉,平生我自知): Take this translation with a grain of salt. It is poetry from “Romance of the Three Kingdom” which you can read here. https://www.pinshiwen.com/gsdq/sgsc/2019060885572.html

    2 kicking your benefactor in the teeth: being ungrateful

     


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    Wook

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