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    The Black Horse

    Chapter 12


    There Is a Saying in the Art of War

    Translated by Wook
    Edited by Wook


     


    Chapter 12 : There Is a Saying in the Art of War


     

    Zhao Wujiu had read and re-read the art of war numerous times until he was familiar with it, he had also been living according to it. However, never did he expect that one day he would need to apply the art of war to a stinky youngster.

     

    The advanced chapter of <The Strategy of Cao Lu scripture1> had a saying: In deploying soldiers, one must not be rash. One must know the dangers in the path, the status of the resource, the number of soldiers, the opinions of common people, whether the city is solid or will crumble easily, whether the generals are wise or foolish, whether the opponent’s preparation is strong or lax, whether a decree will help to control the masses or will it confuse them, and if the sentiments of people are shallow. One may deploy the tactic to make a sound in the east and strike in the west2; to stop temporarily and rush swiftly; to pretend to stop, yet advance suddenly; to launch a surprise attack; to attack overbearingly; to fight to break the opponent’s strength; to fight to raise one’s morale and demotivate the opponents; to gather provisions so the army will not starve, or to search for a strategic and reliable position.

     

    Without understanding Bai Shiqi’s situation first, he had rashly demanded something from this youngster. Not only he repeatedly hit the wall, but he had also let her to became insolently proud. After the mast climbing event the next day, she arrogantly patted Yu Jinsheng’s on the shoulder: “Brother, you still need to practice for a few more years.”

     

    To be so utterly defeated, even Yu Jinsheng’s golden reputation was in complete shambles.

     

    Originally, Zhao Wujiu had been wallowing in self-pity from his predicament. After his return to the capital, he was unwilling to step out of the room. He did not expect that many taboos would be broken after meeting Bai Shiqi. All of a sudden, his fighting spirit was rekindled and he intended to subdue this unruly youngster, even his own ailment was thrown to the back of the head.

     

    Bai Shiqi’s nature was courageous and thick-skinned, she could ignore his cold and assertive gaze, and also… it seemed like the person had some bizarre abilities. Although currently, she had only exposed a bit, it had amazed him incessantly.

     

    After the mast climbing event was over, a rowdy group of boatmen was jeering. They were asking the young leader to compete with Qin Liu’er. Their tones were really asking for a spanking: “Young Leader, just do it once, think of it as giving some insights to Qin Liu’er, otherwise, this kid won’t be able to be the first under the Heaven, right!” They were obviously a bunch of loyal fans who admired her skill.

     

    Bai Shiqi and her good brother Zhao Ziheng were watching the excitement while cracking melon seeds, and in the passing, she pulled Qiu Yunping’s notebook where the calculation of the prize money was written. Half-leaning against the chair, she lazily budged: “I won’t do it. Even if I win, nobody will give me prize money!”

     

    Many of the boatmen altogether: “We’ll give you! Each person will give 10 wens, the winner will get it!”

     

    Qiu Yunping had been prepared since the earlier time, he took out a flat-basket tray from under the table and collected the money one by one, like a street performer under the bridge of Jing capital. In the end, he managed to collect half a basket of copper coins.

     

    He stopped in front of Zhao Wujiu for a second, looking a bit uncertain about this person’s attitude. When he was about to skip over him, Zhao Wujiu unexpectedly loosen a piece of jade pendant from his waist and threw it into the basket.

     

    Zhao Ziheng: “C-Cousin Brother?” That piece of jade was bestowed by the emperor and he had carried it with him for many years. How could these kinds of rough and boorish people know about things that are given by the emperor? When they saw the precious-looking prize, they became even rowdier. Even Qin Liu’er was somewhat moved, his thin and dark face turned somewhat red and he requested in a low voice: “Young Leader, will your esteemed self competes with me?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu’s expression was showing a rare smile: “No bother.”

     

    He had provided the prize, and now Qiu Yunping moved the basket to the front of Zhao Ziheng. Zhao Ziheng had no reason to avoid it, at the very least he needed to give his good brother some face ah.

     

    Zhao Ziheng pulled out a mutton fat jade thumb ring and put it into the basket, and demanded: “Shiqi, this thumb ring is a birthday gift from my father, you must win it back for me.”

     

    Bai Shiqi ground her teeth: “You’re really my good brother!” What is this silly coaxing?

     

    Zhao Ziheng with a genuine feeling said: “Of course! Although I cannot sacrifice myself this time, I am still willing to part with these mere worldly possessions.” His eyes were following the movement of the flat-basket tray on Qiu Yunping’s hand. He looked helplessly as Shu Changfeng and the group of guards threw in some silver pieces before he took back his gaze.

     

    Qiu Yunping had obtained a lot of money after a lap, he then carried the collected award money to Bai Shiqi. Putting on a fake smile, he said: “Young Leader, please!”

     

    Bai Shiqi stroked her forehead, then she raised her hand to stop the excited crowd of boatmen: “Alright, alright! If I win today, everyone will get meat to eat!”

     

    The excited boatmen’s faces began to turn red, one after another cheering for her: “Young Leader, you have to win!”

     

    “Young Leader, if you win, can we have wine as well? Eating meat without wine is somewhat bland!”

     

    “Get lost! In your dreams!” She got up and threw the melon seeds shells in her hand, and the boatmen calmed down. Suddenly the mood became solemn.

     

    Zhao Wujiu thought in his heart: This youngster is usually glib-tongued, the brain is filled with weird ideas and mingles with rough boatmen. However, in such a young age, he is able to escort provisions to the north alone and subdue the several stubborn guys on the ship. If one does not have great abilities, it should be difficult to achieve, right?

     

    Today Bai Shiqi was wearing a wide-sleeved gown, she stood under the mast with Qin Liu’er. Once Uncle Guan sounded the gong, they scuttled up immediately. Zhao Wujiu was sitting in the wheelchair and he raised his head to observe. Her toes were like hooks and she moved with ease, did not slip the slightest bit. With a single leap, she jumped up 60 cm, lithe as a swallow. Even Qin Liu’er who had won the top spot in the mast climbing event could not catch up to her. He was left behind in an instant.

     

    She still had time to turn her head and blew a kiss at the crowd below. Her attitude was unrestrained, her expression was precisely the look of a brash and proud youngster. With every step she took, the boatmen below would roar the sound of cheers. They said whatever that could be said, someone even teased her: “From which elder sister on which pleasure boat did Young Leader learn these kinds of tricks?”

     

    “If the leader knows, I’m afraid he will break his legs!”

     

    Clearly, everyone had been familiar with the rough way the leader educated his children. It was very natural to talk about it and they were not afraid of losing the young leader’s face.

     

    Zhao Wujiu could not help but knit his brows: What a frivolous stinky youngster! What kind of stinky trick is this!

     

    On the contrary, Zhao Ziheng could not help applauding from below, wishing that he had the ability of this good brother, she climbed to the highest point and showed off to everyone like this. Zhao Ziheng did not expect that his forehead would get smacked ruthlessly by Zhao Wujiu: “Learn something good!”

     

    Zhao Ziheng felt wronged: “Cousin Brother, am I not learning from Shiqi at this moment?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu looked up to that youngster who was about to reach the top. He did not need to question to know what Zhao Ziheng was thinking about: “What you are learning from Bai Shiqi is not his ability, but his frivolous and slippery style, isn’t it?”

     

    Zhao Ziheng’s envying eyes were red, and he desperately wanted his approval: “Cousin Brother, have you ever thought about it, maybe young ladies like this style of Shiqi?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu rebuked him with a scowling face: “What nonsense! Which well-bred young lady from which prestigious family would entrust herself to this kind of husband with frivolous style, who would dare to marry him?”

     

    Zhao Ziheng shrank his neck and justified in a small voice: “… Who would play with young ladies from prestigious families ah? Naturally, I was talking about the ladies from outside.”

     

    The young ladies from the land of smoke and flowers3 were open-minded, passionate, and full of flatteries. Why would anyone seek trouble for oneself and follow those well-bred young ladies from prestigious families?

     

    Zhao WujiuIt seems like Bai Shiqi is not the only one who needs to be taught with Leader Bai’s rough method, Zhao Ziheng needs it as well!

     

    He looked up and found that Bai Shiqi had already climbed to the peak of the mast. She was spreading her arms and standing against the wind, her fiery red gown flared and fluttered, like a giant red bird soaring through the sky. Her face was picturesque, looking as if she was stepping on the clouds…

     

    The youth’s smile was brilliant and full of willfulness, like the scorching sun above her head. He involuntarily squinted his eyes and saw her wiping her sweat again. He was afraid that she would fall down and break into pieces. Until she landed on the floor safely, he could not recover for a long time.

     

    She picked up the jade pendant from the flat-basket tray and delivered it: “It’s just a game, Cousin Brother does not need to take it seriously.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu met her limpid eyes that were filled with smiles, a look of intelligence and soft refinement rippling within her eyes, and the person was standing at ease. Just like she said, it was just a game for her, however, it was completely different for him. It was tantamount to overturning his understanding of this youngster. Even though she was full of shortcomings, she was indeed very skilled.

     

    Originally, he had been prepared to reprimand her for her inappropriate manner. But the word ‘frivolous’ got stuck in his throat and was swallowed back. In his mind, he still had the picture of her standing at the peak of the mast, looking as if she was stepping on the clouds. He smiled slightly: “I already took it out as a reward, is there any reason to take it back? Just give it to you to play.”

     

    Bai Shiqi was not a shy person either, she accepted it in delight, and while grinning she said: “Many thanks for Cousin Brother’s reward then!” With his gaze hastily looking through the items inside the flat-basket tray, Zhao Ziheng finally fished out his ring and put it on his thumb: “We are both brothers, right? Your things are my things as well.”

     

    The string of cash Qiu Yunping immediately put him to a stop: “Young Sir Zhao, how can you be this absurd?”

     

    Bai Shiqi laughed: “Let him be.” From the basket, she picked up several pieces of broken silver and threw them to her subordinate Qin Liu’er: “Bestowing this to you!”

     

    Qin Liu’er did not expect that even though he was defeated by Young Leader, he would still get some reward. His face immediately flushed and he was bewildered: “Many thanks, Young Leader!”

     

    Bai Shiqi: “Qiu Yunping, you can count the rest of the money. Today there will be an extra meal, everyone will have a share.”

     

    All the boatmen crowded around Qiu Yunping and walked away noisily. They began to quarrel fiercely over tonight’s dinner and headed in the direction of the kitchen.

     

    Zhao Wujiu thought to himself. Actually, he made a mistake from the beginning in facing this person. Fortunately, it was still not too late to fix his mistake at this moment.

     

    He started: “Shiqi, can I trouble you with something?”

     

    “Cousin Brother can elaborate.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu said: “These people under my hands cannot swim. I was wondering, are you willing to teach them how to swim?” His attitude made people hard to refuse: “In addition, there is also Ziheng.”

     

    The scared Zhao Ziheng nearly screamed in fright: “No, no, I’m not learning! Cousin Brother I don’t want to learn!”

     

    Unfortunately, it was bound to be ineffective.

     


     

    The author has something to say:

    Bai ShiqiThe chapter today is full of this dashing young master’s attractiveness!!!!

     


     

    FOOTNOTE

    1 The Strategy of Cao Lu scripture: is a military book of the Ming dynasty that is hailed as the general theory of Chinese military science. source: https://baike.baidu.com/

    2 make a sound in the east and strike in the west: making a diversion.

    3 land of smoke and flowers: brothel.

     


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    Wook

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