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    The Black Horse

    Chapter 15


    Dare to Snatch a Woman from Laozi!

    Translated by Wook
    Edited by Wook


     


    Chapter 15 : Dare to Snatch a Woman from Laozi!


     

    Zhao Wujiu had always been an upright and honest person, one would not expect he could also secretly bend the law for personal matters.

     

    Ever since Bai Shiqi knew Tian Zongping, she could tell that he was a dog-like person who could not be satisfied. He relied on his relationship with the current Governor of Water Transport, Xun Bai, to fill his personal gain. But today he held himself back as soon as possible, truly a rare sight.

     

    Although she was a bit curious about Zhao Wujiu’s status, people of the world of traveling merchants did not bother about such trivial things. At the time she got acquainted with Zhao Ziheng, she only knew him as a kid from a wealthy family. The two were similar in nature and never inquired about each others’ backgrounds. Today she was enlightened, but she did not intend to cling to Zhao Wujiu, on the contrary, she was quite calm.

     

    The banknotes she had prepared before was returned to her bosom, she cupped her hands towards Zhao Wujiu expressing her gratitude, the whole face looked somewhat proper for once: “Today, I have received Cousin Brother’s good meanings, why don’t I take Cousin Brother to listen to some storytellers.” The last sentence revealed a bit of her loose character: “There’s Miss Song Si in Huai’an, not only is she beautiful and knowledgeable, but she also has a lot of wonderful stories, especially historical tales.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu wished he can hit her head fiercely: “All day long you have no proper things to do and only know to eat, drink, and play?”

     

    At the back, Zhao Ziheng shrank his neck and did not dare to say a word, he was afraid the fire of war would burn himself and Cousin Brother would scold him for his shortcomings again.

     

    Bai Shiqi pushed the wheelchair down the ship and tried to justify herself while walking: “Cousin Brother, why did you say these words? Delivering provisions to the north is a proper business matter, since I have already finished, then what is left is to play around.” Zhao Wujiu’s attitude let her vaguely saw those workaholics who were already used to working as hard as possible and spending as much effort as possible from her previous life, spending all their times on work-related matters and had no free time for themselves, making their lives like tightly stretched bowstrings. What a boring life.

     

    She half-joked: “Do enjoy life while in prime you run high; Not to the moon just your empty cup ply1. Cousin Brother, you are too tense, you ought to loosen up a bit.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu pondered about her words quietly. Indeed, his temperament was anything but free and easy. At the moment, he could not help but see the fellow soldier brothers that worked under him who luckily managed to return alive, rinsing their throats with strong alcohols to their hearts’ content.

     

    As this youngster had said, he could not adapt to life on peaceful days after the war, he had not completely relaxed.

     

    It was rare for him to conceded and said: “If you want to loosen up, then just loosen up. No need to make troubles.”

     

    Bai Shiqi smiled happily: “What is your definition of troubles?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu: “… …”

     

    Zhao Ziheng was even more scared to speak, in Cousin Brother’s eyes, everything he did on leisure time was classified as “troubles”.

     

    The party got off the ship. Their own subordinate of Jiangsu Shipping Group in Huai’an had been waiting on the dock. He was a robust man wearing water blue attire. The man approached and respectfully saluted, his face was full of joy: “Young Leader has worked hard. This small one has calculated the day of Young Leader’s arrival in Huaian and already let people make preparation for welcoming banquet.”

     

    “I have made Uncle Yu Si wait for long.” She introduced Zhao Ziheng and the cousin: “These two people are my friends from the capital, this time they’re following me to the south to look for Old Man Huang for medical treatment. You go dispatch some people to inquire about Old Man Huang’s whereabouts, see which immortal mountains he has recently gone to.”

     

    Aside from having exceptional medical skills, Huang Youbi also knew a lot of veteran Taoists and great Buddhist monks to discuss pharmacology, and usually, they did not have fixed residences. According to Bai Shiqi’s saying: “He frequently runs off to Taoist temples and monasteries to freeload for food.”

     

    Yu Si immediately instructed two groups: “Spread the Young Leader’s order, inquire the whereabouts of Old Immortal Huang.”

     

    After making these arrangements, Bai Shiqi invited Zhao Wujiu to the carriage.

     

    The shipping group had prepared a good carriage at the side, Shu Changfeng and Yu JInsheng lifted Zhao Wujiu into the carriage. He lifted the curtain and looked at the jade-like youth who was handing over the internal affairs of the shipment to Steward Guan. All the ship helpers stood with their heads hung, clearly respecting her. She was making the arrangements seriously, this was probably how she looked like when dealing with business matters. He could not help but be astounded—the appearance finally showed some grandeur of a young leader.

     

    Bai Shiqi urged Uncle Guan to return to Suzhou with the purchased goods while she wished to stay in Huai’an for two more days.

     

    Uncle Guan grimaced: “Young Leader, if your esteemed self does not return with the ship, I am afraid that the leader will be furious. How should this small one explains to the leader then?”

     

    Bai Shiqi rolled her eyes and already came to a decision: “Go back and tell my dad that I am staying in Huai’an to entertain some noble guests.”

     

    Uncle Guan was still after getting persuaded. It was true that Zhao Wujiu’s identity was precious, who could make Tian Zongping gave up the fat that had gotten into his mouth instead of eating it. It was necessary to have a good relationship with this person. After a few more words, he turned to Yu Si: “You follow the young leader, do not let him drink too much and make a scene!”

     

    Yu Si ensured him repeatedly: “Uncle Guan rest assured, there is me watching over him, moreover, Young Leader is not the kind person who likes to make troubles!”

     

    Uncle Guan also knew the attitude of this person towards the young leader. Even though he definitely would not let her mess around, but could he criticize her faults?

     

    He sighed: “In any case, Young Leader has to return to Suzhou as soon as possible. Do not wait until Leader gets angry.”

     

    It took Bai Shiqi a lot of effort to urged Uncle Guan to get on the ship. Qiu Yunping was clinging on the bow tearfully: “Young Leader, please take me with you ah.”

     

    “If you’re willing to be a manservant to run errands for me, then you can stay.”

     

    Qiu Yunping was overjoyed. He left the account book and jumped off the boat. Uncle Guan hated that he could not beat his chest nor stamp his feet: “Young Leader, if you even take the accountant away, how am I going to settle the accounts with Leader?”

     

    “The ledgers are in my cabin, Uncle Guan does not need to worry about the rest, just get on the ship. I will look after the young leader on your behalf. If there are any problems, we can talk about it once I return.”

     

    Zhao ZihengShu Changfeng, and the rest of the men saw that Qiu Yunping would rather become Bai Shiqi’s manservant and follow her to play, the deep admiration they had before meeting Mister Yunping was thoroughly destroyed—even the journey they had experienced together felt like an illusion.

     

    Scholars put utmost importance on moral integrity. Mister Yunping had written so many stories of grand heroes and legendary sagas, so they had originally thought that they would surely be able to see an imposing spirit of the generation from his writing style, who would have imagined that they would find a nasty and unscrupulous businessman who loves money instead. They were very speechless.

     

    As the shipping boat had avoided Tian Zongping’s inspection, it slowly left the shore and head towards Suzhou.

     

    Bai Shiqi boarded the carriage and met Zhao Wujiu’s scrutinizing gaze. She thought that he was feeling uneasy that the search for Huang Youbi would not be smooth, so she consoled him: “Cousin Brother, don’t be too anxious, Old Man Huang likes to run around, but it doesn’t mean he cannot be found.”

     

    Ever since Zhao Ziheng got to know her, this was probably the first time he found this good brother being reliable. Little stars appeared within his eyes: “Shiqi, if you can find Old Man Huang and Cousin Brother’s legs really get cured, I, this brother, will owe you a favor.”

     

    Shiqi stroked his dog head: “You being this courteous with me, I find it oddly embarrassing. Us brothers don’t need these pretenses of small talk.” Then in a manner of showing off one’s treasure, she recommended to him: “Ziheng, you have to listen to Miss Song Si’s historical tales, she is truly a beauty with a gift of the gab. Every time I pass by Huai’an, I have to invite her to my home to tell me these tales.”

     

    Zhao Ziheng’s heart itched, he really wanted to lean closer to Bai Shiqi and discuss how beautiful this Miss Song Si was, however, seeing Zhao Wujiu’s gaze, he immediately withdrew his thoughts. He secretly pondered over how to get rid of the possibility of his cousin brother going out with Bai Shiqi.

     

    Bai Shiqi lifted the front curtain and asked Yu Si who was sitting on the shaft of the carriage: “Uncle Si, have we arrived at Miss Song Si’s place?”

     

    Yu Si had been afraid that she would mention this today. The reason was, out of all the female performers in Huai’an, the young leader was very fond of this Miss Song Si. Every time she passed by Huai’an, she would hang around her for at least two days. Even the brothers in the group once suspected that this Miss Song Si may become the young female master in the shipping group leader’s residence. Yu Si once had the idea to just deliver the person to Suzhou, but he was afraid it will go against the will of the leader, hence he dropped the subject.

     

    He squeaked: “… Miss Song Si is not feeling well, afraid that Young Leader will be disappointed, therefore I have invited Miss Lu instead.”

     

    “Miss Si is not feeling well?” She became angry: “Why didn’t you say so earlier? Don’t go anywhere else, head to Miss Si’s house first.”

     

    Miss Song Si was abandoned by her biological parents when she was only 4-5 years old. Later on, the couple of Song Wenjiao and his wife picked her up and discovered that she actually had pretty and delicate features after washing her little face clean. The couple then discussed that they would raise her behind a closed door, control her diet, invite a master to teach her singing and dancing, teach her how to read, and had her receive rigorous training.  At 12-13 years old, she finally made a public appearance. Because of her intelligence, she soon rose to fame and became a renowned female performer in Huai’an prefecture.

     

    Yu Si secretly whined and still wanted to persuade: “Young Leader, today you are bringing noble guests.” Is it reasonable to bring your guests to visit your bosom friend?

     

    Bai Shiqi turned towards Zhao Wujiu and apologize: “Cousin Brother, I apologize, Miss Song Si is my old acquaintance, moreover, the feast at the Song House is also of top quality. How about we go there to feast today?”

     

    After Miss Song Si became famous, the family of Song Wenjiao had been living in luxury. They were holding onto this money tree and not letting go. The family also invited a famous chef to entertain distinguished guests at their residence.

     

    Zhao Wujiu originally wanted to reprimand Bai Shiqi for acting willfully, however, meeting the sincere gaze that was looking over, he could not help but indulge her. Thinking to himself that perhaps he might be able to hear good tales, he nodded almost invisibly: “Up to you.”

     

    Zhao Ziheng almost cheered inside the carriage.

     

    With bitterness in his mouth, Yu Si forced himself to order the coachman to change direction. He thought to himself: Heading to this day’s event, it seems like I can only give up, right?

     

    There were hundreds of well-known female performers in Huai’an and they were by no means inferior to Miss Song Si. Aside from Miss Song, there was also Miss Lu, and even Miss Shen… could also be counted as something.

     

    The coachman quickly urged the horse and headed towards the Song House. Half a street away from the Song House, one could hear the ear-splitting tunes of the procession of someone who is fetching one’s bride. The entire road was blocked.

     

    Bai Shiqi lifted up the carriage’s curtain and saw a man whose face had a scar from a knife wound at the lead, and following behind him was the wedding procession. A small sedan came out precisely from the Song House.

     

    An ominous feeling arose in her heart for no reason, and her voice was tense: “Uncle Si, why did Hu Xian come over? Looking from his attire, he doesn’t look like the groom.”

     

    Yu Si braced himself and said: “Third Hu is here on behalf of his young leader to fetch the bride, their young leader has taken Miss Song Si as the fifth wife.”

     

    “Bastard!” Bai Shiqi was angry: “Wen Tao this son of a bitch, dare to snatch a woman from Laozi! Quickly stop the carriage!”

     

    Yu Si had been aware of this event at an earlier time. He turned his head to persuade Bai Shiqi, however, before the carriage was pulled into a complete stop, she had already jumped off the carriage and stopped the procession in the street.

     


     

    FOOTNOTE

    1 An ancient poem titled “Drink Wine” by Li Bai. This poem is advising people that one should relax and grasp the rare opportunity to enjoy life, do not let life slip by. Source: https://www.trainchinese.com/v2/wordDetails.php?rAp=0&wordId=74808&tcLanguage=en

     


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