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Translated by Wook
Edited by Wook
Chapter 22 : False Bravado
At the end of the banquet, Zhao Wujiu and the others followed a steward of Bai family to rest. Unexpectedly, around 8 pm, Qiu Yunping frantically knocked on the door: “Young Sir Zhao, please save my young leader!”
Shu Changfeng, who had been dreaming, was awakened with a jolt. He opened the door, making Qiu Yunping almost fall flat on his face. He immediately crawled, heading to the inner part of the room: “Young Sir Zhao, Leader is going to break Young Leader’s legs!”
Zhao Wujiu draped his clothes over his shoulder and got up, while Shu Changfeng lighted the lamp. His solemn and unperturbed appearance invisibly alleviated Qiu Yunping’s impatience.
“Explain it slowly, what’s the matter?”
Qiu Yunping cursed: “That goddamned Yu Si shot his mouth off, he told Leader that Young Leader has taken in a concubine. Right now, Leader is holding the rod, wanting to settle this account with Young Leader. After thinking it through, Wen Tao always has bad intention, Little Sir Zhao’s words don’t have any weight, only your esteemed self can save our young leader!”
Zhao Ziheng was not in a good shape, only by seeing, one could tell that he was unreliable, not a good spokesperson material.
Looking at his panic-stricken expression, Zhao Wujiu had pity on him. He wore his clothes quickly and told Shu Changfeng to move him to the wheelchair, then they hurriedly went to the master courtyard.
When they passed by, the master courtyard was brightly lit. Bai Zhenting was leaning on a rod, standing below a tall tree, and stomping his feet: “You quickly get your ass over here for laozi! Otherwise, laozi will break your legs!” Several young and strong men were scattered and screaming continuously. Looking at the situation, it seemed like they had fallen off the tree.
Wearing only the middle clothes1, Bai Shiqi was standing on a branch that was a fully-grown man’s arm thick. For every word she said, the branch shook twice. It seemed like it might snap at any moment: “I’m not coming down! You’ll break my legs even if I come down. It’s better to break my legs from falling off this tree!”
Bai Zhenting’s face was almost purple from anger, his mouth was dry from talking too much, he pointed at Bai Shiqi and cursed: “At least laozi will only beat you lightly. You dare to take in concubines from outside privately! Do you treat Laozi’s words as wind past your ears?”
Wen Tao was by his side, hypocritically advising: “Uncle, don’t be mad, just blame me instead! I thought that since Shiqi likes Miss Si, why didn’t he go for it. I never expected that you won’t allow it.” His nature to earn profit for himself finally came out.
“The one surnamed Wen, you son of a bitch. You’re standing over there and shed your crocodile tears, do you think I don’t know what’s inside your mind? Weren’t you the one who incite my dad to beat me up? Isn’t this what you want?” From above the tree, Bai Shiqi broke off a twig and threw it towards Wen Tao. However, the wind suddenly blew, making the twig swayed from its original path, hitting Bai Zhenting’s head instead…
Bai Shiqi’s eyes rounded: “Dad! Dad, I didn’t do that on purpose! Really, it was not on purpose!”
“If you didn’t do it on purpose then get your ass down here!”
By the time Zhao Wujiu arrived at the battlefield, he was witnessing Bai Zhenting pulling off the branches over his head, undid his robes, and was preparing to climb the tree: “Laozi doesn’t believe that today he won’t be able to catch you!”
Wen Tao hypocritically stopped him: “Uncle, it’s dangerous for your esteemed self to climb up!”
Bai Shiqi provoked him from above: “Oi, the one surnamed Wen, you’re so filial towards my dad, why don’t you climb up in his stead ah!” See if this young master doesn’t kill you!
I’ll let you have a taste!
Bai Zhenting was already angry to the point of losing his mind. Ever since this little bastard became financially independent, her wings became harder and harder, even his warnings were completely disregarded. Tonight, had he not interrogated Yu Si, perhaps she would be able to just get away with it.
He grabbed Wen Tao’s arm: “Nephew, the subordinates I’ve sent to go up were all kicked down by him. Why don’t you climb up and drag him down in my stead?”
Actually, half of the helpers under the tree who could not get up for a long time from personally experienced the power of the young leader were only acting, fearing that the leader would urge them to continue. While the other half… were really kicked off the tree by Bai Shiqi. It hurt very much.
Wen Tao: “… …”
Bai Shiqi shouted from atop the tree: “The one surnamed Wen, if you have the ability then come up ah…”
Bai Zhenting was full of expectation: “Nephew, drag down that unfilial son for me!” Under the expectant eyes of the elder, even a sentence of rejection could not be said. Bracing himself, he tucked the corners of his gown to his waist, held the tree trunk, and prepared to climb.
Zhao Wujiu pushed his wheelchair over and raised his head to look at Bai Shiqi who was up the tree. Although he felt that this guy might have developed a bone at the back of the head2, the person would actually go as far as contradicting one’s own father. If one was birthed in the palace, one would be locked up to learn the rules to one’s death. Even a soldier under his hand would be beaten until his buttocks split into eight parts3 for being disrespectful. However, because the one doing it was Bai Shiqi, he felt that these things could be pardoned.
“Leader Bai, Shiqi was just a bit naughty. Just teach him slowly in the future, no need to get angry and hurt your body.”
Bai Zhenting turned his head to look at Zhao Wujiu who had let out this baseless remark. Following not too far behind him was Qiu Yunping who shrank his neck as if that action could shrink his presence as well. He suddenly felt somewhat embarrassed for showing this family conflict to the outsiders. He coughed twice, and his old face burned: “This dog is disobedient, we have disturbed Young Sir Zhao’s rest. Forgive me for the inconvenience.” He, as an uncouth fellow, had learnt a lot in the past few years and was pretty capable in socializing. Only when disciplining Bai Shiqi, his crude and barbarous nature that had been long hidden in his bones would be aroused to appear, and he would turn into a violent and easily angered old father.
Zhao Wujiu grew up under the cumbersome etiquette teachings in the palace. He joined the army at the age of 16 and lived by the military regulations. Meeting Bai Shiqi was practically an eye-opener for him, he was surprised and amused at the same time. He reassured: “Leader Bai is exaggerating. Even though Shiqi has taken in a concubine, however he’s not a lustful person. He hasn’t done anything. On the wedding night, he was made completely drunk by Young Leader Wen and his friends, so he didn’t do anything that cross the line.”
Bai Zhenting’s mind suddenly turned: “How does Young Sir Zhao know that he didn’t do anything that crosses the line when he was dead drunk?” The matter had come out abruptly, and at this moment, the place where Miss Song Si was staying was already surrounded by the people who worked under him, to prevent the news from being passed to the outside.
Don’t tell me this bastard had shot her mouth off in her muddled state?
Zhao Wujiu candidly said: “On the wedding night, Shiqi slept on my bed and didn’t return to the bridal chamber.”
“S-Slept on your bed?” Bai Zhenting thought something was wrong with his ears, he wanted to confirm it with trembling voice.
Zhao Wujiu did not overlook Bai Zhenting’s peculiarity. The speculation in his heart was confirmed a little bit more. In spite of everything, he became quickly aware of what Bai Zhenting might be thinking about, making his brain stunned for a moment—if two men were to discuss things and sat together on a couch, then it did not matter. However, even if a man and a woman purely only slept under the same quilt, who could believe that nothing had happened between them?
The agile reflexes that he trained on the battlefield all year round instantly gained the upper hand, showing his sincerest smile in his whole life: “What to be concerned about two drunk and grown men sleeping on the same bed?” He kept silent about the fact that he was sober throughout the night, and let out a sentence to show that he was an understanding person: “Since Leader Bai doesn’t agree with Shiqi taking in a concubine, and since he hasn’t touched that Miss Song Si anyway, can’t we just return her back?”
Bai Zhenting was actually persuaded by his reasonings, but his suspicious eyes swept across Zhao Wujiu’s face: “Can we do that?”
“This humble Zhao would never lie!”
Soldiers, so are the deceitful ways. Show what cannot be shown, used what cannot be used, make near what is far and vice versa.4
This humble Zhao was merely using soldiers, how can it be compared with lying?!
Zhao Wujiu thought so.
After the two looked at each other, Wen Tao had begun climbing to the lower part of the tree with gritted teeth. He raised his head and tried to coax the other person to come down using words: “Shiqi ah, don’t stay up there like a fool, just come down and admit your mistake to Uncle. I’ll put in good words for you, as an elder he’ll surely forgive you.”
Bai Shiqi was holding a broken twig in her hand and measured its length. It still could not reach Wen Tao, so she encouraged him: “Climb a bit higher, then we’ll negotiate nicely.”
The lights inside the court were very bright. Bai Shiqi was standing at a high place, so Wen Tao could not see her crafty smile clearly. As expected, he really hugged the tree trunk and continued to climb. In a coaxing manner he tried to remove himself from suspicions: “I’m telling you the truth, I didn’t leak the secret. I only heard rumors that you fancy Miss Si, so I redeemed her to make you happy. I didn’t expect that you’d suffer from Uncle’s beatings. You have to trust me!”
He raised his head and looked up. Bai Shiqi’s corners of robe flew upwards, and there was an indescribable immortality on the branch where she stood. Her voice was extremely gentle: “Brother Wen, I believe in you. Come quickly ah.”
Wen Tao used both hands and feet to increase his climbing speed. However, he was tall and wide, different from the light and nimble Bai Shiqi. It looked very strenuous. Once he climbed to about half a person’s tall distance from Bai Shiqi, he was whipped by a twig.
Being beaten so abruptly, Wen Tao did not guard against it, and almost let go of his hand and fall down: “Shiqi—“
Bai Shiqi lightly stepped down from the branch she was standing on, closing the distance between the two. She continuously waved the twig ferociously towards Wen Tao: “Young Leader Wen, do you think by saying these pleasant things you can confuse me to make me go down with you obediently? Are you telling me you’re not the source of all of this?! Still thinking to remove yourself from this matter, huh?”
The workers who were lying down under the tree originally had been preparing to get up, but seeing this situation, they were frightened and fell back again and lied flat on the ground—getting away from that flexible twig must not be fun.
Bai Zhenting below waved the rod and abused verbally: “Stinky boy, quickly stop! If you injure Ah Tao, should I hand you over to Uncle Wen? Still don’t want to come down quickly?”
Were it not for Bai Shiqi’s huge movement, he would probably still look at Zhao Wujiu.
Zhao Wujiu saw that Wen Tao was whipped by Bai Shiqi and had no strength to fight back. He was firmly holding onto the trunk with both hands. It was completely different from Bai Shiqi’s relaxed expression, who was holding a twig and swinging it wildly. Were it not for the wrong occasion, he might have laughed.
Bai Zhenting5 was cursing in anger, like a clap of thunder before the rain. The kid above was obviously not the kind who would submit meekly to insults, nor was she an obedient and lovable child, so Bai Zhenting had come up with an idea—he would instigate Wen Tao to climb up. Wouldn’t sending him up be an opportunity for Bai Shiqi to mess with him?
The father and son were familiar with each other’s temperament. How could he not know that Bai Shiqi had a talent for climbing and born like a rough monkey. Normal people would not be at ease when put in a dangerous situation like she was.
Even using one’s toes, one could think that as long it was above the tree, Wen Tao certainly would not be able to beat Bai Shiqi.
Zhao Wujiu’s mind was surging. He looked again at Bai Zhenting who was hopping about in anger. From the raised voice he let out to curse Bai Shiqi, he could sense the false bravado and a hint of protectiveness.
He still wanted to pretend to be completely ignorant: “Leader Bai, Shiqi has acted with propriety. Moreover, it was Young Leader Wen who played tricks on him first, so maybe he couldn’t hold back anymore. Once he vents it out, he’ll definitely come down!”
Before he finished speaking, Bai Shiqi, who was still up the tree, pulled on Wen Tao’s belt. His robe was torn off by her.
Wen Tao, who was still hugging the trunk, was quite in a dilemma. He could only use the tone he normally used to coax young ladies to try to coax her: “Shiqi, everything is Big Brother’s fault. I’ll endure several beatings in your stead to cool your temper, in the future, Big Brother won’t tease you anymore, okay?”
Bai Shiqi smiled and answered him: “Sure! Why not?!” In the passing, she tore off his waistband…
1 middle clothes: Typically, ancient people wear 3 layers of clothes. Inner, middle, and outer robe
2 developed a bone at the back of the head: said to be a sign of a renegade nature.
3 This is obviously a hyperbole, let’s just laugh it off XD
4 Verse from the art of war.
5 Both the Zhen (震) and Ting (霆) character from Bai Zhenting’s name can be translated as a clap of thunder.
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