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    The Black Horse

    Chapter 34

    To Fight Against the General

    Translated by Wook
    Edited by sienz


    [The title is an idiom meaning: Countering someone even though the other party has the greater advantage]


    Zhao Ziheng’s legs weakened. He was leaning against Bai Shiqi’s shoulder all the way up to the second floor. Wen Tao had the thought to follow them up, but he was stopped by Shu Changfeng’s extended arm: “I’m sorry, Young Leader Wen, but my master doesn’t like outsiders.”


    After the three people left, Wen Tao immediately sobered: “Isn’t… Isn’t Bai Shiqi an outsider as well?”


    Little Sir Han teased: “Perhaps the person upstairs is Bai Shiqi’s wife.”


    Wen Tao: “Don’t talk nonsense!”


    Zhao Wujiu was sitting on his wheelchair expressionlessly. Hearing the sound of the footsteps, he turned his wheelchair to face towards the sound, the doorway of the private room. Once the door opened, what met him was Zhao Ziheng who was leaning on Bai Shiqi’s body, and they stood still there. His expression immediately turned cold, and he asked: “Do you have no bones ah?”


    Zhao Ziheng stood weakly, his shoulders drooping. He was about to open his mouth to admit his mistake, but his palm was pinched by Bai Shiqi, so he raised his head to meet her line of sight instead, and the words of admitting his mistake swallowed back whole.


    Bai Shiqi smiled without exaggeration: “This is truly what one calls running across an old friend in a distant land. Does Cousin Brother want to hear Miss Xiaoxian’s beautiful singing voice too, so he came to this Linjiang Courtyard?”


    Linjiang Courtyard was named by Lady Yao after her deceased husband. Since Lady Yao started this business, she had purchased several girls to be raised and employed a qin master to teach them. Arts such as singing, dancing, and accounting were taught according to each girl’s talent. After Jiang Xiaoxian was listed, and became an instant hit, Linjiang Courtyard became famous in Suzhou. Originally a mere courtyard of a rich landlord, now a top brothel.


    Zhao Wujiu: “… …” Really didn’t expect that Bai Shiqi is also proficient in counterattacking.


    Inside Shu Changfeng’s heart: Young Leader Bai has probably never cared about her face, right? This was his first time seeing someone who was “shameless” and “able to distort the truth deliberately” so naturally.


    Zhao Ziheng only wanted to kneel, his face was full of profound admiration towards her: Brother, you are so competent. You can even block Cousin Brother’s mouth!


    Zhao Wujiu: “Bai Shiqi, is your face molded from pig iron?” It was so thick it could be used as a pot.

    [Pig iron: smelted from iron ore in a blast furnace product.]


    Bai Shiqi directly brought his big hand to let him touch her face for a little while, and even asked him how it felt: “Is it similar with pig iron? Is it hard? Cold?”


    Zhao Wujiu quickly withdrew his hand as if it got scalded, however, the warm and tender sensation still seemed to remain on the fingertips: “Can’t you be serious?”


    “Cousin Brother, are you not mistaken?” Bai Shiqi almost bent her body laughing: “This kind of thing like being serious, what does it have to do with me?” She pushed his wheelchair towards the window and conveniently saved Zhao Ziheng, who was trembling all over. She pointed at the liveliness below: “Cousin Brother, look. Today, in this courtyard, who else knows how to write the “serious” word apart from you?”


    At this time, the competition downstairs was unstoppable. Jiang Xiaoxian had finished a song, and walked in front of the row of servant girls on the stage in an indifferent manner, to choose a present that suited her taste. When she stopped in front of a servant girl, the owner of the present that was carried by the servant girl could not help but screech. However, when Jiang Xiaoxian walked past it, the owner of the present poured a large glass of wine angrily and shouted in frustration: “Miss Xiaoxian, in the end, who do you want to accompany you on this night?”


    Linjiang Courtyard had a rule. The gifted presents could not be returned. However, if Miss Xiaoxian chose one of those items, that distinguished guest would have the privilege to enter her room.


    On ordinary days, Jiang Xiaoxian only sang and accompanied guests to chat. Only on the night of the 15th of the month, would she choose a guest to enter her room. This rare opportunity attracted many high-profile individuals to constantly loiter, for a chance to get close to her.


    Zhao Wujiu had to admit that what Bai Shiqi said was true. The whole hall was filled with befuddled and uncultured air, completely different from the bitter cold of the frontier, which caused him to be unable to adapt.


    Bai Shiqi was observing his expression, and she quickly apologized: “I felt that Cousin Brother wouldn’t like this kind of liveliness, so I did not invite you when we left. Who would have imagined that Cousin Brother actually likes listening to Jiang Xiaoxian’s singing? I’m really sorry. Next time, I’ll surely invite Cousin Brother whenever we go out.”


    Spoken with such a sincere tone, Zhao Wujiu almost believed her—You obviously left secretly, but still trying to sound dignified!


    Zhao Wujiu’s whole face darkened: “You, a… proper young man, what good is it for you to run to this kind of flowery place?”


    Bai Shiqi smiled happily: “Good songs, good-looking people, good wine and good food, and with the servant girls serving me, it is so much better than my house.” At her house, her personal attendants were two wet nurses who were brought by Madam Su as dowry. They were more or less about the same age as Madam Su, with no caring tenderness of servant girls.


    Zhao Wujiu got angrier: “Leader Bai really should discipline you!” He had thought that it would be inappropriate for him to intervene in the house affairs of the Bai family, however, he was also concerned that it would not be good for Bai Shiqi, who was currently hiding her identity, in the future.


    Bai Shiqi: “Cousin Brother must not know. There are two things a man cannot not know in his life, one is wine. While the other one…” She dragged her words, and her eyes shone like stars, exposing indescribable cunningness: “The other one is woman. Cousin Brother’s pure-hearted and passionless look is the most popular with the ladies below. If Jiang Xiaoxian sees you, maybe other people won’t matter in her eyes anymore!”


    She gave Zhao Wujiu a weird expression: “After all, I admire Cousin Brother. Even with a disability, you still have a strong will. With your inconvenient legs, you still came to Linjiang Courtyard to see Miss Xiaoxian. Cousin Brother, if you want to delve further into such matters, I certainly must give my best to teach you. Once your legs are healed and you can return to the capital, maybe the ladies in Suzhou City will cry, reluctant to let you go.”


    Zhao Wujiu’s voice was cold as iron: “Are you ridiculing me or are you being sarcastic?”


    Hearing this tone, Shu Changfeng trembled. Inside his heart: Young Leader Bai’s is commendable, but she has never experienced His Highness’s means of doing something. Does she think His Highness is honest and easy to bully?


    Zhao Ziheng secretly cast an admiring gaze towards Bai Shiqi, for daring to ridicule Cousin Brother out in the open, and also for not fearing that Cousin Brother would explode and immediately order people to beat them with a rod on the spot.


    Of course Bai Shiqi could not admit that she was ridiculing Zhao Wujiu. Her expression turned sincere, letting people think that she was speaking from her heart: “I’m just complimenting Cousin Brother!”


    “Many thanks for your compliment. In order to be worthy of your compliment, once we return in a while, I will personally express my gratitude to Leader Bai, thanking him for raising such a good son who has taught me his best!” Zhao Wujiu’s tone was especially earnest. Normally, he was not casual and rarely smiled, his taciturn self, sitting on the wheelchair gave the impression that he was reliable, not to mention that he was looking directly at Bai Shiqi’s eyes at this moment.


    Bai Shiqi’s brain buzzed, and what remained was only a thought: I’m done for!


    Cousin Brother had been corrupted with bad examples!


    He’s going to tell on me!


    She embraced Zhao Wujiu’s arm and smiled sweetly: “Don’t! Cousin Brother, let’s discuss it nicely! Discuss it nicely!”


    The room was shrouded in silence. Zhao Ziheng silently retreated backward, preparing that the moment things turned sour, he would immediately run, to avoid being beaten once again.


    Shu Changfeng was well aware of Prince Zhou’s temperament. He was very clear about reward and punishment in the army. If someone violated the law, and his fellow soldiers plead for leniency, the punishment would be doubled. In the end, nobody pleaded for anybody anymore.


    He secretly sweated a drop of sweat for Young Leader Bai. Thinking: Since when did His Highness become someone one could be bargained with?


    However, the thickness of Bai Shiqi’s face was probably one in a million. She dared to go against Zhao Wujiu’s cold face and embraced his arm tightly, continuously trying to butter him up: “Cousin Brother, you’re a big person with a big heart, why do you have to argue with me, this small person? I’ve spoken nonsense and made Cousin Brother angry. How could you need me to teach you? I’ve underestimated Cousin Brother’s charm before, surely there are already many ladies out there who will cry and throw themselves into Cousin Brother’s embrace…”


    Zhao Wujiu was sitting in a wheelchair. When he lowered his head, he could clearly see the black and whites of her smiling eyes, concealing hidden thoughts within them. It was as if careful thoughts would fly out when the eyeballs made a turn. His cold face was nearly affected.


    “Why don’t we go back first, and talk to Leader Bai once we return?”


    This was what Bai Shiqi called “the sky is falling in disorder”. Zhao Wujiu only used one move to control the enemy.


    He pushed the wheelchair forward and looked like he wanted to go back to the residence. Bai Shiqi immediately lost her cool and grabbed his arm in panic, not letting go: “Cousin Brother! Cousin Brother! I only came to Linjiang Courtyard by chance, why do we have to disturb my father? He’s already old and is a light sleeper, maybe he has already gone to rest, let’s not disturb him, alright?”


    Zhao Wujiu pushed his wheelchair all the way to the doorway of the private room, and Bai Shiqi was dragged all the way there as well. Seeing that there was no other way to deal with his stubbornness, she simply broke the jar and questioned him: “I only came to Linjiang Courtyard to listen to the songs. Cousin Brother can come, why can’t Ziheng and I come? Where do you see me that is not pleasing to your eyes that you want to complain to my dad?”


    Zhao Ziheng shrank himself behind the door, wanted to kneel down and worship her as one would to a God—Hero, this lowly one admires you!


    He dared to act shamelessly at home to avoid punishments, but when beaten by Cousin Brother, he could only silently swallow his manly tears.


    Shu Changfeng: … Master obviously came to chase after you two!


    Zhao Wujiu was made speechless by her questioning. He stared at the eloquent youth before his eyes in distress, then he recalled all the things she had done, and wondered whether Leader Bai had also experienced headaches when dealing with them. In any case, he was now being sued.


    He frowned: “You feel… that I think you’re not pleasing to the eyes?”


    Bai Shiqi had been waiting for an advantage. She could see from the height of his brows that his attitude had loosened a little, and the thought to tell on her was not as strong as before. She continued along: “How could I? Is Cousin Brother so petty?” And she followed it up, looking adept at self-introspection: “Cousin Brother is kind in his heart, always wants Ziheng and I to do better, that’s why you don’t want us to visit this flowery place.” Then just as fast, she sold her good brother out: “However, Cousin Brother must not know this. People like us, who beg our food above the river, are always in a precarious state. We have to live every day as if it were our last. However, Ziheng is different ah—“


    Hearing this speaking tone of shifting the blame, Zhao Ziheng began to panic: “How… How is it any different ah?”


    Bai Shiqi was still holding onto Zhao Wujiu’s arm, her tone was extremely gloomy: “After meeting Cousin Brother, I became aware that Ziheng came from a literary family. It must be a talented family too, if not, how could there be such a dignified person like Cousin Brother.” Then she started denouncing the stupidity of the good brother: “Ziheng, how could you… how could you degrade yourself like this? You don’t want to make yourself better by studying at home, or seek achievements for yourself, instead, you came here to muddle along with such a vulgar person like me?”


    Zhao Ziheng: “… …” This pattern of shifting the blame… seems awfully familiar.


    Shiqi, you…”


    Bai Shiqi winked at him, and ensured Zhao Wujiu: “Cousin Brother, don’t worry! I’ll certainly restrict Ziheng strictly later. I won’t bring him to this kind of place to waste time anymore!”


    Zhao Ziheng was so angry he almost vomited blood— You were obviously the one who climbed over the walls to find me, now you won’t admit it?


    Bai Shiqi, you’re truly my “good” brother ah!



    Translator’s note:

    “Cousin Brother, look. Today, in this courtyard, who else would know how to write the “serious” word apart from you?” 🡪 In case it is not clear enough, who would be serious in a brothel aside from Zhao Wujiu.

    “You, a… proper young man, what good is it for you to run to this kind of flowery place?” 🡪 He wants to say woman XD

    It’s hard using the ‘TLer words’ feature down below sometimes so I’ll just write this here today~

    Had some troubles with this chapter, was occupied with a lot of things when doing it.


    Read only at Travis Translations


    Wook's notes:

    Shiqi: 100000; Ziheng: 0 :rofl:


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