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    The Black Horse

    Chapter 44.2


    Good Intentions

    Translated by Wook
    Edited by sienz


     

    The master and disciple first reached out to the contact point of the shipping group. When they found the rented house where Bai Shiqi and the others were staying, they saw Yu Ang, who was wiping the dust in the living room. Thinking that he worked voluntarily, they immediately praised him: “Since you can already move around, moderate exercise will be advantageous for your recovery.”

     

    As a physician, he liked to see patients who followed their physicians’ advice.

     

    Yu Ang found it difficult to reply. After serving as an official for so many years, this was the first time he learned to serve tea and pour water for others. He personally made a cup of tea for Huang Youbi. He was so unskilled and ended up wetting the robe of his life-saver.

     

    Sure enough, Bai Shiqi, acting as the master of the house, reprimanded him: “You can’t even serve tea. What else should I use you for? Still don’t want to retreat?!”

     

    Yu Ang’s old face flushed red. He simply did not know where to place his face.

     

    He got thick and plain rice congee for breakfast, which was flavorless with only the smell of rice. He could not even taste a thing after swallowing it. The food for lunch and dinner were not salty at all, they were all bland which made it hard to swallow. He finally realized— this energetic benefactor is trying to tell him how unpalatable meals without salt are.

     

    Yu Ang had been in a high position for many years and developed a stubborn personality. He had refused to surrender. However, after eating unsalted food for three consecutive days, his mouth felt like it might fade out at any time. He eventually looked for Zhao Wujiu to complain: “Young Leader Bai is too petty, he’d actually let this humble official eat unsalted food for three days. How can I have any strength if this keeps going on?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu secretly wanted to smirk, but he still put on a serious face and advised him: “Shiqi has a small heart and he likes to hold grudges, but he is actually a kindhearted person. If you go and apologize to him, he will surely let this matter go.”

    [small heart: unforgiving, petty, etc.]

     

    Yu Ang really felt like he wouldn’t be able to save his old face: “Your Highness, this humble official… this humble official is his father’s age…”

     

    Zhao Wujiu tried to persuade him again, only to find that Yu Ang was someone who stuck to his ways. Running out of patience, he left him under the pretext of rehabilitating.

     

    He had been able to walk a few steps by leaning against the wall recently. Just before he pushed his body to stand from the wheelchair, he heard a questioning voice above his head: “I have a small heart? And likes to hold grudges?”

     

    When Zhao Wujiu looked up, he saw Bai Shiqi sitting on the wall. There was a tree whose leaves had not yet fallen, so it covered most of her figure, only exposing a pair of angry eyes between the branches: “Since your esteemed self believes this, I guess I shouldn’t let you take responsibility for my bad habits, should I?!” After saying that, she jumped off and disappeared to the other side of the wall.

     

    Shiqi—”

     

    Shiqi, come back and listen to my explanation!”

     

    It was inconvenient for Zhao Wujiu to move around, hence it would be extremely difficult to catch up with Bai Shiqi. Shu Changfeng had gone out, while Zhao Ziheng, the lazy good-for-nothing, was still sleeping soundly. He really didn’t know what to do.

     

    Bai Shiqi had always been a person that kept her word. Being the petty person she was, the food that was sent to Zhao Wujiu’s courtyard was the same as Yu Ang’s, all without salt.

     

    Zhao Ziheng slept until the meal started. He held the chopsticks and brought the vegetables to his mouth, then he started to gag: “It’s so unpalatable, why did they not put any salt? Don’t tell me we can’t even buy any salt now?” After following Bai Shiqi to the official salt store to ask about the price before, the ridiculously high price had left a deep impression on him.

     

    Zhao Wujiu also took a bite. The food in his mouth was plain and tasteless. He was a prince, and under normal circumstances, he should be angry for this negligence, but for the reason only the Heavens knew, he smiled instead after eating two mouthfuls— Perhaps in this whole world, Bai Shiqi was the only one who was daring enough to let him eat unsalted food, right?

     

    He gobbled the rice in delight. Seeing him like this, Zhao Ziheng suspected that maybe the two of them were not eating from the same dish: “Cousin Brother, is it delicious?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu’s brows were raised in delight: “It’s delicious.”

     

    Zhao Ziheng then picked up the food from the dish Zhao Wujiu was eating. After tasting it, he realized it was the same plain dish, without any salt at all: “Cousin Brother, is it truly delicious?”

     

    “It truly is ah.”

     

    Zhao Ziheng’s mind: Shoot! Cousin Brother’s legs have healed, but now his brain is broken!

     

    He put down his tableware and searched for Huang Youbi in panic. After explaining the situation in such a huge gesture, he dragged both the master and disciple over in panic: “My family’s helmsman is sick. He can’t taste things anymore. Mister Huang, can you quickly take a look?”

     

    Huang Youbi was halfway through his meal when he was dragged away by Zhao Ziheng. After hearing the reason for his actions, he did not know whether to laugh or cry: “Shiqi this monkey must have played a prank again!” She had always been the one who loved to play tricks, and her nature had not changed even when she’s all grown up.

     

    Zhao Wujiu, who was eating unsalted food, was reminded of Yu Ang’s grievances. He suddenly said: “Mr. Huang, the common people have caused riots because the price of official salt is so high. Do you think those salt officials can experience a few of the people’s sufferings if they’re not allowed to add salt to their meals for a month?”

     

    Huang Youbi was surprised by his whimsical imagination: “Helmsman Zhao must be joking, right? Each of those officials is so prideful. Even when they’ve been served with delicacies from the mountains and the seas, they still want to weigh whether the things they are going to eat are rare enough. Who would dare to serve them a table of unsalted meals?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu: “Elder is right, I wonder who would dare?” It sounded like he was asking Huang Youbi, but he was actually asking himself this question.

     

    Bai Shiqi’s prestige in the shipping group seemed to be high. When she ordered unsalted meals to be delivered to Zhao Wujiu’s courtyard, the subordinates did not dare to ignore it. Not only did they not add salt to the meals, even a salted duck egg they did not dare to deliver…

     

    On the first day he ate the meals, he had estimated that Bai Shiqi would probably appear in the evening.

     

    But apparently, he had miscalculated. That day, not even Bai Shiqi’s shadow could be seen.

     

    On the second day, he thought that even if Bai Shiqi did not want to personally visit, she’d at least send a servant to check for the news, right?

     

    However, except for the aunt from the kitchen who delivered their meals, the mouths of the servants in the courtyard were shut like a clamshell. Even the servants who were sweeping in the courtyard seemed as if they had an agreement and did not utter a single sound.

     

    On the third day, the food was delivered, and Bai Shiqi still had not shown up. Zhao Wujiu could not help it anymore and sent Zhao Ziheng to ask for Bai Shiqi: “Just say that I’ve said something wrong. Ask her to come over so I can apologize.”

     

    He unexpectedly did the thing that Yu Ang would not do. The affairs of life are truly fickle.

     

    Zhao Ziheng went to the house and looked everywhere, but he did not find Bai Shiqi. He then went to the dock to look for Old Third Deng, and instead was told by the brothers from the shipping group that stayed back that the young leader and Third Brother Deng had set off for Qing River two days ago.

     

    “The court has sent someone to clean up the river. When has it ever been necessary for people from the shipping group to clean up the river?” Zhao Wujiu was very puzzled and questioned the responsibilities of the local officials.

     

    Zhao Ziheng suddenly whispered to explain: “The brothers from the dock did not hide the reason for Shiqi’s departure from me. When they said cleaning up the river they didn’t mean cleaning it up from silts and stuff, instead, they meant… to clean it up from the pirates.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu thought he had misheard: “Cleaning it up from the pirates?”

     

    Zhao Ziheng was frowning and had already begun to worry for his brother: “Those pirates even dared to slash Lord Yu, will Shiqi be slashed apart to be fed to the fish?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu had also seen Bai Shiqi who was as nimble as a fish in the river. However, upon hearing her cleaning the river, he was still worried: “Those pirates are fierce and cunning. Can Shiqi… kill people?”

     

    In terms of brutality, the two parties were not at the same level.

     

    Zhao Ziheng: “The brothers from the dock said that Shiqi always takes the brothers from the shipping group to clean up the river when the number of pirates increases during this time of the year, because the officials who are positioned to guard at the coast never make a move, so the people can only do it themselves.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu: “Did they mention when they will return?”

     

    Zhao Ziheng shook his head: “There’s no fixed number for this kind of thing. It may go from half a month to one or even two months. And if they run into…” He spitted twice and swallowed the rest of his words: “I won’t say anything bad.”

     

    ***

     

    When Yu Ang learned of this, he felt complicated.

     

    He was very grateful to his benefactor Bai Shiqi, but he was accused as a freeloader and was tasked to clean up the dust. Even his meals were tasteless. He felt that Bai Shiqi was someone who did not know how the social class worked, as she dared to mistreat an official of the court in such a way. He was pretty angry.

     

    However, when he heard that Bai Shiqi had taken the brothers from the shipping group to clean up the pirates, he wanted to praise her as a “young hero”.

     

    As a person who had experienced a life and death situation and had barely escaped from the hands of the pirates, Yu Ang was still terrified when he thought of it. But Bai Shiqi took people to the river to fight with their lives at stake instead. It goes without saying that it’d be dangerous.

     

    “Young Leader Bai… How skilled are his subordinates?” Yu Ang was also a little worried.

     

    Zhao Wujiu: “… Do you not hate him for letting you eat unsalted meals?”

     

    In the past few days, Yu Ang had also inquired about the price of the official shop from the servants. He felt that even with his salary, the price was outrageous, not to mention for the common people. He now had to admit that Bai Shiqi was a bright person: “I would also like to thank the young leader for this. It allowed me to look at the private salt matter not only from the perspective of an official but also understand how harmful the high price of the salt is from the perspective of the people.” He patted his chest and promised: “Since this humble official has been sent by His Imperial Majesty to investigate Jiangnan’s salt road, no matter how deep the water is, this humble official will get to the bottom of this matter!”

    [no matter how deep the water is: equivalent to no matter how dangerous. Just a play of words because the next sentence speaks about “the bottom of something”.]

     

    Zhao Wujiu: “Just relying blindly on you? Without even an official seal or an imperial decree?”

     

    The imperial edict had long been lost on the official ship, and he had carried the official seal with him at that time, but it disappeared by the time he woke up.

     

    His Highness Prince Zhou’s words were too hurtful. Yu Ang knelt at his feet: “This humble official knows that his abilities are limited. Even the official seal is lost. So if he wants to investigate the salt affairs of the Lianghuai, the local officials will not cooperate. Therefore this humble official wishes to use Your Highness’s name. Will Your Highness permit?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu fumbled for something in his sleeve and handed the thing to him: “Is this… the official seal that you’ve lost?”

     

    Yu Ang turned excited. While holding the seal in both hands, he expressed his gratitude towards Zhao Wujiu: “This humble official thanks Your Highness! Thank you, Your Highness! This is the official seal that I’ve lost!”

     

    Zhao Wujiu said indifferently: “You don’t have to thank me. This official seal was found by Shiqi near the river when he rescued you. He thought it might be something important, so he left it to me for safekeeping. See? Had we given it to you before you healed from your serious injury, you would’ve been too anxious to handle this case. It was better to leave it to me first.”

     

    “Young Leader Bai?!” Yu Ang, still with mixed feelings, and regretted that Bai Shiqi was not present at the moment, otherwise, he would have knelt and kowtow before her— Not only did she save him, but she had also saved his whole family!

     

    The family members of the one who lost an official seal would also be implicated, which was the reason as to why he had been following Prince Zhou closely so that once he returned to the capital in the future, he could beg Prince Zhou to intercede for his family before His Imperial Majesty did anything.

     

    Zhao Wujiu looked at the distance and sighed: “Shiqi had good intentions by letting you and I eat unsalted meals for a few days. It was so that we could experience the suffering of the common people. You have to inspect Jiangnan‘s salt road case thoroughly. If you recall today’s matter, it will certainly strengthen your resolve to be impartial and incorruptible!”

     

    Yu Ang looked as if he was being enlightened: “Young Leader Bai is wise. This humble official will keep this in his mind. I only hope that he will return safely, so I can apologize to him!”

     

    Zhao Ziheng chuckled beside him: “Then I can be the witness. I hope Lord Yu will not break his promise.”

     

    Although his good brother always teased him, he couldn’t see his brother being wronged by others. He also felt that this good brother should live without restraint.

     


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    Wook's notes:

    The 'husband' is afraid of the 'wife' :rofl:

    Wook

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