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    The Black Horse

    Chapter 46.1

    Killing Two Birds with One Stone

    Translated by Wook
    Edited by sienz


    [Warning: This chapter is not for the squeamish or the ones with a weak heart. Proceed with caution.]


    The torches were brightly lit on the Tao family’s ship. All the crewmen were summoned. Bai Shiqi, who had changed her clothes, sat in an armchair with her legs crossed. Standing behind her were some burly fellows, her own subordinates who were surrounding her for protection. She looked down and played with the small and cold dagger in her hand, asking: “Boss Tao, is everyone here?”


    Tao Shuo sat next to her, but he looked ill at ease. Hearing what was said, he hurriedly stood and answered, like one of her subordinates would: “I’ll let someone check.” Then he ordered his loyal subordinate to move.


    “You should sit! Sit!” Bai Shiqi raised her hand and gestured for him to take a seat, while her eyes were following Tao Dayuan, the person who had been ordered to count the crewmen. In fact, ever since they got onboard, the people of the shipping group had been observing in secret, so she roughly recognized some familiar faces. She swept her gaze around and said: “I remember that…there’s an old man in the kitchen, right?”


    Tao Shuo: “Dayuan—


    Tao Dayuan suddenly said: “Master, the kitchen helper Old Man Xiang isn’t here.”


    “Call everyone over.”


    In his adolescence, Old Man Xiang gambled on his life by making a living on the river, and by some misfortune, got his leg broken. Fortunately, he could still count on his cooking skills, and earned money by making food on ships. The Tao family’s ship only traveled twice a month, so he went to find jobs on other ships for the rest of the time.


    He was urged by Bai Shiqi’s people, and was shocked upon seeing the corpses on the deck. His eyes trembled as he made his way into the crowd: “Master… For what reason does Master call this small one?”


    Tao Shuo: “It’s just Young Leader Bai has asked for everyone to be here.”


    Bai Shiqi signaled for her subordinate to begin the interrogation, and let someone drag an injured and comatose pirate out from the dark and tied him to the flagpole. She coldly said: “Wake him up.”


    Her subordinate stepped forward and stabbed the pirate in the thigh, and turned the handle of the knife viciously. One could hear a squeal like that of a pig’s as the pirate woke up in pain.


    Tao Shuo: “… …”


    Everyone else: “… …”


    The technique was too simple, cruel, and vicious, but it was much more effective than splashing cold water. Not only did it wake the person up, it also shocked everyone on the Tao family’s ship.


    Bai Shiqi got up and stretched her body, then slowly asked: “Which one of you recognizes this person?” Her eyes traversed everyone’s faces one by one, not letting go of the smallest detail: “If I catch someone hiding something, don’t blame me for being rude!”

    The pirate saw the scene clearly once he was completely sober. The surrounding torches were brightly lit, and the wound on his leg was so painful. He lowered his head in fright, wishing to hide, but was held by Bai Shiqi’s subordinate by the hair to look up, so everyone could see his face.


    Since everyone dared not to speak, Bai Shiqi said: “I think it is too dark for everyone to see clearly. It will be better if everyone comes forward and sees. Anyone who knows the origin of this pirate will be rewarded with silver.”


    When the people heard the amount of silver rewarded, many of them were tempted. They waited in line for their turn to identify the pirate. Some of them got scared, because as they got closer, the smell of blood became thicker, and they could see the pirate’s bloodshot eyes. This person, together with his group, had ransacked ships on the river more than once. He had a lot of human blood on his hands, and regarded human life as grass. Today, despite being reduced to fish, his ferociousness had not changed. He glared fiercely at everyone, making a frightened one shiver and ran away in hurry… 


    A bolder one stepped forward to take a closer look, and after looking carefully for some time, said: “This person… I remember vaguely that I’ve seen him somewhere before.”


    Bai Shiqi became intrigued: “Think about it again, if you can really remember, there will be silver for you.”


    Seeing the ten taels of silver, the man racked his brain and thought hard. Taking advantage of the time while he was thinking, Bai Shiqi’s eyes swept across the crowd, and found one person among them who was trembling in fear. That person was short and thin. Everyone else was looking around out of curiosity while enduring the smell of blood, and most of them were rejoicing in the aftermath. However, this person tried his best to evade everything. From time to time, he glanced at Bai Shiqi and the people she brought, then he took a peek at the pirate. He lowered his head and pretended to be curious. He also participated in the discussion with his peers, but it was obvious that he looked uneasy.


    The other suspicious person was the old man from the kitchen. He was so eager to hide behind the crowd.


    Bai Shiqi asked Tao Dayuan to clarify the origins of these people, including those who had signed a death contract, some hired boatmen, and those who had been taken in under the Tao family’s care. An example of the latter one was Old Man Xiang, who had been taken in by Tao Shuo without a physical contract, and been given rice to eat just like that.


    She waved her hand to let the group of people go back to their cabins first, leaving only the shady thin man and Old Man Xiang, as well as the bold boatman, and the shipowner Tao Shuo.


    The boatman closed his eyes and recalled what he had heard and seen in recent days, all for the ten silver taels. He suddenly turned his head to look straight at the thin man: “That day when we were at the dock, we got on the ship, and didn’t you say that a relative had come here. Isn’t this the person?”


    The short and thin man’s complexion suddenly changed and he yelled: “Bah! Jiang Dadan, you shouldn’t slander people! Surely it is impossible for my relatives to grow this way!” 

    [His name literally meant Jiang the Bold One. Tsk, this author and their naming sense haha.]


    Jiang Dadan thought of the danger tonight. If it were not for Young Leader Bai’s group on the ship, he would have lost his life on this very ship, so his hatred multiplied : “Since you said that this person is not your relative, it’d be better to tell us who your relatives are, so when the ship returns, we can meet with them.”


    The short and thin man, named Chengsun, shouted from being questioned by Jiang Dadan: “For what reason? Can you come and slander my relatives just from your words?”


    Old Man Xiang shrank his presence silently, wishing to disappear into the shadow where no one could see.


    Bai Shiqi noticed that the tied pirate was enduring his pain while pricking his ears to listen. She had a feeling, and thus made a decision: “It doesn’t have to be so troublesome. Since we’re all idle anyway, why don’t we just investigate carefully.” She got up and drew her dagger down the pirate’s chest. Her dagger was very sharp, and the front of the pirate’s clothes was cut off wherever the dagger went. The pirate’s good and neat clothes were torn, exposing his chest in the cold winter air. Bai Shiqi worked so well that even though his clothes were cut apart, his skin was not hurt. It was rare for someone to have such good precision.


    This person was very thin. Adding years of exercise, his waist and abdomen were flat, and his ribs were clearly visible. Bai Shiqi’s dagger was positioned at where his heart was located, and as the cold dagger touched his skin, he moved involuntarily. He helplessly tried to withdraw, but his hands and feet were tied on the flagpole. Unable to retreat, he could only stare at her fiercely with a pair of bloodshot eyes.


    Bai Shiqi was a coarse person. With a ‘oh-ho’ sound she laughed out: “What? Do you want to eat me?” Then she made two strokes on the opponent’s face using her dagger, almost shaving his eyelashes: “Do you believe that I can dig your eyeballs out?!” 


    Jiang Dadan also shouted: “Dig his eyeballs out!” This gang of criminals had committed many crimes and harmed the people along the coast and those who travelled across the country. They should have been slashed by thousands of swords long ago.


    “You dare?!” Even though the situation had reached this point, the pirate was still not willing to give up, even boldly daring to threaten Bai Shiqi.


    Bai Shiqi was not afraid of being threatened. She burst into laughter upon hearing his words: “What can’t I dare?” The dagger moved twice, quickly slicing two pieces of meat from his belly. She held one of them in front of his face and said: “Tell me, why wouldn’t I dare?”


    Upon feeling continuous pain, the pirate felt annoyed and shouted loudly: “Asshole, son of a bitch, how dare you! Wait for my boss to kill you, even your chickens and dogs won’t be spared!”


    Bai Shiqi: “AAAAHH I’m so scared!” She continued to slice another piece out of his belly, raised it up and took a glance, then threw it back down in disgust: “It’s been a while since I practiced my craftsmanship, may your esteemed self bear with me ah.”


    The pirate: “… …”


    Chengsun: “… …”


    Old Man Xiang who withdrew in silence: “… …”


    Even Jiang Dadan, who had always been a self-proclaimed courageous person, could not help but quietly moved two steps back, secretly thinking about the dark side of the shipping group, that the young leader had actually been using human flesh to practice craftsmanship: “… …”


    Tao Shuo’s face turned pale, and he secretly determined not to be an enemy of the shipping group.


    Only the shipping group people lowered their heads and smirked, recalling their young leader’s craftsmanship with raw fish, which was indeed a great help for their group. The young leader had practiced it in order to please the old leader who liked to eat fish. Every year on Bai Zhenting’s birthday, there would be a big live show at the end of the banquet. The young leader had a lot of fans within the group, and having the helmsmans from various regions liking the show brought some benefits for their business.


    Bai Shiqi said slowly: “I’m someone with a bad temper. I can do anything to anyone that offended me, such as stir-fry (lamb) eyeballs, or perhaps charcoal grill (pork) meat, split (pork) ribs into five parts, or slice off meat a bit thicker than the one I did before and grill them with a little bit of oil, salt and pepper. It must be fragrant!” Then using her dagger to tap the pirate’s skull she said darkly: “Do you know what (monkey) brain tastes like?”


    Tao Shuo trembled: “Young Leader Bai…”


    Jiang Dadan: “… …” I will change my name once I return!


    Chengsun: “… …”


    Old Man Xiang’s, who had been specializing in cooking for many years, had his eyes filled with fear, and moved a little farther away from her.


    The fear in the pirate’s eyes grew deeper and deeper, but still snorted: “… Bullshit! I’ve never heard anyone eating brains before!”


    But everyone from the shipping group was looking at their young leader’s bullshit as if it was the truth.


    Bai Shiqi’s voice was filled with enthusiasm towards delicacies as she retorted: “Did you know? The previous dynasty was chaotic. An old glutton who accompanied the army once wrote a book detailing how to cook human flesh to make it delicious. It was a period of war, and almost everyone went to war, so there were not many people who stayed to do farm work. The military rations came from the common people who were held captive. Old thin men would be the cookfire, womankind were called unenviable sheeps, children cried out until their bones turned soft, while the majority were two-legged sheeps. Compared to real mutton, it was said that the taste is comparable.”

    [This is a phrase from 《鸡肋编》by Song Zhuangcuo. Two-legged sheep refers to people who are eaten as food. The translation is not accurate, but should still be okay. From this meaning, womankind is called unenviable sheeps is probably because women tend to be softer, so the demand should be high, as such nobody would want to be a woman in that period… .]


    This time, it was not only the pirate and Chengshun who felt nauseous, even the people of the shipping group, who were completely aware that she was merely talking nonsense, changed their complexion. They turned their heads towards the river, pretending not to hear a thing she said.


    Bai Shiqi’s voice was passed into the ears of everyone present: “(monkey) Brains are usually eaten raw. You bare a hole into the skull, and pour boiling oil inside, then using a silver ladle, you dig out the brain tissue and eat while it’s still hot. The person should still be alive by that time, but could only wail in anguish and look helplessly as his brains get eaten by others… .”


    The pirate bent over and vomited a little, but as he was still tied up, his waist could not be bent completely, so he vomited all over himself. The smell was unpleasant, and coupled with the smell of blood on the deck, was enough to make Tao Shuo, Chengshun, and Jiang Dadan throw up as well… .


    The shipping group’s people turned their heads indifferently under the horrible smell, breathed fresh air while facing the wind, and muttered secretly: Someone please come and take the young leader away!


    Even though she does not really eat human flesh, her nonsense skills are more unbearable than cannibalism itself!


    The pirate was stripped naked and thrown into the river. He got picked up again only after he was washed twice. Now he was covered in two pieces of worn-out clothes, and ready for another round of interrogation. However this time, he was much more well-behaved. He answered whatever he was asked. His attitude was wonderful.


    Tao Shuo listened throughout the whole process. He listened to how the pirate contacted the people of his ship to inquire about the news, spread letters along the way, conspired to murder the people to gain money… Every step was perfectly done. If not for Bai Shiqi who had set out to clean up the river earlier, specifically against the pirates, he feared that perhaps they would’ve become water ghosts in the river already.


    His feelings towards this Young Leader Bai was really complicated. On one hand, he was afraid of the young leader’s experience of cannibalism. But on the other hand, he was extremely grateful for Bai Shiqi’s life-saving grace. If he was lucky enough to meet Yu Ang, they would have the same topic to talk about, as their perception of Bai Shiqi was similar.


    Chengshun had been scared since earlier, and he did not need to be tortured by Bai Shiqi to spill out everything.


    He had been obsessed with gambling since two months ago, and had lost all his savings from many years prior. Coupled with the inducement of some people, he became the pirates’ spy.


    Bai Shiqi wrote a statement to let the two of them be detained. She ordered them to be tied and watched carefully, before turning to Old Man Xiang.


    Old Man Xiang: “… What is the young leader’s command? Do you need some midnight-snack?”


    Bai Shiqi: “If so, then I’m afraid tonight I’ll leave this ship without my life.”


    Old Man Xiang gave a gracious smile: “Why is the young leader talking like this?”


    Bai Shiqi nodded slightly and immediately called for the men who had gone to the kitchen to cook ginger soup to present a packet of medicinal powder. She opened and handed it over: “Would you like to smell what this is?”


    Old Man Xiang’s expression changed slightly, and he looked surprised: “What is this?”


    Bai Shiqi: “This was found in the kitchen. Not only that, this thing was also found in your bed. You still don’t want to admit it?”

    Old Man Xiang finally no longer looked honest and guileless, and charged straight at Bai Shiqi. Seeing that she had put on a defensive posture, he switched his destination to Tao Shuo. The moment he approached Tao Shuo’s body, he felt unexpected pain in his abdomen. He lowered his head in astonishment, and found that the dagger that Bai Shiqi had been playing with had been inserted into his abdomen. Her voice was close to his ears: “Chengshun is just a pawn to inform the news. I’m afraid you are the last pirate, right?!”


    Read only at Travis Translations


    Wook's notes:

    This is a very long chapter... I will split the chapters appropriately, so no worries... Good news is that, starting from this chapter, The Black Horse will update once in every 5 days! Before, it was once every week~~ You're welcome, you're welcome, ohohoho~~


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