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    The Black Horse

    Chapter 46.2


    Killing Two Birds with One Stone

    Translated by Wook
    Edited by sienz


     

    She drew out the dagger and kicked him away. Tao Shuo realized that he had escaped death once again, and rushed over in response, then held Bai Shiqi’s arm with trembling hands: “Y-Young… Young Leader Bai… .” He was practically crying.

     

    Bai Shiqi comforted him: “It’s over now.”

     

    Old Man Xiang sat on the ground while clutching his stomach, puzzled: “How did you know that I’m the last one?”

     

    Bai Shiqi looked down at him, changed her usual lazy attitude, and said coldly: “Years ago, five brothers from my group escorted a ship of cargo to the north, but lost their lives and the cargo was robbed. I inspected carefully at the time. There were not many traces of fighting on the ship that were involved in the incident, and my brothers’ skills were not questionable. Their bodies were sunk into the river, and the traces left were too little. At that time I stayed on the ship for three days to think things through, and came to a possibility. They must have been killed in their sleep. Those brothers were brought up by me personally and normally they would’ve been able to conduct themselves well. They never drank nor gambled, and should’ve been able to stay vigilant. So the only possibility left is that their drinking water must have been tampered with.”

     

    She took a step forward: “Xiang Ye, I’ve been looking for you for three years!”

     

    Xiang Ye lifted up his head in astonishment, never expecting that his old butt would be exposed: “… …”

     

    Bai Shiqi: “Actually, you are not very old, just around 30 years old. But your family has always had a problem with white hair. When you left your hometown and wandered to the Jiang River area, nobody knew that you had this kind of illness. The first time you commited a crime a few years ago, you were still a muscular man with black hair, but in just five or six years you’ve turned into an old man. Once you change your name, it is hard to connect that Jiang Yang the big thief is actually the same person as Xiang Ye. What a pity ah… .”

     

    Xiang Ye: “Why is it a pity?”

     

    Bai Shiqi: “It is a pity that Xiang Ye is a glutton, especially for good food. Just now when you heard me talking about various ways of eating human flesh, even though you were pretending to be afraid, in reality you really want to try it, right? I saw your eyes light up and your fingers convulsing with excitement. I was even wondering whether to hand a kitchen knife over to you or not.”

     

    Xiang Ye covered his wound and slowly stood. Without pretending to have crippled legs and no longer bending his waist, he was actually a tall and burly man. Even his voice turned deeper: “ As it turns out, your words before were to kill two birds with one stone, and to frighten those two scoundrels, luring me out at the same time?”

     

    “Mr. Xiang is smart.”

     

    “I’ve learned a new thing!”

     

    Then he slightly smiled: “But no one knows that between Young Leader and I, who is better than the other underwater? Do you dare to compete with me?”

     

    Bai Shiqi was a young hero with unlimited courage. She clapped her hands and laughed: “Why won’t I dare? Mr. Xiang may go first!”

     

    Xiang Ye took a towel to knot the area around his wound. Then he ran a few steps and jumped into the river with a splash.

     

    ***

     

    Xiang Ye was born in a fishing village on the southeast coast. According to official information, he had been a psychopath since he was a child. He stabbed his old neighbor to death at the age of twelve. The reason was only because he was trying to lecture him. When he was a bit older, he fought a lot and became an infamous bully in eight villages. As expected of him, by the time he reached adulthood, he became a pirate. He made a living by looting others. He recruited his soldiers and horses from nearby villages. He took refuge in the pirate leader Xiong Shijie, who lived on an island at the time. He became the little ringleader, and lived a happy life.

     

    It had not been long since the pirate’s glory days before troops were dispatched to clean them up. After repeated campaigns by officers and soldiers, Xiong Shijie was defeated and fled overseas. The rest of his people who were cornered sought any means to survive. Xiang Ye himself had secretly returned to his hometown. There were neighbors who tried to tell the authorities, but ended up getting massacred, even their bodies were dismembered and cooked. Investigators vomited on the spot upon seeing the crime scene, leaving with deep psychological trauma.

     

    This guy was a natural sociopath, extremely cruel without empathy, basically a cold-blooded abnormality.

     

    After Xiang Ye’s escape, the authorities issued a marine arrest document. However, several years had passed, and they still had not managed to catch the culprit of the massacre in the small fishing village. As it turns out, he had been lurking secretly in Lianghuai and had been operating on water.

     

    Ever since the death of the several brothers who had gone to escort the cargo to the north, whom she had regarded as right-hand men, as soon as Bai Shiqi was in Lianghuai and heard of the news of the pirates, she decided to personally inspect the vessel and make secret visits. She was even more serious than the local government regarding this matter.

     

    Her hard work paid off. Seeing the crime scenes taught her to look out for clues, and in the end she found Xiang Ye.

     

    She loosened her clothes and was about to go into the water, but all her subordinates desperately wanted to stop her: “Young Leader, this person is cruel and is a deep schemer. Besides, being a pirate, I fear that his skill underwater is not low.”

     

    Bai Shiqi thought of the few subordinates whose bodies couldn’t even be recovered, and felt the blood in her chest burning: “No matter how fierce he is, he’s already wounded. Knowing that he’s already dying, he wants to escape by provoking me. Just wait. I’ll jump down to lure him to appear, you guys look for a chance to kill him!”

     

    She jumped down the river with a splash. The surface of the water calmed down, even the ripples were gone. The subordinates waiting on the boat looked at the water with widened eyes. Even Tao Shuo was worried: “Surely Young Leader Bai won’t be… .” Killed by the criminal, right?

     

    “Shut up!” Someone from the shipping group shouted in rage: “Don’t talk nonsense! Our young leader will live a long life!”

     

    Bai Shiqi had spent the past three years tracking down the murderer of their brothers in the group. Nobody knew how much effort had been spent. You could see in these subordinates’ eyes. If they could help the young leader in tracking down the culprit to placate the family members left behind, even death is worth it!

     

    The people on the ship were staring at the water with their anxious hearts. Suddenly, the water surface churned. Xiang Ye emerged first from the water. The shipping group people were about to kill him, but then Bai Shiqi also appeared to the surface. Taking the advantage of the time he used to stabilize his breath, Bai Shiqi directed her dagger towards his throat. Apparently, the other party also had a dagger in his hand. He evaded backwards, then moved the dagger towards Bai Shiqi’s ribs.

     

    Tao Shuo cried out in surprised: “Young Leader Bai, be careful—​”

     

    The two people were equally matched in the water. After the fight, there were several wounds on their bodies. However, because of the water, the wounds were not too deep. However, Xiang Ye had been wounded since even before the fight, when Bai Shiqi stabbed him pretty deeply with the dagger. Xiang Ye originally thought that Bai Shiqi was young, so her ability underwater must be low. He did not expect her to be more slippery than a fish underwater. He had tried to escape several times, but stopped by Bai Shiqi every single time. The wound in his abdomen had been hurting for a long time, and he had lost a lot of blood because of the water. He gradually lost strength and started to feel dizzy.

     

    He knew that if he could not escape today and fell into Bai Shiqi’s hand, he would meet a dead end. With his exhausted body, came a new idea. His swimming and fighting speed gradually slowed down, causing Bai Shiqi to make several more wounds on his body. He expected her to gradually lower her vigilance and expose some flaws, only to receive another stab in the abdomen, and started sinking to the bottom of the river…

     

    At this moment, the east had started to brighten, and it was easier than before to see things in the water. Bai Shiqi noticed that his limbs were swaying slightly through the chaotic river, not even having the strength to move anymore. She followed him underwater and cautiously approached his body. She discovered that Xiang Ye’s powerless hand could not even hold the dagger anymore, and his body almost touched the silt at the bottom of the river. When she was still looking at him, Xiang Ye’s two eyes suddenly opened round, and used all of his might to slam his body against Bai Shiqi.

     

    The guys on the ship watched as wisps of blood appeared on the surface of the water. Someone finally could not calm down anymore: “This won’t do. I will go down and see for myself!”

     

    Someone took the lead, and three or four people jumped down to take a look.

     

    Tao Shuo closed his eyes and prayed towards the rising sun. Before he finished asking all the Gods and Buddha, he heard the sound of splashing water, and the shipping group people beside him cheered: “Young Leader is coming out…” He abruptly opened his eyes upon seeing Bai Shiqi, whose face was completely pale and still beckoned to the people on the ship to lift something from the water. When he looked closely, it turned out to be Xiang Ye’s head. He was dead, but his eyes were still wide open.

     

    Bai Shiqi half squinted her eyes and tried her best to throw the head towards the ship. She thought that she had used a lot of strength, but in reality, Xiang Ye’s head broke away from her hand and fell into the water with a splash without even crossing half a meter. 

     

    She looked up and saw the golden sunlight over the river, just like that time when her father told her to pick a few playmates to help the second-generation shipping group many years ago. She randomly picked five ignorant children to be her own soldiers. These five children accompanied her and they caused mischief, got in trouble and broke the rules together. They played and laughed with each other, accompanied her to grow up day by day, turning into steady youths.

     

    More people came out of the water surrounding her. Bai Shiqi fell backwards, and was held by someone by the waist. They cried out in surprise: “Young Leader—” Several people lifted her above the surface of the water, only to find that she had several stab wounds all over her body and abdomen. She was drenched in blood, and before she closed her eyes and passed out, she only let out a few words: “Old Man Huang in Baoying…

     

    The people of the shipping group who were still in the water kept shouting in alarm, while cooperating to get her body on the ship. Someone still remembered about Xiang Ye’s head: “This is something the young leader had risked his life for, we must bring it back.”

     

    The pirate was dead, and the corpses on the ship were still lying around. After Bai Shiqi was carried on the ship, a group of people found clean white muslins and tore it into several pieces to tighten the wound on her abdomen. Someone took the signal flare on the bow of the ship and when the green smoke calling for help was released to the bright blue sky, the little ringleader of the shipping group said farewell to Tao Shuo.

     

    “Your destination is not too far from here. My brothers and I have to leave, so we will not accompany you further. We have to take the young leader to Baoying to find a physician!”

     

    Tao Shuo turned around in anxiety, and urged everyone: “Young Leader Bai’s clothes are still wet. At least change the wet clothes before leaving. What would you do if he gets sick?”

     

    One of them looked solemn and smiled bitterly: “Shipowner doesn’t know this, but the Young Leader has a quirk and doesn’t like others to touch him. If he wakes up and knows that someone has changed his clothes, I’m afraid he will not hesitate to kill us.”

     

    Qiu Ying, the youngest of the five brothers who were already dead, once encountered a group of pirates while escorting the cargo with the young leader. Everyone on the ship died, only the two of them survived and managed to make a bloody way back. However, the young leader was seriously injured and lost consciousness. Qiu Ying changed his clothes, and when the young leader woke up, he was chased by the young leader across eighteen streets. Qiu Ying did not dare to approach within ten steps for a year since then.

     

    This matter became a joke of the brothers in the group. Everyone knew that the Young Leader liked girls, but if a stinky man approached, they’d better prepare a knife— Qiu Ying could still keep his life only because the young leader still had affection for him.

     

    Tao Shuo became anxious: “Look at the situation, why do you still care about such things?”

     

    But the shipping group’s people only found a thick quilt to cover Bai Shiqi. The rest of the people began to clean up the cargo ship, pushing the pirate carcasses into the river to feed the fish, and fetched water to clean the deck. Halfway through, a ship quickly approached, and the people on its prow shouted: “Who called for help?”

     

    ***

     

    In a house in Baoying County, Zhao Wujiu had a nightmare last night. After opening his eyes in the morning, he sat on the bedside for a long time to recall the dream. There were a few weird fragments in his mind. But when he reached out to touch it, it scattered and disappeared.

     

    He supported his body using the head of the bed, and moved slowly on the bed. He moved his stiff legs first, and sat down after about ten steps. At that moment, Shu Changfeng opened the door and came with a washcloth in his hand. He said with a smile: “Your Highness got up early to exercise, it will be a huge surprise for Bai Shiqi when she comes back.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu counted the days: “It’s almost a month since she left. Does she not know how to send letters back?”

     

    Shu Changfeng said inwardly: Bai Shiqi is a kite with a broken string. One it flies up to the blue sky, would it still remember thinking of the people so far on the ground? How pitiful for His Highness who had never thought of a woman before to meet the thoughtless Bai Shiqi, the most difficult type of person who doesn’t even think of herself as a woman.

     

    “Your Highness should only care about your health and wounds. Besides, I saw two magpies screaming outside just now. Perhaps Bai Shiqi is coming back.”

    [magpies: signifies happiness in Chinese culture.]

     

    Nobody knew when Yu Ang came, but he stood at the door of the room with a gloomy expression: “Those were two crows.”

     

    He had been in a very bad mood recently. He had recovered from his injuries, and went to the street often to get a lot of news, but none of the news were related to him. He was said to be dead, and the officials of Lianghuai were solemn on the outside. They even held a funeral for him, and set up a cenotaph— In any case, even though the person is already dead, and the bones cannot be found, putting on an appearance could never go wrong.

     

    The officials of Lianghuai did this as a show for The Holy Emperor in the capital, while the Yu family also set up another cenotaph in the capital to commemorate him.

     

    Every time Yu Ang thought about this, he felt depressed and his mood got worse. So he ran to vent at Shu Changfeng early in the morning.

     

    Zhao Wujiu did not bother to mediate them either. He was in the middle of washing for breakfast when someone rushed in to report the news: “Young Leader Bai is back!”

     

    Shiqi is back?” Zhao Wujiu was overjoyed: “Quickly, push the wheelchair over!” He wanted to meet Bai Shiqi at the entrance of the courtyard.

     

    The person who reported the news looked solemn and stopped talking: “Young Leader Bai, he… .”

     

    Zhao Wujiu smiled and said: “Is he being naughty and bringing back another little lady?”

     

    The reporter: “It’s not a little lady. He brought back some accomplices of the pirates who are all tied up…” And his unconscious self.

     


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    Wook's notes:

    The first thing he thought "another little lady" :^)

    Wook

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