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    The Black Horse

    Chapter 54.2


    The Penniless and In-need of Good Clothes Lord Luo

    Translated by Wook
    Edited by sienz


     

    Bai Shiqi ran back to her room out of breath, and saw Zhao Wujiu sitting at the table looking at the waterway map she had drawn. Not giving him any attention, she grabbed a cup and drank the cold tea in one gulp, then under Zhao Wujiu’s bewildered gaze, sat down while still gasping for breath: “I haven’t exercised for a long time, I can’t even breathe after running.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu pointed to the tea cup: “… …”

     

    Bai Shiqi only realized after a while: “…Yours?”

     

    Zhao Wujiu nodded.

     

    Bai Shiqi felt embarrassed: “…I’ll let someone bring you a new cup.”

     

    Zhao Wujiu picked up the teapot and poured the tea into the teacup before slowly sipping it. Bai Shiqi often played in entertainment places, nobody knew exactly how many women had fallen under her tricks, but everyone knew that she never had any serious intention when doing it. However, for some reason, she felt embarrassed upon seeing this act of Zhao Wujiu.

     

    She spread out the paper and ground the ink to ease the embarrassing atmosphere between the two.

     

    Zhao Wujiu seemed ignorant, and even reminisced about the old times: “I was in the frontier for ten years. Whenever I got thirsty on a raid to the enemy camp, the skin water pouch would be passed from mouth to mouth by more than a dozen people.”

     

    Bai Shiqi: “… …” You do the things that only lovers do with so many people?

     

    Her uneasiness was instantly relieved.

     

    Seeing her face returning to normal, Zhao Wujiu bowed his head and began to draw a picture of the water course, the corners of his mouth slightly curved where Bai Shiqi could not see.

     

    The next day, Huang Youbi took Zhu Shoumei to say their farewells. It was nearing the end of the year, he was going back to his hometown to pay homage to his ancestral grave: “I will be staying at home for a while, if there’s something, you can send someone to pass the word.”

     

    Bai Zhenting reluctantly sent his old friend away, and was about to return home with his wife and child, only to hear that Bai Shiqi had been signed to act as Zhao Wujiu’s aid, so he could only let her go to cause more trouble, and accepted the pair of Song Si and her servant, plus Qiu Yunping whom she stuffed over to him.

     

    “In any case, Qiu Yunping’s accounting skill is very neat, you can use him.”

     

    Qiu Yunping finally finished writing a storybook. He timidly gave it to Miss Song Si to read. He was eager to hear her comments, so naturally he wouldn’t follow Bai Shiqi.

     

    Bai Shiqi was only responsible for composing stories, as for the writing, she seldom read it. Even if Qiu Yunping begged her to read it, she only skimmed a few chapters before throwing it away, because she was more interested in talking about it.

     

    On the contrary, Miss Song Si was reluctant to leave Bai Shiqi’s side. She stood beside the carriage and spoke a lot: “Master must take care of your own body and avoid dangerous things, lest you make this servant unable to sleep at night.”

     

    Bai Shiqi sent her parents and concubine to the carriage and watched them leave. As if the Monkey King’s curse had been lifted, it was obvious to see that her whole body finally relaxed.

     

    On the tenth day of the twelfth lunar month, Zhao Wujiu took a group of guards along with Zhao Ziheng and Bai Shiqi to Gaoyou County.

     

    The guard commander of Gaoyou County was the 30-year-old Luo Dajue, whose half of face was covered with a thick beard. Seeing Prince Zhou, Zhao Wujiu who came out of nowhere, he repeatedly confirmed his identity, and only believed that it was truly Zhao Wujiu because he was sitting in a wheelchair.

     

    Yu Ang pretended to be an old servant, Zhao Ziheng appeared as his true self, a white silk pants young childe, and disguised as Zhao Wujiu’s young advisor Su Qi was Bai Shiqi.

     

    The barracks of Gaoyou Guard Station seemed to have not been repaired for a long time. The officers and soldiers were dressed shabbily, and even the weapons in their hands were old and blunt.

     

    Just like the news Zhao Wujiu had heard from his personal guard before, the situation of Gaoyou’s Guard Station was too strange.

     

    When it was time to eat, Zhao Wujiu finally understood something.

     

    Luo Dajue is said to have participated in the war against the Japanese at the coast. In the past few years, small groups of Japanese pirates colluded with local pirates and constantly invaded the region. He was promoted after several raids, and the moment the fight was settled, he was transferred to Gaoyou. Although he was a commander, his personality was too upright and not slick enough to be suppressed by his colleagues and superiors.

     

    Zhao Wujiu guessed that there must be an embezzlement, which caused the current poverty of Gaoyou Guard. Even the food that was brought up was very simple and crude. The old servant who delivered the food had a lame leg and apologized: “My lord hurried down to the river to catch two fishes for this banquet. I hope these nobles will not dislike it.”

     

    The dishes on the table were very simple. Except for one braised fish and one steamed fish, the rest were all vegetarian dishes. They were not as good as the food that Bai Shiqi provided onboard on the way to escort provision to Jing.

     

    Bai Shiqi took a bite of the fish with her chopsticks. Luckily, the cook of Gaoyou Guard was good at cooking, and the food was still edible. It wouldn’t bring dishonor to the dead fish.

     

    Zhao Wujiu: “Where is your Lord Luo? Why did he not come to accompany the guests?”

     

    The old servant answered with a low voice: “My lord… is outside.”

     

    Luo Dajue sent someone to send a table of simple meals to Prince Zhou. On the one hand, he was really poor. On the other hand, he was afraid of being hated by Prince Zhou.

     

    Bai Shiqi came out and exclaimed upon seeing Luo Dajue: “Lord Luo, why are you worried about this?”

     

    A penny stumped the hero. Luo Dajue was poor and as he only served as an official, he didn’t even have enough to pay for the food to entertain his superiors. This was simply an oddity among the rich and powerful officials of Lianghuai.

     

    Luo Dajue hung his eyebrows in shame and said in hesitation: “His Highness… doesn’t dislike it?”

     

    Prince Zhou was the biological son of the current emperor, very noble, the food served today must have looked like pig or dog’s food in his eyes.

     

    Bai Shiqi was sent by Prince Zhou to question him.

     

    Bai Shiqi squatted side by side with him: “His Highness is kind, how could he blame Lord Luo for poor hospitality?”However, there was something she felt very strange: “Gaoyou is a rich region and it is not far from Yancheng, it is reasonable to say that Lord Luo shouldn’t be this poor. How could you… be in such dire straits?” 

     

    She also dealt with some officials, whose brains are only filled with fat, on the canal. This was her first time meeting such a poor official, so she was very surprised.

     

    Luo Dajue said frankly: “The military funds… is not enough, and the higher-ups did not agree to increase it. The brothers in the station can’t even eat enough, let alone practice.”

     

    “Tsk, tsk. Seeing your military strength, if you come across a group of pirates, I don’t know whether it is the pirates or your brothers who will run away first.” In terms of equipment, they couldn’t even compare with the bows and arrows used by the majority of the pirate groups.

     

    Luo Dajue frowned: “I have asked the local government office to allocate more food and weapons, but my words always fell to the bottom of the sea. They’ve never returned any news.”

     

    Bai Shiqi patted him on the shoulder and whispered her idea: “Lord Luo, have you ever thought about… doing things by the side door?”

    [T/N: Doing things by the side door: Doing something dishonest.]

     

    Luo Dajue’s eyes widened: “You mean doing something illegal?” The tower-like man shivered: “I will be punished!”

     

    Bai Shiqi was amused by him: “Lord Luo is really interesting.” She spoke in a low voice and pointed out: “There are private salt dealers everywhere. If you don’t sell it, there will be others who sell it. It is not difficult for Lord Luo to send a team of trusted brothers to do it. After a few trips, you won’t have to worry about shortage of food and clothing.”

     

    Luo Dajue was shocked: “You… What are you implying? I have never done anything illegal. Selling salt privately is a felony. How can I drag my brothers into the water? Only by doing difficult and tiring things can we toughen up. Therefore, how can we think of doing things by the side door?”

     

    This person was truly inflexible. In this corrupted Lianghuai, such a person was very rare.

     

    Zhao Wujiu heard about this, and after several days of observation, he found that, as he and the old servant of the guard station said, Luo Dajue was an upright official. His daily hobby is fishing, and his daily dishes are all kinds of fresh fish. As a result, the cooking skill level of the station’s chef had risen.

     

    Upon finding someone from the same kind, Yu Ang gave birth to a sense of sympathy. He walked about Luo Dajue several times, still using the identity of an old servant. Luo Dajue guessed the old servant must be complaining about his lack of hospitality… But then he found that there were too many irregularities, and only felt overwhelmed.

     

    When the time was right, Zhao Wujiu revealed the secret decree and the tiger tally, Luo Dajue happily handed over the command of the army to Zhao Wujiu, and stood at the end of the team neatly, consciously acting as a small soldier.

     

    For a long time,the Gaoyou Guards’ entire responsibilities rested on his shoulders, forcing the bear-like man to turn into a coward. He was obviously eight feet tall, but his shoulders and waist had drooped to beyond recognition.

    [T/N: ‘forcing the bear-like man to turn into a coward’ this is actually a play on words. The word coward 狗熊 has the character of bear 熊 in it.]

     

    Luo Dajue happily ushered in a new life where he unloaded his shoulders and became a pawn, and threw the mess to Zhao Wujiu.

     

    Zhao Wujiu sent Shu Changfeng to the government office, and soon escorted several ships of military weapons and winter clothes, which were distributed according to the register.

     

    Luo Dajue asked Shu Changfeng in private: “Did the people at the office give you trouble?”

     

    “Naturally they did not.” Shu Changfeng then said in his heart, his backing is so strong, how can an ordinary official dare to offend the prince?

     

    Luo Dajue felt very uncomfortable in his heart, and could only hide to the side to digest this news.

     

    After all the weapons and winter clothes were distributed, Zhao Wujiu finally started training to improve their combat power. Zhao Ziheng, who hadn’t gotten up early for a long time, was pulled out of the bed by Bai Shiqi and was thrown into the cold outdoors. He hopped about in anger while thinking. Then he went back to the room and warmed up his body by the fire: “Shiqi, the New Year is coming soon, can’t you let me sleep late for a few more days?” He secretly added in his heart: Being this vicious and barbar, which young man will marry you?

     

    While warming up in place, Bai Shiqi urged Zhao Ziheng: “Now that you’ve gotten up, hurry up and practice. Don’t waste the good time in the mornings.” Only after escaping from the recent mortal danger did she realize that the training arranged by Leader Bai before was not sufficient. She was only aware of her limits after facing the situation of life and death.

     

    From far away, Zhao Wujiu was in a wheelchair and was being pushed by Shu Changfeng to inspect the sergeants for training. Zhao Ziheng didn’t want to exercise, so he changed the subject: “You said that Cousin Brother is already able to stand. Why is he still in a wheelchair?”

     

    “Old Man Huang once said that his legs were severely injured, so they should not be strained too much. Apart from the prescribed rehabilitation, of course, he should take good care of them”

     

    “I thought Cousin Brother was trying to trick people.”

     

    Prince Zhou, who was able to fight on horses, became disabled. If the officials of Lianghuai heard of this, would they become negligent and not have much fear?

     

    “I haven’t seen Senior Master for three days, I didn’t expect you to think about these problems with your brain.”

    [T/N: Senior Master here is Zhao Ziheng in case it is not clear enough.]

     

    “What are you talking about?” Zhao Ziheng picked up a rifle and replied: “Today this good student must ask you for some tips.”

     

    Her marksmanship was terrible. Bai Shiqi’s specialty was close fighting and diving, and she was an amateur with weaponry. Under the circumstances where the enemies use rifles, Bai Shiqi would probably escape without her life, making the brothers of the shipping group swayed with laughter.

     

    On New Year’s Eve, Bai Shiqi proposed to go to the city to celebrate the New Year, but Zhao Wujiu rejected it; she mentioned going back to Suzhou for the New Year, but Zhao Wujiu ruthlessly dismissed the idea again. She couldn’t help being frustrated: “Your Highness is going to stay here and let Lord Luo fish for our New Year’s food?”

     

    Luo Dajue felt like a hero whose abilities was recognized and enthusiastically urged her to stay: “I dare not say anything else, but fresh fish should be enough. Why don’t you stay so we can spend the New Year together?”

     

    Bai Shiqi: “… …”

     

    On the New Year’s Eve, Bai Shiqi silently dispelled the idea of ​​sending someone into the city to order a table of dishes, honestly followed Zhao Wujiu to the army, watched the year with the rough men in the army, drank two bowls of wine using a stoneware pottery bowl, and silently muttered in her my heart: From now on I can also go out and brag about being a soldier!

     

    On the first day of the New Year, a tragedy occurred in the waters five miles away from Gaoyou Guard Station. A cargo ship was robbed and no one on board survived.

     

    The news went back to the county office and exploded like fireworks. The nearby villages got the news, so the villagers spread it around in private, and soon the Gaoyou Guards heard it as well.

     

    Bai Shiqi hated those pirates who murder to rob the most, and spoke in anger: “What a psoriasis-like bunch of people. We cleaned them up again and again, but they still exist.”

    [T/N: So I had to search what psoriasis is :lmaocry: a skin disease marked by red, itchy, scaly patches.]

     

    Zhao Wujiu ordered twenty or so seemingly strong soldiers, and then took Luo Dajue and Bai Shiqi with him. Yu Ang chased after them: “This old slave has good legs and feet, and can help His Highness pour tea and water. Please take this old slave with you.” He also almost died in the hands of the pirates, and hated this kind of case even more.

     


    Read only at Travis Translations


     

    Wook

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