Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 54: How Much is Your Heart Worth
Chen Miao Ping stumbled and almost tripped over himself from being pulled by Xie Yu Zhi.
He quickly steadied himself and then ran straight towards Dian Yun Pagoda with determination.
But he was not faster than Xie Yu Zhi who forcefully pulled him back again and then covered his mouth, dragging him all the way back like this to Qian Feng Courtyard.
Servants who passed by them pitied Gu-Ye from the bottom of their hearts, feeling quite sorry for him.
When they reached Qian Feng Courtyard, the domain under the control of Xie Yu Zhi, he threw Chen Miao Ping against a chair.
He then ordered Ren Dong to close the door, and took a deep breath before laughing coldly at him,
“Go ahead, yell it out.
Why aren’t you yelling anymore?”
Ah huh, you really think I don’t dare to yell it out loud and clear?
Chen Miao Ping started to act out again,
“Father-in-Law! I know who it…..Mmmm!”
Xie Yu Zhi clamped Chen Miao Ping’s mouth shut and dropped his head down near his ear, scolding him,
“You fucking bastard, you have no conscience do you? Who did I go up on the roof for?”
Chen Miao Ping blinked his eyes innocently as he couldn’t talk with his mouth covered by Xie Yu Zhi’s hand.
He only silently laid his hand open in front of Xie Yu Zhi, rubbing his thumb against his fingers for the gesture of money.
His black eyes were quietly relaying back to him:
Give me back my banknotes.
As long as there is money, everything can be negotiated.
The only thing that can seal my mouth is money.
Xie Yu Zhi emotionlessly took out that camouflage green pouch from Chen Miao Ping’s sleeves and shoved it roughly back against him.
He spit out coldly,
“You can live the rest of your life with it.”
Chen Miao Ping opened the pouch and inside was exactly seven sheets of 1000 guan bank notes, perfectly stuffed inside.
He didn’t really think that the money would be stuffed like this.
On the inside, he was thankful for Xie Yu Zhi’s cleverness and on the outside, he was already snuggling up against Xie Yu Zhi to coax him.
“No no, that can’t happen.
The rest of my life should be spent with Second Master.”
After all, when the money’s used up, he’ll be left with nothing.
Xie Yu Zhi ignored him and went behind a partition screen to change his outer robe.
He had rushed back too quickly, dragging a certain mouthy bastard, and his clothes were all damp from the rain.
Seeing him leave, Chen Miao Ping quickly climbed up on the screen, only showing half of his face, staring intensely with his dark eyes.
He quickly passed over a clean robe.
Xie Yu Zhi kept ignoring Chen Miao Ping as even one glance from him was enough to make Xie Yu Zhi want to beat him up.
He dressed himself in a new robe that had already been brought over to him and walked straight to his desk.
There was a “sha” and the long sword hanging on the back wall was taken out and laid carefully on top of his desk.
Xie Yu Zhi sat down and used a handkerchief to polish the blade slowly, one stroke at a time.
The blade seemed to be as cold as frosted water, glimmering with a sheen.
Waves of a murderous aura seemed to be wafting from it, which could have only meant one thing – it must have seen blood.
Xie Yu Zhi was polishing it with a serious aura and his eyes took on an extremely cold look.
Chen Miao Ping thought to himself, please don’t behead me in a fit of anger.
He sat on the edge of the bed in a contemplating phase and then pulled a banknote sheet to fold into a paper airplane.
A whoosh and it flew right into Xie Yu Zhi’s embrace.
The other stopped polishing and slanted his eyes right over to him.
Xie Yu Zhi’s eyes were still icy cold and Chen Miao Ping laid back on the pillow behind him, laughing,
“We should share the joy.
Second Master should use this to buy some candy to eat.”
Xie Yu Zhi didn’t care and threw the strange looking folded paper right back at him.
He hit Chen Miao Ping right on the forehead, with carefully calculated strength, and it caused the other to go “ow”.
If one sheet was not enough, two must be right?
Chen Miao Ping discreetly took a look at Xie Yu Zhi and then folded two new paper airplanes over, but they were both swatted back at him.
He didn’t dare throw any more, fearing that the other would just throw it right back straight into his eyes.
“Second Master, you shouldn’t be this foolish.
Why wouldn’t you want money that has sent itself straight to your door?”
Chen Miao Ping rose up from the bed and courageously stepped forward to squeeze himself into the same chair as Xie Yu Zhi.
In response, Xie Yu Zhi sheathed the sword in one smooth motion and mocked him,
“Who would covet your money.”
“Ah, I’m someone who likes to keep everything to myself.
Now that my hands are a bit loose, Second Master should take the chance.”
Chen Miao Ping’s hands twitched and out came three sheets of the banknotes.
He smiled quite lasciviously,
“How about I share half with you?”
Xie Yu Zhi used two fingers to take one out of Chen Miao Ping’s hands and took a look.
He smiled fakely at him and said,
“Do you not know how to count? A half of 7000 guan is 3500.
There’s only 3000 here.”
Hmph, and you said you don’t covet any of my money.
Chen Miao Ping rested his chin on Xie Yu Zhi’s shoulder,
“Second Master, if you want it, I could give it all to you.
I was only joking with you just now.
If I really went to rat you out to my Father-in-Law, as a twenty-something year old going to play on roofs, where would the face of this estate go?”
“Are you mocking me?”
Xie Yu Zhi raised his eyebrows, as if he would unsheathe the sword again, but his hands were held down by Chen Miao Ping,
“This is our home, not the battlefield.
Are you, Second Master, perhaps still feeling unfulfilled, yearning to go back to become a hero once more, slaying all the enemies in your way?”
Xie Yu Zhi suddenly quieted down.
He unconsciously tightened his grasp on the long sword, remembering the mountain of dead bodies, and seas of blood from that year in Dong Han, of the thousands and thousand of slain soldiers lying before his eyes.
He paused before saying,
“There is no one who likes to kill.
Although it is said that the best home for a general is the battlefield, I still hope for a world of peace.
These years, from all these wars, there have been too many, too many people who have died for Da Jin.”
There are some people whose destiny was already fated the moment they were born.
Just like Xie Yu Zhi.
He was born into Chang Guo Gong estate, and all that reputation, that name, that responsibility to uphold all of their tradition and lineage rests on him.
So he must forsake the path of the literary arts and head down the road into the martial arts.
Following his father at sixteen years of age to head onto the battlefield, slaying enemies for the good of the country.
The prime of his youth was spent on those fields of blood.
It was not that he wanted to go down this path; it was that he had no choice.
The sound of the rain outside was still pitter-pattering in an irregular but familiar rhythm.
Droplets were hitting against the roof and then sliding down the floor, causing bursts of water to flow down occasionally.
In the midst of this background noise, Chen Miao Ping folded a sheet of banknote over and over, making it into a heart.
He then passed it to Xie Yu Zhi and said,
“Hoh, for you.”
“What is…… this?”
Chen Miao Ping was trying to warm up the mood and his eyes suddenly turned deep, as if love was outpouring from him.
He used the thumbs and forefingers of both of his hands to give a heart, right in front of his chest.
In a low voice, he said,
Xie Yu Zhi looked at him in confusion, asking out of suspicion from the depths of his soul.
The atmosphere suddenly turned deathly silent.
Chen Miao Ping blankly put down his hands, and fell silent.
He couldn’t muster up any emotions or mood right now.
He smiled at Xie Yu Zhi after a while,
“It is whatever you think it is.”
Xie Yu Zhi seemed to feel that he said the wrong thing, but he didn’t know where he was wrong.
He hesitated before saying,
“But it really does look a bit like……”
“Whose family has so much money, that they could make a thousand guan banknote into a butt?”
Chen Miao Ping felt like his heartfelt thoughts were being stomped on, and he stuffed the rest of the banknotes on the desk into the pouch.
He then turned to the bed, grabbed a pillow to hug and went to sleep.
Seeing his back, Xie Yu Zhi suddenly felt the urge to smile.
He limped his way over there, sat on the bed and tugged at him,
“Didn’t you say you would give half to me? Why did you take it all away?”
Chen Miao Ping brushed his hand off,
“You believed me when I said I would give you half.
If I said I wouldn’t let you get out of bed, couldn’t you still get out of bed perfectly fine?”
Xie Yu Zhi: “I knew you were tricking me again.”
He looked at the thing Chen Miao Ping folded.
He unexpectedly found it looked quite good and poked at his shoulder.
In a very good mood, he patiently asked,
“Tell me, ok? What is this?”
Chen Miao Ping said,
“It’s a butt.
You guessed it correctly.”
Xie Yu Zhi: “I don’t believe it.”
Chen Miao Ping: “What can I do if you don’t believe it?”
Chen Miao Ping couldn’t sleep now and he sighed.
He sat back up and explained very seriously,
“Don’t look at it like…… that thing, but just think about the concept.
If you unwrap it, it reveals a bank note.
To give you money is to give you flowers, understand?”
And without waiting for Xie Yu Zhi to reply, he yelled towards the outside of the room,
“Fu Lin! Has the medicine bag for Second Master been warmed up? If it is, then quickly bring it in!”
What was this, never ending troubles popping up everyday!
Five days later, the ambassadors from the Liao Empire were entering the capital on a rare bright and sunny day.
And on this day, the Emperor had specifically set the banquet at Qian Bo Palace.
According to the rank of Chen Miao Ping’s position, he wasn’t high enough to join, but that didn’t matter.
He had another position — Xie Yu Zhi’s husband.
Xie Yan Ping is a military official.
He normally doesn’t care too much about the things happening inside the estate, and so meeting this discount son-in-law, Chen Miao Ping, didn’t happen a lot.
The only impression he had was when the Emperor caught the tail of this dumbass in the cheating scandal and when he was being written up by a censorate, going into entertainment houses, making him spend all day yelling back at those grandmasters of censors in his advanced age.
Not a simple individual that could be worry-free.
Since the dawn of time, father-in-laws will always nitpick at their sons-in-laws, and there was no difference in this time period.
Since they were in the carriage travelling from the estate to the Imperial Palace, walking from the entrance to the Qian Bo Palace, Chen Miao Ping has already been given numerous eyerolls.
It was quite an experience to be honest.
Chen Miao Ping scratched his nose and whispered to Xie Yu Zhi,
“Were you found out as the culprit of the missing single? Otherwise, why is father-in-law always giving us the stink eye?”
Xie Yu Zhi calmly corrected him,
Xie Ping Zhi was following them on the side, and seeing this play out in front of him, he looked towards them but did not say anything.
From the beginning of the journey till now, he was very quiet, like an honest duckling, acting perfectly silent and timid, as the most low profile son that is not of the main lineage.
A complete opposite of that loose, arrogant and flippant attitude on that day he bumped into Chen Miao Ping.
Qian Bo Palace was built on water and was surrounded by mountains, situated in the middle of a vast and endless landscape.
This palace was a feast for your eyes and has been the main contender for the title of most beautiful scenery and atmosphere because of this.
So every year, many ceremonies and banquets were held here.
Even more special was how there seemed to be constant fog and mist rising up from the water, creating a scene out from the heavens.
It was no doubt a sight to see and was made more memorable with the musicians playing their pipas and guzhengs1, the singers and dancers in their water sleeves2 accompanying the music, the lanterns that depicted mythical creatures, and the unbelievably expensive fragrances that had been lit.
Da Jin considered the right side as the position of higher power and so the hall was separated into two.
The right side seated those officials from Da Jin and the left were the ambassadors of the Liao Empire.
The Emperor sat on his throne, and because the position of the empress was still empty, the Noble consort of Brightness sat next to him.
And the other remaining consorts sat in their order.
But this was not important.
The most important thing was that Chen Miao Ping spotted someone familiar in the hall.
A fifteen or sixteen year old chubby boy.
A chubby boy that was scammed out of 6000 guan by him.
The other was seated not far away from Chen Miao Ping but did not discover him, too busy burying into his food.
Chen Miao Ping swept a glance over and noticed that by his waist, he was wearing that rock crystal pendant.
Seeing him look left and right, Xie Yu Zhi asked,
“What are you looking at?”
Chen Miao Ping used his eyes to signal a message,
“Ah, who is that chubby boy dressed in blue over there?”
Xie Yu Zhi looked over where he was signalling and then retracted his gaze,
“Oh, that’s Zhao Si Xian.
Li Qin Wang’s3 second son.
What, you know him?”
“No, I don’t know him.
I just feel like he has this aura of fortune around him.
Looks just like the children from new year paintings4.”
Chen Miao Ping was born with a face that was too good looking for this earth.
Today he was dressed in dark black and that darkness perfectly balanced that overly attractive face, making him look more solemn and steadfast.
In this time and place, it was obviously not a good time to be smiling and so his expression was a bit frigid and cold, which only added to his seductiveness.
Many girls sitting in their seats couldn’t help but take a look, and then another, and then another.
Even the fifth prince of the Liao Empire, Ye Lu Jun Qi, kept looking over for no reason.
Chen Miao Ping was more sensitive to others’ emotions by just their look and feel, and when he discreetly looked over, he felt that Ye Lu Jun Qi’s gaze was not towards him, but towards the one beside him, Xie Yu Zhi.
Chen Miao Ping couldn’t stop his thoughts once that popped up in his mind.
Xie Yu Zhi should have battled against the Liao Empire on the battlefield before, and it was said that heroes eyed at and took a liking to other heroes.
Xie Yu Zhi was also not bad in the looks department.
It couldn’t be that these two have already met on the battlefield and then……
*1 pipas and guzhengs: instruments, pipa looks like a guitars and guzheng looks like a piano, which you can see below, but they are vastly different in the sounds they create from their look counterparts.
You can hear some of them in this quick youtube video that showcases both and other traditional chinese instruments separately (Guzheng is at 0:16 and Pipa is at 1:08).
Or you can check this video for a duo performance with these two instruments to see what kind of sound and atmosphere they can create
Pipa (left) and Guzheng (right)
*2 water sleeves: A style of clothing for a style of dance, closest video that would be like those dances and dresses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gHHg8sq4bc I could find or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v08kl_DeCG8, there’s definitely better quality but they’re not on youtube after a quick search + on youtube, it’s usually just one person vs the entire group and just to give you a feel of what the atmosphere was like that is being described.
*3 Li Qin Wang: This is one of those unchangeable + inheritable titles, with “Wang” part which is usually translated as “king”.
This is usually a title reserved for members of the Imperial Family given that there’s “wang” included, but it can be pretty distant, as those recorded to be given this specific title aren’t exactly direct lineage, such as one male from a family that’s associated with the surname but with many generationals apart.
However this specific person and his title will be explained in chp 55, so I won’t go into it here too much.
*4 children from new year paintings: like the new year traditions I explained in volume 1, new year paintings are like those, but also a bit different in that they will be painted on doorways to welcome fortune, blast away bad things, evil spirits, and so forth(depending on what is drawn of course).
In particular these (年畫娃娃) “children” are very chubby little children/babies for fortune, to be blessed with a children, etc.
There has been quite a few children that act as these new year paintings children, including a very famous one that passed away quite young.
We’re very close to the end now Which means we will welcome a new volume for the new year~! But that does mean the climax is coming so… I’ll try to warn you of a major cliffhanger the chapter before again (๑´ω`๑) Hope you all have a great weekend, and see you Monday, Galactic Judges!
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