Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 56: A Storm is Coming
As if there was something terrifying behind him, his adrenaline was bursting to the max.
Chen Miao Ping had never run so fast before, so fast that his shadow never touched the ground.
His heart never stopped pumping in fear, up until he ran straight to the entrance of Chang Guo Gong’s estate and saw the two guards in front.
Chen Miao Ping leaned against the lion statue in front of the door, chest heaving and out of breath.
Seeing him like this, the two guards asked,
“Gu-Ye, are you okay?”
Chen Miao Ping waved his hand in the air and was about to say something when his eyes caught something in his peripheral vision.
It was that “ghost” coming up from right behind him.
But this time, there were actual human beings beside him, so he wasn’t as afraid anymore.
When that thing was closer, Chen Miao Ping realized that it was actually a man with a proper human face and that their hair was just in disarray.
He was limping as well, which could only contribute to the frightening picture he created in the dark of the night.
Wang Yu had not recognized Chen Miao Ping.
As he headed towards the Chief Surveillance Bureau, he had asked around and learned that Chen Miao Ping would usually walk down this road when he got off work.
When he saw Chen Miao Ping in his official’s outfit, his heart hadn’t been too sure, and he was just going up to ask.
But who could expect that the other man would start running out of his sight and wouldn’t even stop even after he yelled after him.
And to finally see him now, standing there in front of his eyes, Wang Yu started to tear up and knelt on the ground with a clear and audible “bam”,
“Are you City Warden Inspector Chen Da-Ren?!”
Chen Miao Ping grabbed onto the feet of the lion statue, hiding the majority of his body behind it.
He popped his head out of the lion’s ass when he heard that and asked,
“This official is the City Warden Inspector.
What business do you have with me?”
“I beg for Da-Ren to save our lives!”
Wang Yu was moving frantically in a strange way but he bowed his head hard against the ground a few times, telling Chen Miao Ping everything that just happened at Chun Xiao House,
“Xue Yi’s personality is unyielding, and she will not succumb to the requests of that prince.
Before she left her room, she had this insignificant citizen go find Da-ren for help.
Please, I beg for Da-Ren with his generosity and graciousness to lend a hand!”
Ye Lu Jin Qi was someone who surrounded himself with servants and guards in the front and the back before going anywhere.
Add on that Li Qin Wang and it was very evident that pitting Chen Miao Ping against this type of opponent, with his position as a tiny, tiny warden inspector, might just be a one-sided difficulty.
Beyond that, one must consider that he could be breaking the non-aggression pact between the two countries, and to speak of the most unfortunate fate, he may receive punishment from the Emperor from this rising issue.
Chen Miao Ping, as a City Warden Inspector, was the overseer of everything related to the citizens’ affairs within this city.
So there was nothing wrong with Wang Yu coming to find him, but that wasn’t the problem.
The problem was that there seemed to be no law which stated that forcing an entertainment lady to accompany her guests was wrong.
There was no possible nor logical reason to use to stop that from happening.
This Wang Yu knew as well, and seeing Chen Miao Ping not speak, his face turned ashen and his body slumped in defeat.
He hugged the stone stairs in front of the Chang Guo Gong estate as he said quietly,
“……Apologies for causing trouble for Da-Ren.”
The moment he said that, he suddenly slapped himself hard.
He stood up and then ran off, stumbling back the way he came.
This ranked position was really not that easy of a position to be in.
Not a lot of money and not any less work.
Chen Miao Ping could only feel his neck getting heavier and heavier, aching in pain.
He took off the official hat on his head and patted it lightly twice.
He sighed and then went to find Xie Yu Zhi in Qu Feng Courtyard.
The imperial guards were only looking after the security of the capital, and the most that they would do is catch those who wander in the middle of the night after the curfew chime has been rung.
Today, however, they seemed to be riding out on their horses, rumbling the ground with their numbers and speed, causing many to be alarmed by the vibrations.
Some of the commoners who had not gone to sleep yet opened their windows to see and they could see many, many guards holding torches lit with fire heading straight to Ping Kang Road.
Every one of them was running, clanging in their armor, and the sight was thunderous and terrifying enough that they all immediately closed the window and hid in a corner.
Xue Yi’s hairpins and jewelry were all scattered onto the floor.
Her face was freshly imprinted with a handprint and the corners of her mouth had already seen blood.
She held the part of her face that was hit and laughed out loud at Ye Lu Jin Qi,
“Dogs of Liao! Those years you came to invade Da Jin, slaughtering millions of Da Jin’s citizens.
So what if you decided to settle a peace pact here? What does it even matter? Even if I die, I will not serve any of you! If you dare, then kill me with your blade now!”
Xue Yi’s family could be considered as having a bit of wealth.
She had in her youth experienced the instability of war, and her family had tried to escape from the lawlessness and lack of order back to their hometown in the countryside.
On their way there however, they met a group of Liao Empire soldiers, and both of her parents died under their blades.
She had luckily survived, but because she was alone and became lost, she was sold off by a trader to an entertainment house.
Since then, she has hated the people of Liao from the depths of her core.
Ye Lu Qin Ji laughed coldly in response.
A soldier came forward, dragging with him a man who looked very beaten up and had fainted from the beating.
This was, with one glance, no doubt Wang Yu who had returned.
Ye Lu Qin Ji slowly unsheathed the scimitar by his waist, and its sharpness could blind someone’s eyes,
“Good, very good.
I had never thought that Lady Xue Yi could not only be a beauty that’s out of this world, but that mouth of yours is something else too.
Well, since you so wish, I will then grant your wish, letting you and this fucking piece of shit die with you, to become a pair of freshly dead doves!”
The old madam who was close by gasped in shock, and her face had already turned away, unable to keep watching.
Li Qin Wang furrowed his eyebrows and was just about to say something when “bam”.
The tightly locked doors of Chun Xiao House had suddenly been kicked open, and in rushed a group of imperial guards dressed in their full armour.
With this sudden event, everyone was shocked dumb.
The leader of the guards looked all around, but when he found only this group of men as the only guests, he coldly said,
“There was a leak in our defense, and our defense map has been stolen.
We have especially come to catch those thieves.
Those who are not a part of this cannot leave without permission!”
And then immediately signalled for the rest of the soldiers to surround the place, as if ready to search all of them.
Li Qin Wang naturally could not just sit and do nothing, and seeing them like this, immediately slammed on the table and stood up,
“How presumptuous of you! Do you know……”
“The prince of the Liao Empire has come as a guest into our country, and we must not neglect our courtesies.
But such an important thing has been lost, and so I ask everyone here to cooperate with us.
It may not be good to be said otherwise, in the ears of others.”
A cold collected voice suddenly reached their ears, and the group turned to see who it was.
They were greeted with a long shadow, with a voice as cold as the top of the mountains, and a man walked in from the doorway, evidently Xie Yu Zhi.
Li Qin Wang’s face slightly changed in expression, but he plastered on a smile very quickly,
“So it was General Xie.”
“This younger junior does not dare to take your address of title.”
Xie Yu Zhi took over as the leader and explained,
“Today there was an assassin that suddenly appeared in Guo Gong estate who came and stole my defense preparations plans.
I led the soldiers to chase him, and he disappeared once he went in here.
Most likely that thief wanted to use the distraction of entertainment houses to escape, and never expected Wang-Ye would be here as well.”
The military might of Da Jin was split in two.
One half was in the hands of Grand Military Commissioner Sun Tong which had not been taken back after he came back from defending the border against the Liao Empire.
The other half was in Xie Yu Zhi’s hands.
Although he was only appointed as a general for casual duties, the Emperor still loved him enough to let him keep it.
On top of this, many soldiers were still the old subordinates of the Xie family and received their training, so they would not be able to get by with just a conversation today.
In a split moment, Li Qin Wang parsed through all the possible routes and ways he could get out of this situation with the smallest amount of negative impacts.
He held back the aggressive Ye Lu Qin Ji and smiled as he said,
“The defense preparation plans were lost? Then you should really take care to investigate very carefully.
General Xie is indeed the model soldier, for you to personally take charge in such a thing.”
Every half a year, the defense preparations plans would be changed.
The situation wasn’t that dire whether it was stolen or not.
Besides, even if it was stolen, just change the plans.
Why would it need Xie Yu Zhi to personally come out and deal with this issue?
Li Qin Wang thought to himself, Xie Yu Zhi was most definitely purposefully trying to stir up trouble for him, and he couldn’t believe that Xie Yu Zhi wouldn’t even find a good reason to offer them.
Xie Yu Zhi’s eyes scanned over the bodies of Xue Yi and Wang Yu.
His hand rested on the sword by his waist and he said with a very meaningful tone,
“The Xie family is full of loyalty to our country, and the importance of protecting our country rests on our shoulders.
Whether it is big or small, whether they are poor or rich, as long as they are on the soil of Da Jin, no one can cause trouble.”
Ye Lu Jin Qi wanted nothing more than to skin his enemy alive, but he was held back by Li Qin Wang.
At this moment, to see Xie Yu Zhi here, his lungs could explode from the burning rage inside them.
“Don’t act out rashly.
Be careful of ruining the plan……”
Li Qin Wang whispered that to him and then pitched his voice up as he said,
“Then as General Xie has come to catch a thief, we will come another day.
There are many entertainment places in Da Jin; it’s not only at Chun Xiao House that we can have fun.”
Xie Yu Zhi smiled and then lifted his hands to signal to let them go.
But just as the group crossed over the entrance, he suddenly said,
“Foreign emissaries should not stay that long in a foreign place.
Since the fifth prince has orders on his shoulders, he should go back after signing the peace pact, to keep his king from worrying.”
Ye Lu Jin Qi paused upon hearing that, and his face turned vicious.
Without even turning back his head, he said,
“No need for General Xie to worry about me.”
Xie Yu Zhi didn’t reply and seeing them leave, let the imperial guards search Chun Xiao House halfheartedly before leaving himself.
Xue Yi was speechless, choked up in her own tears.
She knelt on the ground, watching his shadow grow smaller as she banged her head on the floor in respect and gratitude.
Blood and tears mixed together on the ground; a sharp and piercing contrast to the eyes.
Chen Miao Ping did not show his face, as there was no place to do so.
He had hidden away in a corner for the entire situation and only appeared once Xie Yu Zhi left Chun Xiao House and had signalled for the imperial guards to head back to the estate.
Xie Yu Zhi said,
“It has been dealt with.
Tomorrow I will officially request to ask the Emperor, to see if His Majesty has a plan to make them all leave the city as soon as possible.
Their armies are camped out not far away from the city doors, so they are a hidden danger after all.”
Chen Miao Ping crossed his arms and leaned against the pillar,
“And I thought you didn’t care about such things.”
Xie Yu Zhi smiled and looked at him, thinking about something.
He started to slowly walk back home and said quietly,
“Father has said, to be an official, it is not only to protect the Emperor, but also to protect the citizens.
Although I have not asked about the country’s affairs for a long time, I still hold that in my heart.”
“Whether they are high status or not, they are still people of Da Jin.”
Chen Miao Ping may not have the heart or the ability to become a hero himself, but that does not hinder him from worshipping heroes.
He followed the person in front of him quietly and playfully stepped on Xie Yu Zhi’s shadow.
He calmly stated after a while,
Xie Yu Zhi paused his footsteps and turned back to look at him curiously,
“Cool…… what does that mean?”
Chen Miao Ping came closer to Xie Yu Zhi and then pecked him on his slightly cold lips.
Hee slowly pulled back and smiled with his eyes, looking at him gently,
“Cool means to compliment that you are a handsome man with standards.”
Xie Yu Zhi was surprised and then he followed along with a smile,
“I don’t believe it.
Why would you suddenly compliment me? You must be going around the bends to curse at me.”
There had been too many previous cases for him to believe Chen Miao Ping, and Chen Miao Ping himself didn’t really have a way to change his mind otherwise.
The night was at its prime, and the moon was shining brightly on the cobblestone floor.
The reflection of the moonlight was creating shimmers, and it was the only source of light as many lanterns in the houses along the streets had already been extinguished.
There was only silence around them and Chen Miao Ping was walking perfectly fine.
But then he suddenly rushed over to get in front of Xie Yu Zhi and lowered his body and said,
“Come, I’ll piggyback you.”
Xie Yu Zhi stared at that not really strong and comforting shadow and paused.
He looked left and right and found that there was no one really walking around on the streets.
He hesitated before slowly crouching and leaning forward to wrap his arms around Chen Miao Ping’s neck.
Chen Miao Ping hooked his arms around Xie Yu Zhi’s legs and stood up, slowly walking one step at a time and asked Xie Yu Zhi,
“You know why I don’t princess hold you?”
Xie Yu Zhi ignored him, feeling that whatever answer he gave, he would be falling into a trap.
Seeing that he wasn’t responding, Chen Miao Ping continued by himself,
“You’re too heavy.
If I hold you up, I won’t even be able to walk ten steps.
We’ll both be tripping and smashing our faces onto the ground.”
Xie Yu Zhi reached out to twist his ears, but he was stopped by the cold temperature of Chen Miao Ping’s skin.
Chen Miao Ping had thought he was going to pinch him again and he shrunk down his head in fear.
It made the person on his back chuckle out loud,
“You know what you look like?”
Chen Miao Ping was good at poking fun at himself,
“Like a cowardly turtle.”
Xie Yu Zhi didn’t continue that analogy, and instead went to pinch his nose, saying,
“You are Zhu Bajie.”
Chen Miao Ping perked up in joy,
“Zhu Bajie piggybacking his wife?”1
This time Xie Yu Zhi twisted Chen Miao Ping’s ear for real and even twisted it in circles.
Chen Miao Ping however was not scared of the pain and continued to bear him on his back, but his mouth could not forget to poke fun at Xie Yu Zhi,
Carrying my wife to complete the wedding rituals.”
Xie Yu Zhi raised his eyebrows,
You are the husband I picked, so according to the rules you married into my family!”
“Then Second Master, you come down and piggyback me.”
This year was destined to not be peaceful for Da Jin, as if a storm was coming, brewing underneath the seemingly calm surface.
According to some spies, those who protected the emissaries of the Liao Empire had originally set up camp at least thirty yards away.
But as the days passed, they were moving closer and closer.
They most likely had come without a peaceful pact in mind.
Li Qin Wang had also changed his low profile attitude recently as well, as he had started to invite many officials and ministers, especially towards Grand Military Commissioner Sun Tong.
Not only sending gold and silver, he apparently also wed his only daughter, the Princess of Gentleness and Auspiciousness to him.
The Emperor took in everything under his eyes and immediately passed decrees in response.
First he sent a letter to the king of the Liao Empire, to let him call back the fifth prince and the rest immediately, and then he ordered for the Grand Military Commissioner Sun Tong to hand over his military tally2.
After that was passed down, he gathered up sixteen armies to guard the Imperial City, which made everyone start fearing in their hearts that something ominous was coming.
But this did not affect Chen Miao Ping much in his daily activities.
After all, he was not a centerpiece on the chessboard, and perhaps he had been overworking too much as after that night, he had come back home sick.
A weak chick has now become a sickly weak chick.
He was burning up with a fever, unable to move out of bed, and even had to request for a leave from the Chief Surveillance Bureau.
*1 Zhu Bajie piggybacking his wife: Zhu Bajie, some of you may already know who he is (or perhaps by the name Pigsy) but he is the pig monster from a very famous story you may also have heard of “Monkey King: Journey to the West”.
He’s a lazy character, who likes to eat and also is a pervert.
But in this case, this specific phrase is a reference to the story (although apparently it was from the television series rather than the novel itself) and it speaks of him being very happy when he gets a wife and he is piggybacking his “wife” (which piggybacking to cross over the door is also a custom of the wedding night) and he’s so happy that he can have a wife despite all his terrible habits and ugly appearance, but then it turns out that his wife was a fake and was a mushroom in disguise.
the monkey mushroom or 猴头 (left) and Pigsy, Zhu Bajie or 豬八戒 (right, which should be from the 1986 television series)
This specific phrase is used very commonly to say that it has been useless despite all the efforts you put in (all the hard work you did was all for naught) (which of course, not exactly what Chen Miao Ping is implicating, but of the above mentioned part).
*2 military tally: a specific small statue that is either made of copper, jade, wood or stone and is in the shape of a tiger.
It’s made up of 2 parts where usually the right side is held by the emperor, and the left side is held by an appointed military commander.
Only when both pieces are together can the commander be able to utilize the military/armies.
Another quick note about the lion statues, there are usually two in front of the main entrance of an estate and they protect the estate from bad spirits and other things (kind of like those new year paintings on the doors)
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