Chapter 18: Disgrace (2)


After hearing that these soldiers were unrelated to her case, Shen Tang relaxed.
She raised her hand to lower her hat.
While sitting in the corner and pretending to drink tea, she tried to reduce the volume of her voice: “The Geng country’s soldiers… Why are they here?”


Qi Shan almost choked on his tea.


This young master Shen never failed to disappoint him.
His every question was outside his prediction.


“If the Geng country’s soldiers are not here, then where should they be?”


Shen Tang “…”


Her intuition told her that she apparently asked a stupid question.


Shen Tang tried to remedy herself. 


“But, is it not a Zhongtai? No, Xin country? How can Geng country’s soldiers …”


She stopped talking and covered her eyes to not look at Qi Shan’s expression that made her feel like a fool anymore.
— She remembered Qi Shan said Zhongtai's – the Xin country that was annihilated – seal of state was suspected to be hidden by the Gong clan.
— At that time, she focused on a seal of state and the Gong clan.
Basically, she didn’t ask who was the one that destroyed Xin country. 


Looking at it now, it should be the Geng Country.


This question was enough to completely expose her “naivety and ignorance”.
Fortunately, Qi Shan was already used to the “unexpectedness” of young master Shen.
He didn’t delve into it.


Shen Tang was embarrassed: “I… don’t understand these things too deeply…”


“Understanding it now is not too late”.
Qi Shan half smiled.
He taped three times on the table with his fingers, and silently recited the magic words “The law is not passed on to the six ears”.
The faintly discernible energy of wenxin surged up and disappeared without a trace, 

“One glance was enough to recognise that you’re a nobleman raised by a highly respected noble.
I can understand it.
You are still considered good, other hedonistic sons of rich parents perhaps are more ignorant and fearless.
They only know how to ride around a red-light district, kiss women, and have loose morals while unruly playing around.
How can they know of the hatred of country invasions, destruction of homelands, and the suffering of the people?”


Shen Tang: “…”


She just needed to not take this as a personal attack, Qi Shan wasn’t talking about her.


Shen Tang thickened her face: “Mister Qi, what you said is right”.


Qi Shan looked unsatisfied.
He just couldn’t control his emotions just now – 


Three-year-old children and farmers in the fields knew about Geng country killing in Xin country, but this young master Shen, who had a great connection with the Gong family, was confused about it and said he didn't know anything.


He just didn’t know if he should be angry or start laughing. 


Shen Tang guiltily lowered her head to drink tea.


“However, Xin country and Geng country are one now.
Destroyed or not, there is no difference for the common people.
It’s just the top of the mountain for them.
The incapable ruler was changed to a tyrant, that’s all…”


Shen Tang was astonished.


From the corner of her eyes, she glanced at the Geng country's soldiers.
After seeing that they didn’t pay attention to them, she relaxed: “After hearing your comments now, I think you were against the destruction of the Xin country.
But, didn’t you say before…” 


When their eyes met for the first time, Qi Shan still felt malice toward her, since he thought that she was the “child of the Gong clan”.
The rumors implied that the Gong family had something to do with Xin country’s destruction, and also that they hid the national seal.
Shen Tang still thought Qi Shan really loved this country, but now she understood it was not like that.


Qi Shan lazily opened his eyes.


“Both things are not in conflict”. 


Noticing, that he didn’t want to say more, Shen Tang had to take the initiative to change the topic.
She wanted to make some insinuations to try to understand this world better.
She pointed to the top of her head: This Geng country’s… owner.
Why do you have such a low evaluation of him?”


Xin country was extinguished.
The king should be blamed for being incompetent.
It wasn’t an exaggeration to call him an “incapable ruler”.
Moreover, the power of the Geng country was strong.
The king just expanded his territory during his reign, but the evaluation of Qi Shan was actually a “tyrant”?

Qi Shan sneered: “If this is not the action of the tyrant, which king can’t be called a “humanitarian master”? Just look, if the tyrant Zheng Qiao doesn't die within five years, the Geng country will surely be destroyed”.


Shen Tang wanted to gossip more. 


“Concretely, where is he cruel?”


Qi Shan was about to explain, when the ear-piercing scoldings sounded from the prison cart outside the tea shop.
After a while, there was only the sound of whipping and miserable screams.
Shen Tang looked through the gap in the bamboo curtain of the tea shop, and could vaguely see blood dripping from the corner of the prison cart. 


Another prisoner scolded angrily: “Even if you beat this old man to death, this old man will say, Zheng Qiao, you are a bootlicking and cheap [breed].
Kill this old man, and put on mourning clothes* to accomplish the dreams of your ancestors! I hope your family dies, scoundrel!”


The older brother had a head of white hair and was muscular.
He sounded angry, his voice was like thunder.


It was the first time Shen Tang watched someone cursing in this world.



But of course, the Geng soldiers wouldn’t allow him to curse any longer.


At that time, someone swung the whip.
A casual swing left a bloody scar on his body.
The man gritted his teeth and didn’t scream or beg for forgiveness.
The more ruthless they were, the more he cursed.


The man was dying.
The soldier panted and spat at the prisoner in the prison cart: “Old wretch!”


“Young master Shen.
You asked just now ‘Where is he cruel?’, but didn’t you see that just now?”.
Qi Shan pointed in the direction outside the tea shop.
Worried that Shen Tang would not understand, he started from the beginning, “Zheng Qiao is the owner of the Geng country now.
When he was 5 years old, he followed his mother to enter the Xin country’s harem as a hostage.
It is said that he was smart and studious since he was a child.
He was also born with natural beauty.
At the age of fifteen, he became famous as the Heartwarming King of the capital.
The king of the Xin country was overjoyed and gave him the name 'Loved by women'“.


“Did the owner of the Xin country have a serious illness?”


Qi Shan said: “Indeed he is ill – muddleheaded, incompetent, and lecherous.
Incidentally, the mother of Zheng Qiao was watching over his harem.


“This Zheng Qiao is also a bit pitiful…” 


Qi Shan jeered at her naïveté.
He asked: “Do you think that Zheng Qiao was forced by some powers and had no other choice?”


“Don’t tell me it’s not like that?”


Unconsciously, you thought that the incapable king wanted to rule by force, right?

Qi Shan shook his head with regret: “If it was like that, Zheng Qiao would also be pitiful, but it’s a pity that it’s not like that.
He is excellent at ordering others to do his dirty work.
In these years he killed many loyal officials, eradicating dissidents.
Those who offended him, calling him a sycophant or a pet, were soon imprisoned.
Regardless of whether they were wronged or not, all of them got capital punishment”. 


What is “capital punishment”? 

It’s to cruelly destroy the dantian.
After dantian, wenxin and wudan were destroyed, there is no way to restore them.
Even if later the verdict was reversed, there was no way to undo it.
Zheng Qiao bullied the weak but feared the strong.
He was only punishing people with no background or weak foundation. 


Qi Shan didn’t know how many talented people were destroyed by him.


The situation in the early years of Xin country was quite stable.
Their power wasn’t weak.
Even though their ruler didn’t appear in the court 365 days a year and spent all day in the harem, playing with women or ordering people to look for beauties everywhere, the conditions of living weren’t that bad.


But after Zheng Qiao appeared, every day was chaotic.


Afterwards, Geng’s country's royal family was in an internal disorder.
The king thought about Zheng Qiao who was staying in another country as a hostage.
Zheng Qiao was ambitious, and not resigned to the existing situation.
He used money and a promise of good future prospects to win over the courtiers of Xin country.
It went without a hitch, so the Xin country’s owner let him return to his country. 


Nearly 5 years later, the Geng country took advantage of the successive drought in the Xin country and its bad military strength.
They sneakily send troops.
The irresistible force stormed the city walls.
Every time they seized a city, Zheng Qiao would overlook the soldiers' actions of burning, killing, looting, and robbing, while he humiliated the old officials of the Xin country in every possible way.


“Speaking of which, Zheng Qiao and Gong clan also had a relationship”.


Shen Tang’s scalp turned numb. 


She really didn’t know about this.


Contrary to her expectations, Qi Shan laughed and continued speaking.


“That year, Gong clan was the main force supporting Zheng Qiao’s return to the Geng country.
Interestingly – the Gong clan was exterminated, the men were sent to the frontier to serve as coolies in the army, and the female relatives were sent to the brothel in Xiao city.
— This was the first order of Zheng Qiao, when he decided to break through to the Xin’s country capital”.


Xin country (Zhongtai) was eradicated.
It was also a country Qi Shan and sister Tang were currently staying at.


Of course, it was already annexed by the Geng country, merely the power wasn’t yet stable. 


The background of the whole world was totally chaotic, and the wars between the vassals were very fierce.


Sister Tang currently was only an 11-12 year old.
She was still in the stage of trying to understand the outside world.
She has yet to mature before she could really embark on the road of becoming a prince.
Besides, she had to get an opportunity for her to become the king.


“The law is not passed on to the six ears” was a soundproofing magic phrase.
There was also a corresponding phrase “the walls have ears” used to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. 


*Death: When the ancients surrendered, the etiquette of scholars and officials is to put on mourning clothes… they should…

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