Bro, you’ve been wise all your life but your future wife is actually Hua Guniang! Lei Lei had an odd expression on her face but seeing that Gongzi’s eyebrows were slightly furrowed in dissatisfaction, she was about to laugh when she suddenly caught sight of Steward Zhao and the others’ sullen expressions. She didn’t feel like laughing anymore and was instead puzzled.
On the other side, the discussion was still ongoing.
Someone asked: “Ye Tan City’s Hua family is thousands of li away, how did they have any contact with Bai Sheng Manor?”
The storyteller replied: “No one knows about this but during Old Master Xiao Yuan’s youth, he once helped the Hua family with a very big favour. Hua family’s Grand Master was very grateful and betrothed his granddaughter who had just turned five, to Xiao family’s young master.”
Everyone got the picture: “So that’s how it happened.”
The storyteller continued: “Xiao family only had single male heirs and when Old Master Xiao Yuan died five years ago, his dying wish was for Xiao Gongzi to get married three years later. It’s just that Xiao Gongzi had devoted himself to practicing his sword, causing a two year delay and it wasn’t until four months ago that he married that guniang.”
Hearing that, Lei Lei lost all interest. It turns out that this good blade of grass had already been eaten by someone else.
Everyone voiced their approval: “It’s a good match.”
Unexpectedly, the storyteller heaved a sigh: “It was a good match but it turned out to be a disaster.”
Everyone was surprised: “What do you mean?”
The storyteller said: “As the wedding day drew closer, the Longevity Fruit affair came up and the three major factions fought incessantly. Needless to say, Xiao Gongzi followed Chief He around to mediate the dispute and being reasonable, Hua family saw that Xiao Gongzi was busy but didn’t want to miss the wedding day so they sent Hua family’s gongzi to escort his sister here. Who knew that on the night of the marriage, Xi Sha faction and Nan Hai faction would start fighting again. Chief He was at the wedding banquet when he heard the news and wanted to rush over immediately. Xiao Gongzi had always seen Jianghu affairs as his own responsibility and was worried that the fight between the two factions will result in the innocent getting injured so he insisted on going along. He hadn’t even seen his pretty young wife.”
Everyone commended him: “Xiao Gongzi’s decision is really admirable!”
Someone laughed: “The young husband and wife will eventually meet, there’s no need to be impatient. As the saying goes, short partings trump being newly weds, the two are newly married and it’s just a short separation. Who knows, after the issue is settled, the young couple would have even made up for it by consummating their marriage. Am I right?”
Laughter and curses could be heard from the crowd.
There were indirect implications and lewd undertones in what was said but it ignited people’s interest in the topic. Lei Lei turned to look at the gongzi. Bro, you actually left your wife in the bridal chamber on your wedding night and went to uphold justice?!
The gongzi had been motionless but with Lei Lei looking at him, that handsome face began to flush red again as he coughed softly.
Good looking, so good looking. It’s a pity he already belongs to someone else!
Just as Lei Lei was feeling sorry, she heard the storyteller clap: “There’s no afterwards, the disaster happened precisely on the wedding night. When Xiao Gongzi was absent, Bai Sheng Manor caught fire and the new house, together with Hua Guniang, all burned to coke!”
Everyone was shocked.
“Something like this actually happened?!”
“How could Bai Sheng Manor’s men have been so negligent!”
With a sigh, Lei Lei snapped out of her thoughts, finally understanding why Steward Zhao and the rest always had dark faces. She couldn’t help but to lament Hua Guniang’s bad luck. Look, she hadn’t even enjoyed such an outstanding husband once before dying in such a manner!
The storyteller gestured for everyone to stop, pretending to look mysterious: “As luck would have it, I have a distant brother whose nephew works at Bai Sheng Manor and I’ve heard that there’s something very fishy about that fire.”
Everyone pricked up their ears.
The storyteller said: “This bride had brought along a maidservant who was waiting on her in the bridal chamber on that night, but who would’ve thought that after the fire, only the bride’s body could be found, the maidservant’s was gone!”
The crowd was astonished.
Someone asked: “Since it was a fire, how did they identify the body to be the bride’s?”
The storyteller shook his head: “There’s something none of you know. Since childhood, the bride has always worn a gold long life lock. Hua family’s gongzi identified his sister’s body with that.” Lowering his voice: “I’ve heard that there was a very deep knife mark on the body. Even though she was beyond recognition, there wasn’t any soot in her mouth. The fire must’ve been set after she had been killed.”
Someone piped up immediately: “Could it have been the maidservant who harmed her master?”
The storyteller clapped his hands: “How do I know? Now that the maidservant has disappeared, no one can say for sure.”
“Why didn’t they go to her hometown to look for her?”
“Hua family’s gongzi said that the maidservant had arrived a year prior and they don’t know her background. Seeing that she was all alone, they had pitied her and taken her in. She was also usually really hardworking. Who knew that something like this would happen? Even they cannot believe it.”
Everyone sighed disappointedly.
“One can know a person and know their face but one will never know their heart!”
“It must have been the evil faction’s spy!”
Someone voiced their concern: “His daughter met with a mishap at Bai Sheng Manor, how can Old Master Hua take it lying down?”
The storyteller nodded: “Of course, Hua family was grieved but they were helpless because it was their own servant’s fault and they weren’t in any position to make a fuss. However, Xiao Gongzi felt that he was to blame and although he had never met Hua Guniang, she was his wife who had already done the ceremonial rites with him so two months ago, he set out to find the maidservant’s whereabouts.” After a deliberate pause, he continued: “Xiao Gongzi abhors evil. Weren’t a few evil faction members slaughtered at the foot of Tong Ren Mountain a few days ago? Xiao Gongzi happened to be passing by and he dealt with them.”
Everyone spoke praises of him.
Having successfully piqued everyone’s interest, the storyteller continued slowly: “The maidservant will have to be found and questioned before we can know the details of what happened. It’s better that we refrain from making wild guesses.”
One after another, everyone nodded in agreement.
Lei Lei was also surprised. Murder was no small matter and the maidservant must have had a good motive for killing her master. If it was to sow discord between the two families, she had done a bad job.
The storyteller’s gavel sounded.
With everyone’s attention back on him, the storyteller spoke: “This incident has already circulated, it’s just you all that have yet to hear about it. Next, I’ll be telling you all about another incident. Ha ha, and it’s even more bizarre than this incident!”
Everyone rushed to question him: “What is it?”
“It’s a strange incident that happened at the nearby Gu Yan Village.” the storyteller spoke mysteriously, “Past midnight last night, Scholar Lu of Gu Yan Village had been out visiting friends so he returned quite late. Unexpectedly, he was harassed by a female ghost dressed in white!”
Gu Yan Village? Female ghost in white? Lei Lei immediately hung her head. Why is this scene so familiar?
Supernatural stories have always been a topic that people took delight in discussing without ever growing tired. Everyone’s interest grew: “What did that female ghost look like?”
The storyteller replied grimly: “I heard that the female ghost was dressed in white and her tongue was no less than one foot long!”
Everyone gasped in surprise.
The storyteller suddenly lowered his voice as he laughed: “Can anyone guess what happened next? Scholar Lu woke up to find that he had fallen on the side of the road and the clothes he had been wearing were gone. He fell sick once he returned home and is still in bed right now.”
“Could he have been qingbo-ed by the female ghost and had his vital energy sucked dry?”
A female ghost that blocked the road at midnight and drew the vital energy of young men was a very exciting topic and everyone was discussing it. At this table, everyone, including the gongzi, were looking right at Lei Lei. She was wearing a men-styled blue-green gown that scholars usually wore —— Of course, they all knew that she wasn’t a ghost but whether she would qingbo a man, they couldn’t say for sure.
Lei Lei ate her rice silently.
Pluck Yang to nourish Yin? Laoniang qingbo him? I’d rather qingbo “Xiao Bai”!
Night fell and the commotion outside the window gradually faded.
After taking a bath, Lei Lei looked in the mirror for a long time before she lay on the bed in relief. Because she had already rested in the afternoon, she found it difficult to fall asleep. She hadn’t expected “Xiao Bai” to have such a special status. Running into such an important person when it was just her first time in Jianghu, a Tian Lei female lead’s luck isn’t ordinary. Who exactly was this “Chun Hua”? Her looks weren’t bad and were also pretty useful. Recalling the story she heard at the restaurant, she had a brainwave, before immediately denying it. They might be unable to recognise the bride but many people should have seen the maidservant. If she really were that maidservant, they should have recognised her. It seems like she was doomed to have unknown origins.
Just as she was thinking this, a loud noise abruptly burst out from downstairs, followed by bright flames and the neighing of horses.
“It seems to be this one!”
“Hurry, surround the inn!”
Lei Lei sat up in surprise and jumped out of bed, running to the window only to see that there were countless torches downstairs. There were many people carrying sabres and swords surrounding the inn. They wore similar clothing, black with white edges. Their expressions were either nervous or angry. Their two leaders were especially eye-catching, with one of them being a tall middle-aged man in his forties.
Who are these people? As Lei Lei wondered, the innkeeper ran out in a panic: “What business do you have here?”
The middle-aged man replied: “Someone tried to assassinate our Xi Sha faction’s Leader Wen just now and sustained a hit from Leader Wen. We saw him coming in this direction and thought that he might have hidden in the inn so we would like to search it.”
The innkeeper was ashen-faced: “Who would be so bold to dare attempt an assassination on Leader Wen?”
The man smiled bitterly: “Who else besides Nan Hai faction? We will catch him alive and kill him before thrashing it out with Chief He!”
The innkeeper hesitated.
“You don’t have to worry, we know our boundaries and will not hurt your business!” Another person beside him assured. The person’s attire was no different from the rest but had a very sweet voice, it was actually a woman! Lei Lei squinted into the distance, feeling that the person had nice features.
The innkeeper heaved a sigh of relief: “Yes, right, please come in.”
The middle-aged man tipped his head to the side as he gave his order: “Enter and search!”
It turns out that someone from Nan Hai faction had tried to assassinate Xi Sha faction’s leader. It looks like he had failed, instead getting injured by Leader Wen and now, Xi Sha faction’s men had come looking for the assassin. Lei Lei didn’t care for the grudges between these factions and after understanding the situation, she turned around to return to her bed and continue sleeping. Who would’ve thought that in such a short period of time, there would be a man collapsed at the front of her bed!
She immediately covered her mouth as she almost screamed.
How did this person come in!
A cold and handsome face, looking to be in his twenties, furrowed eyebrows, eyes tightly shut. He appears to have fainted, in his hand was a long sword. Lei Lei approached him hesitantly and noticed that there were blood stains on the side of his lips.
There’s no need for further questioning, this must be the injured assassin.
The main point is that the assassin is a very good looking man!
Without any hesitation, Lei Lei decided that the beauty will save the hero in distress. She had intended to lean over and help him onto the bed but before she could even bend over, a long sword was pointed at her neck.
“Don’t move!” His voice was cold as he stood in front of her, his eyes sharp.
So he could actually move. It seems like she won’t have the opportunity to put on a performance of rescuing the beauty. Lei Lei was very disappointed but with the additional stimulation of the sword’s coldness, she quickly raised her hands: “We can talk things out, let’s talk……I was actually going to save you. See, they’re about to start searching, we should think of a way to hide you first, how about that?”
Clearly not believing that she would be so kind, the handsome man let out a soft “hmph” before pointing the sword at her: “Get onto the bed!”
Look, the handsome man had just arrived and was already forcing her onto the bed. Lei Lei lay down silently.
The handsome man took off his shoes and followed her onto the bed before starting to undress.
He is……just as Lei Lei was tensed and letting her imagination run wild, the handsome man had already untied his upper garment, exposing the palm print below his shoulder on the front of his chest. The palm print was actually dark purple! He quickly fished out a small jade bottle from inside his garments and applied the white ointment with his fingers before keeping the bottle away.
The flurry of footsteps outside the door was getting closer. They were probably talking to Steward Zhao and the others.
After putting on his clothes and obstructing the stunning view, the handsome man leaned back with his eyes half-closed, small beads of sweat on his forehead.
Having lost the opportunity to put on a performance of rescuing the beauty, Lei Lei could only express her concern with words: “Do you want to heal your injury with internal force? Don’t worry, I won’t tell them.”
The handsome man immediately opened his eyes, resuming a cold attitude: “Stop talking nonsense!”
You don’t know what’s good for you, Laoniang was really trying to save you! Angered, Lei Lei stayed silent.
The footsteps drew closer.
“Is anyone there?” There was a sky quaking ring as the door was hit.
Looking at the handsome guy beside her, Lei Lei sat up to get out of bed but he grabbed her by the neck and put her back before pulling down the drapes around her bed.
“If you dare to speak a word, I’ll take your life.” He spoke into her ear threateningly.
Unable to move, Lei Lei could only stay silent. Saving someone of her own volition was a good deed but being forced to save someone was a totally different feeling. Her thoughts were filled with malice. Fine, stop me from opening the door? It’s best that they barge in to seize and slaughter you!
Not receiving a reply after a long time, the people outside were getting impatient.
“Go in and see.” A middle-aged man spoke.
“It’s not appropriate.” Gongzi’s voice.
“Is Xiao Gongzi perhaps protecting Nan Hai faction?” he sneered.
“Uncle Hao!” Sensing that he had made a slip of the tongue, the woman who was with him rushed to stop him. “I’m sure that Xiao Gongzi has his own reasons for doing so.”
“You’re still siding with that Leng Sheng Yin? He almost killed your father just now!”
“Uncle Hao!” came the resentful reply.
So that girl is Xi Sha faction’s Leader Wen’s daughter, then who was Leng Sheng Yin? Lei Lei glanced sideways at the handsome man who remained expressionless.
“Bai Sheng Manor has always done things honourably.” gongzi said aloofly. “Swordsman Hao has even searched my room, what else is there that cannot be revealed? It’s just that a girl is staying in this room. If you insist on barging in impetuously, I will not stop you.”
As expected, Swordsman Hao stayed silent.
Wen Guniang suddenly spoke up: “Xiao Gongzi’s worry is justified but we’ve already been calling for a long time and there’s still no movement inside. Perhaps there’s something fishy going on? If Uncle Hao is worried, I’ll go in and take a look.”
“Alright. You two, follow guniang in.”
The instant the door was flung open, the hand that was on her neck moved to her waist.
“Watch what you say.” he warned in a low voice.
Lei Lei rolled her eyes before huffing as she lifted the drapes around her bed, rubbing her eyes as she pretended to have just woken up: “Who is it!”
On closer observation, Wen Guniang was indeed beautiful. Not only did the white rimmed black clothing that she wore not make her appear haughty, it even highlighted her gentle and quiet manner: “Please don’t be afraid, we will leave after taking a look.” her voice was gentle as she approached the bed, sending Lei Lei a faint smile: “There was an assassin just now. Nothing happened here right?”
Lei Lei shook her head: “Nothing.”
The room was very simple and the two female disciples rummaged through everything, even the very tiny cabinet.
Finding nothing, Wen Guniang seemed to heave a sigh of relief as she looked at Lei Lei and was just about to speak when she inadvertently lowered her head and saw something at the foot of the bed. Her expression changed suddenly.
Oh no! Lei Lei was alarmed.
Half a boot was peeking out from the bottom of the bed and it obviously belonged to a male.
Cold sweat started to form on her hands and Lei Lei gazed at Wen Guniang with a terrified look as she groaned inwardly. I’m done for, if I’m exposed for harbouring the assassin, I’ll be the first to die, die in the hands of the handsome man!
Something unexpected happened.
Wen Guniang quickly regained her composure and glanced at the two female disciples before turning around calmly. As she did so, she casually kicked the boot below the bed: “Since nothing has happened, we will not disturb guniang’s rest. Let’s go.”
The two female disciples followed her out the door.
“He’s really not there?” Swordsman Hao asked doubtfully, clearly not believing Wen Guniang.
“No.” The two female disciples replied simultaneously.
“If that’s so, please excuse me. I’m an unrefined person. Xiao Gongzi, please do not take offence.”
“You’re too modest, please send my regards to Leader Wen.” The gongzi replied.
After a few more apologies, Swordsman Hao left with everyone.
Hey, what’s going on? Everything’s fine now? Lei Lei only snapped out of her thoughts after a long time had passed, somewhat understanding what had happened. Wen Guniang and the handsome man…had something going on between them! An affair! The handsome man had tried to assassinate Leader Wen but was saved by his foe’s daughter. It’s so ridiculous, so melodramatic!
The torches downstairs gradually faded.
Lei Lei turned her head: “You’re Leng Sheng Yin?”
The handsome man did not answer, only walking to the window before disappearing in a flash.
Lei Lei felt even more dumbfounded. In any case, Laoniang saved your life. You should at least offer a word of “No thanks can equal your great kindness”. Just because you’re handsome, you like to act cool.
1. 小别胜新婚 – It’s a saying that means if lovers part for a short period of time, when they meet again, their happiness will be even greater than when they were newly weds.↩
2. 知人知面不知心 – An idiom that means you could have known someone for a very long time but still not know their true nature.↩
3. This refers to a chinese ‘foot’. Equivalent to 0.333 metres or 1.094 feet.↩
4. 轻薄 (qīngbó) ☆ – To act frivolously / flirtatiously↩
5. 采阳补阴 (cǎi yáng bǔ yīn) means to take the Yang (male energy) to nourish the Yin (female energy). Is usually used in reverse (taking female energy to nourish the male energy), which refers to…the baby making deed. In this instance, Lei Lei is scoffing at gongzi and his entourage’s thought that she had possibly done something to Scholar Lu.↩
6. 美女救英雄 – Literal translation: Beauty saves the hero. It’s a flipped version of the usual saying which has an english equivalent of ‘saving a damsel in distress’. Deciding that the author meant for this to be slightly humorous, I’ve tried to keep it humorous.↩
7. 大恩不言谢 – Said to express your gratitude when someone does you a favour so great that you cannot repay and can only keep it in mind. In addition, a simple ‘thank you’ seems frivolous in comparison to the favour received so one doesn’t speak any word of thanks.↩