BBW – Chapter Thirteen and Chapter Fourteen
BBW – Chapter Thirteen
On the way to the carriage, Chu Zhang Ca and Murong Yun Su exchanged wits.
‘Wife, would you marry me if I’m a beggar in my next lifetime?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked.
‘Didn’t you say you’ll still be Mo Jiao Cult’s leader in your next lifetime?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘I’ve reconsidered,’ Chu Zhang Ca said. ‘My father was the last Mo Jiao Cult’s leader. Our son will be the next leader then our grandson will be the leader. It’ll mean I’ll become our great-great-grandson.’
Murong Yu Su couldn’t hold in her laughter. ‘Isn’t it good to be your great-great-grandson?’
‘Nothing is good about being our great-great-grandson,’ Chu Zhang Ca said. ‘I don’t want to call our descendants, my elders.’
‘You won’t remember being your great-great-grandson’s ancestor so calling your descendants, your elders, won’t matter,’ Murong Yun Su consoled.
Murong Yun Su heard Chu Zhang Ca grit his teeth, and she smiled. It was adorable how his arrogance drove him crazy thinking about calling his son, great-grandfather.
Chu Zhang Ca carried Murong Yun Su to the carriage.
‘Leader Chu…’ Xie Master called.
Chu Zhang Ca was preoccupied helping Murong Yun Su into the carriage that he didn’t hear Xie Master call him.
‘Oh Master Chu, is mistress injured?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘She twisted her ankle,’ Chu Zhang Ca said.
Murong Yun Su felt invisible. Wouldn’t it be faster if Lu Ji asked her directly? Did her mouth and throat look injured?
Chu Zhang Ca read Murong Yun Su’s thoughts on her face, and he smiled. He was about to massage her ankle, but she stopped him.
‘Thank you for carrying me down the mountain,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘It’s a small injury, my ankle will heal soon.’
‘Are you sure?’ Chu Zhang Ca said, and gently touched her ankle.
Murong Yun Su held in her groan of pain even though Chu Zhang Ca’s hands didn’t apply force on her ankle.
‘Don’t you trust me?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘No,’ Chu Zhang Ca said, and began gently rubbing Murong Yun Su’s ankle.
Murong Yun Su was touched. She didn’t say anything, and held in tears of pleasure.
‘Does it still hurt?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked.
Chu Zhang Ca’s gentle voice called Murong Yun Su back from the clouds.
‘It doesn’t hurt anymore,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Good,’ Chu Zhang Ca said, letting go of Murong Yun Su’s ankle, and jumping out of the carriage.
Murong Yun Su tried not to read too much into Chu Zhang Ca’s gentleness toward her. She convinced herself that he wasn’t worried about her. Unrequited feelings were bad, and she didn’t want to fall deeply.
‘Wife, do you want to go to the capital?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked from outside the carriage.
‘Yes,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Murong Yun Su wanted to resolve Qian Sect’s mess quickly before people report to their province magistrate against Murong Sect, and the emperor would have an excuse to corner her. Also, the longer Hai Feng Qian’s credit notes couldn’t be converted to money, the longer her head stayed on the chopping block. It was up to her to prove her innocence, because a convicted criminal’s reputation would be stained forever.
‘Do you want to go to Shaolin Temple?’ Murong Yun Su asked to ease the tension.
‘I’m not in a hurry,’ Chu Zhang Ca said. ‘I can come with you to the capital.’
‘You don’t need to,’ Murong Yun Su rejected.
‘Um, I don’t need to,’ Chu Zhang Ca said.
Chu Zhang Ca wanted to go with his wife to the capital, but he knew she’d rather die than volunteer to open her mouth to invite him.
Later at a fork road, the southern path led to Shaolin temple, and the northern path led to the capital.
‘We’ll split up here,’ Chu Zhang Ca said, and passed a capsule through Murong Yun Su’s carriage window. ‘I’m returning this to you.’
Murong Yun Su accepted the capsule, and she avoided eye contact with Chu Zhang Ca. It wasn’t hard for her to guess what was inside the capsule.
Chu Zhang Ca smiled, he hadn’t forgotten what Murong Yun Su wrote on his portrait of them together on horseback, ‘Is it possible to find something thicker than the gentleman’s face in this portrait?’
‘Any regrets?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked.
‘Yes,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Knowing you’ve done something wrong is a good sign,’ Chu Zhang Ca said. ‘Remember following your husband leads to the right path.’
Murong Yun Su was clueless whether to laugh or cry at Chu Zhang Ca’s absurdity.
‘Wife, do you want to come to Shaolin Temple with your husband?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked.
‘I don’t want to be a monk,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘What am I going to do at Shaolin Temple?’
‘You can’t become a monk even if you want to,’ Chu Zhang Ca said.
‘Then I shouldn’t go,’ Murong Yun Su said evasively.
‘I’ll wait for you at Sa Bing,’ Chu Zhang Ca said.
‘I don’t want to go somewhere far like Shaolin Temple,’ Murong Yun Su said honestly. ‘It’ll be a tiring journey.’
‘Sa Bing is at the foot of Shaolin Temple,’ Chu Zhang Ca said. ‘There’s an inn reserved for people from the martial arts world, you can find me there.’
Murong Yun Su shook her head, and she acted like she couldn’t understand the human language.
Murong Yun Su’s carriage took the northern path to the capital.
‘Mistress, why did you act like you had no plans to go to Shaolin Temple?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘Change of plans,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Murong Yun Su had wanted to go to Shaolin Temple to ask Chu Zhang Ca if he wanted to marry her because she saved his life then she’d conveniently end their betrothal. She didn’t need him to repay her by marrying her. But after hearing him say he had burnt money, and him massaging her ankle, she changed her mind. If she didn’t marry him, she’d end up living the life of a nun, and anger her ancestors back to life to haunt her.
‘Huh?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘Go outside and get fresh air to understand,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Lu Ji understood Murong Yun Su didn’t want her to see the painting inside the capsule.
After Lu Ji left, Murong Yun Su opened the capsule, and unrolled the painting. On the left of tiny neat writing were words as extravagant as flying dragons and dancing phoenix, ‘What is love? It makes a person willing to have the thickest face.’
‘What a talented gentleman,’ Murong Yun Su said softly, and smiled.
Murong Yun Su didn’t know if Chu Zhang Ca had abundant patience or a hidden agenda. Whatever she said or did couldn’t anger him.
The four direction men were worried about Chu Zhang Ca. Three years ago, Chu Zhang Ca came back injured, forced Feng Cheng to stay at Hua Da Courtyard, and forbid Feng Cheng from healing another person.
‘Leader Chu, is something wrong?’ East Mo asked.
‘Nothing,’ Chu Zhang Ca said. ‘Everyone can keep moving. The slower the better.’
The four direction men were relieved Chu Zhang Ca wasn’t as pensive returning from Hua Da Courtyard like in the past.
Chu Zhang Ca didn’t know why his heart seemed at ease after visiting Hua Da Courtyard. Was it because Murong Yun Su was there with him this time?
Chu Zhang Ca closed his eyes, and his heart asked, ‘Qiji Er, do you blame me?’
End of Chapter Thirteen
BBW – Chapter Fourteen
At a busy market in the capital, Murong Yun Su was worried she’d lose her father’s Hai Feng Qian if she couldn’t persuade the court to agree to her business condition.
‘Mistress, have a look at the makeup stall over there,’ Lu Ji said.
It was the first time Lu Ji came to the capital, and she was excited to sightsee.
Murong Yun Su shook her head helplessly at Lu Ji’s tourist excitement.
Next to the makeup stall was a jewellery stall. Murong Yun Su browsed the jewellery, and she was attracted to a blue hairpin decorated with white calligraphy.
‘How much is this hairpin?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘One silver coin,’ the shopkeeper said.
‘That cheap?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
Murong Yun Su valued the hairpin to be at least twelve silver coins for its quality craftsmanship.
‘The market is down,’ the shopkeeper said. ‘If I don’t lower the price, no one can afford to buy my jewellery. Haven’t you heard what happened to Qian Sect? Hai Feng Qian credit notes are worthless. Many people lost money, and businesses went bankrupt. People spend what money they have on rations. You’re my first customer since a fortnight ago.’
Murong Yun felt guilty. She picked up several other jewellery pieces too. ‘Please wrap them up for me.’
‘Right away,’ the shopkeeper said happily.
‘Mistress, why are you buying so many hairpins?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘To give to my step-mothers,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Mistress, you’re so filial,’ Lu Ji said. ‘The madams will be overjoyed. But mistress, why are you holding a gentleman’s hairpin? Oh, are you buying it for Master Chu?’
‘For my father,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘But Master Murong passed away,’ Lu Ji said.
‘Can’t I burn it for him?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
Lu Ji didn’t want to believe Murong Yun Su would burn a beautiful hairpin.
Three days later, Murong Yun Su still had trouble entering the palace.
‘Mistress, if the emperor wants to see you,’ Lu Ji said, ‘His Majesty should have sent someone to escort you to the palace.’
‘The emperor doesn’t know I’m in the capital,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Murong Yun Su regretted not bringing along Wei Cheng to resolve her business dilemma faster.
‘Mistress, what do we do now?’ Lu Ji asked. ‘We can’t stay at this brothel all day.’
Murong Yun Su calmly drank tea at the brothel. It was better to sleep under a roof than sleep outside.
‘Mistress, if Master Chu finds out you’re staying at a brothel,’ Lu Ji said, ‘he’ll be angry to death.’
‘Why would he be angry?’ Murong Yun Su asked. ‘He’s a regular guest here.’
‘Mistress, how do you know?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘A guess,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Mistress, you sure know how to guess,’ Lu Ji said.
Lu Ji was tired of wearing extra clothes in case men groped her at the brothel.
Murong Yun Su was about to head to the magistrate court, but guards came and barricaded the brothel.
‘Captain, what’s going on?’ Madam Quan asked fearfully.
‘Madam Quan, we received news a criminal is staying at your Bai Hua Brothel,’ the captain said.
The captain ordered the guards to search everywhere at Bai Hua Brothel.
‘Captain, you must be mistaken,’ Madam Quan pleaded. ‘There are only women here.’
Madam Quan discreetly passed money notes to the captain.
‘Madam Quan, I don’t want money,’ the captain said. ‘I want you to hand over the criminal.’
‘Captain, stop jesting,’ Madam Quan said.
Murong Yun Su sighed. If only everything could be bought with money.
‘If anyone finds the criminal,’ the captain said, ‘report to the magistrate.’
The captain discreetly accepted the money, and he ordered his guards to leave.
‘Mistress, I bet there’s no criminal here,’ Lu Ji said. ‘They’re corrupt guards.’
Murong Yun Su watched Madam Quan walk quickly upstairs to a suspicious room.
‘Mistress, didn’t you want to go to the magistrate?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘Not anymore,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Why?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘Suddenly I’m hungry,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Lu Ji couldn’t believe Murong Yun Su was still hungry after eating a meal.
Murong Yun Su walked upstairs, and she noticed Madam Quan walking out of the suspicious room.
‘Mistress, there’s something strange about this brothel,’ Lu Ji whispered.
‘Um,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Murong Yun Su sensed someone was spying on them, which was why she didn’t leave the brothel yet. She needed to find a way to leave unnoticed. Out of all the brothels in the capital, why did she pick an unlucky brothel?
End of Chapter Fourteen