BBW – Chapter Three and Chapter Four
BBW – Chapter Three
‘Mistress, are you forced to marry Mo Jiao Cult’s leader?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘As if,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘But Mo Jiao Cult’s leader… has a bad reputation,’ Lu Ji said.
‘Um,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘I should hurry up and get married.’
‘Mistress, your betrothed is Mo Jiao Cult’s leader,’ Lu Ji emphasized.
‘So what?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘Mo Jiao Cult is the biggest opposition against the kingdom and the martial arts world,’ Lu Ji said.
‘Fang Hong Fei is Ming Jian Sect’s leader,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Mistress, do you mean that not everyone from Ming Jian Sect is good and not everyone from Mo Jiao Cult is bad?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘Um,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Murong Yun Su wasn’t involved in the martial arts world politics. As an outsider she heard Mo Jiao Cult’s leader, Chu Zhang Ca, was ruthless and powerful. Even the martial arts leaders, including the Taoist leader, didn’t dare fight against Chu Zhang Ca. Why would such a powerful man like Chu Zhang Ca want to marry her? For power? No, there was no enemy he feared. For status? No, he was someone who could marry any maiden from any honorable and rich household. For her beauty? She checked that her silk handkerchief still covered her face. There was no way he could have seen her face, unless…
‘Mistress, did you lose something?’ Lu Ji asked. ‘I’ll help you find it.’
‘I lost a bracelet,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘If you find it, it’s yours.’
‘Where can it be?’ Lu Ji mumbled around Murong Yun Su’s bedchamber.
Murong Yun Su smiled, and felt blessed to have a dummy maid.
At Hao Feng Courtyard House, the four direction men reported to their leader.
‘Marry into Murong Sect?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked and broke into laughter. ‘The world is laughing at my expense.’
‘Madam Chu said Murong Sect’s maidens don’t marry into any households,’ North Mo said. ‘Looks like our leader has to marry into Murong Sect.’
‘Why doesn’t she want to marry into Mo Jiao Cult?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked.
North Mo took two steps from his moody leader. ‘Madam Chu didn’t say she didn’t want to marry you or say she wouldn’t let you sleep in her bed.’
‘It’s a good thing,’ South Mo said. ‘You don’t have to pay for betrothal gifts-’
‘She returned the betrothal gifts?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked. ‘What was my instruction before everyone departed?’
‘Make Madam Chu accept the betrothal gifts,’ the four direction man said.
‘What happened?’ Chu Zhang Ca sked.
‘Madam Chu agreed to accept… I’ll go back and-’ East Mo said.
‘Don’t need to,’ Chu Zhang Ca said.
Chu Zhang Ca knocked on the sharp sword lying on the table for half a day, and he smiled. ‘Go prepare betrothal gifts.’
The four direction men recognized their leader’s deadly smile, and they stepped back in sync.
‘Leader Chu, what sort of betrothal gifts do you want us to prepare?’ East Mo asked.
‘Ever heard of ten red betrothal gifts?’ Chu Zhang Ca asked.
‘Yes Leader Chu,’ the four direction men said.
Out of Chu Zhang Ca’s sight, North Mo dared to ask, ‘Do you think our leader is acting strange today?’
‘Yes,’ South Mo said. ‘We turned him into a groom marrying into Murong Sect, but he didn’t lose his temper. He was angry when he heard we took back the betrothal gifts, but his anger turned into amusement, and he didn’t punish us.’
‘Isn’t it normal for him to act abnormal?’ West Mo asked.
‘Do you think he was born abnormal?’ North Mo asked.
‘Yes,’ West Mo said. ‘His whole family is abnormal.’
‘We should worry about preparing the betrothal gifts,’ East Mo said.
‘Ten red betrothal gifts are easy to prepare,’ South Mo said.
‘He’s so rich that one hundred red betrothal gifts are nothing,’ West Mo said.
‘But wouldn’t Madam Chu prefer ten white betrothal gifts?’ North Mo asked.
‘Do you think we’re preparing funeral gifts?’ East Mo asked. ‘He’s getting married. Of course we have to prepare ten red betrothal gifts. He’s not here so who are you acting dumb for?’
The other three direction men laughed. ‘Let’s go prepare ten red betrothal gifts.’
East Mo sighed. He was surrounded by dummies at Mo Jiao Sect.
While the four direction men bickered, Chu Zhang Ca discussed the upcoming martial arts world tournament held on the fifteenth of August with his reliable allies.
‘Leader Chu, aren’t you worried about letting them prepare the betrothal gifts?’ Xiang Master asked.
‘They’re powerful men,’ Yang Master said, ‘but they lack intelligence.’
‘Which is why I let them prepare the betrothal gifts,’ Chu Zhang Ca said.
‘Can you predict what betrothal gifts they’ll prepare?’ Xiang Master asked.
‘I’m anticipating what a mess they’ll make,’ Chu Zhang Ca said.
Ta Master didn’t understand why Chu Zhang Ca wanted them to ruin the betrothal gifts. Indeed Chu Zhang Ca behaved like an abnormal leader.
Chu Zhang Ca looked at the mountain view, and his long hair flowed with the wind. If the Mo Jiao Cult’s disciples didn’t know he was mortal, they would have mistaken him as immortal.
End of Chapter Three
BBW – Chapter Four
Murong Yun Su and Lu Ji were playing chess.
‘Mistress, you’re winning,’ Lu Ji said. ‘You should be the empress, and I’ll be your eunuch.’
‘Even if I become the empress,’ Murong Yun Su said, ‘you can’t become my eunuch.’
‘…’ Lu Ji was speechless.
‘I’ve never imagined one day Yun Su would wish to become empress,’ Hua Liang Tian said.
‘Gege,’ Murong Yun Su called, abandoning the chess board, and running toward Hua Liang Tian. ‘What are you doing here?’
Hua Liang Tian rubbed Murong Yun Su’s head, and held her hand. ‘Little dummy, a big event happened. Why wouldn’t I be here?’
‘But the empress dowager said…’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘She had no say in this matter!’ Hua Liang Tian said coldly.
Murong Yun Su knew the empress dowager was a touchy subject for Hua Liang Tian so she changed the subject. ‘Is there anything new in the capital? It must have changed a lot since four years ago.’
‘Not much has changed,’ Hua Liang Tian said. ‘Xiao mei, why don’t you come to the capital, and see for yourself? I came here to take you to the palace.’
The palace was a touchy subject for Murong Yun Su. She pulled her hand from Hua Liang Tian’s hand, and stepped away from him. ‘Gege, why do you want to take me to the palace?’
‘Uncle has died,’ Hua Liang Tian said. ‘Fang Hong Fei broke off the betrothal. Of course I want to take care of xiao mei.’
‘Gege, you want to take care of me?’ Murong Yun Su asked and her head spun.
‘Um,’ Hua Liang Tian said and held her hand again. ‘Xiao mei, right now I can’t give you the position of my consort. But trust me, when I become emperor, I’ll make you my empress.’
Murong Yun Su didn’t know if she felt touched or frightened hearing empress from Hua Liang Tian’s lips. She liked being taken care by him, but it wasn’t enough for her to want to marry him. When she was betrothed to Fang Hong Fei, she’d always considered Hua Liang Tian as her big brother.
‘Gege, I’m sorry,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘I can’t follow you to the palace.’
Hua Liang Tian had expected Murong Yun Su to reject him. ‘Xiao mei, take your time to consider my offer.’
‘I can’t follow you to the palace because… I have a betrothal,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Isn’t it broken?’ Hua Liang Tian asked.
‘Yes,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘But I have a new betrothal.’
‘Xiao mei, is the rumor true?’ Hua Liang Tian asked coldly. ‘Did you accept Mo Jiao Cult’s leader’s marriage offer?’
Murong Yun Su didn’t think much about her recent bouts of sneezing until Hua Liang Tian’s sudden return to Jin Liang Province. He must have heard the rumor, and returned to see if it was true.
‘I declined his marriage offer,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘But I sent people to offer him marriage.’
‘What?’ Hua Liang Tian asked.
Hua Liang Tian could have fainted from shock. He knew Murong Yun Du valued independence, but he didn’t think she’d offer another man marriage.
‘Fang Hong Fei agreed to marry into Murong Sect in the past,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Do you mean if someone wants to marry you then he has to marry into Murong Sect?’ Hua Liang Tian asked.
‘Yes,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘It’s tradition.’
‘Xiao mei, you’re not someone who follows tradition,’ Hua Liang Tian said.
‘Which is why I can’t follow gege to the palace,’ Murong Yun Su said.
After a full circle of speaking chicken with someone speaking duck, Hua Liang Tian understood why Murong Yun Su rejected him.
‘What if I don’t want to be a prince anymore?’ Hua Liang Tian asked.
‘If gege doesn’t want to be a prince anymore is good news,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘But don’t do it because of me. It’s a heavy crime I don’t want to carry on my shoulders.’
Hua Liang Tian smiled at their situation. Murong Yun Su couldn’t give up her freedom to be with him, and he couldn’t give up the kingdom to be with her. They could only be big brother and little sister.
‘One day if you change your mind,’ Hua Liang Tian said, ‘the big eastern palace door will always open to welcome you.’
‘What about the back door?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘No back door,’ Hua Liang Tian said.
‘I’ll never enter the eastern palace again,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Hua Liang Tian felt like his head rolled onto the ground.
Murong Yun Su didn’t know why Hua Liang Tian looked devastated. ‘Gege, do you want to play chess?’
Hua Liang Tian knocked Murong Yun Su’s forehead. ‘Xiao mei, don’t say I didn’t remind you that people want to raid Murong Courtyard House.’
Murong Yun Su felt the martial arts world was troublesome.
‘Gege, don’t worry,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘These walls are strong, and don’t easily fall.’
‘I heard they’re coming to get money owed to them,’ Hua Liang Tian said.
‘Yes,’ Murong Yun Su said and reset the chess board.
‘Uncle died last month,’ Hua Liang Tian said. ‘How can they come for money during this mourning period?’
Murong Yun Su focused on the general pieces, and she glanced at the sky. ‘My father must have predicted his departure so he exchanged his silver taels for paper money to be a rich dead man in the underworld.’
‘What is there to spend on in the underworld?’ Hua Liang Tian asked.
‘To bribe Dizang,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Oh?’ Hua Liang Tian asked. ‘Xiao mei, do you need my help?’
‘No,’ Murong Yun Su said.
Murong Yun Su saw a spark of light, and someone rushing into the study like a dazed zombie.
‘Mistress, bad news,’ the groundskeeper said.
‘Thieves?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘No,’ the groundskeeper said.
‘They why rush?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘Outside… there are strange people on their way here,’ the groundskeeper said.
‘Stranger than you?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘Mistress… I’m not strange,’ the groundskeeper said.
‘How can you say you’re not strange?’ Murong Yun Su asked and followed the groundskeeper to greet the guests.
‘Mistress, do you have a plan?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘Perhaps,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘What is it?’ Lu Ji asked.
‘Go with the flow,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘…’ Lu Ji was speechless.
Murong Yun Su was surprised by the long line of armed men wearing red clothes behind the crowd of bandits.
‘Murong Sect are bandits,’ the bandits chanted. ‘Pay the money you owe us for our labor.’
‘Wrong secret code,’ Murong Yun Su said. ‘Go home, figure out the right secret code then come back.’
A figure appeared out of the shadow, and everyone’s mouths gaped round like egg shells.
‘Everyone go home,’ Hua Liang Tian said. ‘Come back in three days to receive your money.’
‘Do we look dumb?’ the bandits asked. ‘How do we know we’ll get our money in three days?’
‘I guarantee-’ Hua Liang Tian said.
‘Mo Jiao Cult guarantee,’ the four direction men said.
The bandits ran away into thin air.
Hua Liang Tian was surprised how Mo Jiao Cult’s reputation could persuade people easily.
‘Who are they?’ Murong Yun Su asked the four direction men.
‘Your betrothal gifts,’ West Mo said.
‘What… unusual betrothal gifts,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Our leader said we need to prepare at least ten betrothal gifts,’ North Mo said.
How did at least ten betrothal gifts turned out to be ten kilometres of men? Murong Yun Su was flabbergasted. ‘The truth is I need silver taels more.’
‘Madam Chu, these men are worth more than one hundred thousand,’ East Mo said. ‘Their physical strength is second to none.’
‘Madam Chu, they can help you make money,’ South Mo said.
‘Are they worth more than one hundred thousand gold or silver taels?’ Murong Yun Su asked.
‘…’ the four direction men were speechless.
‘Don’t tell me you meant one hundred thousand copper coins,’ Murong Yun Su said.
‘Where is the slave market in Jin Liang Province?’ Murong Yun Su asked the groundskeeper.
‘About this…’ the groundskeeper said and feared for his life.
‘Xiao mei, go sell them in the capital,’ Hua Liang Tian said. ‘They’ll fetch a higher price there.’
‘Gege, is that true?’ Murong Yun Su asked. ‘How can someone buy them in a batch? It’ll be troublesome to see them one by one.’
Hua Liang smiled like an executioner. ‘The palace.’
The men’s eyes turned to look at Hua Liang Tian like they wanted to kill him.
End of Chapter Four