Chapter 8: Cannot Thoroughly Understand Older Brother
Bai Xi faintly turned to look at what was happening. Although she didn't think it was likely that someone was talking to her, she was curious about who in the Bai family's camp had the guts to yell at someone from the Bai family and still remain in charge. She wondered who would have the courage in this age of imperial power apart from a madman.
Bai Xi noticed three uniformed male soldiers and one man dressed as a high-ranking officer1 all chasing another, who also wore the soldier's uniform. It did not take long before he was caught. The high-ranking officer leading the chase noticed them and walked over to greet them. As he saluted, he said, "Paying respects to the general!"
"What happened?" Bai Yu Jie, regardless of when and where, was always courteous, except when Bai Xi's life was threatened, then he was truly himself.
The corners of Bai Xi's mouth curled upwards. She really wanted to see what her older brother looked like on the battlefield. Actually, she wanted to see how the gentleman would fight the enemy.
"In response to your question, general, this subordinate was in the process of capturing the deserter."
Bai Yu Jie glanced at the deserter and asked, "Deserter? Did you ask about their particular situation?"
The high-ranking officer hung his head, not speaking. It was obvious that he was unsure of the state of affairs.
"Investigate. If there is a good reason for it, then spare his life. The Bai family army does not force people," Bai Yu Jie instructed.
"Yes, this subordinate will obey the command!"
Just as the soldiers were going to detain the deserter, Bai Xi, who was watching nearby, said, "Wait a moment."
Bai Xi walked over to the deserter in front of everyone, who were dazed. Her eyes locked on the man, who was unable to move. Then, Bai Xi looked at the commonplace face and smiled faintly.
"What is your name?"
The man did not expect that Bai Xi would start questioning him. There was initial panic, but afterwards he opened his mouth to answer. "Zhong Zhi Chao2."
"How old are you?"
"Where are you from?"
"Who is in your family?"
"This subordinate is the oldest, having a father, two younger brothers, and one younger sister. Both younger brothers are already married, and this subordinate's younger sister was married last year. This subordinate's mother died of an illness two years ago. Today is the anniversary of this subordinate's mother's death."
"You wanted to go and give your mother a memorial ceremony?"
"This year you are going to your mother's grave to pay homage to her?"
"You are not married?"
"How long do you have left in your military service?"
"What is your duty?"
"What kind of soldier are you?"
Bai Xi slowly questioned the man again. The man's answers were exactly the same, not having the least bit of difference. Off to the side, the high-ranking officer was totally at a loss. Who was this man who suddenly arrived at the camp, asking about a few trivial matters? Bai Yu Jie looked at the so-called deserter and listened to the dialogue between the deserter and Bai Xi.
"Mm, the information is familiar. Today it was your misfortune to come across me. Sorry, but your plan to escape failed." Bai Xi reached out and pulled at the mask covering the man's face, revealing the man's real appearance.
The reason she had doubts about the deserter was that she found that his expressions were odd and looked rather stiff and unnatural, thus warranting closer inspection. She had questioned him, watching closely for any changes in his expression. However, his answers were all the same, and not of the sort a small soldier would say in front of a high-ranking officer. She didn't expect to confirm her suspicions about him wearing a mask.
Except for Bai Yu Jie, the people looked at the real face of the deserter with expressions of surprise. The man saw that his plan was exposed and he couldn't escape. He intended to commit suicide by biting off his tongue, but before he could do so, Bai Yu Jie threw a rock at one of his pressure points.
"Yes." The high ranking official shot a grateful look towards Bai Xi before jumping to do his bidding.
"Older brother, you don't want to go check to see if any military secrets have been stolen?" Why did she feel as though her older brother was not worried about any confidential information being stolen?
"There is nothing here that they would want," Bai Yu Jie explained.
"Well, does older brother know the identity of the other side?" It seemed that not only did her brother appear unconcerned, he was also truly unruffled.
"Mm, I have a guess."
"Did older brother already know the identity of this person earlier?"
"Older brother, were today's events related to when Xi'r was attacked by an assassin a few days ago?" Was the person behind the events the same?
"Not related, is it?"
Bai Yu Jie nodded his head.
"Oh." Her older brother had known that the man was a fake and had yet to uncover anything more. It seemed that her older brother was really not as gentleman-like as he appeared. "Sorry, Xi'r destroyed older brother's original plans." Presumably, her older brother had plans for that person.
"Fool." Bai Yu Jie smiled gently at her, stroking her head. "Older brother took you to come and look at the Bai family army's firearms."
Bai Xi raised her eyes and examined her older brother's expression. Older brother or not, this gentleman-like older brother's thoughts were difficult to understand. Although why should she guess her older brother's thoughts? As long as he doted on her, she would treasure her older brother and not worry herself with his other side.
"What is it?"
"Older brother is not curious how Xi'r discovered that man's identity?"
"Xi'r has always been intelligent," Bai Yu Jie pointed out.
Is that so? However, Bai Xi didn't question him. If she was really that intelligent, why did all the rumours say she was stupid? Also, who crafted the mask on her face? It was rather life-like and of good quality. How much did this older brother know?
"Then let's go look at the firearms." Bai Xi pushed away the thoughts in her heart. She looked up and smiled slightly, throwing the mask away. She pulled Bai Yu Jie by the arm and started walking.
When Bai Xi returned to the Bai residence, it was already late3. When Bai Xi entered Xi Yuan, she immediately flopped down on her soft bed. She was tired. This body was incredibly weak. After walking for half a day, this body had become tired like this. Since her body was so weak, she planned to exercise and train her body to improve her physical condition.
At least today she did not waste her time. She managed to see what firearms looked like in ancient times. Although this world didn't have cannons4, they did have fireballs5 and hand cannons6, which were not bad. Xi Yue had become the leader of the four countries with such a strong military. With this in mind, it was not unreasonable that the past monarchs would fear the Bai family army.
"This servant has prepared the hot water so young miss can go bathe." Upon seeing the exhausted form of Bai Xi on the bed, Mu Qiu could not help but feel distressed. "If young miss is not tired, let this servant give a massage to help loosen the muscles."
Bai Xi did not decline, allowing Mu Qiu to massage her. She did not expect little Qiu Qiu's level of skill and effort for her massage.
"Young miss does not need to go and tire herself. The military camp is not somewhere young miss should be visiting. After all, there are men everywhere and it is so far away from the capital. If young miss wishes to spend as much time as possible with the young master, there is no reason for young miss to ask the young master to teach young miss martial arts." Mu Qiu continued with the massage while frowning. She did not understand why the young miss would torment herself in such a manner.
Bai Xi considered Mu Qiu's words.
"Young miss, please forgive this servant for speaking out of turn. Next month, young master will be getting married. Why doesn't young miss let the young master know of young miss' feelings? If it continues like this, then the young miss will only grieve." She was worried that the young miss would be unhappier later. If the young miss could let her feelings go, then the pain in her heart would be lighter.
What? There was an illicit love? Bai Xi jumped up and looked at Mu Qiu. "Say that again."
1. high-ranking officer - (將領) this translated to general in English, but I am not too certain if this is an equal translation as Bai Yu Jie is also addressed as general (將軍). So, to differentiate, I left it as high-ranking officer. If someone has a better idea, please let me know.↩
2. Zhong Zhi Chao (鍾志超) - Zhong is a last name. Zhi Chao means 'surpassing aspirations'.↩
3.(酉時) you shi - this is the time frame from 5pm to 7pm.↩
4.(紅衣大砲) hong yi da bao – some sort of cannon used back in the day.↩
5.(火球) huo qiu - this literally translates to fireball, and I'm not sure if this is supposed to be another weapon?↩
6. (火銃) huo chong - hand cannons. I suppose they're kind of like guns?↩