ll.
If you want to meet up, then sooner or later, you’ll bump into the one you want to meet; you can run all you want but one day you won’t be able to avoid them.
Xiao Feng Wu was not really trying to hide from him either and so seeing Xiao Feng Ming chase after him, he helplessly stopped his footsteps.

Xiao Feng Ming had gotten married quite early in his life but because his gambling addiction was out of control, his wife had just taken their child with her back to her maiden family and so he was now alone.
Seeing Xiao Feng Wu, he did not feel any shame and hugged him very familiarly as he said, 

“Look at you, what are you hiding from me for? As brothers what is there that can’t be seen? You are now able to make a living, you should give your brother a hand.
I had just been worrying over having no place to stay.
Let’s go, bring your brother back to your home.”

 

Xiao Feng Wu thought that this man was even more shameless than himself and shrugged his arm off.
He yawned and said, 

 

“I am just one small man being kept at someone’s house.
Qi-ge4, you’re quite handsome in your own right and you can just find a random rich, young wife to hook up with.
What expensive food could you not eat then that you would still be worrying over not having a place to stay?”

Xiao Feng Ming shook his head like a pellet drum.5

Besides his addiction to gambling, he didn’t have many other bad habits; he wasn’t one to be a womanizer.
With a medicine bag on his back, Xiao Feng Wu returned back to Hui Chun Tang,  followed by a shameless someone, giving Qian Lang-zhong quite a fright.

His smoking pipe dropped onto the table, causing quite a lot of ashes to fall out .
De Gui quickly used a wet cloth to clean it, fearing that it would light the table on fire.
Qian Lang-zhong pushed him away in distaste and said to Xiao Feng Wu, 

“Young man, what do you mean by this? Will you let this old man live instead of bringing your entire family over?”

Xiao Feng Wu perfunctorily said, 

“He’s here to help you.
As long as you give him a meal and a place to live, it will be fine.
Hoh, he can handle a lot more hard work than I can.”

 


At his words Xiao Feng Ming gave a “heh heh” before rolling up his sleeves and saying, 

“So you were here at Qian-lao’s6, Sixteen.
You should’ve said so earlier and I’d have been here earlier.”

Everyone in the Xiao family was decently skilled at the medicinal arts.
If he had not bumped into Xiao Feng Wu today, he had planned to find a living somewhere. 

Xiao Feng Ming brushed open the curtain to take a look at Qian-lao who was looking over a patient.
He was greeted with the sight of a hunter with a long, long scratch wound on his back and whatever had happened, it had broken his arm out of its socket, rendering him unable to sit or lay down on his back and making him groaning in pain with every movement.

Xiao Feng Ming reached over to check his bones and shook his head, 

“Ack, ah, broken.
Will have to reset it.”

And then after he finished checking out the injury, he found the correct spot with pinpoint accuracy and with a bit of strength, a faint crack could be heard before the hunter’s arm was set back in place.
The man was also one who could endure pain, enduring the snap without making a sound.
After testing his elbow with a few movements, he weakly said,

“Thank you, physician.”

Xiao Feng Ming waved his hand, 

“No problem.
Just remember to give the money for snapping your bone back into place later.”

Behind the counter, Xiao Feng Wu was currently counting money, and in all honesty, he could have already saved up five hundred taels.
But he was loose with money and never could keep saving in mind with the cost of his spending forever more than what he could earn.
But now, with the savings from the last few days, he had finally saved up about four hundred.

Seeing just a few more patients and it should be enough.
At that time he could tell that monster to scram or he’ll always be fearful knowing that it was clinging on to him.

Xiao Feng Wu felt that he suffered such injustice these few days, looking at all kinds of illnesses from rotting flesh to endless bleeding, and so sickened by the sights that he could not stomach food, all because of this system.

Qian Lang-zhong looked to his left and to his right, feeling that they were indeed from the same family; these two brothers only had money on their minds.

Thanks to Xiao Feng Wu’s referral, Xiao Feng Ming settled down at Hui Chun Tang just like that.
Only, whenever he had some money on hand, he would not be able to hold himself back from heading to the casino, hoping to get a big break.
Then when he lost it all, he’d come back just like nothing had changed, so much so that Qian Lang-zhong could not stand the sight anymore.

Qian Lang-zhong: “The end of the world, it’s the end of the world.
How could this happen at his young age.
Look, look, he’s gone again in the middle of the day to the casino! Winning not even once, how could he not have stifled his desire by now!”

Xiao Feng Wu rested his legs on the table, looking like a thug as he said, 

“He’s an idiot of course.
Even when the house cheats, he doesn’t even see it.
Let him keep losing as it’s not even your money.”

The moment he finished his sentence, a sudden frantic yelp came through the door and immediately Xiao Feng Ming ran back inside as if he was about to pee himself, 

“Oh no! Oh no! Sixteen, quick, pack up your stuff and run! There are soldiers being sent to capture us!”

These words came so suddenly that it made everyone helpless.

Xiao Feng Wu stood up with a clang, feeling an immense sense of dread.
With furrowed eyebrows, he asked, 

“What’s going on?!”

Xiao Feng Ming was heaving uncontrollably from his run and his face was completely pale.
He pointed at the door but couldn’t get a word out.
He patted himself hard a few times before he finally said, 

 

“I……I just went to the casino and found that soldiers were randomly grabbing people.
Si-jie, Wu-jie, Liu-di and also Jiu-di and Shi-di have all been captured!”7

Qian Lang-zhong and De Gui stopped what they were doing at that, 

“What is the point of capturing you all?!”

Xiao Feng Ming was about to blow up from anger, almost hiccuping as he stomped on the ground, 

“If it wasn’t that useless bastard Xiao Lin Ru! The Imperial Empress was about to give birth and was suffering in immense pain, yet he could not do a single thing.
The Emperor decreed that if he could not save the mother and the child, the Xiao family would all have their heads chopped off and now the officials are all out to capture us!”

And then he quickly packed up his money before preparing to sneak out the back.
Yet the soldiers had arrived just in time to bump right into him on his way out, and with a kick to the stomach, he lay on his back, unable to get up.

The one who was leading the troops was Jiang Ping An.
When he saw Xiao Feng Wu, there was a regretful expression on his face and he gave a courtesy bow before saying, 



“Physician Xiao, we will have to trouble you to come with us.”

Xiao Feng Wu used his handkerchief to slowly wipe off the sweat on his palms and looked up at him with dark black eyes, 

“Xiao Lin Ru had been cut from the family records a long time ago.
By all accounts, he is not of the Xiao family lineage anymore, so naturally there is no reason for us to be implicated.”

Xiao Feng Ming, held captive by a soldier with a cloth stuffed in his mouth shook his head aggressively at his words, displaying his agreement.

Jiang Ping An sighed and said, 

“When the Emperor is angry, who cares if they are cast off or not from the family lineage.
I am just following the district magistrate’s orders and when he says we have to take them all, we just have to go out and capture them all.”

After that, he glanced around and quietly said to Xiao Feng Wu, 

 

“I’ve heard the district magistrate say that this is not set in stone yet.
Xiao Da-ren is currently being held at the imperial palace and perhaps he could save the Imperial Empress.
Bring a few taels of silver with you and when you are in there, I can let my brothers close their eyes, close their eyes, so you don’t have to suffer much inside.”8

When you’re thrown in jail, torture was part of the standard treatment.
The present Emperor couldn’t be considered a wise one and looked after the Imperial Empress like a precious treasure.
If there was any hint of an issue, one single move could result in a hundred lives on the line and the Xiao family would only be one of the many casualties.

Xiao Feng Ming had truly never thought that such a troublesome event could hit them out of nowhere and his legs were boneless from fear.
He knelt on the ground, crying uncontrollably, but as his mouth was stuffed with cloth, he couldn’t make any noise.

There was no emotion to be seen on Xiao Feng Wu’s face as he only put down the cloth in his hand and walk over to kick Xiao Feng Ming once, 

“No one’s dead so what are you crying for.”

Jiang Ping An shook his head and signalled for his brother-in-arms to take them away.
Hui Chun Tang immediately quietened down with De Gui as confused as ever.
He looked left and right, left and right, before panicking and asked Qian Lang-zhong, 

“Master, what should we do now?!”

Qian Lang-zhong lowered his head and didn’t speak for a long while.
He only knocked his smoking pipe on the floor and said, 

“The Xiao family, what kind of trouble have they stumbled upon.
Lin Ru is indeed so foolish.
Why be so greedy for power and status in the first place when he’s gotten into so much trouble to implicate his family today.”

TL Tidbit:
!!!! Sorry for the wait! As some of you might have read from the status update page, I had some… technical difficulties lol so this chapter release turned out to be a day late (;´д`)ゞ Plum and I rushed it for today so hopefully everything is good : ) We’re very close to the end now (and to the end of the novel, just 2 more volumes left..
(;′⌒`)), and it’s been a crazy and wild ride since the very beginning! I hope you all are still enjoying the novel and I hope to see you all at the end of the journey 

Notes:

*1 bellmen: To be a bit more accurate, specifically men who signal what time it is.
Usually it’s groups of 2 that patrol the streets in the night where 1 holds a gong and another holds the hitting stick and they would knock on the gong as they passed and they usually hit 5 times a night, once every hour where the fifth knock is usually when the roosters start crowing(apparently 7pm, 9, 11, 1 am and 3 am and each is a different way of hitting the gong such as one slow, one first three times, one slow three fast, etc.).

 

Usually accompanying their walks are their shouts which is as they say in the sentence after but also things like please close your windows, the cold season is here, close your doors, sleep early, wake up early, keep in good shape, etc.

*2 red sage: Supposedly red sage in English and it does makes sense that it’s red as “blood” is literally in the first part of the word but for some reason the plant being used in most Chinese sites i found were purple instead of red, although the actual part itself does look red:

 

 

*3 Cui Chan Tang: Literally “force birth soup” and when later they mention “aggressive ingredients”, it’s to mean like anything from poisonous/toxic to taxing medicine or medicine that will cure you but make your body much weaker and/or more easily to succumb to any other illnesses, something perhaps like curing poison with poison but you don’t know if the “new” poison will kill you instead rather than curing you hence why the second uncle was so hesitant to take any risk.

*4  Qi-ge as in seventh brother

 

*5  pellet drum: A child’s toy, still quite fascinating to me haha, but it looks like this and with the two little balls on the side it’s a like a drum and flips back and forth: )

 

*6 Qian-lao: in this call, Qian is the name and lao is as in… something like “elder/old/senior”.
Like saying or calling an elder with great familiarity but not really in the most respectful way.
Instead of like an acquaintance/less senior person to a more senior person/elder, it’s more like almost on the same level/rank or “closer” type of people/friends.

 

*7 Siblings like ranked: fourth sister, fifth sister, sixth brother, ninth brother, tenth brother

*8 “close your eyes” is to imply that they will “close their eyes” to whatever illegal deeds they are doing and ignore that you are bypassing a law.

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