Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 57: Mutiny
The temperature had been dropping drastically in a short amount of time.
A few days ago, it was still possible to dress without any extra layers, but now even when you talk, you would breath out visible puffs of air.
Chen Miao Ping was cozying up underneath the blankets on the bed and couldn’t help but sniff a few times.
It was going to be completely painful when he has to patrol again as it will most likely be snowing in a few days.
The inside of the house was kept warm with a fireplace, and it was so warm that it made people sleepy.
Fu Lin opened the door to bring the boiled medicine in and brought with her a breeze of cold frosty air.
Xie Yu Zhi was originally sitting behind the desk, looking at his defensive plans, and he lifted his head up to ask,
“What did the physicians say?”
Fu Lin poured the hot herbal medicine into a celadon bowl and put it on the table.
“The physician said perhaps it was because Gu-Ye had worn too few layers these past days and a cold had seeped into his body.
Thankfully it is not serious so there is no need for overly strong medicine.
This prescription should be fairly mild and paired with a slow healing process in a warm environment, it should pass after a while.”
Medical skills in the ancient eras were not great and a tiny cold could become the death of someone, so Chen Miao Ping was more rigorous than most in drinking the medicine on time.
When he saw Xie Yu Zhi come in with the bowl, he was about to reach for it, but the other avoided his hands.
Chen Miao Ping: “???”
Xie Yu Zhi lifted up his robe before sitting down by the bed and explained,
“The bowl’s too hot.
I’ll feed you.”
Chen Miao Ping didn’t believe it and his face unreservedly showed his suspicions,
“Yesterday’s bowl was hot too.
Why didn’t you feed me then?”
Xie Yu Zhi didn’t speak, only using a spoon to swirl around the dark liquid medicine.
In the midst of the clangs of the spoon against the bowl, wisps of steam rose up.
Until the temperature of the bowl started to cool down in his hands, Xie Yu Zhi finally smiled and said,
“You have helped me apply medicine so many times now.
Just pretend that my conscience has finally appeared and I want to take care of you this once, ok?”
Chen Miao Ping chuckled in response.
His long slender finger stroked his chin,
“Second Master is the first human being that said he would take care of me.
But this medicine is just too bitter.
I won’t be able to take it one spoonful at a time, so I will drink it myself instead.”
And then snatched the bowl of medicine away from Xie Yu Zhi’s hands and chugged it all down in one go.
Xie Yu Zhi didn’t mind it and instead took the empty bowl back to set it aside.
He switched to a different topic at hand,
“The emissaries from the Liao Empire will be leaving tonight.
And that Grand Military Commissioner, Sun Tong…… He will soon pass the armies under his management over to my father.”
Chen Miao Ping didn’t understand why Xie Yu Zhi was telling him this and thought about it before saying,
“These past few days, His Majesty should have made him hand back his tally, but he’s only been making many excuses to delay it.
He must not be willing to give up all that military power in his heart.”
“……He is indeed not willing from the bottom of his heart.”
He had wanted to see that Chinese Parasol tree planted in the courtyard, but the window was tightly shut due to the cold outside.
There was nothing to see and so he gave up.
Not long after, there was suddenly a knock on the door.
Outside, Ren Dong was gently saying,
“Second Master, Gong-Ye has passed on word, saying to please not forget that he would like for you to head over to Dian Yun Pagoda to discuss some matters after you have finished lunch.”
Xie Yu Zhi paused his movements and calmly replied,
Chen Miao Ping was sensitive enough to know that his emotions were not quite right for just a simple discussion.
He thought back to these past couple of days where Chang Guo Gong has been calling Xie Yu Zhi to Dian Yun Pagoda nonstop and he slightly furrowed his eyebrows,
“Has something happened?”
Everyday he patrols the streets of the capital and so he can hear a lot of news being passed on by mouth.
Taking a short time to connect all the dots, his pupils dilated in shock, and he chased for an answer,
“Is Li Qin Wang……”
Xie Yu Zhi immediately pressed on his lips and stared straight into his eyes,
“There are some things that you only need to know in your heart, and you don’t need to say it out loud.”
If Li Qin Wang truly wanted to revolt, he must receive assistance from the power of Ye Lu Jin Qi and Sun Tong.
And today would no doubt be the last chance to do anything.
At the helm of the military officials is the Xie family.
Adding to that, they have a member of their family as a consort to the Emperor, they are more closely related than all the others could be.
If something goes awry, unfortunately, the Xie Family would need to be the first line of defense.
Chen Miao Ping held Xie Yu Zhi’s slightly cold hands and his face had a rare case where it was not smiling for once,
“You have a disability in your leg.
Don’t go and try to be a part of the mess.
You won’t be able to help out with anything even if you try.”
Although his words were like that, he knew that to command the three great armies, half was dependent on that military tally and the other was on reputation.
Chang Guo Gong only has those few offsprings, and of them, only Xie Yu Zhi could really be the one to hold up the mantle.
If it was anyone else, they would not be able to move those armies for even one foot nor would the Emperor be able to trust them either.
Besides, Xie Yan Ping was already past the prime of his life.
Xie Yu Zhi must go whether he wants to or not.
Xie Yu Zhi said,
“That year when I went to battle Dong Han, my right leg was hit by an arrow.
That injury was more serious than now and did I not still lead my soldiers to pave out our survival through blood? Besides, although my leg is crippled, I can still use a bow.”
Chen Miao Ping didn’t know what he should say and so he kept his lips shut.
He was strangely feeling a bit jumbled up inside, a mess of feelings coagulating.
Xie Yu Zhi smiled when he saw Chen Miao Ping like that and tugged on his hand,
“Come, put on your clothes.
I’ll bring you somewhere.”
Chen Miao Ping covered his head with the bedsheets, and he flipped over to pretend he was dead,
“Too lazy to move.”
“You must move.”
Xie Yu Zhi forcefully pulled him up and helped him dress.
He held Chen Miao Ping’s hand all the way to the book room next door.
“Tomorrow my father and I will not be in the estate.
Although there will be some left behind to protect you, it is after all not that safe.
You must be careful.”
He said this as he moved an antique vase away from the shelf behind it, revealing a hidden secret, about the size of half a palm.
Chen Miao Ping was stunned at this display, but Xie Yu Zhi did not explain and pressed the mechanism with force.
A “Wah-la” was heard as the entire bookshelf behind the desk automatically shifted to the left, revealing a secret dark tunnel that was only wide enough for one person to pass at a time.
Xie Yu Zhi lit up a candle and, in that mysterious light, there was no gentleness to be seen on his face.
He had with him the rare sight of a hardened solemn man and he dragged Chen Miao Ping to head inside the tunnel with him.
When their silhouettes disappeared, the bookshelf slowly moved itself back to its original spot, as if nothing had ever happened.
It was pitch black inside, and with the dim light of the candle, there was only a brief glimpse of the stairway below their feet in the dark.
It was quite empty and echoing; with each small movement, the walls would magnify the sound down the empty blackness.
Chen Miao Ping subconsciously held up Xie Yu Zhi as to become his anchor and took the candle in his hand, heading down with him, slowly, one step at a time.
Xie Yu Zhi said,
“Father’s personality is too honest, and he has already prepared to die for the country.
So naturally he wouldn’t have any backup plans.
Outside, everywhere you look, you can see the people of the Liao Empire walking about and canvassing the streets for information.
Except for myself, there is no one else that knows about this secret room.
When I leave, you will stay here.
Rations and water have been prepared.
Make sure you stay in here no matter what you hear outside.”
Chen Miao Ping turned to look at Xie Yu Zhi, but as it was very dark, both of them could not see each other’s expression very clearly.
His voice was very calm, as if this was a normal day,
“The battle should not be that long.
The following morning, if I should succeed, I will come find you……”
Besides rations and water, this dark hidden room had a bed by the wall.
Xie Yu Zhi was speaking as he moved closer to that bed, pressing down Chen Miao Ping’s shoulders.
He forced Chen Miao Ping to look at the underside of the bed before he continued with his sentence,
“If I don’t come find you, you must escape immediately once you finish all your rations.
The bricks under the bed can be moved and there will be a long tunnel, a very long tunnel, and it will be dark, and it will be hard to breathe, but don’t be afraid.
As long as you keep going, you will reach an opening that will take you out of the city……”
The entire time, Chen Miao Ping had not spoken up but hearing up to this point, he suddenly stood up violently.
He faced Xie Yu Zhi’s silent gaze and backed up a few steps.
But then he came to his senses and realized that he was overreacting.
After a few moments, he flipped up his robe before kneeling back down again.
Chen Miao Ping said,
“Continue what you were saying.
Xie Yu Zhi continued telling Chen Miao Ping what he should do, unfazed,
“If Li Qin Wang succeeds, the Xie family will be implicated.
When you escape out of here, hide your name and never come back.”
What implicated means, they both clearly knew in their hearts.
Either beheading all of them, or be grounded into ashes and thrown into the wind.
Xie Yu Zhi stood back up and retrieved a big box made out of narra.
He opened it up and a letter could be seen right on top.
Chen Miao Ping had sharp eyes and he found that below the letter was a thick stack of banknotes.
You are not of the main line from the Xie family, so even if you are unlucky and get caught, perhaps you may have a lifeline to hold onto.”
Chen Miao Ping looked closer, and saw that the letter had two bold words written on the label: “Divorce Letter”.
He was about to reach out for it but Xie Yu Zhi avoided his hand.
He lifted his eyes to stare straight at Chen Miao Ping, pronouncing each word succinctly and clearly,
“You must remember, this divorce letter is to save your life.
It does not mean that you have cut ties with me from this day onwards.”
“In life, you will be mine, a person that belongs to Xie Yu Zhi.
In death, you will still be mine, a ghost that belongs to Xie Yu Zhi.
A sheet of paper does not change anything; life and death will not change anything.”
His voice echoed within the chamber, loud and clear.
Chen Miao Ping suddenly stopped moving and while he was normally a quick-witted man, he was now as silent and dumb as a chopped piece of log.
In the end, that letter was forcefully stuffed into his hands.
“You are normally very quick on your feet and a fast thinker.
A well rounded talker.
I originally had many things I wanted to tell you, but I don’t think so anymore.
What I could possibly do, I have done.
But if you are still going to be implicated because of me, then that was fated to be.
Take that as me owing you.
But you must remember this very clearly: that debt will only be resolved and repaid in the next life when we meet.”
In the moment that Xie Yu Zhi spoke, there were too many things he talked about.
Some, Chen Miao Ping listened to; some, Chen Miao Ping could not make his ears to listen.
At long last, the time was up, and Xie Yu Zhi prepared to leave when Chen Miao Ping suddenly pulled him back.
“Why are you like this?”
The two of them were by the other’s side, shoulder to shoulder, positioned in a way that they were not facing each other.
Xie Yu Zhi could not see his face and he could only stare at one of the bricks in the wall.
“You are good to me, so naturally I would be good to you.”
Chen Miao Ping chuckled out loud and asked back,
“And what if all that goodness, those shows of faith were all fake, were all to deceive you?”
The underground chamber was silent for a long while.
After a very long time, Xie Yu Zhi replied,
“……It doesn’t matter if you deceive me for my entire lifetime.”
“If I die today, then count it towards you successfully deceiving me for my entire life.
If I don’t die, I will come back to count your misdoings and get revenge for every one of them.”
And then he didn’t glance back and walked straight out.
Chen Miao Ping turned around but he could only see his limping shadow.
He yelled out,
“Second Master, you don’t mind me marrying another woman and birthing a son, do you?”
Xie Yu Zhi paused in his footsteps but didn’t turn his head around.
Chen Miao Ping continued,
“If, Second Master, if you die, I will take these banknotes and escape out of the country.
I will buy some land and find another person to live the rest of my life with.
Every new year I will burn up some paper money for you.”1
Xie Yu Zhi ignored him and opened the mechanism to head out.
Following that was the loud groan of the bookshelf slowly shutting itself.
It immediately quieted down.
Chen Miao Ping maintained the posture that he was in, staring at that entrance for a very very long time, until his neck was frozen and aching in pain.
That was when he suddenly came back to life and started to look around in more detail.
There were some clean commoners’ clothing at the edge of the bed, and right beside them was a short dagger to be used as a defensive weapon.
The Narra box itself was very deep, and it was filled to the brim with banknotes.
Chen Miao Ping was just going to take a closer look when all of a sudden, there was a long forgotten sound ringing in his head.
[ Ding! ]
[ My dear host~ It is against the rules to accept all monetary value that is not brought about by your own hard efforts.
If you continue, there will be a light electrical shock warning.
Please take care, my dear host~ ]
The entire place was drenched in silence, with the flickering of a candle as the only companion.
The cold mechanical voice of the system suddenly appearing was a bit frightening and made Chen Miao Ping freeze up.
But he didn’t say anything else and silently retrieved his hand, leaning against the bedside with his mind flying away.
Sometimes Chen Miao Ping would think, when his heartless mother lied that she had work and threw him to their neighbour’s home by himself, did she ever think about what would happen to him.
If the neighbour didn’t want to care for him, or if that man did not have that bit of conscience and never accepted him back into his family, then how could Chen Miao Ping, as a six year old boy, continue to keep living?2
There was no one who was born with an iron heart.
He had gone through the phase of blissful thinking, remembering and yearning for that woman, before he reached the age of ten.
Sometimes he would always think whether it was that his mother ran away and didn’t want him, or did she perhaps marry another man that was better and birthed another son?
Many things and many thoughts clouded him, leading him to draw many conclusions that went nowhere.
But he realized in the end, one must always think in the positive.
And so Chen Miao Ping guessed that she might have died on the road to work.
Only this kind of conclusion would make that hatred inside him burn a little less.
Only that would make his heart feel just a bit better.
Chen Miao Ping’s thoughts returned to the present, and he realized then that Xie Yu Zhi had prepared everything for him.
Money, an escape path, a life after……
Everything that he could do, he did.
Everything he could think about, he thought about.
*1 When a person dies, you need to “burn” up paper objects as that is the only currency/things you can be given (by your living lineage) and use in the afterlife, such as houses, money, clothes, etc.
*2 If you refer back to Chp 52, when Chen Miao Ping was reminiscing, I’ve clarified it to be not the neighbour but as the man who sired him/his birth father who took him in.
This also means that the old lady was his blood-related grandmother, which hopefully is more clear here and also in the edits of Chp 52.
Alright, we are on the homestretch for volume 2 (about 4 chapters before we say goodbye to Chen Miao Ping and Xie Yu Zhi (｡•́︿•̀｡) )! As much as Plum and I hated how much Chen Miao Ping bullshitted with no limits in the beginning, we’ve come around.
I mean, for me I guess, I found back the love for the volume as I did when I read the raws :p
But for Plum… as a teaser, they really liked the ending and thought this volume was so cute (they are very biased now for volume 2 over volume 1 (๑꒪▿꒪)*).
But take that as you will when this Plum thought Lu Qi was vicious for blinding a dude to save his life, but is like oh Chen Miao Ping, you need more~ it’s not fair~ (¯―¯) For what Plum wants Chen Miao Ping to have more of, we’ll see in the upcoming week~ >: ) (although we are still dying in editing phase to get it done before the deadline… (ﾉ´ｰ`)ﾉ)
On that note though, a small notice that we will be taking another break after this volume, to give ourselves another needed break from all this research and frying our brains… ｡ﾟ(ﾟ´(00)`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ and of course, also for Christmas/end of the year/New Year More details will be released later (as we’re still in discussion about it), probably when we finish the rest of the chapters in this volume
Have a beautiful and cozy weekend, Galactic judges! See you Monday ✧⁺⸜(●′▾‵●)⸝⁺✧
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