Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
The procession had been rushing non-stop, and after a bell worth of time, Zhang Xiaolong looked at the sky and said, “It still seems early, and since we have completed half of our journey, there should be no problem reaching Guo village in time. Let’s take a short break, and we can carry on the journey after we are rested.”
Apart from Zhang Xiaolong, Zhang Xiaohua, Liu Qing and Liu Yueyue, everyone in the procession were tired from all the rush, not to mention the people carrying the sedan. The musician troupe also had to carry their musical instruments, so when everyone heard the two words ‘rest’, they immediately walked to the side of the road and planted their butts onto the ground, while some took out their gourds to quench their thirst.
The sedan was placed carefully on the ground under a big tree, and the several sedan carriers went off in their own directions to rest. Zhang Xiaolong also got off his horse and took Zhang Xiaohua as they walked towards the sedan. He took two leather pouches from the horse and passed one to Zhang Xiaohua, while he walked over to the side of the sedan with the other and asked, “Qingqing, are you thirsty, would you like some water?”
Liu Qing did not answer, but the bridesmaid Liu Yueyue spoke up for her, “Elder sister is probably not thirsty, she is probably still drunk on that flowers talk earlier. Why do you only think of your bride, isn’t there still me in the sedan? Why don’t you ask if I am thirsty as well?”
Zhang Xiaolong had only met Liu Yueyue several times before, and she had heard Liu Qing mentioned about the straightforward personality of hers, so he did not mind her teasing and said, “Isn’t she the elder sister and you the younger sister? Of course I would have to ask the more senior person first.”
Liu Yueyue continued to speak, “Ah…..I did not expect brother-in-law to be such a quick minded person, why did I not notice this before? Hehe, elder sister’s eyes sure are sharp.” Then, she asked softly, “Elder sister, would you like some water?”
Liu Qing did not remove the veil on her face, and she replied softly, “I am not thirsty, but I will have some to wet my throat. You can drink first if you are thirsty.”
Liu Yueyue replied, “Alright, I will help myself first. I have been busy helping out in your wedding and had yet to drink a sip of water since this morning. I even had to talk quite a bit earlier when they came to fetch you so my throat is feeling very dry now. I will pass it to you after I am done.”
After she finished her sentence, Liu Yueyue lifted the curtains walked out of the sedan.
Zhang Xiaolong was standing beside the sedan when he saw Liu Yueyue came out, and he hurriedly passed the leather pouch filled with water over to her.
At that moment, several men on horses were appeared on the road which led to Lu town. The three horses were the handsome and majestic Huangbiao horses, and the men who rode on them looked alike; their skin were dark and tanned, their eyes were small and squint, and they looked roughly around forty years of age, while their clothes were bright. The four horses behind were ordinary but large horses, and the men had figures of different heights and width, and they all wore black while bearing weapons at their waist, with their gaze were focused warily on their surroundings.
The men could see Zhang Xiaolong and their party resting beside the road from afar, and did not seem to mind as they continued to rush ahead. Coincidentally, as one of the three men in front was striking his horse with his whip, he saw Liu Yueyue stepped out from the sedan and took the leather water pouch from Zhang Xiaolong while flashing a smile in return. Liu Yueyue was already pretty like a pearl in an oyster, and because she was the bridesmaid for that day, she was dressed up to look even prettier. Although her smile did not mean anything to Zhang Xiaolong, the man on the horse was mesmerized by the sight before him and he involuntarily let out a gasp as he pulled his reins and slowed the horse down.
The two men on his side noticed his unusual behavior and they turned behind to asked, “Old second, what’s going on?”
The person replied, “Big brother, something good has appeared, do you see that lady beside the sedan?”
The big brother shifted his gaze and smiled reflexively saying, “Hehe, not bad. Even though it cannot be considered as a national treasure, but it is still a jade in a small house.”
The last person continued, “Big brother has not experience any romance during these days in Lu town, but your phrase is very appropriate.”
The old second said, “Big brother, you found a pretty woman last year in that Xin or whatever it was village, and gained both beauty and wealth, but after spending a year with her, we brothers have noticed that you already began to neglect her. Even though there are many pretty young girls in town Lu, we are people who travel often and not stay in any one place for long. Since that lady is not bad, why don’t we bring her up to the mountains so that I can make her my wife?
The big brother replied, “That year was indeed a good bargain. We initially thought that after getting the treasures that he dug from the mountains, there could be nothing else to see but who would have guessed that the daughter in his house was so pretty that I cannot let her go? However, old second, this place is not far from town Lu and is still within the jurisdiction of the authorities, I am afraid that we will attract their attention if we act right now.”
The last person said, “Big brother is thinking too much, even though we are not far from Lu town, there aren’t many people around to welcome that village mudbag. He does not seem to be from the town as well, so let’s just rob whatever we want to. It is not as if we have not done this before. Once we are done, we can just leave our names behind, and I am sure they would not dare to approach the authorities, and since we will return to our hideout immediately, what can the authorities do even if they learnt of it?”
Old second said, “Old third makes a lot of sense, big brother. Let’s take action now.”
The big brother looked at his surroundings as if he was deliberating.
Old third said, “Old second, the girl in front of the sedan is yours, while the bride in the sedan is mine, today I will get to try being a groom as well. Haha.”
Old second replied, “Hehe, I still do not know if the girl in the sedan is fat or skinny, ugly or pretty, so I am uninterested in her. This little wretch looks so tender, I feel that she is just right for me.”
Old third said, ”Second brother, don’t you know this, if the bride is not pretty, how can she get a bridesmaid as pretty as that one there? I believe that the bride is prettier than her.”
Old second said, “Old third is so petty, however, if I had not noticed that girl, would you get the chance to become a groom today? Before you enter you room tonight, you will have to toast me three bowls of wine.”
Old third smiled back lecherously, “Same to you, let’s have fun tonight.”
As the three people continued to converse while occasionally throwing glances at the sedan, the four men beside them remained silent and continued to surround them as if they were unsurprised.
Seeing that the big brother was still deliberating, old second ask, “Big brother, what is there to think about? Our brothers had no fresh women this year to take care of their needs, unlike you whose bed has been upgraded with a pretty woman.”
The big brother saw that old second was unhappy and old third was jumping with impatience, so he smiled and said, “Alright, who can make the three wolves of Xicui afraid? If big brother has meat to eat, he will not allow his fellow brothers to drink only soup. Today, I will prepare a ticket for our brothers to have a meat buffet.”
After finishing his sentence, the three men turned their horses around and rushed towards Xiaolong and his party, while the four men continued to flank from the side.
At that moment, Zhang Xiaohua has drunk his water and was about to return the leather pouch to his eldest brother. His ears were sensitive, and when he heard the sounds of the horses becoming louder after fading off, he immediately raised his head and saw the seven men rushing towards him. He raised his guard up and urgently called to his brother “Eldest brother, be careful. The group of men who passed us by are coming back, I wonder what for?”
Zhang Xiaolong was talking to Liu Qing and Liu Yueyue and he did not notice the men in horseback passing them by. Upon hearing Zhang Xiaohua’s warning, he immediately raised his head and saw the three wolves of Xicui looking towards his direction with a lecherous gaze, and a thought shouted in his heart, “Oh no, why did we encounter something like this again?”
Just as he thought of letting Liu Yueyue hide back into the sedan, the horses had already reached him. Zhang Xiaolong wrinkled his brows and pulled Liu Yueyue to his back, and he stuck his chest out and asked “How may I help these warriors?”
The person who was right in the front of the pack was the old second of the Xicui wolves, and when he saw Zhang Xiaolong’s greetings, he ignored the latter and continued to urge his horse towards them, before raising his leg to kick towards Zhang Xiaolong’s chest. Although Zhang Xiaolong had not learnt martial arts, he was a youth in the prime of his life and could dodge the blow agilely while pushing Liu Yueyue aside. Thus, the kick landed on the area below his chest, and Zhang Xiaolong’s body flew over on the side of the road, and a mouthful of fresh blood sprayed from his mouth, and his body landed facedown, while the water pouch was thrown to another side with water dribbling out from it.
Zhang Xiaohua saw that his eldest brother was injured, and he hurriedly ran over but the old third of the Xicuir wolves rode his horse towards him and raised his whip to lash down onto the boy. When Zhang Xiaohua saw the whip coming down, he tried to move away while raising his hand to catch it. However, his strength was already drained from pulling the bow in the morning and his arms were still not recovered, so he could only turned his head aside as the whip which was about to land on his face struck his shoulders instead. Zhang Xiaohua cried aloud as he fell onto the floor, and the lash on his body was burning in pain so badly that his tears began to fall.
After old second and old third of the Xicui wolves gained the advantage, they did not stop there and instead rushed over to the other men who were resting along the road side, before freely lashing their whips about. The big brother rode to the front of the sedan and loosened his reins, while he said to the four men beside, “Go help them, and make sure everything is done cleanly.”
The other four men thus turned around and unsheathed their weapons while riding to different spots in the surroundings as they shouted, “Xicui mountain is conducting its business here, get lost if you don’t want to be implicated.”
There were originally people on the road who were looking weirdly upon the men who rushed over to injure the people from the procession, but upon hearing the warnings, they ran like birds from the beast and disappeared soon after.
When the people from the procession saw the groom got injured, they naturally got angry but just as they wanted to get up, they saw the weapons bearing men and imagined their chances of victory. Not only did the other party had weapons, they were the infamous Xicui mountain bandits, where could they get the courage to stand up to these people? They could only try to protect themselves for the sake of their children, so they threw whatever was in their hands and scattered away.
In the blink of an eye, the previously crowded road became desolated apart from Zhang Xiaolong who was lying on the ground, Zhang Xiaohua who was struggling to get up, the worried Liu sisters and the pleased Xicui mountain bandits.