Chapter 12: Place to stay


 

At the end of the path, the smoke from kitchen chimneys was vaguely rising. 

 

On the field, you could see the tired silhouettes starting to put down their farming tools and going back to their houses one after another. 

 

A pair of good-looking brothers came to Qianjia village. 

 

One walking in front, the other riding a snow-white nearly man-sized mule. 

 

The mule was really good-looking.
It didn’t have any hairs on its body, and there was a valuable little bell made from pure gold hanging from its neck that jingled clearly with every step.

 

The two had just appeared, but they had already drawn the attention of the farmers.

 

The senior wore a crow patterned green robe, a scarf on his head, and wooden clogs on his feet.
He was thin and wore the signature of wenxin on his waist.
He should be a young official studying away from home.
The youth looked 11-12 and didn’t resemble his senior, but he was also a handsome young man with red lips, white teeth and deep features.

 

Probably, his ancestors had a bit of foreign blood in them, because his facial features were more profound than that of ordinary people.
At first glance, some people thought he was a bright girl, but when they heard the young man's name, they realized that “she” was actually a young man.

 

“My humble home is simple and crude, I will wrong the two young masters and ask to put up with it for one night”. 

 

The village official led the two into the side house.

 

Qianjia village was a small village with less than 100 households.
The most decent and clean house in the village belonged to the village official family.

 

After hearing that the two young masters wanted to stay for the night, he enthusiastically invited them to his house.
Additionally, he asked the women of the house to clean the side house.

 

Qi Shan gave one silver to the village official and asked him to prepare rations for a few days and hot water to bathe.
The remaining amount was to be taken as a token of thanks.

 

The village official beaming weighed the silver in his hand.
After evaluation, he hurriedly responded saying ‘no problem’.
Before leaving, he even asked if he should give some fresh grass for the mule to eat.

 

After mentioning the mule, Qi Shan’s expression turned unnatural, “There is no need, this mule is not a living creature.
It was created by my younger brother's magic words.

 

The village official understood.
His expression turned more respectful.

 

Jingle, jingle – 

 


The familiar jingle sound resounded nearby. 

 

Qi Shan pushed open the window to let out stale air in the room.
He looked up and saw Shen Tang leading the mule with one hand and teasing it with a handful of grass with the other.

 

He also vaguely heard him muttering to it.

 

“Motor, why are you not eating? Try it, I especially picked it for you…”

 

Qi Shan “…”

 

After speaking about the mule named “Motorcycle”, he simply couldn't breathe.

 

No one would have thought that a strange phrase—” As fast as lightning, the Dayun motorcycle”—could actually condense a snow-white mule!

And young master Shen happily rode on it. 

 

“Mister Qi, do you want one too?”

 

Qi Shan decisively refused.

 

Not to mention that he couldn’t use that magic phrase, even if he could and succeeded, the outcome not necessarily would be the same as young master Shen’s. 

 

The most important was – 

 

Even if the mule was beautiful, it was still only the mule, he wouldn’t ride it!

 

“Then, do you want to ride together?” Shen Tang raised her hand to cover the eyes, blocking the rays of sun, then offered.

 

Qi Shan refused once again. 

 

Even if he had a broken leg, he wouldn't ride this stupid looking mule.

 

Shen Tang shrugged and didn’t force him.

 

With the low-profile sports motorcycle (mule) for transportation, her feet were finally unburdened.
Passing by an unknown tree that strikingly resembled a Japanese banana tree, she bent over on the mule's back and stretched out her hand to take two leaves. 

 

One to protect her shoulders from the sun.


 

And she wanted to hand the other one to Qi Shan to protect his head.
   

 

“Mister Qi!”   

 

Qi Shan covered his head and turned around.

 

Shen Tang threw him the leaf.

 

“Catch!”

 

Seeing Shen Tang so afraid of sunlight, he smiled helplessly.

 

“Why is a proper man afraid of a little hardship?”

 

“I’m not afraid, but as the old saying goes—white covers all ugliness”.
Shen Tang adjusted the angle of the big leaf and smiled: “Tanned, uneven skin tone is detrimental to beauty”.

 

Qi Shan “…”

 

The two of them walked for a few days, before noticing signs of human habitation.

 

Because of the droughts and wars over the years, Qianjia village was left with a few households, and you couldn’t see any young faces in the whole village.
There were only elderly and kids.
Because two new young faces arrived so suddenly, the news spread swiftly in the entire village.
From time to time, there were kids looking around the village official’s house.

 

Qishan went to find a village official for something, and when he came back, he heard the laughter of Shen Tang playing with a few kids.

 

The two sides were “fighting”. 

 

One small child wearing starched white clothes saddled the snow-white mule.
His hands held the dried up branch as a pike, he looked rather overbearing.
On the side, the young master Shen, with a stick in hand, welcomed the enemy.

 

The two of them came and went.
The confrontation continued, and the fight was “awfully busy”.
As “soldiers”, the other children nervously “watched the battle” from the sidelines, applauding from time to time and shouting “The general is amazing!”   

Qi Shan: “…”

 

In the beginning, he even thought that Shen Tang was just being playful—after all, young master Shen was only the 11-12 year old youth and even if he received the hardships of being banished, he was still mischievous in his nature—but after looking for a while, he realized that the unfamiliar small kid was a bit interesting too. 

 

He asked a village official: “What’s his name? Is he the kid from the village?”

 


The village official replied: “He isn’t from our village”.

 

“He isn’t?”

 

The village official sighed: “I heard he is the child of the great family, but it's just that he’s been ill since childhood, so he lives in a neighborhood to recuperate.
They say he is recuperating, but in reality he was abandoned.
Of course, the servants will not do their best to serve him.
He’s very pitiful and often sneaks out to play with the children in the village”.

 

Usually, they play around until dark, and then the servants would come to pick him up.

 

Qi Shan became a little interested. 

 

“Foul disease? Where?” 

 

The village official glanced at the happy-looking child and carefully pointed to his own brain, then said, “I heard it's a brain disease.”

 

Speaking frankly, he was a fool. 

 

Qi Shan was slightly flabbergasted.
Just as he was about to speak, he heard the loud cheers coming from several children.

 

It turned out that the child “deceived” Shen Tang with a feint, and hit the “master” she was protecting.

 

Undeniably, he hit the “lord” on the forehead.

 

According to the rules, he won.

 

Examining “the dying master”, Shen Tang could only “helplessly” spread out her hands and abandon her weapon in “surrender”. 

 

“Sigh, I lost”.

 

The winner could obtain spoils of war.

 

The so-called spoil of war was precisely the malt sugar, the size of the thumb.

 

She pulled open the sack on her waist and took out one malt sugar she made when she was bored.
One person, one sugar, this was called “rewarding three armies”, and the “commander” who made a great contribution—the boy who steadily sat on the mule and swung the spear, got three for himself.

 

The other kids impatiently ate the sugar, but only one didn’t.
He foolishly held it, not knowing what to do. 


 

This silly look was completely different from his previous high-spirited one when he was “fighting” on the back of a mule.
   

 

“Won’t you eat it?”

 

Shen Tang squatted down in inquiry. 

 

The child shook his head.
He looked at the sugar in his hand, hesitating.
He picked one up and handed it to Shen Tang. 

 

He gazed at her with shining eyes, like he was expecting something. 

 

“You want to feed me?”

 

“Yes, eat”.
The child replied.

 

Shen Tang didn't dislike the child's dirty hands, she opened her mouth and ate the caramel he handed over, smiling while bending her eyes.

 

“Ya, it’s really sweet.
You should also try”.

 

Seeing this, the child lowered his head and picked up another one to put in his mouth.

 

He put the last one in the faded pouch on his waist.

 

The pouch was heavy.

 

Taking advantage of her point of view, Shen Tang vaguely noticed that inside his pouch laid a piece of exquisite tiger-head jade bi, which was also engraved with small seal characters.

 

The other kids returned home perfectly satisfied.
Only the child wearing washed white clothes stayed behind, and was led by the village official to wait in the main room.

 

The sky in the summer was extremely fickle.
It didn't take long before it got dark and started raining heavily.
  

 

There was lightning, thunder, and howling wind.
  

 

Shen Tang lit up the lamp, and she started to memorize magic words like crazy. 

 

At this time, the door was slammed against the wall. 

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