Chapter 351 - The Arrival of the Second Master
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“What do you mean?”
Ji Yunshu dusted off her robe as she rose from the floor. She could only tilt her head back to look up at Zhao Huai, who was at least a head and a half taller than she was, “You only have one reason to capture me - you couldn’t kill my young master, so you’re holding me hostage.”
“You’re a smart one.” Zhao Huai concurred, “That’s right - as long as your life is in my hands, I don’t believe that scoundrel will not come to your aid.”
“If you think that you would achieve your aim by capturing me, then I must disappoint you.”
“I’m only but a scholar traveling together with my young master; nobody would care whether I live or die. This one doesn’t know where from you’ve heard that you would have my young master’s life by capturing me - who knows, my young master’s already left Shanhuai County by now.” Ji Yunshu was confident.
Zhao Huai was still suspicious. He looked at Da Chui, pulling him aside and questioning, “Didn’t you say that Teacher Ji’s extremely important to that man?”
Da Chui began to fluster. He replied, “Boss, this one was sure he heard correctly.”
“Are you certain?”
“Yes,” Da Chui nodded; he was absolutely convinced that Ji Wanxin’s words were true.
Zhao Huai thought for a moment before returning to where Ji Yunshu stood. He looked down disgustedly at Wei Yi, “Since it’s useless to capture the both of you, then this man will send you two off to accompany my fallen brothers.”
Zhao Huai then pointed to the collapsed Wei Yi, commanding, “Men, beat this fool to death, then throw him into the mountains for the wild wolves.”
“Yes, boss.” Some men were long itching to get some blows in; they slapped their metal bats into their palms, walking menacingly to Wei Yi’s side, raising their bats in preparation to strike.
Ji Yunshu screamed, “Stop!” She was about to run to Wei Yi’s side, but her shoulders were held firmly by someone else. Her eyes reddened, “If you kill him, I swear I will have your lives!”
“Do you have the ability?” Zhao Huai sneered, pinching her cheeks, “Don’t fret. Once he’s dead, it’ll be your turn.”
“Let him go, I beg you.” Ji Yunshu’s nose began to crinkle as tears flowed out uncontrollably while she struggled against their grip.
“Trying to beg me? There’s no use!” Zhao Huai snarked, “Hit him, kill the fool!” His subordinate grunted, lifting his metal bat over his head.
Ji Yunshu’s eyes widened in fear. She kicked backward and hit one of her captors in the shin precisely on the tendon, causing him to drop her in pain. Ji Yunshu took the chance to throw herself over Wei Yi, protecting him as that metal bat fell directly on her back with a dull, heavy thud.
Ji Yunshu hugged Wei Yi tightly as the pain spread across her back, numbing her entire body. She could not hold back a little scream, but immediately bit her lips, preventing herself from making another sound despite the pain she was in. A cold sweat began to run down her back and forehead.
The bandits stopped in shock, including the one who delivered the blow. He looked towards Zhao Huai awaiting his next order, but Zhao Huai was looking at the two people still tightly entwined on the ground. There was an inexplicable wave of emotion flowing through him as he saw them, something that he could not put into words.
Wei Yi began to stir. He could feel Ji Yunshu lying on top of him. He raised a hand and patted her arm gently, “Shu’er.”
Ji Yunshu’s face was ghostly white as she excruciatingly lifted her head off Wei Yi’s shoulder. She met Wei Yi’s gaze, the corners of her mouth slightly lifting up as a comforting smile spread across her face, “Wei Yi, don’t be scared.”
“Shu’er, what’s wrong?”
Ji Yunshu panted weakly. “I…” She fainted before she could complete her sentence, falling onto Wei Yi’s torso.
Wei Yi stretched out his arm to hold her as she fell. He could feel his palm getting sticky and wet. He lifted it to discover, “Blood, it’s blood. Shu’er, you’re bleeding, there’s so much blood, Shu’er…” Wei Yi began to cry as he panicked. His hands lay by his sides trembling in fear as he could not bear to touch Ji Yunshu. He stood there, unsure of what to do.
No-one else moved, including Zhao Huai. He noticed that Ji Yunshu’s entire back was dyed red, her plain robes soaking wet.
“He was only hit with the bat once, why is he bleeding so much?” Someone questioned.
Zhao Huai spoke, “It looks like he was hurt before.”
Yes, her back had yet to completely heal from the six paddles she had received. Once the bat fell, her wounds re-opened and bled freely. One could not help but sympathize with Ji Yunshu’s back; if she were to recover one day, her smooth back would definitely be riddled with scars.
“Boss, what should we do? Should we continue?” that metal bat-wielding bandit asked. Zhao Huai narrowed his eyes as he was about to give his next order when a young lackey ran in, panting. He reported to Zhao Huai, “Boss, the Second Master has brought some men with him. They’re at the entrance of the village.”
“Zhao Qing?” The two of them had not met since that bastard left a year ago, why was he here now?
“Boss, should we let the Second Master in?”
“How many men are with him?”
“He only brought two.”
“Two?” Zhao Huai contemplated. He eyed Wei Yi and Ji Yunshu with displeasure, then waved them away, “Bring these two away.” One of his men came up and dragged the unconscious Ji Yunshu and frightened Wei Yi out of the room.
Zhao Huai then glanced towards the door, nodding, “Let them in. Bring the five-year-old wine here. We need to treat our guests well.” Zhao Qing, Ba Hu and another lackey entered in no time. Zhao Huai sat on his own tiger fur-draped chair, every part the master of the house. The two brothers who had not met in a year each had their own agendas.
The remaining bandits closed in on Zhao Qing’s party and encircled them. Zhao Huai smiled, “It’s been a long time.”
Zhao Qing replied, “That’s true, it has been a long time. I thought that this place would have changed, but it’s still the same as when I left it.” Zhao Qing spoke lazily, indifferently, unlike Zhao Huai.
Zhao Huai rose, looking down on them from above, “No-one visits without purpose. Speak, why are you here today?”
Zhao Qing sat down on a nearby stool, fiddling with a bowl he picked up, tapping it nonchalantly on the table. “I heard that you shot a couple of arrows in that forest?”
“So what if I have?”
“So what?” Zhao Qing turned cold, flinging the bowl he held away, “A year ago, you and I came to an understanding that no matter what happened, neither of us would release any arrows in that forest!”
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