Chapter 375 - Ten Thousand Gold Taels
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Since when did the two of them have such chemistry?
Jing Rong and Shi Ziran’s weird exchange had Zhao Huai’s expression turning sour. He gave them a stiff smile, “I, Zhao Huai, have never blamed dogs for their mistakes.”
He called Shi Ziran a dog - with his temper, how could Shi Ziran take this lying down? Before he could explode, Jing Rong spoke. “Didn’t the First Master say that you would release them for ten thousand gold taels?”
“Are you willing to give me that amount?”
“Like I’ve already said, as long as my men are safe, I’ll give you what you want. You’ve shot your arrow and had your drinks - there’s no need for you to stall any longer. Let’s get straight to the point.”
“Good, exactly what I wanted to hear.” Zhao Huai’s feral expression returned, “But, gold is gold - how do you want to repay me for my men that you’ve killed? That debt is not as easy to repay.”
Jing Rong replied matter-of-factly, “I’ve also come here for that matter. Your men tried to rob my sedans, saying that they’ll take our lives if we didn’t give them money. If such a thing were to happen in the capital, it would be considered a major crime - they could have their entire families wiped out for this.”
Bang! Zhao Huai slammed his fist on the table. “Are you saying that my brothers deserved to die?”
“If they had not proclaimed their intent to kill, I would have never given the order to kill them as well.”
“Why do you claim that my men wanted to take your lives when you have not lost a single soldier?” Zhao Huai questioned loudly, his face bubbling with rage.
“You have your useless men to blame for that.” Jing Rong spoke, every inch the prince he was.
Zhao Huai was enraged; his fists were clenched and his muscles tensed up as he glared at Jing Rong with his narrow, phoenix eyes, “I, Zhao Huai, has never feared anyone since I was born. If you killed my men, you have to pay with your life, but I’m no cold murderer. I know this matter has nothing to do with that scholar or that fool. Since you’re paying the taels in exchange for their lives, I’ll let this matter slide. But we’ll need to reconsider my brothers’ deaths - whether or not you’ll leave this place alive, will depend on yourself.”
“Fine.” Jing Rong continued, “I’ve already prepared the ten thousand taels. They’re at the foot of the hill - you just need to collect them.”
“Already?” Zhao Huai did not understand, “Did you already predict that I would ask for taels?”
“You captured them but didn’t kill them; you could have killed me in that forest, but didn’t - as bandits, it’s obvious you were after money and treasure.”
Of course! Why else would he commit robberies? Zhao Huai’s eyes narrowed with suspicion and gestured for two lackeys to verify the gold. “As long as it’s true, I’ll release them. But if I find out you’re lying, then this will be your burial ground. Don’t think that I would fear you just because you’re a prince.”
Hmph, yeah right.
Jing Rong flicked his fingers, “Since I’ve brought the gold, shouldn’t you also let me see if they’re safe?”
“Fine. You won’t be able to pull any tricks anyway.” He ordered Ji Yunshu and Wei Yi to be brought over.
As soon as Ji Yunshu entered, her suspicions were confirmed - it really was Jing Rong who had invaded the village. That fellow sat there so freely, so relaxed, as if he were here to visit his relatives. She frowned, but began to worry. When their eyes met, Jing Rong gave her a small nod, as if hinting at something with that subtle action.
Zhao Huai had his men free Ji Yunshu and Wei Yi, “I’ve brought you your men - they’re safe. As long as there are no issues with your gold, they’re free to go.” Those bandits released their grip and pushed them towards Jing Rong.
Jing Rong stood up and caught Ji Yunshu, his heart tightening as her thin, clammy hands landed in his grip. He should have come much earlier! This woman must have been through so much.
However, Jing Rong purposely raised his voice so that Zhao Huai could hear his words. “It looks like the Gaoshan Village is a nice place - my men are well-fed and plump.”
Zhao Huai only said, “The fengshui’s good here.” Nothing more.
Ji Yunshu secretly thought to herself, am I a pig? Well-fed? Plump? “You shouldn’t have come,” she lowered her voice.
Jing Rong followed suit. “If I hadn’t, were you intending to marry one of the bandits and raise your children here?”
He smirked devilishly. “You’re this Prince’s woman, my wife. You don’t belong in such a small lotus pond. So, this Prince needed to come personally, in case your heart gets stolen by someone else.”
Ji Yunshu was uncertain - was Jing Rong here to rescue her? Or simply to visit and tease her. Ji Yunshu gave a wordless sigh as she composed herself and switched topics. “The Gaoshan Village is protected by secret mechanisms - isn’t entering this place akin to entering a tiger’s den?”
“You seem to have belittled this Prince too much. It’s precisely because it’s surrounded by mechanisms outside that there are absolutely no defenses inside. The only way to break in is to enter, and only by entering can I rescue you. When it comes to that, you should leave first with Wei Yi. I have my own way out; you would only be in the way if you stayed.”
Ji Yunshu did not reply. Jing Rong sidled up to whisper in her ear. “I’ve arranged everything. As long as nothing unexpected happens, everything will be fine.”
“What do you mean?”
“The gold taels are at the foot of the hill. All of them were coated with a thin layer of sulphur powder. Once they bring the taels in, you’ll be sent out. They’ll have enough trouble with twenty trunks of taels.”
“I know what you’re worried about. Relax, I won’t endanger their lives.” Jing Rong knew Ji Yunshu inside out! Their hushed conversation was not overheard by anyone else.
On the other hand, Wei Yi was bouncing up and down in excitement, “Brother Jing Rong, you’re finally here to rescue us. I don’t want to stay here anymore. It stinks!”
“I want to sleep on a bed, not grass!”
“And, these people are bad people. They keep bullying us. Brother Jing Rong, you need to help me take revenge.” Wei Yi’s little eyes were flaming. In the end, Ji Yunshu had to place her hand over his mouth to stop his chattering, which did not in the least bit suit this tense atmosphere!
Zhao Huai shot them an evil eye, but his mind was focused only on the gold. However, when his men did not return with news after a good while, he sent a couple more.
Significant time passed, but none of them returned. He slapped the table as he stood up. “Men, go take a look at the bottom of the hill and find out what the hell happened! Why isn’t anyone back yet?”
Just as his command was relayed, a man rushed in from outside, falling to his knees immediately. “First Master, bad news - those men you sent are all dead.” Dead!
“What did you say?” Zhao Huai thought that he had heard wrongly.
The man pointed at Jing Rong. “It was them - they killed our men.”
Jing Rong and Ji Yunshu turned to each other in alarm.This was bad! “What happened?” Ji Yunshu asked him.
Jing Rong shook his head; even he did not know what had transpired.
ChouFleur Rants Corner
So many cliffhangers lately!
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