Chapter 410 - Longyang Escort Agency
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Just then, the clatter of hooves and the crunch of wheels on gravel could be heard from a distance. People on the streets quickly leapt out of the path but the peddlers were unable to shift their stalls and wares in time, getting run over by the horses and sedans galloping their way. Several people were even knocked over!
Wei Yi ran the whole way through with his head hanging down. By the time he looked up, several horses were already headed in his direction. His feet were glued to the ground as his pupils dilated in fear; he could neither move away nor avoid those horses. The men on those horsebacks did not rein in their steads, instead whipping them harder as they shouted, “Get out of the way! Move!”
Just as those horses were about to trample all over Wei Yi, Ji Yunshu reached out for his shoulder with the intention of pulling him to safety, but Wei Yi was firmly rooted to the spot. Without sufficient strength, she could only step in front of Wei Yi, hugging him firmly. Many pairs of eyes along the streets widened at this unmoving pair. Should those horses not stop in time, those two would surely get injured, if not die!
Those horsemen had the fiercest of expressions as they neared, only for two figures to leap out of nowhere. A flurry of feet and several kicks to those horses’ hooves later, the horses neighed loudly in pain and toppled over, smashing several stalls in the process. Those horsemen rolled off their mounts as well, startling the crowd.
Shi Zijin and Shi Ziran planted their feet firmly between Ji Yunshu and Wei Yi as well as those horsemen, staring at them coldly. Shi Ziran scoffed, “How daring of them to ride their horses on the streets. This place really is lawless.”
Shi Zijin walked towards Ji Yunshu. “Teacher Ji, are you hurt?”
Ji Yunshu shook her head as she checked on Wei Yi. That fellow was frightened out of his wits; his gaze was fixed straight ahead as he trembled all over. Ji Yunshu rubbed his clammy hands as she hugged his shivering torso. “Wei Yi, don’t be scared. I’m here with you.”
Suddenly, a ferocious voice called out, “Which idiot dares to defy us?” One of those fallen horsemen pushed himself up off the ground, pointing at Shi Ziran and the others.
Shi Ziran was a naturally fearless man. He narrowed his eyes at this unknown man. “Who gave you the guts to traverse the markets this way?”
“Are you blind? Don’t you know who we are?”
“Who cares about who you are! I have never ever feared anyone in this lifetime. If you were to hurt my master, it wouldn’t just stop at you falling off your horse. You could lose your arm, your leg, maybe even your life!” He proclaimed arrogantly, perhaps from years of practice by Jing Rong’s side. Shi Zijin and Shi Ziran had made a trip back to the Capital in the few days since they had left Shanhuai County together. They had just caught up to the main group, only to witness this scene. It was fortunate that they did, however, otherwise their own Prince would have their heads if Ji Yunshu and Wei Yi were harmed in any way.
That fallen horseman gestured angrily at the flag behind him after listening to Shi Ziran’s words, “Rascal, look here. We’re from the Longyang Escort Agency. Anyone who blocks our path courts death.” [1. An escort agency is kind of like an armed bodyguard service + FedEx. They guard and transport carriages of goods, usually by horse & carriage, sometimes also with ships.] He called out for his men to prepare their attack.
Shi Ziran and Shi Zijin likewise readied themselves, but before either side could make their move, a voice cried out from the sedan behind, “Stop.”
Those ferocious men immediately stepped aside, crouching as they cleared a path from the carriage from which a man stepped out. That man was tall, sturdy, and appeared to be a martial arts practitioner. He was about fifty or so, his stern features accentuating his natural charisma, but his steely gaze could tear down even the strongest of men from the inside out in an instant. Even the usually fearless Shi Ziran flinched at the sight of that man, avoiding his gaze out of reflex.
The man stepped forward in his boots, adorned with steel embellishments. “Chief,” those horsemen were lined up neatly in two rows along an imaginary path, calling out in reverence. Yun Tongyang’s eyelid twitched as he looked at Shi Ziran, before unsheathing a dagger from his waistband. Everyone thought that the dagger was meant for Shi Ziran, but Yun Tongyang turned and plunged his dagger deep into that horseman’s thigh. The man fell to his knees with a cry, breaking out into cold sweat!
Yun Tongyang’s entire demeanour changed completely; he gave a slight bow as he addressed Shi Ziran courteously, “My Longyang Escort Agency never stirs up trouble for no reason. We’ve only just returned today for an urgent matter, resulting in the scene you just witnessed. I hope for these masters’ forgiveness; if we’ve offended you in any way, this Mr. Yun Tongyang will apologise on their behalf.” He raised his fists in respect, nothing like the uncouth men!
Shi Ziran glanced at that flag hoisted onto that carriage behind him and smirked, “Your Longyang Escort Agency must be some big shots, no? Using your name to justify your actions on the streets - if you were to kill someone in this chaos, will the yamen be able to arrest you for your crimes?”
“This young master tells a good joke. Our Longyang Escort Agency is a legal business, a legitimate escort agency offering paid services. If my men have made a mistake, this Mr. Yun has already penalised them for their poor judgement. As for the wares we have overturned, our Longyang Escort Agency will compensate everyone accordingly. If my men have harmed you young masters in any way, I’ll take up full responsibility for it.”
“Chief Yun is quite a reasonable man.”
“Then this Mr. Yun will ask for your cooperation.”
Shi Ziran turned around to confirm that Ji Yunshu and Wei Yi were unscathed. He was not one to dwell, nor did he have the mind to blow up matters out of proportion, especially since he was Jing Rong’s subordinate; if there were to be any trouble, Jing Rong would also be implicated. Shi Ziran eventually decided to let matters go. “Since Chief Yun has already made his case, I don’t want to make things difficult for you any further. But this is a busy street - something like this must not happen again in the future. If someone were to really get hurt, simple compensation may not be enough then.”
“Yes, Mr. Yun will keep this in mind.” His tone was extremely out-of-character compared to his dress - so docile!
This person obviously was a control freak; even though he spoke courteously, if one took into account how he drove his dagger into one of his own men’s thigh, he was not just a man who needed to be in control, but also a man who was harsh to his own subordinates. One could only imagine what would happen if someone were to wrangle himself out of his control! Others may not have seen through him, but Ji Yunshu was different!
When the crowd had broken up, Yun Tongyang ordered his men to compensate the affected peddlers with some silvers, helping them clean up the mess before leaving the street. Ji Yunshu was comforting Wei Yi throughout all this, but he was still trembling, curled up tightly into a little ball in her arms. When they returned to the yamen, Ji Yunshu had Mo Ruo examine the ghastly pale Wei Yi, but he only said that he was just frightened from what he saw and would recover with rest.
Ji Yunshu kept watch by his bedside guiltily. “I should have held him more firmly, I shouldn’t have let him run outside. It was all my fault. If anything were to happen, how would I live?”
Jing Rong comforted her this time, “Stop blaming yourself, and stop worrying. Mo Ruo already said that he’s alright. Let him rest quietly. Let’s leave first.” Ji Yunshu nodded.
As they stepped out, Fang Mingsan was standing in the corridor waiting for them as he pleaded, “It’s this official’s fault. I should have sent some men to protect Master Wei. This official asks for Your Highness’s punishment.”
Jing Rong waved him away, “It’s already over, and it had nothing to do with you.” He asked, “Who were those people?”
“Those men belong to the Longyang Escort Agency. The Longyang Escort Agency is an imperial agency tasked with delivering imperial tributes and goods.”
Shi Ziran was leaning against a pillar not far away. He scoffed, “No wonder they were that arrogant. Then, what about that chief of the Longyang Escort Agency?”
Fang Mingsan answered, “That man doesn’t have any connections in Yuzhou City, but all of his men are ferocious, aggressive, and extremely subservient to him.”
ChouFleur Rants Corner
New character! How does this relate to the case though...?
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