Sir Chu, is it? Lin Haihai mused. I’d like to meet him!
The silence was shattered by a heart-wrenching wail. Lin Haihai shot to her feet after a brief pause. When a burly man came up immediately to block her way, she gave him an icy glare and ordered, “Get out of my way!”
With a huff, Mother Qin slapped the table and moved, attacking Lin Haihai with an iron fan. Lin Haihai felt a shudder run down her spine. She dodged swiftly and leapt into the air, sending a torrent of air along with a flash of light at Mother Qin with a simple flick of her wrist. Mother Qin panickedly attempted to get out of the way, but it was ultimately in vain. The attack hit her squarely in the heart. She staggered backward with a hand covering her chest and ended up sputtering out a mouthful of blood.
The burly man couldn’t believe his eyes. Mother Qin was among the top martial arts of the world. Not even the head of the Sandriver Gang would be able to exchange ten blows with her. And yet this woman had subdued Mother Qin with a simple move. Who exactly was she?
Lin Haihai rushed out of the door without sparing Mother Qin another glance, looking for the wailing woman. She kicked a door open to a scene that made her blood boil: An overweight man was lashing at a young woman, whose clothes had been torn to pieces, and her face and body were covered in wounds.
The man was furious that someone had barged into the door. He turned around and was about to curse the unwanted guest out when he saw a stunning woman standing before him. He cracked a lascivious smile, the fat on his face twitching. “How generous of Mother Qin to always leave the best of the best to this Young Master. Come, beautiful girl. Don’t be afraid!”
The abused woman crawled to a corner of the room and curled into herself, sobbing. Lin Haihai approached her before taking off her court attire to cover the woman up, leaving herself dressed in only plain white undergarments, her hair running down messily. She looked alluring even in this unkempt state. The woman stopped crying and looked up at Lin Haihai, looking pitiful with the injuries covering her face.
“Help me, young mistress. Help me, please!”
Lin Haihai nodded and promised, “Close your eyes. It’ll be alright!”
The fat man was visibly overjoyed by the turn of events. Fury translated into an icy smile on Lin Haihai’s face. She walked slowly up to the man and picked up a round stool. The fat guy had long fallen head over heels for her beauty. “Come, come to me, beautiful girl - ”
The smile on Lin Haihai’s face dropped suddenly before she swung the stool at the man. Once, twice, thrice. The man was helpless against the barrage of attacks and could do nothing but whine like the pig he was.
Lin Haihai dropped the stool and spat at the fat man as he cowered on the floor in pain. She took the woman’s hand and said gently, “You’re safe now, girl. Let’s go!”
The woman bawled. She looked pitiful with her tears dripping down her injured face. Getting to her feet, she let Lin Haihai lead her out of the room. She was going to kill herself in resistance to the abuse, but someone showed up and saved her. Her life was now Lin Haihai’s!
Mother Qin covered her chest and glared at the unexpectedly powerful woman. “Tell me, who are you?”
Lin Haihai scoffed. “You have no right to know who I am. I’ll say this one last time: Let the women go!”
The ruckus had attracted the attention of many women. They watched the scene unfold with big, despairing eyes, looking bitterly at the woman standing by Lin Haihai’s side. They had all been there. They started out resisting with all they had. Then they gradually went numb. Until finally, they were nothing but walking corpses. Their past was written in blood and tears!
Lin Haihai’s words struck a chord in their hearts, but a woman like her wouldn’t be Mother Qin’s match even if she was from a wealthy family.
“How bold! Do you know that no one in Yangzhou dares speak to me like that? There are people you cannot afford to offend!” Mother Qin sneered. The woman might be a master of martial arts, but would she be able to fight an army of a thousand on her own?
“I’ll say the same to you, Mother Qin. There are people you cannot afford to offend!” Lin Haihai would like to meet the reason she was so confident!
Their stalemate was interrupted by a group of soldiers, who were led by a man in his forties. He was a handsome man with an imposing presence, and the way he behaved himself made it clear that he was a leader.
“Zijun, someone’s intervening with my business!” Mother Qin said to the newcomer in a sweet voice.
“Who are you?” The man frowned at Lin Haihai. She was dressed in only her undergarments, and her hair was a mess, but none of that undermined the tremendous presence she exuded. His gaze then shifted to the women beside her. His heart skipped a beat when he saw the court attire of a princess consort around the woman’s shoulders.
His change of expression told Lin Haihai that he had recognized her clothes. “Your reputation precedes you, Chu Zijun.”
Surprised, Chu Zijun took a closer look at Lin Haihai. The stunning woman was chillingly calm and collected. It unnerved him.
“And you are?” He had to ask. The woman must be somebody.
“Shall we step inside for a word?” Lin Haihai asked faintly.
Mother Qin shot Lin Haihai a shocked glance before shifting her gaze to Chu Zijun. “She’s taking down my business! What are you waiting for? Arrest her already!”
Chu Zijun stared at Mother Qin and sighed. “You’ve offended the wrong person this time, Xiao’qin.”
Mother Qin was stunned. She turned back to Lin Haihai’s calm expression. Who exactly is she? It shouldn’t be a problem even if she’s a princess. She’s alone now. It’ll be easy to deal with her, won’t it?
Lin Haihai led the abused woman back into the room, and the woman followed her without a word. It seems that my savior is an important figure. Perhaps she can save everyone who’s forced to work here!
Chu Zijun gestured at his soldiers to retreat before entering the room. Mother Qin followed him in.
“Old General Xie often talked about you, Chu Zijun,” Lin Haihai said coolly, fixing him with a dark gaze.
Chu Zijun’s head jerked up with tears in his eyes. “How’s Master?”
Lin Haihai scoffed. “You know he’d gotten blind, don’t you? But he’s cured now. He can see those around him clearly. Nevertheless, he cannot see those a few hundred kilometers away!”
Her unspoken accusation made Chu Zijun go through a myriad of emotions. Guilt, gratitude, and pain. Finally, he met Lin Haihai’s eyes steadily and said, “Please tell Master that Chu Zijun has disappointed him, Princess Consort!”
Without even sparing Mother Qin a glance, he unsheathed the sword on his waist and cut at his neck. Lin Haihai quickly knocked his sword away with a wave of her right hand, sending it flying into the windowsill.
Shocked, Mother Qin slapped Chu Zijun in the face. “How dare you?! What about me? Didn’t you promise to take care of me my whole life?”
She held onto Chu Zijun, trembling. With tears in his eyes, Chu Zijun pushed Mother Qin away. “I told you not to do something like this, but you never listened. How am I going to face my master and His Majesty now?”
His voice trembled with the sheer force of his regret. Lin Haihai asked, “How did you know I’m the princess consort? She is the one wearing the court attire.”
Chu Zijun looked up at her. “Master wrote to me that the kind princess consort had cured his vision and saved my junior sister. He told me to go to the capital and become your follower. However, Zijun cannot give up on Xiao’qin...”
He choked on a sob, unable to continue. He didn’t know why he knew she was the princess consort. Perhaps it was the faint medicinal smell coming from her. Perhaps it was the air of nobility about her.
Lin Haihai sighed. “This could’ve been avoided if you didn’t make the mistake in the beginning. Come to the capital with me. I’ll let His Majesty decide what to do with you!”
She wanted to hurry back to the capital. Yang Shaolun must be panicking with her gone!
“You mustn’t!” screamed Mother Qin. “I won’t let you go with her! You promised to take care of me to the end, you promised! So what if she’s a princess consort? We’ll kill her, and no one will be the wiser! We’ll go on with our life as usual. No one has to know!”
She cried out in despair. She had never seen such a look of grim determination on Chu Zijun’s face. It scared her. It really scared her.
Chu Zijun glared at her in disbelief. His unconditional love had emboldened her to a delusional degree. He reached out to slap her across the face. It landed on her, but he could feel the pain in his heart. “Are you mad? How dare you say something like that? Release the women. Give away your savings so that they can start their lives anew. They earned the money with their own bodies!”
He looked at her with pain in his eyes. It was his fault. He knew she was breaking the law of Daxing. He knew what she was doing would earn her the scorn of the world. And yet he kept enabling her. He even dealt with all the obstacles she faced for her!
Mother Qin pushed him away and grabbed the sword buried into the windowsill to attack Lin Haihai. Without even looking back, Lin Haihai grabbed the tea cup on the table and threw it behind her, her eyes flashing. The cup hit the acupuncture point on Mother Qin’s knee, causing her to involuntarily kneel down behind Lin Haihai.
“You remain stubborn in your wrongdoing and refuse to see reasons.” Lin Haihai straightened to loom over Mother Qin, staring coldly at her. “I would be able to cut off your head even if all the soldiers in Yangzhou were standing before me, let alone a small army of a few dozen strong. You’ve committed great atrocities by forcing regular women into prostitution. I should kill you right now!”
Lin Haihai turned to a pale Chu Zijun. “Your master is a tremendous man of integrity, and you are an embarrassment for him! If you love this woman, you should’ve stopped her from falling to this degree. Why would you mindlessly help her in her wrongdoing and allow her to commit such hateful crimes?!”
Chu Zijun dropped to his knees and kowtowed to her, his shoulders trembling. After a good long while, he looked up at Lin Haihai and said, “This lowly official has lost the right to see Master and His Majesty. Please end this lowly official’s life and spare Xiao’qin, Princess Consort!”
Mother Qin trembled. The tears brimming her eyes fell. How could he take responsibility for her crimes? She cast away the sword. The woman before her overpowered her in both strength and status, and she couldn’t make the woman her enemy. “It was all my doing. Kill me if you want. It has nothing to do with him!”
Lin Haihai looked down at Mother Qin. Regret could be seen in the woman’s eyes, but she remained as willful as ever. Hearing her words, Chu Qijun hurriedly interrupted, “Don’t listen to her, Princess Consort! My indulgence is to blame here. I should be the one being punished!”
“Shut it!” Mother Qin growled angrily, her brows twisted with fury. “What does anything I do have to do with you? Take your men and leave! I don’t want to see you again!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter