Chapter 126: The Brain Goes Haywire Under Pressure
Translated by Gumihou
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Before Concubine Jing could order them, several female servants immediately volunteered themselves. They smiled winsomely and said, “We humble ones lack skill, but still think better than pigs. If we cannot manage this much, we might as well buy tofu and slam our heads into it and die.” With that, they took over the job of greasing the stone slabs with brushes and pouring the slurry.
The abbot and his monks lined up properly for their share of hot Flat Stone Cakes. In fact, they ate the cakes with such relish that the other servants nearly could not endure it anymore, but somehow they still managed to quash down the urge to swarm and properly lined up for food.
Su Nuan Nuan sighed with relief. How lucky it was that these servants are not like their masters. Look how well mannered they are, unlike their mannerless masters who would thicken their own faces and literally begged food from Nuan Nuan.
Naturally, when her thoughts turned to the foodies of An Ping, a certain thick faced foodie rose in her mind. Her hand, which had just scooped up some flour slurry paused. She glanced towards a window into the darkened sky and wondered: Who knows what the situation is like for those people leaving in carriages. Surely the senior madams have reached the Capital by now? Would they encounter an ambush partway? Duan Tingxuan that man slut… surely he might have suspected something by now and was making his way here, right?
Aih! Though it looked like we have the upper hand now, but the night was long and this might be the last peaceful hour they have. It’s not easy to keep the balance between threat and retreat, ah. The moment those bandits decide to stop playing around and storm in, a lot of lives would be lost. Will I be able to see the sun rise tomorrow? Will I be able to return to the mansion and live my free and easy life teasing that Duan Tingxuan?
“What is sister thinking about?” Concubine Jing whispered, pulling Su Nuan Nuan back into reality. When there was no one else around, both ladies will drop the formal addresses and treat each other like true sisters.
Su Nuan Nuan looked into the face next to her. That face, whose beauty could shake men’s hearts and ruin cities hid a tragic soul. She remembered Concubine Jing’s words: ‘I owe him a debt I could never repay, therefore, with this pin, I shall shed my blood for him.’ Su Nuan Nuan suddenly smiled and said lightly, “I was just thinking, though our lord is a bit too lusty, aside from this weakness, he was actually not bad as a man.”
Concubine Jing smiled back, “Sister, you only know this now? I thought you knew this already and was just holding back because the lord broke your heart. Only… allow me the privilege to speak the truth today of all days. About your parents’ matter, it isn’t that the lord did not wish to spare no effort to assist them, but he really had no choice on the matter. Since the decision had been thrown down by the emperor, how could our lord just risk his life for a lost cause? Since sister knows our lord’s secret troubles, perhaps sister might treat him a little better in the future. I really do believe that, towards sister, the lord is…”
“Wait just a moment.” Su Nuan Nuan held up a hand. “I was just remembering his treatment of you. Just how did the topic swing towards me?”
“Of me?” Concubine Jing was surprised. “But, what of me?”
“You were quite prepared to die as repayment to his kindness, have you forgotten all about that already?” Su Nuan Nuan said as she continued to cook, pouring batter over the hot stones as soon as a maid whipped the flat cakes away. She sighed, and said, “Didn’t I say it already, though he’s a little slutty, his own personal charm is not low. Which was mainly why I thought he had overspent when he paid 20,000 taels of silver to redeem you. But after thinking about it, I have to say that it’s not expensive at all. To be able to redeem such an excellent flower like you who thinks so well of him, I’d say he’d probably gotten you too cheaply.”
Su Nuan Nuan’s candid answer shocked Concubine Jing to the point that she really didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. After blinking and shaking her head, she finally managed a bitter smile, “To spend 20,000 silver taels on what is basically a flower vase and sister still call that cheap? He’s clearly made an unimaginable loss.”
“So what if he bought a vase? If this vase happened to be made in the previous dynasty, would 20,000 silver taels even be enough as a deposit? Moreover, you’re more than a vase, you’re a living person. How could you be compared to a vase? It’s such a waste to see someone like you humble yourself so. Your beauty puts my face to shame. If you’re someone with a terrible personality I’d still be able to declare myself the better good, but you just have to be the straight forward, clean living type. So much so, that the only thing I could do is bite my handkerchief and admire you jealously from a dark corner.”
Su Nuan Nuan muttered all of this half to herself with clenched teeth, pulling Concubine Jing from her slightly melancholic mood. She looked around and saw the people sitting around eating and chatting quietly with each other. An air of positive cheerfulness had replaced the gloom from before. She even heard low laughter from somewhere. Concubine Jing laughed too, “Sister is too brilliant. I expect those bandits outside must be about to cry now, right?”
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The elite members of the Slaughter Dog bandits outside really were about to cry. Especially the lower status members. While keeping watch, a sudden fragrant smell floated out from the monastery grounds to assault their noses. Cheerful laughter and light chatter filled their ears. As for them? Huddling in the dark, clutching their stomachs or elbows, the three or five groups of bandits did their best to resist the cold and hunger. September was the time when the wind blows cold and hard. A few of them sniffled as snot dribbled to their chins.
“Boss, we… we can’t go on like this, ah. Just look at our brothers’ sad conditions. As for those women and monks, don’t… don’t they want their lives anymore? To enjoy food and laughing like they don’t have a care, aren’t they just looking down on us?” Liu Er Niu complained bitterly at Chen Jing.
Before Chen Jing could say anything, military advisor Top Dog muttered, “Are they really women from noble families? Are noble family women all like that? My mother told me that these well-bred ladies never set a foot outdoors, their voices are like mosquitoes and their most important quality is their ability to walk beautifully in order to show off their slim waist and weak body…”
Before he could finish, Liu Er Niu sneered, “That’s right, that’s how women of noble houses are like. When we stormed in to corrupt officials’ houses to kill them, didn’t we encounter a few of these so called noble ladies? They’re all weak, spineless good for nothings only fit to be looked at. But these? The creatures inside can’t be noble women. Only Heaven knows what they are. I can tell they’re even fiercer than us bandits. I think that the house of An Ping is basically a bandit nest…”
“Enough.” Chen Jing snapped. He couldn’t keep hearing this anymore, just- what were their situation now? What’s the use of complaining without coming up with a proper plan? Even if you continue to curse them with that mouth of yours, will your target even feel a tickle?
“Boss, what should we do? What say we just charge in and start killing people?”
Liu Er Niu really couldn’t take it anymore and blurted out the simplest, most straightforward idea, and was glared at by the seniors.
“Stupid thing, you only know how to act rashly, don’t you know how to read the situation? Did you not see what they have put up on the walls? Those are Thorny Jujube branches, and why do you think they do that, huh?” Chen Jing growled, jabbing a finger angrily at Liu Niu Er’s forehead. He really hated this subordinate of his for being so stupid.
This useless thing cowered away, hand over his forehead mumbling, “It’s, um, it’s to… prevent us from getting in over the walls?”
“Their front door is already wide open, why would we jump over the walls? Is your brain broken?” Chen Jing became more and more angry, “Those Thorny Jujube branches are there to prevent us from getting OUT, not to prevent us from getting IN. If we rushed in at them, we can expect them to beat us like a dog.”
“Ah?” Liu Er Niu was muddled now. “A- aren’t they just a bunch of women and monks? How could they have such ability? Are they really not afraid of us storming them? Even plan to beat us up?”
“Boss is right, second brother, you must keep your guard up.” military advisor Top Dog immediately supported Chen Jing. His sudden appearance and words caused Liu Niu Er to rub his head in puzzlement, however, this time he did not dare to say anything. They waited in silence for another hour, during that time, the smell coming from the monastery became even stronger and he swallowed. “They… should be full by now, right?”
“Rumour has it that the House of An Ping heir’s wife has no peer when it came to kitchen skills. To think that she would still cook even under these dangerous circumstances, I wonder what she has made? Surely she hasn’t ordered them to move a whole kitchen in there, right? Who would actually have such foresight?” Top Dog stared listlessly at the nearest temple door, his mind obviously a thousand miles away.
Looking at the sad circumstances of his brothers, Chen Jing could not help but be moved. He looked around and saw his bandit brothers all crouching and huddling together miserably against the cold, hands over their growling stomachs. Tucking his hands into his sleeves, Chen Jing stretched out his neck to look at the two imposing doors for a moment. Their image now was no better than stupid old farmers stretching their necks, looking at passing carriages containing mysterious nobles. They looked nothing at all like the most feared elite Slaughter Dogs, whose very name would cause corrupt officials to shake in their boots.
No, this can’t go on. He would lose everyone’s respect at this rate.
Now that his thoughts have reached this point, Chen Jing abandoned his original ‘Wait and Observe’ strategy. Moreover, it’s not like they have all the time to wait, it’s closer to 7 or 8 at night now. If they wait anymore, who knows what kind of weird tricks those women might pull?”
“Er Niu, you bring a few brothers with you and storm in. Kill anyone that gets in your way, I will support you from the rear.”
Liu Er Niu was stunned by the sudden order from Chen Jing, but was soon overjoyed. He was about to leap to his feet and move to obey when military adviser Top Dog interrupted, “Boss, second brother is too reckless. He might fall into a trap. Why don’t you let me take a few comrades over for a scouting trip first? If there are any changes, we may adjust our plans accordingly.”
“Very well.” Chen Jing nodded
A tearful looking Liu Niu Er said, “Good brother, you must be careful. If you happen to fall into an ambush, be sure to call for help. This elder brother of yours will immediately bring a group in to rescue you.”
“Be at ease, second brother. I am not the type to act for no reason.” Top Dog patted his own thin, dried up chest with a smile. Then, he surveyed the group of bandits and selected three people who used to work as farmers. These three men ended up in their group after their landlord set up false charges against them, causing the death of their families. Thanks to their high level martial arts, the three managed to kill the landlord and escaped with their lives. More importantly for this mission, these three men were incredibly strong and therefore were taken in as members of the ‘Glorious’ Slaughter Dog Gang.
Aside from that, they were simple minded and obedient. Thus, would not be easily led astray by whatever tricks those temple people might pull.
Naturally, under these critical moments, Top Dog must take the opportunity to show off some of his skills, otherwise how would he display his usefulness as a military advisor? After clearing his throat, he declared in a deep voice, “Strong Zhang, Daring Zhou, Pockmark Wang, the three of you will come with me on this scouting mission and open a path for our army.”
The three men got up quickly. Pockmark Wang sniffed in a long drip of snot back up his nose and grinned, “I say, military advisor. Where’s this army, ah? Our numbers don’t even reach 100 men. If the monks in the temple haven’t split off, I’m afraid this army will be wiped out.”
“Nonsense, how dare you try to shake our men’s moral? It’s military language, we… use it for convenience sake.” Top Dog was so pissed off that he lashed out a kick at Pockmark Wang. You think that military strategies aren’t useful for bandits? Humph! As expected, you can’t educate an idiot.
[Gumihou: Lol, what an odd group of bandits. Lol!]
Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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