Chapter 7 – Fearless
Ye Xiaotian called a few more times, then he heard sounds coming from inside and the old door strewed of worn and cracks creaked as it opened. The daylight shone on a youthful girl with a graceful bearing and dressed in blue clothes. She held the opened door and looked at Ye Xiaotian with an astounded expression.
The girl had a fair and bright forehead. Her eyebrows, far apart but seeming as if they were painted delicately, knit into a frown, dyeing her expression with faint worries. She was slender with a thin waist hidden by a small belt. Her appearance exuded an elegance that came from her innate bearing.
She stood there, a hand holding the upper part of a door dotted with chipped paint which knew better days. Although her clothes were shabby and devoid of adornments, it couldn’t hide her unique aura.
That girl was born to be a beauty, but her current state made people feel sorry for her. She didn’t possess a devastating beauty that could befall cities. In fact, beauty isn’t based on just the outer appearance. It’s a clever combination of temperament and looks which capture people’s heart. Beauty is also having the charisma that could render old and young foolish, willing to fulfill the whims of the other party. The lass in front of him was the possessor of such beauty.
Ye Xiaotian stared at her. As a citizen born and living in the capital, he had seen many great beauties, but his first impression of her left him gawking. A thought passed through his mind.
“This is a complete example of ugly parents could give birth to unlikely children. It’s surprising how that revolting Yang Lin could have a daughter with a foxy appearance like this.”
Apart from surprise, the girl in question looked at him with suspicions. She was a young woman living alone in a dead end at the edge of the Yang family’s compound. As a woman, she rarely received any visit except for the monthly brown rice delivery by the Yang family’s housekeeper. In doubt, she inquired in a gentle voice, “Who might you be? Why did you come here?”
Ye Xiaotian rushed to answer. “Nice to meet you, miss. I am Ye Xiaotian. I came from the capital under the request of your esteemed father, Lord Yang, to deliver his last will.”
She let out a surprised gasp and covered her mouth before asking in a trembling voice, “You… What did you say? Whose last will, are you delivering?”
He replied, “How about you invite me in first, so I can tell you of the circumstances?”
His words made her realized her uncourteousness. She hurried to unlock her door, lifting the horizontal bar obstructing it, then leave a way for him. When he was about to proceed in, a loud shout made him turn back. “Oi! Boy, what’cha doing?”
His eyes welcomed the sight of five male servants coming out from the alley corner. Leading the group was that skinny servant who was acting all arrogant and bossing people earlier, Yang Sanshou.
Ye Xiaotian got frightened. He had no idea why Yang Sanshou came with so many people, but he was sure they were up to no good. There was no doubt if Yang Lin’s testament fell into their hands, he could kiss goodbye to his 500 taels.
He rushed inside the courtyard and warned the young woman, “No good! The people of Yang Mansion are here. This letter is extremely important. It must not fall into their hands. Miss Yang, I have to escape first. I’ll come back later to discuss the matter again.”
Without extra words, he scanned the place in a hurry. There was a chicken coop covered in cobwebs in a corner – a statement of how long no chicken is raised in it. Immediately, he dashed toward it and in one jump; he stepped on the roof. With a firm stepping, he leaped once again with arms spread and grabbed onto the top of the wall. At that moment, he heard a loud crash. The chicken coop had been flat down by his actions…
The young woman is flustered by the sudden collapse of the desolate chicken coop. Then, she gawked at Ye Xiaotian struggling to climb up the wall.
“The adulterer is escaping! Catch him!”
Yang Sanshou, who had rushed into the courtyard, shouted aggressively.
They grabbed onto his legs and put their all into a tug-o-war with Ye Xiaotian until finally, they were victorious. From that desolate dead end, they dragged him the entrance of the estate – the ultimate destination he sought for, the place which took him 2 months of travel to reach but didn’t dare to cross through.
Yang Sanshou was ecstatic. He doubled his efforts to pull Ye Xiaotian while clamoring, “Walk quicker! You got some balls to dare put hands on a woman of our Yang family. Watch how I will take care of you!”
Ye Xiaotian wasn’t shaken by the other’s accusations. If he wants to wash himself from the so-called crime of vying at other family’s woman, slapping out Yang Lin’s testament would be enough. However, if he did that, his 500 taels would become a mere dream. In addition, there was a possibility that those sinister people would deny the facts and insist they caught him committing adultery. Ye Xiaotian couldn’t be clearer than anyone about the punishments reserve for adulterers. At that time, he might not be able to hold on to his life.
Like grasshoppers on the same leaf, the pretty and gentle girl was dragged away with him. Finally, they reached the moon gate of the back residence and waited outside until a maid came out escorted Miss Yang to the madame, leaving Ye Xiaotian outside.
He watched the group of three male servants standing to the side. It was as if they were waiting to be summoned by the head of the family. Then, a short man with a pointy beard came to them. His waist was big and so was his biceps. He had a fierce look and kept rubbing his hands together. He turned to Yang Sanshou and inquired quickly, “Brother Sanshou, why did bring my little wife here all tie up?”
Yang Sanshou snorted with arrogance. “That wench have the guts to degrade our Yang family by associating herself with a pretty boy. This is absolutely outrageous! After our madame uses the clan laws, I will oust those two out of this house.”
The big man showed his dissatisfaction at Yang Sanshou’s word. He glowered, “My little wife had such tender skin. If our madame flogs her, how can she end well? Brother Sanshou, she is mine, so if there is any punishment, I should be the one to take care of it.”
A cold sneer spread across Yang Sanshou’s face. “Hohoho! Butcher Mu, you’re too softhearted. She will not be given to you in case you are lenient to her instead. For a shameless woman who doesn’t guard herself, she will never learn her lesson with you.”
Butcher Mu mumbled in refutation, “Taking in a concubine is all about appearance. As long as she is young and pretty with a well-endowed body, it doesn’t matter how many men she slept with before. There won’t be any differences. Anyway, when she married into my family, she won’t get to see those mosquitos again.”
Ye Xiaotian mused inwardly after overhearing their words. “It’s true that the Yang family’s miss is a concubine-born daughter, but she is still from a family of officials. Is Madame Yang planning to sell her to the butcher as a concubine? How unvirtuous! Aren’t she afraid of people criticizing her?”
Yang Sanshou’s expression darkened at once when he heard the other’s arguments.
“Do you understand human speech? Did you think a mere 12 taels can let you buy from our Yang a woman as delicate as a flower and refined as jade? Ptui! The only reason you have that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get her is because our madam intended to humiliate that wench. A lowlife who thinks he is a big shot,” he spat out in annoyance.
Yang Sanshou’s poisonous tongue destroyed Butcher Mu’s self-esteem while the other party seethed with anger but had no courage to refute. With nowhere to vent, Butcher Mu stepped back while mumbling incoherently and doing his best to hold back his anger.
Inside the back residence, time seemed to slow. The graceful Madame Yang was accompanying a man who seemed to be a bit older than her. His black hair was strewed with white. He had a scholarly appearance, dressed in wide sleeve garments. He paced around slowly with a calm look, causing the cloth holding his hair to sway.
“Little Sister, don’t you think selling her to the butcher is very inappropriate? If it is known, what are you going to do? Your name will be smeared.”
An unnatural expression passed through Madame Yang’s face. There was some hesitation which plunged the room in a moment of silence before she spoke. “I just can’t stand it. That little wench should teach the meaning of suffering. As long as her days are bitter, my hatred will be lighter. Older Brother shouldn’t meddle in this matter.”
The man stroked his beard in contemplation. “Sanshou has returned with some news. I heard they found her lover in her courtyard, right?”
Madame Yang snarled, “You’re right! That little wench is a source of problems. She actually kept a wild man. I will absolutely not let any of them off lightly!”
The man chuckled. A cold light flashed through his eyes as he said, “Little Sister, this is your perfect excuse. You don’t need to sell her to the butcher and tarnished your reputation. Since there are many guests coming to offer their condolences, even the clan patriarch is here, why not let the patriarch handle the punishment for that debauched couple who tarnished the Yang family’s principles?”
Madame Yang was enlightened by his words.
“That’s right! Why didn’t I think of it? Older Brother is as thorough as always,” she said gleefully.
Then, they walked through a door and a slave girl stood in wait with several strips of white fabric in her hands. The siblings each took one white headband and tied it around their heads, covering their foreheads before going out.
At that moment, Miss Yang, who was dragged into the courtyard, saw Madame Yang coming out. Her tears slipped down her face immediately and she sobbed, “Madam, Shuiwu was framed. Shuiwu didn’t do anything improper with other people. Madam…”
Madame Yang’s expression dropped to sub-zero as she sneered. She lashed out in a proud tone, “Leave these words for the clan patriarch to hear. Take them away!”
After a good moment waiting outside the moon gate, a maid rushed out of the residence toward Ye Xiaotian and the other servants. Despite gasping for her breath, she informed Yang Sanshou, “Head Housekeeper, the madam wants you to bring this man to the mourning hall and let the clan patriarch decides his fate.”
When Yang Sanshou heard her, he ordered his men to restrain Ye Xiaotian as walked through many corridors, passed numerous doors and turned countless of times until they arrived in front of a big house surrounded by a courtyard. He could see smoke spiraling out of the entrance. There were rows of condolences banners and funeral rings at the portico. Everyone present was dressed in mourning clothes. All the guests were dispersed in the courtyard in groups of three to five, waiting for their turn to be lead into the hall by the funeral host to pay their respects.
Seeing the situation, he mused. “This is where they hold the funeral for the old bastard, but why did they bring me here?”
He suddenly had an epiphany and was overcome by excitement. Since earlier, he has been worried they would search him and discovered Yang Ling’s testament. However, the situation was now different. The majority of the heavyweights in Jingzhou are present here, so if he takes out the will here, the Yang won’t be able to refute since their reputation and image would be at stake. Unfortunately, this was nothing but his own conjectures. Madame Yang might not give any care to reputation and name. There was a possibility he would be taken to court on some charges. In that case, it would be best if the hearing was public.
He contemplated many scenarios while carefully observing the guests. At that moment, several sturdy maids came in while grabbing a tied-up girl. Her body was restrained by a rope which highlighted her curves for all to see.
Ye Xiaotian’s eyes lit at the sight and couldn’t help leering at her discretely while assessing her in his mind. “This girl’s waist is so small and her legs straight and slender. She looked cute and graceful, but that chest… who would have thought it would be so impressive.”
At that instant, all the worries he had about the Yang’s evil schemes were thrown into a corner of his mind as the exciting image stimulated his inner wolf, making him suddenly fearless.