TN: I got a dedicated Editor!!! Welcome 322Dream! YEY ME, and maybe a proofreader soon. What does that mean? Better Quality. He is even going to go back and re-edit the previous chapters. With that said, expect better quality from now on. Cheers!
Chapter 5 Swallowing Tooth and Blood
The sky gradually began to darken as the north wind’s whistling blew throughout the sky. It was so chillingly cold that you could feel like it was piercing through your bone marrow. The wind swirled with snow as the sky howled like mad monsters.
Under Zhuge’s orders, people were cleaning the area. They shoveled up those children’s corpses with their spades and then threw them in to a carriage. Not far from there, the workers dug a small pit. Together with those bloodthirsty beasts, those children were thrown in and covered with twigs. The pile of corpses was then burned creating a thick black smoke. Their worthless lives were just like rubber balls. The rich masters will only play with them once then immediately discarded even before the toy become greasy.
Jing Yue was wearing a broken sack sitting very still with her head down against the cage. She suffered heavy injuries, even an adult would not have been that patient. Initially, the people cleaning up thought that she was already dying, but after checking for several occasions, they saw her chest move up and down slowly. Knowing that she was still breathing, they were amazed on what sort of strength supported this child during her ordeal. Upon seeing this, they had decided not to throw her in the pile to be buried, but instead, loaded her into a cage.
The cage that looked so crowded before now looked quite spacious. The children were all dead except one. The workers sighed at the child’s good luck but at the same time they couldn’t help but poke their heads in to size her up several times carefully.
Even if they could not pinpoint it, they were still keenly aware that this child, in comparison to before, was somewhat different.
Zhen Huang’s city gates were wide open. Zhuge’s family had enormous influence and status in the Great Xia. They controlled the armed forces that were in charge of defending the border and protecting the trading routes. They garnered huge respect and admiration. As members for the Zhuge family pass by, citizens would bow their heads as they watched the move away.
Jing Yue didn’t know how long she was in the carriage. Even with all the rocking, she didn’t have an ounce of consciousness. Today, the sun was very bright, but the wind was very cold. It kept blowing through the gaps of the cage making her thin clothing rub against her wounds making it even more painful.
Around the corner from the main street Jiuwei, was the inner city’s Ziwei Square which was named after the Queen Ziwei, the nation’s founding mother. For 400 years, it has been a sacred place in Great Xia. The commoners passing through must kneel three times and kowtow nine times in veneration towards Queen Ziwei’s Central Palace.
The workers hired by Zhuge had to all get off of the carriage to meticulously kowtow to the palace.
While they were doing that, a hissing melodious voice could be heard from the front, “Whose servants are you? Why are you blocking the middle of the road?”
Zhu Shun hastily got up to see who exactly was speaking so high and mighty to them. He quickly bowed and respectfully said, “Why it’s Prince of Shu Ye, we’ll immediately make way for Gongzi .”
Zhuge’s people quickly moved out of the way to give way to Shu Ye’s horses. Suddenly he saw the wounded Jing Yue in the carriage and stopped.
“Were you guys attacked by wolves?”
Zhu Shun quickly replied, “Answering Gongzi, no, this is just a slave. It did not happen that way.”
Shu Ye did not pay attention to Zhu Shun, but was staring at Jing Yue in the cage. Bending down slowly he got closer to the child, “Child, look up.”
Swish, suddenly a whip was cast into the cage, mercilessly hitting Jing Yue’s body. Her whole body was startled, and she suddenly raised her head to look at the whip.
“What are you doing?” Shu Ye said with his brow furrowed.
Zhu Shun fearing retribution explained immediately, “ This lowly one saw that this slave was bold and did not return Gongzi’s…..”
“You’re called Zhu Shun right?”
A gentle voice suddenly called out. Although immature, the calm and gentle voice could not be ignored. Zhu Shun and Shu Ye turned to look at the child. They felt strange, looking at the child that was just under assault. Zhu Shun was plain dumbfounded and stared, “ Yo…You….What did you say?”
Jing Yue’s cheeks were full of blood stains, and her pair of sharp big eyes gave a stark contrast. This made her appear more attractive. “I just listened to others call you Zhu Shun, this is your name, right?” she quietly repeated.
Zhu Shun slowly frowned, “Yes, why?”
“Nothing,” The child shook her head and raised her little black hand covering the wound from the whip, and nodded, “I will remember.”
Zhu Shun suddenly became furious and was just about to speak when Shu Ye began to laugh. With his 17-year-old appearance, tall with a straight physique, chic and naturally candid stature, he could only be described as elegant. Wearing a pale blue long silk gown embroidered with layers of clouds. This was not an exaggerated impression. He looked at Jing Yue and finally said with a smile, “Child, can you tell me your name?”
Jing Yue looked at Shu Ye in the eyes, then immediately shook her head. Her voice still like she should be breastfed, but her eyes were very serious. “One day, when I am no longer in this cage and by chance we meet again, I would tell you.”
Upon hearing Jing Yue’s reply, Shu Ye’s eyes arched up. He turned back to Zhu Shun and smiled, “This little slave is my friend. You cannot bully her.”
Zhu Shun’s slanted eyes stared at Jing Yue before nodding in promise.
“Little girl, I will be waiting for the day you tell me your name. Before that, you must take care of yourself.”
Jing Yue nodded her head. With a gentle smile Shu Ye drove away from Ziwei Square. With an ugly look still pasted on his face, Zhu Shun commanded that they continue on their way. After a long while, they finally arrived at Zhuge’s residence.
The Zhuge family’s residence was very large. They had entered from the back door. Zhu Shun handed Jing Yue to two servants, said a few words. He then coldly glanced at Jing Yue before turning and walking away.
A door lock was opened and Jing Yue was pushed inside. Before she could get up, it was tightly locked back up.
She inspected the room and saw a pile of bundled firewood on a dark corner. She even heard the rustling of mice. The child did not panic though. She just sat in the middle of the room, took off the worn-out sack, and with her teeth, she tore off a piece of the clothes to dress her wounds. She was surprisingly skilled on applying first-aid.
For such a long time, it was enough to make a qualified agent stabilize sufficiently.
Her thoughts and emotions were finally calm in the face of this awful situation. She was ready to face anything.
Indeed, at this time, Jing Yue was the country’s 11 Unit Deputy Commander, Chu Qiao. Her fate at this time was inconceivable. Even in the darkest situations, she didn’t hide from death. But perhaps she was here to start another life.
Chu Qiao raised her hands to the light while looking at her little palm with a hint of sadness in her heart. But, she did not know who she was sad for, the poor little child or herself.
“Since no one is here, I can allow myself to be sad and afraid. But, I’ll make sure to keep it short.”
The child whispered slowly to herself as tears slowly streamed down her little blackened face. Holding her knees, she slowly lowered her head to bury it in her arms. Her body gradually began to tremble.
This was Chu Qiao’s first evening in the Great Xia Dynasty locked in Zhuge’s drafty and cold firewood room. This was her first time feeling so weak and scared, she had lost her presence of mind and shed tears. She gave herself an hour before reverting to cursing fate, to worry about her future, and to adapt to her new life. After the hour passed, she would no longer be 11 Unit Deputy Commander Chu Qiao, but this small and helpless little slave. In this inhumane and bloodthirsty world of this vicious Dynasty…..it was difficult to survive.
Her fate of being this low, she motivated herself she would climb out of it.
This bad situation didn’t give her anytime to have self-pity or pain. If she did not cheer up, she would not survive the night.
She reached out her darkened little hand to pick up a stick and with it she stroked the ground to write some words.
Zhu Shun, Zhuge, Jing, Mu, Jue and Che. She was very thorough.
After writing their names, she slowly started to frown. Outside had gotten dark. There was the sound of music somewhere out in the distance, there were still singing and dancing among the prostitutes. She had to silently recall for a long time before she could finally write the last word: Yan.
In Zhuge family’s Hall, a lively banquet scene was happening. Yan Xun’s right eye suddenly twitched a bit. His handsome face frowned, and he slowly turned his head towards the darkness looking puzzled.
The dim light of a night funeral and burial, jackdaws flying high, the ugly dirty Dynasty that has been rotting away from the inside…..
Everything old was doomed to be ruined allowing a new order to rise from its ashes!