Wife Doting Addiction：My Abducted Tsundere Husband - Chapter 118
Chapter 118: Dapao Is Made a General
At night, Su Jiu was in the room with Ji Yuxian going through the accounts.
Sitting cross-legged on the couch, she flipped through the ledger, with a frown on her face.
Ji Yuxian got up and walked over.
He pulled the young lady into his embrace, and with a smile, moved his lips closer to hers.
Indulgently, he asked, “What’s wrong?” Su Jiu sighed.
“Business at the commercial house isn’t doing well.
If this continues, we’ll have to close the place down! Was this all wishful thinking on my part?” Ji Yuxian’s eyes turned gentle as he remarked, “You have such an intelligent husband by your side.
Why don’t you ask him for advice?” Su Jiu turned towards him with a sparkle in her eye.
“Do you have an idea?” “Why are customers not entering your commercial house?” Ji Yuxian rested his chin on her forehead intimately and asked softly.
Su Jiu bit her lip as she pondered about the question.
The Daliang nation was prosperous at the moment, with tributes coming in from all directions.
Although there were occasional wars at the borders, Daliang had a strong army, and wouldn’t be easily conquered.
Those wars did not affect the prosperity of the country.
A flourishing nation translated to wealthy citizens.
Furthermore, Shengjing was Daliang’s most populous and prosperous city.
Therefore, it wasn’t a problem of insufficient purchasing power.
She had spent the last few days doing some observation of her own.
Other shops, regardless of whether they sold rice, textiles, or other merchandise, still enjoy brisk business.
Qingyu Commercial House was the only one that wasn’t getting any customers.
Many passersby had stopped at the entrance to peer in.
They all seemed curious, but none of them stepped in.
Su Jiu looked up at the man, her distinctive eyes full of questions as she asked, “Why?” .
Ji Yuxian took his time explaining it to her.
“When you open a trading company, you need to identify who your target market is.
The third floor sells fabric and cosmetics, and the customers are solely female.
Most of the young ladies and madams from the prestigious families in Shengjing City rarely leave the house, and when they do, they always go to Robes Square.
If you’re out to compete with Robes Square, you’ll need to build your brand up.
As for the other ladies among the common folk, if they see men entering and exiting the commercial house, they’ll keep their distance for modesty’s sake and will refrain from entering.
” The customs of Daliang weren’t archaic, and the women weren’t bound by endless restrictions.
It wasn’t as if a mere touch meant that a woman would have to marry a man regardless of whether or not she wanted to.
However, most women still stayed away from places that men frequented.
This was especially so for the women from prominent families, who understood their self-worth and carried themselves in a manner that displayed their upbringing and culture.
“The second-floor houses art, calligraphy, and stationery.
These merchandise are targeted at the students and the literati.
Their sense of pride and aloofness directs them to shop at places that are elegant and quiet, as a display of their tastes and identity.
They won’t be willing to patronize the same shops that the commoners go to.
Therefore, if you’re trying to attract this group of people to be your customers, you’ll need to have something that will appeal to them!” “On the ground floor are the items directed towards the commoners.
However, the interiors of Qingyu Commercial House are very grand and luxurious and look even more exclusive than the premium shops in the city.
Many commoners will be too intimidated to enter, and will merely look in from afar.
” Continue reading on MYB0XN0 V E L.
COM As Su Jiu listened to Ji Yuxian’s explanation, the knots in her mind slowly came loose, and her questions were answered.
Indeed, she had been wondering why the commercial house lacked customers, even though their merchandise was cheap and good.
It had never occurred to her to consider why the people weren’t coming in the first place! Indeed, she was still too green! Su Jiu felt the knot in her chest untangle, and her heart thumped excitedly.
A sudden flurry of thoughts came rushing out.
She tilted her face upwards and bit the man’s chin forcefully.
“Why didn’t tell me all this earlier?” Ji Yuxian looked at her innocently.
“Well, did you ask, dear wife?” Su Jiu glared at him, fighting the urge to bite him hard! Ji Yuxian kissed her delicately drawn brows, and asked, “Do you know what to do now, wife?” Su Jiu’s eyes twinkled as she nodded her head, and said with a wide grin, “But I may need your help!” “I can always help, but how are you intending to thank me?” Ji Yuxian sucked on her lips as his eyes filled with desire.
A dangerous glint appeared in his fathomless eyes.
Su Jiu’s heart sped up to a frenzied pace as a result of his kiss, and her voice grew weak as she asked, “How do you want me to thank you?” “Allow me to do anything I want with you when we return to the room!” The man wet his lips, and desire was plastered on his face, as his breathing became ragged.
Su Jiu stared at him.
“What if you can’t bear the torment?” The previous few instances had resulted in him being left in a state of unsatisfied anguish.
Hadn’t he learned his lesson? “Let’s just go all the way and reenact the painting then!” the man cajoled.
Su Jiu fought to stay sober, and refused to be mesmerized by him.
She shook her head.
“No!” The fruits of the Dragon Conqueror Gang’s labor were just beginning to show.
What would happen if she truly became the Young Mistress of the Ji Manor? “You’re so heartless, wife.
I came up with a strategy for you! How could you be willing to watch me suffer?” Ji Yuxian’s hands began to roam, and he bit her ear.
Su Jiu’s entire body began to tingle, and she tried to leave his embrace.
“The repairs for the Perched Phoenix Pavilion have been completed.
I think it’s better if I moved back.
You’d suffer less that way!” The lady’s words were sincere, but Ji Yuxian’s mood turned murderous when he heard her.
He tightened his arms around her and refused to let her leave.
Kissing her neck passionately, he lowered his voice and asked.
“What if there’s another way for you to relieve me of my torment?” Su Jiu looked at him dubiously.
“How?” Ji Yuxian took her hand in his and pressed it on his member (1).
“I’ll teach you!” Su Jiu’s eyes widened in bewilderment as she watched the lust cloud his eyes, clenching her hand around the object in curiosity.
Her innocent yet guileful demeanor ignited a fire in the man.
Unable to restrain himself any longer, he carried her and walked into the bedroom.
… The next day, Su Jiu had Chang Huan do some reconstruction of the commercial house.
They added a wooden staircase that went directly from the ground floor to the third floor.
The corridors were lined with redwood and enclosed with glazed glass inlaid with gems and precious stone, creating a colorful and eye-catching exterior.
In less than seven days, the construction of the wooden staircase was completed.
Providing direct access to the third story was indeed effective in attracting many female customers.
When they entered, they discovered that the accessories and cosmetics on sale were leaps and bounds better in quality than what other shops offer.
As a result, the number of ladies who came to try on their cosmetics gradually increased.
The appeal extended to the daughters of the prominent families, who would have their carriages stop by road while they entered the commercial house to shop.
After another couple of days, Su Jiu added wooden tables and chairs to the second story and organized a poetry session.
With Qiao An as the host, she invited many scholars in the city to attend, as well as many other examination candidates from other cities who had yet to return home.
Qiao An had been an official for two months and was acquainted with many other scholars.
Many of them had admired him for his position and knowledge and frequently came to witness his mind.
Qiao An had never rejected any of them—a move that was proving handy at this point.
Once the invitations were sent out, all of them turned up.
Su Jiu requested a favor from Ji Yuxian to invite Ji Ze.
With the top scholar in attendance, the integrity of the poetry session was reinforced.
The session gained a firm reputation in the city and attracted the attendance of even more scholars.
Su Jiu provided complimentary tea, paper, and ink.
The ink and paper were of the highest quality, and the scholars who had sampled them rushed to purchase some for themselves.
Ji Ze, Qiao An, and a few others produced very outstanding works, and Su Jiu deliberately constructed a display stage to exhibit their paintings and calligraphy for others to appreciate.
These works were up for sale too, and the proceeds were used by Chang Huan to purchase rice and food for the soup kitchens.
In a matter of days, Qingyu Commercial House had gained fame in the city.
The increased recognition corresponded to increased popularity.
Chang Huan placed a sign at the main entrance on the first floor, detailing the prices of daily specials on it.
When the passersby saw it, they poured in.
Business at the commercial house improved day after day and much of their overstocked merchandise were soon sold out.
Su Jiu quickly made a list and arranged for her bodyguard to deliver another batch of goods.
To Su Jiu’s surprise, the poetry session of the second floor culminated in an unexpected result.
Most of the attendees who came to the poetry session were young and promising talents.
These individuals recited their poetry on the second story daily in their crisp, singsong voices that traveled up to the third story.
That was enough to attract the attention of the ladies on that floor, and once they came down to watch, there was no turning back.
The customs and practices in Shengjing City were very liberal, and there were no diehard rules to determine the conduct and interaction between males and females.
Therefore, some gifted ladies refused to sit in the shadows and stepped forward to compete in poetry with the men.
The collaboration between genders added a fresh twist to the event.
With the addition of women into the session, the scholars grew excited, and put their best foot forward, one after another.
Their motivation was even greater than during the examination season, and the scholars spewed poetry unceasingly.
Such poetry sessions had been organized publicly in Shengjing City before and had been opened to both men and women as well.
Therefore, whatever was transpiring in the second story wasn’t frowned upon.
The mutual exchange attracted even more ladies into the commercial house.
Their hearts beamed with excitement and anticipation.
They made a quick turn around the third story, hastily purchased some accessories, and couldn’t wait to proceed to the second floor to attend the poetry session.
Every day, the entrance of Qingyu Commercial House was packed with carriages.
It was a very lively scene, indeed.
Qingyu Commercial House had been given a new lease of life, and their name grew even greater than before.
The eyes of all their competitors that had been eagerly awaiting for their downfall widened with surprise, and they slowly turned green with envy.
Zhu Hecheng was especially infuriated.
He had heard that Ji Ze was a regular attendee at the poetry sessions and quickly wrote a letter to the Second Mistress to prevent him from stepping foot into Qingyu Commercial House again.
Today, when Ji Ze returned home, the Second Mistress had Shaoyao follow her with a bowl of ginseng soup as she entered the yard.
Ji Ze had just turned 20 and was teeming with life and vitality.
After attending the poetry session, the previously silent and gloomy youth was reinvigorated.
At that very moment, he was deeply immersed in thought about a brilliant line of poetry that he had just heard, and his brows raised on their own accord.
The Second Mistress entered and stood silently for a while, before Ji Ze finally noticed her presence, and quickly went forward to greet her.
“Mother!” he called out.
Watching the natural and elegant demeanor of her son, the Second Mistress was overcome with pride.
She smiled as she took a seat and asked, “How has it been at the palace recently? Are you able to get along with the other officials?” Ji Ze nodded his head.
“Yes, everything is great!” “Are you able to meet with the Emperor?” The Second Mistress asked.
“Occasionally!” Ji Ze replied respectfully.
Although he was a study attendant, he had only just entered the palace, and he hadn’t yet earned the right to attend to the Emperor personally.
However, on several occasions when the Emperor required extra hands on deck to search out something in the books, all the attendants would be summoned.
“That’s great! It’s rare for commoners to meet with His Majesty even once in their lives!” The Second Mistress exclaimed happily.
“Today, your older sister in the palace sent word.
She said that the Emperor is impressed by your talent and capability!” Ji Ze smiled amiably.
“I am humbled.
” Shaoyao, who had been standing to the side, took a step forward and placed the ginseng soup on the table.
With her head lowered, she said coyly, “The Second Mistress brewed this soup personally.
Please have some, Young Master!” With that, she retreated demurely.
“Thank you, Mother!” Ji Ze’s voice was warm and sincere.
The Second Mistress took a sip of tea, and asked, “I’ve hardly seen you at home these past few days.
Where have you been off to?” “Several friends of mine have been organizing a poetry session, and invited me to take part,” Ji Ze replied truthfully, “Whenever I’m free after my court sessions, I’ll go over to compose a few poems.
” The Second Mistress frowned.
“Those people are useless good-for-nothings.
Why are you hanging out with them? You’re to be a palace official or minister in the future, and should be mixing with such people instead! It’ll be better for you not to attend such poetry sessions anymore!” Ji Ze was stunned and speechless.
It was obvious that he was reluctant to submit, but he couldn’t go against his mother at the end of the day.
The Second Mistress gentled her expression and said, “While you were away at the poetry sessions, your colleagues from the ministry came looking for you.
It won’t be good if you’re constantly missing! Furthermore, your uncle doesn’t want you to go there either!” “Why?” Ji Ze asked uncomprehendingly.
How did his attendance at the poetry session have anything to do with his uncle? “Don’t bother yourself with matters of the business world.
You just need to know that your uncle is acting in your best interests! Your priority now is to focus on your studies, do well in court, and await your promotion.
Your sister is already in the palace; your future is going to be limitless.
You mustn’t allow it all to go to waste!” The Second Mistress entreated.
Ji Ze nodded his head.
I’ll do as you wish, Mother!” The Second Mistress nodded her head in approval, her eyes were shining with love.
“I’ll let you get back to your studies and won’t interrupt you any further.
Remember to drink my ginseng soup!” “Yes.
I’ll send you back, Mother!” Ji Ze walked the Second Mistress to the door before turning around to return to his chambers.
The sky had darkened, and the spark in the youth’s eye dimmed along with it.
He regressed to his original silent demeanor.
Although Ji Ze no longer attended the poetry sessions, the sessions had already gained a following of its own, and the crowd grew increasingly bigger, to the point that even famed scholars and teachers appeared.
Zhu Hecheng watched helplessly as Qingyu Commercial House grew in popularity, and could only stew in bitterness and envy.
All the other merchants in the city were envious too.
Only two individuals were drowning in regret—the two brothers from the Su family.
They hadn’t thought much of the commercial house at the beginning.
Later on, as the business in the commercial house waned, they had refused to go down with it and had gotten their workers to pack up and remove their goods from the booths.
Now that the commercial house was packed with customers and business, regret was eating away at the insides of the Su brothers.
If only they had waited a little longer! The two individuals had personally sent their calling cards to the Ji Manor, only for Housekeeper Yu to tell them that Ji Yuxian wasn’t in and to come back another day.
Both times that they had gone, they had been told that Ji Yuxian wasn’t in.
Consequently, the brothers understood that Young Master Ji did not want to meet them.
Without any other choice, they sent their respective wives over to pay Su Jiu a visit.
When the two ladies reached the manor, they deliberately did not enter.
They didn’t want the housekeeper telling them that the Young Mistress wasn’t in either.
Hence, they waited at the door until Su Jiu emerged in the afternoon, and stopped her then.
With one glance, Su Jiu knew the purpose of their visit, and couldn’t be bothered to face them.
However, the road was obstructed by two freight carts, and there was nowhere she could escape to.
The two ladies refused to let go of Su Jiu and began wailing to her.
“Young Mistress! Please help us talk to the Young Master! We were being muddleheaded!” “To tell you the truth, it was the sales assistants who acted on their own accord without prior permission! When your uncle knew of it, he even had them severely scolded!” “Young Mistress, your Uncle Xin has been so depressed by this that he hasn’t been able to eat well for the last few days! As his wife, how can I bear to see him that way?” “Please help us.
Would you like me to ask your Uncle Chen to apologize to you personally? Or we could write a letter to your father and have him plead on our behalf to the Young Master!” “Oh yes! Eldest Brother is the Young Master’s father-in-law after all.
If he makes a request, the Eldest Young Master will have to honor it!” … Su Jiu was getting a splitting headache from the din and quickly interjected, “Stop! Fine! You win! Stop wailing.
If you want your booths back, let Chang Huan, the shopkeeper of the commercial house know, and move your merchandise back in!” Smiles crept up into the two women’s previously crestfallen faces, and they heaped their gratitude upon her.
“Su Jiu treats our Su family best!” “Both our families will forever remember this favor you’ve done for us, Su Jiu!” Su Jiu couldn’t be bothered to listen to their platitudes and had her driver set off immediately.
At night, Ji Yuxian got wind of the incident.
With a chuckle, he shook his head and remarked, “You’re a little too softhearted!” Su Jiu shrugged her shoulders.
“I was just so sick of the chatter from the two women and wanted to shut them up! It’s just two booths, after all.
Letting them have it isn’t a big deal!” She had been genuinely worried that they would write to the Su family in Fuyang City.
That was one problem she could very well do without.
Ji Yuxian pursed his lips and said lightly, “It’s better to keep your distance from people like them who never learn their lessons.
They might create problems for you down the road!” Su Jiu reacted with disdain.
“I’d like to see what tricks they can be up to under my watch!” Ji Yuxian narrowed his eyes at her and chuckled without saying anything more.
At the end of May, the poetry sessions came to an end, but all the scholars and the literati in Shengjing City had already acknowledged Qingyu Commercial House and had become regular customers of the business.
Chang Huan, who was in charge of the commercial house, became more adept at his job by the day.
Indeed, he lived up to his title as Shopkeeper of Qingyu Commercial House.
Su Jiu could soon put her heart at ease.
On May 26th, Nangong Shu successfully defeated the Qiang army and returned victoriously.
The army had been stationed outside the city walls, and he brought 500 soldiers along with him as he entered Shengjing City.
Not only had Nangong Shu led the North Guard Army to regain control of the territory that had been captured by the Qiang Army and chased the enemy out of the Yanyun Borders, but he had also beat them further back by 300 miles, to the point that they were unable to retaliate.
They had quickly surrendered, proposing a peace treaty.
Nangong Shu hurried back to Shengjing with the peace treaty, and the Emperor naturally agreed to it.
On the day of his return, the citizens gathered along the streets to welcome the North Guard General.
The entire city was packed with people calling out hearty cheers and congratulations.
Su Jiu and Nangong Bi stood on the upper level of Qingxin Tavern and watched from behind the railings.
The crowds on the streets, packed tightly together and lively, stretched beyond what the eye could see.
All of a sudden, the sound of galloping horses came thundering over from afar.
Nangong Bi grabbed Su Jiu by the arm excitedly and exclaimed, “They’re here! My brother’s here!” Su Jiu couldn’t contain her excitement as well, and stood on tiptoes, trying to get a better view.
As the general and his entourage neared to the point that the horses’ breaths could almost be seen, cries and cheers for the North Guard General erupted from the commoners.
They were loud and resounding.
The citizens of Liang were sincerely grateful for the Nangong family’s contribution to protecting the country! Very soon, the entourage had reached.
Nangong Shu, riding on a horse, led the procession in front.
Following closely behind were his deputy generals, followed by neat and tidy rows of robust-looking foot soldiers.
Nangong Shu sat proudly atop the horse, dressed in a black robe and silver armor.
His posture was straight and regal, and his facial features were distinct.
He emanated an imposing aura as the scorching sun shined overhead.
“What magnificent valor! He indeed brings honor to the Nangong family name!” “Indeed! The Nangong family has produced generations of generals who have led many military campaigns! They have done so much for the military progress of the Liang Empire! They deserve all the accolades and rewards!” “With such a general, Liang Country has nothing to fear!” … The commoners that were gathered all around couldn’t stop singing praises.
Nangong Bi’s eyes glimmered, and she looked at her brother with pride.
Su Jiu glanced past Nangong Shu and began searching for Hu Dapao’s figure in the procession.
As Hu Dapao was only an insignificant soldier, he may not have entered the city with this entourage.
Just as that thought occurred to Su Jiu, her eyes caught sight of a figure at the very front of the foot soldiers.
Her eyes lit up immediately.
Dapao had lost a lot of weight, and his previously fair face had been turned bronze by the sun’s rays.
His back was straight, and in his military garb, he looked handsome and heroic! Nangong Bi suddenly called out, “Hu Dapao! Su Jiu, look! Isn’t that Hu Dapao?” Su Jiu couldn’t contain her joy.
“Yes! That’s Dapao!” At that very moment, Qiao An, Chang Huan, and Ah Shu all came running over.
They asked excitedly, “Where’s Dapao? Where is he?” Nangong Bi pointed him out to them.
“Right at the front of the foot soldiers on the left! Do you see him?” Chang Huan had the sharpest eyes and identified him first.
Waving his hands, he called out, “Dapao! Dapao!” Ah Shu and Qiao An saw him too, and called out along loudly! Hu Dapao seemed to hear them calling him, and looked up.
When he saw them, his face betrayed his excitement, and a huge, open-mouthed smile broke out on his face.
However, he was probably worried that Nangong Shu in front would notice and quickly turned his head back.
Qian An remarked, “All those following General Nangong into the city are the ones about to be rewarded.
Dapao must have made some contribution!” It was a pity that Qiao An was only a minor official, and didn’t warrant to stand with the rest of the court officials to welcome the army back and personally witness Dapao’s conferment.
The excitement in the group was heightened when they heard Qiao An’s words.
Su Jiu said, “Prepare the drinks! Let’s give Dapao a good welcome back tonight!” “Include me too!” Nangong Bi interjected.
Ah Shu and Chang Huan were both elated.
The Emperor, together with the court officials and aristocracy, were waiting at the palace gates to welcome Nangong Shu back.
Only when the procession slowly disappeared into the city and the people could no longer see them, did the crowd disperse.
Su Jiu and the gang had no way of knowing what was going on within the palace walls, and could only wait for Dapao to come back whenever he was done.
When evening came, Nangong Bi arrived at the tavern to let Su Jiu know that the Emperor was holding a banquet in the palace to honor the army.
Hu Dapao and Nangong Shu both had to attend, and it was unlikely they’d be able to come tonight! Su Jiu and the others couldn’t help being disappointed.
They were all eager to meet Dapao, after all.
Still, they left everything as it was, and continued to wait for him at the tavern.
Nangong Bi couldn’t return home too late and left after sitting around for a while.
She promised Su Jiu to send word the moment she received news from the palace.
They waited till late at night when most of the diners in the tavern had left.
The entire place quieted down.
Su Jiu and the others had yet to eat and continued to wait.
The dishes had been reheated a few times, and the drinks had already cooled.
However, none of them were willing to leave.
As the new grew quiet, the worker in the tavern sat at a corner to take a nap, while Qiao An sat near a candle to read.
Chang Huan leaned against Su Jiu’s shoulder, and asked with a yawn, “Could Dapao have drunk too much and gone straight to bed?” Ah Shu had been practicing his punches and was energetic as ever.
“Impossible!” he countered sternly, “He knows that we’re waiting for him!” Chang Huan nodded his head and looked at Su Jiu.
“Boss, should I try to get some news from the palace gates? Perhaps we can find out if the banquet is over yet.
” “That’s not necessary.
Let’s just wait!” Su Jiu replied, as her eyes slowly closed.
Just as she finished her sentence, the doors of the tavern were suddenly flung open.
Hu Dapao dashed in animatedly, and yelled out, “Chief!” “Master An!” “Ah Shu! Chang Huan!” The four of them rose at the same time and looked towards the door.
Hu Dapao took a few long strides forward.
His eyes reddened as he looked at each of them and he opened his arms, enveloping Su Jiu, and Chang Huan in a huge hug.
“Chief, I’m back!” Ah Shu and Qiao An rushed over as well, and the five of them embraced one another.
Tears welled up in Su Jiu’s eyes, and after a long while, she took a deep breath and patted Dapao on his shoulder.
“Well done, you!” “Of course! I told you that I’d stay alive to come back and see you!” Ah Shu was so happy that tears streamed out of his eyes.
“You’re one capable rascal! Look at how you turned a calamity into a fortune! I can’t believe you’re such a general now!” Hu Dapao was still dressed in his military garb and looked even sturdier and tougher than before.
With a sheepish laugh, he replied, “You’ve done pretty well yourself! I heard that the bodyguard agency has extended its business to Chongzhou! Ah Shu scoffed.
“Chongzhou is nothing! I want our Qinglong Bodyguard Agency to extend its business to every corner of the Liang Empire! I want everyone to know of the Qinglong Bodyguard Agency!” “What a showoff you are!” Dapao punched his arm playfully.
Ah Shu held his arm as he took a step back.
His eyes widened as he exclaimed, “Your experience on the battlefield shows! You’re much stronger than before!” “Of course!” Dapao declared proudly.
All of them burst out laughing and took their seats around the table.
The waiter quickly reheated the food and the wine.
The moment Dapao sat down, he looked at everyone and asked, “How has everyone been? I thought of you every single day while I was at Youzhou!” “Very well! We’ve all been very well!” Su Jiu raised her cup.
“Let’s toast to Dapao’s triumphant return and his conferment as General!” All of them downed their alcohol, their moods abuzz.
“I knew you guys were waiting for me, and couldn’t sit still in the palace any longer,” Dapao said, “Unfortunately, those ministers simply wouldn’t stop talking! I was so sick of hearing them speak I almost had the urge to murder someone!” Ah Shu burst out laughing.
“Look at you complaining! You even met the Emperor, and you’re still not content?” “The Emperor was so far away, I couldn’t even see what he looked like! All I could see was a man dressed in his dragon robes, seated on the throne.
He looked more majestic than anyone I’ve ever seen before!” Chang Huan was quick to ask, “So what did the Emperor bestow upon you as a reward?” “The position of the Zhenwei Colonel!” Hu Dapao replied with a sheepish laugh.
“That’s a general of the sixth rank! That’s not too bad! It’s a pretty magnanimous reward!” Everyone was very happy to hear that.
Ah Shu remarked, “Dapao, our dear Master An has also become an official.
This is great! The Dragon Conqueror Gang now has a court official and a military general!” “Master An is an official?” Hu Dapao looked excitedly at Qiao An.
“Hurry and tell me all about it! How did that happen?” Ah Shu and Chang Huan both related to him the whole process of how Qiao An had participated in the civil and imperial examinations and had emerged with the runner-up position of Tan Hua.
Hu Dapao was both happy and regretful at the same time.
“How could I miss out on something so momentous?” After that, the few of them told Dapao everything that had transpired over the last few months, including the opening of Qingxin Tavern and the commercial house.
Hu Dapao became increasingly excited as he listened, and his face flushed bright red from all the alcohol he had drunk.
As the Emperor had been so elated at the return of the Zhenbei Army, the entire court and military had been given one day’s leave.
All the military personnel who had just returned from Youzhou were also given three days’ leave to visit their families and they were to report back to their barracks in three days.
Therefore, no one was in a hurry to leave, and they were all prepared not to stop until they were drunk.
As all of the incidents over the past six months, they realized that throughout their separation, almost everyone had changed significantly.
“Dapao, tell us some stories from the battlefield!” Su Jiu said laughingly in between her drinks.
“Sure!” Dapao was very energetic.
“There are so many stories related to the battlefield!” Shortly after Hu Dapao had left Shengjing City, Nangong Shu had ordered someone to release him from his shackles.
The Zhenbei army had moved at a very fast pace of fifty klicks a day, without anyone complaining of fatigue.
It was fortunate that Dapao possessed martial art skills, and had been used moving about in difficult terrain.
As a result, he was able to keep pace with the army.
If a common citizen had been recruited, the journey itself would probably cost him half his life.
Hu Dapao recalled his experiences, starting from when he had reached Youzhou.
He described in extreme detail how Nangong Shu had led the troops in formation and attacked the city, and how he had encircled and suppressed the enemy.
The listeners were enraptured by his tales and felt as if they were personally experiencing the battles.
The stories of the Qiang soldiers with their long swords, the city in flames, the thunderous sounds of the army drums, the clashes between the two armies, the blood flowing, and the casualties of the Liang army all came to life.
“When we were attacking Zhuo County, I was the first one to charge towards the city walls and kill the Qiang soldiers without mercy! Then, I took my men and forced the city gates open, leaving the enemy to wet their pants and run away in fear!” “When we attacked Pingyang, the General said that there were granaries within, and couldn’t attack the place with sheer force.
It had to be done through tactics.
The General led his soldiers around Mount Hala and the Hachuan Glacier to the back of Pingyang.
The surprise attack from there left them defenseless, and he was able to take down more than half of the Qiang army, while the rest were captured.
” “When we were crossing Mount Hala, to avoid the enemy’s detection, I led my men to distract the Qiang soldier’s attention.
As a result, the hundred of us were f*cking ambushed by a few thousand Qiang soldiers.
I was then shot by an arrow and almost died.
At that point, I was thinking to myself that I couldn’t die.
Chief had worked so hard to get me out of prison.
I couldn’t disappoint her.
I had to go back to see her and my brothers! That thought alone was enough for me to regain my strength, and I lobbed off the heads of three enemies! Later on, the General and his troops emerged victoriously and came back to save us! And that’s how we managed to survive!” As Su Jiu and the others listened, the hairs on the back of their necks rose.
Hu Dapao had glossed over many of the dangerous details, but they could imagine what the situation had been like then—being surrounded by the enemy under a rain of arrows, Hu Dapao and the other soldiers fighting on despite their injuries, and desperately clutching onto their lives.
Nangong Bi had been right.
Hu Dapao’s reward had been earned with his own life! The group of them talked and drank till late into the night.
When Ji Yuxian entered, the whole place reeked of alcohol, and he frowned.
Upon ascending to the second floor, he found the group of them around the table, all drunk.
Su Jiu was slouched on the chair, while Chang Huan was sitting on the floor, with his back leaning against Su Jiu.
In his arms was a pot of alcohol.
Qian An was sprawled on the table, while Ah Shu and Hu Dapao had long tumbled on the floor.
They were still mumbling something about drinking and killing the enemy! Ji Yuxian sighed helplessly as he scooped Su Jiu up in his arms and admonished, “You forget yourself every time you’re happy!” Although it was a reprove, his tone was indulgent and helpless.
He carried Su Jiu and stepped out.
The servers were awakened, and rushed over, intending to wake the others up.
“Don’t bother waking them up,” Jin Feng said to him, “Get a few more men over, and carry them to their rooms.
Don’t let them catch a cold here!” “Yes! I will help them back to their rooms right away!” the servers replied with a nod of their heads.
With that, Jin Feng turned around and followed Ji Yuxian out.
Su Jiu had fallen into a deep sleep on the way home and was relatively well-behaved.
She complained of thirst once, and Ji Yuxian fed some water to her.
After drinking her water, Su Jiu closed her eyes and continued mumbling unintelligibly to herself.
Ji Yuxian leaned over to listen, but he could not make out what she was mumbling about either.
The streets were empty in the middle of the night, and the carriage was fast.
They reached the Ji Manor within ten minutes.
Ji Yuxian carried her back to their chambers, but he couldn’t stand the stench of alcohol that lingered on her body.
He reached out to remove her clothing and carried her into the bath.
When only her undergarments remained, Su Jiu held his hand tightly and refused to release him.
She mumbled, “My husband said no one else is allowed to look!” Ji Yuxian was stunned as he looked at the inebriated young lady.
Tenderness blossomed in his chest, and he leaned over to kiss her on her lips.
In a sensual tone, he said, “I’m your husband!” When Su Jiu heard that, she stopped struggling and dropped her hand.
The white camisole fell onto the floor of the bathroom.
The lotus flowers embroidered upon it seemed to be enshrouded in vapor waiting to bloom, mirroring a scene in the spring and autumn rain.
The man put Su Jiu in the water and took off his outer robe.
When he turned his eyes to her, she found Su Jiu slouched over, her face planted into the water.
Ji Yuxian quickly entered the pool to support her, and holding the lady in his embrace, he began to clean her.
Su Jiu began to feel restless in the water and started to struggle and cry out in panic amidst her dreams.
Qin, don’t leave!” “I want my mother!” “Water.
There’s so much water!” The young lady mumbled incoherently, and Ji Yuxian couldn’t understand her.
He could only make out the name “Mrs.
Qin” and frowned.
Somehow, he had the feeling that “Mrs.
Qin” that Su Jiu was calling out for wasn’t the same person who had died in the laundry department of the Ji Manor.
Your husband is here!” Ji Yuxian could only console her constantly as he peppered her face with kisses.
Su Jiu continued to struggle, and her actions were like those of a helpless person drowning in water.
She held on to him tightly and refused to let go.
The young lady’s skin was fair, smooth, and creamy.
At that moment, she was pliant and soft.
Flushed from the alcohol, her body was as pink as peach blossoms and tender like the innermost petal of a flower ready to bloom.
She was fatally enchanting.
As Ji Yuxian held her in his arms, and the friction that resulted as she squirmed against him was enough to drive him crazy! He kissed her body over and over as he fought the urge to consume her.
Su Jiu’s face was red as she squirmed helplessly and moaned his name.
“Ji Yuxian…” “Ji Yuxian…” That innocent and youthful charm of hers was causing Ji Yuxian to gradually lose his senses.
As he carried her to the edge of the pool, he removed his remaining clothes.
He couldn’t wait any longer.
Blood was rushing through his veins, and every inch of his body was screaming for her.
Was tonight going to be the night? She was drunk and out of it, but also at her most enticing.
No one would have been able to restrain himself! Besides, he was a normal hot-blooded man! After removing his upper robe, his dark hair fanned out around his face.
His almond eyes turned to liquid, and his mouth watered.
His fair body was taut and firm, with wide shoulders and a tapered waist.
His lengthy legs occasionally revealed themselves in the water.
As Su Jiu’s tresses cascaded down her body, the expression in the man’s eyes darkened.
Desire burned within him, raging into a fire that became uncontrollable.
It consumed every fiber of his mind and body.
It was a pain that only she could soothe.
At that point, it was as if the man had been possessed.
A dangerous glint appeared in his eye and carried with it a hint of lust and desire.
He wanted nothing more than to empty all his heat into the lady beneath him.
The moment Su Jiu was out of the water, she calmed down considerably.
She sensed the predatory demeanor in the man and frowned.
She got up and wrapped her arms around his shoulder.
In a low whisper, she protested, “Ji Yuxian, no!” His voice was gentle and crisp and doused the man like a gush of spring water.
Ji Yuxian held her tightly as he breathed raggedly.
He knew well that he couldn’t take her now.
He needed her to give herself willingly to him when she was fully conscious.
Only then would she not evoke any guilt within him.
He closed his eyes and suppressed the urges that were burning within him.
Hugging the lady in his arms, he steadied his breathing.
A long time later, when his body was finally feeling cool again, Ji Yuxian picked up the bathrobe and wrapped it around the lady before striding out of the bathroom.
After the bath, the lady felt a lot more relaxed.
She turned over in bed and with the side of her head on the pillow, fell into a slumber.
Ji Yuxian was worried that she would awaken the next morning with a neck ache.
He reached out to cradle her in his arms and rearranged her into a more comfortable position.
By the time the dust settled, it was already way past midnight.
The moon hung brightly and quietly above in the night sky, and it’s light rays streamed weakly into the bedroom.
As Ji Yuxian looked down at the girl sleeping in his arms, he sighed inwardly.
What a torturous enchantress she was! But he just couldn’t help himself! Even if he couldn’t have her, even if he had to suffer her torment daily, she was a poison he’d gladly take, willingly and wholeheartedly.
(1) ‘Member’ is a euphemism for one’s penis.