Dalang, eldest son = Li Mo
Erlang, second son = Li Yan
Sanlang, third son = Li Shu
Dàge, elder brother.
The evening mountain breeze was particularly cold. Li Man shuddered while desperately trying to think of something to say.
The village chief, seated under the tree, saw that the Li family was taking too long to show up. The crowd’s lingering whispers to hang Li Man were getting louder and louder. After having two smokes, he got up and said: “Wu San, according to what the others said, hang this woman and, when night falls, bury her in the mountains.” He looked at her with evilness flashing in his eyes.
“Yes.” Wu San was looking forward to this. At once, he took out the hemp rope on his waist and walked towards Li Man.
When Wu San went to drag her over, to everyone’s surprise, she tried to not appear afraid and added some words that people couldn’t make any sense of.
“What are you going to do?” All of Li Man’s hair stood on end. This man looked wretched and vicious, totally not a good person!
Wu San didn’t understand her words, but he understood the look on her face. He only thought of how this young beauty seemed even more alluring when scared. It’s a pity to just hang her like this but… Using some martial arts, he could press some acupoints to fake her death and then, taking advantage of when no one’s around, he could bring her back to life again. This little lady might just become his!
Li Man saw the malicious intent in his eyes and shouted “Go away! Don’t touch me!”
Loud cheering arose within the crowd “HANG HER! HANG THE WENCH!”
Wu San was very straightforward. He skillfully put the rope around Li Man’s neck and used both his hands to exert all his strength.
Li Man felt her breathing constrict and the extremely painful sensation brought by the gruff of the tightly strapped rope around her neck.
[Will I die again?]
This is ridiculous! To die twice on the same day! Wasn’t the car accident enough!? Do I really need to go through this again!?
A resounding voice passed over the crowd, just as Li Man was to be hung by the anticipating villagers. A tall, sturdy man rushed straight to the locust tree. He took hold of Wu San and immediately overturned him. The two young men behind him followed by kicking and punching the fallen Wu San.
The villagers were confused, the village chief hastily stepped forward.
“Erlang, Sanlang, what the hell!? Calm down!”
“Stop fighting.” Commanded Li Mo, the eldest, after taking down the rope around Li Man’s neck and watching her faintly wake.
Li Yan and Li Shu stopped.
However, Wu San started to roll on the ground, wailing like a ghost and howling like the wolves, making an exaggerated scene. “Chief! You!- You have to take responsibility for this! These brothers are bullies! They just came and beat me up like that! How can you permit this!? ”
“You were the one asking for a beating!” Li Shu couldn’t help but fiercely kick Wu San’s buttocks once more. “This son of a wench who dared to mess with someone else’s wife, you’ve done nothing but court death!”
The village chief was thick-skinned and brazenly shouted again to end the fight. He then shifted his sight to look at Li Mo with displeased eyes.
“Dalang, is that what happened?”
Li Mo did not answer the village chief, but neatly untied the rope tied on Li Man’s body, took her into his arms and turned away.
The village chief had a very ugly expression on his face and moved to block his path. Just then, the Li family’s second son, Li Yan, stated “This was all caused by that bastard, Wu San.”
The village chief was left in an embarrassing situation as the Dalang left with the woman in his arms, not giving him any face. As a way out, he turned to the Erlang and asked “What the hell happened?”
Li Yan glanced fiercely at Wu San. As soon as he turned to confront the village chief he noticed the villagers standing around watch them, and thus, started to make an account of what had happened.
“It happens that, this is the woman bought by my Dàge. Chief, you also know that our family’s situation is not easy. It’s even harder for us brothers, to bring home a wife. This time we got a wife, so we naturally, had to handle things properly. Yesterday, Dàge took her and Xiao Wuzi and went up the mountain to give our deceased parents a grave and let them know about our happy occasion. Who could have imagined that Dàge would carelessly let a branch pierce his foot and become unable to walk back? Xiao Wuzi couldn’t carry him on his back, so he let her come back to find Li Shu and I. But she is an outsider, so, obviously, she wasn’t familiar with the mountains and got lost. We looked for her day and night, then heard that she was tied up over here by Wu San.”
Everyone who listened, unconsciously nodded. Shenmeigou village is surrounded by mountains. If you are not familiar with the surroundings, is is indeed very easy to get lost! Therefore, if the women brought here didn’t have any outside help in the mountains, her escape will only evidently result in death.
“What happened?” The village chief and many others looked towards Wu San. “What did you do?”
Wu San finally got up from the ground, feigning innocence. “I really didn’t lie to you. The woman ran when she saw me. If she wanted to save them, why not take me to the ones that need saving, instead of starting to run away scared? Also, there was a parcel on her, full of silver pieces and dry food. If she wasn’t running away, then what was she doing!?”
“What parcel?” asked the chief.
The Li brothers stared at him. Wu San was at a lost of words. Because of his greed, he had long ago secretly stashed her parcel away. Now, he wouldn’t be able to get away with it.
“Humph!” the village chief saw him saying nothing an coldly snorted. “Dalang and his brothers were finally able to buy a wife with great difficulty and I almost let you kill her off. I’ll get back at you later, get lost!”
“Wait a minute.” Li Yan coldly said. “Chief, my wife is very weak. She was tied and beaten up by you lot and almost got strangled to death. I really don’t know what to do about this at all. And you are going to just let things go like this? If by chance she died, us brothers would have no wife to speak of and all those years of saved money would also have gone down the drain! Chief, as the village head, you have to properly handle this matter.”
To steal himself, Wu San hurriedly said “Chief, you can’t put all the blame on me! Before they arrived, these stupid dogs were also onto her, trying to hang her. Furthermore, you also made a speech in support of it!”
“SHUT UP!” the village chief coldly commanded, completely disregarding him.
“Wu San, this is your fault! You and the stupid dogs pay for half of the money she cost! Ahem-I don’t have any on me. Ah, Erlang, buy some tonics with the money for your wife to make up for it, ok?”
Li Yan nodded in reply, Li Shu looked at Wu San. “I’ll let you off lightly this time.”
Wu San was extremely depressed. For the women there who already didn’t have much, to pay half the money was certainly a loss, but they didn’t dare to disobey the orders of the village chief.
Plus, there was also the Li family’s Third Master, Li Shu, looking at them with red eyes. Afraid of getting beaten up by him, they resigned themselves to their bad luck and decided to withdraw from their savings and quickly slipped away.
The other villagers, seeing that the show was over, sulkily dispersed.
The village chief glanced at Li Yan and Li Shu and spoke in a dignified manner. “Was that woman really bought by your dàge?”
“Yes!” the brothers nodded.
The chief did not believe, but only said “Then go at once to end this matter without delay, ok? Delaying may bring more unexpected trouble.” He spoke and left right away with his hands clasped behind his back.
Li Yan and Li Shu looked at each other and said no more as they all hurried home.