Chapter 7: The Task of the Enormous Debt
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Even though he had no idea how to repay, or even what to pay with, Jiang Yi nonetheless gritted his teeth and asked, “How do you want me to pay it back?”
The chief supervisor smiled faintly and, as though he was trying to play down the issue, said simply, “This artwork was purchased at Pearl Gathering Pavilion and cost some ten taels of purple gold. Look, I don’t want much from you. All you need to do is to pay me back the original value of the artwork! Otherwise… hehe… even if we beat you two to death, we have the right of reason.”
“Ten taels of purple gold?”
Jiang Yi’s pupils contracted. His monthly salary was only worth one tael of tiny silver pieces, but one tael of purple silver was equivalent to one hundred taels of silver! One could not possibly earn ten taels of purple gold even if Jiang Yi was sold off. It was clear that this guy had set his mind on ensuring Jiang Xiaonu stayed behind.
Fight them to the death?
Jiang Yi shook his head. There were many people outside and, having no more black essence force left, if he took the hard way, both people might end up having to stay behind.
The chief supervisor was right—it was unimportant if they beat the two of them to death, for the Jiang family would definitely not bother to investigate the incident. This chief was shrewd, and eyes shone with malic. From his apparel and the fact that Xiaonu the servant girl was working here, one could guess that his position in the Jiang family was very low; one could also estimate that he would not dare to make such a big fuss.
Silently sighing for some time, all he could do was to summon what courage he had and force himself to say, “Repaying you is not a problem, but can you please extend the deadline by some time? I will hand over to you the ten taels of purple gold within a month’s time. If I can’t return it, I’ll send a hand of mine over.”
The malicious eyes of the Chief Supervisor squinted before quickly shaking his head, replying, “Words mean nothing – what if you guys were to run away? Either you leave something behind as collateral, or you leave this servant girl behind.”
Jiang Yi’s head ached. Did he own anything that was worth even a penny? Leave Jiang Xiaonu behind? Who knows how badly she would be abused by them this entire month… He moved his pupils as he retrieved a command token from the chest area of his robes, throwing it towards the Chief Supervisor and saying, “Use this as collateral! I will redeem it back in a month’s time!”
This command token was given to him by Chief Rong, which allowed him to move in and out of the medicinal plantations in the Western Hills freely. The Jiang family’s laws were exceptionally strict—if the Disciplinary Court found out that he brazenly used the command token as collateral, he would certainly be badly punished. However at that moment, his already-limited options had already been exhausted, so he had no choice but to take this move.
“Oh? You are indeed a member of the Jiang family!”
The housekeeper received the token with a look of astonishment, yet he did not immediately respond; instead, he lowered his head and started muttering to himself.
Time passed by slowly, second by second. Jiang Yi’s body tensed up as cold sweat dripped down his back. Jiang Xiaonu’s pair of pretty ears also revealed her nervousness and anxiety. The ability of the two people to safely leave Fengyue Brothel hinged entirely on a single thought made by this very housekeeper.
Finally, the housekeeper raised his head to look at Jiang Yi, before nodding his head and replied, “I will give face to the Jiang family—after all, the Jiang family members are doubtlessly true to their word. Of course… If you fail to repay the money in a month’s time, I will take this token to your Jiang family’s Disciplinary Court to demand the money. You guys can go now.”
As if relieved of a big burden, Jiang Yi gritted his teeth and embraced Xiaonu, before slowly making his way out the backyard of Fengyue Brothel in the direction of the central courtyard of the Jiang Residence.
His face revealed no great emotional change, but inside he felt extremely bitter—this housekeeper had hit him right on his Achilles’ heel. If he could not deliver the money in a month’s time, should the people from Fengyue Brothel pay the family a visit, the Jiang family’s Disciplinary Court would undoubtedly break both his and Jiang Xiaonu’s legs…
Fengyue Brothel was not very far from the Jiang Residence, but Jiang Yi and Jiang Xiaonu ended up taking an entire hour to return to the Jiang Residence Western Court.
Both of them were injured, but thankfully the strongman who brutally beat Jiang Xiaonu did not use any essence force, so all Jiang Xiaonu received were some surface wounds. She thankfully hadn’t sustained any muscular or skeletal injuries, otherwise Jiang Yi would have no idea how to bring her back home.
By the time they returned to the western court of the Jiang Residence, it was already evening. The western courtyard was crowded and full of noise, as the Jiang family servants who lived there were just returning home as the sky turned dark. However, no one bothered them—at most taking a quick glance or so, some even giving a look of mockery and laughter…
After so many years of receiving the cold shoulder, the two were no stranger to such unfriendly and strange reactions. Entering the tiny courtyard of their house, Jiang Yi’s legs turned to jelly even before reaching the main door of the house. He knelt on the ground, painfully holding onto his left shoulder in agony, breathing in deeply with each mouth of air.
He was slapped by the guard at the third stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. Even though he blocked the attack with his Wrestling Hand, one could guess that his bones were shattered by the slap. Furthermore, he had to forcefully conduct martial arts techniques, not to mention the long route he had to walk home—all these irritated his wound, leaving him in so much agony that cold sweat kept rolling down his forehead.
“Young Master, Young Master, are you alright?”
Jiang Xiaonu hastily knelt down, her small, grimy face showing her heartache and regret. Tears rolling down her cheeks as she spoke.
Jiang Yi waved his hands dismissively and forced a smile. He reached out to touch Xiaonu’s head and consoled her by saying, “Xiaonu, don’t cry, I’m fine. Your Young Master… isn’t someone who will go down that easily.”
“Uh huh, uh huh, Young Master is the best!” Jiang Xiaonu nodded her head rapidly like a chicken pecking rice off the ground, but continued crying. “But… Young Master, how are we ever going to earn ten taels of purple gold in a month? Ah, it’s all Xiaonu’s fault; she has put her burdens on Young Master…”
“Don’t say that—this isn’t a matter of burden or not!” Jiang Yi’s face darkened and stared intently at her before chiding, “Xiaonu, don’t ever say this kind of silly thing again! You only have me, your young master, as your only loved one in this world, okay? Nothing is more important than you!
“Uh huh, Young Master is the best!” Xiaonu was so touched that she muddleheadedly cried even harder. Her tears streamed down like rainwater.
“Alright, trust in your young master; I will come up with a plan. Head on in.”
Jiang Yi struggled to stand up and, supporting each other by the arm, he walked into the house with Jiang Xiaonu. Upon entering the interior of Jiang Yi’s room, Jiang Xiaonu supported him to the bed, dried her tears, and lit a candle. After that, she quickly passed him some ointment to apply on his wounds.
However, Jiang Yi shook his head and said with a bitter smile, “You’ve taken the wrong one, you silly girl. I have internal injuries, so give me the injury-healing elixir bestowed by the family. Leave this ointment behind; you can apply it on your own injuries later.”
Jiang Xiaonu scratched her head, her small face filled with a look of awkwardness, before hastily turning around and hobbling out.
On the route home, Jiang Yi observed that Xiaonu’s injuries were not that serious. As such, he chose not to be too concerned for her, instead staring at the flickering candlelight flame. It was then that he became increasingly anxious and worried…
From yesterday until now, an overwhelming number of things had happened to the point that his brain had become a melted mess. He shook his head and prepared himself to fix himself mentally after healing his wounds.
Jiang Xiaonu walked in shortly after, carrying a small white porcelain bottle and a bowl of clear water.
“Young Master,” she said as she put the items on the bedside table, “do you want to take the elixir now? Or do you want to eat something first? Oh no… Young Master, you haven’t eaten lunch yet, have you? Do you want me to go prepare two bowls of noodles first?”
“Don’t bother!” Jiang Yi shook his head and asked, “Is there any more jerky in the house? I’ll eat something simple first, then I’ll heal my wounds.”
Jiang Xiaonu hurried went to retrieve the jerky. She used to regularly head outside to work and had prepared some jerky lest Jiang Yi got hungry. At this moment, the jerky could be put to good use.
A few moments later, Jiang Xiaonu retrieved the jerky, which the two gulped down drily with just plain water. Jiang Yi finally had the time to inquire, “Xiaonu, what happened today? I keep feeling something is not right with this entire incident. Did the people at Fengyue Brothel scam you intentionally?”
Jiang Xiaonu stared blankly, blinking from time to time, replying in a daze, “Scam me? What’s there to cheat from me? I’m broke…”
“Silly girl!” Jiang Yi helplessly sighed and, without even explaining himself, asked directly, “Why don’t you tell me in detail what happened?”
Jiang Xiaonu promptly recounted in detail all the events that happened that day once. When she was finished with her recounting, she asked in continued confusion, “Young Master, do you have any questions?”
Jiang Yi said nothing, but his pupils appeared to be spouting fire. Based on what Xiaonu said, combined with the context he had witnessed, he could confirm with one hundred percent accuracy that the events that happened today was caused by that housekeeper from Fengyue Brothel.
Jiang Xiaonu would go to Fengyue Brothel with Chunya every five days to work, wherein she helped to wash the clothes and linen changed out by the ladies of the manor. Usually, they worked in the backyard and was never allowed to go to the front yard nor the inner court. Xiaonu’s honest personality also ensured that she would not run all over the building on her own accord without permission.
Normally, the clothes that have been washed would be brought into the inner court by servants from Fengyue Brothel. Today, however, no one from Fengyue Brothel appeared; instead, an old chambermaid took the initiative to order Jiang Xiaonu to help her bring the clothes into the inner court together.
Jiang Xiaonu was worried about leaving Jiang Yi all alone at home and wanted to finish her work early to go home as soon as possible—as such, without thinking too much, carrying a large pail of clothes she followed the old chambermaid into the Inner Court. As a result, she had only just entered the room when a guard “accidentally” caused her to trip, and she “coincidentally” crashed into a table by the wall, placed upon which “as it turned out” was a “famous artwork” purchased using much gold.
Following that, that housekeeper appeared and viciously gave Jiang Xiaonu a slap and allowed the guard to bring Xiaonu to the backyard, demanding that she pay up for the damages or otherwise sign a contract and sell herself to the household…
Xiaonu was so foolish—even when she was forcefully sold off she still wanted to help the seller count his profit. Jiang Yi was intelligent and alert since young—as such he clearly understood the whole incident after mulling over it for just a short moment.
He released a long sigh and gave a malevolent look. Gritting his teeth, he swore in a low voice, “Alright, you’re so great, people of Fengyue Brothel. How dare you try to trick and harm Xiaonu to that extent? One of these days, this master will destroy you and your building and turn you into shreds…”
“Young Master, please don’t be impulsive! I heard that the forces behind the people of Fengyue Brothel are very powerful—you’re not their match at all!”
Looking at Jiang Yi’s expression, Jiang Xiaonu felt some fear and concern. Almost immediately realizing what he had done, she asked incredulously, “Oh no, hang on, Young Master, since when did you become so strong? Just now you were so powerful, being able to injure all those bad people…”
“Huh… You don’t have to worry about these things, believe me! Xiaonu, perhaps… very soon, I will be able to provide a good life for you. You will no longer need to go out and work anymore.”
Upon thinking about that mysterious black essence force, Jiang Yi’s spirit rose and became agitated again. He promptly finished the remaining meat jerky in a few rapid bites. He was ready to start healing once he was done eating, and later he would carefully study that black essence force. He had the intuition that perhaps this mysterious black essence force would… turn his life completely on its head!
“Oh! Oh! Young Master is so powerful! You can do it, Young Master!” The simple and pure-of-heart Jiang Xiaonu quickly stopped asking questions. She merely nodded her head rapidly and her eyes grew to twin moons. It was clear that she looked up to him.
Both having finished their jerky, Jiang Yi once again checked Xiaonu’s wounds. Confirming that she did not have any injured bones, he got her to return home to find Chunya to help her apply ointment, while instructing her not to let any of the family members know what happened that day.
Jiang Xiaonu had obedient to Jiang Yi ever since she was young. After asking a few questions out of concern, she limped out of the house. The weak, skinny figure in the candlelight looked most pitiful… giving the observing Jiang Yi much heartache.
Only after Xiaonu left did Jiang Yi sit on his bed in a daze. He took the opportunity to clear his cluttered and messy mind.
Yesterday he had just been beaten up by Jiang Ruhu and his lackeys and fallen into a coma for an entire morning; upon returning home a nameless formulation mysteriously appeared in his mind. Subsequently, he refined a sliver of mysterious black essence force through this nameless formulation; borrowing the strength of this black essence force, he had viciously beat up Jiang Bao, and had even gone to rescue Xiaonu from Fengyue Brothel. Yet he now owed an enormous debt worth ten taels of purple gold…
“Ten taels of purple gold?”
Thinking to that stage, the corners of Jiang Yi’s mouth twitched. Where could he go to earn so much money within a month? Further, he had beaten up Jiang Bao in the morning—surely his boss Jiang Ruhu would be coming to get revenge soon enough?
Even though Jiang Ruhu’s abilities were rather average, his dad was the Jiang family’s chief supervisor. Jiang Ruhu never lacked elixirs which could help boost his power up to the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. Even if Jiang Yi used his black essence force, he would still find it difficult to emerge victorious in a fight.
“I’m counting on you, black essence force!”
Jiang Yi pursed his lips as a ray of hope flashed past his eyes. This black essence force was so mysterious and powerful. If he studied it carefully, perhaps he would discover a new, previously hidden power which would enable him to escape his terrible circumstances…