Qinglian Chronicles - LightNovelsOnl.com
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[TW: s.e.xual hara.s.sment.
The t.i.tle more literally means “a jianghu crisis”, but I couldn't resist the more poetic version…
As always; thanks for liking, commenting, and reading on chichilations and NOT!!! an aggregator.]
This s.h.i.+p is very large, having four or five cabins, and frankly, I'm shocked that we could actually rent a s.h.i.+p like this in this era. Big vessels are generally commissioned by the wealthy for their personal use.
The poor horses are shut up in the cabin below deck, nibbling on bits of hay, and the one who's extremely pitiful is my listless Hearth who isn't eating anything, looking as if it's seasick. Worried for it, I feed it a few pine candies that it reluctantly swept into its mouth with its tongue and crunched on.
This tributary of the Yellow River flows down from this port and to Lingyang about 300 li away, saving a lot of travel compared to land routes. In this past few days, the tide has also risen and the currents have become more rapid, meaning in can reach in one day and night what three days of land travel would do.
It was dusk when we got on the boat, golden light s.h.i.+ning on the water's surface, and not long pa.s.sed when the light turned silver. Though the water is rapid, the waves aren't big, the water giving off a dark blue color and reflecting the shaking image of the moon within it.
Jinzi and I are leaning upon the railing on the side of the s.h.i.+p while the boatman began to cook, the aroma of cooking fish and rice slowly floating over the river. There are vague silhouettes of other s.h.i.+ps in the distance, as well as other people seeming to be singing folk songs and fisher's tunes. I feel as though I haven't come across such a tranquil and leisurely moment of time in quite a while, the peace of mind it causes unable to be stopped and invoking thoughts of withdrawing from worldly affairs.
I turn my head to look at Jinzi just as he also looked at me, and I smile at him. He hesitates, then slowly reaches out a hand and holds me at the waist.
Zhou Zizhu is at the stern, once again playing the xiao. I can't tell if it's because of his reflection in the river, but the sound is particularly desolate and sorrowful. I didn't move on, listening quietly. The tune stopped, and I heard him recite quietly: Someone played the qin last night
Disrupting the river's cry
A night gold wind drops green jade
As the bright moon casts an autumnal heart in half the brook.
Forlorn shades of years after
Wise an old friend's half-faded
Kind mother cries 'fore the hall
The roamer living up to the name of unfilial.
My parents had pa.s.sed on too soon and were loving when they were still alive, and though I didn't have many friends that were genuine, I still always had a few. Hearing him recount this… inevitably makes me sign. Jinzi's hand on my waist tightened.
“It's windy. Let's go back,” he says, almost a bit softly.
I nod, obediently returning with him to the cabin. The biggest room on the boat is the public area for dining and whatnot, and everyone's bedrooms are very small. Ours could be considered big and it's only 3 or 4 square meters, with no room for anything else after the bed was put in, making it pretty stuffy. “Do you want to nap before we eat?”
I hum, laying down on Jinzi's lap. “No need to sleep. I'll just lay and rest a bit.”
He quietly acted as my pillow.
After a time, I said, “Who do you think that ‘master' was?”
“Probably Lu Liang.”
“With how many in the Court know that you both were coming out for this, keeping your whereabouts a secret wasn't possible anyways. I know you're not hoping to waste time on official-related social niceties along the way. Lu Liang received word on it, so he'd naturally want to rope you into his side.”
“How come I'm not seeing Guo Zhengtong getting Zhou Zizhu on his side?”
Jinzi's smile is sarcastic. “Did you really think your own official over here would be a good one?”
“Whether Lu Liang is a good official or not isn't important, it's whether Guo Zhengtong is or not that is. Is this an uneven distribution of stolen goods, a dog biting a dog, or purely a false accusation?”
Jinzi doesn't respond, leaving me to my own thoughts.
Jinfeng wasn't willing to come out when it came time to eat, as he wasn't eating out of injustice for his brother beating him. I thereupon call for Xiao Lu and Xiao Zhu to take their food, and a bit extra, and go eat in the cabin with him.
The boatman only made a common dish, but the fish used was fresh and delicious, giving it a certain distinct flavor that I hadn't precedented while eating it.
After the food, we returned to the room, Jinzi's thoughts wandering a bit. “Go see Jinfeng,” I say, “and don't make any trouble.”
He nods, urges me to go to bed early, and goes out.
I naturally wouldn't sleep having just ate – I want to keep my figure, hm? – so I sit beside the table, propping my cheek up as I get lost in thought, the tiny flame of the candlewick on the table jumping about. I suddenly heard the sound of escaping, derisive laughter, and turned my head to see a familiar, long-lost figure sitting on the bed and smiling at me. I don't even know when he came in. He really is like a monster.
My hairs all stand on end. I abruptly get up and draw back, the unbearable memories of his abuse and whipping coming back one by one, the wounds on me that had already completely recovered now starting to faintly ache.
Yuan Qingyun has good qinggong, as he didn't move much when he flashstepped close to me. Looking at that pretty and handsome face sends gooseb.u.mps all over my body, and I open my mouth to call out, only to have him cover it with a hand.
I shake my head frantically yet can't fling him off, expectedly hearing him lightly chuckle, his breath close enough to brush away my hair. I remember that my internal force has been recovered, calmly build up power in my palm, and quietly struck at his lower abdomen.
There was an unexpected tightening on top of my hand, my entire hand being squeezed within his own. Yuan Qingyun clicked his tongue twice, saying cheerfully, “So Sir Zhang has his martial arts back.”
I glare at him coldly.
He moves his hand to the acupoint at my lower sternum. “Don't call for anyone, else I'll be impolite.”
I nod. He releases my mouth and I spat out a breath, looking at him. I barely returned to my calmness, voice icy, “You're not going to find Shao Qing, and coming to find me why?”
He giggled. “I'm naturally going to find big General Shao, but I hate being apart from Sir Zhang, and it just so happened that he wasn't far away. So I came to visit him first.”
Hearing his sinister tone, I can't help but take a step back, but he takes a step forward, this going on until he slowly forces me into a corner.
As his body stuck closer to be and quickly left not even a small gap, I can't resist voicing my protest. His hand slowly comes up to touch my neck, lightly gripping it. “Don't talk, don't move,” he says softly, bending his head down to kiss me.
I don't dare to resist with my neck in his grasp, having no option but to allow him to bite and lap at my lips, my mouth pursed up tight. After he tried and failed to stick his tongue in, he came away from me a bit, his voice slithery, “Sir Zhang, we've reached the point where one day between a husband and wife leads to a lifelong relations.h.i.+p, you know. We haven't seen each other in these past few days, so how come you're not ceris.h.i.+ng our bond like this?”
I'm not opening my mouth to answer that, it'll give him an opportunity!
I keep my lips sealed.
He laughed loudly, reaching out to grope about inside my clothes. His touching left me somewhat weak-kneed, but a physical reaction is a physical reaction. I can't let my Jinzi down.
Suddenly, he huskily gasped out, “…Good, baby, you're so beautiful, spread your legs a bit more… hold me close.”
This act was a mystery to me until I raised my head, and my face promptly drained of blood. Jinzi was standing at the doorway, his complexion ghastly.
G.o.dd.a.m.n Yuan Qingyun, actually using this cheap tactic to do me wrong!
Yuan Qingyun gave me a smile, extremely cheerfully let me go, and turned to look at Jinzi with a provocative grin.
There's not a smile to be seen on Jinzi's face as he frostily looked at Yuan Qingyun. “Seems you really do want to die.”
There's a heavy murderous aura.
Yuan Qingyun once again laughs out loud.
I quickly proclaim my innocence in this, “Jinzi, this b.a.s.t.a.r.d disrespected me! Catch him now to settle that debt!”
Yuan Qingyun smiled disrespectfully. “Sir Zhang, how was I disrespecting you? You obviously said that Yao Jinzi is a poor flavor and wanted to relive old dreams with me, and Qingyun only agreed… oi!” Before he'd finished speaking, Jinzi's upper body moved as quick as lightning to take the chance to strike him with a palm, which he narrowly dodged.
The two guys fought, fists coming and kicks going, and gradually hit their way outside the cabin and attracting a ma.s.s of people.
I gradually could only see two flas.h.i.+ng images, dizzyingly unable to make out anything distinct. They suddenly separated, Yuan Qingyun pressing on his ribs. “You're a pretty vicious punk, Yao Jinzi!” He reamed with a hate-filled grin.
Jinzi stood on top of the railing, slightly on the tips of his feet, posture as steady as Mount Tai. His clothes are lightly moving with the wind, his expression cold as ice. “Hmph. And I find it strange that your moves are as reckless as this!”
Yuan Qingyun loosens a slender, black whip from his waist, and the sky immediately fills with its image, like rain and fog. I hear someone behind me gasp and whisper ‘the Inkworm Whip'. I look over and see it's that bald one, Ah-San.
Yuan Qingyun's whipping technique is superb, while Jinzi is unarmed; this will quickly not be going well. With pressing worry in my heart, I rush back in the cabin to grab Jinzi's Han Zhang, and run back with the intention to toss it to him, only to be blocked by Ah-San's outstretched hand. I look towards him and he shakes his head, saying, “No need.”
I half-believe him, watching Yuan Qingyun advance and retreat with a not-yet withering look, but not even three maneouvres later and Jinzi's apprehended his long whip, the shock of the momentum nearly tearing the whip from Yuan Qingyun's hand. He used a violent attack, and only then did Jinzi loosen his grip. Yuan Qingyun seized back the whip, and floated right over the s.h.i.+p's side-railing.
He hopped to the water's surface, saying joyfully, “I'm no match for you on land, Yao Jinzi. Let's see how your skill in water is!” He plunged into the river with a plop.
Jinzi is beyong enranged, lips pressed, but he doesn't pursue him. I understood at once: Jinzi can't swim!
Zhou Zizhu runs over and asks a million questions that I can't answer. Yuan Qingyun's already swum far away. His distant laughter could be heard, “You'll have to be careful, Sir Zhang! There's someone in the river who really likes taking nicks out of boats…”
I startle upon hearing that, as do the others, and we immediately run to the hull only to see that there was already a big hole broken through the bottom of the s.h.i.+p, water gradually rus.h.i.+ng in. The horses were stamping their hooves restlessly.
Ah-San and the boatman go to block it up, with Jinzi also looking for things like planks to use, but the rupture is too big. How could it be stopped when the water's already reached calf-level? “It's no good! Get out now! Find a few planks or such to hold onto!”
I say to Jinzi, “You absolutely mustn't leave my side. Hold on tight to me for a bit, and immediately hold your breath.”
But Jinzi's expression s.h.i.+fted. “Jinfeng!” he said, then rushed out above.
Frightened, I call for him repeatedly, and he ignored me. I wanted to rush after him, but seeing the horses tied up and knowing they'll drown before they can struggle free, so I had to rush and untie their reins first.
I'm the only one left in the cabin, scared and worried about Jinzi, my heart burning with anxiety as my hands uncontrollably tremble. It takes a long time to undo the knots, and when I had untied all the horses, the water was already up to the middle of my waist.
I pull strenuously for Hearth to climb out. The lights outside are gone, everything painted black, and the top of the boat is rapidly sinking below the surface of the water. I couldn't stop calling for Jinzi, shouting until my voice was hoa.r.s.e, yet I can't get any response.
The water's now at my neck. I've always been pretty good at swimming, and as a horse, so is Hearth. We float to the top of the water, with only the sound of the river surrounding us, along with my incessant calling for Jinzi.
I can't find him.
I hold my breath and dive underwater to search, but I couldn't find anything in the darkness. All of a sudden, my feet touched a substance similar to seaweed or water gra.s.s: hair! I feel a burst of joy, diving down to grab and pull the person up. Heads breaking the surface, it's just then the moonlight shows that it's actually Jinfeng.
Yuan Qingyun is that one guy who shows up to a party uninvited, drinks most the booze, insists on playing strip poker, strips anyways when no one wants to play, and leaves when the party's over by jumping out of a window and breaking it.
 Original poem has 7 characters a stanza. I tried to mirror it with 7 syllables, but that didn't work, so now it's 7-7-7-14.