Book 13: Chapter 14
In the Jin Dynasty, there was a famous reclusive scholar named Xia Tong. Defender-in-chief, Jia Chong, wanted to employ Xia Tong’s talents upon hearing of the latter’s stories. On a trip to Luoyang, Jia Chong witnessed Xia Tong’s sonorous, clear voice that overcome the strong winds, travelled through the water and resonated in heaven. People would say that a trip to Luoyang just to hear Xia Tong would be worth it.
The event motivated Jia Chong even more to recruit Xia Tong, so he rearranged his army, switched their flags for flashy flags, had his soldiers carry themselves as though they were at a ceremony and adorned their horses and carriages. Jia Chong told Xia Tong that Xia Tong could command this army and ride in the luxurious carriages if Xia Tong joined him, but Xia Tong gave him the cold shoulder.
Not yet resigned to defeat, Jia Chong ordered the beautiful women in the city to doll up and waltz around Xia Tong, flaunting their best voices and dance moves. Nonetheless, Xia Tong, once again, didn’t bite.
Owing to his two failures, Jia Chong said of Xia Tong, “This youngster from Wu has a body of wood and a heart of stone.”
Nowadays, “a body of wood and a heart of stone” is a phrase used to describe someone as indifferent or having an indomitable spirit.
Upon stepping out of her room, Shen Yiren heard people arguing, which was a rare occurrence at the office. Every step she took cleared up her confusion a little more. Standing at the entrance of her study were Su Xiao, Tang Ye and the female constables. Standing on the opposite side of them were the Song brothers.
“You can say whatever you like. You’re not allowed to touch anything here!” Su Xiao a.s.serted, arms outstretched to indicate he wasn’t letting the siblings inside. “The doc.u.ments are the doc.u.ments Vice-Captain usually reads, and many other things within are her property. What gives you the right to take her stuff without permission?!”
Bai Yeshuang, standing next to Su Xiao, sternly added, “Exactly. You think you can just trespa.s.s and waltz off with her property? What are we? Corpses?” Bai Yeshuang was known for being polite, but she was incredibly a.s.sertive today.
Song Ou snapped, “Know your place. I am the captain of Liu Shan Men. I have every right to touch anything I want on these grounds. No matter how you slice it, Yiren is part of Song Clan. What are you lot running your mouths for when she hasn’t spoken up? If you don’t like it, call her over.”
Su Xiao ranted, “I can’t believe this. She’s been exhausted. The Qilin Guards have taken our jobs. We’re left with menial patrol jobs. Do you have in-grown eyes? Didn’t you see what state she was in when she returned last night?”
“What did you say about me? Listen, you Su Xiao Han, watch your tongue!”
“I said, you’re heartless! Otherwise, how do you lack any notion of empathy? Vice-Captain does all the heavy lifting and gives you the credit for her work, yet you’re now trying to steal from your own people when Liu Shan Men is in a pinch!”
Shen Yiren silently walked into the middle of the crowd. Though n.o.body visited her yesterday, it was clear there were people who cared about her wellbeing.
Shen Yiren: You’re a pretty smart bunch.
“If you want to enter, you’ll have to step over my dead b-, eh, Vice-Captain?”
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“Pfft, you think such childish tricks can fool me? Let me remind you that I’m the boss around here. Since you’re not very smart, let me imprint into your head for you!” Song Ou had yet to complete his first stride when he saw Shen Yiren’s fatigued visage flit past. “Yiren!” he exclaimed as he scuttled back six steps. “I-I-I-I, Y-Yiren, wh-what brings you here?”
Shen Yiren nodded with an emotionless expression. “Song Chi, you are a guest at my house but not at Liu Shan Men. You are an owner at your house, but you’re not the owner at Liu Shan Men.”
Song Chi smiled and held his hands in salute. “I would never be so presumptuous. Even at home, I am at your beck and call. I am here today under my brother’s instructions. I would never presume I am above you or my brother. However, in light of the fact that my brother believed it was painfully necessary for him to take action before notifying you, I am merely here to lend a hand.”
From behind Shen Yiren, Lan Kelan grouched, “Oh, emptying out Vice-Captain’s room is just lending a hand? That’s quite the big hand you have.”
Shen Yiren raised a hand to signal for them to hush. “Song Ou, this is your idea?”
Song Ou looked to Song Chi forthwith. “I… I… It wasn’t my idea. I mean, I was only…”
“Sister-in-Law, my brother was merely following His Majesty’s orders. Going forward, Liu Shan Men must wholeheartedly work alongside Emperor’s Entourage and the Qilin Guards’ operations. At the same time, Liu Shan Men must not neglect security in the capital. I believe it is safe to a.s.sume you already know the reason. As the captain of Liu Shan Men, my brother had to take action upon receiving His Majesty’s decree. Since my brother was aware that you usually leave doc.u.ments here, he believed it was only right for him to take them back to his office in Vermillion Hall.”
There were enemies outside their walls and now two opportunists inside trying to seize power. The constables were ready to dish out some pain as soon as they were given the order.
Shen Yiren stared at the brothers without a word for a long while before finally saying, “Fine. Have it your way.”
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