At this moment, Cailian Alley was already filled with people. The balconies, walls, trees all had people squatting to watch from above. They were all red with excitement, happy to watch the Prefecture Chief catch the guy who harassed his mistress…. That escalated into the Prefecture Chief catching a demon…
This was so much better than any theatre they’ve watched! The people of Cheng'an were ecstatic!
Other than the people who were actually involved, everyone couldn’t wait until the fighting began. Blood should flow, that’s what makes a good show!
Li Chengfeng’s heart sank. When he heard Prefecture Chief Zhang Junheng’s voice, he knew there would be no good ending today!
Zhao Xiaobao! I know you managed to save us from the black-robed men burning down the building, but our saviours are also going to be the cause of our deaths! I know you’re stupid, but I didn’t know you were THAT stupid!
But Li Chengfeng also knew that there probably was no other method to get people here this quickly, thus solving his problem within moments.
The black-robed leader saw Zhang Junheng. Although Zhang Junheng was in casual wear today, he held a solemn, dignified look. Every step was heavy, and based on the crowd’s response, this must be Cheng'an’s Prefecture Chief. He did not dare take this lightly, so he greeted the chief, “Greetings, Prefecture Chief Zhang.”
Qiu Liansheng quickly leapt to the chief’s side and explained what happened in a low voice. He did not explain who the other guy was, merely describing it as if it was Su Zhixian’s fault.
Although he meant well, he didn’t understand that the chief was angry at the other guy, not Su Zhixian.
Prefecture Chief Zhang glared around the courtyard coldly and turned to the black-robed leader. “What evidence do you have, claiming that my beloved is a demon? You’d better explain yourself this instant! And if you can’t, you won’t leave this place alive!”
He waved and one hundred of his private troops drew their arrows at the same time. Although these weren’t restricted weapons, one hundred powerful bows were enough to turn anyone into a porcupine.
Zhang Junheng had the look of a dignified leader- thick eyebrows, cool eyes. He was frowning, so there were wrinkles between his eyebrows. The laugh lines by his nose were deep as canyons, his tanned face was one of a person who should not be provoked!
The black-robed leader’s face changed but he forced himself to calm down. He snickered, “Chief, have you been experiencing fatigue, muscle weakness and fitful sleep recently?”
Someone whispered amongst the crowds, “Nonsense, after marrying a beauty like that, any man would experience fatigue and muscle weakness!”
There was another voice, “Forget about a fifty-year old like him, even a strong twenty-year-old would be tired after working day and night with this pretty girl!”
This person emphasised the word ‘working’. Everyone heard him.
The ladies covered their mouths and snickered, the men laughed- though this was the Prefecture Chief so everyone just lowered their heads and held the laughter in.
Zhang Junheng’s face darkened, pretending not to hear them. He yelled sternly, “Scum! And you think that is evidence?”
Li Chengfeng’s mind raced as he watched the stalemate outside. He turned to pluck a sharp arrow from inside the room and then took off the arrowhead. He then used the sharp head to cut the bed sheets into strips and then tied them up into a rope.
After quickly making his rope, he took more arrows and tied them together, making a claw shape.
Although Liu Zhixi’s room was simple, the ceiling beam was high above. A fengshui master had once told her that her life’s fortune was poor, she would have a big heart but a fragile life. That was why she must not live in gaudy luxury, merely a simple but wide space. Her room’s ceiling beams and skylight must be located high up!
Li Chengfeng gauged that the skylight was four metres above. He would not be able to jump through that with just his legs.
He then looked at the ‘skylight’ that Zhao Xiaobao had opened by removing the roof tiles right above the ceiling beam. He swung the rope and hurled the makeshift hook forward, which caught on the beam and spun several rounds. The arrows were now tightly wound around the beam so with a burst of strength, Li Chengfeng started climbing up.
Then, he gently crawled out onto the roof, though he was very startled to see that there were a few people standing near him, also on the roof. These people were mostly pimps from Zhixi’s place, all wanting to watch the show and had climbed onto the roof for a better view.
Since they were all focused on the courtyard, no one noticed Li Chengfeng climbing up.
Secretly relieved, he tied a handkerchief around his face and prepared to leave.
Just as he was about to leave, the situation in the courtyard escalated!
When the black-robed leader heard Zhang Junheng’s stern reprimand, he sneered, “My lord, did you really not notice that she’s a demon?”
Zhang Junheng’s face turned green, then red. He clenched his teeth. “That’s enough! Guards, take them down!”
Clatter! All of his men drew their bows tighter. Any sudden movement and there would be a rain of arrows!
The crowd was touched by the lengths Zhang Junheng would go to, just to protect the woman he loved. Only very few understood that he had no choice but to clench his teeth and push through. If he yielded, then that would mean he had illegally harboured a demon, even taking one as his mistress!
That was a major crime, enough to have one’s family executed!
That was why he must not yield!
The black-robed leader saw Zhang Junheng’s determined glare and yelled, “Wait!”
Then, he raised both his hands and reached into his clothing and pulled something out. The crowd saw that he had taken a short staff out. He held it high up. It was a staff made of gold!
[TL Note: short staffs are like a token of trust/ order tokens given to someone acting in another person’s authority. This is to prove that this person has indeed received orders from, e.g. the emperor, to do something.]
In the land of Daqi, staffs were divided into ranks based on their materials: crystal, jade, gold, silver, bronze, iron and wood. Although the cross could not see the engravings on it, they could see that it was a high-ranked one, for it was gold!
The crystal staff belonged to the emperor, there was only one in the entire empire. It did not just represent the ultimate authority of the emperor, it was also a powerful magical item that could move mountains. The jade staff belonged to the princes, also magical but considered lower-grade items. There were only three jade staffs and all were in the palace. Taking the staff out of the region for no good reason was considered treason, hence like the crystal staff, they were not usually seen in public.
The golden staff belonged to the highest-ranked marquis, and there were only eight conferred throughout Daqi’s history. They oversaw different regions of the empire but there was only one person who could mobilise troops using the golden staff without reprimand from the emperor!
The great Marquis Zhan!
Also known as the King of the Northwest, conferred the titled of ‘Champion Marquis’!
[TL Note: Champion Marquis, or 冠军侯 , is a title for someone who has defeated a lot of enemies in battle. A famous Champion Marquis in Chinese history is Huo Qubing]