Before she arrived at the stable, Zhen Ting Yun was still thinking; if she encounters this horse thief again, she will first give him a good beating. Beat until his head turns into a rotten pig head! Beat him until he becomes paralyzed from the waist down! Then she would hand him over to Steward Lin to have him brought to justice!
However, looking at this face now, Zhen Ting Yun could not bring herself to do as she originally planned. No wonder there was such a saying, ‘Even I cannot help loving her upon seeing her’…
In ancient times, when Princess Nankang saw her husband’s concubine. She lowered her (metaphorical) knife and erased the notion of getting rid of the concubine after seeing her beauty. She had said, “Even I cannot help loving her upon seeing her, what more is there of this consort?!”.
And today, that was also Zhen Ting Yun. After noticing the horse thief’s beauty, she let go of the thought of beating the person to a pulp as she changed her words and instructed, “Come help me carry the man down.”
With Zhen Ting Yun by its side, Ma Lan Tou stopped kicking and stomping about. This allowed others to approach it and heave the unconscious black-clothed man off its back.
After lifting the man off the horse. With the aid of the dimly flickering oil lamp, the rest of the people took a good look at the man’s face.
The man’s black mane had been drenched by the rainwater and there were a few strands of wet hair that stuck to his cheeks. His skin was so white that it was almost transparent. Illuminated by the dimly lit lamp in the stable, it was like the moonlight peeking through the darkness, frivolous yet fragile. Even with his eyes closed, one could still see the sharp contours of his face. His facial features were as deep as knife carvings, from his sword-like brows to his high nose bridge, and his thin lips.
Such a handsome face, yet, he was so pale and cutting a sorry figure. It could be described as a mighty lion that had fallen into a quagmire; its beautiful mane coated in mud, making it difficult for those who witnessed it to bear.
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Gzz vbkp qlzz kdvs Hbld Mkdt Zwd’p lulp, nywpkdt bla lmralppksd vs psqvld eaypvknyzzu. Mbwp, pbl nyzzle swv vs vbl vos xld dlmv vs bla qsa blzr, “Rv’p pvkzz aykdkdt swvpkel yde vbkp rlapsd kp yzz olv. Wwavblaxsal, bl’p pvkzz nwaaldvzu wdnsdpnkswp. Rv’p clpv vs cakdt vbkp xyd kdvs vbl kdd qkapv yde byhl bkx eakle. Xb ulp, yde byhl y esnvsa nsxl vyjl y zssj yv bkp nsdekvksd.”&dcpr;
Xaktkdyzzu, obld Hbld Mkdt Zwd saelale vbl vos xld vs blzr rwzz vbl wdnsdpnkswp xyd esod, vblu bye ds nsxxldvp. Jwv wrsd blyakdt vbl zyvvla byzq sq Hbld Mkdt Zwd’p pldvldnl ycswv oydvkdt vs cakdt vbl xyd kdvs vbl kdd yde qkdekdt y esnvsa qsa bkx, vblu clnyxl pvytdyvle.
Xdl sq vblx lmnzykxle, “Jwv Ykpp, bl’p y bsapl vbklq! R jdso vbyv kv’p wdkelyz vs plde bkx vs vbl cykzkqqp dso pkdnl kv’p nwaaldvzu yv dktbv yde pvkzz aykdkdt. Gzvbswtb ol byhl vs jllr bkx blal qsa y dktbv clqsal vwadkdt bkx shla vsxsaaso… Mblal’p ds dlle vs ekalnvzu cakdt vbl bsapl vbklq kdvs vbl kdd yde kdhkvl y esnvsa qsa bkx!”
Mbl svbla qaydvknyzzu dseele kd ytallxldv. Gv vbkp xsxldv, vbl keksx, ‘zlyhkdt vbl essa srld vs kdhkvl vbl vbklq kd’ pzkrrle bkp xkde. Jwv bl ralvldele vs cl jdsozletlyczl yde pyke, “Rpd’v vbkp fwpv zwakdt y ‘vbklq’ kdvs vbl bswpl1‘Nlyhkdt vbl essa srld vs kdhkvl vbl vbklq kd’ &zv;开门揖盗&tv; yde ‘zwakdt y vbklq kdvs sdl’p bswpl’ &zv;引贼入室&tv; yal csvb hlau pkxkzya keksxp. Jsvb rskdv vs byhkdt caswtbv/yzzsole y ewckswp rlapsd kdvs vblka xlvyrbsaknyz ‘bswpl’. Mbl ekqqlaldnl kp vbyv vbl qsaxyz eke kv jdsokdtzu, yde vbl zyvvla eke kv wdjdsokdtzu. Mbl plnsde keksx kp ynvwyzzu, &zv;引狼入室&tv;, obknb xlydv zwakdt y ‘oszq’ kdvs vbl bswpl. Eszq kp wpwyzzu wple vs elpnakcl y ewckswp rlapsd.?”
Ebld Hbld Mkdt Zwd prsjl, sdl nswze vlzz vbyv pbl oyp nsxrzlvlzu ckyple vsoyaep yrrlyaydnlp. Tla elzknyvl nbkd pzktbvzu zkqvle yp pbl iwlpvksdle, “Ebs pyup vbyv bl’p y bsapl vbklq?”
Wsa y xsxldv, vbl vos xld kd vbl pvyczl lmnbydtle tzydnlp, wdyczl vs qsax y alqwvyvksd.
Uyzxzu, Hbld Mkdt Zwd oyp eakhlzkdt sd okvb bla lulp okel srld, “Gv vbyv vkxl sq vbl kdnkeldv, R oyp vbl sdzu sdl yv vbl pnldl obs pyo vbl bsapl vbklq. Gv xspv usw yzz sdzu xydytle vs nyvnb y tzkxrpl sq bkp alvalyvkdt cynj. Fs bso nyd usw cl ps pwal vbyv bl oyp vbl bsapl vbklq?”&dcpr;
Xdl sq vbl xld vldvyvkhlzu hsknle swv, “Ohld kq bl kpd’v vbl bsapl vbklq, kv’p wdzkjlzu vbyv bl oyp vbl sdl obs caswtbv vbl bsapl cynj vs usw.”&dcpr;
“Can’t he be a righteous man who bravely helped me retrieve my horse from the horse thief? And maybe he fainted due to exhaustion on the way back?” Zhen Ting Yun casually rebutted. “Anyway, the horse that the horse thief stole was mine. At that time, I was the one who saw the horse thief. If I say that he isn’t the horse thief, there are no grounds for you to disagree.”
Since Zhen Ting Yun already said so, the two men had no choice but to accept it. They struggled to lift the unconscious man back into the inn under Zhen Ting Yun’s command.
Zhen Ting Yun pondered momentarily before instructing someone to check the man into the room beside hers. She also instructed her little servant girl, Ba Zhen, to take some money down to have the innkeeper get some clean clothes for the man to change into and invite a doctor to check on the man’s condition as well.
Old Madame Zhen was currently resting in the room, but after waiting for a long time, she ventured out to look for her granddaughter. When Old Madame Zhen finally spotted her, she saw how her granddaughter was using money to book a room and even called for a doctor for the man. Old Madame Zhen’s expression became very unsightly.
Thankfully, Old Madame Zhen was very attuned to her granddaughter’s temperament. She knew that her granddaughter had a big temper and was a prideful individual; sensitive to how others viewed her. Thus, Old Madame Zhen knew better than to confront her in public and she pulled her granddaughter into the room before exploding, “Are you stupid?! Even if he isn’t a horse thief, that man is still a stranger. What reason is there to spend so much money on him? You prodigal girl! Truly, a person who doesn’t manage a household isn’t aware of how expensive things are! Just because the money isn’t yours, you just casually spend it all away!”
The more Old Madame Zhen said, the more regretful she felt over the loss of her money. It felt like Zhen Ting Yun carved out a piece of meat from her heart!
Zhen Ting Yun pondered carefully before she decided not to hide the truth from Old Madame Zhen. “Actually, I didn’t see the horse thief’s face clearly back then. But based on his build, I’m pretty sure he is the horse thief.”
“What?!” Old Madame Zhen could not be bothered to keep her voice down anymore. Her expression changed immediately and she almost beat up her granddaughter before she even managed to roll up her sleeves.
Zhen Ting Yun hurriedly pulled on Old Madame Zhen’s sleeves, “Grandma, keep your voice down.”
Old Madame Zhen lowered her voice with much difficulty while stabbing Zhen Ting Yun with her finger, “It is really not wrong to say that you’re stupid! Why would anyone catch a thief and not send them to the bailiffs but instead, decide to pay for them?”
After a slight pause, she continued, “This wouldn’t do… I have to get my money back.”
If her sleeves were not tightly clasped by her granddaughter, Old Madame Zhen would have jumped up and chased after Ba Zhen. By hook or by crook, she would retrieve her money back.
“Grandma, please listen to me first!” Originally, Zhen Ting Yun wanted to keep Old Madame Zhen in suspense for a bit longer. But seeing how angry Old Madame Zhen was, Zhen Ting Yun decided to directly inform her of her plans. “I was thinking, Father and Eldest Sister had such good intentions when they sent such a good horse to me despite the distance. It’s such a pity that I didn’t know how to ride the horse. So, when I saw the horse thief riding the horse away earlier, I concluded that his horsemanship must’ve been excellent. Otherwise, Ma Lan Tou, who hates strangers approaching it, wouldn’t have let the man ride him away. Now that I saved him during his time of need, it created a life-saving grace. It’s now possible for me to ask him to teach me horsemanship. Wouldn’t we have gotten an advantage then?”
After hearing Zhen Ting Yun’s words, Old Madame Zhen became a little convinced. But she still sneered, “But who invites a horse thief to teach horsemanship?! How can one even trust the moral character of a thief?”
“What’s wrong with being a horse thief? Confucius once said, ‘where three people walked, there must be my teacher among them’2The actual saying is <三人行, 必有我師>. It means there is always something to learn from others. One can adopt people’s good attributes while improving themselves after seeing others’ undesirable attributes. The ‘three’ people just represent more than oneself..” Despite Old Madame Zhen’s words, Zhen Ting Yun could tell that she had already managed to convince her. She blinked her bright apricot eyes, revealing a bit of craftiness unique to a youthful girl, as she whispered to Old Madame Zhen, “Besides, horsemanship isn’t a skill that can be picked up in a few days. Grandma also knows how much it will cost to invite a tutor. Just the preparation of gifts and payment to hire one is already very costly. Currently, we only book a room and hire a doctor. If we want repayment for this life-saving grace in the future, the horse thief would have to teach me horsemanship then. In addition, he wouldn’t be able to charge me for it as well.”
As soon as Old Madame Zhen finished hearing her granddaughter out, she felt that Zhen Ting Yun had the heart to help her save money. Zhen Ting Yun indeed had quite the excellent genes of diligence and thriftiness from the Zhen family. But of course, ginger gets spicier as it ages3The older the person, the wiser.. Old Madame Zhen felt that her granddaughter was still young, hence was still inexperienced and had a lot of room for improvement. So she solemnly educated her granddaughter, “Even if that’s the case, you still shouldn’t have booked another room! Just have someone carry him to Steward Lin’s room; two big men staying together, what could happen? Steward Lin can also take a look at his condition then. On top of that, Steward Lin can also watch over the horse thief and make sure he doesn’t run away!”
After that, Old Madame Zhen urged Zhen Ting Yun to go down and retrieve the money back from the innkeeper.
But how could Zhen Ting Yun bear to do so? She was one who fretted over how others viewed her. Thus, she tried to coax Old Madame Zhen, “We don’t know what illness this person is down with. What if it’s contagious and spreads to Uncle Lin?” After further thought, she added, “In addition, Uncle Lin was sent by Father. He’s an important person in charge of all the affairs for our journey, we can’t afford to have anything happen to him.”
Old Madame Zhen had more to say, but Zhen Ting Yun was already half assisting and half pulling Old Madame Zhen back into the room. “Aiya, Grandma, it’s getting late, let’s return to the room first. Let me call Liu Shun to bring in some hot water. After you’ve washed up, you should rest early. You shouldn’t tire yourself.”
All the things that Old Madame Zhen wanted to say were forced back into her belly by Zhen Ting Yun. She could only follow her granddaughter back into the room.
Zhen Ting Yun helped Old Madame Zhen back to the room to rest before she headed downstairs.
At the same time, the innkeeper had already helped the man change out of his previous black clothes. As the unconscious man had a strapping build, the task was exhausting. However, upon seeing Zhen Ting Yun exit the room, the innkeeper’s eyes brightened and his previous exhaustion faded away as he politely greeted, “Miss Zhen.”
Zhen Ting Yun was on her way down when she heard someone calling out to her. She paused her steps and took this opportunity to look into the next room while asking in concern, “How is the person?”
The man replied honestly, “I’ve looked at his condition when I changed his clothes. Although there are some wounds on his body, they’re mostly superficial. However, it seems that something hard was used to hit the back of his head. It took quite a while to stop the bleeding and I’m afraid that’s what caused the man to lose consciousness. And maybe because he got caught in the rain, he’s also a little feverish. We’ll have to wait for the doctor to come over and take a closer look.”
After speaking, he buttered up to Zhen Ting Yun by saying, “It’s still Miss who’s perceptive. I think this person may be a righteous gentleman who intervened when he saw such injustice. And he most likely got injured after trying to snatch the horse back from the horse thief.”
Zhen Ting Yun had other ideas about this, ‘Afraid that it’s… horse thieves’ internal strife?’
The author has something to say:
Male protagonist: You might find it hard to believe, but I’m really not a horse thief!!!
LOL… Our Ting Yun is a true devoted face dog4<颜狗> is an internet slang referring to someone who treats good-looking people exceptionally well.…