Chapter 23: Fierce Tiger
T/N: the explanation for our username.
“I am the flower of the Black Iron Camp’s three factions, whose reputation run far across the ocean.”
Gu Yun slowly took out a Liuli gla.s.s and placed it on the bridge of his nose. He casually walked over to Chang Geng’s side, pushed open the window, and narrowed his eyes to look at the parking platform.
The Liuli gla.s.s was equipped with a thin chain of white gold hanging behind the ear, covering one peach blossom eye, making the bridge of his nose become seemingly straighter. His whole temperament suddenly gave off a cold aura resembling an animal in the cloth of human.
Chang Geng stared at him for a while and asked: “Yifu, what are you wearing?”
Gu Yun teased him: “A little accessory from the Western foreigners, does it look good? It is a fashionable trend for the people over there to wear this. Let me go stroll one round outside later and bring back a Western stepmother for you, okay?”
Chang Geng: “…”
A little soldier belonging to the Black Eagle faction attempted to ease the heavy atmosphere in the room. He smartly said: “Marshal, you are not the blood-related father either!”
Gu Yun laughed along without a care.
The little soldier shook his head and said: “The world has become different in the past few years, and the hearts of the people also changed. Before, women used to value our virtues and temperament, we didn’t have to worry. But now it’s the opposite, they only care about whether men are good-looking or not. Marshal, us brothers are not single because we’re unsightly, but simply because we were born in the wrong era.”
The local specialty of the Black Iron Camp was single men. When hearing these words, all the others noisily followed suit.
Gu Yun laughed out loud: “Get off, don’t group me into it! Who is unsightly? I am the flower of the Black Iron Camp’s three factions, whose reputation run far across the ocean.”
The group of rough and crude military men was utterly shocked by the shamelessness of their own marshal and had no other choice but to burst out laughing. Shen Yi said coolly: “Marshal, if you are as beautiful as a flower, how come you can’t also find a wife then?”
Gu Yun’s grievance was poked in just one sentence, Marshal Gu had to cover his chest and said: “I’m holding off waiting for the price to go up, all good things must be saved for last. What do you know?”
Speaking of this matter, one truly could not place the blame on Gu Yun.
Back then, the former Emperor’s feelings for him was quite contradictory. He loved Gu Yun, yet he was cautious of him at the same time. It was fine when he was a child, but as he grew older, the marriage of the young Marquis became a fish bone stuck in the throat of the former Emperor.
If choosing someone from a lowly family, he was afraid that people would criticize for he had mistreated the descendant of a loyal subject, the former Emperor won’t be able to stop the ma.s.ses from talking no matter what his reasoning might be. But if he chose someone from a highly influential family, he would feel nothing but anxiety.
Both choices were difficult faced with this dilemma. Perhaps in that year, the former Emperor had wished that Gu Yun was only a little eunuch.
The matter of the Marquis of Order’s marriage had been dragging on and been delayed for a long time, and finally, the Emperor chose the daughter of grand scholar Guo.
Guo family had generation after generation of highly educated scholars, they were both influential and pure. Young Lady Guo was said to be as beautiful as an orchid, her talents and knowledge were renowned all throughout the capital. That year, together with the crowned prince’s wife – who was the current Empress – they made up the Capital’s pair of Beauties. This choice won’t have any personal benefit involved, and won’t disgrace Gu Yun.
But it was really strange, ever since after their engagement, this renowned flower seemed to have been covered in frost. She began to grow ill and became weaker and weaker every day – in the end, without waiting for Gu Yun to come back victoriously from the frontline, Miss Guo had already pa.s.sed away.
Thinking about it, there were many people whose wives pa.s.sed away, it was nothing out of the norm, let alone a fiancée who has not been wedded yet. But as this matter involved the Marquis of Order, it was hard for people not to recall his lonesome grandfather who lost all his wives and children, and the pa.s.sing of Gu Yun’s own parents when he was young.
So just like that, the reputation of the Marquis whose fate countered his own wife started to spread out throughout the capital.
Being wed to the Marquis of Order was a great blessing. Aside from many gains, there’s no need to serve the in-laws either. But even with blessings as grand as heaven, one must stay alive to be able to enjoy them.
Later, Gu Yun had to run back and forth between the Nothern Frontier and the Western Region, he did not return to the capital for the past four or five years, and there was no opportunity to take care of this matter. Now that the former emperor was gone, and although the current emperor was older than Gu Yun by a few years, he had been referring to Gu Yun as Royal Uncle ever since his childhood. They were separated by a generation. Even if one was the monarch and the other was a subject, it was still not convenient for him to manage Gu Yun’s marriage arrangement.
Gu Yun himself did not have the energy to be concerned about it, and thus this matter got delayed until the present.
Shen Yi refused to spare him: “Raising the price? Who do want to sell yourself to?”
Gu Yun looked up, and through the Liuli gla.s.s, saw that Chang Geng was staring at him intently, his expression quite tense. Gu Yun a.s.sumed that the boy was worried that after getting married, Gu Yun won’t love him anymore.
He raised his hand and patted Chang Geng’s head in an attempt at comforting: “I like someone who is intelligent, gentle and kind. Rest a.s.sured, I definitely won’t bring back a Ha Dong lion* to bully you.”
*a term to referring to women who are ferocious and violent.
This line seemed to have carved out a hole in the chest of Chang Geng, it seemed like the indecent ideas he once thought he had successfully suppressed used this chance to rise up once again to make a fuss, filling him with sorrow and hopelessness, with no place to free them to.
He had to force himself to squeeze out a stiff smile.
With the same effort he used every night to force himself to sleep.
At this moment, there was a sudden noise on Ting Yuan platform, a mixture of both drumming sounds and cheering. A few Westerners who were dancing with monkeys and parrots all withdrew from the stage. Afterwards, a large iron cage covered with a piece of cloth was brought up. A Western clown in white makeup twisted and turned as he set up a large flaming hoop, and after hovering and posing for a while in an attempt to stir up enough curiosity and interest from the crowd, the cover was finally lifted up.
There was an enormous tiger in the cage!
Ge Ban Xiao leaned his whole body out of the window and asked: “Is it real or fake? Is that a real tiger?”
The clown opened the iron cage and led the tiger out by its collar.
There was no telling if whether it was because there were too many people watching that the tiger seemed quite irritated and restless. It wouldn’t stop making struggling movements.
Gu Yun frowned and said coldly: “This group of foreigners really know how to be courteous. Bringing out a wild beast like this for New Year celebration — Xiao Jia!”
The young Black Eagle soldier who talked the most just now responded: “Yes!”
Gu Yun: “Go find people to keep an eye out, there are countless onlookers below, don’t let anything happen.”
Xiao Jia, upon receiving his order, immediately jumped off directly from the terrace of the Red Kite. Where they currently resided was about thirty meters from the ground below. His shadow flashed, leaving a thin white steam in the air, then disappeared in the blink of an eye.
In the midst of the loud noises, the uneasy tiger began to reluctantly jump through the ring of fire, its face appeared ferocious as if being forced to act against its will.
On Yunmeng Grand View, rounds after rounds of cheers and claps rang out, the next one louder than the last, there were some who began to throw money down in the heat of the moment.
While watching performances, it was not uncommon for the overexcited crowd to throw a few harmless coins down to Ting Yuan platform. Many people did this, but today no one knew from where, but a careless and moronic watcher directly threw gold leaves down below.
The lively crowd who was watching under the stage suddenly blew up, many shouts of ‘look, there is gold!’ sounded out endlessly.
But before anyone could get to the gold, the tiger that was jumping through the flaming hoop completely became agitated. It snarled and turned around taking a chunk out of the unguarded clown.
The clown’s arm and shoulder were immediately bitten off on the spot. He let out a bloodcurdling scream.
The tiger roared, broke free of control, and charged towards the sea of people under Ting Yuan platform.
The people from the inner circle were utterly frightened by the beast, trying to flee for their lives, while the people from the outer circle were still unaware of the situation. Somehow hearing that people were fighting for gold leaves inside, they continued to squeeze in.
Both sides, one pushing, one shoving, no one was able to move.
Someone shouted “gold”, the other cried “tiger”. There were some who had fallen to the ground, unable to get up. The situation was quickly plunged into complete chaos.
The night guards were also smashed into by the crowd. There was no shortage of officials and n.o.bility in Qi Yuan Tower – many of them did not put the lives of ordinary people in their eyes. In a rush, they were only concerned about their own, and even while escaping, they still couldn’t forget their images, ordering their servants to clear a path for them.
Gu Yun grabbed Chang Geng’s shoulder and pushed him back, then picked up the arrow and the longbow that Shen Yi hung behind the door and told him: “Don’t come out.”
The Black Iron Camp soldiers sitting at the table all stood up.
Shen Yi held onto Gu Yun’s elbow and blurted out: “Your eyes…”
Chang Geng was sharp, he immediately lifted his head and thought: “Eyes? What happened to his eyes?”
Gu Yun ignored it and pulled his arm away, then kicked open the door of the Red Kite.
Several Eagle units on the Red Kite leaped down from above, flying low to the ground. Few small fireworks blasted out in cold light. Another Black Iron Armor soldier who stood at a higher place began to climb up the signaling pole of the Red Kite, holding a tong hou in his hand. He shouted towards the chaotic crowd: “The Marquis of Order is here, do not cause a commotion!”
This sentence was actually more effective than hearing the Emperor’s sacred decree. Many people instinctively stopped pushing and shoving immediately upon hearing three words: ‘Marquis of Order’.
The tiger’s howling came from a distance, and the raging beast rushed out like a lightning bolt, a young man was pressed under its claws. Gu Yun stood on the head of the koi fish ship, leaned on the window, tilted his body and began to pull the arrow.
His Liuli gla.s.s still sat on the bridge of his nose – no one ever wore a Liuli gla.s.s for shooting, this thing would cause the field of vision to become inaccurate. His thin clothing flew in the hot wind of the flaming fins, his figure gave off an indescribable arrogant aura. It truly was like doing archery with closed eyes.
However, Shen Yi knew that if Gu Yun were to take off his gla.s.s in this moment, he won’t be able to differentiate between human and beast, basically not that much different from closing his eyes.
Why must it happen in this life and death situation?
Shen Yi hands’s broke out a layer of thin sweat involuntarily, his back tightened up.
In this moment, Gu Yun let go of the bowstring.