On this day, Yan Shun City was shaken by a huge tiger roar. The allied state Xitu Kingdom presented an adult white tiger to the Emperor of Ming. When the procession passed through Yan Shun City, it attracted thousands of people out onto the streets just to see the majesty of the tiger king.
The white tiger was wild and untamed. It rushed at the bars of the cage fiercely and roared, making people’s eardrums sore. The crowds squeezed together, the entire scene very chaotic.
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The envoy of Xitu Kingdom laughed at the sight, and seemed very proud of the effect caused by the white tiger.
Tigers were not uncommon as within the Ming Kingdom’s forests there also lived many tigers. But white tigers were rarely seen in the mountains and forests of the Ming Kingdom. Legend has it that the white tiger was the ride of the deities in the sky and possessed a divine nature which could awe all directions. Xitu Kingdom had the fortune of catching a white tiger so they included it in their tribute list. In addition to wanting to exchange for enough food and cloth, they also wanted to test the courage of the Emperor of Ming.
As a tribute gift, this white tiger could not be released into the forest at will. It needed to be carefully raised. If it was not properly taken care of, whether it came under an illness or died under their care, it would damage the face of the Ming Kingdom.
It could be said that this was a gift that was both likable and headache inducing.
“I say, Gold,” Nie Bufan said to a chicken with yellow feathers and black stripes next to him on the second floor of a teahouse, “You see how happy you are to meet such a reasonable master like me, being able to live free and easy and completely unfettered. Unlike your fellow kind, being kept in a cage for people to watch.”
Gold looked solemn, its beady chicken eyes staring at the white tiger.
The white tiger that was currently going crazy seemed to detect something, and suddenly turned its head to look over, meeting Gold’s eyes. After a while, the white tiger stopped roaring and slowly lay down in the cage, having calmed down.
Xitu Kingdom’s envoys looked at each other, eyes full of surprise. The gaze of one of them shot sharply at the teahouse where Nie Bufan was, but only saw a man with his face half-hidden under a bamboo hat and a chicken standing beside him.
He whispered a few words to the person next to him. The person nodded before quietly leaving the procession and heading towards the teahouse.
After finishing the order, the man looked towards the teahouse again. The man in the teahouse still maintained his lazy posture watching the show below, but the chicken beside him was gone.
“We should go.” Tai Bai’s deliberately lowered voice suddenly sounded in his ears.
“What’s the matter?” Nie Bufan saw that the envoys had left, so he withdrew his gaze and turned to Tai Bai.
“Someone is watching us.” Tai Bai whispered, “I don’t know if it’s Wei Di’s person or not.”
“It doesn’t matter if he is or not, it’s the right thing to leave.” Nie Bufan was very straightforward, and stood up without saying anymore.
The two walked out of the teahouse, and the people watching them also followed after them as expected.
Nie Bufan smiled and said, “Take the main street?”
Tai Bai was taken aback: “The main street? It’s full of people, can we even squeeze through?”
“If we can’t squeeze through, then the people who are following us also can’t squeeze through, just perfect.” Nie Bufan smirked.
Tai Bai wiped the sweat from his forehead, struggling with himself for a moment before finally deciding to risk his life and accompany…..the villain. (TN: original phrase is ‘to risk one’s life to accompany the gentleman’)
Of the two, one was as tragic as a man walking to his death, while the other was as excited as if flying to the moon, both courageously squeezing into the turbulent crowd. Tai Bai held Nie Bufan’s hand tightly, face squeezed into fierce expressions and clothes squeezed into a disheveled mess from the crowds.
Nie Bufan swam left and right, slippery like a fish, but unfortunately he was slowed down by Tai Bai, occasionally being swept along by the tide of people.
He slandered silently, seeing Tai Bai so agile under the water, who knew that he couldn’t do it once on land.
At this moment, there was an unknown commotion in the front, causing the surrounding people to push back. The squeezing force increased and Nie Bufan and Tai Bai’s interlocked hands were separated. The two of them were divided on either side, reduced to searching through countless heads for the other’s figure.
Nie Bufan beckoned and shouted, “Little Bai, see you back at the inn.”
After saying so, he dived into the crowd without a trace, not even bothering to see if the other heard him or not.
Tai Bai looked at the direction of Nie Bufan’s disappearance, and felt sorrowful: This little heartless fellow!
There was also another person who was just as sorrowful as him, and that was the Xitu envoy who was responsible for tracking Nie Bufan. He followed the two of them into the crowd, and immediately experienced the surging tide of people and the tragedy of being shoved and stepped on by others. It was hard to even stand firm, let alone track another person. What was more, when he squeezed out the crowd looking like a withered flower, his wallet, dagger, and handkerchief from his sweetheart were all gone. It could be described as a devastating loss, both body and mind being injured without nowhere to find justice.
“Huu, not bad, just like a massage.” Nie Bufan stood on the street and rubbed his shoulders, smiling unabated.
At this time, the crowd was much more sparse, although it was still shoulders rubbing shoulders, but at least it was not as turbulent as before.
Nie Bufan straightened his clothes, the bamboo hat on his head no longer visible. Without any cover, he could only go back to the inn. Just as he was about to take a step, he suddenly saw a familiar figure appearing at the corner of the street, it was Wei Third, one of Wei Di’s guards!
Nie Bufan quickly half-covered his face with his sleeves shyly, and looked around for a place to hide. It was a pity that there was only a wall where he was standing, without any cover or place to conceal. Moreover, the sparse crowd on the street also couldn’t stop such an eye-catching sinful presence like him from being discovered. The distance between Wei Third and him was enough to spot him at a glance.
In this moment of emergency, Nie Bufan’s eyes fixed on the carriage that was temporarily blocked by the crowd a few steps away. Before he could think about it, he sprinted over and dived into the carriage when Wei Third was about to shift his sight to this side.
Before he could even steady himself, a sharp dagger pressed on his neck.
Nie Bufan followed the dagger and looked upward, only to see a wicked looking man with long hair lying on his side, an evil slant to his lips. He was silently looking at him with his slender, slanted eyes.
The first feeling this person gave him was only one word: crooked!
“Hello.” Nie Bufan greeted with a smile, “I’m sorry to disturb you. Excuse me, would you mind giving me a ride?”
“I mind.” The wicked looking man uttered two words flatly.
“Don’t be like this.” Nie Bufan didn’t mind at all his aloofness. He pushed the dagger away from his neck carelessly, sat opposite him, and said amiably, “The so-called convenience for others and convenience for oneself, who doesn’t need help from others at some time.”
“It’s inconvenient for me, and I don’t need help.” The wicked looking man pressed the dagger on Nie Bufan’s neck again and said, “Two choices, jump down by yourself, or I will cut you and throw you out the carriage.”
“Do you have to be so cruel?” Nie Bufan widened his eyes. “You tell me first, where do you want to cut? If it’s the neck, a single knife can shed blood and spray you on your face. If it’s the inner thigh, it will still spray you on your face. You can cut my limbs at will but I’m afraid that even if most of me is cut and thrown out of the carriage, there will still be all kinds of remnants in the carriage, which will still affect your mood.”
Wicked looking man: “…..”
Nie Bufan ignored the dagger on his neck and copied the wicked looking man, leaning crookedly next to him. Seeming to persuade him in a brotherly manner: “Life is too short, so you should have fun whenever you can. Don’t always think of fighting and killing, it is harmful to one’s health. Once it is meal time you can’t even swallow down anything, it’s not worth it.”
The wicked looking man slowly retracted his dagger, and looked him up and down, as if he was looking at some rare and exotic animal.
“That’s right!” Nie Bufan took out an egg from his pocket, “Here, a gift, thank you for letting me take a ride. You are too kind.”
It was clearly a certain someone shamelessly sticking in place. The wicked looking man lowered his eyes, rubbed the jade ring on his finger as he slandered unprecedentedly in his heart.
“By the way, what can I call you?” Nie Bufan introduced himself while peeling the egg, “I am Ouyang Feng, a foreigner.”
The wicked looking man looked at the egg shells that had been thrown to the ground, and asked, “You don’t know me?”
“Should I know you? Are you a celebrity?” Nie Bufan looked at him, “A relative of the emperor or a martial arts expert?”
The wicked looking man said nothing.
He continued: “Looking at your beautiful appearance like a flower, extraordinary demeanor and bearing, you are obviously not of a low birth. But your wicked aura is compelling, your gestures and behavior unrestrained so like me, you probably belong to the evil faction who grow out of the mud unsullied.” (TN: to be principled and incorruptible)
Grow out of the mud unsullied? When did the evil faction have such a noble evaluation? The wicked looking man was amused.
Nie Bufan saw that he had yet to make a clear statement, so he asked hesitatingly: “Then are you one of those who grow out of the mud sullied?”
“That’s okay.” Nie Bufan comforted, “Just wash it off. Just like a radish, when it is dug out from the soil, it is muddy. After washing it, it will immediately appear plump and white. You can do it too!”
The wicked looking man turned his head, suddenly feeling a little itchy in his fingers, the desire to scratch that itch very strong.
Nie Bufan finished eating an egg, raised the curtain and looked out. He felt that the surroundings were a bit unfamiliar. It was a place he hadn’t been to before, so he asked casually, “Where are we going?”
“Imperial Palace.” This time the wicked looking man answered very straightforwardly.
“Oh.” Nie Bufan answered flatly at first, then turned his head quickly, and exclaimed in horror, “The palace? What are you going to the palace for?”
“What do you think?” The wicked looking man asked back.
“Are you going to take me with you?”
“Why not?” The wicked looking man observed his reaction with interest.
Nie Bufan’s face was full of conflicted emotions, struggling in his heart. He wanted to go take a looke at the palace, but he was also worried about meeting Wei Di’s people.
He took out a copper coin and said solemnly: “Heads go back, tails go forward. I will leave it to you, heaven.”
After speaking, he threw it upwards, and just as his hands were about to clasp the falling copper coin, the wicked looking man flicked out something with his fingers, gently touching against the copper coin. When Nie Bufan opened his hands, the copper coin on the palm of his hand had its tail facing upwards.
Nie Bufan sighed, “It seems that heaven also agrees with me to go. This is as well, if I don’t go to hell, who will go to hell?” Of course the answer was——everyone goes to hell together.
His tone was tragic, but his eyes were filled with excitement.
The wicked looking man’s lips curved in a smile, suddenly feeling that this trip into the palace would not be boring.
The carriage stopped at the gate of the palace. The wicked looking man took off a tablet hanging from his waist and handed it out the window. Then he heard the guards outside the carriage respectfully saying: “Greetings to Lord Teacher of the State, please go in.”
The carriage continued to move forward and went straight down the palace road.
“Teacher of the State?” Nie Bufan stared at the wicked looking man in front of him, and asked in disbelief, “You are actually the Teacher of the State?”
“Do you have any doubts?” The wicked looking man raised his eyebrows.
Nie Bufan curled his lips and said, “How do you resemble the Teacher of the State? Sitting without sitting, smiling without smiling, and also wanting to cut people at every turn, there is none of the demeanor of a cultivator. And I thought you were of the evil faction that is sullied by the mud. Unexpectedly, it turned out you are a righteous faction that became corrupted? The contrast is too big!”
In various costume TV dramas, generally few were good people so long as they were accompanied by the title of “Teacher of the State”. Just why did he foolishly become a Teacher of the State?
“Listening to your tone, you seem to have a more favorable impression of the evil faction?”
“It is easy to change from righteousness to evil, but it is difficult to change from evil to righteous.” Nie Bufan said leisurely, “So I would rather be a corrupted evil faction than a righteous faction that can’t withstand temptation.”
“In this world, few people can withstand temptation.” The wicked looking man suddenly approached Nie Bufan, hooked his chin with a finger, and said in a low voice, “You are no exception.”
Nie Bufan also hooked the other’s chin with a finger, and said in a similar low voice: “I am not afraid of temptation, because what can tempt me will not corrupt me.”
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
“Oh?” The wicked looking man looked at him closely and asked, “What can tempt you?”
Nie Bufan smiled and spit out four words: “I won’t tell you.”
While they were talking, there was an announcement from outside. They had arrived at the inner court of the imperial palace.
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