# 102. More Valuable than One's Life “Your Mother!” Xu Qi’an cursed internally, accepting his fate. He thought back to his previous life, in officer training, when the sergeant would deliberately pick on him. At that time, he could still say: I ain’t doing this! But the Nightwatchers’ ranks were strict, and so one couldn’t use such extreme a response. “You’re making things hard for me? Then don’t blame me when I tell on you to Daddy Wei.” Xu Qi’an rubbed his swollen arms, aflame with fury. After all personnel had arrived, the Nightwatchers and their assistant bailiffs hastily rushed to their destination. That head of finance whose house they were raiding was surnamed Cheng, with a large three-tiered courtyard house. The house was already surrounded on all sides by the city guard. After the Nightwatchers had arrived, silver gong Zhu pulled his sabre out, and with his blade like a flash of lightning, cut the “Zhu Manor” sign in half. Afterwards, he waved his sabre in the air: “Nightwatchers! Open up!” Like a cloud of angry wasps, the bronze gongs and bailiffs barged into the house. The servants in the manor were so scared they dared not breathe, shakily retreating to the corners, to the side of the road, to under the eaves. Only yesterday did they know their master had been arrested, and the manor was about to ask around their contacts. Who knew that they would be raided so quickly? Xu Qi’an and his two colleagues entered the front hall, and were just about to go to the back courtyard, when they were kicked back by silver gong Zhu. “You three stay here, don’t you dare go anywhere. Afterwards, I will search each and every one of you. If you dare to try smuggle anything, you will be punished according to all possible regulations.” he said darkly. Seeing that Xu Qi’an and the other two were being picked on, some bronze gongs looked on with schadenfreude, others pretending not to see anything, in an effort to protect themselves. Song Tingfeng dared to be angry, but dared not say anything. The always silent Zhu Guangxiao bore a dark expression. Xu Qi’an clenched his teeth, and chose to remain silent. He couldn’t fight back at this time, otherwise his fate would be dire indeed. Watching silver gong Zhu enter the inner courtyard, Song Tingfeng spat in his direction, angrily saying “This damn bastard, breaking one’s path to wealth, has no sense of PY trading.[^1]” “Sorry, I’m weighing you all down.” Xu Qi’an said in shame. Song Tingfeng rolled his eyes, his gaze falling on Xu Qi’an’s arm: “I’m seeing you rubbing your arm a lot, are you hurt much?” Laughing bitterly, Xu Qi’an pulled up his sleeve, to reveal that his arm was already swollen and red. “That piece of shit used qi?” Song Tingfeng’s expression turned. An average officer beating his subordinates would at most cause some minor bruises, and would absolutely not secretly add qi to their blows. Causing pain and causing actual injury were two different things. But that Zhu was another level of mean-spirited. “Just with this injury, you can report him. When we get back, go find boss, boss won’t tolerate this.” Zhu Guangxiao said. Song Tingfeng glanced at him, shaking his head, “Don’t cause boss more trouble.” Even though they were both silver gongs, but Zhu’s father was a gold gong, and a person with such a big tree to lean against was not someone Li Yuchun could afford to get on the bad side of. Song Tingfeng continued, “Forget it. If you get put with him next time, just admit your misfortune.” *I will report him, but not to brother Chun, but rather daddy Wei…* Xu Qi’an dropped down his sleeve. The “house raid” was different to what Xu Qi’an had in mind; there weren’t any sounds of smashing and crashing about. Quite the opposite, the bronze gongs and white bailiffs were all very careful with their task. A random flowerpot in the study, could be a piece of porcelain worth over a hundred taels. A small desk used to put papers, could be a few taels of silver alone. Suddenly, the three of them in the front hall heard the sharp screams and cries of a woman, along with her pleading. “What’s going on?” Xu Qi’an’s expression changed, turning to look at Song Tingfeng, “The sentence said only a house raid, no other arrests.” The sentence given to Minister Cheng was only to be exiled, and have his property confiscated. No one else would be arrested along with him. This implied that his family would at most be evicted from the manor; they weren’t guilty of any crime. Song Tingfeng said hesitantly, “Perhaps the women in the manor are rather pretty… they want to play… this type of thing happens all the time.” “Fuck!” Xu Qi’an cursed, rushing to the back courtyard with large steps. In the courtyard, a woman’s sharp cries echoed throughout the manor, along with a man’s perverted laugh. “Bang!” Xu Qi’an headed towards the source of the commotion, kicking open a door, to see a bronze gong he didn’t know was currently pulling at a middle-aged woman’s clothes. That woman had well-defined features, pale skin, and on her body was only left a *dudou* undershirt.[^2] She was crying in utter despair. The bronze gong jumped in fright, his face losing colour. If it was only a moment later, then would he not have been scared into paranoia. He turned his head in anger to look at the door. Xu Qi’an stared back at him coldly, scanning the plaque on the bronze gong’s waist, “You continue. I’ve remembered your name, afterwards I’ll personally go to Duke Wei and report you.” Wei Yuan’s name carried heavy weight. The bronze gong glanced at the woman, then glanced at Xu Qi’an’s dark face, making sure it was not a joke, before hesitating. Xu Qi’an did not pay him any more attention, and making best of what little time he had, started kicking open other doors in succession, like a cannon, and similarly frightening his colleagues off their imminent misdeeds. *I haven’t seen that Zhu…* Xu Qi’an’s heart sank, and without hesitation, kicked open the door to the last room. As expected, revealing silver gong Zhu. And as for him, he was in the middle of pinching a girl, a wicked smile on his face, slowly ripping off her clothes layer by layer with twisted enjoyment. That girl was no more than twelve or thirteen. Tear tracks shone down her face, and she was making choked sobs, wanting but not daring to cry. At that instant, Xu Qi’an’s anger reached boiling point, yet he did not rashly run in, staring daggers at silver gong Zhu. “Piss off!” Silver gong Zhu’s face was sullen. Xu Qi’an did not piss off, staring a Refining Spirit master eye-to-eye without a hint of timidness, spitting out word by word: “You dare to touch her, I will report you to Duke Wei.” Hearing his words, the young girl’s eyes shone with newfound radiance, finally finding a lifeline to clutch at. This altercation drew the attention of the other bronze gongs and assistant bailiffs. They stood not far away, looking in shock at this famed bronze gong facing off against the silver gong. “Sure, you worthless thing.” He had disliked Xu Qi’an’s spotlight earlier, but now his feeling towards the bronze gong was that the quicker he died the better. Silver gong Zhu grabbed the girl by the neck, holding her up in the air, and walked out of the room with great strides. Xu Qi’an felt a surging wave of qi, and instinctively put a hand on his sabre hilt, backing off cautiously, avoiding the sharp edge. Silver gong Zhu carried the girl to the courtyard, and threw her atop the stone table. He turned, and with a twisted smile said: “What will you do?” The veins in Xu Qi’an’s forehead bulged. “Ningyan…” Song Tingfeng ran over with an awful looking expression, putting a hand onto Xu Qi’an’s right hand, on his pommel, saying with gritted teeth, “Don’t start, don’t start, you know the consequences…” His voice was pleading. Xu Qi’an found a bit of calmness again, and understood Song Tingfeng’s warning. Firstly, a bronze gong attacking a silver gong was an enormous violation; if he were killed on the spot he would only have himself to blame. Put it another way, the reason that Zhu pulled the girl into the courtyard to assault her in front of everyone, was to provoke Xu Qi’an, and force him to attack. Giving Xu Qi’an no path forward but death. Secondly, how could a refining qi beat a refining spirit? Both status and strength disallowed it. Xu Qi’an did not give up, meticulously repeating himself: “If you dare touch her, I will report you to Wei Yuan.” Silver gong Zhu laughed maniacally, “You can go tell on me, but only after I enjoy this little beauty.” Other bronze gongs might have been afraid of Xu Qi’an’s threat, but he was not. With a gold gong as his father, added onto the fact that he had done everything properly, he was not afraid of problems he could not solve, or calamity. What is it really to abuse a few women of a criminal family? Furthermore, it wasn’t the first or second time he had done it; every year with so many officials found guilty, and suffering house raids, even if their family’s women weren’t sentenced on association, were they really able to get off scott free? They also had to pay something. Silver gong Zhu laughed derisively, and made to start assaulting the girl. Some bronze gongs turned their heads, some whistled, laughing strangely. This only just secondary school aged girl facing such a fate, deeply pierced at his 21st century transmigrated soul. “Let her go!” Song Tingfeng heard his companion’s words, they were very light. But his expression was that resolute, that unconsciously, Song Tingfeng took a step back. Xu Qi’an’s eyes were calm, his breath calm, all his emotions were flattened into a calm lake. In an instant, he had entered an optimal state. With the thumb of his right hand, he lightly pushed off the hand guard of his sabre, letting the blade come out of its scabbard an inch. “Sching!” The sound of a sword leaving its scabbard resonated around the courtyard. Silver gong Zhu suddenly rose, gaze cold, lashing out with no hesitation, his blade humming towards Xu Qi’an. He had long anticipated this. A raging torrent of qi came crashing forth, like the sea tide. Xu Qi’an was like a stone monolith, resolute and unyielding. Everything had come to this point, he had reached his peak! “Sching!” Another sound of sword leaving scabbard. Everyone only saw a thin blade of light appear and flash away, only saw Xu Qi’an’s hand move slightly. That somewhat straight looking sabre, was still in its scabbard, as if that sound was merely an illusion. Silver gong Zhu did not move, his wide, staring eyes frozen in place. A few seconds later, the silver gong at his chest split, falling to the floor with a crash. Immediately afterwards, a sabre gash split open his chest, as fresh blood sprayed out, spraying on Xu Qi’an’s face and body. In absolute silence, he toppled over backwards. Moments later, Song Tingfeng was the first to react, rushing towards silver gong Zhu with a face as white as a sheet, feeling for his meridians. “He’s not dead, he’s not dead…” Song Tingfeng yelled hoarsely, “Someone save him!” The scene immediately became chaotic. A group of silver gongs started trying to stabilise silver gong Zhu, channelling qi into him, giving him medicine. They then picked him up, and carried him off, planning to take him to the constabulary for further treatment. Another group drew their sabres in a wave of “sching!” sounds, surrounding Xu Qi’an. The silent Zhu Guangxiao, hand on his sword hilt, stood in front of Xu Qi’an. “Ningyan…” Song Tingfeng’s face became even whiter. With great difficulty, he squeezed out the words “Flee…” Xu Qi’an, who with one strike used up all his qi, shook his head, his face full of tiredness. He laughed, “If I flee, what happens to my uncle and auntie?” Song Tingfeng became angry. He pulled at Xu Qi’an’s robe, pointing at the dazed young girl, shouting with gritted teeth, “Is it worth it? For a girl that you don’t even know, is it worth it?” “She’s still a child…” Xu Qi’an stared back at him, “There are some things, that are more valuable than one’s life.” He started walking away, lightly. No one dared to stop him. When he took a step, the Nightwatchers would back off a step. After about ten steps, Xu Qi’an took off his plaque and scabbard, and threw them on the ground. Then, he made an action that no body could understand. With eyes turned towards the heavens, he raised his hand, and gave a military salute. So many years apart, on Xu Qi’an’s face flashed again that overflowing youthful vigour, that he had when he first graduated police academy. Even if he was covered in blood. --- [^1]: Probably mentioned this before but PY trading: “trading between friends” → “anus trading”, basically backdoor deals, shady business. [^2]: [Dudou](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudou)