# 104. Xu Xinnian I Would Sell My Body to Save Big Brother After everyone left, Yang Yan sat down by the table, brows furrowed into a deep knot. He took the cup of tea Wei Yuan handed him, but did not drink for a long time. Nangong Qianrou rolled his eyes, and asked for him: “Father, will you really kill that person?” Yang Yan immediately looked towards Wei Yuan. “Is there something wrong with my judgement?” Wei Yuan asked back. Nangong Qianrou and Yang Yan shook their heads at the same time, the former smiling playfully, “Indeed, you’re correct, but is father really willing to kill him?” Wei Yuan took a sip of tea, and sighed, “I’ve said before, that he’s a natural martial artist. That spirit is quite rare indeed.” With one blade he gravely wounded a Refining Spirit silver gong, how long has he been in Refining Qi? … Spring Breeze Hall. Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao, with heads lowered and depressive moods, followed Li Yuchun back. Throughout the journey, Brother Chun was unimaginably silent. Earlier, he had waited at the foot of the Tower of Noble Spirit, waiting for the incident to be resolved, and had received the news that Xu Qi’an was sentenced to waist chopping in seven days’ time. Li Yuchun said not a word, taking his two subordinates back. “Drink some wine with me. I know you two have some secret stashes that you’ll sneak drinks from on shift.” One couldn’t hear any emotion in Li Yuchun’s words, they were so calm as to be frightening. Song Tingfeng opened his mouth, finally managing to squeeze out an “Okay.” Li Yuchun was a stiff, old-fashioned obsessive person, the silver gongs familiar with him would say that he stuck to the rules, those that didn’t would make fun of him not knowing how to be flexible. But no matter if they knew him well or not, no one in the constabulary really looked down on him. Quite the opposite, all of them in their hearts admired him, even if they wouldn’t admit as much. Li Yuchun’s old-fashionedness leaked into every aspect of life, such as not permitting alcohol on shift. Song Tingfeng retrieved his secret stash of alcohol from the side hall, along with three porcelain bowls.[^1] One of them originally was Xu Qi’an’s. Li Yuchun did not drink quickly, but drank bowl after bowl, not saying anything in between. Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao silently drank with him. One pot of wine was consumed very quickly. Li Yuchun, supported by his tipsiness, said, “I know Wei Yuan has his difficulties. Xu Qi’an did do wrong. “What is assaulting a criminal family’s woman really, does it really deserve death? That idiot nearly killed someone, nearly killed a silver gong.” Once Li Yuchun broke the silence, he continued pouring his heart out, “I thought I was stupid enough, I never thought that this guy is even dumber than me. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have taken him, annoying. “What could Wei Yuan do? Even if his aptitude… was better than average, it’s gotten so big now, that everyone in the constabulary is watching. Would he really publicly show bias? Then where would that Duke Wei’s authority go? To build up a reputation takes months and years of building, yet it can be broken in an instant. If he were to bias towards Xu Qi’an, who would obey Duke Wei in the future? “Good, now one is fired, one is chopped at the waist, a fair and just resolution. Ha, ha, ha. “For a long time after, everyone in the constabulary won’t dare to break the rules. Xu Qi’an won’t be wronged in death.” Li Yuchun returned the bowl to Song Tingfeng, cursing, “What damned bowl is this? The decorations aren’t even symmetrical.” Song Tingfeng looked carefully at it, and only then did he discover the bowl that he had used for half a year, really did have asymmetrical decorations. The wine was gone, and he wasn’t in the mood for conversation. He and Zhu Guangxiao returned to their side hall, without making a sound. In the quiet Spring Breeze Hall, Li Yuchun sat stiffly for a long time, before slowly rising. Walking to the corner, he picked up a feather duster, and started to brush down every part of the hall that could accumulate dust. He re-arranged his books, his vase, his table and chair, making them tidy and symmetrical. Then, he took off his name plaque and sabre, and took off his Nightwatcher uniform. Folding the uniform tidily, placing the sabre and plaque on top, Li Yuchun picked them up in both hands, and left the Spring Breeze Hall. He walked straight towards the Tower of Noble Spirit. On the way, he drew the attention of many bronze gongs. They pointed at him, muttering quietly amongst themselves. Within these, there were those who had heard about Xu Qi’an severely wounding Zhu Chengzhu, and there were those who knew nothing, and were just there to eat popcorn. “What’s going on?” “Haven’t you heard? Silver gong Zhu was nearly killed by a bronze gong, the one who struck him was Xu Qi’an, mn, Li Yuchun’s subordinate.” “What’s silver gong Li doing?” “I don’t know, let’s go and see.” Three, five, seven, eight… the Nightwatchers following behind Li Yuchun slowly increased in number, becoming a rather large group. They followed him all the way to the Tower of Noble Spirit. Under the cautious and warning gaze of the guards by the tower, he stopped. With both hands he carried his uniform, name plaque, and sabre, completely ignoring the group of followers behind him. “This subordinate is Li Yuchun, who joined the Nightwatchers in year 20 of Yuanjing, who has always upheld his duty with all required diligence. Always with belief in clearing out corrupt officials and civil servants, to serve the country and its people.” Li Yuchun’s voice was resonant. “In sixteen years of service, I have never broken my duties of the law; never taken a bribe; never oppressed the innocent. I thought that with burning passion I could exchange it for a clear heaven and earth. “However, in these sixteen years, I have seen my colleagues bully the common people, extort the merchants. Every single house raid, always embezzle silver and goods, rape and abuse the women, if this is tolerable, what is not? “If one has no principles, how could he uphold principles? If oneself is not righteous, how could he right others? Today Li Yuchun cannot resist any longer, and so asks for resignation, or death.” After he finished, in front of all the speechless faces of the surrounding Nightwatchers, he forcefully threw the uniform, the name plaque, the sabre all onto the ground, discarding them like worn out shoes. After challenging Wei Yuan’s face in front of everybody, in front of the Tower of Noble Spirit, Li Yuchun turned to leave. No Nightwatchers stopped him, none spoke. “This… do we stop him?” Someone asked in a low voice. The surrounding Nightwatchers coldly stared back. … Xu Qi’an, in prison uniform, sat in the Nightwatchers’ prison, his back to the wall, smelling the unique rotten and damp smell that only jails had. “Three times here. In my last life I was a policeman, but now in this I’m a regular at the jails.” Xu Qi’an laughed to himself, sighing about how unpredictable fate was. The jail was silent, with only occasional sounds of cursing coming from neighbouring inmates. Most people kept their silence. The criminals who were interred here were for the most part death row criminals, who had long become disheartened. Initially they would cry injustice, curse up a storm, but after they were invited out by the jailers to a friendly conversation, they figured out how to behave themselves. They also understood the reason why everyone stayed silent. No one wanted, before their deaths, to suffer through inhumane torture. Xu Qi’an closed his eyes, thinking about whether or not he had any chance left to live. *The Cloud Deer Academy’s scholars might come cause a scene, but they have no official ranks, and so can’t easily get their way around officialdom. “Physics” also wouldn’t be of any help, as after all this is the Nightwatchers’ constabulary.* *The Sitianjian Arcanists definitely would try to save me, but unless the Jianzheng himself showed up, they probably wouldn’t have a chance. And to make the Jianzheng himself show up, my status is not enough… Xu Qi’an oh Xu Qi’an, just because you’ve felt the warmth of Fuxiang’s breasts, have you forgotten how cold this society is? It’s been two months and you still haven’t gotten Chu Caiwei into bed.* *The Earth Book was taken by them, otherwise I could have tried to ask ONE to save me, I don’t know if his (her) position is high enough…* As he thought and thought, he fell asleep, and when he woke up the prison was silent, and out of his small window was a deep dark night. Sleep recovered the energy that was sucked dry by the *One Blade from Heaven and Earth*, the price was that his stomach now rumbled heavily. Using the faint light of the oil lamps in the corridor, Xu Qi’an saw that by the bars was placed a bowl of white rice, and two fat, big-eared rats were in the middle of enjoying their meal. “Fuck, you fucking Shuke and Beita,[^2] stealing my food!” Xu Qi’an cursed in anger. With no food to eat, he could only sit and meditate, reverse breathing and cycling his qi. After who knows how long, the sky finally lightened. The sound of footsteps came from the corridor, as two jailers walked over, and opened the cell door. Xu Qi’an opened his eyes. “Out.” A jailer barked. Xu Qi’an, wearing shackles on his hands and feet, was brought to the torture room. Many rays of sunlight filtered in from holes in the wall, beating back the darkness of the torture room, but unable to dispel in anyway its cold gloominess. By the interrogation table, were sat two young figures. One had red phoenix eyes, willow like brows, and delicate features. The other had red lips and white teeth, and was beautifully handsome in every way. Two rabbits walking together, how could you tell if I’m male or female? Nangong Qianrou laughed mockingly, “Delicate and effeminate.” He very much disliked this scholar’s attitude; from when he came into the constabulary to coming here, he always had his head raised, chest out, and when he looked at someone he used not his eyes but rather his nose. This arrogant aura instinctively made people hate it, the same aura as the other scholars of the Cloud Deer Academy, same as the white cloaks of the Sitianjian. Xu Xinnian gave him a side-eye, and said lightly, “Only women and lowly people are hard to raise.” “And who is the woman?” Nangong Qianrou laughed, a dangerous glint flashing in his eyes. “I was too abrupt.” Xu Xinnian cupped his hands and made a Confucian greeting, “May I ask what is Miss’s beautiful name?” “…” Nangong Qianrou wanted to kill. Having had his full of sharp-tongued performance, Xu Xinnian laughed coldly, and raised his head again. Seeing this at the threshold and hearing their conversation, Xu Qi’an came out in cold sweat for his younger brother. He thought *Cijiu, this beauty is a high-ranked martial artist, you’re a small eighth-rank scholar, you need to know when to keep your head down.* Nangong Qianrou tilted his head, looking at Xu Qi’an, rising, “One stick of incense’s time.” And left, just like that. Xu Xinnian stared at his cousin in silence. “Why has Cijiu come, aren’t you studying in the Academy?” Xu Qi’an said. “Yesterday, one of your colleagues came to the manor with a message, telling us of your situation. Father travelled overnight to the Academy to tell me.” Xu Xinnian let out a turbid breath, “I came back to the manor last night, and at first light when the inner city gates opened, I came to find you.” He had brought his teacher’s letter, and had a Juren qualification himself, and only with that could he enter the prison. “Everyone at home is worried about you, mum didn’t sleep the entire night.” Xu Xinnian said. Xu Qi’an nodded. “Lingyin is also really worried for you, in the morning she only drank one bowl of porridge.” “It’s hard for her.” Xu Qi’an was moved. Xu Xinnian nodded, agreeing with his cousin’s view, and continued: “My teacher suggested that I go to the eldest princess, she may be able to save you. As for our teachers… Wei Yuan’s relationship with the Academy is not very good.” Xu Qi’an said hesitantly, “Cijiu, do you blame big brother?” Xu Xinnian replied solemnly, “Big brother, you’re not practiced at your craft, you didn’t even kill the piece of trash.” Xu Qi’an laughed out loud, “That’s like a scholar…” as he laughed and laughed, he finally fell silent again, before saying softly, “I’m sorry.” Xu Xinnian did not respond. The torture room became silent, as the two brothers did not speak for a long time. Finally, Xu Cijiu sighed, “I will save you.” Xu Qi’an nodded, pretending that he did not feel moved, saying, “Given that you’ve come, could you help your big brother to run an errand. Do you have silver on you?” “Naturally.” Xu Xinnian replied. How could he have visited if he didn’t have silver? “Mm, go find the warden, say that you want to retrieve one of my possessions, if it’s still there. It’s a small jade mirror. Take the mirror, go to the welfare home in the eastern district and find a monk. Say to him: Please pass on the message, THREE has been imprisoned in the Nightwatchers’ prison, please help. Xu Qi’an!” Once the earth book mirror had accepted an owner, others couldn’t log on and chat, thus he needed Six to send the message for him. He had faith that the clever One would see the message, and know exactly what to do. Because in the earth book group chat, the only one with power in the capital was Number One. Number One also owed him one. Of course, Number One might just flat out refuse to save him, but that would be another matter. Furthermore, asking Xu Xinnian to retrieve the earth book fragment was Xu Qi’an’s test towards Wei Yuan. Testing if he really had the heart to kill him. Xu Xinnian stared at him for a while, asking, “If it’s not there?” “Then don’t worry about it.” Watching his older cousin being swallowed up by the darkness of the corridor, Xu Xinnian left the torture room, and found the warden. Brazenly, he handed over thirty taels silver worth of banknotes, saying, “I need to retrieve one of my cousin’s possessions.” The warden naturally had no objection; money makes everything easy. He immediately led Xu Xinnian to the storehouse, and took out a sack. Inside were all the items that were found on Xu Qi’an. “You cannot take away the bronze gong, the sabre, the waist plaque, or the uniform.” the warden said. These were all the Nightwatchers’ things. Xu Xinnian searched around briefly, and came into contact with a small mirror, made of jade. On the surface of the mirror was lightly drawn images of a crossbow, of silver banknotes, and other strange pictures. --- [^1]: Refers to small, shot-sized bowls for drinking baijiu. [^2]: *The Adventures of Shuke and Beita* is an old Chinese movie about two mice. [More.](http://en.chinaculture.org/focus/focus/2011dmyx/2011-07/06/content_419287.htm)