The two looked at each other again and fell into silence.
Su Ru Hui thought of the locked door, and the fact that this kid was lying alone in a cold and dilapidated room. He understood that Jiang Que Xie hated this marriage and his disabled husband. It was normal for aristocratic families to have homosexual relationships with male servants, but for the sake of continuing the family line, they had to marry a woman as a formal wife. Unexpectedly, the Jiang family didn’t play by the rules, and married their son to the Sang family. They didn’t care what happened to Jiang Que Xie, their own son.
Jiang Que Xie had shifted his anger to Sang Chi Yu, leading to the current situation.
This was awkward now. Jiang Que Xie has become Su Ru Hui, but Su Ru Hui was not so vicious.
Su Ru Hui held back for a long time and said, “Yes, my point is that I am really inhumane!”
Sang Chi Yu didn’t respond to him and silently put on the torn and tattered undergarment that Su Ru Hui had cut. Even though the undergarment couldn’t conceal his body anymore, Sang Chi Yu still meticulously tied the knot. He had no expression on his face – no surprise, anger, sadness or happiness. Su Ru Hui felt very uncomfortable about it. Sang Chi Yu was always fastidious about cleanliness, and his clothes were always spotless, but now he was wearing such tattered clothes without any change in expression. Su Ru Hui felt that even if he whipped him again, Sang Chi Yu would silently endure it without any resistance.
Su Ru Hui turned back and rummaged through his cabinet; he found a clean undergarment and threw it to him.
“I won’t hit you again. Rest assured. You also know that my parents made me marry you to replace my sister. I am a seven-foot-tall man, and it is inevitable that I feel ashamed about this. But…” Su Ru Hui’s tone changed sharply, “Last night I had a strange dream. I dreamed that we were destined to be a perfect couple in our past life, but unfortunately, our parents separated us, and we promised to reunite in the next life. So you jumped into the Qing Chi River and I hung myself on the branch of a tree. Although this dream is bizarre and irrational, we cannot rule out the possibility that it is a sign from the highest heavens. Therefore…” Su Ru Hui patted his shoulder. “Let’s treat each other well in the future. I won’t despise you, and you won’t resent me. If I have a chicken head to eat, then you will have a chicken tail. What do you think?”
Sang Chi Yu remained silent. Obviously he did not believe a word of what Su Ru Hui said. Sang Chi Yu lowered his eyes, took off the dirty undergarment, and put on the clean one. He also had injuries on his hands, and his pale wrist seemed like it could be broken with a twist. When he tied the belt, his hands trembled. After changing his clothes, he lay down and closed his eyes, facing away from Su Ru Hui.
Su Ru Hui shrugged. “If you don’t speak, I’ll take it as you agreeing.”
Sang Chi Yu still didn’t respond. Su Ru Hui helped him tuck in the covers, picked up the dirty clothes he changed out of, and left the room.
As soon as Su Ru Hui left, the old dog lying on the footstool slowly opened his eyes and said, “Interesting. I clearly saw this person die, but now he’s alive and kicking.”
A dog speaking like a human was an extremely strange sight, but Sang Chi Yu didn’t react at all.
“When will you stop delaying this matter?” the old dog grumbled, “The Kun Lun Secret Sect has brought you to this point. Are you still thinking about Dan Tai Jing, your master? You may be thinking of him, but he’s not thinking of you. Listen to my advice and take the secret medicine prepared for you by Hei Guan Yin (1), and you’ll be as good as new, even better than before. Then you can seek revenge and make the Kun Lun Secret Sect regret their actions.”
Sang Chi Yu opened his eyes but ignored the dog. He reached out and took out a round box on the bed and opened it. There was a heart core inside. It was black in color and stained with blood spots. Sang Chi Yu’s eyes dimmed, and his lips were as pale as paper.
The old dog was lying under the bed and couldn’t see what Sang Chi Yu was doing. It babbled for a while without getting a response, then finally deflated.
Suddenly, Sang Chi Yu asked, “Did you kill him?”
He spoke without any context, but the old dog immediately understood. It quickly said, “I have nothing to do with it. When I got there, Jiang Que Xie was already dead. Do you want me to kill him again? Just give the order…”
“Silence.” Sang Chi Yu closed his eyes. “You’re too noisy.”
The old dog shut up and turned its head towards the door. It muttered, “Your wife came back from the dead. Is there really such a secret technique in this world? Moreover, he was hostile towards you before, but now he is so gentle. He’s like a completely different person. Is it possible that someone else is controlling him? Interesting, interesting. I need to investigate and report to Hei Guan Yin. It’s sure to be a great achievement.”
Su Ru Hui was leaning against the doorpost outside and heard the entire conversation. A talking dog? Could it be a secret technique that allowed one to change forms? Su Ru Hui rubbed his chin and pondered. Hei Guan Yin; he had heard of that name before. The person was the head of Great Compassion Temple at Black Street, highly knowledgeable in herbs, and had many strange drugs, such as He Huan Powder and Wu Shi Powder, which were prohibited by Kun Lun Secret Sect. He had heard that Hei Guan Yin had a secret medicine called Wu Ji Powder, which could awaken a person’s potential and allow ordinary people to awaken spiritual powers. However, the side effects were enormous, and many people went insane as a result.
Su Ru Hui shook his head. My nemesis, don’t stray from your path.
Su Ru Hui washed his and Sang Chi Yu’s clothes and hung them in the courtyard to dry. It was still early for dinner, so he wandered around the Sang family’s old mansion like a boss, with his hands behind his back. The old mansion was located on the outskirts of Yun Zhou and was quite large, with pavilions and towers aplenty, but it was overgrown with weeds and in a state of disrepair like a desolate grave. As the evening approached, the mansion became even more eerie.
Su Ru Hui went to the kitchen, and as soon as he entered, he saw the old dog. The old dog was rummaging through the stove, and as soon as it saw Su Ru Hui, its ears perked up in a vigilant manner. Su Ru Hui raised an eyebrow. Jiang Que Xie certainly wouldn’t cook for Sang Chi Yu. Had this old dog been cooking for the past few days?
“Get out of here.”
Su Ru Hui kicked the old dog out and started cooking. Sang Chi Yu was seriously injured, and he needed to eat meat to recover quickly. Su Ru Hui killed a chicken, gutted it, rubbed it with salt, stuffed it with scallions, ginger slices, and mushrooms, and then steamed it in boiling water. After about half an hour, the fragrance drifted out. Su Ru Hui turned his head and saw the old dog sitting at the door with its tongue out. It seemed to be waiting.
Su Ru Hui picked up a bone and threw it out. The old dog snarled at Su Ru Hui, but didn’t dare to act suspicious. It reluctantly went to fetch the bone back. Su Ru Hui threw it again, and the old dog angrily scratched the ground with its paws, unwilling to continue fetching.
“Good dog.” Su Ru Hui grinned, “Hasn’t my husband given you a name yet? From now on, I’ll call you Wang Cai (2).”
The old dog was so angry that it almost vomited blood.
After considering that the time was about right, Su Ru Hui opened the lid of the pot. The chicken had turned golden. He poked it with chopsticks, and the meat was soft and immediately dented, indicating that it was cooked. Finally, he sprinkled some sauce on top, took out the chicken, and brought two bowls of rice to the room where Sang Chi Yu was staying.
“Husband, it’s time to eat.” Su Ru Hui put the dishes on the table and rolled up the curtain.
Sang Chi Yu looked up at him. Jiang Que Xie was a 17-year-old young man, rolling up his sleeves to reveal his pale arms, looking vibrant. Sang Chi Yu remained silent. His gaze swept toward the steaming chicken on the table.
“Let’s sit on the bed and eat.” Su Ru Hui brought over a small table and placed it in front of Sang Chi Yu.
Sang Chi Yu slowly sat up, propped up the bed, and moved his body back. Su Ru Hui didn’t rush him and waited until he had settled before bringing the dishes to the small table.
Su Ru Hui tore off a chicken leg and gave it to Sang Chi Yu. Sang Chi Yu looked at the delicious food and pursed his lips. He hadn’t eaten such a delicious meal in a long time. When he was imprisoned in Kun Lun, they gave him leftovers and cold dishes to eat. Occasionally, the old dog in the Sang family cooked some food for him, but most of it was hard to swallow. No matter how much suffering he endured, he didn’t care because he deserved it.
This person in front of him was not Jiang Que Xie. He shouldn’t be here, and he shouldn’t receive this person’s kindness.
His fingers touched the hot edge of the bowl, and he whispered, “Tomorrow, I will write a letter of separation.”
Su Ru Hui was stunned for a moment. “Why divorce for no reason? Do you hate me for hitting you? Or are you unsatisfied because I can’t give birth to a child and can’t continue the Sang family lineage?”
Sang Chi Yu was silent for a moment and said, “You treat me well, and I can’t repay you.”
Su Ru Hui smiled. “Who wants you to repay me? Between husband and wife, what else can I ask for besides your body?”
Sang Chi Yu: “…”
Su Ru Hui laughed. “Just kidding. I have no interest in your body. Hurry up and heal your wounds; that’s enough to repay me. Eat, taste my cooking.”
But Sang Chi Yu didn’t move his chopsticks, only saying, “Tomorrow, leave this place.”
“What do you mean?” Su Ru Hui raised his eyebrows. “Are you trying to drive me away?”
Sang Chi Yu didn’t speak.
“If I don’t promise to leave, you won’t eat?” Su Ru Hui asked.
Sang Chi Yu lowered his eyes and didn’t say a word, which was considered acquiescence.
Su Ru Hui crossed his arms and looked at him sideways. Was this guy crazy? When Jiang Que Xie had beaten him up, he didn’t drive him away. Now that he was treating him well, he wanted to drive him away. Was he asking for punishment?
“Okay, I’ll leave tomorrow,” Su Ru Hui said, “Can you use your chopsticks now?”
“Sorry,” Sang Chi Yu whispered, finally picking up his chopsticks.
The old dog wagged its tail desperately, looking at them pitifully. Su Ru Hui threw a piece of meat to it, and it whined and carried the meat away. Sang Chi Yu ate quietly, chewing without making a sound. Even though he was covered in injuries and in a dilapidated room, he still maintained the etiquette of a Kun Lun Secret Sect disciple.
Su Ru Hui ate quickly, and after finishing, he propped his head up and scrutinized Sang Chi Yu across from him. Sang Chi Yu had eaten hot food, and his face had a slightly better complexion. Su Ru Hui suddenly laughed. “How come you trust me so easily? You’re just going to eat whatever I give you?”
Sang Chi Yu’s movements paused.
“I put aphrodisiacs in the chicken,” Su Ru Hui said.
Sang Chi Yu lowered his head and coughed violently. The old dog below, who was gnawing on the meat, heard Su Ru Hui’s words and stared with wide eyes, barking loudly.
Su Ru Hui saw him coughing so hard that his chest was shaking and worried that his wound might reopen. He quickly said, “I’m just teasing you. I ate it too, didn’t I?”
Sang Chi Yu stopped coughing and put down his chopsticks. He didn’t pick them up again for a while.
Su Ru Hui laughed. “I didn’t really put any aphrodisiac in it. Don’t just eat things that people give you in the future. They might be bad for you. Except for what I give you, of course.”
His words carried some hidden meaning beyond just the food. Sang Chi Yu looked up at him silently. Su Ru Hui maintained his smile, showing his big white teeth as if he were a harmless young boy. Sang Chi Yu lowered his eyes and picked up his chopsticks again.
The old dog watched Sang Chi Yu continue to eat, hesitating for a while before succumbing to the temptation of the meat and taking another bite.
Su Ru Hui said again, “Sleep with me tonight.”
Sang Chi Yu furrowed his brow slightly and called out, “Jiang Gongzi (3).”
Don’t tease him anymore.
“I’m not teasing you. I mean it this time,” Su Ru Hui said. “Although I’m leaving tomorrow, we are still husband and wife now. What’s the point of sleeping in separate rooms?”
Sang Chi Yu’s brow furrowed even more tightly. He had been lifeless before, but now he had some expression on his face, which was a sign of life. Su Ru Hui pulled his sleeve. “Alright, I’ll be honest with you. Someone snuck into my room last night and tried to kill me. As a weak man with no fighting skills, I’m really scared. Can you keep me company, husband?”
With the bad dog here, Su Ru Hui had to watch this guy closely. It wouldn’t be good if he really drank the secret medicine and had to suffer its terrible side effects.
He also wanted to see if he could find out the reason for Sang Chi Yu’s exile. Sharing a bed was the best time for intimate conversations.
The old dog barked loudly, spinning around in place with anxiety.
Sang Chi Yu, don’t trust him. He just wants to take advantage of you!
1. Hei Guan Yin – the literal translation is “Black Bodhisattva.”
2. Wang Cai – a very generic name for dogs in China, similar to Fido.
3. Gongzi – the literal translation is “young master.” It is a honorific for young men