Continuing to exaggerate, Shen An said, “So, my sibling and I couldn’t stand these people using Liu Daren’s (1) name to deceive others, and we taught them a lesson. It just happened to clear Liu Daren’s name. Otherwise, in the future, all the troubles they cause will be blamed on Liu Daren. Am I right, Daren?”
The deputy general was now in a difficult situation, as neither saying yes nor no seemed appropriate. If he admitted her words, then his brothers who were beaten up would have suffered for no reason. But if he didn’t admit it, he would be considered sneaky like those people.
He looked at Shen An, who was smiling innocently at him, and thought to himself that this girl was quite clever. She could easily put him in a dilemma with just a few words.
He had an idea and smiled, saying, “You are quite eloquent, little girl.”
Shen An was modest and said, “It’s all the truth. Daren, you flatter me.”
“You’re right. I can’t let these people ruin my reputation,” the deputy general said.
The beggar who had been beaten on the ground was shocked and tried to speak up,”Daren, you…” but the deputy general raised his hand to stop him and continued, “But you should know, young lady, that this is the capital, the Emperor’s city. Even if you are helping me, I am a member of the court and cannot show favoritism or corruption. Your group’s actions have constituted provocation and disturbance of the peace, and I can only take you with me. As for them, I will not tolerate them either.”
Shen An realized she had underestimated this burly general, but she also realized that people in the capital were more cunning than those in her small town.
This man was determined to stand up for those beggars.
“I see. May I ask, sir, how will you deal with those scoundrels who used your name to deceive others?” Shen An asked cautiously, trying not to offend the deputy general.
“That’s not something you need to worry about, young lady,” he said, his tone becoming stern. He then turned to the soldiers behind him and ordered, “Arrest them!”
“Jinyu, run!” Shen An shouted, grabbing Wei Jinyu and running away as fast as she could.
As they fled, they crashed into someone, but they didn’t stop to look back. They were about to continue running when they were stopped by a well-dressed man who appeared to be middle-aged, but looked exceptionally sharp and focused as he looked at them.
Shen An noticed that the man’s gaze swept across her face before settling on Wei Jinyu. His eyes flickered briefly as if something had passed between them, swift as a shooting star, but expertly hidden.
“Young man, you look very familiar,” he said softly, his voice trembling slightly.
Shen An’s eyebrows twitched, realizing that this person was not simple, and perhaps he recognized Wei Jinyu and knew his identity.
“I’m sorry, sir, but my brother and I don’t know you. Please let us pass,” Shen An said, feeling a sense of danger and wanting to get Wei Jinyu away from this place quickly.
“Brother and sister?” The man seemed a bit confused and shifted his gaze to Shen An, studying her carefully, his eyes gradually becoming deeper. “From your accent, it seems that you’re not from the capital. May I ask where you’re from?”
“Sir, we don’t know each other, and you seem to be asking too many questions,” Shen An said, suddenly feeling hostile towards this person and speaking with a tone of caution.
The man naturally sensed Shen An’s hostility but wasn’t angry, then turned to Wei Jinyu and asked softly, “I feel that we have some fate between us, young sir. What do you think?”
Wei Jinyu looked up at him dazedly and then turned to Shen An, whispering, “Jiejie (2), this person is so strange.”
The man heard this clearly and his gaze flickered before he forced a smile and said, “Perhaps I really mistook you for someone else. Please forgive me.”
Taking advantage of this moment, the deputy general and his troops caught up to them. When he saw the man in the silk robe, his face turned pale, he hastily said, “Wang…”
“Deputy general Liu, I wonder what they’ve done wrong?” the man interrupted, his tone becoming heavy.
“They were causing trouble and injured someone. I was about to send someone to arrest them,” the deputy general replied.
Shen An became more convinced that this man was not ordinary. Lieutenant Liu was so respectful to him, even referring to himself as mo jiang (3), which was a humble way of addressing oneself as a low-ranking officer in ancient times. This man must hold a high position.
This was not good. Their peaceful days seemed to be coming to an end.
She glanced at the man and saw that his gaze was sharp, his voice low, but with an irresistible domineering tone. “I will vouch for these two. They are under my protection,” he said.
The deputy general’s face turned pale, but he could only respond reluctantly and leave.
1. Daren is a Chinese term that can be translated to “mighty person” or “great man/woman”. It is often used as a title of respect or honor towards someone who is considered powerful, successful, or influential. In modern times, it is sometimes used as a playful or sarcastic term towards someone who is acting arrogantly or overconfident.
2. Jiejie is a Chinese term of address used to refer to an older sister or a young woman who is like an older sister figure.
3. Mo jiang is a humble way of referring to oneself in the third person, used by officials or soldiers in ancient China to show respect to their superiors. It can be translated to “this humble officer” or “this humble soldier” in English.