Translated by Shiny
53. Abusing Authority for Private Interest
Mo Qiao Sheng’s entire night was plagued by all sorts of troublesome dreams.
For a while, he dreamt that he was in Tianxiang Pavilion with countless prostitutes dressed in red and green circling around him.
“Junye,1 come, have a drink.”
“Have another drink with Nujia.”2
The merry and frivolous voices of the women echoed within the empty room.
He was just about to refuse when a burly man suddenly cut through the throng of people and advanced towards him.
He fixed his gaze on him and realized that it was his old master from Chuhuai Hall.
The man seized him by the hair and pushed him into the water while speaking ferociously, “You disgusting little thing, if you refuse to learn how to receive guests, you are going to die!”
Mo Qiao Sheng struggled desperately, and suddenly, the noisy voices and the icy cold water disappeared abruptly.
He found himself inside a dark alleyway.
There was a woman standing in the alley, shivering as she tugged a tattered slip of green cloth towards her chest with both hands. The ragged cloth was unable to cover her entire body and the moonlight indistinctly highlighted the part of her body that was unique to a woman as she looked at him, her face stricken with terror.
Mo Qiao Sheng just managed to settle his mind.
The woman suddenly morphed into Lu Xiu, dressed in tattered green clothes with his whole body a mess and his face covered in blood as a vast expanse of crimson meandered beneath his feet.
He stood there and coldly said, “I’m already dead, you get down on the ground and wipe everything clean.”
Mo Qiao Sheng turned around and ran. He ran desperately in the endless darkness.
It was unknown how long he ran. A touch of light emerged within the gloom.
It was a small candlestick with warm light that illuminated a small space within his surroundings.
The Lord sat in the candlelight, absorbed in thumbing through the letters on top of his desk.
He raised his face and saw the panicked Mo Qiao Sheng. Smiling shallowly, he raised his hand and waved to Mo Qiao Sheng.
“Qiao Sheng, come, come to me.”
Mo Qiao Sheng felt his heart that had been filled with fear calm down instantly.
Yes, I don’t have to be afraid anymore, I have him, I have My Lord.
Step by step, he approached the one person in this world who could make him feel at ease.
That person’s lips slowly pulled up to form a wicked smirk as the jade-like fingers reached over and settled on top of the high collar before slowly pulling it open.
Mo Qiao Sheng suddenly woke up. It was completely silent outside and a faint hint of daylight penetrated through the window.
He lifted up his quilt and took a quick glance. It was dirty.
He turned over and sat at the edge of the bed, covering his face with his hands.
I will not forgive myself! I will not forgive myself! How dare I have such a dream!
He did not dare to recall the situation in his dream.
However, the enchanting scenarios kept playing before him in an uncontrollable manner.
That person had been so warm and exquisite in his dreams, with the body of a woman, she had appeared before himself in the form that he liked the most.
However, she had still conquered him as powerfully as before, so that he had been unable to help the tears that had escaped at the pinnacle of happiness.
He had pictured the Lord as a woman.
Simply treacherous! This sin is unforgivable!
Mo Qiao Sheng rushed out of the room and ran over to the well in the backyard before drawing up two buckets of well water.
He drenched himself from head to toe with both buckets of the frigid well water before he managed to suppress the dry heat in his body.
It’s just a dream. Maybe it’s because of the things I saw last night and the wine I drank that I had such a messy dream. I heard that men of my age often have such dreams.
It’s nothing, don’t think about it anymore, I must not think about it anymore.
He walked back towards the room, however, he just happened to run into Cheng Qianye who had just been about to leave.
“Qiao Sheng?” Cheng Qianye was very happy to see him and smiled at him. “How did you get yourself all wet first thing in the morning?”
Mo Qiao Sheng took a step back.
“What’s wrong?” Cheng Qianye took two steps forward and took his hand. “Your hand is so cold, did you take a cold shower?”
Mo Qiao Sheng took two rapid steps backward. However, his back met with the wall, leaving him with no path of retreat.
His gaze hovered over the two pink lips that opened and closed in front of him, his throat undulating as he swallowed his saliva.
In that dream, it was these lips that had bullied him both viciously and sweetly.
He turned his head and evaded the view before him.
“Why is your face so red?” Cheng Qianye stretched out her hand and turned his face back towards her.
She carefully scrutinized him for a moment.
The seductive voice with a hint of wickedness sounded in Mo Qiao Sheng’s ear, “Do you want… me to kiss you?”
Reality caused him to sink even easier than dreams.
The warm breath seized control of his lips.
Mo Qiao Sheng closed his eyes.
He is the only person in this world. Regardless of his appearance, he can capture me within an instant.
I cannot think, I cannot struggle, nor do I want to struggle.
The new army practiced for several days in a row.
Yang Lu Hou carried a heavy log on his shoulders as he panted and ran over to the middle of the formation.
“Real… I really can’t run anymore.” He stopped and his emaciated body bent forwards as he sucked in huge lungfuls of air.
In the past few days, they had been doing nonstop training every morning. They practiced assembling, disbanding, turning and walking. Incessantly forging ahead to the beat of the golden drum,3 both boring and exhausting.
What was even more terrible was that every afternoon, they had to run for several miles outside of the city, with the distance increasing day by day.
Although the meals were very good with generous helpings of brown rice with large slices of meat, he still found it difficult to endure, his hands and feet trembling violently after training every day.
Starting today, the Commander had even asked them to run whilst carrying heavy logs.
Yang Lu Hou felt as though his lungs had been obstructed with a wad of cotton, leaving him unable to catch his breath.
I can’t run, I really can’t run anymore, let me rest. He thought.
Yang Sheng came up from behind him and picked up the log on his shoulders before piling it up on top of his own.
“Keep up or get out of our team.”
Leaving this sentence, he ran ahead showing him the back of his figure.
Yang Lu Hou was both reverent and fearful of Yang Sheng, and when this sentence came down, he was startled into shaking off the weakness in his legs, barely managing to keep up with Yang Sheng’s pace.
“Brother… Brother Sheng, why do we have to run like this every day? I really can’t understand.”
“Shut up.” Yang Sheng’s gaze was resolutely fixed ahead of them. “Look at that man.”
Ahead of them, there was a man dressed in black. His armour was heavier than theirs and he had two huge logs resting atop his shoulders as he moved forward with his slender legs, running steadily at the front procession.
He was followed by the first group of the third squadron who had won first place in all of their assessments.
The entire first group of the third squadron were silent as they followed their commander Mo Qiao Sheng in perfect uniformity, gradually opening up a big gap between themselves and the rest of the soldiers.
“Keep up with Laozi!”4 Are you all worse than those slaves who’ve never had enough food to eat since their childhood?” Han Shen, the centurion of the fourth squadron, swore. His team was largely made up of regular civilians, hence, he had always thought very highly of his own team and often said offensive things without even realizing it.
Yang Sheng’s fifth squadron was right behind them. Hearing these words, they all summoned up their energy and surpassed the fourth squadron.
A’Yuan saw a man run past him. The man had a scar on his face with a chunk of flesh missing from his ear, and he was carrying two heavy logs on his shoulders.
It was him, the slave who had cut off fifteen enemy heads in the first battle. It turned out that he had already become a centurion.
A’Yuan pursed his lips, lifting up his legs that were on the verge of numbness before accelerating his speed.
After running for twenty li5 while carrying a heavy load and coming back, the military training grounds rang out with anguished wails.
With people sitting and lying, the heavy logs were scattered on the ground in a disordered mess.
Mo Qiao Sheng stood on the platform with his hands clasped behind his back. His eyes were full of vigour and his body was ramrod straight, without the slightest hint of fatigue.
“On the battlefield, the more tired you are, the less you can relax. It is likely that your enemy will take advantage of this opportune moment to take your head.” He spoke in a loud and clear voice, commanding them amidst the sound of the beating drums, “Everyone assemble.”
“Laozi can’t do it!” A fat and robust man sitting in the middle of the crowd shouted in a loud voice.
This man’s surname was Li and he was the centurion of the second squadron. He was covered in sweat as he spoke, “Lining up and lining up everyday, what’s the use of this shit? Laozi is here to fight, not to dance.”
A burst of low laughter erupted from the crowd and many people looked up gloatingly at Mo Qiao Sheng who was standing on top of the stage.
This Centurion Li was a noble son who had relatives sitting in high official positions within the court, and he had always been very domineering. Everyone was waiting to see how Commander Mo would deal with him.
Mo Qiao Sheng looked at him coldly and said in a manner that was neither high nor low, “Centurion Li, I will give you one more chance, hurry up and assemble.”
Centurion Li continued to lie on the ground and waved his big hand before speaking in a yin and yang6 manner, “Responding to Your Excellency the Commander, it is not that Xiaode7 is being rebellious, but the body is too exhausted to get up.”
Mo Qiao Sheng raised his right hand and four soldiers immediately ran out from the third squadron which was led by him personally. They seized Centurion Li by the arms before dragging him to the stage.
“Mo Qiao Sheng! Do you know who I, your grandpa, am? You have the nerve to treat me like this! Ask anyone in the army, who doesn’t know what kind of garbage you are?” Centurion Li’s eyes were flushed red as he cursed loudly, “You aren’t conducting training at all. I can see that you get tossed to death by others at night, so you take pleasure in tossing us during the day!”8
One of the soldiers escorting him was so affronted that he grabbed a handful of loess and stuffed it into his mouth to block his foul language.
Centurion Li continued to let out muffled cries.
Mo Qiao Sheng didn’t bat an eyelid as he asked the penalty officer beside him, “This person didn’t move after hearing the sound of the military drums, disobeyed military orders, and slandered his superior. What does this crime deserve in accordance with the regulations?”
The penalty officer replied loudly and clearly, “According to the laws of the Jin Army, those who do not advance, and those who do not converge after hearing the military drums are to be executed immediately. Those who disobey military orders are to receive hundred strikes with the rod. Those who slander their superior in public are to receive hundred strikes with the rod. These three crimes combined are deserving of severe punishment. They will be beheaded in front of the army, and their severed head shall be displayed in public for three days.”
The commander of the first squadron who was surnamed Han happened to be a relative of Centurion Li. After hearing these words, he hastily stepped forward and said, “Commander, please be merciful.”
He looked around and boarded the general’s platform before approaching Mo Qiao Sheng and whispering softly, “Commander must be unaware, this person is the brother-in-law of His Excellency Han, the envoy of Zhili. He is accustomed to being a rude and vulgar fool. Your Excellency, please be magnanimous and ignore him. For His Excellency Han and Beizhi’s sake, please pardon him this time.”
Mo Qiao Sheng remained unmoved. “Before military law, there is no distinction between the noble and the lowly. As a military official, how can Commander Han take the lead in seeking private interests? This time, I am afraid that I must offend you.”
He waved his hand.
Two executioners stepped forward and pressed the struggling and whimpering Centurion Li down to the ground. Their hands lifted up the blade before falling down. A big head rolled down, smearing the ground in front of the stage with a glaringly bright red.
The surroundings immediately fell quiet.
The soldiers all assembled quickly in utter silence.
Looking at their commander clothed in black standing on top of the stage, the legendary murderous demon finally became clear in their hearts for the first time.
“You, you!” The muscles on Commander Han’s face twitched as he gritted his teeth and said, “Your Excellency Mo is so arrogant,9 you’re unwilling to give some face even to His Excellency, the envoy of Zhili!”
“You are probably unaware that the current envoy of Zhili is His Excellency Zhang Fu.” Mo Qiao Sheng replied coldy, “Let’s not talk about whether or not the ‘Excellency’ in your mouth still sits in his position. Even if he does sit in that position and stands before my face right now, I still wouldn’t abuse my authority for private interests, neglecting military discipline!”
Clap clap clap.
The crisp sound of applause rang out from the gate of the training grounds.
Dressed in a crimson dragon robe with a golden crown adorning her head, Cheng Qianye appeared at the entrance to the training grounds, along with a team of imperial bodyguards.
She stepped onto the general’s platform and raised her hand to allow all the soldiers inside the training grounds who were kneeling in salute to rise to their feet.
Looking at the neat and organized contingent standing in the training grounds, Cheng Qianye praised repeatedly, “Well done, Commander Mo.”
Turning slightly to the side, she leaned towards Mo Qiao Sheng and whispered softly to him.
A suspicious blush swept across his face and he gave a small cough.
“After working so hard for the past few days, shall we take a break and go to the hot springs tomorrow?”
This was what Cheng Qianye had whispered to him.
As a result, right after boastfully declaring that he would not abuse his authority for private interests, the King of Hell Mo abruptly changed his nature and announced that the whole army would receive a day off tomorrow.
“His Excellency the Commander is not cold and ruthless. He kept our hard work these past few days in his mind and finally gave us a day of rest.” A’Yuan said as he walked together with his companions.
“Yes, I finally got a day off. I’m planning to go and stroll through the town and buy a few things and send some things to my mother through the post. Would you like to join me?”
“You can send things back home? Then I’ll go with you.”
Yang Lu Hou felt that his legs were no longer his own. He held onto his companion’s shoulder as he slowly hobbled his way back.
Incidentally, he happened to turn his head and caught sight of Commander Mo who was chatting with the Lord up on the stage.
“Hey, look over there, is Commander Mo blushing?”
“Nonsense, he kills people without even blinking an eye, how could he blush?”
1. (军爷 – Jūn Yé) – Old honorific name for soldiers↩
2. (奴家 – Nú Jiā) – I, me; Your servant. [humble self-reference by a young woman]↩
3. Military drum, instructing to march and fight.↩
4. (老子 – Lǎo Zi) father; daddy; I, your father [said in anger or out of contempt]↩
5. (里 – Li) Ancient chinese unit of measurement. 20 li = 6.21371 miles = 10000 meters.↩
6. (阴阳怪气 – yīn yáng guài qì) Idiom meaning to speak in a sarcastic / passive aggressive manner.↩
7. (小的 – Xiaode) I [when addressing a superior]↩
8. Implying that CQY “plays” with him in bed at night so he takes out his frustration/anger on the soldiers.↩
9. (傲骨 – ào gǔ) unbending backbone – haughty and arrogant character.↩
TL Note: Okay so, just making things clear, all the soldiers in the new army who are below QS don’t actually refer to him as commander, (mentioning this cuz of the captain, centurion, commander thing going on here. And although there are other ‘commanders’ here, there position is below QS, not on the same level) they call him military officer (which is the very rough literal translation), but at this point I’ve used up so many english titles befitting of their different statuses that I’m just running out T_T I feel like I’m gonna be driven to the point of referring to their titles as Captain.3, Lieutenant ver.2, ½ General or some shit at this rate :’)