Dafeng's Night Squad - Chapter 8
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Li Ru was the first to break the silence—her voice cracked as she called out, “Little Nian…”
The couple rushed to their son and pleaded for him to come down. The woman pulled her son into her embrace as sobs wrecked through her body. The man stood aside, sighing deeply.
Xu Qian studied the blank expression on his cousin’s face and felt a pang of sympathy.
There were a variety of humiliating scenarios a teen could go through: being caught dancing to the latest viral boyband music by your parents, speaking too loud when commenting about a teacher’s behind, having your unrealistic self-insert story exposed. Any scenario could make a teenage boy die of embarrassment.
If an actual suicide failed, a social suicide would do the job.
‘I’m a trained officer of the law, I have to control myself…’ Xu Qian stood at a corner and giggled silently.
Xu Lingyue scowled at her eldest brother’s1 inconsiderate behavior while Xu Lingyin took stock of the situation and decided against asking for candy.
Being a quick-thinking scholar, Xu Xinnian decided the best course of action was to faint on the spot.
Xu Qian’s room was located in the inner courtyard. He took off his clothes and got into the wooden tub. The water was cool against his skin.
His body was at maximum refinement, giving him exceptional cold tolerance.
The life and death ordeal was over—he could finally sit down and think about this world and his odd situation.
“Why can’t I remember how the host died? I don’t have the memories prior to passing out.”
Xu Qian knew how his life in the modern world ended—alcohol poisoning. He had just been promoted and, amidst the fanfare, lost track of the number of drinks he had.
After leaving the force, he had opened up his own business. Sadly, the business did not last the second year and he had had to restart from scratch.
Hence, he played his part as a diligent worker of society.
Xu Qian had invited a few buddies to celebrate the good news. His life was on track—his new pay meant he could afford a housing loan, a betrothal gift… The next stage was marriage and family life. As long as his neighbor was not a Wang1, all was good.
Xu Qian made a splash in the tub. “What bad luck! All that effort to get into the middle-class bracket and now I’m stuck here in a feudal society.
“The 600,000 bucks in my bank account waiting to be used for the down payment. What a waste! I’m alive but my money is a universe away. I guess my parents could make use of the money but the inheritance tax… And I almost reached Legendary rank in League of Legends. I haven’t watched the latest season of Attack on Titan, the National Football Team hasn’t won the World Cup. What a way to die…
“Sh*t! The 120GB of porn on my hard drive!”
If his parents found out, it was social suicide for Xu Qian as well.
Gradually, Xu Qian succumbed to his tired mind. When he woke up, the sky was dark.
He had been soaking in the bath for more than the recommended time and his skin was pale and pruney. He got out of the water and put on some clothes. With the help of a copper mirror, he did some basic grooming.
The face reflected on the mirror was young. Thick, bushy eyebrows were paired with an intense gaze. Years of martial arts practice gave him a lean physique.
Xu Qian gave himself an approving nod. “Nowhere as handsome as Tony Leung or Louis Koo but it’s acceptable.”
His new body was better in many ways—he was stronger and faster.
Befitting of a martial artist.
“Of course, I’d rather be in a proper ancient setting where everyone was on a level playing field. In this setting, I might just get my head lopped off without noticing.”
This world had monsters and all sorts of cultivation disciplines. Martial artists were considered less fortunate as opposed to cultivators who could practice sorcery, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, wizardry and witchcraft.
600 years ago when Dafeng was formed, the founding Principal Imperial Astronomer drew up a broad classification system for the population.
Xu Qian was a ninth-class focused on refinement, his uncle was an eight-class with elevated Qi, the seventh-class had access to divinity.
The rest were unknown to him.
Xu Qian had some knowledge of the order within the Imperial Astronomers.
The Imperial Astronomers were endorsed by the Dafeng Dynasty which led to sorcery becoming a popular discipline. Many household inventions were derived from alchemy—the sixth rank practice of sorcery.
In the sorcery discipline, practices were ranked. At the ninth rank, one learned medicine, eighth was Qi mastery, seventh was Feng Shui mastery, sixth was alchemy and so on.
Xu Qian knew only that much.
Born and raised in the city, his knowledge of their practices was limited.
At that moment, a lady in a green skirt walked in. Her name was Lu Er, she was his aunt’s maidservant.
“Big brother, you have been summoned for dinner,” Lu Er greeted in a jovial tone despite the exhaustion in her eyes.
She was sold to the Xu family at the age of ten and had served the lady of the house ever since. She had been worried about her own survival when the family was dragged to jail.
It was a surprise to find them back after five days. According to the first daughter, the eldest had secured their safety.
The maidservant was a delicate girl of 18 years. She was bashful in the presence of Xu Qian.
Xu Qian said awkwardly, “That… Don’t address me as the big brother.”
“But, you are the eldest,” Lu Er said.
He gave up the argument.
The two left the inner courtyard and entered manor proper. Lu Er hesitated before saying, “I heard the lord and the lady arguing.”
“What about?” Xu Qian asked.
Lu Er whispered, “The lady wanted to know how the silvers were switched out and who was the perpetrator. The lord could not give an answer and they began arguing. You know who did it, right?”
On the way home, Xu Qian had told his uncle the silver taels were not stolen during the commotion but were swapped beforehand.
It seemed his aunt had overheard their conversation.
As Xu Qian stepped over the threshold, he heard a cry from the manor proper. Arms taut and head raised, the little bean—Xu Lingyin—was directing her high-pitched cries at her mother.
Xu Pingzhi was calmly sipping on his cup while Xu Lingyue busied herself with the food. Xu Xinnian was trapped in his self-inflicted social isolation and made no eye contact.
Li Ru rubbed her temple to quell the oncoming headache. When Lu Er stepped inside, Li Ru quickly ordered, “Take her! Take her!”
Xu Qian approached the crying young girl and asked gently, “What’s wrong?”
“Mother lied. She said if we came back, she would take me to Guiye Tower. Father said it too,” the little bean said with a sob.
Guiye Tower was a tavern that exclusively served officials.
The child could not even remember her own siblings’ names, yet she could remember Guiye Tower after one visit.
Xu Lingyin was not stupid, she just had wrong priorities.
Xu Qian eyed his uncle who was sipping his wine and unfazed by the commotion. The man had used his daughter to change the conversation and save himself from the argument. Xu Qian watched as his exasperated aunt struggled with her headache.
The little bean was the spice in Li Ru’s life.
“It was an offhand remark and now we have this…” she said.
Then, Xu Qian decided to make an offhand remark. “Your credibility will take a hit if you start lying to children.”
The little bean figured Xu Qian was on her side. She waddled over to him and climbed into his lap. “Brother, bring me there!”
Guiye Tower cost one silver tael on average per person. Xu Qian said, “Lu Er, take her.”
The little bean was carried away.
Li Ru kicked her husband under the table and pointed at Xu Qian with her pursed lips.
Xu Pingzhi was mildly embarrassed as he looked at his own son who was once an avid pursuer of knowledge. Xu Xinnian was socially dead and the dead did not talk. The young man ate his food silently.
The dishes were bland as there was no broth to be had. The kitchen had just started up when the family returned. Xu Qian chewed the wax-like food and turned to the pretty sister. “Lingyue, why are you staring at me?”