Chapter 128: The Bandit Cat

 

Translated by Gumihou

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As expected, Liu Er Niu’s unusual request caused quite a shock to those hidden within the monastery. Surprise soon turned to laughter: The kidnappers actually wanted to buy food from their victims? Isn’t this the weirdest thing ever? Surely nothing like this had ever happened before, right? Even the benevolent, non-judgemental monks had to smile at this.

After laughing herself sick, Su Nuan Nuan gave an order to one of the female servants, “You go and yell back, tell them it’s five coppers per piece of bread, no negotiations. Take it or leave it.”

The servant happily run to comply. Everyone was more or less treating this like an elaborated play they were partaking in by now. She was about to reached the door when a young monk stepped forward to caution in a low voice, “Madam. it’s better to be careful, let this humble one go instead.”

Su Nuan Nuan nodded appreciatively. Privately, she thought: The monks of Pushan Temple aren’t quite as enlightened or clean living as other monks in this era. These guys seemed to enjoy money and certain worldly comforts. Nevertheless, the root of Buddha’s teachings and a compassionate nature were all here. They even thought about other people’s lives even under these dire circumstances. Looks like the money donated to this temple was not wasted.

As she was pondering over this, the young monk had gone over to the gate to yell out Su Nuan Nuan’s ‘offer’, putting poor Liu Er Niu into a very difficult position. He turned and looked helplessly at Chen Jing, “B… boss, they… they’ve given us a price. A- are you sure we really are going to spend money on… bread?”

“Buy, of course we’re buying.”

Chen Jing stamped his foot crossly. Matters had developed beyond his expectations, however one thing was clear. The thought of the unappetizing dried rations in his bag only made him more determined to beat these women at their own game. The fragrant smell was muddling his head. For a kidnapper like them to carry out this type of transaction with their victims, isn’t it just too ridiculous? But, then again, this could be seen as a trick or a strategy, right? Right. That’s right, the moment someone come out with the goods, we can nab them, and then interrogate them on the real situation inside. Humph, who then will question Chen Jing’s decision?

The more Chen Jing thought about it, the more reasonable his plan appeared. Whatever doubt he might have harboured had all but disappeared. He even puffed up his chest and held his head high as he thought: Wow, I’m clearly a genius. And look there, those people inside immediately went quiet after Liu Er Niu agreed to their terms.

A short while later, the same fragrant smell that had haunted them all evening waft into the air.

“Boss, boss… they’re… they’re really making it. They’re… making the bread thing.” Liu Er Niu’s face became 囧囧 as he stared at Chen Jing in shock. He thought: Isn’t this the most ridiculous, unreliable and silly kidnapping in the entire history of kidnappings? For the kidnapper to pay money to the victim for food is just, just… just what kind of situation is this, ah? Won’t our reputation go down after this? No, no way. I don’t want to be remembered as one of the world’s most ridiculous kidnappers after a hundred, a thousand years later, ah.

“Since they’re making it, good. Once it’s done, someone must bring the bread out. When that happens, we’ll grab that person immediately.” Chen Jing said fiercely. Then he laughed sinisterly, “Once we have that person in our hands, that bag of bread is ours for free as well. How lucky.”

“Boss, aren’t we here to kidnap someone?” Liu Er Niu wanted to cry. Where was his sharp minded boss? Has he been provoked so badly that he’s starting to lose his mind? To think that he’d be so happy over getting a bag of free bread.

“Nonsense, of course I haven’t forgotten.” Chen Jing felt a little embarrassed about his glee. It’s not like he could help it, alright? He was damned hungry. When he first received the mission parameters, he thought that this job would not take them too long and there will be plenty of things to plunder from the Temple. Who would have thought that it turned out to be so full of twists and schemes? He kind of regretted ever taking up this troublesome mission.

An hour later, someone from the inside yelled something. The first batch of 100 pieces of bread was done, money should be prepared for the exchange.

“How is it possible to make a hundred pieces of bread in so short a time? They can’t have a hundred woks and a hundred workers working at the same time, surely?” Liu Er Niu brought up this reasonable point, only to hear Chen Jing said, “Who cares how they did it, more importantly, someone will come out of the monastery with it.”

Liu Er Niu nodded carefully and yelled to inform those people that the money has been prepared. Now comes the time to make the exchange. They all widened their eyes, waiting to see who would appear. Under the dim moonlight, the lithe figure of a cat slunk out of the shadows and began padding towards them. Liu Er Niu muttered, “Your mom, even cats want to make trouble for us. Of all the times for it to appear, why does it have to be now?”

The cat moved very fast, when it got closer, Liu Er Niu finally noticed the pouch clutched in its mouth. He could see steam wafting off of it, and the smell… Liu Er Niu’s eyes nearly dropped out of its socket. He pointed a trembling finger at the cat, “B-boss, they… they sent a cat out to… to…”

“What the %^&*%^…”

A whole string of curses fell from Chen Jing’s mouth. Liu Er Niu’s ire too began to bubble over. The two wordlessly stared as the cat bounded over with the bag in its mouth. It dropped the bag before them and waited expectantly. A wonderful smell wafted out of the bag.

Chen Jing gritted his teeth, “Whatever, we still have those hundred pieces of bread, once we’ve eaten our fill we… wait… one hundred… pieces…?”

It was then Liu Er Niu too noticed what was wrong. For a bag that was supposed to contain 100 pieces of bread, the thing carried by the cat was too small and light. When he opened the bag, well, Liu Er Niu did not faint right away, but it was a near thing. No wonder they could fit all 100 pieces of ‘bread’ into such a small bag. Are these really… bread? Aren’t these just the scorched pieces of rice scraped up from the bottom of a pot? It was much thinner than any pan-fried bread he had ever seen, and the wide of the circle was about half of an ordinary pan-fried bread.

“Profiteer, cheat, unscrupulous!” Liu Er Niu stomped about in rage, he was so angry he could not stay in place. Which was probably why he did not notice the cat still sitting before them. After waiting a while it arched its back, fluffed up, and began to hiss.

“A curse on profiteers, a curse on cheaters, may they be struck by lightning. Those bunch of nannies…”

Liu Er Niu continued to curse, he lunged at the cat, aiming to catch it. Whatever, whatever, so what if it’s not a human, they could still take their anger out on the cat. Once it’s dead, he will throw its mangled corpse back to those evil women and monks.

All these thoughts flashed through his head as he lunged forward. A shadow flashed passed him, and there was a strange pressure against his waist. When he turned to look, the pressure moved to his back, and he knew, just knew that the horrible black cat had jumped onto his body.

“Your mom, a beast like you dare to bully me?” Liu Er Niu was pissed off, he howled and clutched at his waist, but the cat had already climbed its way up his back and was now sinking its claws into his head. Liu Er Niu screamed in pain, he flailed his arms and somehow managed to grab the cat. But the creature was like greased lightning, it somehow managed to twist out of his hands and jumped down to his shoulders. Claws scratched up his face so badly that he felt warm liquid flowing into his eye. Clearly the creature had drawn blood.

“Ah… ah….”

Liu Er Niu almost went crazy with rage. To think that he couldn’t even deal with a single measly cat. Second in command aside, how was he supposed to raise his head to look at his brothers in the face?

As for that Zhao Chai, a fierce creature who dared to fight the little marquis for food, what tricks hadn’t it employed against Duan Tingxuan? Do you think it was easy to go against that high level martial arts, Nuan Nuan’s support or no? Humph, what’s this stupid cow against a seasoned bandit cat like him?

The Slaughter Dogs were all stunned as they watched their second in command struggle against the cat. They were all so in shocked that they forgot to assist him. It wasn’t until Chen Jing rouse himself from his own shock and saw that his second command nearly dying by the cat’s paw that he finally yelled, “Go and help, ah! What are you all standing there stupidly for?”

It was then that they all rushed forward with a yell to assist their brother. A few of them could not help but cast slightly accusative eyes at Chen Jing ‘Boss, you are also one of those standing stupidly around, ah’. However, since Chen Jing was fairly smoking with anger, nobody dared to say anything. They all put on a serious face and rushed forward to help.

Zhao Cai seemed to have realized that he had shaken up a hornet’s nest, and, as a veteran of many battles against Duan Tingxuan, knew how to read the circumstances around him. His powerful survival instinct told him that it was time to leave. He leapt off Liu Er Niu’s back and landed on all fours on Chen Jing’s face. After leaving a few souvenirs (scratches) on his landing pad’s face, Zhao Cai smoothly eeled down the man’s back, rolled onto his feet, and made a dash for the monastery gate.

Immediately, two angry and reckless bandits chased after Zhao Cai. These two were swiftly captured, knocked out and trussed up very efficiently. Just like their other brothers. Fortunately, their captors were benevolent monks, and these trussed up bandits were given a few pieces of Flat Stone Cakes for their dinner. Apparently, the moral integrity and loyalty of these Slaughter Dogs could not hold out against the mouth-watering deliciousness of Su Nuan Nuan’s cooking.

The fact that Zhao Cai did not manage to bring any money back from the sale of their Flat Stone Cakes was all within Su Nuan Nuan’s estimation. She had never intended for Zhao Cai to play any role in tonight’s drama, and this unexpected adaptation filled her with anxiety as she listened to the shouts and howls of the bandits outside. Therefore, when her beloved cat came in all smug and a little ruffled, she quickly hugged him against her chest, stroked his luxurious fur back in place as she sang his praises. “You did wonderfully, Zhao Cai. As expected of a cat trained by Duan Tingxuan. Even these bandits couldn’t escape your fierce claws. Once we’re back at the mansion, I shall reward you with lots of fish.”

“The little marquis… trained this cat?”

A young monk, clearly a visiting monk from his clothes, looked at this cat curiously, his eyes bright with the desire for gossip. Unfortunately, the abbot cleared his throat pointedly and the young monk retreated, slightly shamed by his curiosity. However, others had already pricked up their ears, so Su Nuan Nuan smiled and said, “Our lord likes to play with Zhao Cai whenever he has nothing to do at home. This cat is already pretty nimble with his feet, but he actually became even swifter and fiercer after their little games together. I jokingly called it training, but it’s just one of their little games.”

The maids and servants all could not help themselves as they stared at her. Just when did the lord heir have nothing to do at home? Do you think we don’t know you’ve somehow managed to make the lord heir your coolie? As for training? You know that’s a cat, right? There are already five different rumours about Spring Breeze Court’s cat, you know? Each one is more amazing than the last.

When the noise from the outside gradually went down Concubine Jing slipped closer to Su Nuan Nuan to whisper, “Sister, do you think they’ll eat those bread?”

“Who knows? It’s fine if they ate it. It’s fine if they don’t eat it, they can starve for all I care.” Su Nuan Nuan smirked.

Concubine Jing sighed disappointedly, “Well, it will be nice if they eat it, then sister will be able to play that next trick on them. It might actually turn the tide for us.”

 

Author White Peach Flower: Hahaha, Zhao Cai made an appearance here!!

 

[Gumihou: Uwoooh, Nuan Nuan, what horrible plan is brewing in your head? Also, it looks like Slaughter Dogs = 0, Bandit Cat = 1]

 

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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

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