Chapter 15 The jade box
The servants were not afraid of Ye Kong as a master, but the guards who rotated regularly were not familiar with his position in the house. They respected him, so everyone was silent when he spoke.
“Come and drink.”
Ye Kong and Liu Changqing were sitting at the same table when Liu Changqing poured the wine for him then filled his own drinking bowl.
Ye Kong said with a smile, “I come here to repent to my ancestors. How can I drink?”
“You can drink a bit. I shouldn’t either,” Liu Changqing held up a small tile bowl, seeming reluctant to drink it, but took a big sip.
“Then, I’ll have a drink with Centurion Liu,” Ye Kong also took a sip. This was the first time he’d drunk wine from Cangnan. It wasn’t very strong nor too weak. It tasted good and had a grass like fragrance.
“Good.” Ye Kong put down the wine bowl and asked, “was the iron bull fierce? It still could injure soldiers even when it was injured.”
“Of course!” Liu Changqing said, “The bull was as big as three or four ordinary cows, and its hide couldn’t be pierced by a steel spear. It was very powerful.”
He sighed again, “The hide, the bones and the horns are all good things. The hide is light but can be used as a top class armor, the bones are used to make medicine, the horns can be used for powerful weapons. That’s what makes an unleveled middle grade spiritual beast so powerful.”
“It’s so powerful, even as an unleveled middle grade spiritual beast.” Ye Kong grinned and asked, “Why doesn’t the country kill more iron bulls, so that the armor of all our soldiers will be lighter and stronger.”
Liu Changqing said with a smile, “You are a layman when it comes to beasts. It’s terrible when there’s a large number of them together. Even immortal cultivators are afraid to face them. When there are enough of them, they move like a wave crashing into the shore. Even if you are amongst an army, you’ll die if they stampede. Is it worth it for their hide?”
“So that’s it.” Ye Kong realized, then he was very reckless and asked, “Do you know why my father was here this afternoon?”
Liu Changqing replied happily, “He probably keeps something here.”
Liu Changqing was smart and knew something was wrong, “Young master, please do not cause me trouble. You can ask the general directly if you want to know something. To be honest, I don’t know what the general did inside. You can just forget the words I said.”
“Ha ha, take it easy. I just asked casually; I will not cause trouble. I am not an outsider,” Ye Kong said carelessly.
Liu Changqing looked at Ye Kong and agreed. He was over vigilant. Although Ye Kong was being punished by the general, they were still father and son. Since it wasn’t a type of military secret, he spoke without thinking.
The guards were not allowed to enter the ancestral temple. Liu Changqing passed by the door and saw Ye Haoran’s back. Ye Haoran had offered incense to the ancestors and touched the jade box in the middle altar. Finally, he walked out while holding a key. Liu Changqing only guessed that Ye Haoran had put something inside the box.
“Come and drink.”
They happily drank, but fireworks were going off in Ye Kong’s brain.
Ye Kong had been shocked by his words. He had guessed that there was a specific reason for his father to come here. Ye Haoran was furious, so it didn’t seem like he would come here just to offer incense.
The white book came to mind.
Yes. The book was the treasure of Ye family, so Ye Haoran was likely to keep it in the ancestral temple. If it was true, Ye Kong could be lucky enough to repent and cultivate at the same time.
Ye Kong was so happy that he had no interest in eating and drinking any longer. After chatting with Liu Changqing for a while, he hurried back to the room to find Ye Haoran’s hiding place. Suddenly, he stopped and considered whether Liu Changqing would report this to Ye Haoran. He had to be Ye Haoran’s trusted confidant because he would only allow someone he trusted to guard the temple. It is to be expected for Liu Changqing to watch over everything in the temple.
So Ye Kong stopped and sat on the mat to read the books he had, but his eyes were focusing on the entrance of the ancestral temple the entire time.
After some time, Ye Kong suddenly saw a shadow jump down from the entrance. It was Liu Changqing. After supper, Liu Changqing took a moment to think everything through in more detail.
Liu Changqing grew more afraid the more he thought about it. He would be to blame if Ye Kong stole the general’s treasure, so he snuck to the entrance and observed Ye Kong. He set his heart at rest after a while as Ye Kong only seemed interested in reading his books.
After waiting for a while, Liu Changqing was gone and Ye Kong was pretending he was tired. He stood up and walked around a little while yawning. He still couldn’t take action carelessly, so he walked back and wrapped his coat around himself to sleep.
Repenting in the ancestral temple was the most serious punishment of Ye family. The person being punished wouldn’t be able to eat or sleep well, and they had no freedom to leave if they were scared. Others of the family couldn’t bear it, but for Ye Kong, he didn’t care much. Even if it was torture, he was not afraid.
In the middle of the night, many candles in the ancestral temple had been extinguished, and the wind grew colder. Ye Kong thought to himself that he should have brought a quilt as his clothes were not enough to keep him warm.
His body was cold, but his heart was filled with flames of desire.
It was time.
It was not hard to notice the jade box. It was just under the central altar, but it was locked.
‘Smash the jade box?’ Ye Kong didn’t plan to break ties with Ye Haoran.
He needed the key, but doubted that Ye Haoran would give it to him.
Luckily, it wasn’t impossible. He was no master thief, but he was in a gang and there he associated with thieves and knew how to pick a simple lock.
The ancient lock seemed to be the most basic to open, so it would be easy for him who only knew basic lockpicking. After studying it all night, he was sure that he would be able to open it. He decided to find a chance to leave and find something small and iron he could use to open it.
The hard part would be finding a chance to leave. He knew that the guards would prevent him.
Ye Kong had no choice but to sit in the ancestral hall and stare at the shrine until he was released in five days to rest and bathe before returning to his punishment.
He never thought that he would get the chance sooner because of Ye Wei who came with a quilt from Chen Jiuniang at noon.
They had a chat and talked about Zhang Wude. Ye Kong asked if he knew anything about Zhang Wude.
Ye Wei laughed, he took out an ear pick, and cleaned his ears as he spoke, “He was from the neighboring country of Wu. He was very famous in the country of Wu. He entered the royal court of Wu when he was young, and he was appreciated by the emperor. They had a big family and were very prosperous. His entire family was killed in one night, including his wife and daughter, and no one knows why.”
“That’s terrible.” Ye Kong understood why Zhang Wude acted the way he did.
“Zhang Wude was the only one who escaped. It was horrible,” Ye Wei exclaimed.
“The emperor appreciated him, why didn’t the emperor take revenge for him?” Ye Kong asked.
Ye Wei shook his head. “I don’t know. I guess the emperor couldn’t afford to be provoked by the slaughter.”
Ye Kong guessed, “It must have been an immortal cultivator… That was why he has a bad opinion of them.”
“You are really smart,” Ye Wei nodded and said. “But we are just guessing. No one knows the truth except Mr. Zhang.”
“I’m sure he came to our country to avoid being hunted. He was taken in by our father and then lived in anonymity, right?” Ye Kong continued to speculate.
Ye Wei shook his head and said with a smile, “You are wrong this time. Maybe most people would guess so, but you forget what kind of person he is. If he was really chased by immortals, how could he come to other people’s houses and bring disaster?”
“Yes, that’s true,” Ye Kong nodded. He knew Zhang Wude’s character well enough.
“I guess the immortal killed his family just to vent his own anger. Zhang Wude had a good reputation in the masses, maybe the immortal thought Zhang Wude would be furious and make a mistake, if he killed his entire family. He came to our country because the emperor didn’t uphold justice for him and that’s when he came across our father. That is why he is here.”
Ye Kong could not help nodding, “Your inference ability is much better than mine.”
Ye Wei smiled, “You must be kidding, I am only a fool.” Then he shook his head and sighed, “But Mr. Zhang has suffered a lot.”
Ye Kong’s face grew solemn as he nodded and said, “If I had the opportunity, I would help him get revenge.”
Ye Wei was shocked. He almost jabbed his ear with the ear pick and hurriedly said, “Be careful with your words. We shouldn’t provoke immortal cultivators, even if we have power within the military and our own personal army.”
Ye Kong smiled, “Don’t worry, brother, I’m not stupid. On the contrary, I’m very wise. I’m clear about what I should and shouldn’t do.”
After chatting for a while, Ye Wei was ready to leave, he pat on Ye Kong’s shoulder and said, “I’m going back to the barracks now. I can’t stay away for too long. Take good care of yourself.”
He gave Ye Kong the feeling that they were brothers. Ye Kong smiled and nodded, he suddenly remembered something after Ye Wei started to leave.
“Elder brother, wait a minute. My ears are itchy, too.”