Chapter 44: Dare to Kill
In the huge Yan Bei Tang, there was a moment of silent.
The young female’s back was straight. Even though her stature was petite, but it was as if it contained an infinite amount of power. As for her gestures, it was as if everything was beneath her feet.
Cai Lin was speechless for a moment.
What Shen Miao said was not wrong. To shoot each other like this, the one who would be in the most danger would be him. This was because of Shen Miao’s lack of archery skills and if it was deviated by a little, perhaps that arrow would have pierced into his skull. But how would Cai Lin think that much? He thought it very simply, as long as he chose archery, with Shen Miao’s temperament, she would definitely be so scared that her feet would feel weak and beg him for mercy as her tears flow. He would then play with Shen Miao for a round and with that, Shen Miao’s face would be lost and he could help Shen Yue to vent her frustrations.
As for matters after that, Cai Lin had yet to think about it. In his mind, Shen Miao would naturally be scared off her wits and how would she have the energy to shoot arrows at him? Moreover for a female who have not even drawn a bow before, she would not even be able to draw the bow fully and would only made a fool of herself.
Cai Lin thought so but he had missed out on Shen Miao’s reaction. She just looked at him quietly and that kind of calm was unlike her age, which made Cai Lin feel angry. Shen Miao’s eyes were as if she was watching a child performing an act, pitiful but ridiculous.
Since he was at the most impulsive age, Cai Ling spoke without a second word, “What do I dare not do? Life and death agreement then life and death agreement!”
“Ai!” Cai Daren who was at the male side of the banquet sighed. He hated that he could not rush up and beat up this unfilial son. Previously Cai Lin was only unruly, but Cai Daren did not think that his son would actually pick on Shen Miao. With regards to the life and death agreement, Cai Daren was not worried about his son’s safety but only feared that Cai Lin would really make Shen Miao lose all face or caused an injury to her. Not everyone was able to oppose against Shen Xin, that old roughneck.
Shen Yue anxiously said, “Why did Fifth Younger Sister set a life and death agreement? It is only an academy examination, why would one need to go to such extend? This cannot do.”
“Yes. Why is Fifth Lady not sensible?” Ren Wan Yun frowned, “How can one speak such words at a moment of emotions. What if something goes wrong?”
She did mention that it was Cai Lin that forced Shen Miao to make this choice and only attributed it to Shen Miao’s rash actions due to her feeling wronged. Chen Rou Qiu shook her head and softly sighed, “At the end, her desire to win is stronger.”
For them to be this ‘caring’ and ‘anxious’ for Shen Miao, there naturally was no lack of interest at the male side of the banquet.
Prince Yu of the first rank kept staring straight at the purple clad young female as his muddy eyes exuded interest. It was as if a beast had found its prey and his gaze made one feel nauseous.
“This Young Lady Shen is truly foolhardy.” Prince Zhou pointedly said, “To even sign a life and death agreement. She does not know that when she did that, if anything goes wrong, Shen Xin would not be able to bring the matter up?”
“Most likely it was to maintain the Shen family’s reputation.” Fu Xiu Yi looked at Shen Miao on the stage and said, “After all, no one would be willing to listen to negative words about one’s own family.”
“Unfortunately this would not change the facts at all.” Prince Jing shook his head, “She is too impulsive. No wonder she is called ignorant and stupid.”
Pei Lang picked up the tea on the table and took a sip. He also felt that Shen Miao’s action was just too impulsive. Although he knew that Prince Jing’s words were actually too much, if Shen Miao was thinking for the sake of the Shen family, then she should have thought of a way to retreat without any harm done. Even though this would still be spoken about, it was still better than making a fool of herself in public.
“Father, she will definitely win.” Su Ming Lang made a little fist with his hands to represent his own position to his father.
Master Su looked at his younger son. He did not know why but he felt that Su Ming Lang paid special attention to Shen Miao. Master Su thought that it was most likely she had coincidentally entered Su Ming Lang’s eyes. Ever since the last time when Su Ming Lang reminded him to withdraw from the strong currents, Master Su treated his younger son more amiable. Today he also did not want to sweep his younger son’s mood away, so he vaguely went along with his words, “Exactly, she will definitely win.”
Su Ming Feng did not know about Su Ming Lang’s and Master Su’s attitudes. If he were to know, he would definitely scoff at them because at this moment he was sitting in the pavilion and could not help but speak as he looked towards the academy examination’s stage, “The Young Lady of the Shen family is really daring to even draw up the life and death agreement. Could it be that it was common for General Shen to talk about army matters to her and she thought that this was a competition in army? This is just too senseless.”
Su Ming Feng had never covered up his words while talking to his good friend but this time he did not hear any words from his most discerning friend and thus could not help but look at the other person.
The purple clad youth picked up the Begonia in his hand and contemplated. The sun shone just right, with the breeze blowing the tassel on his dagger and coupled with his handsome brows, his thinking face made one sigh that he was a peerless gentleman.
“Xie San* (referring to Xie Jing Xing), what are you thinking about?” Su Ming Feng could not help but ask.
Xie Jing Xing placed the Begonia in his clothes and suddenly stood up with a smile on his lips, “Interesting. How about we make a bet?”
“What kind of bet?”
“Let’s bet–“ Xie Jing Xing pointed at the stage and smiled breezily, “Who will win?”
“Naturally it would be Cai Lin.” Su Ming Feng frowned, “Could it be that you thought otherwise?”
“I bet Shen Miao will win.” He said.
Preparations started on the stage.
Archery, today’s military topic was enough to capture everyone’s attention. But this was not a challenge in an academy examinations but was clearly a gamble of one’s life.
Guang Wen Tang indeed let them sign the life and death agreement and the red words on the white cloth were exceptionally eye-catching. Shen Miao picked up the brush to write her name and she wrote it in a naturally elegant way as if she did not cared about the importance of this thing.
That was of course. She had written her name so many times. When Fu Xiu Yi wrote the surrender letter to the Xiong Nu, when she became the hostage in Qin country, when Wan Yu was married, when the Crown Prince was abolished… The two words, Shen Miao, represented blood and tears. The suffering and difficulty in the two words was something that no one could understand.
In contrast, Cai Lin did not have it easy.
Although one would feel the strongest during their youth, but this was after all the first time he signed such a thing like the life and death agreement. Cai Lin was only a child that was very well protected by his family and has not matured enough. When Shen Miao was this calm, it made the fear in his heart grew.
Under the heavy weight of the brush, he wrote it difficulty and his name came out crooked, displaying the vast contrast as compared to Shen Miao’s name.
After writing, he could not help but ask, “Shen Miao, are you not afraid that I would shoot slanted during the first round? If I am afraid of you shooting me in the second round, I naturally can injure you in the first round.”
Shen Miao was about to pick the fruits when she heard the words. She turned around and stared at Cai Lin, “Does Gentleman Cai thought it this way? I, however, do not agree.”
She continued, “Everyone knows that Gentleman Cai’s archery skills are extraordinary and unless it was deliberate, it would never miss. That meant that Gentleman Cai had the intent to kill me but for me it is otherwise. Everyone knows that I am ignorant in archery and if the targets were not shot, it would be reasonable.”
Cai Lin was startled for a moment before he was dumbstruck and a wave of powerlessness surged up in his heart.
That’s right. If he shot it slanted, it would be deliberate but if Shen Miao shot it slanted, it would be natural. He cannot even miss any of it because… Everyone would be able to see that it was intentional!
He made Shen Miao to be stuck between two difficult situations and Shen Miao immediately gave one back to him.
No matter what, it would still be wrong.
“In order to avoid being shot by me in the second round, Gentleman Cai can kill me in a rage on the first round. Since the life and death agreement has been signed, when you kill me, it would only signify the end of the challenge and other than the saliva of the whole world, there will not be any responsibility to be borne.”
“I am here. Do you dare to kill?”
* I have problems with Xie San (it would appear many times in the future). Xie is XJX surname and San means 3. Usually it meant the Xie family number 3 (rank of son or whatever)… But it does not make sense anywhere in terms of XJX ranking and the author did not explains why XJX has the nickname of 3rd Xie/ No. 3 Xie. So it is translated as it is pronounce.