Chapter 25 – The Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Stars
April 20, dawn.
It had begun to grow light outside, but unfortunately, it hadn’t reached the hold of the ship. If it were any lighter outside, the hold of the ship would actually be darker. This is because lantern light can only illuminate things that are in the dark. They are not useful during the day.
Many things in the world are like this.
Frogboy stood up, patting the clothes he wore, which were clearly new and extremely expensive. “Now I understand everything,” he said. “And thankfully, it’s not too late.”
“Thankfully, I haven’t gotten these clothes dirty, so I can still return them. And thankfully, nothing happened to the pearls, and we only opened one jug of alcohol. Not too big of a problem. Otherwise, I would really be in a pickle.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, General Li is not General Li, and Frogboy is just as poor as he was before. I didn’t pay for any of these things. Were the clothes dirty, the alcohol gone, the pearls damaged, how could I repay the debt?” He was still smiling as he told his people, “I beg all of you for a favor. Please take everything away as quickly as possible. I can only pay you one day’s salary. I’ll figure out a way to do that later. I will not renege on a debt.”
Regardless of anything, Frogboy was a popular person, and so the people didn’t say anything. They just left.
Ingot wanted to ask the long-legged girl with braids if she really had been hired by Frogboy, or whether or not she had come for some other plot or scheme.
But it seemed she was afraid of him asking such questions, and vanished like the smoke. But even as she left, she turned her head and looked at him, her eyes twinkling. Ingot didn’t say anything.
In any case, the girl seemed to have good intentions. Even if she was just using her performing as an act to cover her true identity, and had come for another reason, well, Ingot didn’t want to blow her cover. He had the feeling he would see her again. They were both young, and had long lives to live. He could ask her another time.
Ingot was young, but he understood that one should always leave room for adjustments when doing things in life. Helping others to do the same is never wrong.
The lanterns were gone, but luckily, the sky had grown brighter, so lanterns were no longer needed.
Frogboy stretched lazily and sighed, a charming smile appearing on his face. And then he said something that no one could have expected him to say. “Goodbye! Goodbye everyone!”
“Goodbye?” said Ingot, his eyes wide. “What do you mean by goodbye? You’re going to leave, just like that?”
“The play is over, or at least, my part is. What else is there left for me to do?” Frogboy laughed cheerfully. “Don’t tell me you want me to stay behind to drink?”
Ingot stared at him for a long while, then laughed bitterly and shook his head. “You really do have some thick skin. You do something like this, then pretend you don’t care about it all?”
“What did I do?” chuckled Frogboy. “I didn’t steal or rob anything, I didn’t hurt anyone. Just like Great Hero Guo used to do in the past, I was trying to capture a great criminal. Since I can’t catch him, well, might as well forget about it.” With a broad smile, he looked around. “Everyone, is there anything else you all would ask of a person as elegant as me?”
Ingot gaped at him. Everyone else seemed to be struck speechless.
And then, a voice came in from outside. “They can’t do anything to you, but fortunately, I can. I’m not only gonna beat your *** to a pulp, I’m also gonna break both of your dog legs.”
As soon as he heard this person’s voice, his facial expression changed. He wanted to slink away, but unfortunately, there was nowhere to slink to.
Old Master Tian was already there in front of him. Frogboy could do nothing but bow respectfully and say, “Hello, Father, are you well?”
“No!” said Old Master Tian, his face blank. “I’m just about to the point of being pissed off to death by you. How could I be well?”
“Okay then, I’ll head back, pull my pants down and lay on the ground. I’ll wait for father to return to spank me with a wooden plank so that he can cool down.”
Ingot didn’t want to laugh, but he couldn’t hold back.
As soon as he laughed, the mood lightened. Old Master Tian slapped Frogboy across the face.
“Beat it. Get the hell back and lie on the ground. If you even think of trying to sneak off, I’ll beat you to death.”
“I’m beating it,” said Frogboy, holding his head in his hands. “I’m beating it immediately.”
Before he even finished speaking, he was gone, although he voice could still be heard ringing out.
Everyone heard him laughing in the distance and saying: “Fortunately I’m a person, not a dog, and I have no dog legs. Father wants to break dog legs, not people legs.”
Ingot suddenly shouted out: “Make sure to be careful in the future, I might be back to eat some chicken legs.”
Old Master Tian had not come alone. Moments after he entered, two people walked in from behind him.
They were two women, both extremely good looking. One, her head lowered, her face blushing, was none other than Tang Lanfang, Big Boss Tang.
The other appeared to be a bit younger than Tang Lanfang. She was bright and gorgeous, her bearing and appearance beautiful, in a way that is impossible to describe. Anyone who saw a woman such as her would be forced to take a second look.
And yet when Ingot, who is scared of nothing in the world, caught sight of her, he had the same look that Frogboy did when Old Master Tian arrived. He wanted to hide, to run away.
But, just like Frogboy, he had no place to hide, and no place to run to. He could only brace himself, and with an obsequious smile say, “Third Sister, hello.”
“Ninth,” said the woman lightly, “stand there and don’t move.”
Ingot didn’t move a muscle.
At first, everyone found it strange that Ingot, a scoundrel who wouldn’t even blink upon the falling of the heavens, would suddenly look so scared. But then they understood.
Naughty little brothers are always afraid of their older sisters. Beatings from them are even more painful than beatings from fathers.
Tie Changchun sighed, as if an incredibly enormous weight had been lifted from his shoulders. “Thank the heavens and the earth, everything can now be resolved. With Miss Dragon Third here, what issue is there that couldn’t be resolved?”
Perhaps there are some people in Jianghu who would not defer to Miss Dragon Third.
But everyone knows that there is something all children of the Dragon Family carry.
It is not a treasured sword which can split hairs. It is not a concealed weapon coated in deadly barkcloth tree poison. It is a small flag, embroidered with a dragon, and seven stars.
A flag with seven stars.
Even though Old Master Tian of the Flowered Flag sect had been famous for quite some time, and held power over a great area, he respected Miss Dragon Third as much as anyone.
The Dragon flag hadn’t even appeared, and yet already exerted its power.
“Great Hero Guo, your injuries are not light,” said Miss Dragon Third. “I’ve already prepared a cart to take you to somewhere you can receive treatment. Chamber Lord Xiao can accompany you.” She laughed, then continued, “The bruises on your wife’s face will heal, but the scars in her heart, well, only you can treat those. You may see her there, and I hope that you can cure her heartbreak.”
Her smile was warm, but when she spoke, people could not refuse to comply.
A person like her did not need to raise her voice.
“Great Hero Tie, you should stay here. You can work with Old Master Tian to continue to fulfill General Li’s dream.” She continued softly. “This is a way to build good karma. I’m sure you will receive increased blessings and longevity.”
Everyone took their leave. Afterwards, Ingot couldn’t hold back any more, and blurted, “What about me?”
Miss Dragon Third turned her head to look at him, and after a long time, let out a soft sigh. “You. I really don’t know what to do with you.” She grasped Tang Lanfang’s hand. “I think the only thing I can do is hand him over to you to handle.”
Tang Lanfang’s face flushed. “I… How can I handle him?”
“There are ways to handle anyone,” Miss Dragon Third said sweetly. “In fact, maybe you are the only one who can handle him.” She laughed cordially. “You handle him for a year, and if it goes well, then I will start to call you sister-in-law.” She deliberately let her face grow stiff, and coolly said, “But if you don’t want him, then I’ll just take him home with me right now.”
Though Tang Lanfang’s head was lowered, she couldn’t help but secretly glance at Ingot.
Ingot was secretly looking at her, a meaningful look in his eye. He furtively kowtowed to her.
Of course, it wasn’t a true kowtow. Instead, he used his thumb.
But that was enough.
Stars filled the sky, thousands upon thousands of glittering stars. Two people sat beneath them, talking, and it seemed they would never stop. Some of the things they said to each other should not be repeated. As for others, there is no harm.
“I know that your family’s Seven Star Dragon Flag can control anything in the world. And I know your father cares about you most, and that’s why he gave you the seven stars.”
“A star of blessing from heaven, with one tap, it can turn iron into gold. I saw that star.”
“A small star, glittering. That was the star that as a child, General Li gave to Great Hero Guo. When he got married, he returned it to her, yet again hurting her. Later, your older sister saved her, and so she gave the star to her as a token, telling her that anyone who carried that star could be considered to be her benefactor. No matter the situation, she would help that person if need be.”
“Your older sister definitely knows that you like to stir up trouble, and was worried that people would bully you. So she gave the star to you.”
“What about the other stars? Can you let me see them?”
“The heavens are filled with stars. Why don’t you look at some of them? Why do you have to look at my stars?”
“I’m not gonna show you. I’m not even going to let you look at the stars overhead.”
“…… Are you going to show me or not?”
“One day I’ll show them to you. When that time comes, even if you don’t want to look at them, you will have to.”
—The End of Dragon King with Seven Stars— 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2020 So Far