His highness's Allure - Chap 111
The man beating the drum saw that no one else in the arena wanted to join in the competition, so he put his drum away, and prepared to fetch bows and arrows for the participants.
Suddenly, someone walked out of the crowd, tall and graceful, with an outstanding aura, wearing a black mask over his face.
Pei Zheng sauntered over to where the bows and arrows were being distributed. He bent over and picked up a bow, the quality of which was extremely poor; it could only be used to shoot at haystacks. The tension of the bowstring was also no good; one could probably snap it with just a little force.
He had never used such a lousy bow before. When he held it, it was light as a feather.
Pei Zheng weighed it in his hand, before he glanced over his shoulder.
Shen Shijiu had been staring eagerly in his direction. When he saw Pei Zheng look over, he excitedly waved his hand, and even hit Shen Huan’s guan.
Shen Huan cast Shen Shijiu a sidelong glance. Upon seeing how stupidly drunk he was, she decided not to lecture him for the time being. She readjusted her guan, and pulled his arm back down.
“Stop for a bit, you naughty disciple. Do you even care about your shifu anymore, my God…”
Li Yu and Cheng Feng looked a bit out of place within the noisy crowd; their expressions remained calm.
They needn’t worry about something like this; His Lordship could beat the rest of them with his eyes closed.
The drummer spotted Pei Zheng, and hurried over, before he asked with a smile, “This young master also wants to join in our competition? You’ll have to pay first.”
Pei Zheng hadn’t opened his mouth, before Li Yu, who was in the crowd, waved his hand, “I’ll pay.”
The drummer said, “All right!”
Then, he ran up to Li Yu.
Everyone’s eyes followed him as he made his way toward Li Yu. But Li Yu searched through his robe for a long while, and couldn’t find any loose change; the smallest currency he had was a silver ingot worth five taels.
So, under everyone’s gaze, Li Yu simply took out the ingot and placed it in the drummer’s hands, and the crowd burst into an uproar.
The drummer looked troubled, “Young Masters, I… I don’t have change for this….”
Li Yu waved his hand, “No need.”
This made the crowd go wild once again.
The drummer seemed to bloom with happiness; he had gotten really lucky tonight, having encountered such a generous patron.
After paying, Li Yu could feel everyone else’s eyes flitting toward him and the others from time to time; however, the three of them really were too conspicuous.
Shen Huan elbowed Li Yu, and whispered, “Why did you give him so much money?! If you’ve got the money, you should donate to me, that was such a waste! You people from the Prime Minister’s Manor don’t understand the hardships of commoners!”
Li Yu felt a bit wronged, “That was the smallest currency I had on me. But, Master Shen, I remember that you brought copper coins with you, could it be that you were willing to pay?”
At the mention of payment, Shen Huan’s expression returned to normal, and shrank back toward her disciple, “Pretend I never said anything.”
Everyone in the arena had already received one arrow.
That rich young master with the painted face mask was the first to shoot. He looked left and right for a long while, before the arrow finally flew across the arena, and actually hit the bull’s-eye of the target.
Only a group of people in the crowd cheered and jumped; they seemed to be the rich young master’s attendants.
Seeing that the others hadn’t even clapped, those attendants immediately cast a fierce glare at the people around them.
A few sparse claps finally sounded from within the audience.
That young master bowed, and looked smugly at the rest of his competitors.
The second person shot his arrow, but he didn’t even hit the target. It was the same story for the other competitors; even if they hit the target, they didn’t hit the bull’s-eye.
It was finally Pei Zheng’s turn. He raised his bow with his left hand, and hooked the bowstring with three fingers on his right; one could gauge his skill from his posture at a glance. The arrow immediately shot out, and hit the red bull’s-eye with a “swoosh”.
The target board on the wall wobbled, before it fell to the ground from the impact.
In truth, this bow was too light. Pei Zheng wasn’t familiar with it, but hitting a stationary object was hardly an issue for him.
“Amazing, ahh, so cool!”
A high-pitched, child-like cheer came from the crowd, and reached Pei Zheng’s ears.
Shen Huan quickly covered Shen Shijiu’s mouth, “Keep it down, my little disciple. We’ve already attracted enough attention tonight; let’s keep a low profile- be good.”
Shen Shijiu nodded, and stopped shouting, but his eyes seemed to be shining with stars as he looked at Pei Zheng.
Suddenly, thunderous applause and cheers erupted spontaneously, and every so often, someone would follow Shen Shijiu’s example and shout.
“He’s really amazing!”
Pei Zheng was stunned, and his fingers suddenly tightened around the bow.
All of these cheers were for him. No one had ever expressed approval of him like this before, nor had there ever been anyone to stand by his side.
Now, he discovered that this feeling wasn’t so bad.
“Today, there were two participants who managed to hit the bull’s-eye, so both of them are our winners… “
The drummer hadn’t finished talking, before he was interrupted by that rich young master.
“Two winners?! There’s only one winner today, and that’s me! There’s no question about it, it has to be me!”
That young master pointed at Pei Zheng and said angrily, “Where did you come from? If it weren’t for you, all the cheers would be for me! Do you have the guts to compete with me one more time? The loser had to agree to one condition set by the winner. Do you have the balls?!”
Pei Zheng raised his brows, “Let’s get it over with, then.1“
“All right.” That rich young master scanned the crowd, “How about this, we’ll have someone put a lantern on their head and stand still; whoever hits it is the winner.”
He waved his hand, and the attendants beside him stepped forward with two small lanterns, about half the size of someone’s palm, delicate and glowing with yellow light.
He added, “As for the targets, we’ll be choosing for each other.”
That rich young master’s eyes visibly flitted toward one part of the crowd, and Pei Zheng’s heart jumped.
Indeed, that young master pointed at a little figure in the crowd, “I choose him.”
The crowd’s eyes all shifted over to look at him. Shen Shijiu still didn’t know what was going on; he had been staring in Pei Zheng’s direction the entire time. When he saw Pei Zheng turn his head, he even smiled. But the mask was covering his face, so one could only see his curved eyes and brows.
The rich young master’s voice was gleeful, “Your turn.”
Pei Zheng glanced at the young master’s attendants, but he pointed at the drummer instead, “Him.”
The drummer’s eyes widened, “Me… you’re picking me?”
The rich young master was also a bit stunned, but since he had already set the conditions, he could only nod his head in agreement.
In truth, he had thought Pei Zheng would pick someone from his entourage. Even if he injured one of his attendants, it wouldn’t cause any issues. But if he injured anyone else, that could become a bit troublesome.
Pei Zheng walked up to Shen Shijiu, grabbed his hand, and led him to stand against the wall.
Everyone’s mood was stirred by the tense atmosphere. They were all waiting for an even more exciting competition.
His tall figure completely blocked that little body, but Pei Zheng knew that everyone in the arena was staring at them.
Shen Huan had been a bit worried earlier, but when she glanced at the two calm-faced people beside her, she instantly felt that her worries were unnecessary.
And Shen Shijiu, who was standing against the wall, only had Pei Zheng in his mind. Whatever Pei Zheng wanted him to do, he would do it.
“Can you stand still?”
Shen Shijiu’s back pressed tightly against the wall, and he straightened his legs, in order to prove that he could.
“I can.” His voice was soft and sweet.
“Then be good, and don’t move, okay?”
Shen Shijiu really did press himself against the wall without moving; he didn’t even blink as he stared at Pei Zheng.
Pei Zheng smiled, and clasped his fingers, “So well-behaved.”
The attendants at the side brought over a lantern, placed it on Shen Shijiu’s head, and had him hold it in place.
But Shen Shijiu was like a wooden doll the whole time. He didn’t move at all, though in truth, his little head was still a bit fuzzy.
Seeing that Pei Zheng was ready, the rich young master took a few deep breaths, and had his attendants push the drummer against the wall and force him to hold the lantern on his head.
The drummer was terrified, and his legs trembled ceaselessly.
Pei Zheng and the young master stood in the center of the arena. They raised their bows at the same time, nocking their arrows and pulling back their bowstrings.
These lanterns were much smaller than the target boards from earlier; if one’s aim was off, it was very possible that someone would lose their life.
The rich young master wasn’t actually too confident; the hand holding his bow was trembling a bit, and he glanced sideways toward Pei Zheng.
He saw a feathered arrow shoot out, flying toward the head of the small man standing by the wall.
Those in the crowd who were easily frightened covered their eyes, fearing that they would be greeted by a bloody scene.
When Shen Shijiu saw the arrow flying toward his face, he closed his eyes tightly in terror.
With a “swoosh”, the arrow stabbed through the lantern on his head and nailed it to the wall.
Shen Shijiu slowly opened his eyes. He heard the crowd clapping and cheering, before he felt his legs go limp, and he almost fell onto his knees.
The rich young master’s hand on his bow shook even more.
“Oi, it’s your turn, what are you playing at?”
It was Shen Huan’s loud voice that howled from within the crowd. At this point, others began to shout one after another.
“Yeah, it’s your turn to shoot, why aren’t you moving?”
“He’s not scared now, is he, tsk, tsk tsk…”
“I bet he is, he knows he’s not as good as someone else but he still wants to pick a fight…”
Upon hearing these remarks, the young master became anxious, and he let go of the bowstring. The arrow flew out. Unfortunately, it careened off course, and it landed several meters away from the drummer.
His expression became extremely ugly. The people in the audience were either heckling him, or clapping for Pei Zheng.
He felt that he had lost face, and hurriedly ran away, but unfortunately ran right into where Cheng Feng and the others were standing.
Cheng Feng raised his longsword, blocking the rich young master’s path.
“Trying to leave now that you’ve lost?”
Cheng Feng grabbed the young master and pulled him back to stand at the wall.
Shen Shijiu, who had been standing there earlier, had already been led away by Pei Zheng and had returned to Shen Huan’s side.
Pei Zheng held his bow and strolled toward the place where the arrows were stored, before he plucked five.
Cheng Feng could already tell what his master was about to do, and carried the arrows, staring at the rich young master. If he dared to run, Cheng Feng would cut him down. Pei Zheng stood directly across from the young master, and aimed an arrow right at him.
The rich young master’s face was already ashen; he was really regretting provoking these people, how could he have been so careless? One could tell at a glance that they weren’t normal people!
But unfortunately, it was too late to regret it now. He had already become a target board to be aimed at.
There was a “swoosh”, and an arrow flew out. It grazed the young master’s sleeve, nailing it against the wall.
He had probably been cut by the arrow; there was a burning pain in his arm.
Pei Zheng’s eyes narrowed slightly, before he shot a volley of three arrows. “swoosh, swoosh, swoosh”. They grazed the rich young master’s other arm and both of his legs, pinning his clothes to the wall.
He still had one more arrow, where could he aim it?
The arrow was positioned, aimed at the area between the young master’s legs.
The rich young master could tell what Pei Zheng was about to do, and was so scared that he actually started to cry. Then, a hot stream flowed down his pants and onto the ground.
With a “swoosh”, the arrow did not pierce his flesh, but instead the robe between his legs. But if it had been off by just a little…
Pei Zheng threw the bow to the ground, before he turned and walked toward the crowd.
Cheng Feng followed as well.
The rich young master’s attendant suddenly rushed in from the side, crying and screaming, as he examined his master’s wounds, before freeing him from the wall with great effort.
The crowd clapped and cheered for Pei Zheng the entire time, and even parted to form a path for him.
Shen Huan clapped as she sighed, “Lord Pei, you’re really brilliant, and very elegant too!”
That drummer ran over, wanting to give Pei Zheng his five-tael prize.
Li Yu pushed it right back into his hands, “Give it to him so he can treat his injuries.”
Shen Huan glanced over, and began to sigh again, “Sure enough, people from grand manors have an impressive demeanor! How admirable!”
Li Yu didn’t say anything. It had only been one day, but she had changed faces so many times; who knew what she was really thinking.
Pei Zheng completely ignored the people talking behind him. He lowered his head, looked at the small man who was obediently standing in front of him, and asked in a low voice, “Were you hurt?”
“I waaaasn’t,” Shen Shiju answered in a drawn-out tone.
“Were you scared earlier?”
Shen Shijiu pursed his lips, “Aaaaaa… little.”
“But I… believed in my Lord.”
As he spoke, Shen Shijiu grabbed Pei Zheng’s hand, blinked his eyes, and took the initiative to stuff his own fingers into the gaps between Pei Zheng’s.
Pei Zheng’s heart turned sweet for a moment. When he was drunk, the small man became more courageous and more forward, and always spoke in a soft, adorable voice. He had no idea how cute he was, how much he made people want to scoop him up and nuzzle him.
If it weren’t for the fact that the street was full of people..
“Let’s go.” Pei Zheng’s voice was hoarse.
The pair walked forward, followed behind by three people.
More and more citizens were appearing on the street. Everyone was practically brushing shoulders as they walked, so the five of them couldn’t stay in a tight group; waves of people would always rush over and separate them.
Most of these people were headed toward the river, where there were fireworks, and they could place lanterns in the water and make wishes.
Pei Zheng pulled Shen Shijiu against his body, to prevent other people from bumping into him.
Not far away was an arched bridge. The crowd led Pei Zheng and Shen Shijiu toward it, while Shen Huan, Li Yu, and Cheng Feng were pushed away from it, and instead continued to walk forward.
It wasn’t until Pei Zheng and Shen Shijiu were standing on the bridge that Li Yu turned his head, saw them, and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Master! Young Master Shen!”
Shen Huan also shouted, “Disciple! Disciple!”
But the crowd was still moving forward, and they were getting further and further away from each other.
“Stop yelling, they won’t hear it.” Cheng Feng said.
“Then what do we do?! One of them is injured, the other is both drunk and stupid! What do we do if something happens to them?!” Shen Huan was extremely anxious, and very worried for her little disciple’s safety.
“The other shadow guards managed to follow them, and will protect them. We should just turn back at the front and look for them then.”
Shen Huan nodded. This was their only option now.
Pei Zheng, who had already crossed the bridge, also discovered that the two of them had been separated from the other three. He tightened his grip on Shen Shijiu’s hand.
Shen Shijiu was shoved into Pei Zheng’s body by the people behind him, and his little head rested on Pei Zheng’s chest. It just so happened to touch Pei Zheng’s wound, which elicited a muffled groan from Pei Zheng.
But Shen Shijiu heard it, and hurriedly raised his head, “My Lord… I’m sorry… did I hurt you…”
He suddenly lifted his mask, exposing the lower half of his face. Then, he leaned against Pei Zheng’s chest, puckered his lips, and blew a few breaths onto his robe.
“It won’t hurt… after I blow on it…”
Sorry I made him say ‘so well-behaved’, the real way to translate that is ‘good boy’, and I ain’t ever going to say that c;<
Thanks for reading~~
1. 奉陪到底 (fèng péi dào dǐ): ‘to accompany to the end’, it’s sarcastic in tone, like ‘I’ll play with you until the end’.