The barbarians in the mouth of the cripple were the collective name the people of Da Zhou gave to the people who lived outside the Great Wall.
Turkic, Khitan, Uighur, Mohe, and other ethnic groups outside the Great Wall lived in the bitter cold. Mainly nomadic, the folk customs were sturdy. Especially the Turkic people had a large number of herdsmen and war horses; everyone was good at riding, and even women can fight on horses. They had become the overlord of the nations outside the Great Wall.
The Turks were like a pack of wolves separated by a fence, coveting the fertile Central Plains of Zhou. In recent years, there had been frequent acts of harassment at the border. However, the Great Zhou established its dynasty by force, and its national strength was strong, so it was impossible to shake the foundation of the Great Zhou in the short term.
Among the Turkic tribal leaders, many admired the culture of the Central Plains. The silk, tea, porcelain, fine salt, and even pen, ink, and paper of the Zhou Dynasty were sold at sky-high prices as long as they can be transported outside the customs.
It was the nature of businessmen to pursue profits, and huge profits were tempting. Even the threat of beheading for the crime of collaborating with the enemy, would not stop the prosperity of the smuggling business.
Among them, the most profitable was the smuggling of people.
This was more pleasant to say. To put it bluntly, it meant abducting and selling beautiful young men and women to rich and powerful leaders of the Turkic people.
Ordinary civilian girls could not be sold at a high price, so the courageous ones set their minds on the daughters of officials’ families.
The daughters of officials with good backgrounds were both beautiful and literate, and some were good at playing the piano, playing the flute, reciting poems, and painting. If one of these girls would be caught and sold, the profits were enormous.
Of course, those who dared to attack the official daughters were not ordinary gangsters.
The hunchback-scarred second-in-command and his gang of thugs were the boldest and most reckless among them.
The eldest of the family operated behind the scenes, responsible for “smuggling and selling stolen goods.” The second in command dispersed most of the manpower in different locations, searching for suitable targets and waiting for the opportune moment to strike.
The so-called suitable target was a lady with an outstanding temperament and a beautiful appearance. Such a goal was elusive. Sometimes you don’t see one for months. Sometimes when you encounter it, you have to weigh the difficulty of doing it.
Those who can take the official boat were all family members of officials and eunuchs, and there were many family guards. A careless mistake will not only prevent people from being taken away but also lead to death.
“How many family guards are there on that official ship?” The second leader restrained his impatience, and asked the bottom line: “How about your skills? How many boatmen are there on board?
“There must be more than a dozen boatmen. There are about eleven or twelve servants who have disembarked, and I guess there are a few more on board. These servants are quite stable when they walk, and they are quite strong, and they seem to have good skills.”
Scarred face wrinkled. Frowning, he said: “Second master, from what the cripple said, the people on this official ship should have high official positions. The risk of us robbing such an official ship is really high…”
The cripple snorted and quickly interrupted Scarface: “What we do is a risky business that involves living on the edge. Besides, it’s not our first time robbing officials. Those officials may appear powerful, but when faced with blades and guns, they turn into cowards. We don’t take lives or rob them of their wealth. We only take two individuals and leave. They’ll simply assume it’s some personal vendetta. Moreover, the ones we target are unmarried young girls. They won’t dare report it to the authorities or make a fuss. In the end, they can only suffer in silence.”T/N The part about the kidnapped girls made me really sad because that is still the sad reality for many girls in many countries, especially those in Asia. The burden of shame is always on us girls … Continue reading
A daughter who has not left the boudoir was snatched by gangsters, who dare to publicize such a thing?
Once it gets out, the woman’s reputation will be destroyed. Even if she was lucky enough to be found one day, she would never get married again in this life. It also brought shame to the family.
Out of this concern, most of the officials who encountered such tragic events sent people to secretly search for the whereabouts of their daughters afterward. After looking for it for a year or two, it was really hopeless, so they reluctantly announced the death of their daughter from illness.
This was exactly the ingenuity of the gangsters’ modus operandi. One, they didn’t kill people, and two, they don’t rob gold, silver, and jewels. They only kidnaped beautiful girls. If you make a fortune in such a silent way, you don’t have to worry about being hunted down by officers and soldiers.
The scarred face was rubbed by the cripple, and he felt a little unhappy. He snorted: “We usually rob those low-level county magistrates and push officials. This time, according to what you said, it is an upper-class official ship. The kind of official who can ride such a ship is at least an official of the fourth grade or above. If you do it regardless, you won’t be afraid of encountering hard points?”
The lame man and the scarred face were arguing endlessly.
The Second Master frowned, his triangular eyes flashed fiercely, and he shouted angrily: “Okay, shut up for me. Whether it’s worth taking the risk or not, we’ll have to wait until I have a look.”
Ling Xiao entered the shop selling the Four Treasures of the Study, he touched this and then that, with a joyful expression on his face.
The store clerk at the side was very attentive and introduced the paper, ink, and inkstones in the store.
Since leaving Dingzhou City, Ling Jingshu had also changed from her previous withdrawn and gloomy nature, the corners of her lips slightly raised, and her voice is soft and elegant: “Ah Xiao if you like it, you can buy some.”
The customers and staff in the shop heard such a pleasant voice, they couldn’t help but secretly glance over. Secretly fantasizing about the true face under the veil in their heart, their hearts were swayed by waves.
Ling Xiao hesitated for a moment, but couldn’t bear it anymore: “It’s better to buy less!”
The prices of good pens, inks, papers, and inkstones were quite high.
The silver that Ah Shu was carrying was reserved for medical treatment, so it is better to save some money.
Seeing his appearance, Ling Jingshu felt distressed and amused at the same time: “Since you like it, I bought it all. We don’t lack this little money.” Both Old Lady Ling and Fifth Master Ling generously donated money and the money she brought with her was enough for their two brothers and sisters.
After spending more than half an hour in the shop, buying a lot of pens and inks that may not be needed, Ling Xiao looked satisfied.
Ling Jingshu looked at the happy face of Ling Xiao and felt extremely satisfied in her heart.
After shopping, it happened that Ling Jingyan and others also came over. Just looking at the brocade boxes in the hands of a few maids, one can tell that Ling Jingyan and Madam Jiang had lost a lot in the rouge shop.
Everyone came here in high spirits and returned with satisfaction!
Not long after they walked out of the shop, a lame beggar suddenly rushed forward and knelt in front of Ling Jingshu and Ling Xiao with a plop: “Masters and ladies, please do me a favor! I have been hungry for three days and haven’t eaten. Something…”
He kowtowed while talking, with tears on his face, looking really pitiful.
Ling Jingshu frowned, and subconsciously took a step back.
As long as a strange man was approaching within three feet, her whole body tensed up almost immediately.
Bai Yu who was behind her immediately rushed forward, casually took some scattered silver from her sleeve, and gave it to the lame beggar: “Take the silver and go quickly.”
The lame beggar took the broken silver and kowtowed to thank her.
Coincidentally, at this moment, a gust of wind blew past. Most of the veil on Ling Jingshu’s face was lifted by the wind. Most of her face was exposed.
The lame beggar took a breath and looked straight at Ling Jingshu.
Ling Jingshu frowned but didn’t make a sound, she pulled Ling Xiao around the lame beggar and walked towards the official boat.
In front of a grocery store not far away, stood a tall and strong man. He had excellent eyesight, and he saw Ling Jingshu’s flower-like beauty with his own eyes, and his triangular eyes seemed to radiate light.
|↑1||T/N The part about the kidnapped girls made me really sad because that is still the sad reality for many girls in many countries, especially those in Asia. The burden of shame is always on us girls rather than on who committed the crime.|