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He has a great figure.
Yuan Li’s thoughts momentarily drifted with envy, but soon his attractive brows furrowed.
He keenly sensed Chu Hechao’s suspicion towards him.
What exactly was Chu Hechao suspecting him of?
The moonlight was obscured by dark clouds, and the courtyard of the Wendao Courtyard fell into silence. The March night wasn’t as cold as the end of winter, but the servant, observing Yuan Li’s nose turning red from the wind, gently closed the door.
A creaking sound snapped Yuan Li back to reality.
Yuan Li couldn’t figure out what connection he had with Chu Hechao. He was only eighteen this year, two years away from the age of adulthood. Even though he had discreetly done quite a few things in Ruyang County, it was far from reaching a point where it would arouse Chu Hechao’s suspicion. Moreover, Chu Hechao had just returned to Luoyang. They hadn’t even had a chance to develop any conflicts.
In terms of reputation, Yuan Li had an excellent reputation. In terms of reason, Yuan Li was willing to help with his terminally ill older brother’s recovery. Even without emotions, Yuan Li was officially Chu Hechao’s sister-in-law.
Yuan Li couldn’t make sense of it all, but Chu Hechao’s suspicions were not important at the moment. What mattered was the soap recipe in his mind.
When he thought of the soap recipe, Yuan Li became somewhat excited.
He said, “Lintian, close and lock the door.”
Lintian quickly ran out, and soon the gates of the Wendao Courtyard were tightly shut.
In his bedroom, illuminated by lamplight, Yuan Li dismissed everyone else and quietly wrote down the soap recipe on a piece of paper. Once he finished writing, he set the paper on fire with the flame of the lamp.
The rewards given by the system were designed to be adaptable to the current era, with instructions for things that could be made in the present time. There were simple soap-making techniques as well as more complex ones for crafting scented soaps, each step detailed thoroughly.
Even the most ordinary soap in modern times would easily surpass the commonly used grass and soap nuts in this era.
The paper turned into black ash and fell onto the table. The candle flame burned brightly for a while before gradually weakening.
Yuan Li let out a sigh and blew out the candle, carrying a passionate heart as he laid down on the bed.
Scented soap with its fragrant aroma, pure whiteness, and delicate texture, when carved into exquisite shapes like plum, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum, would undoubtedly find a place among the elegant scholars and noble families.
However, for the present Yuan Li, both soap and refined sugar were not things that could be easily produced.
The current state of affairs was too chaotic, and without security, it was akin to a child carrying gold through a bustling market.
The double-layered bed curtains woven with red silk gently swayed, and the sachets hanging from the corners of the bedframe exuded a pleasant fragrance.
Yuan Li had no sleepiness. He slapped a couple of mosquitoes and stared at the ceiling, lost in thought.
The best choice now was to cooperate with the Chu Wang Mansion.
He had already “married” into the Chu Wang Mansion, and that was an undeniable fact. Even if Chu Mingfeng were to die later, his relationship with the Chu Wang Mansion would not easily be severed.
In the eyes of others, he was already a member of the Chu Wang Mansion.
Yuan Li himself knew that cooperating with the Chu Wang Mansion was the best outcome. Mutual benefit, mutual assistance, there was nothing wrong with it.
However, Chu Hechao’s attitude towards him made Yuan Li hesitate.
But Yuan Li quickly snapped out of it, helplessly patting his forehead and laughing at himself, “Yuan Li, you really have gone mad.”
The person in charge of the Chu Wang Mansion is not Chu Hechao, but the frail little elder, Chu Mingfeng, who was nominally Yuan Li’s husband. Even if Chu Hechao dislikes him, what can he do?
As long as Yuan Li is his sister-in-law, he must obediently address him as sister-in-law every day. They say an elder brother is like a father, and an elder sister is like a mother. In case Chu Mingfeng really can’t fulfill his duties, Yuan Li could practically become Chu Hechao’s father!
With the hierarchy in place, what is there to worry about?
Yuan Li’s spirits soared in an instant, his lips curling up, and accompanied by a gentle breeze, he fell into a contented sleep.
Early the next morning.
Yuan Li was awakened right on time by his internal clock. After freshening up, he went out for his daily morning run.
The Chu Wang Mansion was grand, with small bridges, flowing water, and bamboo gardens throughout the courtyard. The green willows were mesmerizing, and the stacked rocks and trickling springs possessed a natural artistic charm. Yuan Li jogged around the vicinity of the Wendao Courtyard and soon worked up a light sweat.
The coolness of the ancient air carried a refreshing sensation, with slightly higher oxygen content compared to the future. Yuan Li stood by a water basin, stretching his muscles and back, his delicate face dampened by the moisture, with tiny dewdrops glistening on his hair.
Feeling refreshed and invigorated, as he walked along the lakeside, Yuan Li heard the clear sound of weapons clashing a few times.
His ears perked up, and he followed the sound to the martial arts training ground.
In the spacious and smooth training ground, someone was practicing swordsmanship against a wooden stake.
His upper garment was tied around his waist due to the heat, and the muscles on his back rippled with each movement, while his narrow waist was tucked into his pants.
It was Chu Hechao.
Hearing the footsteps, Chu Hechao lazily lifted his gaze and looked back, his eyes carrying the coolness of the early morning mist.
Upon seeing Yuan Li, his expression remained unchanged, and without a hint of disturbance, he turned around again, pulling out the blade that was lodged in the wooden stake and resumed his previous movements.
Yuan Li was not an important person to him.
Yuan Li didn’t mind either and calculated with interest the training intensity of this man hailed as the Northern Zhou’s War God.
When managing logistics, Yuan Li occasionally had to oversee the training of the troops, and he knew well how each individual should be trained, the optimal training volume, and the limits. No matter what kind of talent, there were strengths and weaknesses in the unified training curriculum. Those good at tactics might lack endurance, while those with good endurance might struggle with balance.
Once a versatile and all-round talent appeared, they became the object of everyone’s attention.
Chu Hechao was known as the Northern Zhou War God, with remarkable military achievements. Yuan Li anticipated his incredible physical fitness, and at the beginning, Chu Hechao seemed calm. However, as time passed, Yuan Li couldn’t hide his astonishment.
— This is too exaggerated.
If it were an ordinary person, they would have reached their limit by now. But Chu Hechao seemed unaffected, his breath became heavier, and sweat soaked his waistband, yet each swing of his arm remained as fierce and swift as in the beginning.
Unconsciously, half an hour had passed, and Yuan Li was already tired of watching. He felt that continuing to watch would only dampen his confidence, so he turned around, ready to leave.
A steel blade, gleaming with cold light, plunged straight into the muddy ground in front of Yuan Li’s feet, shattering the emerging blades of grass. Half of the blade was buried deep in the soil, and the blade hummed and trembled lightly.
Yuan Li halted his steps.
Chu Hechao’s voice came from behind, “Sister-in-law, why have you been standing there watching for so long? What are you looking at?”
Yuan Li didn’t want to argue with him at this moment, so he ignored the comment and quickly walked past the blade, intending to leave.
A few moments later, a large palm suddenly landed on his shoulder, squeezing it as if to crush Yuan Li’s bones.
“Sister-in-law,” Chu Hechao scrutinized Yuan Li, “where are you rushing off to?”
Instinctively, Yuan Li grabbed hold of that arm and attempted a shoulder throw, but Chu Hechao’s expression changed for a moment. Reacting swiftly, he hooked Yuan Li’s neck, and as they both fell to the ground, Yuan Li was brought down by tremendous force.
His mouth directly hit Chu Hechao’s arm, not only tasting the salty flavor of blood but also breaking the skin on Chu Hechao’s arm, leaving his mouth and chin smeared with blood.
Yuan Li’s teeth ached from colliding with the hard muscles, and his nose also bumped into them, causing his lacrimal glands to prickle with pain.
A hand forcefully pulled Yuan Li up by the back of his collar. Chu Hechao’s face turned pale, and just as he was about to say something, he saw Yuan Li pale and covering his lips, bloodstains dotting his lips and chin. The pain seemed to have filled his eyes with mist.
“… ” Chu Hechao’s expression turned strange. “Did Sister-in-law hurt her mouth and cry from the pain?”
The blood on Yuan Li’s mouth was from Chu Hechao. He wiped his lips and muttered, “No.”
Chu Hechao didn’t believe him, he stared at Yuan Li for a while, let out a light scoff, and couldn’t be bothered to trouble Yuan Li any further. He carried his blade and returned to the training ground.
Yuan Li watched his back, feeling puzzled.
He sniffed and as the soreness in his nose gradually subsided, the watery mist in his eyes disappeared completely. Yuan Li rubbed his nose again, lowered his head, and spat out two mouthfuls of blood foam. Unable to bear the taste of blood in his mouth, he turned around and hurried back to the Wendao Courtyard to rinse his mouth.
In the evening, Lady Yang sent someone to call Yuan Li for dinner. When Yuan Li arrived at the hall, two tables were already set. The central table was occupied by Chu Wang and Chu Hechao, while the other table was separated by a landscape screen and seated the three madams led by Lady Yang and the three young Misses of the Chu family, each of different ages.
Yuan Li only glanced briefly and then respectfully averted his gaze. At the invitation of Chu Wang, he sat beside him.
Across from Yuan Li, Chu Hechao was tilting his teacup, his broad shoulders held upright, and his long legs almost crossing the entire table. Upon hearing Yuan Li’s movement, he lazily raised his head and glanced at him, his eyes still containing a mocking smirk.
Yuan Li’s mouth twitched.
He really had no idea what Chu Hechao was imagining. His arm had been scraped by him, and now he was mocking him here?
Chu Wang was a martial man, straightforward and impulsive in his actions. Seeing everyone present, he directly beckoned and said, “Quick, bring the food. I’m starving!”
Upon hearing this, Yuan Li apologized, “My lord, it’s all because this young one arriving late.”
“Li Er, it’s not your fault,” Lady Yang, sitting on the other side, said casually, “It’s the incompetence of the housekeeper’s people. They forgot to inform you in time that our young master has become a legitimate master in our mansion. They didn’t timely inform you, so naturally, you came late.”
Beside her, Lady Zhao blushed, half complaining and half feeling wronged, “Madam, I’ve been so busy these days that my head is spinning. The timing for our late dinner has already been set. I truly forgot that Young Master Yuan didn’t know about it.”
“You have indeed been working hard these past few days,” Lady Yang turned to her and said in a gentle voice, “Since Feng Er has also married a wife, we can entrust the household matters to Li Er. Let’s enjoy some leisure time together.”
Lady Zhao was taken aback, “Madam!”
Yuan Li was not really Chu Mingfeng’s wife, and he himself was an outsider. She had finally seized control of the housekeeper’s authority while Lady Yang was taking care of Chu Mingfeng. How could she willingly give it up like this?
She immediately raised her voice, “My lord, you—”
Chu Wang impatiently interrupted, “Do as the Madam says.”
Lady Zhao fell silent.
Innocently dragged into the situation, Yuan Li forced a bitter smile, “Madam, I’m not suitable for—”
“Li Er, don’t worry,” Lady Yang softened her voice but remained firm, “Since you’ve become part of our family, you’ll have to learn these things sooner or later. I’ll accompany you, it’s all quite simple.”
For Yuan Li, managing a royal mansion was indeed simple, and it could be considered a field of expertise in its own right.
With the conversation reaching this point, Yuan Li could only reluctantly agree for now. Lady Yang couldn’t be unaware of his arrangement with the Chu family. He needed to study and enter official service. If Lady Yang was saying this openly, it was probably to use his name to regain control of the household.
Chu Wang, seeing the matter settled, said, “Let’s start eating.”
The table was filled with abundant dishes. At this time, cooking in iron pots was not yet common, and most food was steamed or boiled in earthen pots. Noble families also enjoyed some roasted food.
However, whether steamed, boiled, or roasted, the taste was similar. Due to the scarcity of seasonings, there was mostly soy sauce and salt. The salt even had a hint of bitterness, so the methods of handling ingredients were not much different.
When Yuan Li first arrived in this world, everything adapted well, except for his eating habits. The meals at the Chu mansion didn’t taste much different from ordinary meals, but due to the precious ingredients, they were handled more delicately and seemed more appetizing.
Especially roasted meat, stew, and preserved meat, these three dishes had excellent flavors, and Yuan Li ate more of them.
During the meal, Yuan Li also witnessed the devouring eating style of Chu Wang and his son, Chu Hechao.
Chu Wang paid no attention to the etiquette of noble families when eating. He would quickly gulp down a bowl of millet rice with meat in just a few bites and then have the servant fill up his bowl again. As for Chu Hechao, he ate with a relaxed and leisurely manner, yet his movements were not slower than his father’s.
The father and son were both big meat eaters, their chopsticks moving swiftly, and the plates were emptied in no time.
Next to them, Yuan Li, with a slightly larger appetite than usual due to his growth phase, seemed inconsistent.
When they were well into the meal, Chu Wang slowed down and finally had the intention to talk. “Young Yuan, have you ever seen my eldest son?”
Chu Hechao quietly continued eating as if he hadn’t heard.
Yuan Li shook his head, “I have yet to see the eldest young master.”
Chu Wang stroked his beard, his aged face reflecting a mix of affection and melancholy. “His health has been poor, and he hasn’t left the premises since falling ill. If you have the time, you might as well visit him more often. Feng Er enjoys talking to young people, and there are many classics to read in his quarters. As students, you know how precious those classics are, and I need not say more. Yesterday, I managed to secure a spot for you to enter the National Academy. Before you start your studies, it will be greatly beneficial for you to spend time with him and read the classics before you begin your studies.”
Yuan Li listened attentively and smiled lightly. “I understand, sir.”
Lady Yang, who was beside the folding screen, smiled and asked, “Yuan Li, how was your meal?”
“Madam, I enjoyed it very much.” Yuan Li gently put down his chopsticks, and a servant immediately brought a warm towel to wipe his hands.
“That’s good,” Lady Yang relaxed her brows and eyes. “Tomorrow is the day you return to your family, and I have prepared everything for you. Since Feng Er can’t accompany you back to Ruyang, let Ciye accompany you on the trip.”
Yuan Li was momentarily stunned before realizing that Ciye was referring to Chu Hechao.
His eyelids twitched, and he decisively refused, “General just returned yesterday, weary and covered in dust. He should rest properly these two days. How can I let him accompany me and endure more hardship? Luoyang to Ruyang is only a short distance of less than a hundred miles. I can go back by myself.”
Lady Yang disagreed, “That’s not proper.”
Chu Wang laughed heartily and pointed at Chu Hechao, “Don’t worry about him. This boy is robust! Even if he has to travel a thousand miles, he’ll recover overnight. Since he called you ‘sister-in-law,’ feel free to boss him around!”
Chu Hechao’s expression remained cold and unchanged.
Chu Wang and Lady Yang had vastly different attitudes towards Chu Mingfeng and Chu Hechao.
But it was understandable since the young master was weak in health yet highly intelligent, naturally causing more worry for his parents.
Yuan Li silently hoped that Chu Hechao would refuse, saying, “General, you must have important matters to attend to and may not be able to accompany me to Ruyang, right?”
Chu Hechao lifted his head, his eyes deep and his lips pressed together. Then he suddenly smiled, a cold curve forming. “What a coincidence, I’ve been wanting to visit Ruyang County for a while.”
Chu Hechao: Mocking
Yuan Li (puzzled): Is he crazy?
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2 thoughts on “After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 5”
Thanks for the translation
Thank you for the translation! It is quite interesting and fun. I’m hanging on rather edge of my seat for the confrontation concerning the refugees.