Xiang Han disdained the strong alcohol smell and unhesitatingly threw him onto the couch in the next room. Afterwards he called for hot water, but before he could wipe the other person down, Xu Yan Ze had already thrown up on him.
He was dumbfounded and the washcloth in his hands fell down onto the ground. The most infuriating part was that after Xu Yan Ze had thrown up, he even hugged him, and buried his face against his neck. “My head hurts…”
I hope it explodes!
Afraid that he’d continue to throw up, Xiang Han pushed him away with a dark expression on his face.
Xu Yan Ze fell to the couch and stared blankly at him, extremely unhappy.
Xiang Han only wanted to run off and get a change of clothes. Thus, he glared back. “Have you lost your mind?”
Pouting, Xu Yan Ze didn’t reply but pulled his hand closer. “Wifey, my head hurts…”
W-Wifey? Xiang Han snatched back his hand and hollered, “You’re the wife!”
Xu Yan Ze wanted to pull him back, but after receiving a death glare, he meekly retrieved his hand. He whispered in an aggrieved tone, “Mn, wife.”
These words caused Xiang Han to choke but after a moment, he evilly ordered, “Call me hubby.”
Xu Yan Ze stared at him wordlessly. Xiang Han reached out his hand once more and repeated, “Hubby.”
Xu Yan Ze immediately grabbed his hand and hugged it to his face while murmuring, “Hubby.”
“Call me husband.”
Xiang Han’s anger immediately evaporated. Not only did he help massage Xu Yan Ze’s head, he even ordered the chef to bring a bowl of sobering soup after their bath and personally fed it to him.
The next day, Xu Yan Ze woke up with a hangover. With a groan, he instinctively wanted to drag the person beside him into his arms but failed. He turned around and tried again. The bed wasn’t big in the first place, and with a roll, he fell to the ground with a loud thud and immediately became wide awake.
Xiang Han had tossed around all night before falling asleep. Hearing the ruckus, he groaned, “Shush.”
After some time, he suddenly realised something and abruptly opened his eyes. He quickly grabbed his robes and went to the adjoining room. “What’s wrong?”
Xu Yan Ze was sitting on the ground and nursing a headache when he saw Xiang Han come in. Recalling the events from last night, his face darkened. “Did you have fun last night?”
“Ahem, did I?” Xiang Han didn’t deny but instead chose to bullshit. “Clearly, I took care of you all night and you even threw up on me.”
This was the truth. Xu Yan Ze snorted and decided not to bicker about this. In the end, the little fool could only take advantage of him verbally.
He quickly got up and looked at the other person, feeling a wave of regret. Last night he had specifically obtained the jade ointment from Jin Er, but he hadn’t expected that his body was too unreliable. He actually went offline at the most critical juncture!
Xiang Han felt his skin tingle and instinctively took a step back. He tried to change the topic, “Your head… does it still hurt? Do you want me to call for someone to bring a bowl of sobering soup?”
Thinking about the massage from last night, he declined, “No need. You help me massage it for a little.”
Saying so, he made a show of walking to the next room and laying down on the rattan chair. When he saw that Xiang Han hadn’t moved, he urged him, “Hurry up.”
Xiang Han’s lips curled in disdain. “You stink. Go take a bath.”
“…” Xu Yan Ze froze and tried to hide his embarrassment. He attempted to convince himself: This isn’t that bad, I’m much cleaner than when I was killing zombies
While he was in the bath, Xiang Han called the chef to prepare a bowl of soup.
After dinner, Xiang Han finally asked him, “Where did you go last night to end up drinking to that extent?”
Upon hearing this question, Xu Yan Ze froze, and covered it up with a cough. He calmly replied, “I was at the guild, training your two cousins.”
“Training… requires alcohol? No way.” Xiang Han glared at him.
Xu Yan Ze laughed and completely disregarded him. “When it comes to training, strictness is not everything. It’s easy to stir up rebellious thoughts. We need to use the carrot and stick method.”
“So, after the punishment, I called for some dishes and drinks to put away our grudge and strengthen our brotherhood and… unknowingly drank too much.”
He wouldn’t mention a single word about their discussion.
Sure enough, Xiang Han’s attitude after hearing this changed. He grew embarrassed. “Y-You’ve worked hard. Actually, there’s no need…”
“It’s nothing much, they’re your cousins after all. I need to take care of them.” Xu Yan Ze shamelessly praised himself.
Xiang Han, “…”
Having just been disdained, Xu Yan Ze didn’t take advantage of the situation to pursue the matter of consummating their marriage. Instead, he rested for a while before returning to the guild.
At the training ground, the soldiers had already begun their training at the crack of dawn. After scanning the surroundings, Xu Yan Ze nodded in satisfaction and asked, “Where are the two young masters?”
“They haven’t woken up.” The commander in charge of their training grew embarrassed.
“Not up?” Xu Yan Ze grinned, “Go, drag them over here.”
“I’ll take responsibility if something goes wrong. Hurry up.”
It didn’t take long for both Jin Da and Jin Er to be dragged to the training grounds. They were swearing the entire way here; unlike Xu Yan Ze, they didn’t have anyone to give them a massage or feed them soup and thus, their head was practically splitting from the pain.
When they saw Xu Yan Ze, Jin Da immediately exploded with anger. He pointed at him and roared, “Yan brat, are you taking me for a fool? Let me tell you, this feud between us is undeniable. I will also—”
Xu Yan Ze laughed and gripped his finger, twisting it back. “What will you do?”
“Ah! Pain pain pain…” Jin Da immediately cried in pain while his brother hurriedly attempted to pry his fingers away in fright. “What are you doing? Let him go.”
Xu Yan Ze released him and flung Jin Er away at the same time. He said coldly, “Your punishment is to run ten laps tonight. Including the two rounds you didn’t complete last night, you need to finish twelve. You’re not allowed to eat before you complete it.”
The two brothers were dumbfounded. After a moment, Jin Er plopped to the ground in disdain. “I refuse. What can you do to me?”
Xu Yan Ze snorted and turned towards manager Zhou, “Whenever they finish running is when they will eat.”
Then, he turned back towards them and added, “Also, you’ll need to practice your kungfu and horse stance1. If you don’t finish them, they’ll simply accumulate.”
“I don’t believe you can starve us to death.” Jin Da said fearlessly.
“Of course not.”
Jin Da grew gleeful before he heard Xu Yan Ze continue, “You can have a little porridge every day. Although you won’t starve, it shouldn’t be very enjoyable.”
He still had to take care of matters on Lady Mei’s side. Thus, after throwing these words down, he left.
Jin Da was stunned while Jin Er hesitated. “D-Do we… not run?”
“Not running.” Jin Da stubbornly refused.
By the time night came, the two of them were already wrecked with hunger. They heard that Xu Yan Ze didn’t stay at the guild and intended to sneak out but before they could even get close to the perimeters, they were dragged back by the night patrol.
When he saw Xu Yan Ze the next day, Jin Er said in defeat, “Brother-in-law, don’t you have my jade ointment? Can’t you let your brother off on account of our relationship?”
“Oh, that? I confiscated it for the old madam,” Xu Yan Ze lied with a straight face.
“What?” Jin Er leapt to his feet in fright, “Y-Y-You… How could you do this? You’ll anger her old heart…”
“I meant, I’m going to hand it over.” Xu Yan Ze calmly changed his words.
“Oh.” Jin Er breathed a sigh of relief. Jin Da quickly checked his sleeves to make sure nothing was missing.
Suddenly, Xu Yan Ze took out a piece of paper and shook it in their faces. “A debt of 5,200 taels? Tsk, this is not a small sum. If the old madam knew…”
Jin Da’s pupils shrank. He tried to snatch it back, but only grabbed a fistfull of air and roared, “What do you want?”
Folding – and keeping – that piece of paper, Xu Yan Ze smiled, “As long as first and second brother don’t make life difficult for me, I won’t put you on the spot.”
In the end, Jin Da and Jin Er endured their anger and resigned themselves to running laps and practicing their stance.
In the blink of an eye, ten days had passed. When the brothers returned to the manor, they hugged the old madam and cried about their grievance. Meanwhile, she looked them once over and simply said, “Not bad. Your standing and sitting postures are more proper. Your muscles have gotten more toned and you seem more energetic now.”
Xiang Han silently laughed. When Xu Yan Ze took charge of the training, each session lasted for one to two hours. How could they not be proper?
This immediately sent Jin Da into a tearless wail. He cried in dissatisfaction, “Grandmother, you don’t know how evil that Yan brat was. He didn’t even let me eat my fill.”
The old madam ignored him and turned to look at Xu Yan Ze instead, praising, “Yan lad, you did well.”
The corners of his lips rose, but he humbly replied, “It was first and second brother who worked hard.”
This seemed to make her even more satisfied, but there was still a part of her that worried. Afterwards, only her and Xiang Han were left. She asked, “Xiao Bao, I’m afraid it’s not proper to hand the entire mercenary guild to Yan lad.”
“Grandmother, Yan Ze has a name. Don’t always call him Yan lad, Yan lad. It sounds too distant. As for the mercenary guild, haven’t I always been busy with the caravans? Moreover, he’s more experienced in this. Even eldest cousin and second cousin have to listen to him. What’s not proper about it?”
The old madam sighed, “I’m afraid that he’ll grow cocky over time and place his loyalty elsewhere.”
Xiang Han shook his head resolutely, “He won’t.”
Seeing how Xiang Han was completely siding with Xu Yan Ze, the old madam grew even more depressed. After a second, she changed the topic. “Right, how’s the caravan business doing? There’s a merchant who will be coming to pay a visit to our manor tomorrow. He’s from the south and may stay for a couple of days. You two can have a chat if you’re interested.”
“From the south?” Xiang Han was indeed interested. “Why don’t you let me receive him?”
Hearing this, the old madam shook her head. “You’ve been too busy recently, it’s better for you to rest.”
“Alright.” Xiang Han said regretfully. He no longer said anything once he remembered Xu Yan Ze was still waiting for him outside.
After he left, the old madam sighed and told Lady Li, “This Yan Xiao Ze is not ordinary. I’m afraid he’s a beast that can’t be contained in a small pond2 a beast that can’t be contain in a small pond refers to people with great ambitions refusing to be satisfied with what they have and will work hard to achieve it.. The Jin family won’t be able to contain him.”
Lady Li hesitated before speaking, “If that’s the case, it’s not too bad. Our Jin family did help him out at a point in his life and he also seemed to be quite close with our young master…”