Chapter 23: Chief Aman
Qiu Xing was never informed who her young master was going to see and had been curious, but now that she knew, she was angry, but also puzzled. The person her young master was going to see was the person who had almost taken the young master’s life, the Mong people’s current Chief, Chief Aman.
Seeing the woman in red sitting on the throne, Qiu Xing seethed. The red clothes the woman was wearing was traditional Mong clothing, with patterns in silver thread. The woman appeared very dainty, but Qiu Xing knew how vicious she was. She was fairly young, but had the aura of an adult. She was a mixture between charming and tough, someone whose emotions could change in a flash.
The red-clothed girl, Aman, appeared displeased as she watched the white-clothed youth leisurely sip tea before her, her regret growing. What did this person come all the way here for? To see if she was living miserably? Ever since that sword blow a year ago, she had been consumed with regret, but it was too late to regret. Her life was completely transformed. Because of that sword blow, Du Luo hatred her to the core. He no longer cared for her, indifferent when she spoke, he even wanted to kill her! It was only because of this person that Du Luo alienated her, and now…
Her expression fluctuated constantly, unable to hide her emotions. She was the kind of person whose face betrayed her every thought, unlike the expressionless person before her. During the long period of time that had passed since they had entered the room, that person’s expression had never changed.
Graceful and poised. In contrast, that servant constantly peeked. How annoying! But she did not dare to hurt her in the slightest. Her relationship with Du Luo was already terrible. She did not want Du Luo to hate her even more. Du Luo’s ice cold gaze was suffocating.
“Did you come here to just drink tea?” Aman finally couldn’t stand it any more.
Ye Yin set down the tea leisurely, his eyes slits. “This tea is quite nice. Is it this year’s new tea?”
“You!” Aman shot up from her seat, seething with anger. “What do you want?”
Qiu Xing immediately switched to a guarding stance, hmphing. “What do you want? I won’t let you a touch of strand of young master’s hair.”
“Enough, Xiu Qing. Enough with the pretenses. The northern territory sure is beautiful, why don’t you let Ayina guide you around? There are a few things I need to discuss with Chief Aman.”
“Young master!” Qiu Xing looked back at him reproachfully, but Ye Yin remained silent, his gaze resolute.
Qiu Xing bit her lip, pouting. She stamped her feet, shot a glare at Aman, and in the end, left unwillingly.
Aman sneered, “Sending off your loyal servant girl? Aren’t you afraid I might attack you again?”
“You will not.” Ye Yin smiled.
“How confident. Don’t forget whose attack almost took your life.”
Ye Yin’s smile widened, completely calm as she said, “But you regret that attack.”
Aman paused. “Who says I regret it? If we could do it over, I would still stab you again!” she said sternly.
Ye Yin did not say anything, only quietly watching Aman. Feeling uneasy from his piercing gaze, Aman straightened up, raising her chin. “What are you staring at me for? I don’t need your sympathy.”
Ye Yin sighed quietly. “You’re overthinking. Why would I pity you? Is there anything I need to be sympathetic about?”
“Good.” Aman humphed. “Speak, what do you want?”
Ye Yin calmly raised his teacup to his lips and took another sip. “If I said I came to reminisce, would you believe me?”
“Reminisce? What a joke! What past history do we have together?” Aman glared at Ye Yin, her voice cold. “Stop with your nonsense. What I hate the most is when people beat around the bush. If you have something to say, say it!”
“How straightforward!” Setting down the tea, Ye Yin’s expression suddenly turned serious. “I am here to borrow troops?”
“Borrow troops? For what purpose?”
“For your excellent Mong troops to help seize Zhi (郅) city. I want West Zhi (沚)!”
Aman froze. Suddenly, she started to laugh. “You want my Mong troops to help you seize Zhi (郅) city? What a joke! You and I are nearly strangers, almost enemies, why would I let you borrow my troops? You want West Zhi (沚)? Ha! You want West Zhi (沚) but you ask an enemy to borrow troops from? Such arrogance! I never expected to be so naive, to talk so big!”
Ye Yin was undisturbed. “You must lend me troops.”
“Because you owe me.” Ye Yin stood up, pointing at his chest. “The moment your sword entered my chest, the moment your debt was formed. A scar still remains. It is time for you to pay me back.”
“Ha!” Aman glanced at Ye Yin disdainfully, cackling, as if she had heard an extremely funny joke.
But Ye Yin did not laugh. He calmly watched Aman. “We truly are nearly strangers, but is there some deep hatred between us? A year ago, you wrongfully stabbed me because you thought I had snatched away brother Du, but brother Du and I do not have that kind of relationships. Don’t you agree now that you are aware of the situation that you were wrong? Even if brother Du and I were indeed lovers, on what grounds could you have had to have stabbed me? Do you not owe me for that attack?”
Aman smiled coldly, not saying a word. Ye Yin sat back down. “Actually, I am not relying on you repaying me for that attack. How about we make a deal?”
“You lend me your troops, I revert you and brother Du’s relationship back to what it had been in the past.”
“To borrow troops, you’re going to use Du Luo?” Aman shot up, angered.
“Use? How could this be called using?” Ye Yin smiled. “All of us benefit from this deal.”
“Truthfully, I didn’t want your and brother Du’s relationship to become like this. You are special in his heart.” Aman had a complete look of disbelief. Seeing this, Ye Yin sighed, “Brother Du is the kind of person who values his friends more than anything else. However, he’s a bit slow when it comes this emotion called ‘love’,”
“You’ve known brother Du for longer than me, so you should know the only woman who has stayed by his side for such a long time is you.”
“The only one?” Aman laughed coldly. “Bullshit. What about you? Aren’t you a woman?”
“I am merely his friend. Brother Du has never viewed me as a woman. Our relationship is platonic. Why have you not understood by now? Think about it clearly. Before you knew my gender, how did you think me and brother Du’s relationship was?” Ye Yin sighed, then continued, “Brother Du would bring me to brothels, but never you.”
Seeing Aman’s shell-shocked expression, Ye Yin shook his head. “Enough. There’s no way I can explain any further. I can only tell you I only view brother Du as a friend, and to brother Du, I am one of many friends. He doesn’t have feelings for me, but for you!”
“Really?” Aman’s eyes brightened, but then drooped. “You don’t have to trick me in order to borrow my troops. He doesn’t like me, if he did, why would he treat me like this? Did you know that he nearly wants to kill me?”
“There’s a phrase you might not have heard of before.”
“Love is deep, responsibility is absolute!”
“You mean to say…”
“As I said before, brother Du is someone who values his friends more than anything else. He won’t let anyone harm his friends. Unfortunately, the woman he cared for injured his best friend. What kind of reaction would he have? Perhaps you don’t know this, but after you left, brother Du went missing. He’s been missing for more than a year. I only heard from him very recently. Do you know why he fled? Because he feels guilt. If you were not important to him, he would not be afraid of facing me due to guilt. You said he almost wants to kill you, but has he done anything? No, he cannot bear to! He is unwilling to punish you, so he feels he cannot face me. If you were not important to him, would he have this dilemma?”
Aman bit her lip. “It’s already too late. He will never see me again. I…”
“Like I said, you regret, you regret that sword attack. Your brash act has hurt all three of us. Are you not willing to try if there were a chance?”
“Enough. In the end, your goal is still to borrow troops. There’s no need to sound so righteous.”
Ye Yin lowered his gaze and laughed. “Right, my goal is to borrow troops. But it is my wish that you and brother Du’s conflict would be resolved.”
“I cannot lend troops to you. Our people have never interfered in the outside world. I do not want my clansmen to rise their lives for outsiders!”
“Alright.” Seeing Aman’s resolute expression, Ye Yin lowered his gaze. “Then forget about it. I will not force you and think of another day. Speaking of which, brother Du should have arrived by now. Wait for me to take down Zhi (郅) city. If there’s time, I will bring brother Du to see you.”
Ye Yin stood up, as if about to leave. Aman eyed Ye Yin with suspicion. “Du Luo? Du Luo is about to arrive? What does Du Luo have to do with taking down Zhi (郅) city?”
“To help me, of course. Didn’t I say that Du Luo has a heavy sense of responsibility? How could he just watch on as his friend risks his life to take over a city? He will definitely join me.”
“Y-you’re making Du Luo help you? You’re going to make him risk his life? You asking for troops means you’re already shorthand of men. You, you’re asking for Du Luo to throw away his life?”
“How, how can you think like that?” Ye Yin had an astonished expression. He sighed quietly. “Did you think I asked Du Luo to come? No. Think about it, as someone who would break his relationship with his woman for his friend, he will definitely come to help.”
“You’re just going to let him just because he wants to? What kind of a friend are you? Even if you don’t want your life, don’t make Du Luo throw his away too!” Aman peered at Ye Yin suspiciously. “You have lots of schemes. Are you trying to use Du Luo to threaten me?”
Ye Yin stared at Aman, wide eyed. “Threaten you? What are you saying? How am I threatening you?”
“You know Du Luo is my only weakness, so you…” Aman didn’t finish her sentence. After hesitating for a while, she said, “You have always been very sinister.”
Seeing Aman’s overcast expression, Ye Yin laughed bitterly, shaking his head. “I wasn’t. If it were possible, I too would want to stop Du Luo from helping me, but I cannot. Brother Du is my sworn brother, we would die for each other, how could I endanger him purposefully? But I must gain control of West Zhi (沚) while Brother Du must… Aman, with your understanding of brother Du, do you think it would possible to stop him from helping me?”
Silence fell, nothing said for a while.
Ye Yin started to walk away while saying, “Don’t worry, I will try to stop him as much as possible.”
Seeing Ye Yin’s lonely back, Aman suddenly felt as if she had misunderstood Ye Yin. Perhaps… Biting her lip, Aman said, “Wait! I will lend you my troops!”
Ye Yin whipped around, smiling brightly. Then his expression settled as he said, “You don’t need to force yourself. I’ll just think of a way to stop brother Du from entering the battle. I’ll knock him unconscious if I have to.”
“I’m not forcing myself. Don’t think I’m going to lend them for free. I have some conditions.”
“Conditions? Alright, say it.” Ye Yin sat back down.
“I have two conditions. One is for my clansmen, the other is for myself.”