How To Survive as a Villain - 62
The courtyard wasn’t big, and yet, there were so many wing rooms. Xie Chungui didn’t know which one should he go in and turned around to ask when he saw the bearded big soldier standing behind him. He smiled and patted Xie Chungui on the head: “Don’t worry, Li Wuding’s house doesn’t have any girls. You can enter whatever room you want, that one is his room where his robes and armor are.”
Xie Chungui became more and more surprised with Li’s Mansion: “General Li is well-known for his merits, why doesn’t he have a wife?”
The bearded soldier coughed and replied: “Everyone wants to marry some girl to him, but he’s the one that doesn’t want to get married. He says that because he doesn’t know if he will live or die on the battlefield, he doesn’t want to hurt his unfortunate wife.”
Xie Chungui nodded and then walked into Li Wuding’s wing room.
Li Wuding’s wing room also had a simple decoration. A single bed, a round table, a few low stools, and if it wasn’t for the dozen or so crumpled military books filling the book shelves, the room would seem pretty empty. Xie Chungui quickly changed his clothes and couldn’t help his curiosity, so he took a military book and looked at it for a little bit. After reading for a while, he realized that some time had passed already, so he placed the military book where it was before and quickly left the wing room.
In the courtyard, Li Wuding was arranging the dishes and chopsticks. Around the big round table were the several soldiers, who already began to drink for some time now. When they saw Xie Chungui returning, the bearded soldier waved at him and urged: “Youngest son of the Xie Family, come quickly! We were just waiting for you!”
The dishes on the table weren’t exquisite. These could be described as being simple home cooking, but the taste was actually pretty good. The group of big men were eating happily and soon the meat dishes were almost gone. Unlike the several soldiers that came from the battlefield, Xie Chungui had a good family education ever since he was a child. Compared with the soldiers that were eating directly with their hands, his eating style could be described as being extremely polite.
Li Wuding glanced at the soldiers who were devouring the food like their life depended on it, and then at Xie Chungui, who was slowly eating with his head slightly bowed. He involuntarily smiled, picked up an empty plate and filled it with a large amount of meat and vegetables and then placed it in front of Xie Chungui.
Although Xie Chungui was the youngest child in his family, he was never granted a favor like this, to eat selected food especially for him. He was so surprised that he repeatedly waved his hands: “General Li, I……”
Li Wuding interrupted him: “It’s alright, I don’t have so many rules in my house. You must eat until you’re full. After all, how can such a young man beat me if he doesn’t eat enough to grow strong?”
Xie Chungui squeezed his chopsticks tightly, stopped talking, and started devouring the meat and vegetables that were offered to him.
After three rounds of drinking, the soldiers were quite drunk. When their chopsticks finally fell, they began to talk about their feats in the battlefield and the reason behind why they became soldiers in the first place.
The Xie family joined the army from generation to generation, and ever since Xie Chungui was born, he knew that his fate must be at the battlefield fighting alongside a very powerful army. So, at first glance, when he heard their reasons for joining the army, he felt that they were incredible and surprising.
Xie Chungui was happily nodding his head while listening, and then, he turned to ask Li Wuding: “General Li, why did you join the army?”
Li Wuding thought for a while and then decided to say: “I won’t say it, I’m afraid that you will be disappointed.”
Seeing that Xie Chungui was reluctantly staring at him, Li Wuding felt helpless: “Fine, I’ll tell you. I joined the army because I wanted to survive.”
Xie Chungui was caught off guard: “Survive?”
Li Wuding nodded: “When I was sixteen, there was a famine in the village, but because of the war, the last grain has to be handed over to the Imperial Court. It couldn’t be helped. In order to be able to eat, I became a soldier.”
Xie Chungui asked him again: “What about your parents, siblings?”
Li Wuding put the last bite of rice at the bottom of the bowl into his mouth and softly said: “They all starved to death.”
Those five words, spoken with a light voice, weren’t as heavy as a feather, but it still felt like a big mountain was crushing Xie Chungui, making him lose his voice.
The lofty beliefs and obsessions of some people are just the bottom line for others to survive.
Even though the banquet was simple, it was extremely enjoyable. The several soldiers stubbornly dispersed in the middle of the night. After Li Wuding sent the several soldiers away, he returned to the mansion and saw that Xie Chungui had already changed into his clothes again. Li Wuding said to him: “That generous gift, would you like to take it back with you? I’m afraid that it’s too expensive.”
Xie Chungui said: “My parent’s kindly send their regards, I hope General Li won’t dislike them.”
Li Wuding refused again and again, then he laughed out loud and said: “Then I will accept it. When you succeed at the military field, I’ll repay it all…. No, I’ll double the repayment.”
Xie Chungui’s eyes brightened with enough light to ignite fire: “Good.”
- [Title meaning]: 抱柱之信 bào zhù zhī xìn; it’s a Chinese idiom that refers to stand firm and keep your promises / When people keep their promises. From《盗跖》(dào zhí). “Robbery” written by (庄子 zhuāng zǐ) Zhuangzi [369-286 BC] a daoist author from the Warring States period [475-221 BC].