Chapter 11 - Man Man Qing Luo
Zi Li quickly pulled Ah Luo behind him, protecting her with his back. His right hand took out an air out of nowhere and he began to fight, slicing at the masked men. Ah Luo was dazzled, she couldn't even move. Her eyes had been glued shut. She had been practicing karate for so many years, but still felt uncomfortable with the sight of swords and knives dancing before her. She only felt Zi Li grip her arm tightly and slowly looked up, only to see the man with the knife draw closer. Zi Li took advantage of his strength and jumped up in the air, kicking the man with the knife square in the nose.
Zi Li looked at her, and quickly took the opportunity to force the masked men further away with a few swords. He pulled Ah Luo close and whispered, "Get on the horse!"
Ah Luo processed this quickly and leapt up to sit on the horse, ready to leave. Suddenly the horse cried in pain and lifted its front hooves, hissing. Ah Luo fell backwards, injuring herself. However, she saw Zi Li stop moving and stood up and walked up to him, although her bottom hurt so much. She walked to Zi Li's side. "Big Brother, what's wrong?"
Zi Li suddenly laughed, a little upset, "Silly brother, why didn't you ride away on the horse?"
He took a deep breath, and as he exhaled a green mist flew out of his mouth. "The saddle got poisoned with needles."
The masked men drew closer, slowly approaching. One of them cackled, "Without this plan, there are only a few that can stop you."
Ah Luo stood in front of Zi Li, blocking him off. She spoke angrily, "After being so evil, do you still have the nerve to laugh? Bring me the antidote now!"
The masked men only smirked and laughed when they saw this young man get mad. "Ah, what a beautiful young boy. Such a nice bonus for this job. Get out of our way, unless you want more blood to spill and scare you!"
Ah Luo looked back at Zi Li, and there was a small smile on his face, "Big Brother, hold on!" After saying that, she pulled the rope that was connected to the horse closer and tried to lift Zi Li with all her might. "Big Brother, I'll help you and work hard to get you on the horse!"
The masked men laughed even harder, they taunted, "Little Prince. Do you want Big Brother to help you?"
Ah Luo glared at them for a moment, then turned to look back at Zi Li, who's face was covered with a thin layer of green gas but still had a small smile on his face. His body was limp in her arms, and Ah Luo knew that there was no way that he would be able to get on the horse. She let go of the reins, letting the horse run away, hoping that the horse would be able to alert someone to help them. She helped Zi Li sit down and gently helped him lean on the wall.
The masked men seeing this, just laughed. "Nobody ever comes near this alley. I will tell you the truth, there's no way that you can flee."
Ah Luo closed her eyes and jumped up to her feet, shielding Zi Li with her body. The masked man stood their in confusion, unsure of what she was doing. Ah Luo moved a few times back and forth, and looked coldly at the masked men. She took off her outer robe and threw it to the side. "It's been so long since I've last fought. Do you fight alone or in groups?"
The masked men laughed again, the man with the knife threw his knife in amusement. "I didn't expect to be so lucky today, come on, hug Big Brother first."
Ah Luo didn't wait for him to get any closer and kicked him square in the head. She struck him with her elbow and then punched his back. There was a loud snap of his bones and the masked man had gone limp.
Before the rest of the masked men could even react, Ah Luo ran straight towards them, a flurry of punches and kicks. All her training from so many years ago in the arena was surfacing again. The masked men who were caught off guard were ready now, swinging their knives at Ah Luo. She gasped for air, these men really were vicious with their knives. She did her best to stay in front of Zi Li, protecting him but the circle of men around her continued to shrink, smaller and smaller. She couldn't even resist and was thought to herself, 'is this the way I want to die?'
She tried to keep her body as flexible as she could, dodging left and right and punching and slapping from time to time. She felt powerless by herself. Suddenly, she heard Zi Li heave a large sigh and stood up, pulling her back into his arms. Out of nowhere, arrows flew past her head aiming at the masked men and they fell down screaming.
Immediately afterwards, a few men jumped down from the wall behind them and fell to one knee. "Sorry your subordinates are late, my Lord please forgive us!"
Zi Li glanced at them and said, "Get up."
The men stood up and began to move the corpses with their hands, disposing of the bloodstains on the street, cleaning everything in an orderly manner. In a few seconds, the alley was clean and peaceful as if nothing had ever happened.
Then, another attendant came over with a horse and stood there respectfully.
Ah Luo looked at what was happening around her, and her jaw dropped. She was still gasping for air when she turned around and saw Zi Li still smiling. "Didn't you get poisoned?"
Zi Li had a smile in his eyes, "Such a small amount of poison will be fine in a little while. Besides, they're the ones that didn't have anywhere to escape."
Aro stared at him with hatred and said, "And you're watching me get knifed? No loyalty! I don't recognize you as my brother anymore! Don't ever say we know each other again. Think of me as an idiot for once." After saying that, he picked up his robe and left.
Ah Luo glared at him, a little mad and said, "You just watched me as I got attacked? No loyalty at all! I don't recognise you as my brother anymore! Don't say that we know each other if I ever meet you again. How could I be so stupid..."
She heard Zi Li say behind her, "Why didn't you ride away?"
Ah Luo turned her head to glare at him, "It's not that I didn't want to ride away, I was thrown off!"
Zi Li smiled, "You could've left, it's not like you're the one they wanted dead!"
Heard Zi Li say behind him, "Why don't you ride away?"
Ah Luo became even angrier, "Didn't you hear them call me a beautiful young prince? I didn't stand a chance, even if I wanted to leave. Goodbye, I hope I never meet you again!"
After she took a few steps, Zi Li caught up to her side, "Do you want to learn how to ride a horse?"
Ah Luo ignored him. Zi Li spoke again, "Do you want to eat all the delicacies of Feng City?"
Seeing Ah Luo continue to ignore him, Zi Li sighed, "I just wanted to see your kung fu. The moment I touched your hand, I could tell that you knew some kung fu. If you ever were really in danger, I'd definitely act and even if I couldn't, my attendants would. Tell me anything you want, I'll give it to you as long as I can."
Ah Luo stopped, "Really?"
"Really." Zi Li smiled.
Ah Luo asked another question again, "Are you rich?"
Zi Li frowned, "Almost there.."
Ah Luo smiled, "If you have enough money, can I ask how much silver it'll cost to buy the Thousand Wind House?"
Zi Li smiled, "Do you want the Thousand Wind House?"
Ah Luo shook her head. Zi Li thought about this, "Around a hundred thousand taels of silver."
Ah Luo asked him another question, "Then how much silver is enough to buy a mansion in Feng City and live there for the rest of my life?"
Zi Li laughed and replied, "An ordinary family can live for a year with fifty to a hundred silver taels."
"Then how much does it cost to cover the food of an ordinary family for a year?" Ah Luo felt that the gap between the rich and the poor in Feng City really was big.
Zi Li continued to smile, "Twent taels of silver can buy you a girl."
Ah Luo said, "I want one thousand taels of silver, can you give it to me?"
Zi Li looked at her a little strangely and asked her, "What do you need a thousand taels of silver for?"
Ah Luo said, "Pay me back! I'm really tired from saving your life! Isn't your life worth at least a thousand taels!"
The attendant standing next to them was trembling in anger, "How dare you insult my lord!"
Zi Li looked at him coldly, and then attendant lowered his head and shut his mouth. His lord's face was so angry just then...
Ah Luo asked, "Do you think that the cost of your master is too little? I'll have two thousand taels then."
The attendant didn't dare answer any more and his face reddened. He looked down at the ground as he walked behind them.
Zi Li smiled, "Even if you wanted the Thousand Wind House, I'd let you have it."
Ah Luo laughed, "I'm not too greedy, two thousand taels of silver and we won't owe each other anything."
Zi Li examined her deeply, "Are you still mad that I could've fought but didn't do anything?"
Ah Luo only smiled, "It's normal for you to be suspicious if a random stranger you just met knew kung fu. However, I don't like it."
Zi Li reached his hand out behind, and the attendant passed him a wad of silver bills. Zi Li didn't even look at it, and just handed it to Ah Luo. Ah Luo took it, counted around two thousand taels worth and gave the rest back to him, turned around and left.
Zi Li said, "I'll take you back. Where do you live?"
Ah Luo was exhausted, she couldn't be bothered to walk another three hours and decided that the free ride would do. "Just drop me off at the place where I first met you."
Zi Li stopped talking and helped her up onto his horse. He spurred his horse into action, and it galloped out of the east gate following the same road and in no time, they arrived at the river.
Zi Li stopped her before she dismounted the horse and gave her a jade pendant from his robe.  "If you ever need anything in the future, go to the pawn shop in the middle of the city. Say that Prince Tzu Li gave it to you."
 A jade pendant
Ah Luo thought about it for a moment, and then accepted it.
Zi Li nudged his horse and galloped away. Ah Luo walked to the prime minister's residence and found the wall of the Crabapple Courtyard. She looked around to make sure that nobody was around, took out her flute and played a small tune. A couple seconds later, Xiao Yu appeared at the top of the wall and helped her in.
At that moment, all she wanted to do was take a hot bath. When the Seventh Lady saw how tired Ah Luo was, she didn't ask any questions and sat down patiently, waiting for Ah Luo to finish her bath.
Ah Luo was extremely relaxed and comfortable in the warm water. She thought about who Zi Li was and how he was extremely generous. Ah Luo really didn't want to get into a fight for nothing, especially if it was just a trick. If she hadn't known karate, Ah Luo wasn't sure what would've happened, but Zi Li probably wouldn't just sit there and wait to see her death. Ah... Why did everybody here have the spirit of a monkey, nobody was simple. 
 Spirit of a monkey means that you are clever and intelligent.
I'm happy to have earned two thousand taels of silver and a piece of jade pendant that makes wishes come true. This is a precious treasure, maybe that day will be asked for Zi Li.
She was glad that she managed to earn two thousand taels of silver as well as a jade pendant that she could use whenever she wanted to make a wish come true. This was surely a precious treasure, and perhaps she would meet Zi Li again.
After taking a bath, Ah Luo gave the wad of silver taels to her mother for safekeeping. The Seventh Madam asked in surprise, "How did you get so much silver in a single day? San'er, you didn't knock out another robber, right?"
Ah Luo replied with a large smile on her face, "Today I knocked out several, and the man that I saved thanked me a lot. The origin of the money is completely safe. Mother, can we buy a mansion in Feng City? I think we have enough silver now."
Aro said with a smile on his face, "Today was a day of knocking out several, I saved a man who thanked me. The origin is absolutely innocent. Mother, can we buy a mansion outside? I think the silver is enough."
The Seventh Madam replied, "That's a good idea, if we ever have to leave the prime minister's residence, at least we'll have a place to stay. By the way, I heard that the Empress decreed that she summoned many young women and wants to view the moon on the 15th. I guess she wants to see Ah Lei and perhaps decide on the princess consort."
As she was explaining, a servant from the upper courtyard knocked on the door, sending word that the Master had asked for the presence of the Seventh Madam and Third Miss.