Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 163
Chapter 163: Save Me…
Dou Yao walked out of the pawnshop indignantly, still swinging around the jade pendant that he’d stolen from Wang Meng. He looked to be a wealthy young master, so how can a jade pendant he attached to his waist be worth so little?
Dou Yao had rushed into the pawnshop without inspecting the pendant closely and had immediately asked for a thousand taels of silver for the pendant. Based on his experience, a jade pendant that a wealthy young master would affix to his waist was surely special, and he’d been chased furiously down an entire street for it.
But then Dou Yao looked carefully at the pendant and noticed that the dull yellow jade wasn’t at all translucent, and was both uncarved and unpolished.
“Damn it! He’s not some poor bastard trying to pass off as a wealthy young master, is he?!” Dou Yao was so furious that he was almost about to smash the jade to pieces, but in the end, he couldn’t bear to do so.
After all, five taels of silver was still five taels, and he would be able to live off five taels’ worth of buns for quite a few days. Now that his days were an endless cycle of stealing and pawning, Dou Yao wouldn’t even turn down a copper coin.
Exasperated, Dou Yao could only keep the jade pendant once more. There were only a few people wandering the streets, none of whom looked wealthy, and he decided to stop his thieving for the day.
With what money he had left on him, he bought a few pancakes and a flask of wine before continuing to head eastward. As he walked, he drank. Slowly, he walked in crooked, stumbling steps to a secluded alleyway. Within the alley was a large compound, filled with the dregs of society.
“Ah, Young Master Dou’s back!”
“Good evening, Young Master Dou.”
“Did you find a fortune today, Young Master Dou, to be able to afford such wine?”
Those men who hadn’t found any work for the day, old and young alike, teased Dou Yao as soon as they saw him. Dou Yao had begun staying in this compound more than two months ago, and would often refer to himself as Young Master Dou. He claimed to be a young master from a noble family, and the name stuck as a matter of ridicule.
“Young Master Dou, your wife went crazy again,” a middle-aged man walked up to Dou Yao and muttered. “She was screaming and yelling and throwing furniture all over. She made such a big ruckus that the landlord personally came over, wanting you to pay for the damage!”
Dou Yao looked askance at the man with his shifty eyes. “How much can the trashy furniture in this place be worth? In the future, I’ll have my family send over a full set of rosewood in compensation!”
The people of the compound were so used to Dou Yao’s bragging that they naturally ignored his words. “Young Master Dou, you’d best head home to have a look with your woman.”
Only then did Dou Yao stagger to one of the small rooms deep within the compound. “Open up, woman!” he shouted as he slapped the door. “Your master’s back! Prepare me some shark fin and bird’s nest soup!”
Curled up on an old, dilapidated bed within was a woman as thin as a piece of firewood, her ragged hair dangling limply from her head. As soon as she heard Dou Yao’s voice, she was so afraid that she curled up even more tightly against the wall.
“Open up! Open up!” Dou Yao slapped the door more and more irritably. “If you don’t open up, I’m going to smash the door open!”
He kicked at the door right as he finished speaking. Because the door was only barred by a wooden rod, it swung open easily with a strong kick.
Dou Yao entered the room to find a mess: upturned furniture, clothes and miscellany scattered all over, and even a broken mirror on the floor. That mirror was something that he’d bought a few days ago in a flight of fancy, rich after another successful theft. Now, it was nothing more than countless shards of glass.
More frustrated than ever, he hurled the bottle of alcohol in his hand at the woman curled up in the corner of the room.
“You damn woman,” he cursed, “do you think you’re still the young lady of a noble household? You’re nothing but a slut!”
Those provocative words caused Jin Fei’er to fly into a rage. She rushed out of her dark, miserable little corner and began clawing and kicking at Dou Yao.
In pain, Dou Yao slammed Jin Fei’er back down onto the bed, pointing and yelling at her. “You dare hit me? You dare? After all that effort I went through to save you? I gave up my position as the young master of the Dou family for you, you ungrateful wench!”
The more Dou Yao complained, the angrier he got, and he punched and kicked at Jin Fei’er without holding back. This “couple” had gotten together after Dou Yao had prepared a dish laced with an aphrodisiac and consumed it together with Jin Fei’er.
The next day, before either of them had woken up, they were found and surrounded by men from the Dou family. Still nude and tangled together, they looked the very sight of a loving couple.
His face scarlet, Dou Yao’s eldest brother flung a pile of clothes on top of the sleeping duo before motioning for the others to leave. However, they ignored his command, choosing to titter at the embarrassing sight of Dou Yao with his naked lover.
Just then, the two of them awoke slowly, blinking their eyes open. As they did so, they saw a myriad gazes staring back at them. In fright, Jin Fei’er sat up straight, the pile of clothes that had been haphazardly thrown on her sliding off once more, revealing her fair skin.
When she felt the cold air on her breast, she lowered her head, saw her nude body, and screamed. She turned to see the equally nude Dou Yao by her side and screamed even more shrilly, her eyes bulging and her head shaking.
The crowd could only knock her out, thinking her crazy.
Under Dou Yao’s eldest brother’s interrogation, Dou Yao finally admitted to his crimes. His brother was shocked by the atrocity of his crime: even they had heard of the Jin family of the Yue kingdom, and the incident could easily spell disaster for the entire Dou family unless they dealt with it carefully. He immediately had his servants dress Jin Fei’er as one of the wounded to be brought out of the imperial territory.
When they returned to the Dou manor, Elder Dou was likewise seething with anger after hearing about what his youngest son had done. In order to hide the incident, he commanded that Jin Fei’er be locked up.
As soon as Jin Fei’er awakened once more, she began screaming out for Dou Yao’s death, that her family would bulldoze the Dou manor to the ground.
Elder Dou had never been so disappointed in his youngest son. After a few long days of discussion, he decided to secretly deal with Jin Fei’er and send Dou Yao to the countryside to look after the Dou holdings there, never to return to the capital.
Dou Yao overheard Elder Dou and his eldest son discussing the matter in his quarters. Unable to bear the thought of being sent away from the capital, or of the death of a beauty like Jin Fei’er, he hastily packed up, snuck into Jin Fei’er’s room that night, and snatched her away.
He fled to the countryside with Jin Fei’er in tow, where they waited for half a month while the ruckus of his sudden escape died down. Once he judged it safe, he brought her back to the capital, unable to bear the quiet, bucolic air of the countryside.
Because Jin Fei’er’s heart injury had never received proper treatment, her cultivation slowly drained from her body. Despite once being a fifth-rank blademaster, she could offer little resistance to the fourth-rank Dou Yao.
Initially, Dou Yao treated Jin Fei’er like a princess, but Jin Fei’er refused to do anything but beat, slap, and yell at him. Finally, while in a drunken haze, Dou Yao raped Jin Fei’er once more.
From then on, whenever Dou Yao drank, he would seize Jin Fei’er and abuse her wretchedly. This endless cycle of abuse and torture caused irreparable damage to Jin Fei’er’s psyche, leading to her current ghastly self.
“I gave up everything for you, but now you’re just a worthless woman. Today, I’ll beat you to death and end our relationship cleanly!”
After being chased down an entire street only to find that he had snatched a worthless piece of jade, Dou Yao’s anger had simmered in his heart for the entire day. When he returned home to find his room a mess and the woman responsible a shivering wreck, he lost it entirely. Insensate, he beat Jin Fei’er more and more harshly, not even realizing that he was drawing blood with every blow.
“What’s the matter today? Why hasn’t that woman been screaming even after so long?”
“Do you think she’s dead?”
“What’s there to see? You know how crazy that man gets when he’s drunk!”
As unemployed dregs, hearing Dou Yao beating his wife was free entertainment that even they could afford.
Suddenly, two men walked into the compound, one a young master, and the other a middle-aged servant. Both were dressed in rich silk and completely at odds with their surroundings.
The men quickly stopped chatting as they looked toward the two men, though none had the courage to step forward and initiate a conversation.
“It’s right here,” Wang Meng announced, sensing the pulses from his jade pendant. “The thief who told the jade pendant is in that room!”
He pointed at the innermost room of the compound, where Dou Yao was residing. Wang Gang rolled up his sleeves as he marched inside.
Dou Yao had finally gotten tired of beating Jin Fei’er and was catching his breath when he heard a loud voice from behind. “You rascal, you’ve been caught now!”
Before Dou Yao could react, Wang Gang had punched him onto the bed, giving Dou Yao a nosebleed and waking him from his alcohol-induced stupor.
Clutching his face, Dou Yao recognized his assailant as the man who had chased him down an entire street for the jade pendant that he’d stolen. “Isn’t it only a broken pendant worth five silver? Is it really worth all this trouble?!”
Wang Gang dragged Dou Yao up by his collar as if he were lifting up a little chick. “Where’s the jade? You’d better hand it over if you don’t want to die.”
“I’ll hand it over, I’ll hand it over!” Dou Yao leaned to the side and spat out a tooth as he pulled out the jade pendant from his robes and held it up in front of Wang Gang. “Here’s the jade pendant. Please spare my life!”
Wang Gang grabbed the jade and pushed Dou Yao back onto bed. “I’ll spare your life this once, but if I see you again, I’m breaking both your legs.”
Wang Gang was just about to leave when a hoarse voice whispered from behind, “Wang Gang, save me…”