ISOL Chapter 7
Thoughts is italicized
Su Xiao Pei blinked, Ran Fei Ze copied her and blinked as well. Occasionally, there will be people passing by on the streets, looking at Su Xiao Pei with surprise in their eyes.
With her short hair, baggy set of men’s clothes that was tied messily with a belt, not wearing any shoes, only a pair of thick, dirty socks. Ran Fei Ze knew that those people who were shooting looks at Su Xiao Pei were like him, unable to guess where this strange woman with such an appearance came from.
Where did she come from? Ran Fei Ze knew that Tang Lian was safe, that no Bandits followed her, so that was why he chose that place to set up camp but suddenly, he heard that there was someone breathing on top of the tree. He thought that a Master of martial arts came, only a Master was able to approach them so quietly. However, after looking, it was only a weird woman who have no skill at all. She was not wearing a Dudou. With the moonlight, he was able to see Su Xiao Pei’s curves under the thin clothing.
[Dudou is ancient chinese underwear, it literally meaning is ‘belly cover’. It is a type of old-fashioned chinese bra. It is worn to flatten the chest as flat-chested women were thought to be graceful while big-breasted women were considered a temptation. It resembles a small apron, square or diamond-shaped that cover the bust and belly. They are backless and have cloth strings that tie around the neck and back.]
How did she appear? How did she get close to them? How did she get up the tree?
Now, she was looking at him so seriously, it seems that she was thinking that with just those five tales, how long are they able to survive.
Ran Fei Ze wanted to laugh and wanted to sigh at the same time, he looked at her and saw her hunched figure, unable to stand properly. He understood in his heart that she was keeping up with their pace with all her effort, fearing that the next day, she will be unable to lift to even take a step.
To get to that temple, they would have to walk most of the day. He looked at her feet, afraid that if she walked such a long distance she would not be able to handle it. He thought back to the moment that she was counting Mantou, suddenly, he felt his heart soften.
“Five tales is 5000 copper coins.” He answered.
5000 copper coins. Su Xiao Pei decided not to count with Mantou but with Bao. 5 copper coins can buy 1 Bao, 5000 copper coins can buy 1000 Bao, that means every meal they are able to eat 5 Bao, 15 per day. This will be able to last them for two months.
If they only eat Mantou, plus the cost of clothing and shelter, and skim on some items, will they be able to survive two months with only 5 tales?
“Miss.” Ran Fei Ze called out. Looking at her, frowning, he thought that she was pitiful.
“Soldier, let’s go catch the criminal together. We can get the reward.”
“With Miss looking like this, it is fortunate to not be assumed as a thief. How do you intend to catch a one?”
Su Xiao Pei pursed her lips, she said ‘we’ is only a courtesy, she does not know any Martial Arts, she also doesn’t have the ability to catch thieves. Not to mention, she currently only has half of her life left. She is only being courteous, in fact, she is counting on Ran Fei Ze’s ability to earn those five tales.
Of course, the premise is that he has the skill.
The way Ran Fei Ze kicked her down from the tree and wrapped her up in clothes, that move, not everyone can do it, right? Su Xiao Pei had very little knowledge of this kind of thing, but she was willing to believe that he has the ability to catch the criminal.
“Miss, catching the criminal is a small matter, but first, finding a place to settle down should be the priority.”
“But there are only fifteen copper coins…” Su Xiao Pei really wanted to encourage him to earn those five tales.
“Will Miss follow me all the way?” Ran Fei Ze does not have much interest in catching the bad guys.
Su Xiao Pei looked at his expression, and sighed, “Fifteen copper coins are better than none.”
“What Miss said is true.”
Su Xiao Pei felt miserable when she realizes that fifteen copper coins can make her feel so proud,
Last time, when she was in the modern world, she was an intellectual, expert in her field, nobody dares to say her, quite a number of people needs her help, everybody treats her with respect and politeness, she never had to worry about her income.
Anyway, only fifteen copper coins, only 5 Mantou….
Su Xiao Pei is unable to think of any other way, only able to follow Ran Fei Ze. Ran Fei Ze went to a restaurant, and told Su Xiao Pei to wait at the entrance, he walked in, after a while, he came out and shook his head, “This restaurant does not hire workers that work short term, let’s go find the next one.”
Su Xiao Pei nodded her head, dragging her disabled legs, following Ran Fei Ze. Let alone finding the next one, continue finding ‘n’ restaurant, she is also unable to object. They continuous asked three restaurant, not one gave a good answer, Su Xiao Pei’s heart fell to the bottom. Her legs really feel like it is going to be broken soon, her feet must have starting to rot. She started to think, will she and her benefactor sleep on the streets?
After walking a while, Su Xiao Pei could not resist and asked, “Soldier, should we go back to Miss Tang’s home and tell them about our difficulties, her family should be able to take us in for some time.”
Ran Fei Ze shook his head, “Not good to disturb them.”
Su Xiao Pei sighed, in her heart, she had already prepared for the worst, then Ran Fei Ze went into a liquor store, the Boss said a few sentences with Ran Fei Ze, then looked outside of the store, looked at Su Xiao Pei, ponder for a moment before, finally, nodding his head.
Su Xiao Pei suddenly became energetic, but did not dare to hold too much hope, she waited for Ran Fei Ze to talked finished with the Boss. He came out, and said, “The worker in this shop accidentally injured his leg and didn’t turn up for work, they are short of workers, but they do not have enough room, the only empty room is the firewood room, would you like to stay there?
Su Xiao Pei quickly nodded her head, “Where Soldier go, I go.”
Ran Fei Ze moved his eyebrow, lamented the boldness of this woman in his heart, he had never seen such a woman before.
So, like this, Ran Fei Ze lead Su Xiao Pei to the firewood room.
The firewood room is not big, it cannot be considered clean as well, there is no firewood, instead there are miscellaneous goods. This liquor store’s Boss surnamed Song, he boasted that his store had very good business, that he was kind-hearted to take them in. He also said that he was not worried about having not enough workers, then said that the rooms are not bad only felt that it was a waste of firewood.
So, he built a shed for the firewood in the yard and used the firewood to build more guest rooms for those who did not have enough money to stay at the inn, but it wasn’t finished building it up yet. Just that they were finding a place to stay, but there was only this room. Boss Song said that he would send a wooden bed later and allow Ran Fei Ze to set it up.
While Boss Song was talking, he was taking not so subtle looks at Su Xiao Pei from time to time. Su Xiao Pei was hiding behind Ran Fei Ze’s big bag, while listening to Boss Song talking and making detailed points about his behavior and expressions.
When Boss Song finished talking about that topic, he told Ran Fei Ze that his worker did not report to work for two days, the firewood had not been split yet, so he let Ran Fei Ze to settle down for a while before starting work as he needed to use the firewood.
Ran Fei Ze promised him. Boss Song took another glance at Su Xiao Pei before leaving.
Ran Fei Ze saw that Boss Song left, so he said to Su Xiao Pei, “Please don’t him, he was curious about your attire, your dress is indeed really weird.”
“No, his expression was contempt, scornful, he thinks I am disgusting.”
Ran Fei Ze was stunned as he did not expect Su Xiao Pei to say so. Su Xiao Pei did not want to say more, she, currently, has an emergency.
“Soldier, where is the toilet?” [<廁所, cèsuǒ> Su Xiao Pei used this]
“Toilet?” Ran Fei Ze was surprised again.
“En, lavatory? It’s called lavatory.” [<茅廁, máocè> Su Xiao Pei changed another word for toilet. So, I decided to change the English word as well.]
Ran Fei Ze continued to be surprised, he was so old, this is the first time a Miss asked him where the lavatory is. He coughed once and went out and went in a circle and came back in, “It is in the southwest corner.”
“Where exactly is southwest?” She was urgent.
Ran Fei Ze pointed at a direction, Su Xiao Pei wanted to stride out, but she nearly fell, she felt that her legs are in more pain than it was in previously, she will not be crippled, right?
Ran Fei Ze could stand seeing her like this anymore, he, helplessly, hold onto her elbow and lead her to the lavatory outside, and even waited for her.
Su Xiao Pei had never seen such a dirty lavatory before, it was nauseating, but there was no other solution, she was unable to squat due to the pain in her legs, she nearly fell into the pit. Since there was no other way, she gritted her teeth, finished quickly and came out, then she dared to take a deep breath.
Ran Fei Ze looked at her strange expression, Su Xiao Pei saw it and understood why he gave her that look, but she could only ignore it.
The latter half of the day, Su Xiao Pei did not go anywhere, did not do anything. Ran Fei Ze built the wooden bed and placed it on the ground. The wooden bed had no leg stands, it is just a bed board. He even got a chair for Su Xiao Pei to sit. Su Xiao Pei sat down, and she could not stand up again as her leg is in pain. She just sat there and watch Ran Fei Ze work.
Ran Fei Ze worked very hard and diligently, he arranged the firewood and started to chop them up in the yard. The axe that was in Ran Fei Ze’s hands looked like it was weightless, the firewood was split into half with one swing. Soon, all the firewood was split apart.
In the middle of working, Boss Song came over and wanted to see him work. He saw the result of Ran Fei Ze’s work and was stunned for a while. Su Xiao Pei thinks that Boss Song did not expect someone to cut firewood as if it was tofu.
[Tofu, also known as bean curd]
When Ran Fei Ze split apart all the firewood, he scrubbed the yard with some water and then came inside the firewood room to tell Su Xiao Pei that he was going out for a while.
“Where are you going?” Su Xiao Pei was a little nervous, Ran Fei Ze had abandoned her once. [Su Xiao Pei used <哪裏, Nǎlǐ> for where]
“Where.” [Ran Fei Ze used <何處, Hé chù> for where]
“Should be ‘where are you going’.” [Ran Fei Ze corrected her used of <哪裏, Nǎlǐ> to <何處, Hé chù>
“Where are you going?” [Su Xiao Pei changed her way of talking to the correct term that Ran Fei Ze taught her]
“The way you are dressed is not proper, I will go out and find some clothes for you to wear.”
“Fifteen copper coins can buy clothes?” [Su Xiao Pei used <衣服, Yīfú> for clothes]
“Clothes.” [Ran Fei Ze used <衣裳, Yīshang> for clothes]
“Fifteen copper coins can buy clothes?” [Su Xiao Pei changed her way of talking to the correct term that Ran Fei Ze taught her]
Su Xiao Pei closed her mouth, then asked where is he going to get the clothes from?
“Miss, please rest assured, I am not a criminal.” the idea is that he is not going to steal or rob someone, nor does she have to wear that large clothes and be assumed as a thief.
“En,” Su Xiao Pei nodded her head, took the opportunity and said, “If you are able to get that five tales, then that would be good.”
Ran Fei Ze gave her a look.
“Or, Soldier can find a way to earn those five tales”
“Too little, it is not worth it.” Ran Fei Ze had a look of dislike.
Su Xiao Pei was speechless, fifteen copper coins is less than five tales, what in the world?
“For the reward, five tales is indeed too small, five tales is more suitable for trading information not for catching criminal, it is not worth it.” He looked at Su Xiao Pei, she did not have a pitiful expression, but his heart softened, “Well, let me check it out.”
“Okay, okay.” Su Xiao Pei had no opinion, she had no opinion whatsoever, only had one point, “Soldier won’t abandon me and not come back, right?”
Ran Fei Ze did not say anything, he only brought his super big bag and place it by the chair that Su Xiao Pei was sitting on.
Pledged with this burden, Su Xiao Pei feel at ease, “Soldier, please be careful on the road, quickly come back.”
Ran Fei Ze saw her serious face, nodded, turned around and left with his lips curled. Miss’s expressions sure is interesting. Sometimes, saving people are troublesome, especially for woman, that is something he experience before. But if he abandoned her, he would worry about her. Weak people should not pretend that they are not afraid and not pitiful, as this will cause people’s heart to soften.
Ran Fei Ze went out and tour around the town to make sure that trouble had been avoided, then he went to read the notice. As he expected, the notice’s description, the perpetrators vanished without a trace, so catching the criminals will be like finding a needle in a haystack, the chances of success is very small.
After that, he went to visit the Tang Family. The Tang Family were very careful and vigilant. They also checked the surroundings for their neighbors as well as estranged themselves from Ran Fei Ze.
Ran Fei Ze explained his intentions, that he came to discuss with them regarding Su Xiao Pei’s clothing, he request two set of clothing. Tang Family’s reaction confirmed Ran Fei Ze suspicions, that the Tang Family care about their reputation, it was impossible for them to help a stranger with an unknown background like Su Xiao Pei, it seems that the only possible way is to send Su Xiao Pei to the temple.
While Ran Fei Ze was planning how to deal with Su Xiao Pei, Su Xiao Pei’s mind is empty, not thinking of anything. Even if she moved her leg a little, there was sharp pain, apart from sitting, there is nothing else she could do. So, she was staring at Ran Fei Ze’s bag in a daze, waiting for him to come back.
She was waiting for a long time when he finally came back, carrying a small bag, with a red blanket. Su Xiao Pei was surprise, he got some clothes. She gave him some points on his resourcefulness.
Su Xiao Pei was trying to ask him about the five tales, but Ran Fei Ze just placed the items down and went out again, but this time, he came back with dinner. Boss Song was willing to let them stay, let Ran Fei Ze do some work, but he is not giving them any money, only food and accommodation.
Su Xiao Pei was very easy-going, if there is food, she would eat them as fast as possible, regardless of the taste, she is not a picky eater. After they had finally had their fill, Su Xiao Pei finally found her chance to ask, “Soldier, did you find out anything about the reward? That five tales to catch the criminals, have you figured out a way to catch them?”
Ran Fei Ze laughed, “Miss’s way of speaking is not proper, better change it fast, otherwise when other people hear it, will provoked criticisms or trouble.”
“I will change, will change.” Su Xiao Pei suddenly have a headache, her way of talking and accent cannot change overnight, first thing first is to make some money.
Ran Fei Ze pulled out the notice and gave it to Su Xiao Pei, “Those criminals are not suitable to catch, the government does not have any clues about them, do not expect ordinary people to have any, so just forget about the reward.”
He stopped halfway and asked Su Xiao Pei, “Is Miss literate?”
“En, literate.” these two words were squeezed out of her teeth. This is too insulting to a doctor, but she still does not have much confidence.
Once she opened the notice that was folded in half, her heart dropped.
It is good that she knows the words, but only most of them. The font was a little strange, so she does not dare to confirm some of them, but the biggest problem is that the sentences in this notice are so short, and it is worded in a complicated manner.
Su Xiao Pei studied twenty years of books, she had excellent performance, high academic performance, fluent in English and French, even though she did learn Chinese Literature before, she had never used this skill when she was working. So, all the knowledge was given back to the teacher. How would she know that she, one day, would require Chinese Literature?
[‘knowledge given back to the teacher’ means that she had forgotten what she had learnt about Chinese Literature]
She tried her best to figured out what it said, she found the notice was saying there is a rapist around, killing several women and is currently at Stone Town. If there is any information, please report to the government and help the government to successfully capture the criminal. Reward is five tales.
On the notice, the perpetrator’s characteristics was written down as well, along with his portrait. After Su Xiao Pei’s strenuous reading, she quickly asked Ran Fei Ze is that what the notice meant.
Ran Fei Ze touched his chin, “Not perfect, but acceptable. It seems Miss is literate, but why speak with an accent?”
Su Xiao Pei pouted, ignoring his remark, asked, “Is there a specific timing with his criminal acts? What are the types of his victims? How did his appearance manage to be drawn? Were there any witnesses? Was there a witness every case? Otherwise, how did they know that it was the same person who did the crime every time? What is his MO? Is there a specific place? Serial murder will have common characteristics, what are they?”
[MO stands for Modus Operandi, it means the offender’s method of carrying out an offence.]
Ran Fei Ze raised his eyebrow, very surprised. Where did this Miss come from exactly? The normal woman would be terribly frightened, but she actually had a bunch of questions. Her way of speaking is still weird, but he was able to understand her, he even knew that the question she asked were not wrong. The notice did not write too many details, most people who saw it are not interested in the details, they are more interested in the criminal’s characteristics and appearance. Once they saw him, they would just report him. Who will be like her, who will think so much.
Su Xiao Pei is still wondering, “This criminal sure not worth to catch, they only give one thousand Bao, isn’t that too little?”
Bao? Ran Fei Ze did not raise his eyebrows, but he was unable to control the small rise at corner of his mouth, how can this Miss go from catching the murderer to calculating Bao?