Chapter 8 – A Letter from Home
Tie Chui, who was an extremely tall and robust bearded man, directly charged into the tavern. He was nearly as tall as the tavern’s door itself. With a thick cloak made of the skin of a black bear draping over his shoulders, Tie Chui’s smooth forehead was steaming with heat. A thick and ugly scar on his face which was cut by a sharp knife occasionally twisted, just like a wiggling centipede numerous feet long.
Hearing Lin Qi’s shout, Tie Chui, who was even more robust than a Giant Northern Ice Bear, laughed ‘GaGa!’, walked in large strides towards Lin Qi, hugged him squarely on the waist and powerfully flung him upwards. Lin Qi shouted as Tie Chui had almost flung him to the roof. Fortunately his movements were agile and his reactions quick, he put both of his hands on the tavern’s ceiling to stop his body; otherwise his head would definitely be badly bruised.
“Young master, it’s really good that you are here!” Tie Chui rubbed his nose powerfully, turned his head towards the wine shelves and roared: “Young ladies, give this uncle a cup of wine! I warn you, who dares add even a drop of water inside, I will definitely pulverize all the bones in her body!”
All female maids’ faces around the bar, without exception, changed color. Since they worked at Crippled Shop, they were accustomed to meet men of all sorts of profession from the dock area. However Tie Chui, regardless of his body size or power, undoubtedly was much scarier than those men they’ve met before. This person didn’t seem like the kindhearted type. He would keep his promise. If he said he would pulverize all the bones in their bodies, then he definitely would do so.
Lin Qi and Tie Chui hugged each other tightly. Lin Qi laughed loudly, turned his head towards Enzo, and introduced them: “Enzo, this is Uncle Tie Chui, my wrestling teacher from when I was young. Uncle Tie Chui, this is Enzo, my good brother, my assistant, a brilliant swordsman!”
Enzo looked at Tie Chui in astonishment. From the body of this robust man, whose bear skin cloak was draped over his shoulders, he could sense a hint of fiery strength. Even though the wind and snow was whistling through the door, Enzo who was standing in front of Tie Chui still felt burning hot from head to foot, as if he was standing in front of a red-hot iron ingot.
Tie Chui looked deeply at Enzo. Enzo only felt the pit of his stomach heating up, as if he had been hit by a heavy hammer. His body staggered and nearly fell backward, but he braced the muscles all over his body, firmly standing in his original position. Tie Chui nodded his head in praise, vigorously patted his smooth head, laughed, and said: “Young master, this brother of yours is not bad, hehe, such strength at such a young age, not bad!”
Tie Chui turned his body and heavily kicked close the tavern’s wooden door, then went straight over to the wine shelves and roared at the top of his voice: “Ladies, are you deaf? Good wine, give me some good wine! Such a cold day, a customer came; moreover I am also your boss’s old friend, you won’t even serve me a cup of wine?”
The sound of Tie Chui’s roars could practically be compared with the screams of magical beasts. The tinkling and clanging sound of wine bottles inside the wine shelves and wine cups burst out. Several female maids were so frightened that they were trembling all over, nearly falling to their butts on the floor. The female maid with the most courage grabbed a wine cup large enough to contain a full liter of wine with trembling hands and hurriedly poured in a whole bottle of strong rum.
Tie Chui hummed in satisfaction. An iron chain as thick as a pinkie rolled out 7-8 meters away from inside his sleeves in a wave of a hand while producing an ear-piercing screech that tore through the air. It coiled around the large wine cup and brought it right in front of him. Deeply inhaling the smell of alcohol, Tie Chui raised the wine cup and shouted loudly: “Young master, seeing you safe and sound, Tie Chui is very happy!”
With a splashing sound, Tie Chui drank the whole liter of alcohol. He was so happy that he gave a hiccup reeked of alcohol. He then moved his butt to sit on the wooden chair next to him. After feeling around his chest, he fished out an envelope which he handed over to Lin Qi. “Young master, although you haven’t been back for three full years, the Lord said, this year during the New Year holidays, you have to go back no matter what.”
Giving another hiccup full of satisfaction, Tie Chui fished out a leather tobacco sack from inside his sleeves and grabbed a handful of tobacco from inside it. He stuffed the tobacco inside his mouth and chewed in big mouthfuls. He kept chewing while vaguely said: “The Lord has something he wants you to do. Eh, young master, although now you’re already a university student, the Lord hopes you could go back to give him some face in front of that group of local wealthy landlords!”
After swallowing a mouthful of saliva, Tie Chui again turned his head towards those female maids and howled: “Where is Cripple? As long as he’s not dead, call him to come out to meet an old friend! Ah, this uncle and he also haven’t met for three years already, I really had missed that old rogue for a while! Hahaha, he hasn’t been crippled by someone right?”
Following the sound of Tie Chui’s roars, Cripple noiselessly came out from a certain dark corner of the wine shelves. Cripple looked at Tie Chui with a ‘surprised’ look, spread out both of his hands and shouted: “Ah! Haha! Look who has come? Isn’t this Tie Chui? How does the order of arrest by Borali Guardian Office taste like? Hahaha, you came to Borali, other than my territory, you don’t dare to go anywhere else, right? When did you arrive by boat?”
Tie Chui made several ‘hehe’ sound of strange laughter, then stood up and hugged Cripple tightly.
Cripple sincerely asked: “How’s the black-bearded old man doing?”
Tie Chui proudly slapped Cripple’s shoulder and laughed: “The Lord is very healthy, oh, it’s just that the harvest recently was not quite good, so his mood is not good!”
To one side, Lin Qi opened up the envelope and read the letter which was written in his father’s own handwriting. The familiar handwriting still followed the same pattern, every stroke was like the cut from a large knife, showing a hint of boorish strength. Looking at these letters, Lin Qi felt like he was looking at his own father, a robust man with the complete and utter unruliness of a feral bear.
Enzo curiously moved to Lin Qi’s side, then crooked his head to look at the letter. Regarding the Lord’s family background, Enzo was somewhat aware. According to what Lin Qi said, his father was a miller in the 3rd ranked imperial port city called ‘Dunerk’. In the flour trading business, he controlled nearly all of Dunerk’s import and export of flour. The flour in at least three provinces of the northern part of the empire were also supplied by his mills.
Referring from what he said, Lin Qi should come from a family with business that had been thriving for generations. However, a son of a dutiful and honest person from a well-off family, how could he establish an organization like the Ironfist Brotherhood in three short years?
Glancing at Tie Chui, what made Enzo even more curious was, as a dutiful miller, how could he have an expert like Tie Chui as his subordinate? A fugitive of Borali Guardian Office no less, an ordinary small bandit wouldn’t have the qualifications to be on that wanted list.
Following what Tie Chui said, Cripple asked another question: “How is that possible? The empire had good weather for the last few years, wheat harvest was abundant, and the black-bearded old man’s business should be even bigger!”
Tie Chui looked up helplessly and sighed. He shook his head and said: “Wrong, wrong, Cripple, the better the weather, the worse the Lord’s business become. Too much flour, it can’t be sold at a good price! The Lord wishes the most for the yearly natural disaster in the empire, there would be famine everywhere, only then could we sell wheat at a high price!”
Pointing his bulky middle finger straight towards the ceiling, Tie Chui bellowed: “Curse the gods, if you still won’t let the empire experience a big drought for several years, these people won’t be able to eat! The boss had stored 20 warehouses of wheat, when can they be disposed of?”
Cripple considered it deeply. He found it make sense and sighed, then hastily ordered the female maids to serve some wine and meat.