A Scumbag Always Gets What He Deserves - Chapter 42
Jian Qiao’s knights returned safely from the battlefield.
Seeing his master receive so many challenge letters, the knight commander immediately sent someone to find out the reason.
“It’s Princess Clarice.” That evening, the worried knight commander returned to report the situation. “The brand on Lord Rege’s neck is visible to everyone. He chose to pledge his allegiance to you and went to war in your place, and he almost died on the battlefield. He did this rather than stay in Grande and marry Princess Clarice, which greatly insulted the princess. She wrote to her admirers, full of tears and complaints.”
The knight commander sighed and said, “You must not underestimate the charm of Princess Clarice. Lord Rege doesn’t care for her at all, but her suitors can be found throughout Tortus. And there’s no shortage of warriors just as famous as Lord Rege. If they receive a request from the princess, they’ll naturally do their best to serve. That’s the reason you received a dozen challenges in a row.”
The knight commander frowned and said, “I suspect Princess Clarice did it on purpose. She wants you to die.”
Jian Qiao laid out the challenge letters neatly on the table, shaking his head with a bitter smile.
He hadn’t known what Princess Clarice intended. He’d only discovered that she hated him the day he watched Rege depart from the city wall.
She couldn’t wait to destroy the man who ruined her marriage!
While Queen Moen waited patiently for news that Jian Qiao had died of illness, Princess Clarice was waiting too. But Jian Qiao had survived, and he was getting better by the day.
So she orchestrated a grueling round of duels.
The dates of the dozen or so challenges were all linked together, one match per day, like a timetable. If Jian Qiao didn’t die the first day, then every day after that someone else would appear to send him on his way. There was no chance at all to catch his breath.
Jian Qiao picked up one of the challenges. His fingers trembled slightly but his tone was extraordinarily firm, “Arles, teach me swordsmanship. I want to live, understand? I have to stay alive.”
In the past he’d lived only because he was more afraid of death. But now he lived because there was someone to live for.
His life was beautiful because of that person. Because of him, his life had meaning.
“I must survive!” Jian Qiao put down the challenge letters and looked directly at the knight commander.
The knight commander was in a difficult position. “My lord, you have to understand it’s impossible for you to learn swordsmanship in just three days. It might be more useful for me to buy you a set of sturdy armor. No, no, no, you can’t wear armor, it would be too heavy. You wouldn’t even be able to walk. You’d just be a living target. Your opponent could simply pull off your helmet and stab through your head with a sword.”
The knight commander paced around and around the room. He couldn’t think of any way to help his master out of this predicament.
There was no escape. Those men would chase his master to Desolette. Moreover, if he became a deserter, his reputation would be ruined, and that was also a kind of death.
The knight commander anxiously raked his hair.
The manservant who’d gone to inquire about the news, however, hurried in and shouted excitedly, “My goodness, you’ll never imagine what’s going on out there! Just now, Lord Rege issued sixteen challenge letters in one breath! Those men—”
The manservant pointed to the letters laid out on the table, his cheeks flushed red. “All of those men received challenges and not one of them was missed! He also set the duel time for this afternoon. This afternoon he’s going to fight sixteen people at once! My God! He’s so brave!”
The servant’s eyes were filled with ardent admiration.
But Jian Qiao jerked in shock. “What did you say? Rege is going to fight sixteen people at the same time?”
The knight commander was also speechless, but he quickly reassured him. “Knowing Lord Rege, this should be nothing. When he fought on the battlefield, he wasn’t facing sixteen people at once, but an entire army. He could maneuver freely in that situation, so how could he lose to these so-called warriors? These vaunted knights may not have even glimpsed the smoke from a battlefield.”
“But, but he’s not healed yet!” With a pale face, Jian Qiao asked, “Where’s the duel taking place? I’m going!”
The servant hastened to give the address.
Jian Qiao ran out without even wearing a jacket, but a few moments later he quickly returned to snatch up a sword hanging on the wall.
It was originally just a decoration, but maybe today he could put it to use. If Rege was in danger, he’d rush to save him!
Jian Qiao thought well and prepared well, but when he arrived at the dueling ring, he found he was too late.
The duel had ended long ago. Only a few passersby still gathered to talk about it.
“It’s amazing! Challenging sixteen people in one go!”
“Lord Rege won so beautifully! It only took ten minutes to finish off all the opponents! Sixteen people together didn’t have the slightest advantage.”
“But Lord Rege was also wounded. Look, that’s his coat covered in blood.”
“He was hurt in the war, a very serious injury, and he still hasn’t recovered. If he was fully healed when he proposed this duel, those sixteen men wouldn’t have touched the hem of his clothes. How could a group of puppies match a lion?”
“Shh, quiet, Earl Jian Qiao is here.”
Seeing the central figure who triggered the duel, the passersby immediately dispersed.
And Jian Qiao saw at a glance the coffee-colored jacket which Rege had thrown onto the street. It was covered with sword cuts and bloodstains, and the front was embroidered with a golden lion, the emblem of Grande.
It was because of this prestigious symbol that no one dared to pick up such a costly jacket.
When he saw the blood on the coat, Jian Qiao’s hand reflexively went to his forehead.
He thought he’d be afraid, he thought he’d faint, but he didn’t. In that moment, the image that appeared in his mind wasn’t a dagger in his heart as he slowly lost his life in a pool of blood, but the wounded figure of Rege walking step by step away.
Those large crimson splashes of blood didn’t trigger fear for himself, but distress and heartache for someone else. He couldn’t let that figure fade from sight.
This blood was shed for him by Rege, and those injuries were suffered for him by Rege. So why should Jian Qiao be afraid?
He slowly walked over, bent down to pick up the jacket, patted off the dust, and put it on.
His knight commander and manservant cried out in horror, “Master! You can’t do that!”
The passersby who hadn’t yet left also revealed expressions of disbelief. My God, what did they just see? They saw the elegant Earl of Flowervale actually wearing Lord Rege’s bloody coat after the duel! He didn’t know what that meant, did he? My God! Didn’t he care at all about his dignity?
Jian Qiao didn’t care about anyone else’s eyes or opinions. He walked directly towards the ducal palace. The knight commander and the servant chased after him with faces flushed with shame, repeatedly asking him to take off the coat.
The pedestrians on the road gaped at him. Their expressions held nothing but shock.
“My dear lord Earl, you really astonish me! You’re the bravest man of this duel!” Cassia poked her head out of a luxurious carriage. She picked at Jian Qiao’s collar with her fingertips.
Jian Qiao glanced at her lightly and continued on his way.
Queen Moen’s carriage also happened to pass by, as she’d just departed from the ducal palace. Her brother’s injuries worried her, and his love life made her feel even more powerless.
After Jian Qiao’s recovery, her bitter hatred for him began to churn again.
However, seeing Jian Qiao in her brother’s bloody garments, parading openly through the market while a crowd of people stared, the fury in her heart slowly subsided. No nobleman would ever do such a thing. Her younger brother had sincerely given his entire heart to Jian Qiao, and Jian Qiao did the same.
They could both sacrifice everything for each other.
“Forget it. Let them be.” Queen Moen put down the curtain, leaned back against the seat, and sighed.
Jian Qiao passed the Queen’s carriage but didn’t give it a second glance. His mind was focused on a single thing, wanting to see Rege.
Ten minutes later, the butler of the ducal palace hurried into the parlor and whispered, “My lord, Earl Jian Qiao is here and he wants to see you.”
Rege, who was dressing his wounds, looked up sharply, revealing a pair of burning eyes.
But after a moment, the fire in his eyes went out. He knew Jian Qiao had come to express his thanks. That man was never willing to owe a debt to anyone. When others were kind to him, the first thing he thought of was how to repay the favor. This behavior might seem thoughtful and caring, but wasn’t it actually a form of isolation?
If there was no debt, there was no bond.
“Tell him to go back.” Rege wrapped the gauze around his waist again, his voice tired, “I’m covered in blood. It’s not a good time to see him.”
“No, you must see him.” The butler stood in place and refused to go with a very complicated expression.
“What did he use to bribe you?” Rege asked in amazement.
“You will understand if you go and see for yourself. If you don’t go, you will live the rest of your life in regret.” The butler tried to give a hint.
The old Duke, who was sitting to the side helping his son with the wound medicine, suddenly took an interest and went outside to have a look. After returning, his expression was subtle.
“You should go.” He urged, “Don’t hesitate, go! Run, hurry up!”
Rege felt something flicker in his heart. Immediately he put on his shirt, buttoned it up, and walked outside.
Through the sculpted iron gate, when he saw Jian Qiao wearing his own bloody clothes, he froze in place like a statue.
What type of situation would trigger a duel? There were only two answers—hate and love.
To fight for possession of a woman, two men consumed by jealousy would frequently fight to the death.
On the day of the duel, the woman caught between them would rush to watch the battle. If she was moved by the victor, she would run up and peel off his blood-soaked coat in front of the crowd and wear it. This signified that she would treat herself as a prize, and give herself to the victor that night.
From that day forward she was the victor’s property. This was regarded as the highest form of romance in the continent of Tortus.
Right now, Jian Qiao was wearing Rege’s bloody coat. His slightly teary eyes gazed at Rege without any reserve.
Rege stood rigid for a long time before he stepped forward. Through the iron gate, he asked with a dazed expression, “Why are you wearing—”
Without waiting for him to finish the question, Jian Qiao nodded with certainty. “It’s exactly what you think.”
Rege’s wildly beating heart suddenly halted. There was an ache in his chest.
He gripped the bars of the iron gate and said through clenched teeth, “Take off those clothes, there’s blood on them! Do you know what it means to wear that coat?”
Jian Qiao took the hand holding the iron rail and said slowly, “I’m no longer afraid of blood. Of course I know what it means to come before you in your bloodstained clothes.”
Jian Qiao pressed closer to the grate, at the same time leaning closer to Rege’s face, looking deep into his blue eyes with hidden longing and fear, and said earnestly, “You won this victory for me, so now I’m yours. This evening, we’ll spend a good night together.”
After he spoke, he stretched out his fingers and gently caressed the anemone brand on the side of Rege’s neck.
A blank space appeared in Rege’s brain. He couldn’t believe what he heard.
Why would Jian Qiao, who vomited after kissing him, say such suggestive words in such a deliberate tone?
“That day when you kissed me, I was still afraid of blood. My mouth tasted the blood and I felt sick. But I’m not afraid anymore. You shed this blood for me, so how could it intimidate me anymore?”
Jian Qiao moved a little closer. If not for the iron gate between them, he would have gone straight into Rege’s warm embrace.
He looked into the man’s blue eyes and continued to confess, “The night you returned, I actually heard what you said. You said you survived because of me, and I want to tell you that I survived because of you. When you were trudging through the wasteland, you told yourself that every step would bring you one step closer to me. When I was close to dying, I told myself that every day I survived would bring me closer to the day you’d return. I waited day after day just for news of you.”
Jian Qiao stood on his tiptoes and pressed his lips against Rege’s, murmuring, “You live for me, just as I live for you. Love isn’t destruction, love is hope. If I’d never met you, I might have never understood this.”
He took a breath and said with slightly blushing cheeks, “I want more than just to be alive. I want more than just to live in the same world. I want to spend every day with you. I love you too. When I see you, I want to smile, and when I don’t see you, I long for you. I want to kiss you, I want to hold you, I want to possess you and be possessed by you.”
He let go of Rege’s hand and took a step back. An elegant smile slowly blossomed on his lips, but his words were vulgar: “Fuck being friends. I don’t want to be friends with you either. I just want to make love with you.”
He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled a necklace from his collar.
Rege didn’t say a word. He stared dead at Jian Qiao with bloodshot eyes. His breath was urgent, rough, and heavy, like a beast suppressing violent emotions. He couldn’t believe anything he heard. Not even in the most beautiful dream could he imagine such sweet words of love.
They were unbelievably hot!
Rege stared at Jian Qiao’s delicate collarbone for a moment before looking at the necklace. Then his pupils constricted.
The pendant of this necklace was the landscape agate. Jian Qiao had locked it in a safe, unwilling to let anyone see it, but now he’d actually punched a small hole in it and hung it from his neck.
Jian Qiao took off the necklace, delivered it to Rege, and said with a light smile, “You once said the way I treat it is the way I treat myself. Then when I give it to you now, it’s the same as giving myself to you. Do you want it?”
Do you want it? This question hit Rege’s heart like a hammer. His brain, which was trapped in confusion and panic, came to its senses at that moment. He realized that everything in front of him wasn’t just a beautiful but illusory dream. So he extended his hand and quickly took the necklace.
He dragged open the iron gate and strode out with a fierce expression.
Jian Qiao wasn’t afraid of him at all but quickly went to meet him. He was like a swallow returning to the forest, plunging into Rege’s broad chest like he was coming home. Without waiting for the man to embrace him, he stood on tiptoe and delivered his red lips.
He delicately took the tip of Rege’s tongue, like a parched traveler waiting for a trickle of life-giving water from a stalactite, only daring to sip and lick little by little. He cherished this moment of lips and teeth mingling.
His method was so raw and careful.
Rege’s eyes darkened. He sucked Jian Qiao’s sweet, soft tongue into his mouth and wrapped around it without mercy, seizing every drop of nectar in Jian Qiao’s mouth. Even the moans deep in his throat had to be eaten up.
He pressed the back of Jian Qiao’s head and the more he kissed, the more ferocious and obsessive he became. He wanted to release all the pain he’d suffered in this kiss.
“How can you make my heart beat so violently for you after crushing it so hard?” he asked with red eyes as they caught their breath.
Jian Qiao, whose face was cupped by him, begged in a low voice, “Be gentle, this is my first kiss. My tongue is numb.”
Rege, who originally wanted to get a little justice for himself, forgot everything at once. He cursed fiercely and once again took Jian Qiao’s red and swollen lips. That adorable look of confusion made Rege so hard it hurt!
The two held each other tightly in the doorway, disregarding everything around them.
The old Duke stood by the window, smiling as he sighed, “Winter is here, but spring is never far away.”
It was night, and Jian Qiao, who was covered in red marks, emerged from the bed gasping for breath.
Rege hugged him from behind and gently kissed his slender neck. With a lingering glow of climax and satisfaction in his voice, he said, “After I came back, I sneaked off to the hotel every night to see you.”
Jian Qiao turned around, pressed his cheek against his sweaty chest, and said in a muted voice, “I didn’t notice at all. I slept too deeply.”
“That’s because your body is still very weak.” Rege kissed his cheek heartily.
Jian Qiao shook his head and said, “It’s not from weakness. Every night before I went to bed I told myself—Jian Qiao, you must sleep well. Sleep as much as you can so your body can recover. That’s why I slept so deeply.”
“Yes, you’re strong. You always know how to take care of yourself.” Rege gently stroked his lover’s equally wet back.
“It’s not about being strong.” Jian Qiao continued to shake his head. He raised his eyes to look at Rege and whispered, “I told myself that if my body returned to health and gained weight, my face would look better. And if my face regained its looks, I could come to you more quickly. Maybe you won’t believe it, but before I met you I suffered from insomnia. Every time I managed to fall asleep I woke from nightmares. But after I met you, the symptoms eased and disappeared. All those days you were missing, I longed for a miracle, but a miracle happened to me long ago. You’re my miracle. Ray, I love you.”
Rege was speechless with astonishment. It took a while before he realized what Jian Qiao had said.
“I love you too!” Rege buried his face in the warm nook of Jian Qiao’s neck and smiled with joy and delight.
“Baby, you’re so sweet,” he said hoarsely, then pressed the man under him to begin a new round of lingering.
A few months later, spring came, and the ice and snow melted away. Rege was mounted on his horse, holding Jian Qiao in his arms, riding along the road to Desolette.
“You’ll stay with me for three months in Desolette, and I’ll stay with you for three months in Grande. We’ll take turns living in two places, is that all right?” Jian Qiao asked in a soft voice.
Rege turned his head to kiss his flushed, wind-blown cheeks, and smiled. “Yes.” Then he took the man deeper into his arms and wrapped his cloak around him.
“I want to hear you sing nursery rhymes. When you came out of the water that day and sang nursery rhymes with your arms around me, I was in a trance. I felt like I was lying in my mother’s arms. That feeling of perfect security healed the pain of my childhood.” Jian Qiao turned sideways and pressed his cheek against Rege’s broad chest.
He liked this posture. Rege was like a wall, helping to block all the rain, snow, and wind from the outside world. He was timid, so he liked to hide in this wall.
“What mother? Don’t call me things like that, I’m your husband!” Rege bit Jian Qiao’s ear to scold him, but he still softened his voice and began to sing.
From that day forward, he would transplant this beautiful but fragile flower into his heart, to protect and nourish him with love for the rest of his life.
♡ ﾟ･:*✧･ﾟ:* The end! *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ ♡
# English words: 92753
# Chinese characters: 149941
# Longest chapter: Chapter 42
# Second longest chapter: Chapter 31, where Cassia’s jewelry arc wraps up
# Shortest chapter (in English): Chapter 29
# Most difficult to translate: Chapter 4, my first time translating a laundry list of items Jian Qiao smells like. Describing smells is tough.
# Second most difficult: Chapter 15, where Jian Qiao explains a bunch of jewelry terms to the courtesan and Rege.
# Most rewarding chapter to translate: The “nursery rhyme” in Chapter 37. But I think I could do a better job with the scrap of poem about Rege in Chapter 6. I might look at it again sometime.
When I picked up this project, only 12 chapters had been published. I’d no idea what would happen or how the story would end. I only knew how much I loved the characters and their sweet romantic story. For those of you who accompanied me on this journey, thank you! Your feedback and comments gave me a smile every morning. <3
For those of you who came later, thank you for reading!
I’m sad this story ended so soon! If you’re sorry when something ends it probably means you enjoyed it. In the last couple chapters, Jian Qiao’s role became more passive and reactive—he needed to discover his inner strength to survive, and he succeeded—so perhaps it makes sense the author wrapped things up where she did. She’s now posting a new BG novel on JJWXC, “乌鸦少女” “Crow Maiden”. I wish her great success. <(_ _)>
– Confectioner aka Gao Dian Shi (糕点师)
Transliterated names, titles, and places—new in this chapter:
You can find the master list of transliterated names and titles in Chapter 0 – TL Notes. New in this chapter:
阿尔 – Ā’Ěr – Arles, one of MC’s knights. Alternatively: Al, Ahr, Arle, Ayr.
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