“Oh, I know! It must be that your Yan Ran was made to receive other guests by the old woman!” Huang Kai spoke dramatically. Kuai Ran had told the old woman many times not to let Yan Ran receive other guests. The old woman promised that but then went and sent her out to Liu Mang.
“Brother, what do you know? Our Lord Kuai here may have such a father but he has no money! How would he be able to pay for someone like Yan Ran?” Huang Chen said.
“What can we do? Our Lord Kuai here has taken fancy of her. When he wanted to see Yan Ran the last time we came, he is willing to fight us for her.” They ended up causing a scene the last time. However, the Huang brothers were not able to fully oppose Kuai Ran because they had less influence.
“Brother. You are wrong there. That woman is the love of his life. You have also misunderstood the old woman. Virgins are all very expensive. It is only after they are no longer a virgin would our Lord Kuai be able to afford taking her home! It is a predestined marriage! I am sure the rest of his family would be happy for this!” Huang Cheng spoke with sinister intents and made everyone involved. Even Liu Mang turned into someone that opposed Kuai Ran.
Huang Chen and Huang Kai did not have many people that they could not offend. As they could not recognize Liu Mang, they believed that Liu Mang was a merchant. They believed that offending Liu Mang would not matter to them. Their words caused Kuai Ran to look at both the old woman and Liu Mang angrily. He now believed that these two plotted for this to happen.
Kuai Ran may be a flaneur1 but his father was strict with his discipline and did not give him much pocket money. The brothel could still provide food for Kuai Ran because they could not offend him. However, they could not simply give away a virgin that they have raised up from young.
Kuai Ran believed that he was able to raise enough money for Yan Ran. Meanwhile, Yan Ran also had favorable opinion of Kuai Ran as the other customers were not much better than a noble’s son.
Kuai Ran was now placed in an awkward situation. He would lose face regardless of how he replies to Huang Chen and Huang Kai. If this incident is made public, he would literally become unable to show his face amongst all the other nobles.
“You must be Huang Kai and Huang Chen.” Liu Mang spoke. He needed to make a connection with Kuai Ran even though Kuai Ran was glaring at him.
“Who are you? How do you know our names?” Huang Chen asked.
“I am just a student of the Lumen Academy. As for your names, how could anybody not know them?” Liu Mang replied with a smile.
“A student of the Lumen Academy? What proof do you have” The two men’s attitude changed. Being a student from the Lumen Academy is a reputable position. It was much higher than their initial guess of Liu Mang being a merchant. However, Huang Kai still cautiously asked for proof.
“Haha. Of course I have proof.” Liu Mang said as he took out a nameplate that could only be obtained by students of the Lumen Academy. Even in the Lumen Academy, there are plenty of different people. Liu Mang obtained one from a person that wanted Liu Qi to succeed his father.
“It is really a Lumen Academy’s nameplate.” The two brothers cupped their fists while feeling happy that Liu Mang knew their names. “We do not dare accept your praise.”
At that moment, Kuai Ran felt humiliated. He felt like Liu Mang and the two Huang brothers were in league. However, Liu Mang’s next words surprised him.
“Of course you don’t. There are only two cowards4 in Jingzhou with the name Huang. You two are the only ones here that qualify.” Liu Mang said indifferent as he sipped his tea.
The women laughed hearing Liu Mang’s words but quickly grew silent when they saw the expression of the two Huang brothers.
“If you want to laugh, then laugh.” Liu Mang said to the women and they all started laughing out loud.
“Boy. Who are you?” Huang Kai asked cautiously.
“I already said, I am a student of the Lumen Academy. My family name is Wang (King). Given name Shu.”2
“Do you know the consequences of offending us?”
“I don’t know. I don’t even want to know!” Liu Mang replied with a smile. Even Huang She and Huang Zu did not dare to touch Liu Mang. He was a valued guest in Jingzhou for as long as the Lu Bu’s Army did not declare war on Jingzhou.
“You are courting death!” Huang Chen advanced to attack Liu Mang while his guards behind him moved to assist Huang Chen.
“Hmph! Old woman. Brother Kuai and I came here for pleasure, not trouble. Is this how a brothel treats its guests?” Liu Mang said to the old woman. As he was simply here to look for the Kuai Family’s support, he restrained himself from beating up the Kuai brothers. Although the Kuai brothers also had martial education, they spent more time as mediators. The two of them were only third grade generals at most. Liu Mang could have dealt with the both of them using one hand.
“Don’t fight! Don’t fight!” The old woman reacted immediately after hearing Liu Mang’s words. If they were to fight here, the brothel would go out of business. They also had quite a powerful backing and only allowed this to happen because they did not want unnecessary trouble and also to give face to both the Kuai and Huang families.
The old woman ordered the nearby pimps to get the manager of the brothel. The manager soon came with bodyguards. Liu Mang could tell that these bodyguards had killing intent.
“Gentlemen. You are all my valued customers. I do not care if you want to kill each other outside but please give this me, Liu Mouren some face and not fight in my brothel.” The manager spoke politely but his bodyguards was already sizing up the Huang brother’s bodyguards.
The bodyguards of the Huang brothers were only at the level of a sergeant and could not compete against the brothel’s guards. They whispered something to the two brothers.
In the end, the two brothers coldly snorted at Liu Mang and said, “Consider this your good luck! Let’s leave!”
“Haha!” Liu Mang laughed and poured another cup3. He then said to Kuai Ran. “Come, Brother Kuai. We haven’t finished drinking! Sit down! Let us continue!” Yan Ran also understood the appropriate behavior for such a situation and pulled Kuai Ran in.
Kuai Ran looked at them for a moment and followed Liu Mang’s lead. On the other hand, the Huang brothers became even more frustrated when they saw Kuai Ran and Liu Mang in a harmonious relationship.
“Master Liu. I am here this time to accompany Brother Kuai and I am not lacking in money. I also want to take away the one favored by Brother Kuai and also those three women. Since I am already giving a lot of business, is it already to waive the cost for her?”
“Haha. Of course this is impossible.” The manager replied. He would not allow a woman that is worth several hundred gold to leave so easily.
Meanwhile, Kuai Ran was still dumbstruck.
1浪荡子 Can mean flaneur. Flaneur with an â that I have no idea how to type on my keyboard. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl%C3%A2neur. Can also literally mean idler. An actual flaneur is technically an idler but also a detached observer. On a side note, Flaneur came from an old Norse verb flana, that is “to wander with no purpose” but according to Saint Beuve, to flane is “the very opposite of doing nothing”. Humans are weird. Thank God I’m a penguin.
2. Basically he is outright telling them that he is the King of Shu.
3 A cup of wine. Though I remembered him only ordering tea because he could not afford to get drunk. Either the author forgot or they changed to wine midway.
4. He calls them the Two Huang Heroes but secretly meant coward. Maybe I will just call them Huang cowards in the future.