Chapter 166 Catching a thief
After the defensive measures were done, the plan of staying watch at nigh also needed to be adjusted. Two people keep watch at the same time was the best in order to deal with the unexpected situation in the shortest amount of time. Therefore, Shu Huan and Meijing kept watch the first half of the night. The latter half of the night would be Liangchen and Shang Xin’s turn.
She didn’t know whether it was Shang Xin who saw wrong or that the thief felt that he had been exposed; in short, Shu Huan waited till her eyes couldn’t stay open anymore, there was still no abnormality at the end of the wall.
Meijing yawned and asked, “Are we making a big fuss out of nothing?”
Shu Huan endured her sleepiness, wiped her face with cold water and said, “Better to believe the worst and be pleasantly surprised than to be optimistic and learn the worst.”
Meijing was a bit angry after hearing that, “That damned thief better come sooner!”
“What?” Shu Huan was a bit surprised. “Aren’t you afraid? Why are you looking forward for him to come?”
Meijing added a piece of firewood to the stove with a bitter face and said, “If he comes later, we have to spend more firewood. We are burning money, ah!”
Shu Huan couldn’t help but laugh. She didn’t think that Meijing would be able to manage a household. The mountains were deep in this era and forested. There were trees everywhere and wood wasn’t expensive. When buying wood, one was in fact buying labor. This kind of labor that doesn’t require any technical content was often not very valuable.
The two were so sleepy that they scooped some water out of the pot and made two cups of thick tea. Only when they chatted did they feel that time passed more easily.
When they waited till the third night watch period (23:00-01:00), they couldn’t hold it anymore. The two got up from the small bench and cleaned up a bit. They planned to wake up Liangchen and Shang Xin to keep watch.
Meijing touched the candle and wanted to light it on the stove to illuminate the road, but she was pulled back by Shu Huan.
“Miss…,” Meijing looked puzzled back and saw that Shu Huan had put her index finger on her lips and seemed as if she was listening to the movements of outside.
Just this simple action made Meijing feel that she got goosebumps over all her body. Then, Shu Huan pushed her and gestured at her to go wake up Liangchen and Meijing.
Even if Meijing was very afraid, she knew that this was an urgency and didn’t dare to hesitate. She panickily went to call Liangchen and Meijing in the dark.
After Meijing left, Shu Huan picked up the fire tong with one hand and pulled the newly bought bedsheet with another hand. She tiptoed to the door of the kitchen and stared at the wall. Soon, she saw two figures climb on the wall and jumped from it…
She didn’t hear the expected screams. She saw those two figures sway a bit and groaned in a low voice.
Shu Huan didn’t know what had happened to those needles, but looking at the situation, she knew that the effect wasn’t great. She didn’t dare to delay, rushed out and wanted to throw the bedsheet over the two thieves.
Liangchen and Shang Xin slept with clothes on in the main hall. They woke up with a push. At this moment, Liangchen and Meijing lifted the pan of hot oil from the stove. Shang Xin slept while holding the iron ladle. She came out while raising the ladle and shouted, “Miss, be careful.” When Shu Huan moved aside, her (SX) ladle of hot oil poured over.
A scream finally pierced the night and spread to far away.
When the two thieves jumped from the wall, they felt pain in their feet and felt that something was not right. However, they didn’t have time to check, they were shocked by a bedsheet that flew over. When they pulled off the bedsheet and reached for the dagger on their waist, hot oil was poured on them.
They wore very professional clothes. They were clothes that enabled them to be easy in action at night. However, how could those thin clothes sustain the hot oil? They screamed from being burnt. When they were in pain, they didn’t flee. Instead, they rushed forward and wanted to finish off those little girls.
Seeing the daggers in the two thieves’ hands, Shu Huan didn’t dare to show mercy. Seeing that the maids were busy splashing the oil ladle after ladle, she quickly went into the kitchen and used the fire tong to pull out a burning firewood. When she came out, she threw it at the place where the two thieves stood.
When fire meet oil, the fire began to spread. The two thieves were instantly turned into half burning candles. They fell and rolled on the ground.
Ear-piercing screams were mixed with a strange foul odor. Shu Huan was also scared. She didn’t expect the fire to become so fierce so easily. Afterwards, flustered footsteps and voices came from the outside. It seemed that the neighbors who had been awakened had rushed over.
At this point, she sighed from relief. She steadied her mind and sigh, “Pour water.”
“Ay!” Meijing went into the kitchen and wanted to bring out the boiling water.
Shu Huan quickly corrected, “Cold water.”
The oil and fire were too powerful. It was necessarily to be careful. At this time, the two thieves definitely had no willpower to fight anymore. She also didn’t want to let people die in her courtyard, otherwise it would become a “murderous house”. How could she live with a peace of mind then?
The cold water was poured over the two thieves basin after basin. Plus the fact, that the thieves had been rolling on the ground and without oil added to the fire, when they got to the steps of the main room, the fire was finally suppressed. However, their screams didn’t stop. The neighbors had also identified the source of the sound, knocked on the door and asked loudly what had happened.
Shu Huan casted a meaningful glance over. Liangchen stepped carefully over the oil stained with water to go open the door.
After she explained and those neighbors got to know that it was catching thieves, they asked noisily where the thieves were and wanted to deliver them to the warden.
Liangchen took two steps to a side to give way, pointed at the two still screaming thieves and said, “It’s them.”
There was silence all around for a moment.
Those neighbors came with candles and lanterns. They looked for a while and saw the enthusiastic treatment that the two thieves had received. After they sucked their breath in, they looked at each other in dismay. After a long while did they hear people say that it was well done. They said that thieves had ee coing into people’s house, especially at night. Sometimes, even the clothes hanging in the yard would be gone. Everyone had been on guard, but they weren’t able to catch the thieves. Now that the thieves had been caught, they were relieved.
Among these sounds, there were also recites of Buddha from older people. They keep reminding Shu Huan for them to be careful of fire in the future and to not do such an impetuous thing again because if the fire had spread, the whole street would be burned. Dozens of families would suffer.
She had learned a lesson from old madam and knew that people of this time were afraid of fire. She didn’t argue and only agreed with them. Afterwards, someone volunteered to find a rope to tie up the thieves. However, unexpectedly when that person went to look, he discovered that the two thieves didn’t need to be tied. Their bodies were full of scalds and burns and the clothes stuck to the skin. They looked like they wouldn’t even be able to stand up, not to mention struggling to escape.
“They are burned like this, will they be able to survive?”
“Let’s send them to the warden and see what he says.”
“Let’s carry them over. They can’t walk at all!”
The unspoken dialogue was: these four little girls are too vicious!
Shu Huan saw the strange looks filled with some fear that they casted over. She didn’t care about that because if she wasn’t vicious to the thieves at this moment, it was that she was vicious to themselves. If these ancient people with a feudalistic mind got to know that their house had been robbed, even if they were still alive, some people would maliciously guess whether they had any other infringement.
Spit could drown people. Even if she didn’t care, she didn’t want the maids to follow her while having fingers of blame be pointed at them.
The thieves had been caught. They were safe and sound. She also didn’t want to exterminate them. After she thanked the neighbors who came to help, she let someone go call doctor Ji over to treat these two thieves. As for what their fate would be after they were cured, that was the matter of the county magistrate and had nothing to do with her. According to the law of this time, sneaking into a house was a big crime. Not to mention that these two thieves hadn’t died, even if they had died, they deserved it. She wouldn’t receive any charge for it.