The Beginning – Afternoon: Xiao Ma ge
At the beginning of the story, Ma Yichuan was at the peak of his career. He was forty-three years old but because he took care of his health and kept in shape, he looked no more than a little over thirty. His hair was combed to the side meticulously and he was often seen with a windbreaker jacket on. All those that were very fond of him in the underworld called him ‘Xiao Ma ge”.
Seeing that he was proud of his own success, he naturally did not attached importance to anyone else. Regardless of whether it was the cunning Luo Dong or Li Shi Qing, who had just risen to power abruptly, they were only qualified to run errands for him in his eyes. He can go to any territory and make profits however he pleased, and if anyone dared to say the word, ‘no’, he needed only to gently lift his pinkie in order to crush them to death.
Therefore, although he did not bring many subordinates with him when he strode into Jin Ting, his grandeur overwhelmed everyone present.
He took the cigarette out of his mouth and looked arrogantly at the manager who had come out to greet him in the lobby. Without warning, he frivolously blew out a puff of smoke on her beautiful face and put on an unbridled smile. “Where is Xiao Qing Long?”
Wang Zi Biao was known as, “Ah-Biao”. At that time he was in his early twenties and had just joined the underworld— bringing with him vicious tendencies and a daring nature to strike and kill on a whim, yet he was honest and straightforward. With that kind of contrast, he was liked by Qing Long ge at first glance and taken in as his close-knit xiao di.
Receiving the kind of recognition that broke the rule like that, he was especially loyal and devoted. Qing Long ge need not say a single word; as long as he gave a look, Ah-Biao would immediately be there at his beck and call, whether going through water or treading on fire, he would gladly endure the hardships.
When he had just received a signal from the xiao di at the head of the stairs, his expression was grave. He nodded and pushed open the door to the private room.
“Qing Long ge, xing Ma is at the entrance.”
The lighting in the room was bright with a soft hue, revealing a young man with thin-rimmed glasses on and was sitting sideways on the main seat. His languid posture persisted as he continued to look out the window to the side, without glancing toward the door. When he heard Ah-Biao, he didn’t bother to turn his head and merely nodded indifferently.
The atmosphere was calm and peaceful, but Ah-Biao knew that behind both sides of the heavy brocade curtains, the most skilled killers were already lying in wait for an ambush.
And his role today was to be Qing Long ge’s bodyguard. He took a few steps in and stood firmly beside Qing Long ge with both his hand behind his back.
The upcoming kill made him nervous and excited, even his palms were sweating.
Just as he stood firmly, he heard Qing Long ge asked, “Who is that?”
Ah-Biao turned his head to the side for a look and saw that Qing Long ge was still looking outside. Jin Ting was a structure encircled by fences, looking down from this angle only the center of the courtyard could be seen.
Ah-Biao moved in closer and looked down with him, yet no matter how cautiously he looked, he did not see any suspicious circumstances.
“Qing Long ge?”
“Underneath the tree.”
“That is Hua Zhi jie,the one that you took pity on and let her become a procurer back then. Did you forget?”
“The one beside her.”
“Oh, that’s her son.” Ah-Biao thought that Qing Long ge was suspicious of the young boy, so he hurriedly explained, “Hua Zhi jie had always have a loose screw and brought her son along more than once. That kid seems to still attend school and had always behaved around here. He hasn’t stirred up any problems before either.”
Qing Long ge did not respond, but his gaze did not shift and even when the footsteps in the corridor got closer, he still did not change his posture.
At that time, it seemed all his interest only lied on that young boy and not the upcoming fierce battle— he did not care even the slightest.
“Hua Zhi jie” whose real name was Xiao Hua Zhi had just turn thirty at that time and was very beautiful to say the least. She had always smiled when she greeted people, but because of her heavy makeup and gaudy dress, along with her many years of indulging in debauchery, she looked terribly old and weak. Apart from that, she was not mentally stable and had more than often fall into a sudden feeling of exhaustion and dismay. Even when she smiled, she would always appear a bit on edge.
“… didn’t I just give you 200 yuan last week? Wasn’t that enough?” She looked up and asked her son suspiciously.
At only fifteen years old, her eldest son, Xiao Li, was already tall and slender in figure yet his face still carried the childishness of a young man. Since his voice had just changed due to puberty, it was clear and sonorous between that of a man and boy. “Xiao Yang has grown more now, he needs shoes and clothes that fits.”
“He can wear your old clothes ah,” Hua Zhi jie mumbled to herself as she took out a thin roll of money and grip it tightly in her hand, instead of handing it over.
“My clothes are so worn out, it’s not possible to wear them anymore.” Xiao Li felt as though he was doing something wrong and smiled guiltily.
Hua Zhi jie frowned and took out one bill from the stack of money and passed it over. She thought for a second and added another bill. “Buy something for yourself.”
Xiao Li only took one bill and carefully put it away. “You can save that. Xiao Yang wants to focus on middle school, and he has to attend an extracurricular class in two days.” He paused and added, “Aren’t I already helping out at Zhang ge’s billiard place? He going to give me some money soon.”
Hua Zhi jie had never understood the significant of focusing on middle school classes. As a prostitute, she even felt that it was unnecessary to attend school. However, for anything that she did not understand, she had always depended on her eldest son’s opinion. Therefore, she simply nodded her head and took that extra bill back. “Have a meal here with me before you go back.” She thought for a moment and looked at him with expectation then casually added, “It’s free.”
Xiao Li hesitated yet did not comment.
Neglecting the expression in her son’s eyes, Hua Zhi jie’s eyes suddenly lit up when shethought of something. She quickly said, “Qing Long ge revamped Jin Ting and had also renovated the inside. You haven’t been in there yet, but it’s quite presentable!” She looked around and whispered, “I heard that Qing Long ge is coming over today… look at your mom’s hair, is it messy?”
She flusteredly fixed her bun but ended up making it even worse. All the while, she still muttered on about ‘Qing Long ge’ until even the redness on her face could not be concealed by her foundation.
Xiao Li smiled. In regard to the kindness that the person call Qing Long ge had offered to his mother and some of his grand deeds, he had always listened to his mother talked about it. He had also seen that Qing Long ge once before, and although it was only a glance from far away, he had already thought that that person was clean and refined, very calm and was probably trustworthy.
Seeing her son smile, Hua Zhi jie became even more embarrassed and retorted, “What are you smiling for? Why aren’t you helping me tidy up?”
With that, Xiao Li reached out to try fix her messy hair.
And that was when everything happened.
Bang! The loud sound of glass shattering and the window frames breaking transmitted over. Then, it was followed by those broken glass being grinded to chip— a man had dropped down from the sky and landed heavily in the courtyard, creating a loud thud.
That man fell about three to four meters from where Xiao Li and Hua Zhi jie were standing. His limbs were all twisted in an unnatural posture and a pool of blood quickly formed beneath him.
Hua Zhi jie screeched.
The man was obviously injured before he fell and the windbreaker he wore was soaked in blood. Surprisingly, he was not dead. When he heard Hua Zhi jie’s screech, he looked up in her direction with his completely bloodstained face and shouted with a husky tone. “Kill—”
Since Hua Zhi jie was already mentally unstable, now that she was frightened by the man, she sank into utter panic. Both her hands flew out to cover her ears before she screamed nonstop.
Xiao Li was also scared. With only the sight of blood covering his vision, he was overtaken by dizziness and his stomach turned violently, making him nearly throw up on the spot.
But his mother was screaming and shaking uncontrollably looking as though she was going to faint beside him forced him to endure it. Both of Xiao Li’s hands were ice-cold and trembling as he reached out to hold his mother in his arms, protecting her head as he pulled her back while comforting her. “Mom, don’t be scared. Let’s go, we have to leave quickly…”
In this frenetic and fearful process, Xiao Li retreated while subconsciously lifting his head up to glance at the place where the man fell from.
That was the third-floor window; the frame had already been destroyed and only a figure stood there as if looking down.
Without any reason, Xiao Li felt his heart race. Seeing a fallen body would make anyone panic and be fearful. But at that moment, a feeling far worse than panic and fear terrified him— provoking his entire body to freeze up.
He used two seconds to get himself out of that mode and then continued to retreat while hugging his mother tighter… as if giving her someone to rely on, but also gaining strength and a peace of mind from her.
The private room was already in a complete mess. The men that Ma Yichuan had brought with him had all fallen to the floor, groaning and cursing while the skilled killers in the gang tidied up the scene.
Ah-Biao walked to the window and stood next to Qing Long ge. He looked down and asked, “Qing Long ge, how do you want to handle this xing Ma?”
When he did not receive a reply, he looked up, “Qing Long ge?”
Although Qing Long ge was also looking down, he was not looking in Ma Yichuan’s direction at all. When he heard Ah-Biao asking even more sternly, he said indifferently, “Go down and take a look. If he’s dead, he’s dead. If he’s alive, that’s even better… have a few men take him to the southern district and throw him in front of his lover’s doorway.”
Ah-Biao gave a ‘okay’ but could not restrain his own curiosity. He followed the direction of Qing Long ge’s line of sight just now yet didn’t see anything.
Just as he was about to turn away to call for something, Qing Long ge stopped him.
Qing Long ge held the window sill with one hand, gently rubbing his hand on the glossy stone surface. He spoke calmly, “Hua Zhi, right? Have her come here before dinner.”
The corner of his mouth suddenly curved, revealing a smile.
It was definitely not a smile that a person would reveal when he touched a window sill. Ah-Biao blinked and couldn’t help but to shiver.
Ma Yichuan was not dead, however his glorious history had to come to an end as his land was flattened out and he could no longer gallop freely. “Xiao Ma ge” became “Ma Que zi”. He lost a leg and no longer had any good days in the underworld.
Hua Zhi jie died after she went to see Qing Long ge with apprehension and excitement. She had just seen a man fallen from the window that day and had never expected that she would fall in the same way a few hours later. No one can ever understand the desperation she felt at that time.
Ah-Biao soon died, taking the accusation of ‘having pushed’ Hua Zhi jie with him as he committed suicide in front of her grave. His family received a good place to settle down in— he, himself did not felt a sense of unwillingly to lay down his life.
Since Ah-Biao lost his life, Qing Long ge lost a close-knit xiao di. When a gang leader from another region sent over a young man to help attend to things, he was acknowledged by Qing Long ge and kept him to cultivate his potentials. That young man’s name was Liu Zi Cheng.
That afternoon changed many people’s fate.
 Xiao Ma ge – Brother Xiao Ma (xiao ma means pony/little horse) – so “Brother Horse”
 Qing Long (青龙) – Azure Dragon; Azure Dragon, one of the four symbol of the Chinese constellations, also known as the Azure Dragon of the East. “Qing” *hint hint*
 Ah-Biao (Wang Zhi Biao): mentioned in Lawless c54
 xiao di – younger brother but can only mean someone of lower ranking (subordinate); gang member call each other brothers even if they are not related
 xing3 (姓) – means ‘surname’. Ah-Biao actually said, ‘the person with the surname Ma’ but that’s too long so let’ stick with the Chinese.
 Huā Zhījie– huazhi (花枝–姐) can mean spray (sprig of a plant with blossoms) /squid (on dining menus) /(literary) beautiful woman, but I guess it is a ‘stage name’ here. “Jie” means older sister, in Chinese the surname is the prefix and the familial relationship is the suffix
 Xiao Huá Zhī (萧华芝) take note that the characters/tones are different
 lover (姘头) – the word used here translates to mistress / lover (doesn’t specific gender)
 could no longer gallop freely – it’s a mockery of his nickname (little horse)
 Ma Que zi – quezi is a colloquial term for ‘lame person’ so his title changed to “Ma, the lame person”. Since Ma Yichuan’s nickname was “little horse” and he became ‘unable to gallop and had no more power”, he became “the lame horse”. **Ma Que zi was mentioned in Lawless c54! If you have forgotten, he was the man who kidnapped and killed Luo Dong’s daughter when Luo Dong did not comply with his demands.
 Liu Zi Cheng – first mentioned in Lawless c19 as leader of the southern district in Li Shi Qing’s territory. I hope you remembered what happened to him huhuhu
Also, Qing Long ge is obviously… (you fill in the blank) 😛
If you haven’t notice, this is more like a flashback to before Lawless actually begins. The first extra is of the past which is just one chapter but be broken up to four parts since it’s too long. It will be updated as per the author:
Afternoon: Xiao Ma ge
I actually really like this past events chapters since I’ve always wonder how some of the characters met and how they came to power! XD Also, when the dear author, Bai Shan Hei Shui is also unwilling to let her couple go, we get some more extras T.T