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Thread: A step into the past - 寻秦记 - by Huang Yi (Unabridged)

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    Book 2 Chap 7 Ladies of the forbidden palace

    If it was the old Xiang Shaolong, once he meets a beauty, hell try ways and means to get her and have some fun. But now beauties are aplenty, and extremely submissive as well. However, too much of anything is never good, and having too many women will increase his burden and worries as well. No one would be able to handle all these. Seeing the pretty maids look at him with thirst and desire, he only wants to find a quiet place to be alone. But in this era where even for a trip to the toilet, therell be a pretty maid attending, its even more difficult than ascending heaven to find a place without women. Hes slowly coming to understand why women here can click so easily. The key point is in communication. In the modern era, they only need to exchange phone numbers and would be able to contact each other anytime. But in this ancient time, manual labor is needed to send letters, and its only something available to people of a certain standing. After meeting once, they usually will not have the chance to meet again. Thats why when the Baiyi lady Yiniang saw him, she ran after him to find an opportunity to have some fun. Or else their fate may just be the end. Its the same with these palace maids. Its not that Xiang Shaolong does not want to satisfy them, but one Lady Ya is more than enough for him to handle, so how can he help the other women?

    When he was bathing in the luxurious bath, all the 8 palace maids in Lady Yas palace came out in full force, all stripped naked to serve him in the pool and to massage his body. For someone so flirtatious like Xiang Shaolong, he dared not overstep the boundaries this time, afraid that he will not be able to handle the outcome of the situation. The maids keep pouring boiling water into the pool and the hot steam rose, making the bathroom like an enclosed sauna. Chunying and the rest of the maids have helped him bath before, but they at least wore something, not like these palace maids who were totally undressed. Obviously life in the palace is a lot more licentious and ridiculous than the world outside.

    But undeniably, Xiang Shaolong is thoroughly enjoying himself right now and totally relaxed. Hes relieved that without his initiation, these 8 beautiful, heated women all dared not be overly enticing with him. But its unavoidable that they are using the opportunity to use their bodies to bump and rub against him. The Zhao people has never seen someone with Xiang Shaolongs looks and physique.

    After the bath, Xiang Shaolong laid on a bed next to the pool and allowed 8 pairs of dainty hands to apply fragrant oils on him and massage him, making him so comfortable he cant even keep his eyes open. With a life like this, what else can a man ask for.

    Footsteps were heard, Lady Ya came next to the bed and helped him sit up, reaching out her hand to touch his dark and thick shoulder-length hair and said with a smile, They are maids I chose specially from my residence, and all are smart, obedient and pretty. They, as well as me, will be serving you during the journey. Give them a little something to satisfy them! They will work even harder! The faces of the 8 ladies blushed and they lowered their head and smiled shyly. Anyone could have seen that they are extremely willing, praying for it in fact. Xiang Shaolong almost wanted to give Lady Ya a good smacking on her bottom. Maybe giving free reins to lust is a common and normal occurrence in the palace, but the military training he received has taught him the importance and need for self-control. He mumbled a reply and pretended to fall asleep. What else can he do? Lady Ya lowered her head and whispered in his ear, You just have to lie down and enjoy, you dont even have to lift a finger. Xiang Shaolong secretly lamented that wont he become a sex toy for the 8 women instead. He could not accept this so he did not reply her and fell asleep after a while.

    When he woke up, it was quiet. Lamps had been lighted in the bath and the surroundings were serene. He thought that all the women had left and was just getting up when a dainty voice cried out, Master is awake! 2 pretty maids immediately came over to help him dress. Xiang Shaolong saw the longing and hope on the 2 womens face and he asked, What are elder sisters names. The extremely voluptuous one giggled and said, Master you are making us feel bad, I am Xiaozhao, she is Xiaomei, were both Ladys personal maids. Xiaomei complimented, Master has really good physique, we have never served any men who is more well built than you. By then Xiaozhao had came up to him to help him with the complicated buttons, her bosom heaving. Xiang Shaolong is after all used to flirting, so he cant help but touch her. Xiaozhaos body trembled and leaned softly on his body, crying softly, Master! Xiaomei plastered her body tightly against his back, her body temperature fiery hot.

    Xiang Shaolong might as well hig the 2 women and after kissing them each on the mouth, asked, Where is Lady? The 2 women were frightened and hurriedly continued helping him dress. Xiaozhao said with fear, I deserve death, Lady has ordered that we bring you to her as soon as youre awake. Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic, knoeing that for now he need not fear being harassed by them to make love, but since hes started, he might as well grope them a little more. Until they were moaning continuously did he follow them out.

    Lady Ya was waiting for him quietly at the dining table and when she saw him, she knelt down on the rug and smiling sweetly, welcomed him to his seat like a wife serving her husband. They sat next to each other on one side of the table while the maids continuously served food and wine. Lady Ya poured wine for him and said with a laugh, After living for so many years, this is the first time Yaer feels the happiness of a sense of belonging. When I was sitting here waiting for you earlier, I dont feel that time passes terribly at all, there was not an instant of emptiness or boredom, because I know you are by my side.

    Xiaozhao and the rest of the maids split into 2 groups and knelt on both sides of the entrance, 8 pairs of eyes kept glancing at Xiang Shaolong. After casting a look at the 8 women, Lady Ya said with a hidden smile, Yaer belongs to you! So they have also become your personal property, if youre interested, just have fun with them in front of Yaer. She covered her mouth and continued, Xiang Lang is not like other men at all, if it was someone else, Yaer and the rest of them wont be so neatly dressed anymore. Xiang Shaolong laughed secretly to himself, when it comes to immorality, a modern man like him who is used to the binds of responsibility and rules really cannot be compared to them. But if hes had too much to drink, he wont know what he will do once he has loosened up under the influence of alcohol.

    After Lady Ya waved the 8 maids away, she fell into his arms and said, Imperial brother and Lian Po both regards you highly, and this will surly incur Zhao Mus wrath. Especially he sent men over earlier to summon me but I rejected him sternly. This will certainly increase his hatred. Although you are of use to him now, he will not show his true colors so soon, but he will ultimately try to set a trap for you, and if anything happens, Imperial brother will certainly help him and not you. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that he will not let him off either. How can he when he thinks of Shuers death. Lady Ya saw his expression darkened and thought that he was worried about Zhao Mu, so she said, Zhao Mu has 2 lackeys under him, one is the physician Guo Kai, the other is General Le Cheng, one a scholar and one a warrior, but they are both formidable and devious people. Theyre not in Handan right now, but if you meet them in future, you must deal with them carefully.

    Xiang Shaolong remembered Emperor Qin and hurried ask, What is the heir of the state of Qin, Ying Zheng like? Lady Ya looked unhappy and said coldly, This person is good looking, and taller and bigger than the average Qin person, but hes as timid as a mouse, afraid of everything. Itll be difficult for him to have any great accomplishments, and he only knows how to enjoy himself with women all day. Xiang Shaolong exclaimed hoarsely, What? How can he be such a person? Lady Ya straightened up and asked curiously, Why do you seem to be so interested in him? Xiang Shaolongs mind was in a mess, Emperor Qin has always been his hope and dream. No matter what, he is still a soldier loyal to his country, so naturally he felt loyalty towards this great conqueror who created China with his hands. But if Emperor Qin is a person who is only interested in women and will not have much accomplishment, wont he have lost his only hope and goal.

    But history would not be so ridiculously wrong. It must be because Emperor Qin is trying to lie to the Zhaos and pretended to be like that. Yes! That must be it. Once he thought of this explanation, he relaxed and replied, The state of Qin is so strong now, thats why I am especially interested in them! Lady Yas suspicions were not aroused and said, The Qins are the most barbaric. Only they can murder thousands of soldiers, and treat women ruthlessly and raped them, so everyone is afraid once they hear the Qin soldiers are coming. They would rather die than end up in their hands.

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but ask, Is Ying Zheng strong physically? Lady Ya reached out and touched his broad chest and said with a flirtatious smile, Hes a long shot away compared to you. If someone were to tell me that he just died, I would not be surprised at all. For someone like him who keeps having fun with women all the time, its a miracle he can survive until now. He starts panting after climbing just a few steps of stairs. She continued with a sigh, But the blame is not entirely his, firstly his mother Zhao Ji dotes on him overly. The worst thing is that Zhao Mu and his men deliberately lured him into indulging in wine and women, teaching him to drink and be merry at the age of 11, and kept on sending him beauties from the various states. How can an innocent child resist all these. This time Xiang Shaolong was really dumbfounded. Something like health can never be faked. Could it be that history is wrong, Ying Zheng is not Emperor Qin.

    Because of this his mood was greatly affected. He drank from Lady Yas hands 3 cups of strong wine successively, and also made Lady Ya drink a few cups. Lady Ya could not handle the stimulation of the alcohol and started to flirt. Xiang Shaolongs mind is in a mess, so he can only use excitement to numb himself. He summoned the 8 ladies in and made all of them drink and be merry. He finally learnt what the royalty in Zhao did, and spent the most outrageous night, until he cant even remember who he had intercourse with. Without Emperor Qin, would he have to stay like this in Zhao forever. Even if he can handle the conniving Zhao Mus traps, hed still be killed by the Qin soldiers sooner or later! Since he obviously knows his future will be thus, how can he be happy today? At this point in time he glimpsed a little understanding as to why the royalty of the various states are wasting their lives like theres tomorrow. Because no one knows if they will still have all their possessions tomorrow.

    When he woke up the next day, he was energetic and lively, making Lady Ya and the other ladies who still needed their rest surprised at him. Xiang Shaolong secretly reprimanded himself for being so outrageous. He decided not to think about Emperor Qin first. After washing up, he went to one of the practice fields in the palace to train on his horse riding and archery. The other imperial soldiers were all in awe of him and were respectful. Of course, they wouldnt dare to show it even if theyre unhappy with him, because everyone knows that he is now a popular person with the King of Zhao. His immediate superior, the Chief of Imperial Guards Zhao Fang came personally to bring him around the palace, explaining the rules and things to note, saying Our job is mainly to be responsible for the safety of the interior and exterior of the 2 palaces. The outer palace has 4 halls, 9 buildings and 10 pavilions, its where his majesty receive his officials and work. The inner palace is separated into 3 portions, the main palace is the residence of his majesty and his concubines, the western palace is used to receive foreign emissaries while the eastern palace is the residence of the royalty. For now Shaolong can take a walk around, once youre familiar with the surroundings, I will further explain to you the roles and responsibilities. Xiang Shaolong knows that he is not aware that hell be leaving on a trip soon, but did not correct him. Right at this time the internal officer Ji Guang came to look for him and took him away to try on the armor made for him.

    The armor is mainly to protect the chest and back, with belts intertwined at the shoulders, back and waist. It has a cape that looks like wings behind, and after he wore it everyones eyes gleamed. Its the first time they have seen a person like him who looks like a heavenly warrior. The 10 over female workers in the armor room stared at him. Xiang Shaolong is already used to being stared at by women, and secretly laughed to himself that in the past, he was the one looking at women but now its women who are looking at him. This should be considered the world is changing, changing from the modern to the ancient era. He wore the helmet, on its tip there are 2 pieces of half curved armor joined together to become a round shaped top, followed by a rectangular armor with rounded edges weaved from the top, and theres altogether 7 layers, the top layer pressing on the bottom layer. The shape of the armor protecting the forehead is more unique, fitting the shape of the face. The armor piece right in the middle of the forehead stretched straight down, protecting the protruding part between the brows. Maybe theyre afraid of being beheaded from the back, so the protection at the back of the neck is stronger. After wearing this imperial protectors uniform, he thought it was fun and hurriedly walked out to patrol the area.

    Another warrior of the same rank Cheng Xu volunteered himself to walk with him. They came to the building at the entrance of the main palace and after introducing Xiang Shaolong to the 10 odd guards there, he pulled him aside and said, Were all brothers now, there are some things I must tell you. Never go into the main palace alone, the more people accompanying you the better. Xiang Shaolong was surprised and pressed for the reason.

    Cheng Wei whispered, Besides the servants in the main palace, the number of concubines and maids exceed 500, and they can be capable of anything when theyre bored. A robust and muscular man like you, they would not let you out once they see you, and that is no laughing matter. Xiang Shaolong heaved a breath of relief, so thats what its all about. He furrowed his brows and asked, His Majesty does not bother about such matters? Cheng Wei smiled bitterly with a hidden meaning, His Majesty doesnt even have time to bother with his own concubines, he wont even bother about these matters. Its better if one has family in the city, they can use the excuse of going home for a visit and take the opportunity to find someone for some fun. But ladies sent by other states are not even allowed to step out of the palace gates, so once they see men they will devour them.

    Naturally Xiang Shaolong understands his meaning, the King of Zhao is not interested in women at all. He remembered Lady Yas 8 maids, and thought that they may be considered very gentle and refined. After chatting a little longer, he slipped back into Lady Yas palace. Hed just stepped into the boundaries of the eastern palace when 2 pretty palace maids ran after him, and kneeling down, said, We have been waiting for Imperial Protector for more than half a day, Lady Ni would like to seek the audience of Imperial Protector. Xiang Shaolong was in a fix, although Cheng Wei had warned him, he thought that the only dangerous area is the main palace, but he did not expect that the eastern palace is not a safe place either. He hardened his heart and said, Hai! Please convey my apologies to Lady Ni, I have something important and am in a hurry to meet Lady Ya He walked as he spoke and hurriedly escaped. The 2 palace maids wanted to run after him but he is already a long distance away. Naturally on the way he met quite a few royal ladies, and seeing their flirtatious look, Xiang Shaolong was so frightened that he kept his eyes straight. Only when he reached the boundaries of Lady Yas palace did he heave a sigh of relief.

    He had just stepped into the hall when he was received by 2 of the pretty maids who helped him remove his armor. Xiang Shaolong forgot their names and asked, What are elder sisters names? The 2 women had fun with him the whole of last night and knows that hes an easy-going person. One of them rolled her eyes at him and pouted, Master only remembers Xiaozhao and Xiaomei, Ive already given you my body and yet you do not remember my name. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that hes not even sure if he had any intercourse with her, so how could he possibly remember her name. He reached out his hand and patted her plumb bottom, asking with a laugh, Satisfied last night? The 2 girls nodded their heads shyly. Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic, secretly thinking that maybe in his muddle headed state he broke Tao Fangs record of 7 women, and thought that hes really quite good. Its just that he never had the chance to try in the past!

    The other woman replied, Shes Xiaozi, Im Xiaoyu, Master do not forget. After Xiang Shaolong repeated their names twice, he asked, Where is Lady? Xiaoyu replied, Lady is personally cooking for Master. Xiaozi smiled, Weve served Lady for so many years, its the first time we saw her do this. Xiang Shaolong thought that the food she comes out with would surely taste horrible. But he was touched, and when he thought of his wife and maids in the Wu family, he missed them. While he had women to accompany him here, they are all alone in an empty room, which is really unfair. Xiaoyu lowered her voice and said, Third Princess came to visit Lady, shes in the kitchen now as well. Besides Lady Ya, shes the prettiest in the palace. Xiang Shaolong was stunned. These palace ladies would really do anything for a man, and she actually came here to look for him.

    He had no choice but to follow the 2 maids into the kitchen. He had just walked into the inner hall when Lady Ya and another beauty dressed in palace robes came out from the kitchen and came face to face with him. Xiang Shaolongs eyes met with that beauty who cannot be any older than 17, and both pairs of eyes shone at the same time. This Third Princess looks very regal and dainty. Although she does not have Lady Yas devilish body, but shes well proportioned and her movements graceful, like a precious flower, emitting an enchanting air amidst her quietness. When she saw Xiang Shaolong, she revealed a pretty smile, her expressive eyes seems to be greeting him. The sleeves of her clothes are very wide, dragging onto the ground, an exquisite and large shawl hung on her shoulders. Her hairstyle was exquisite and unique, with 2 string of flowers made from pearls and silk hanging down the side of her hair, making her look especially dainty and exquisite. A curved comb decorated the front of her hair, with 3 hairpieces on both her left and right sides, and in the middle of her forehead she dotted a red beauty spot.

    What made Xiang Shaolongs eyes brighten is that shes not the **** he expected her to be. She was lively and sharp, with a captivating untainted, regal air about her. Standing next to the extremely beautiful Lady Ya, they look like the spring orchid and autumn chrysanthemum, each having its strong points. When she noticed Xiang Shaolong staring at her, her pretty face blushed and she lowered her head, but there was no look of unhappiness at all. The healthy fragrance of a young woman wafted into his nose and Xiang Shaolong cant help but take a deep breath.

    After Lady Ya rolled her eyes at him, she introduced the two of them. Xiang Shaolong hurriedly paid his respects to this royalty. After Lady Ya invited Third Princess into the inner hall for a seat, she pulled Xiang Shaolong aside and whispered, No matter how interested Zhao Qian seems to be in you, you must not destroy her virtue. Because this time she will follow the group and marry into the state of Wei to become the first wife of the Crown Prince. If the Weis find out that shes not intact, they will reject her and you;ll be in great trouble then. Xiang Shaolong felt that its really a pity. It doesnt matter how many beauties hes had, he still felt that this is an earth shattering pity. Lady Ya accompanied Xiang Shaolong into the hall and the Third Princess stood up, and avoiding Xiang Shaolongs eyes, said quietly, Lady, Zhao Qian is going back. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, its good that they meet less as well, or else itd be terrible if they cant bear with each other. This Zhao Qian gives one the feeling of being quiet but with good upbringing and inner beauty.

    Lady Ya did not try to keep her, but just sent her straight to the door. When she returned she said with a smile, Xiang Langs charm is really irresistible to us women, even Zhao Qian is not spared and she quickly ran away because of this. I really want to see if you have the ability to deal with the most famous beauty in Wei, Shi Cainu. (Shi = stone/ rock, Cainu = talented woman). Xiang Shaolong was perplexed, Shi Cainu? Lady Ya pulled him to the seat and leaned over, putting her arms around his neck and said coquettishly, Dont think that her family name is Shi. Its just that shes extremely talented, having shocked the scholarly world at the age of 16. Although her beauty is enough to fell a country, but shes never impressed with any men. Shes 20 this year yet she refuses to marry. She has rejected all the famous young masters seeking her favor from the various states. Thats why its rumored that she is a stone woman borne from heaven, and will not fall for any man. The more difficult it is to obtain an item, the more precious it becomes, this has always been the case since ancient times. Xiang Shaolongs interest was piqued and he asked, Even if shes unwilling to marry, but can she decide on this matter?

    Lady Ya laughed, Tempted? She and the famous Qin beauty Widow Qing each have their ways. Theyre famous for being able to maintain their chastity. Shi Cainu was able to keep herself safe because no one can be compared to her zither and scholarly skills, anyone who sees her will feel inferior. Thats why the King of Wei and Prince Xinling protects her, with these 2 huge mountains backing her, who would dare to force their way. She continued with a smile, Xiang Langs writing skills is unparalleled in the world, maybe youll have a chance to move her. Xiang Shaolong secretly lamented his guilt and changed the topic, telling her about Lady Nis intention to meet him.

    Lady Ya was stunned and sat up straight, looking at him unbelievably and said, She will look for a man as well? Xiang Shaolong said with embarrassment, Or maybe I misunderstood her intentions. Lady Ya replied, How can this be a misunderstanding. I think that this beauty after having kept herself chaste for her husband for 9 years, is finally feeling restless. Hai! Its all your fault. You were so manly the other day at the duel, who would not fall for you. Its just unimaginable that for someone so cultivated like Lady Ni, is no exception as well. Shes also the only one who will be bold enough to fight with me for you, because she is Imperial Brothers most respected cousin, and I am her most favored sister. She added with a coquettish smile, Do you need me to help you spend a night with her, or maybe the both of us will accompany you? Xiang Shaolong shook his head guardedly, I dont even know if shes tall, short, fat or thin, what if you lied to me out of love and respect for her, then wont I become a free gigolo. Lady Ya was not familiar with his modern words free gigolo, and after thinking for a while, she chortled, leaning on his shoulder and panting, said Ai! My imperial protector, how can I dare to lie to you? Wont I be afraid of being reprimanded? Do you want me to take you there and check the goods out first? I also want to see her when she abandons her troubles.

    Xiang Shaolong felt this was very inappropriate and said seriously, Dont be ridiculous, if you make use of me to make Lady Li embarrassed, I will not let you off. Lady Ya sat up straight and said aggrievedly, I just wanted you to have more opportunities for fun before you leave for Wei! Xiang Shaolong reached out and embraced her shoulder, giving her a very flirtatious and long kiss, and when Lady Ya totally melted, he said gently, Dont think that I am the same as other men, who will not be happy without beauties. I need to conserve my energy to do a good job for the journey to Wei, understand? Lady Ya has become all languid from his kisses, and she mumbled her agreement while still lost in her senses. She snuggled into his arms, lying on his muscular chest. Right at this time Xiaozhao came to report that someone from the Wu family is looking for him. Xiang Shaolong stood up and Lady Ya immediately sat up and said, Im sorry, but I have been ordered by Imperial brother that I must listen in at the side. She added with a smile, But of course I will not reveal anything!

    Xiang Shaolong shrugged his shoulders, showing that he couldnt care less. That beautiful move was enough to make Lady Ya and Xiaozhaos eyes gleam, before they walked out. In actual fact his speech and movements are very different from the people of this era, and this gave him exceptional charm and debonair. Its not a coincidence that the more handsome Lian Jin would actual lose to him so badly in the battle of love. He had just stepped into the hall when a fiery ball accompanied by a sweet fragrance ran into his arms and started crying. Of course it is the Wu familys beauty Miss Tingfang.

    Tao Fang stood in the middle of the hall and made a helpless action. There were 2 other warriors who were carrying his wooden sword and clothes. Lady Ya came next to the helpless Xiang Shaolong, reached out her hand to caress Wu Tingfangs pretty hair, went to her ear and whispered something. These words are more effective than any miracle pills to stop crying. Wu Tingfang immediately stopped her wails and lifted her pretty face to Xiang Shaolong, her teary eyes looking at Lady Ya and exclaimed, Really! Lady Ya nodded her head, and holding this pretty and dainty thing, took her into the inner hall. Of course Xiang Shaolong has no idea what Lady Ya said, but he guessed that in order to live in harmony in future, Zhao Ya will naturally try to stay on Wu Tingfangs good side. Anyone will know that if there are jealous fights, he will definitely stand on Wu Tingfangs side.

    Tao Fang instructed the warriors to put down the wooden sword and clothes and to leave the room. He gave Xiang Shaolong a questioning look and Xiang Shaolong hurriedly told him about his trip to Wei. Tao Fangs brows furrowed deeply when he heard that and said softly, Prince Xinling is exceptionally smart and has countless able men under him, hes not someone easy to deal with. You have to be careful. He paused and continued, We have our own people in Wei as well, Ill go back and make some arrangements to see how we can help you. After theyve agreed on the secret signal for the meeting, Lady Ya and a happy Wu Tingfang came out. Wu Tingfang waid with a smile, Master Tao can go back on your own, and tell Sister Ting not to worry. Fanger will stay here and take care of Xiang Lang. It was as if a huge load was taken off his shoulder and after thanking Lady Ya, Tao Fang left happily. Obviously Wu Tingfang had been harassing him. Xiang Shaolongs mood was greatly improved, naturally that night they were all engaged in loving acts, sandwiched between the 2 beauties Xhao Ya and Wu Tingfang, spending the warm and beautiful night together.

    The next morning, with the help of Xiaozhao, he changed into his armor and helmet and went to the practice fields in high spirits to practice his horse riding and archery. The other imperial guards treated him like their new heroic idol, and because he has no airs about him, hes on good relations with everyone. While he was galloping on his horse and he managed to shoot at the bulls eyes at the same time, the field erupted in cheers. Suddenly everyone knelt down and when Xiang Shaolong looked, he hurriedly scrambled off his horse and knelt down as well. It turns out that the King of Zhao is here, and next to him was a pretty young lady, with eyebrows like the spring mountains and eyes like autumns water, clear and bright. However her composure was regal, with a noble air around her that will not tolerate any audacity. She is certainly different from Lady Yas flirtatious nature. After the King of Zhao supervised the men with their training, he summoned Xiang Shaolong and said happily, Shaolong is practicing so diligently, I am much assured.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that hes practicing so hard not because of you, but because his own life is at stake, but of course he wont say that out. The King of Zhao said, Come! Pay your respects to Lady Ni! She has a request to make of you! Xiang Shaolong hurriedly paid his respects to Lady Ni, and by now he realizes that he has really misunderstood her. Such a regal lady, how can she possibly try to lure men publicly? The King of Zhao added, Lady Ni told me that Shaolong had rejected her invitation once. Initially I was unhappy when I heard it, but I later guessed that Shaolong may have misunderstood Ladys meaning, and thought its regarding matters between men and women. Theres no guilt in being ignorant, and I can see that for the sake of the mission, Shaolong is controlling yourself very well. Therefore not only will I not blame you, but I am very impressed with you. Xiang Shaolong secretly felt guilty and thought to himself that if hed known that he rejected Lady Nis invitation because his stamina is limited and he could not handle so many beauties, and also he does not know if Lady Ni is pretty or if her figure is good, would he still think the same. But on the surface he naturally sought forgiveness fearfully. The King of Zhao smiled at Lady Ni and said, Ill hand Shaolong over to you for now! And he left with the accompaniment of the imperial guards.

    Xiang Shaolong turned towards Lady Ni and she happened to be eyeing him. They eyes locked and Lady Nis pretty face blushed and she lowered her eyes and said gently, Zhao Ni was rash, causing Mister to have the misunderstanding. Xiang Shaolong saw that her skin was smooth and clear, and although shes not as pretty as Zhao Ya, not as dainty as Wu Tingfang and not as fresh as Third Princess Zhao Qian, but she has another kind of alluring beauty catches ones attention. And at this time he almost wished that it was not a misunderstanding. Lady Ni said, Theres too many people here, would Mister please come to Zhao Nis residence for a chat, and meet my son.

    Xiang Shaolong thought that this matter must certainly involve her son. All the women in this era marry early, for all you know Lady Ni got married when she was 13 or 14, so although she looks like in her 20s, its nothing strange if she has a 10 year old son. A horse carriage came over and Lady No went into the carriage. Xiang Shaolong is aware of the difference in status so he went up his horse and followed behind the carriage. In a short while they reached the place where the 2 palace maids waited the other day to invite him. The carriage turned into a courtyard. They sat down in the hall while 4 maids served them. Lady Ni was a little distracted and after drinking a few sips of hot tea did she dared to look at him. She said quietly, Ive invited Mister here today because I have a request. Xiang Shaolong saw that she dared not address him by his official title, but addressed him respectfully as Mister, and had already made his guess. He looked at her pretty eyes and asked with a smile, Has it got something to do with Little Master? Lady Ni sighed, Its all because of this son. After my late husband perished in battle, all my hopes have been placed on him, but hes stubborn by nature and does not know how to take care of himself, only interested in having fun all the time Xiang Shaolong smiled, Dont all children like to play? Lady Nis face blushed and she said worriedly, He does not play a typical childs games, but has fun with the girls in the Palace. Xiang Shaolong asked hoarsely, How old is he? Lady Ni said embarrassingly, Hell be 14 end of the year. Looking at the dumbstruck Xiang Shaolong, she said helplessly, I have found him many famous teachers to teach him, but none can do anything to him. Hell disappear in the blink of an eye. Hes only a little afraid of me, but all the servants around me are afraid of him, he Hai! I dont know what to say. Ai! The tea has turned cold.

    Xiang Shaolong was about to drink tea when a womans scream could be heard coming from the backyard. Lady Nis expression turned somber and she stood up and walked hurriedly towards the direction of the sound. Xiang Shaolong was afraid that shell be in danger and hurriedly went after her. He had just stepped into the room when he saw a stout looking boy pressing a pretty maid against the wall, her top pulled down, revealing her voluptuous chest. That boy was holding onto her hands tightly, his tiny mouth biting and sucking on her right breast, not caring if there are other people nearby. Although there were 3 maids at the side, no one dared to stop him. Lady Ni was furious and shouted, Beast! Stop your hands right now! Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that its more accurate say stop his mouth. That Little Master was shocked and released the pretty maid. He turned around and said nonchalantly, Didnt Mother went to look for his Majesty? It was Young Prince who told me. After he spoke he turned his gaze to Xiang Shaolong, his look full of jeer and disrespect. The pretty maid went away crying with her clothes in disarray. Lady Ni was so furious she was speechless.

    Xiang Shaolong wondered why she was able to hold back her tears. At the same time he realized that this kid learned martial arts since young and is strong. Hes also on good terms with the Zhao prince, so naturally he does not fear anyone, and no one can or dares to discipline him. At such a young age and already hes stained with the lecherous nature of the palace, what a pity. The Little Master looked at Xiang Shaolong from the corner of his eye and huffed, So you are that Xiang Shaolong, why arent you kneeling upon seeing me. Lady Ni roared, Outrageous! From today onwards Mister Xiang will be your teacher, you should be the one kneeling. The Little Master chortled and said, This is where Mother is wrong, how can the formalities between a ruler and a subject be dismissed. After hes paid his respects, I still have to see how capable he is before I decide if I want him to teach me. Lady Ni was so furious she stamped her feet and was about to berate him when Xiang Shaolong said with a smile, Lady please do not be upset, why dont all of you leave for a moment and let me have some heart to heart talk with Little Master.

    The Little Master saw that Xiang Shaolong was all decked out in his armor and looked imposing and actually felt a little afraid. He smiled icily and said, Who wants to talk to you. He turned around and wanted to slip away from the back door, ignoring even Lady Nis calls. He was about to slip out when there was a gust of wind and the Little Master felt a coldness brush past his ear, a dagger flew past his cheek and embedded itself on the doorframe. Little Masters legs weakened and he stopped. Lady Ni and the rest of the maids were all startled, their hands covering their mouths, thinking that if the dagger is a little way off, what would be the outcome? Little Master turned around pale faced, pointing at Xiang Shaolong and stammered, Mother! He wants to kill me, apprehend him quickly. Xiang Shaolong stared icily at him and said coldly, What kind of capability is that, shut up immediately. When I come tomorrow morning and I dont see you waiting at the study obediently, Ill find you and give you a good thrashing no matter where you hide. Now go! Little Master was so furious his face paled. He stamped his feet angrily and pointed at him hatefully, saying, Fine! We shall see! He turned around and went out the back door in the blink of an eye.

    Xiang Shaolong is not bothered about a little lad like him at all, and took the opportunity to bid his farewell to Lady Ni. Lady No lowered her head and said quietly, You have not drank that tea! Xiang Shaolong thought to himself if the beauty is tempted. He smiled suavely and went to the door to retrieve the dagger Tao Fang gave him. He had an idea. When it comes to archery, there are a lot of people who are better than him, but what about flying daggers? Theres no one better than him. But its not convenient to carry daggers, but if he were to use the 5 inch steel nails he had used while in the special task force, he can easily carry a few hundred with him and its even more deadly. He made up his mind and decided to ask Guo Zhongs men to make it immediately. He turned around and Lady Ni had just walked up behind him. The two came face to face in close distance, their eyes locked. Lady Ni uttered in alarm and moved 2 steps back, a little helpless. The most alluring thing to a man is when a chaste and mature beauty first feel the stirrings of her feelings. Xiang Shaolong is no exception, if not for the fact that there are other maids around, hell certainly flirt with her. But its not because he is deviously trying to lure her into bed, but he just wants to see her alluring, helpless look.

    Lady Ni said, Mister, this way! Xiang Shaolong followed her back to the front hall and after drinking the hot tea that she personally changed for him, bid his farewell again. Lady Ni felt a real respect for him. All the men shes ever met, besides close blood relatives like the King, all of them had designs on her once they see her. On one hand they love her beautiful body, and on the other hand they want to boast that they were able to conquer this chaste widow. She detests those lecherous faces, and only this heroic looking man in front of her cannot make her feel any loathing at all. The way he threw that dagger earlier, full of confidence and strength, is enough to touch her calm heart who has been sick of the opposite sex for so long. Lady Ni can find no further excuse to retain him, and she personally sent him to the door, looking at him deeply and lightly sighed, Mister please remember to come here early tomorrow, I will leave my little Paner to you. Xiang Shaolong almost blurted out, What about you? but of course he dared not be so rude. He gave a small smile and said, The way I teach children will not be like what you imagine, I hope Lady will be able to accept that, or you may fire me from my post any time. Lady Ni said gladly, As long as its Misters methods, I will accept them all. Ai! I was too anxious, and forgot to ask you the question about salary. Xiang Shaolong chortled and walked out the door, his voice drifting back, Im doing this because of a mothers love for her son, that would be my reward.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 2 Chap 8 The Empress of Zhao

    When he returned to the Palace, Wu Tingfang was overjoyed and after grumbling for a bit, she dragged him to the pavilion in the garden for some sweet talk.

    A moment later Lady Ya returned with a shocking news. King Xiaowen of Qin who has ascended the throne for less than 3 days suddenly died, and Ying Zhengs father has taken over the throne as King Zhuangxiang.

    Lady Ya said, King Xiaowen is 53 years old this year, and has always been weak, but this time he died after eating the medicine offered by Lu Buwei, so everyone suspects that Lu Buwei has secretly done something. But because of the relationship between King Zhuangxiang and Lu Buwei, no one dares to say anything although theyre upset. Hai! This Lu Buwei is extremely ambitious, and his methods vicious and excellent. Now all the other states are afraid that the Qin army will start to invade east very quickly.

    Xiang Shaolong was surprised and overjoyed at the news, and thought that the events are really similar to what was depicted in the movie. However he knows that the most important task for Lu Buwei now is not to attack the other 6 states, but to find a way to get his precious son Yingzheng back to Xianyang, then think of a way to murder King Zhuangxiang. In that way the throne will fall into the hands of his son, and he will become in a sense the Grand Emperor.

    Lady Ya continued, Lu Buwei has been a merchant for many years and traveled among the states, so hes very familiar with the situation in all the states. If he were to come to power, the outcome will be terrible. Merchants only care about gains and not loyalty, and are not bounded by loyalty. The thought of a person like that governing the expansion is enough to make ones blood run cold.

    Xiang Shaolong was thinking about Yingzheng instead. All along, historians did not understand that when his father Yiren and Lu Buwei escaped Handan, they left behind Zhaoji and Yingzheng to avoid arousing suspicions, but why didnt that Zhaos kill Yingzheng and his mother to appease their anger.

    Now he understood, that is Zhao Mus ploy, deliberately thinning Yingzhengs mind with wine and beauty, making him a useless person. They can then use him to make deals with the Qin in future, and even if he becomes the King, a useless person like him will be more bane than boon to the Qins. Killing 2 birds with one stone, the ploy is indeed vicious. It seems that Zhao Mu has now succeeded, so how can Emperor Qin unify the 6 states then?

    He really has no idea.

    But if he does not see Emperor Qin, he will never give up.

    Its not difficult to imagine that now that Yiren has ascended the throne to become the Qin King, the value of Yingzheng who is now the crown prince will rise. Now that hes a rare treasure, the Zhaos will certainly guard him even more closely, so how can he possibly meet him without arousing others suspicions?

    Wu Tingfang came up to him and asked, What is Xiang Lang thinking about?

    Xiang Shaolong was jolted awake and on seeing Lady Yas heated eyes staring at him, he changed the subject and asked, Who is the Premier in Qin how? Whats the situation like?

    Lady Ya sighed, It doesnt matter who is in power, the position of Premier will end up in Lu Buweis hands sooner or later.

    Wu Tingfang asked curiously, Why is Sister Ya so afraid of the Qins?

    Lady Ya replied helplessly, Its not that Im afraid of them, but theres no one who is not afraid of them. You can see clearly from our state, who is not engaged in amorous acts, wine and beauty. When the enemy soldiers are nearing the city, theyll pull themselves together for a while and once the enemy is defeated, theyll return to their old ways. However the Qins still maintain the hard working nature of the barbarians and were not influenced by the ways of the southern people. Shangyang advised the Qins to prohibit philosophy books and the country will then prosper and strengthen. Although I do not know who is right or wrong, but seeing the Qins growing stronger day by day, who can say that its wrong of the Qins to prohibit philosophy books.

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong realize that before Emperor Qin burned books and buried Confucian scholars, Shangyang has already done this long ago, burning the books first.

    Lady Ya added, Before Fan Ju became the premier, the main power in Qin was in the hands of the Marquis of Rang, and those in power were people under him. He used the strategy of attacking the far away states but maintaining friendship with nearby states, thus making the Qins commanders frequently travel far away to fight battles, depleting the countrys strength. King Zhaoxiang therefore made plans secretly with Fan Ju to take back military control, and changed the strategy to attacking the nearby states but maintaining friendship with far away states. They made peace with Qi and Chu, and used all their might to deal with Han and us, therefore the Changping battle happened. And Imperial brother made the wrong move as well, hai!

    Xiang Shaolong saw the look of sadness in her eyes, and knows that she is now thinking of the Zhao Gua who can only talk strategy and lost his life in Changping. He felt a great pity for her so he hugged and kissed her, saying gently, Let bygones be bygones, dont think too much.

    Zhao Ya leaned into his arms weakly, After the Marquis of Rang lost his power, one of his great generals Bai Qi was never on good terms with Fan Ju. In the battle of Changping, Bai Qi destroyed 400,000 of our men, his methods were never more cruel. Therefore Fan Ju made a big issue out of this and in the end managed to convince the Qin King to execute Bai Qis entire clan. This move resulted in the hatred of Qins generals towards an outsider like Fan Ju, and finally its now Cai Ze of Yan who is now the Premier. But Lu Buwei is riding on a high tide now, and the good days for Cai Ze will soon be over.

    Xiang Shaolong felt his joy run dry on hearing this, and felt that the future is bleak. In this era, everyone will murder if it can benefit himself. He hugged the 2 women and said, Hai! Dont think anymore. Well drink and be merry today, and leave all worries to tomorrow. Come! Lets go into the room immediately and have fun.

    The 2 womens pretty eyes shone and they repeated, Drink and be merry today, and leave all worries to tomorrow. Well said, Xiang Lang. They followed him obediently, their powered face burning.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought to himself, how can he be bothered about whats going to happen tomorrow? He only knows how to fight and knows nothing about politics, its a silly dream if he wants to change this era. Why not have fun instead, enjoy each beauty as they come, that would be more practical. Who knows if hell still be alive tomorrow, or if hell still be in this era?

    He cant help but think of the regal and elegant Zhao Ni.

    Lets see if hell have a chance to flirt with the lady tomorrow, that would certainly be a captivating experience and would not have put his journey here to waste.

    As for whether he can still return to the 21st century, he doesnt really care anymore.

    Xiang Shaolong woke up before the sun rose, changed into his military uniform but without wearing his armor, left for the practice field to practice his horse riding and archery.

    From now on hes not going to think about the future, but only wants to spend his time enjoying life to the fullest.

    The many years of habit made him like exercising, therefore his stamina is better than others. The amorous night he spent did not affect him much. Instead, if he doesnt exercise, hell feel uncomfortable instead.

    He humbly sought advice from the other imperial guards the various techniques of controlling a horse, therefore he improved by leaps and bounds. He was able to turn and flip at ease on horseback and execute various difficult moves. He also practiced hard on charging in battle. Its just that hes not too used to fighting a battle on a horse wearing heavy armor.

    After a hard practice, he let Cheng Xu take him to the soldiers quarters assigned to him and after his shower, went to Lady Nis residence. Just as he was thinking how he should flirt with this beauty when he suddenly heard someone calling him.

    Xiang Shaolong looked over in surprise and saw Lady Nis mischievous and lecherous son waving to him from a building on the left.

    He obviously knows that it wont be anything good but hes not afraid at all and walked over with large strides.

    The Little Master dashed into the building.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly laughed to himself and heightened his senses. He had just stepped into the courtyard when there was a whoosh and a huge net dropped down from above.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed and rolled forward, avoiding the net and jumped up as if nothing happened, tapping the dust and grass off his clothes.

    In the spacious courtyard 10 odd people holding swords jumped out from their hiding place and surrounded him. Master Pan was hiding behind a bigger kid who was a head taller than him and shouted, Beat him up!

    Xiang Shaolong took a look around and wanted to laugh. These 10 odd people were between the ages of 14 to 17, and looks like little bullies in the royal family, and they actually dared to gang up to deal with him.

    The bigger kid who was shielding the Little Master could have been Zhaos crown prince, so how can he let him have a chance to reveal his status. He laughed and drew out his rainbow sword and went towards Master Pan.

    2 swords hurriedly went up in defense.

    Xiang Shaolong gave 2 heavy blows which stunned his opponents and their swords dropped to the ground, before giving them a kick on their butts. The 2 spoiled kids groaned as they fell to the ground.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed as he waved his sword, slashing any sword that comes forward and kicking any butt that he sees and in a short while he defeated this royal gang. He pretended to roar and frightened this group of teenagers so much that they scattered away in fear.

    Naturally he will not let Master Pan off and he flipped him over on the ground and using his sword, slapped his butt more than 10 times before lifting the wailing boy up and said icily, If you cry one more time, I will give you 10 slaps.

    Master Pan has never seen someone so terrible and he immediately shut up.

    Xiang Shaolong escorted him home. Lady Ni has long heard about what happened and was at the door waiting.

    Once Master Pan sees his mother, he saw that he has backing and started crying again.

    Lady Nis heart ached on seeing this and was about to console him when Xiang Shaolong said loudly, Lady will either hand him over to me, or I will never interfere in future again.

    Lady Ni was startled and she lowered her head and said, Of course I will hand him over to Mister!

    Xiang Shaolong smiled and said, That would be best! He lifted Master Pan by the scruff of his neck and dragged him into the study, keeping Lady Ni and the rest of the maids outside. He sat down on the soft cushion and grinned at Master Pan who was scrambling to get up from the floor with a look of absolute hatred.

    Xiang Shaolong roared, Sit down!

    Master Pan immediately sat down.

    Xiang Shaolong said coldly, Look! Look at you, you have no ability yourself so you went to look for help, thinking of bullying others by sheer numbers. And you cry and scream when you lose, what kind of a hero is that.

    Master Pan gritted his teeth and said, Youre not a hero, the old bullying the young.

    Xiang Shaolong humph, If youre afraid of me, you wont come and find trouble with me on your own accord. You know this is not a question of the old bullying the young, but a question of who is stronger and who is weaker.

    Master Pan was dumbfounded, he did not expect Xiang Shaolong to be so formidable. He thought for a moment before he tried to scare him by saying, Just now you kicked Young Princes butt, he will certainly tell his Majesty to chop off your head.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed, I see that youre so young and yet you know how to flirt with women, and I thought youre a person of standing. But I did not expect that when you lose to others, you only know how to use despicable methods. I was wrong about you, get lost! I do not want to see you ever again.

    Master Pan eyed his suspiciously and got up. He turned around and was about to leave when he turned back again and asked, Why is it that when I made fun of these women, you regard me as a person of standing?

    Xiang Shaolong replied nonchalantly, Most men are lecherous, it doesnt matter if theyre young or old. When I saw you molesting that sister the other day, you did seem to have a hand with you and I thought your other skills would be good as well. But I did not expect you to be so useless. If you have some spirit in you then you should practice hard to be more capable than me and defeat me properly.

    Its the first time Master Pan hear an adult admiring his evil ways, so he nodded his head and said, Just you see! One day I will defeat you.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he has successfully piqued his curiosity and thoughts of winning, so he said, Whats the use of just saying it, just scram! I abhor those useless people who only knows how to talk empty. I hope you never have the chance to go to battle, or else itll not be something so simple as getting a kick on the butt.

    Youths have always idolized heroes. Xiang Shaolong is good looking and easily defeated the powerful man in his eyes, so he has long harbored a respect and fear for Xiang Shaolong. Now that Xiang Shaolongs words sounded reasonable to his ears, he cant help but felt his enmity reduce and he sat back down and said, If I listen to you, will you teach me how you fought earlier?

    Xiang Shaolongs eyes gleamed and he said, Do you know how valuable my skills are, how can I just teach you just because of a word from your mother. If you want to learn, youll have to pass a test first. He continued with a smile, But if youre obedient, not only can I make you become Zhaos true hero and swordsman, I can also teach you how to become a love expert that will charm all women to death. All the beauties in the world will be yours to pick.

    Using both hard and soft tactics, Master Pans face brightened. Ever since his father passed away, hes always envied others who has a father, and Xiang Shaolong just happen to fit into this emptiness. Naturally he did not realize it himself, but in his heart he actually thirst for someone like Xiang Shaolong to appear.

    He was silent for a moment before he ventured to ask, Really! What kind of test do I need to pass?

    Xiang Shaolong know that he cannot be slipshod about this matter, so he stood up and helped him up as well.

    Just as Master Pan was surprised at the attention given to him, Xiang Shaolong lifted him up and flung him over his shoulder onto the rug, laughing loudly, First is to get a beating. A person who cannot withstand a beating is not qualified to fight.

    Although Master Pan was thrown onto the floor, but he only felt a slight pain and thought that this was fun, so he jumped up.

    Xiang Shaolong taught him a few moves of Judo on how to wrestle, and allowed Master Pan to trip him, so his interest was aroused. After a round of wrestling fun, and truly like a childs character, he soon forgot all his hatred and enmity.

    Xiang Shaolong tousled his head and said, Go and look for some other people to try my methods! If you listen to instructions and are obedient, youll certainly become like me in future, tall and strong with extraordinary abilities.

    Master Pan shouted in joy and ran out the door.

    Lady Ni who has been waiting outside the door all this while was dumbfounded; she cannot understand why her mischievous son would be so ecstatic?

    She stepped into the study and looked dumbly at Xiang Shaolong, not knowing what to say at all.

    Xiang Shaolong walked over and closed the door. He went behind her and said with a smile, If I teach Little Master how to be close with women, what would Lady think?

    Lady Nis body shook and she turned around abruptly and asked hoarsely, What? She almost knocked into him, but she retreated, and this time it was only a small step back.

    Xiang Shaolong said nonchalantly, Children are all rebellious and curious. The more Lady tries to restrict him, the more hell want to break the rules. So if we let him know clearly what he is doing, what would be the consequences, what responsibility hell have to take, hell learn to control himself instead.

    Lady Ni stammered, But hes only 13!

    Xiang Shaolong asked, How old was Lady when you got married?

    Lady Ni blushed and she lowered her gaze, At that time I was only 14.

    Xiang Shaolongs heart lurched and he said with a smile, So! 13 is not considered too young, there are a lot of 15 year old males with wives and mistresses, and this is the case in the Palace as well. If Lady wants to stop him from getting close to women, it would be a very difficult task.

    Lady Ni said worriedly, But I still keep thinking that hes an immature kid. However Misters way of thinking is indeed astute and unique, Ive never heard of anyone else who has such a thinking.

    Xiang Shaolong took the opportunity to look at her chest, waist and long limbs, thinking to himself that youll really know how unique a modern man like me is once youre in bed.

    Lady Ni was just stealing a peep at him and saw his heated eyes roving over her chest and was shocked, Mister!

    Xiang Shaolong was embarrassed that she noticed his lecherous look and hurriedly took his leave.

    Lady Ni wanted to retain him a little longer but she could find no excuse, so she can only send him out the door shyly.

    Both of them were feeling guilty so they could feel that secret excitement although no words were spoken.

    Xiang Shaolong returned to Lady Yas place and was about to have fun with the ladies when the King of Zhao suddenly summoned him, so he left hurriedly.

    The guard brought him straight to the inner Palace. Xiang Shaolong remembered Cheng Xus warning and asked with furrowed brows, Isnt his Majesty working at the Outer Palace?

    The guard was expressionless as he replied, I am only following orders, and do not know anything else.

    The 2 of them walked along the wide and long corridors in the palace, meeting ladies-in-waiting and concubines on the way and all of them were making eyes at Xiang Shaolong. All these ladies were specially chosen, so naturally theyre all beauties.

    They reached an especially magnificent palace building and after the guard passed him over to 2 servants, he left.

    One of the servants instructed him to remove his sword and any other weapons before leading him into the hall.

    Hed just stepped into the hall but Xiang Shaolong knows that something is wrong.

    On both sides there were 10 strong, stout men standing. On a raised platform at the end of the hall, a lady with her hair piled high up, wearing a colorful and elegant robe was lounging on a chair covered with soft cushions, looking at him icily.

    Sitting next to her was the young prince whose butt he just kicked this morning, and behind them sat 7 to 8 beauties who looked like concubines, and behind these ladies were 10 odd pretty ladies-in-waiting, but all of them looked unfriendly.

    Looking at such a layout, naturally he knows what is happening. He hurriedly knelt down and kowtowed, Imperial Protector Xiang Shaolong pays his respect to your Majesty.

    Empress Zhao does not look older than 30, and looked regal and imposing, with a high nose bridge, showing that shes a person of steely character with a mind of her own.

    Naturally shes not as beautiful as Lady Ya, Lady Ni or Third Princess, but her posture while on the dais, especially her thick lips, looks very sexy.

    With one look, Xiang Shaolong can hazard a guess about her character.

    This kind of woman loves men who are stronger than her.

    The young prince pointed at him and said with hatred, Imperial Mother! Hes the one who kicked me.

    Empress Zhaos eyes turned icy and she lightly reprimanded, You dare to offend even the prince, Xiang Shaolong do you know this is a death penalty.

    Xiang Shaolong replied without fear, I now know my mistake, but at that time I did not know that Young Prince were among the 10 odd people surrounding and attacking me. I was only under Lady Nis orders to teach Master Pan well, and also to defend myself, so I made such a mistake. Would your Majesty please look into this further.

    Obviously Empress Zhao has no idea what the whole thing was about and after staring at the Young Prince, she added coldly, What actually happened? Tell me clearly from the beginning.

    Therefore Xiang Shaolong truthfully related what happened right from the start, his voice full of confidence and persuasion, making Empress Zhao and all the concubines secretly discount what was originally told to them. When he spoke about how he taught Master Pan a lesson, he revealed a warm smile.

    The Young Prince saw that the situation is amiss so he tugged Empress Zhaos sleeve and said, Imperial Mother must help your son.

    Empress Zhao furrowed her brows and asked, What do you want?

    The Young Price went to her ear and whispered a few words.

    Empress Zhao nodded her head slightly and raised her voice, Stand up.

    Xiang Shaolong stood to his full height proudly, and for a moment he looked even vetter than the 20 stout looking men, making the eyes of the Empress and the concubines all light up.

    Its the first time they have seen a person of such capabilities.

    Empress Zhao said gently to the Young Prince, Imperial Mother can accede to your request, and let them give Xiang Shaolong a beating so that your anger can be appeased. But if they were to lose to him instead, you will have to be like Little Pan and follow Xiang Shaolong and learn martial arts and bearing from him, will you agree?

    She saw for herself how he defeated Lian Jin the other day and knows that he is highly skilled, and now that she knows hes a good disciplinarian, she was overjoyed and thus made this request.

    The Young Prince asked happily, Will they all strike at the same time?

    Empress Zhao furrowed her brows, How can it be that unfair, isnt it enough for you to pick 3 of them out?

    The Young Prince was wary after the beating by Xiang Shaolong and he shook his head, No! Not enough.

    There was an uproar among the 20 stout men, all revealing looks of unhappiness and spoiling for a fight.

    Xiang Shaolong bowed and said, Since your Majesty has agreed to Young Princes request, Shaolong is willing to give a try.

    Everyone in the hall gasped.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly laughing to himself, when it comes to freestyle fighting, hes not afraid no matter how many people there are. These men are naturally considered strongmen in this era, but theyre a long way off if compared to Black Faced Deity.

    The Young Prince exclaimed happily, Thats settled then, fight immediately. And secretly thought to himself that hell surely be dead this time.

    Xiang Shaolong removed his outer robe, revealing his wonderful physique, making the Empress and the ladies hearts all beat faster and their eyes mesmerized.

    The 20 men were furious at being belittled and they all shouted in unison as they removed their tops, revealing their exquisite upper bodies and came forward to surround Xiang Shaolong.

    Xiang Shaolong have not had a good fight for a long time and is now in the mood for it. He followed them and removed his top as well, revealing his strong and chiseled body, and muscles with not an ounce of fat surrounding his broad chest and arms. The most impressive part is his six pack on his tummy.

    Empress Zhao has always been ignored by the King and her heart was aflame on seeing this, and was speechless for a moment.

    The Young Prince shouted, Strike!

    4 men immediately pounced towards Xiang Shaolong, with 2 going to hug him from behind and the other 2 waving their fists to attack his temple and chest, and it seems that they are not pulling their punches at all.

    The ladies all screamed in unison.

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly retreated, his left and right elbows knocking into the 2 men coming up behind him.

    The 2 men groaned and knelt down on the ground.

    Xiang Shaolong pressed down on their shoulders and used the motion to propel himself into the air, his legs kicking out and striking the 2 men who were attacking from the front right in the face.

    With blood flowing down their noses, the 2 men covered their faces and fell backwards.

    In one instant he has dealt with 4 men.

    The Young Price was extremely nervous and kept cheering for the others.

    When Xiang Shaolong landed on the ground again, he rolled forward and his legs kicked up diagonally. The other 2 men has never seen such unorthodox way of fighting and they were immediately kicked on their stomachs and sent flying off, unable to get up.

    When he jumped up, a man attacked him with both his fists but he forcefully pushed the fists aside and took the opportunity to give 2 punches to the mans chest. He turned around with a kick and the kick landed on another mans chest, sending the 2 of them flying off at the same time.

    His fighting style is a combination of Thai boxing, karate, western boxing and Koreas judo, mixed with Chinese martial arts, the moves welded after serious analyzing and its not something that the martial arts of this era can fight against. It uses very little strength to defeat almost half of his opponents and those who were stuck will lose their ability to fight.

    The other men were startled and retreated.

    The Young Prince was dumbfounded, looking at Xiang Shaolong who seems to be as mighty as a deity unbelievably.

    Empress Zhao could not take it any longer and shouted, Stop!

    The men all heaved a sigh of relief and helped the injured retreat.

    Xiang Shaolong knelt down and said, Would your Majesty please forgive me, Xiang Shaolong has been merciful in the fight, theyll be fine after a short rest.

    The Young Prince was unhappy and pouted, Imperial Mother!

    Empress Zhao stared at him at said, It is your father and your good fortune that Great Zhao has such a marvelous warrior, what else do you want?

    The Young Price was cowered by Xiang Shaolongs air and for a moment was unable to speak. After a moment he stamped his feet and ran out of the hall.

    Empress Zhao turned back towards Xiang Shaolong and her eyes gentle, said, Imperial Protector please rise.

    Xiang Shaolong sttod up and bowed, saying, If your Majesty does not have any other instructions, I will take my leave.

    After Empress Zhao waved the rest of the men away, she stood up and walked down the dais and said apologetically, Imperial Protectors clothes are all dirty! And shouted, Men, bring Imperial Protector to the back palace for a bath and change.

    Xiang Shaolong was startled and thought that the situation is terrible, what difference is this from sending a goat to a tigers den? Before the concubines and ladies in waiting have a chance to reach him, he swiftly scooped up his clothes and signaled the ladies to stop, and begged the Zhao Empress, I will be going to the state of Wei the day after, now were in a hurry to prepare for the trip, would your Majesty please forgive me.
    The more the Empress sees him, the more she is taken with him, but on seeing him so determined, she did not want to stop him, thinking to herself that in future there will be the excuse to ask him to teach the Prince martial arts, so therell be opportunities to see him. She smiled and said, At least let them help you dress!

    The ladies in waiting all swarmed forward and were busy helping him dress while giggling, and of course they took the opportunity to touch him to their hearts content.

    The Empress and the concubines were all looking from the side with adoration in their expressions. However, Xiang Shaolong was worried, what if the King of Zhao were to find out about this, what would his reaction be?

    He cant help but secretly lament.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 2 Chap 9 Flirting with the virtuous lady

    He returned to Lady Yas palace when Guo Zhong sent him the things he ordered. There were about a thousand pieces of flying needles, and the sight of it gave him a great boost. Lady Ya and Wu Tingfang were discussing the use of those strange things like springs, hooks etc, and when they saw him coming back, they immediately queried him. Xiang Shaolong hugged the 2 women and kissed and touched them until they were delirious and he totally avoided answering them. Suddenly a little esteemed guest arrived, and its Master Pan, who was happily boasting to him how he managed to wrestle and fell a lot of people. But he added, But they defeated me very soon again.

    Xiang Shaolong asked him about the young princes attitude. Master Pan said, Master is really great, to have beaten that bunch of warriors. The Young Price might not admit it, but I can see that he is quite awed in his heart. Those who have not tasted your prowess and bravely wanted to seek you out but they were all rejected by Young Prince. Lady Ya laughed, What? Your little gang of bullies have finally met your nemesis? Master Pan looked at her lecherously, not at all giving way and said, Isnt Aunt Ya conquered by Master as well? Lady Ya was so furious that she stared at him with rounded eyes, and ignoring him, left with Wu Tingfang. Master Pan stared at Wu Tingfangs perky bottom and said appreciatively, Sister Wu is really pretty, no one in the palace can be compared to her.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly reprimanded him for being a little lecher, but if they were to exchange positions, he may not be any much better than him. Its simply too easy to obtain women here. He asked, Lad! Tell me, have you done it with women? Master Pan was excited as he replied honestly, Of course, but Im still a long way off compared to Master, even Aunt Ya has been conquered by you. Ive long appointed you as the most attractive man in Zhao for women. He continued with a low voice, Have you touched Mother? Xiang Shaolong was stunned for a moment, this little imp is really difficult to handle, how can him impart to him the correct values? Master Pan lowered his voice and added, Ive just asked Mother, her face turned red and she chased me out, but I can tell that she secretly likes you. Xiang Shaolong did not know whether to be angry or to laugh, so he dragged him to the garden, forced him to do a few more exercises and taught him a few basics of the Mohist swordplay. Master Pan has already regarded him as his idol, and for once he was intent on practicing. It was only after dinner that Master Pan left, sad to part.

    Xiang Shaolong had been working hard the whole day so he dragged the 2 ladies to the pool for some fun while the 8 maids helped them pour in hot water. This enjoyment like that of an emperor gave him a feeling of decadence. When hes having fun, who cares about so much. But nevertheless he is someone who will not be willingly controlled by fate, so after having his way with the 2 ladies, while still hugging them in the pool, he started asking Lady Ya about the situation in the various states. He asked, Why is it that the other states know how formidable Qin is, but they do not unite against him? For example our trip to Wei this time, on the surface its a peaceful trip but in actual fact theres something more sinister going on. Lady Ya replied, If you dont stop caressing me, how do you expect me to give you a proper answer? Xiang Shaolong released his hand that was encompassing her well endowed bosom, kissed her face and said, Speak then! Wu Tingfang moaned, Shaolong! Fanger wants to listen as well! Xiang Shaolong laughed and moved his hand to hug her slender waist instead and asked, Will this do! Wu Tingfang kissed him happily and hurriedly said, Sister Ya speak quickly.

    After spending these 2 days together, and with Lady Ya trying to get into her good books, these 2 ladies became as close as sisters. Lady Ya arranged the thoughts in her mind and sighed, The main reason, I think is the problem of geography. For example the 2 states of Qi and Yan, are further away from Qin, so they do not feel the pain as acutely as us. Everyone knows that to become stronger, one has to expand the territory, thats why when the Yan saw us suffering a serious set back after Changping, they took the opportunity to invade. Whod have the time to think about uniting against Qin. Xiang Shaolong nodded his head, Yaers analysis is very reasonable, Im sure the 6 states will be destroyed by the stronger Qin sooner or later, we should make plans earlier. The 2 ladies were silent and unconsciously came closer to him. Only that way can they feel a sense of security. In this era, losing a war means death to a warrior, and to women from the royal family it means losing their most basic dignity, and end up being worse than prostitutes, as playthings for men.

    In the warm water, touching the 2 alluring bodies, Xiang Shaolongs mind began to wander, thinking about his extraordinary encounter. These few days he has not thought of which era he should belong to. All the relatives and friends are getting further and further away from him, separated by time that cannot be crossed. Something must have gone wrong with that Crazy Mas machine, and he will be classified as mysteriously missing. No one will bother about him, the forgetful people will soon forget him, leaving him alone with secrets that he cannot reveal to anyone, struggling to survive in this heartless warring states. He once had grand dreams as well, it was Yuan Zongs sacrifice that fired his valor, making him think of using Emperor Qin to conquer the world and create a unified society. But the real situation about Emperor Qin shattered his dream, and he now only wants to numb himself with wine and beauties, enjoying life to the fullest.

    Hes not willing to give himself up to despair just like that. But what can he do? If the trip to Wei is successful, he may face the prospect of losing his official post and his life upon his return because Zhao Mu will certainly not let him off. The King of Zhao may be treating him very nicely now, but those royalty never regarded their subordinates as humans. Theres no such concept as human rights in this era. What plans can he make? He can only take each step as it comes. Once he thought of this, Xiang Shaolong released the 2 ladies and pulled Xiaozhao, who was pouring in hot water for him, into the pool, and began his outrageous acts. Amidst the womens giggles, the pool bubbled with countless loving acts.

    The next day Xiang Shaolong taught Master Pan the Mohist swordplay for a while, and after joking and talking with him, realized that this stubborn little boy is 4 to 5 years more mature than others his age, wild and rebellious yet strong and smart. For the first time Xiang Shaolong felt a liking towards him. Master Pan suddenly exclaimed earnestly, Master! Will you marry my Mother? There are a lot of people who want to possess her inside and outside the palace, if someone I hate gets her, Id rather kill myself. Xiang Shaolong looked at him in shock and said with surprise, I didnt know that you care for your Mother that much. But even if I have the intention of marrying your Mother, Id still need his Majestys approval. Firstly I have not made any significant contributions, secondly my position is lowly, so how can his Majesty agree. Well talk about this at a later date! Master Pan said dejectedly, What shall Mother do than, Ive never seen her look at another man the same way she looks at you.

    What an astute kid. Xiang Shaolong reached out and tousled his hair and was about to speak when from the corner of his eyes, he saw the fresh looking Zhao Ni walking towards them, her fragrance already preludes her presence. She saw Xiang Shaolong touching Master Pans head, and her own son looking so obedient, a feeling of happiness she has not felt since her husband died in battle welled up in her and she said with a smile, Good morning Mister, theres no way I can express my thanks to you, and I can only repay you in my next life. Master Pan said quietly, Mother! Why the next life? Lady Nis cheeks immediately burned and she was shocked and embarrassed at the same time. She stared at him and said angrily, Xiao Pan you really dont think before you speak, this is extremely rude towards Mister and your Mother, you

    Xiang Shaolong knows that it is going to be difficult for her to round this embarrassment up nicely, and Master Pan is a stubborn kid as well, so he quickly said, Xiao Pan, arent you going to make your escape quickly? Master Pan laughed and ran away. The atmosphere became even more awkward. Lady Ni was at a loss, it seems wrong to try to explain, but it seems even worse if she doesnt explain.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at this virtuous lady looking so alluring lost, her resolution wavering and knows that the longer they stay in silence, the more the ambiguity of their feelings will increase. He thought it interesting and deliberately did not speak, but just looked at her eyes. Lady Ni stole a look at him and their eyes met, she suddenly felt her body going soft, her heart beating erratically. What should she do? How can she lose her composure like that. Xiang Shaolong saw that shes almost dying of embarrassment and thought that Master Pan was right, its better to benefit oneself rather than others. He asked quietly, Shall we take a seat in Linzhong Pavilion? Linzhong Pavilion is the deepest part of Lady Nis courtyard, in the dense osmanthus forest, there is a hidden and exquisite pavilion, a good place for a rendezvous.

    Isnt this considered a date.

    Lady Ni was stunned for a moment and lifted her head to look at him, confusion filled her eyes, unable to speak. Xiang Shaolong knows that her heart was confused and wavering between the 2 extremes of preserving her chastity for her dead husband and to give herself to him in gratitude. He did not wait for her reply and seeing that theres no one around, he pulled her slender hands and walked towards the osmanthus forest. Lady Ni was pulled along by him and was unable to break free so she had no choice but to follow him and lightly reprimanded him, Mister Xiang Xiang Shaolong was holding her soft hand, his heart seems to be filled with sweetness. He felt the excitement of flirting with a virtuous lady so he has no time to think whether shes willing or not. He just pulled her along the forest and his eyes brightened, the pavilion appeared right in front of him.

    Lady Ni struggled hard and broke lose of his grasp. She stopped moving immediately, lowered her head and said sadly, Will Mister respect Zhao Nis reputation? Xiang Shaolong knows that the more haste, the less speed, so he said gently, I, Xiang Shaolong is not someone who will force another, come! Let us just sit for a while in the pavilion and enjoy the fragrance from the osmanthus. Lady Ni said quietly, But you must first promise me that youll be respectful. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, the worse is that she will not stay, because if shes willing to stay, theres no way she can escape his clutches. If she can escape, hell change his family name from Xiang to Zhao. He walked into the pavilion, sat on the stone ledge and signaled to her respectfully, Lady please come in for a short stay.

    Lady Ni seems to have forgotten that Xiang Shaolong has not agreed to her condition of being respectful, and she walked daintily up the pavilion and leaned on the stone ledge next to him. Because Xiang Shaolong was sitting on the ledge, their height is now about the same. The 2 faces met straight on, 2 pairs of eyes interlocked. This time Lady Ni was braver and did not look away, just that she looked lost and her bosom heaved as her breath quickened, as she does not know how to hide her own feelings at all. Xiang Shaolong was overjoyed on seeing that she finally could not withstand his flirtations, and began to lose his control, but yet he cannot be overly anxious or she will not be able to accept it. He asked gently, Can you smell the fragrance of the osmanthus?

    Lady Nis face blushed redder and she nodded and made a sound of acknowledgement. Xiang Shaolong slowly extended his right hand carefully, and touched the side of her waist first, slowly but steadily moving his hand behind her waist and around the other side of her waist. Lady Ni was standing unsteadily and with a gasp, half of her body fell into his arms, her soft bosom pressing tightly on his right chest. Their breathing immediately quickened. Lady Ni is shaking in his arms like a frightened bird, but she did not struggle or object. She was blushing to the ears, her heart is like a furnace, melting down the barrier of 9 years.

    That is such a long time. Xiang Shaolong came close to her face, only a few inches away and almost kissing her fragrant lips and asked, How can the fragrance of the osmanthus be compared to Lady? Lady Ni was at a loss and said, Didnt we agree that you will not be rude towards me? Xiang Shaolong is an expert at handling women and knows that the more he behaves like a rascal now, the easier will he achieve his aim so he asked in surprise, How can this be considered rude, its a very big respect instead? Lady Ni was shocked but she was unable to speak, because her lips were already locked by a strong and flirtatious man.

    The fiery tongue teased the inside and outside of her mouth. Lady Ni has always been a regal and conservative person, even her husband before his death treated her with much respect and abided by the ancient rules. They only sleep together once a month and theres no bodily contact at all outside of bed. To her, Xiang Shaolongs invasion now is even more outrageous than what her dead husband has done to her, and this is the reason why she cannot accept Master Pan flirting with the maids. But in an ordinary royal family, the parents will usually close an eye on such matters. What is most hateful is that the way Xiang Shaolong took advantage of her is a hundred times more bold and clever than what her dead husband did. His fearlessness gave her a taste of excitement shes never felt before, until Xiang Shaolong invaded her tiny mouth did she instinctively extended her hand to push him, trying to separate the 2 lips. Her token struggle only served to fan Xiang Shaolongs desire. Initially he was only acting rashly, but now he is consumed by a burning desire, unable to stop himself.

    He knows that he cannot just stop at this forced kiss, so as his tongue intertwined with hers, he hugged her closer, one hand holding her soft waist tightly and the other hand caressing her fragile cheeks, ears, hair and tender neck. Lady Nis hands were grabbing his collar tightly, trembling and panting, her pretty eyes closed, the intention to struggle being overwhelmed slowly by the long kiss. Xiang Shaolongs hands became naughty and slipped into her collar and when it came to her smooth and voluptuous bosom, Lady Ni gasped and her hands held his disobedient hands tightly in a death grip from outside her clothes. Xiang Shaolong knows that she is not really unwilling, but its just a natural reaction of a woman trying to preserve their chastity so he was not disheartened. He caressed her full bosom with determined strength and moved his attack down inch by inch, and at the same time increased his attack on her mouth.

    Lady Ni gasped and trembled, finally losing the defense of her chest, her bosom being taken over completely by Xiang Shaolong. The strong feeling of excitement and happiness made her hands surrender, unable to make any moves to defend at all. She lowered her hands and grabbed Xiang Shaolongs strong waist. Xiang Shaolong let his hands travel around her jade white chest, then stayed there motionless, slowly leaving her burning lips and lowered his head to study her pretty face. Lady Nis mouth was opened due to her heavy breathing, and she slowly raised her lids, and it seems that she was looking at him angrily for a moment before closing her eyes again in embarrassment.

    This look is even more effective than any flirtations. Xiang Shaolong removed his hands from her clothes and touched her taut and long legs. Lady Ni gasped in surprise and caught hold of his hand, her eyes begging him. Xiang Shaolong caressed her legs, slowly moving up while his lips came towards her mouth again.

    Right at this intense moment, the sounds of maids calling could be heard. The both of them were startled and separated. Lady Ni panted, Please, stop her, dont let her see me like this. Xiang Shaolong pinched her thigh hard before walking out of the woods and stopped the pretty maid who was running towards him and asked, Whats the matter? The pretty maid blushed and curtsied before saying, Master Tao from the Wu residence is looking for Mister. Sister Xiaozhao from Lady Yas residence has accompanied him here. Xiang Shaolong replied, Will sister please ask him to wait a moment, Ill be right there. The pretty maid said, Mister just call me Yinger! and after giving him a sweet smile, left.

    Xiang Shaolong was in high spirits and when he returned to the pavilion, Zhao Ni had already slipped away. He gave a bitter smile and returned to the hall to meet Tao Fang. Tao Fang looked well traveled and when he saw him, he said in a low voice, We just received secret news, this trip youre making to send Third Princess to Weis capital Daliang is not without danger. No only are the horse thieves eyeing you, it seems that the state of Qi wants to spoil this marriage arrangement between Wei and Zhao, and theyre getting someone to spoil Zhao Qians chastity. Shaolong must be very careful. Xiang Shaolong exclaimed in surprise, This should be a highly secretive affair, how did the news leak out? Tao Fang sighed, Naturally someone leaked the news deliberately. From what I see, this traitor would either be Zhao Mu or Prince Shaoyuan. N Xiang Shaolong was stunned, What good will this do them? Prince Shaoyuan will be in the same boat as me, if were attacked, hell be in danger as well! Tao Fang replied, It may be a complicated affair, Ive come specially to remind you, the journey will begin tomorrow.

    Xiang Shaolong remembered the Juzi token, and after telling him to send someone to give it to him, sent him off after chatting for a while longer. He was just contemplating whether to return when Lady Nis maid Yinger came to inform him that shed like to see him. Xiang Shaolong was a little surprised and followed her into the house. In the study he saw Lady Ni who was now back to her respectable self. After Yinger closed the door and left, Xiang Shaolong walked forward cautiously and asked gently, Is Lady is upset with me for being rude? Lady Ni stared at him lovingly, lowered her head and said, Youve been rude for a long time, so how can I blame Mister? Xiang Shaolong felt a rush of desire and grabbed her soft hands, saying with a smile, Im pleasantly surprised by Ladys admiration! Lady Nis pretty face blushed again, and allowed him to toy with her slender hands and complained, Mister will be going on a mission to Wei tomorrow. Hai! How do you expect me to spend this time? Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic, on hearing such heartfelt words, he pulled her into his arms, his mouth moving over her face as he said, Time is short, will Lady blame me for being too fast?

    Lady Nis dailty body softened and she shook her head, lowering it. Xiang Shaolong felt his desire burning and as he kissed her, he loosened her clothes. Lady Ni let go of all restrictions and allowed him to do as he wants, even encouraging him with her tongues fiery reaction, totally enrapturing Xiang Shaolong. Chaste women like this who have restrained themselves for so long, once they release their feelings, are frequently more vigorous than lascivious women. Lady Ni is like that, her long surpressed feelings erupted like water busting out from the mountains. The two of them were entwined for more than 2 hours before they stopped for lunch.

    Master Pan came back excitedly and announced, I defeated another 2 people, they all want you to become their Teacher. He then looked perplexedly at his mother who now has a glow that is not usually seen. Lady Ni is really lousy, and she blushed in front of her son. She couldnt bear to leave Xiang Shaolong either, and she looked thoroughly enticing. Master Pan looked at Xiang Shaolong and asked happily, Teacher and Mother Lady Ni was embarrassed and overjoyed at the same time and reprimanded, I wont allow Xiao Pan to speak further. Master Pan stuck his tongue out and giggled but he stopped talking and started eating energetically instead.

    Xiang Shaolong felt a rush of desire again and touched her thighs under the table, a feeling of bravery welling up in him. If he cannot protect the women he love, how can he be considered a hero. Su Nu and Shuer are dead, he will not allow another tragedy to fall on any of his woman. Once he thought of this, hes filled with valor, and resurrected again.

  4. #24
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    Book 2 Chapter 10 The Night is Painfully Short


    He went back to Lady Yas place, Ting Fangshi, Chunying and the other 3 maids were waiting in the hall. With the looming parting, they all have endless sweet nothings to say. Xiang Shaolonh may be flirtatious but hes never had this experience of being surrounded by beauties, gentleness and warmth. Although he was thoroughly enjoying himself, but all these attentions proved too much and he can only suffer in silence. After having a tired nap, it was already dark when he woke up. He moved a little and immediately Ting Fangshi and Wu Tingfang who were entwined around him woke up immediately. Wu Tingfang pouted, Fanger doesnt care! I want to go with you to Wei. Xiang Shaolong was startled and was thoroughly awakened, secretly thinking to himself that its already a huge headache looking after Lady Ya and Zhao Qian, so how can he add Wu Tingfang into this. If the King of Zhao thought that he plans to slip away with his beauty thatd be even worse, so he hurriedly consoled her and using all his tactics managed to convince Wu Tingfang to abandon the idea.

    By now the 4 maids have entered to help them wash up and change. Xiang Shaolong speedily dressed himself and went out of the room. Before he reached the hall, he could hear Lady Ni and Lady Ya talking and was greatly surprised and went in. Lady Ni saw him coming and her head lowered. Xiang Shaolong felt a loving pity well up in his heart, knowing that she is throwing aside her reputation to grab a chance to spend time with him before he leaves for Wei. He sat down between the 2 ladies and boldly hugged their waists. Lady Ya was astonished and asked unbelievably, You have already Lady Ni nodded her head shyly and said, Sister Ya please do not laugh at Zhao Ni. Lady Ya exclaimed, And you were pretending to be proper in front of me earlier. Xiang Shaolong pinched Xhao Yas waist and reproached her, Yaer!

    Lady Ya totally obeys him so on hearing that, she stopped talking but just smiled. Lady Ni whispered in his ear, Will Xiang Lang blame Zhao Ni for being wanton? Xiang Shaolong chortled, Why would I? The more wanton you are the happier I am. Lady Ni did not expect him to answer her so loudly and she was so embarrassed she tried to hide herself in his arms, but her body was heating up. Lady Ya smiled, It seems that Yaer will have to give way tonight, but let me discuss some business with Xiang Lang first. She blinked at Xiang Shaolong and added, Where would you like Lady Ni to await your attentions? Lady Ni was thoroughly embarrassed and can only listen on shyly, not objecting at all. Xiang Shaolong might as well be thoroughly outrageous and he said with a laugh, Lady Ni shall wait for me at the pool, Ill come and frolic with you in the water later. Lady Ni stood up weakly, and left obediently like a little lamb.

    The 2 of them watched as her beautiful silhouette disappeared behind the door, exchanged a glance and smiled, their hands clasped tightly together. Lady Ya said seriously, I went to see Imperial brother, but hes unable to give us more men, how worrying. She sighed and said, The journey from here to Daliang will take at least 3 months, and well need to cross a huge river and countless deserted mountains and trails. After we enter Wei, we still need to visit the 4 cities Dangying, Chaoge, Guiling and Huangchi, each step of the way could be a danger. Xiang Shaolong was silent for a moment before he asked, Did Lady and that Prince Shaoyuan ever had an affair? Lady Ya nodded her head guiltily. Xiang Shaolong was extremely unhappy and did not say anything. Lady Ya exclaimed in fear, Shaolong! Please dont be like that, Yaer has changed for the better now. Xiang Shaolong is after all a magnanimous person, so he sighed, Im already on bad terms with Prince Shaoyuan, and now with your old relation with him, things will become even more complicated. Lady Ya said apologetically, Yaer knows shes wrong. She tried to change the subject, Prince Shaoyuan will bring with him his 2 most beloved concubines and 200 warriors with him, Im afraid hell try to go against you at every opportunity.

    Xiang Shaolong said somberly, Im not afraid of him trying to be difficult with me, but Im most afraid that hell gang up with outsiders to deal with us. If hes intent on not returning from this trip, hell have the guts to do anything. Lady Ya replied, I have chosen 4 people from my own residence. These 4 people are not only brave and highly skilled, theres no doubt about their loyalty as well. Ive also arranged for Cheng Xu to be your assistant. This person is indebted to me because I helped him when he faced the punishment of clan extermination, so hell certainly work hard for us honestly. Xiang Shaolong was a little assured and said, I heard that the state of Qi is planning to spoil this marriage union, who are the formidable people that they have? Lady Ya sucked in a deep breath and said slowly, The state of Qi has a mysterious person, called Xiao Weimou. This person thinks that beasts are most favored by heaven and earth, so if men wants to return to nature and be one with heaven and earth, we must follow out desires, and the strong will devour the weak without any need for hesitation. And to become the strong, we must learn from tigers and lions and sharpen the claws and teeth. Therefore he and his disciples are all terrible warriors who rape, pillage and murder. They usually live deep in the mountains, forcing the men and women they kidnap to produce offspring for them and be part of their indecent play.

    Xiang Shaolong asked in surprise, How can the King of Qi tolerate such fiends committing evil in Qi? Lady Ya replied, Among the 6 states, Qis neighbour Fuyuan was second to the state of Chu. After the battle of Maling, they replaced Wei and became leader of the various states in the east, and they were even put on the same standing as Qin and they were called Emperor of West and Emperor of East. They were expanding but in the end the united forces of Qin, Chu and us attacked their capital Linzi. In the end Yans Yueyi took over about 70 cities, but there was a Tian Dan from Qi and the newly crowned King of Yan fell into Tian Dans trap and changed the commander at the last minute. Therefore Tian Dan was able to sweep the Yans out of Qi but their resources were greatly depleted as well. Xiang Shaolong nodded his head, I understand, its because the King of Qi has limited resources, thats why he has to rely on and tolerate such vicious men to work for him. Lady Ya said, The person relying on them is Tian Dan. Weve always suspected that Tian Dan and Xiao Weimou are from the same clan although they have different family names. This Xiao Weimou is highly skilled and can fight a lion with his bare hands, kill tigers and leopards, and his sexual appetite is higher than normal. Each night he must have at least 10 women before he can have a good nights sleep, and he only helps Dian Dan assassinate his political enemies or travel to other states to engage in secret missions. If this person is to come personally, well be in even more danger. Yaer would rather kill herself that end up in his hands.

    Xiang Shaolong was alarmed at hearing all these, and after consoling her for a while, Wu Tingfang and Ting Fangshi came in. Lady Ya knew his intentions so she helped him hide from the 2 ladies so that he can go to the pool. The maids were just adding hot water into the pool, Xiang Shaolong dismissed all the maids and went to Lady Ni and carried her up and into the warm pool fully clothed. Lady Ni has always been prim and proper all her life, and did not expect that shed ever meet with such an unconventional and unrestrained flirt. As she gasped in surprise, she immediately became a wet lady, showing off the beautiful outline of her body. Once he thought of his journey tomorrow and the uncertain future, he immediately became uninhibited and launched an all out attack on this beauty. Lady Ni was thinking of the same thing and received his favors with all her heated feelings.

    As they entangled with each other, Lady Ni begged with tears falling down her face, Xiang Lang! You must take care of yourself and come back safe to see Zhao Ni and Xiao Pan. Xiang Shaolong asked, If I were to leave the state of Zhao, are you willing to follow me? Lady Ni was startled, Are you thinking of betraying Imperial bother? Xiang Shaolong sighed, Im just planning for the worst! Zhao Mu will certainly not tolerate me, and I am not someone who will just stay and be slaughtered. Lady Ni nodded her head, Imperial brother is really useless to put so much trust on such a conniving man. Zhao Mu has designs on me as well, and tried many times to summon me to his place but I rejected him. Xiang Shaolong thought that Zhao Mu may be one of the men that Master Pan fears will one day get his Mother and sighed secretly. Now that Lady Ni has given in to him, all the more Zhao Mu will not let him off.

    Lady Ni said determinedly, My heart now belongs to you, no matter where Xiang Lang goes, Zhao Ni is willing to stay by your side forever even if I have to work hard. Xiang Shaolong felt intoxicated and kissed her hard. At the same time he made this promise in his heart, No matter how difficult the future will be, I must strive to survive in this turbulent warring states for the ones that I love and carve out an outstanding career. Xiang Shaolong will never be blindly loyal to anyone, but only loyal to my own ideals.

    Before dawn the next day, Xiang Shaolong left, accompanied by the tears of Wu Ting Fang, Zhao Ni and the rest.


    *End of Book 2*

  5. #25
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    Book 3 Chap 1 Starting the journey

    Before they left the palace, the warriors and carriages gathered in the large field. The King of Zhao personally made prayers to Heaven and ancestors in a ceremony, praying for a safe journey, but of course Xiang Shaolong knows that what hes praying for is that they can steal the Secret Manual of Lu Gong, and is not at all concerned about their life or death. Of course nothing has to be said about his daughter Zhao Qians happiness.

    The King of Zhao barely managed to transfer a few more men to Xiang Shaolong so that his troops now total 500. In addition to Prince Shaoyuans 200 warriors, a total of 700 light cavalry now escort Lady Ya, Third Princess Zhao Xian, Lady Pingyuan and a group of concubines and maids who are traveling in 27 carriages, with 40 carts carrying provisions and miscellaneous items. They left with much fanfare out of Zhaos capital Handan via the southern gate, following the official roads towards their first stop Zixian.

    This is still within the boundaries of Zhao, so they need not worry about safety. The great general Li Mu also sent 500 riders to escort them to the outskirts of city walls 200li away from Zixian city. Therefore Xiang Shaolong was still releaxed, if he has to worry, hell do it after they pass the city walls and on their way to Weis border.

    What surprised him was Lady Yas 8 maids, Xiaozhao, Xiaoyu and the rest were all dressed in armor and riding majestically on their horses, their reflexes swift and nimble.

    And then he realized, in this warring states era, its natural that all males will learn martial arts, so its no exception for fit women as well.

    He is not an expert at all in the way the troops are formed in this era, so while theres nothing to do during the journey, he started asked Cheng Xu.

    Cheng Xu replied honestly, A war is a matter of life and death, as long as theres an ounce of strength, that ounce of strength will be used to the end. In the battle of Changping, the state of Qin conscripted 15 year old boys into the army for battle. When the King of Yan attacked us the last time, his Majesty even conscripted under aged boys into the army. Luckily we could defeat Yan, if not ai!

    Xiang Shaolong knows that Cheng Xu is Lady Yas man, so he was a lot less guarded when talking to him. So he conveniently asked about how the army is formed.

    Cheng Xu replied without hiding anything, What the term 3 armies mean generally refers to strong men, strong women and old and weak armies. The army of strong men is the main force in battle, strong women are usually in charge of engineering, manual labor and any work that requires assistant while old and weak army are the back ups and in charge of miscellaneous work like being in charge of rations.

    Xiang Shaolong was enlightened. When he watched movies in the past, all those battle scenes were magnificent and epic, filled with the romanticism of heroism. So it turns out that the truth is another matter altogether, that even women, children, the weak and old were all pushed to the battlefield to suffer and lose their lives.

    Cheng Xu lowered his voice, Although we have less men this time, but theyre all elite warriors, so obviously his Majesty is very concerned with this trip, which is very rare.

    Xiang Shaolong turned his head back for a look and saw Prince Shaoyuans 10 carriages and 200 warriors at the very end of the procession. He cant help but sigh. He thought that if anything were to happen, Prince Shaoyuan will certainly not listen to his instructions. Just this internal troublemaker is enough to give him a headache.

    The 2 beauties Zhao Qian and Zhao Yas carriages all had theur curtains lowered, and he cant see whats happening inside. He wondered if theyre secretly looking at him?

    Once he thought of that, he moved his horse next to Lady Yas carriage.

    As expected Lady Ya immediately rolled up her curtains, revealing her pretty face and aside with a coquettish smile, Does Imperial Protector want to come up for a seat?

    Xiang Shaolong said with a bitter smile, Your subject is on a mission, how can I be so rude?

    Xiaozhao and the rest of the maids who were behind the carriage all covered their mouths and sniggered.

    The 4 highly skilled and loyal warriors Lady Ya mentioned were split into 2 groups and protecting her on both sides, and on seeing Xiang Shaolong, all acknowledged him respectfully.

    Lady Ya said, The 4 of them are all orphans, so they follow my family name and are named Zhao Da, Zhao Er, Zhao Wu and Zhao Qi, if theres anything you can just give them orders.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that the oldest among them, Zhao Da, is only a few years older than him, while Zhao Qi is about 16 years old at the most. But they all look like strong and muscular youths with some skills, so he said with a smile, My instructions to them would be to stay by Third Princess and your side at all times, that is enough. And secretly thought to himself that the state of Zhao may be the country with the most orphans and widows in this time.

    Zhao Da and the rest all made their promise.

    That day they traveled for more than 30li, luckily the scenery was picturesque along the way so Xiang Shaolong treated it as an outing, chatting with Lady Ya and the maids while hes free so he dont find it lonesome at all.

    Zhao Qian and her 2 personal maids were hiding in their carriage and did not reveal themselves.

    Although Xiang Shaolong very much wanted to see her, he must control this impulse. No matter what she is of an esteemed status now and cannot talk with men so easily. Besides he knows that shes going to marry to the state of Wei, so its better not to be tangled with her.

    At dusk, the entourage pitched tents to rest. There were more than 200 tents set up on the field next to a small stream.

    In Xiang Shaolongs Commanders tent, Xiang Shaolong, Cheng Xu and the assistant commander Li Mu sent, Ding Shou, as well as 2 other military leaders Zi Ji and Ren Zhen. The 5 of them sat around a table and enjoyed dinner.

    For warriors like them, the topics talked about are naturally about war and strategy. Right now the very experienced general Ding Shou was talking about the changes in war and the situation like an expert.

    Ding Shou said, The wars last time were a lot simpler, wining or losing depends only on one direct clash, and the results will be known in just a few days. Even if its a siege testing stamina, it will last only 20 to 30 days. King Chu Zhuangs besiegement of Song lasted 9 months, and that is an extremely rare example. Not like the wars now, each can last 3 to 5 years, the suffering endured can be endlessly related.

    Xiang Shaolong was curious and asked, Why is the change so drastic?

    Cheng Xu interrupted, Your honor has just recently joined the army, naturally you do not know the circumstances behind it. This can be explained several ways. Firstly, the population has increased thus the army has become stronger as well. The larger states in the past like Jin and Chu, the army is only about 4000 strong, they cant even find 10,000 people. But now if you include the female soldiers, the old and weak, you can have an army of hundred thousands. Secondly is the defense of a country

    The commander Zi Ji added, Imperial Protector Cheng is correct, in the past the defense of a country only centers around its capital, its only later that they slowly build up the nearby stockades into cities. But the rest of the place, the enemy forces can still pass through at will, its like stateless land.

    Ren Zhen chipped in, Now its a different thing altogether, the different states are now erecting their own city walls and castles. If you want to conquer another state, youll have to attack the cities one by one, and there are other problems as well. So once a war is mentioned, everyone is troubled.

    Cheng Xu continued, The aims of battles in the past were to obtain goods and force the enemy to concede. But now the main task is to occupy the land and kill the enemy. The losers will perish with the thought of hatred and the loss of a country. Therefore everyone will fight the enemy to the death. Wars are really getting more and more difficult and violent.

    Ding Shou sighed, Also the large scale skirmishes for foot soldiers and cavalry and besiegement attacks have replaced the old strategy of using carriages as the main force of attack, which was neater and looks nicer as well. The art of war is becoming more complicated, and as the saying goes, a soldier will turn to every trick available, so now theres ambushes, luring the enemies, surrounding them, attacking them in the middle, waiting games etc. In order to defeat the enemy and ensure a victory, every possible idea has been used.

    Cheng Xu said with a laugh, In those days both sides will first choose a time and location and make an appointment. On the day of battle they will both use war carriages as the main force, foot soldiers as support troops and position themselves nicely before beating the drums to signal an attack. Everything is simple and quick. But now theres no such thing. Its best if your enemy doesnt even know that youre right outside their gates so that they will be caught unawares. He continued with a big sigh, Fighting for territory and killing people in the fields, fighting for cities and killing people in the cities.

    Ding Shou sighed as well, In the past wed just temporarily conscripted the farmers to be soldiers, but now warfare is getting more and more professional, not only are there full time soldiers, even the training is stricter as well.

    Xiang Shaolong could feel their fear and how fed up they are with wars. He thought to himself that if soldiers like them feel this way, all the more Lady Ya and Master Wu would feel as such too. Especially after the battle of Changping, the state of Zhao was in a dangerous position and everyone only looked out for themselves. It seems that there really is not much time left for Zhao, so how can he escape with all the ladies to a safe place in time so that they will not end up casualties of the impending doom.

    Just as he was deep in thought, noises can be heard from outside the tent.

    Xiang Shaolong and the rest were surprised and they all rushed out.

    They saw Lady Yas camp area were full of soldiers, and sounds of argument could be heard.

    A soldier rushed over at this time and huffed, Something bad happened, Prince Shaoyuans man Xu Hai killed someone.

    Xiang Shaolong and Cheng Wei exchanged a glance, and they could all tell its a way Prince Shaoyuan is belittling them.

    The one killed is Lady Yas family warrior Zhao Er.

    It turned out that while Xiang Shaolong and the rest were in the tent dining and chatting, Prince Shaoyuan took the opportunity to lead the 3 of his most formidable family warriors Xu Hai, Pu Bu and Liu Chao as well as 10 odd fighters to barge their way into Lady Yas private tent. Obviously hes trying to resume their old relationship and at the same time cause Xiang Shaolong a loss of face.

    The guards naturally dared not stop him, until they reached the restricted area of Lady Yas private camp, separated by a curtain, and which is where Zhao Da and the rest stopped them. Before they had a chance to inform Lady Ya of the new arrivals, Prince Shaoyuan who was deliberately looking for trouble has already ordered his men to attack the 4 of them. They were caught unawares and were greatly outnumbered, the 4 of them were all injured. Zhao Ers throat was slashed by Xu Hai and died on the spot.

    The guards behind the curtain felt that something was wrong and they all charged out and surrounded Prince Shaoyuan and his men, thus blocking their way.

    Prince Shaoyuans family warriors heard about the news and were rushing to give aid but the imperial soldiers under Xiang Shaolongs command stopped them. For a moment everyone was in a deadlock.

    By the time Xiang Shaolong, Cheng Xu, Ding Shou and the rest rushed over, Lady Ya was surrounded by Xiaozhao and the rest of the maids, the blood stained Zhao Da, Zhao Wu and Zhao Qi. Her pretty face was pale with fury and she was staring at Prince Shaoyuan with hatred.

    But Prince Shaoyuan and his men stood around with a look that said theres nothing anyone can do to them. When he saw Xiang Shaolong arriving, he ignored him and spoke to Ding Shou instead, What is all this, whats the big deal about me killing a rude person who offended someone of a higher rank than him. Assistant Commander Ding, youd better chase all these people away.

    Ding Shou was furious but he understood the way of the political world and he did not try to undertake the problem. He said somberly, Imperial Protector Xiang is in charge of everything here, I am only in charge of everyones safety along the journey.

    Lady Ya moved next to Xiang Shaolong and said quietly, Kill Xu Hai for me, Ill bear all consequences. Zhao Da and the rest were close like brothers with Zhao Er, they knelt down and said, Would Imperial Protector Xiang please decide for us.

    Prince Shaoyuan sniggered coldly and crossed his arms in front of his chest, looking insolently at Xiang Shaolong, deliberately making him look bad.

    By now the curtain has been pushed to the ground, the imperial soldiers surrounding them saw how disrespectful Prince Shaoyuan was towards Xiang Shaolong and they felt the same belittlement from him as well. They all roared, the situation was tense and anything could have triggered it off.

    Xiang Shaolong raised his hand to signal everyone to be quiet. His heart filled with old hatred and new enmity, he really felt like killing Prince Shaoyuan right now but of course he cannot do that.

    Even if he ignores the fact that hes supposed to protect Prince Shaoyuan until the state of Wei, he has to consider that the second in command in Wei is Prince Shaoyuans uncle, so how can he ever get to Wei if he kills him. Prince Shaoyuan is certain of this point thats why he deliberately tried to belittle Xiang Shaolong on the very first day of their journey.

    But if he were to let this past and swallow the insult, no one will ever respect him in future.

    This is an era where only heroes and the strong are respected. Maybe even Lady Ya would change her opinion of him.

    Everyones eyes were centered on him.

    Xiang Shaolongs gaze landed on Zhao Ers body, which has been moved to the side and coldly uttered, Xu Hai!

    The tall, thin and sturdy Xu Hai who looks fierce and icy was about to respond when Prince Shaoyuan stopped him, I gave the orders, if you want you can come after me!

    Xiang Shaolongs eyes were piercing as he looking as Prince Shaoyuan and said, If Xu Hai can block 3 of my sword attacks without dying, then this thing shall came to an end!

    Everyone turned quiet.

    Some even thought that Xiang Shaolong is just trying to do a slip shod job.

    Although Xiang Shaolongs swordplay is excellent, but to kill an expert like Xu Hai within 3 strokes, is something unimaginable.

    Naturally Prince Shaoyuan does not believe that 3 sword attacks would be able to kill Xu Hai and he was secretly ecstatic, thinking that if his 3 attacks came to naught, his reputation will be in tatters. However, his expression remained unperturbed and said, If Imperial Protector is injured by Xu Hai, then you cannot blame anyone.

    Xiang Shaolong looked heavenward and laughed loud and long and with a clang, drew the precious Rainbow Sword which Zhao Mu gave him, pointed it at Xu Hai and said, Come!

    Men from both sides retreated to form an empty area.

    Xu Hai sniggered and pulled out his sword as well.

    He has seen Xiang Shaolong and Lian Jins duel in the palace and is aware of his swordplay. He thought to himself, did he think that he couldnt even block 3 sword attacks? He made up his mind to be on the defensive and to move quickly and constantly so that theres no way Xiang Shaolong can execute his skills.

    Cheng Xu, Ding Shou, Lady Ya and the rest all thought that Xiang Shaolong is using this as a chance to back down. They secretly sighed, thinking that its the best choice out of the worst.

    Xiang Shaolong took a deep breath, supported the Rainbow Sword on his shoulder and walked towards Xu Hai.

    Xu Hais arm extended, his long sword held horizontally in front of his chest, pointing from afar at Xiang Shaolongs throat, trying his best not to give Xiang Shaolong a chance to get close to him. His strategy is appropriate.

    The audience on both sides all seems to foresee the outcome of the duel, where Xiang Shaolong will retreat empty-handed.

    At this time Xiang Shaolong advanced to the area about 2 steps away from the tip of Xu Hais sword. However, he seemed to step on something and slipped a little. He lost his balance and leaned to the side.

    Lady Ya and the other women were all concerned about Xiang Shaolong and they screamed in alarm.

    Prince Shaoyuan and his men were ecstatic, and they all cheered for Xu Hai.

    Xu Hai is an expert in swordplay, so how can he let go of this one in a million chance. He roared and rushed forward, his long sword aiming towards Xiang Shaolong fast as lightning.

    Who would have expected that the swordplay Xiang Shaolong is using now was what they had discussed earlier, a soldier will resort to all tricks. Because under normal circumstances, he would not be able to kill a professional swordsman like Xu Hai even with 10 attacks, so the only way is to lure him to strike so that hell have an advantage.

    Just as the sword was about to reach his chest, he quickly steadied himself and at the same time using his amazing waist strength to bend over backwards, his body almost bent at a 90-degree angle like a bow.

    The long sword slid over above him.

    Never in his dreams would Xu Hai imagine his opponent would execute such a weird move. His sword struck air and because he used too much strength in the attack, he was still moving forward with the force. Just as he was about to wave his sword and slash downwards, Xiang Shaolong has already given a kick to his nether region.

    Xu Hai screamed from the pain, the long sword flying out of his hands while his body staggered back in a fall.

    Xiang Shaolongs waist straightened again, the Rainbow Sword which was perched on his shoulder morphed into a flash of light and sliced past Xu Hais throat.

    Peng!

    By the time Xu Hai collapsed onto the ground, he has already become a lifeless corpse.

    Everyone was silent in that moment followed by thunderous cheers from Xiang Shaolongs side.

    The faces on the men on Prince Shaoyuans side all turned ashen, their bravado gone.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at Prince Shaoyuan icily and said nonchalantly, Prince Shaoyuan is of an esteemed status and we dare not offend you, but if your servants comment any wrongdoing, dont blame me for being severe.

    Prince Shaolong stared at him with hatred, his lips trembling but no words came out. He stamped his feet furiously, turned around and left.

    Xiang Shaolong called out, Hold on! Is Master going to leave your servants body out in the wilderness?

    Prince Shaoyuan was embarrassed and furious and after ordering his men to carry Xu Hai up, left in a huff.

    The imperial soldiers broke out in thunderous cheers, even Cheng Xu and the rest had an expression of awe and respect, thinking that Xiang Shaolong handled this matter beautifully and theres no way Prince Shaoyuan can raise his head over this.

    After Prince Shaoyuan left, Xiang Shaolong felt something was amiss and after giving some instructions, he returned to his commanders tent. He ordered men to stand guard outside, to stop all visitors and laid out the metal instruments Guo Zhong made for him on the ground.

    These instruments gleamed, the workmanship exquisite, which greatly impressed Xiang Shaolong. He did not expect that in this warring states period, the standard of metal works would be of such high quality.

    The first thing he has to assemble is a metal hook that can be used to climb over walls. That is one of his must have treasures while he was in the special task force. They used a projectile to launch the long hook over the walls or any place that can support the weight, before attaching the rope to the hook around their waist. In that way they can climb up or slide down walls freely.

    They used steel ropes in the special task force but now he can only use soft ropes as replacement.

    Even though the contraption is simple and Xiang Shaolong has always been interested and familiar with such gadgets, he still had to work late into the night before he got most things done.

    He was just looking at his handiwork with satisfaction when he could hear Lady Yas unhappy voice outside the tent, Who has the audacity to stop me!

    Xiang Shaolong wanted to keep his things but there wasnt enough time. Lady Ya has rushed in and on seeing the weird things on the floor, she asked in astonishment, Shaolong! What are you doing?

    Xiang Shaolong smiled embarrassingly and kept the 2 separate hooks back into the chests and said with a bitter smile, You dont have to obey me anymore?

    Lady Ya immediately softened and went into his arms, saying sadly, I sent Xiaozhao over many times to look for you but was stopped by the guards. I thought you were unhappy with me over Prince Shaoyuans matter and I was in a panic, so I came to look for you. How would I dare to disobey you! She cant help but ask, What are those things?

    Xiang Shaolong said condescendingly, Just some toys, but sometimes they have unexpected uses.

    Lady Yas slender hands reached out and took a ring of long and thin metal pieces, some curved and some with a small fork at the other end. She thought about it and asked, Is this used to open locks?

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he cant hide this from an expert like her and nodded his head helplessly.

    Lady Ya turned her body around, a look of shock flashed past her pretty eyes. She looked at him for a while before saying, Im beginning to feel more and more that you are unfathomable. Just now you tricked and killed Xu Hai and avenged Zhao Er and at the same time helped me vent my anger. Yaer is really grateful to you and am willing to do anything for you.

    Xiang Shaolong saw how obliging she looks and gave her a long kiss as a reward before whispering in her ear, Promise me! Dont tell anyone what you saw, all right?

    Lady Ya was dizzy from his kiss and nodded her head blissfully, her pretty eyes half closed and said coyly, Xiang Langs words are my most important orders. Since I know you do not wish me to ask about such matters, Yaer will never ask you again in future.

    Xiang Shaolong was assured by her kind understanding and took the opportunity to ask her to find someone to help him sew something to be tied around the waist so that he can keep those thousand odd flying needles. To be able to do something for her beloved, naturally Lady Ya agreed happily.

    That night they enjoyed themselves amongst indescribable warmth and love.

    They continued on the journey early the next morning.

    Prince Shaoyuans side has quiet down and staying right at the back to show that theyre a separate group but they did not do anything new to antagonize the others.

    The sense of unease Xiang Shaolong felt became even stronger.

    For a spoiled brat like Prince Shaoyuan, hes definitely not one to swallow an insult. Now that he seems to be controlling his temper, it must be because there are traps to deal with him once they enter Wei.

    Third Princess Zhao Qian stays in her carriage all day long with the curtains lowered. Even when she left the carriage, a veil covers her face and shed hide immediately in her tent, not taking even a step out, which totally irked Xiang Shaolong.

    Traveling in the day and resting at night, by the 4th day they finally reached the stockade nearest to Zhaos border, District Ci. The general guarding the city, Wa Che was extremely respectful to this wedding entourage and hosted a feast in the Generals Manor for them. Zhao Qian and Lady Ya are royalty, so naturally they did not attend the feast while Lady Pingyuan and her son excused themselves. Luckily this Wa Che is a humorous person full of anecdotes, so the guests and the host all enjoyed themselves.

    After the feast Wa Che took Xiang Shaolong to tour the border of the state of Zhao, the lolling hills surrounding the endless city walls.

    Standing on the city walls, Xiang Shaolong remembered that in future Emperor Qin will join the walls of the various states and become one of the worlds 10 miracles, the Great Wall of China, and allow China to be able to unify all the states for a long time. He cant help but feel a string of emotions well up inside.

    These city walls were thick and high, the moat in front of the city deep and wide. Its indeed the best way to defend against an enemy in those times. In the distance a huge river surrounds them, the rushing torrents extremely breathtaking.

    Wa Che pointed to an empty plains outside the city walls and said with a smile, That would be Great Zhaos ugliest place, but its man-made. Every once in a while, well have to chop down all the trees outside the city, not leaving even a stone. Anything that can be moved will be moved into the city, not allowing enemies to find anything useful to attack the city with.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that this is what they call fortifying the walls and clearing the wilderness. Looking at the watchtowers that was built after every hundred feet or so, he sighed with compliment, With such defenses, whod be afraid of the enemy attacking?

    Wa Che pointed at the huge river in the distance and said, Our city walls which spans a few hundred li also depends on the natural defenses like the possibility of floods and the layout of the land to defend ourselves mainly against Wei and Qin.

    Xiang Shaolong agreed, It is of utmost importance that the border city is situated at a dangerous and important location. Our city walls are backed against mountains and that in itself is a location that is easy to defend but difficult to attack.

    The long city walls are like the strong arms of a giant, hugging Zhao tightly and safely in his arms.

    Wa Che said proudly, In order to deal with the enemys hundred and one weird methods of attacking a city, for example piling soil to raise the height, cloud ladders, digging tunnels, attacking with water, lining up along the walls like ants, or even using ballista, nest vehicles etc to attack the city walls and we had to make repairs to the walls on many occasions. Now Im not trying to boast, but even with the vicious Qin army and us not having any reinforcements, we can still block them for quite a few months.

    He then took him to look at the various weapons for defense like cross bows, halberds, spears, axes, long mallets, long sickles, long axes, stone ramparts etc. As well as various carriages used to ferry soil or people, which is a real eye opener for Xiang Shaolong.

    Theres a huge amount of water and sand on top of the walls as well as containers like water jars, wooden and tiled jars. There are even stoves and cauldrons. All these are used to defend against the enemy using fire to attack them, or used to attack enemies who are climbing up the walls.

    Xiang Shaolong stored all these information in his memory, thinking to himself that there may come a day where hell need to use such prehistoric tools to attack a city. At least he wont be at a loss then.

    Lastly Wa Che said, The key points in defending a city, besides having all the defenses up, is to have enough rations and fuel, and the most important is to have sturdy soldiers who stand their posts inside, as well as reinforcements outside. As the saying goes, if theres no army worth saving, then theres no city worth defending.

    Xiang Shaolong lowered his head and listened to the lesson, but when he thought of how few men are left in Zhao, he cant help but feel anguished! He really feels like dragging the conniving Zhao Mu here and let him have a taste of facing the enemy with the possibility of perishing under the city walls so that he will never dare to hide safely Handan plotting how to get rid of loyal officials all day long.

    Only at dusk did Xiang Shaolong return in high spirits.

    He returned to the huge military mansion where they are staying when Xiang Shaolong suddenly had an idea. He used the excuse of paying his respects to Lady Pingyuan and went to the east wing to visit this lady whose power extends into the two states Wei and Zhao.

    Coincidentally Prince Shaoyuan is not around and after the servants conveyed his presence, Lady Pingyuan received him in the main hall of the east chamber.

    This is the first time Xiang Shaolong met Lady Pingyuan, and saw that she was graceful and beautiful. Because she took good care of herself, she looked a lot younger than she really is and from afar, she looks like she is in her 30s. Only on a closer look can one see the fine wrinkles below her eyes, but these did not spoil her beauty.

    Her hair was combed into a high bun, slanted to the side, which seems to tremble falteringly, making her look even more womanly.

    Shes wearing an embroidered silk skirt, silk shoes sewn with flower patterns, the hairpieces on her head inlaid with turtle shells, with pearl earrings. She looked very captivating and attractive.

    Xiang Shaolong did not expect that after having such a grown up and wicked kid, she can still maintain such regality. He was secretly surprised and after paying his respects, he took a seat below.

    Lady Pingyuan, with 4 maids standing erect behind her, was scrutinizing Xiang Shaolong closely but her expression remained cold. There was not a trace of happiness at all, making the atmosphere extremely awkward.

    Xiang Shaolong started by saying, Lady must have had a hard journey, if theres anything that I have not done well, please do not hesitate to reprimand me.

    Lady Pingyuan looked at him calmly and said, Whod dare to blame sir?

    Xiang Shaolong knows that because he has offended her son, she is keeping herself aloof and was about to find an excuse to leave when Lady Pingyuan dismissed her maids and said seriously, A good man is one who understands the time and situation, and I wonder if Imperial Protector Xiang is one who understands the time and situation?

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that the show is about to start, and said respectfully, Would Lady please enlighten Shaolong.

    Lady Pingyuan said icily, If you cant even comprehend the situation you are in, I do not wish to waste my time talking to you.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought her formidable and said, A good bird will choose a tree to nest in, but if there are rotten trees everywhere, then wont it have no nest to rest itself even if it has lofty aspirations of flying high up into the sky?

    It must be known that what the two of them are discussing is akin to betraying Zhao, so Xiang Shaolong deliberately used metaphors so that Lady Pingyuan will not be able to use this to trap him.

    Firstly he doesnt really think that its a great deal to betray Zhao, and secondly, if he can get into the good books of this woman, maybe the trip to Wei will be a lot more easier. Or else if she were to say something about him to Prince Xinling, hell be in big trouble.

    Lady Pingyuan seems very impressed with what he said and a trace of a smile could be seen from the corners of her mouth and she said nonchalantly, The strongest now is Qin. But the Qins are barbaric and extremely discriminatory against other races. Even with Shang Yangs many meritorious reforms in Qin, his entire family was still executed, so for a good bird to choose a tree, there are many other factors to consider as well.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly surprised at her opinions, and for a moment couldnt decide if she is trying to acquire him so he tested her, Is Lady aware of the situation between me and your son?

    Lady Pingyuans pretty face turned frosty and said, Useless young thing, looking for his own humiliation, Shaolong can ignore him. Since when is it his turn to make decisions? She continued with a smile, If not for the fact that youre excellent in both martial arts and scholarly pursuits, and you were able to lure Xu Hai to his death under such circumstances, I wont even be bothered to say all these to you.

    Xiang Shaolong felt his heart run cold, the people in this era really treat a human life as nothing. Seeing that shes so astute and formidable, he knows that he cannot offend her, so he said respectfully, Would Lady please guide me.

    Lady Pingyuans attitude warmed up and said gently, Shaolong should be very familiar with the situation in Zhao. The King of Zhao favors Zhao Mu and this person hates you, but do you know the reason why?

    Xiang Shaolong sighed, It seems that its because I took his Lady Ya away from him.

    Lady Pingyuans sharp eyes shot an icy look at him and said with a cold humph, You think too lowly of Zhao Mu, why would he give up a rare can capable talent like you over a s.lut that everyone can have.

    On hearing the way she described Zhao Ya, Xiang Shaolong naturally felt very uncomfortable. But he has to admit that what shes saying is true, or at least that was what Zhao Ya was like in the past. At the same time he was curious and asked, What could be the reason then?

    Lady Pingyuan smiled mysteriously and said, Because his Majesty has taken a liking to you.

    Xiang Shaolong immediately felt himself go numb and he exclaimed hoarsely, What?

    On seeing his expression, Lady Pingyuan giggled, Youre really muddleheaded, if not because Xiaocheng is looking at you differently, why would he give you such a good task. She continued after staring at him intently, covered her mouth and smile, Anyone who likes men will not let you off, Shaolong youd better be careful,

    Xiang Shaolong saw that her eyes seems to be speaking volumes now and she looked coy. His gaze cant help but drop down to her perky chest and felt an itch in his heart. However he quickly thought of the great enmity between him and her son over Su Nus death and had to stop himself from uttering the flirtatious words that was about to come out from his mouth. He sighed and said, I understand, thats why Zhao Mu will use all methods to kill me, but Im also worried that Prince Shaoyuan might be secretly plotting against me!

    Lady Pingyuan smiled mysteriously and regained her icy expression and said, Lets not talk about this first. Shaolong, tell me honestly, in the whole wide world now, who has the capability of stopping the thieving Qins from attacking eastwards?

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, as hes still not that familiar with the situation in the warring states period now and cannot think of such a person. But he has to reply her or Lady Pingyuan will surely be offended.

    As he was thinking, Lady Pingyuan hinted gently, Dont tell me Shaolong doesnt even know the person who helped Handan during its difficult period 6 years ago?

    Xiang Shaolong exclaimed, Its Prince Xinling!

    258BC, the King of Qin sent his generals to attack Zhao and heavily surrounded Handan while Wei sent Jin Bi to help but the King of Qin threatened them. The King of Wei was frightened and actually ordered Jin Bi not to move his troops. Later Prince Xinling used Hou Yings trick to obtain the military token and told his man Zhu Hai to kill Jin Bi and to usurp his troops. That year Prince Xinling defeated the Qin army greatly right under the walls of Handan and even Qins main general Zheng Anping surrendered to the Zhaos.

    This battle caused the reputation of Qin to fall greatly while Prince Xinling became a respected man by everyone. But because of this, Prince Xinling offended the Wei king and was unable to return home. After staying in Zhao for a many years, he only returned to Wei last year after the death of Prince Pingyuan.

    Now its Lady Pingyuans turn to return to Wei, and of course its because once again Prince Xinling has solidified his power and is inviting Lady Pingyuan back.

    Lady Pingyuan gladly commented, Now Prince Xinling is the only one who can gather the world to fight against the Qin, so unless Shaolong wants to throw in your lot with the Qins, or else the only place that you can stay on will be this choice. If I am willing to recommend, I guarantee that you will be highly regarded.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that the only way is to try to delay. Luckily no matter how smart or formidable she is, she will never guess that he has Emperor Qin as one of his moves, so he got up and thanked her, Thank you, Lady, for your recommendation!

    The 2 were about to continue their conversation when Prince Shaoyuan rushed in excitedly and shouted, Mother!

    Lady Pingyuan said angrily, Shut up! She turned towards Xiang Shaolong and said, Imperial Protector will you please go back first, Ill discuss with you in details what weve talked about at a later time.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly thinking that Prince Shaoyuan has come at the right time, so he hurriedly bid his farewell and left.

  6. #26
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    Book 3 Chap 2 Tribulations in love

    When Xiang Shaolong returned to his residence, Cheng Xu came up and told him, Someone from the Wu family is looking for you.

    Xiang Shaolong was greatly surprised and with Cheng Xus accompaniment, went to the quiet side hall.

    A tanned man of about 35 or 36, with 2 exquisite lian made of steel crossed behind his back, looking like swords without scabbards, standing straight in the middle of the hall, his eyes shining, with an imposing aura about him.

    The pair of lian is about 5 feet long, and it looks like something between a spear and a halberd, just very much shorter.

    That person saw Xiang Shaolong, a gleam shot past his eyes and he knelt down, Wu Zhuo pays his respects to Grand Young Master-in-law.

    Xiang Shaolong was overjoyed as he knows that he is the leader of the Wu familys secret army and hurriedly helped him up. Cheng Xu thoughtfully made his exit.

    After they were seated, Wu Zhuo said, Under Masters orders, weve been scouting ahead for Grand Young Master-in-law, and indeed we found out something.

    Xiang Shaolong saw his somber expression and was secretly alarmed.

    Wu Zhuo continued in a low voice, I dont know who leaked the news, but the most vicious horse thieves between the borders of Wei and Zhao are aware that you are bringing treasures and Zhaos prettiest ladies and traveling towards Daliang. The situation is extremely unfavorable for you.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows, The Weis wont just sit by and do nothing right?

    Wu Zhuo replied, Someone from Wei secretly told us that not only will King Anli not send anyone to protect you, he even supplied horses and weapons to one of the biggest group of horse thieves called Hui Hu and secretly ordered them to attack your convoy.

    Xiang Shaolong was shocked, Isnt that Hui Hu the one who attacked us within the borders of Zhao? Why did he go to Wei?

    Wu Zhuo replied, Its the same person. At that time they suffered heavy losses after their attack failed, and later the Zhaos pursued them, thats why they escaped to the Wei border and gathered dissidents on the way. Now they have more than 1000 men, not a force to be taken lightly.

    Xiang Shaolong is getting a headache over all these. Firstly why would the King of Wei send men to deal with him, secondly how did he end up working with Hui Hus group of horse thieves.

    Wu Zhuo added, All along, weve suspected that the few groups of horse thieves within the Zhao border has the backing of the King of Wei so that they will weaken Zhaos strength. Thats why every time they are in danger, they will escape to the borders of Wei and now this has affirmed our theory.

    Xiang Shaolong is getting a splitting headache, the more he finds out about the relations between the various states, the more he feels that the complicated relationship is making him even more confused. He furrowed his brows and asked, But this time were giving the Third Princess of Zhao to the Weis, why would the King of Wei use such methods to receive us?

    Wu Zhuo replied, Im not very sure of the real reason, but we can guess that this involves the power struggle between the King of Wei and Prince Xinling. Ever since Prince Xinling stole the military token and defeated the Qin army, his accomplishments is considered greater than his master, so naturally this will incur the wrath and jealousy of the King of Wei. Besides Prince Xinling has stayed in Handan for a long time, so if the King of Wei can destroy the marriage agreement, the most affected by this will naturally be the relationship between Prince Xinling and the Zhaos. He continued, And the marriage agreement is brought about by Prince Xinling single handedly.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself Heavens! Why are the relationships between the people in the warring states period so complicated and incomprehensible. Lady Pingyuan was trying to recruit him on behalf of Prince Xinling earlier, and the Zhaos have a more sinister plot to steal Prince Xinlings Lu Gongs Secret Manual. What kind of a relationship is all these?

    Wu Zhuo whispered, We have spies in Hu Huis camp, and apparently Hu Hui hates you to the core and is determined to capture you and all the ladies alive and rape all of them right in front of your eyes in order to give vent to his anger.

    Xiang Shaolong gave a cold snort, Thats only wishful thinking on his part. He sighed and continued, Are there any news of that person who does not wish to be a human but wants to be a beast instead, Xiao Weimou?

    Wu Zhuo shook his head, This person is famous for being mysterious, every time he attacks its a surprise, theres no clue about an impending attack at all. Hes a lot more frightening than Hui Hu.

    Xiang Shaolong is so vexed he felt like pulling out his hair, and said seriously, The route to Wei was planned by Zhao Mu long ago, with the approval of the King of Zhao, so it cannot be changed. If the person who leaked the news is Zhao Mu, this means that the enemy will be very familiar with our route, so well always be in a situation where we can only react to circumstances.

    Wu Zhuo smiled meaningfully, Would Grand Young Master-in-law be someone who listens to orders blindly?

    Xiang Shaolong chortled and nodded, You really understand me. He thought to himself this time he will have to use all his tricks and make use of the modern military knowledge he learnt to deal with the various traps laid along the way.

    Wu Zhuo added, Ive brought with me a hundred good fighters, to become Grand Young Master-in-laws family warriors. Hei! To be able to work under Grand Young Master-in-law, were all very excited.

    Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic, and after the two of them secretly discussed the details, Wu Zhuo left in a hurry.

    Hed just stepped out of the hall when he learnt that the pretty maid Xiaozhao had been waiting patiently for him for a long time.

    Xiang Shaolong told her to return first. He found Cheng Xu and told him briefly the dangerous situation.

    Cheng Xus face turned pale on hearing it and said, Ill find Zha Yuanyu immediately to discuss this matter and tell him to bring more rations and increase fortifications so that we can deal with the thieves attacks.

    Zha Yuanyu is Cheng Xus assistant, and also the rations officer for this trip, in charge of setting camp and all co-ordinations. If the enemy were to attack, theyll either look for dangerous spots to lay a trap, or to steal their rations. Therefore its a must to increase the defenses of the camp.

    After Cheng Su left, Xiang Shaolong recollected his thoughts and went to the inner courtyard.

    Xiaozhao, Xiaoyu and the rest of the maids were all in the hall, happily sewing the armor for him that he will be using to hold his steel needles.

    When they saw him arriving, they surrounded him and frantically helped him remove his heavy armor, and tied the inner armor made from cowhide, filled with small and long pockets, with strings around his waist. As if its a game, they laughed as they slipped the needles into the sturdy pouches, revealing only about an inch of the tip of the needles.

    He tried a few moves, rapidly pulling out the needles and throwing them towards the wooden door, hitting it with a chook chook noise. He realized that although hes wearing about 20 over catties of flying needles and his armor, but he could still handle the extra weight without any hindrance to his movement and speed.

    Xiang Shaolongs mood changed for the better and after bantering with the maids for a while, he went towards Lady Yas room.

    The 8 maids continued working hard to make this needle pouch more sturdy and perfect.

    Inside the bedroom Lady Ya seems lost in thought.

    Xiang Shaolong walked over and saw that Lady Ya was standing with her back to him next to a window, looking out at the woods, deep in thought.

    Zhao Ya has changed into a robe with 2 long silk tassels hanging down, draped with a well tailored and eye catching robe, her hair combed into 2 buns. Contrasted with her slender waist and fair skin, she looks utterly bewitching.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself this is truly natures finest specimen, no wonder she can charm so many men and become the most famous wanton in Zhao. He tiptoed behind her and grabbed her shoulders, pressing his body against her pert buttocks.

    He had just uttered the word Lady when Zhao Ya shook violently and struggled.

    Xiang Shaolong was shocked and let his hands go.

    That Zhao Ya ran to a side and turned around, her face filled with fury, and surprisingly its the royal Third Princess Zhao Qian.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that hes in trouble and hurriedly knelt down but he was at a loss as to what to say.

    Zhao Qian saw that its Xiang Shaolong and her anger subsided. In replacement she blushed deeply, stamped her feet and ran away.

    Zhao Ya could be heard calling after her outside but obviously she did not manage to stop her.

    Xiang Shaolong stood up, her fragrance still lingering on his body, his heart beating erratically.

    Lady Ya walked in and she looked unhappy. She stared at him and walked over, asking icily, Shaolong! What have you done to Zhao Qian?

    Xiang Shaolong was very unhappy with her tone of voice and attitude. Besides he was not in a good mood after hearing Wu Zhuos news so he thought to himself, so be it that you do not trust me, why should I explain to you. He gave a cold snort and walked out the door.

    After all Lady Ya is one who is used to having her orders obeyed, and although she loves Xiang Shaolong extremely, she is firstly annoyed that he touched the untouchable Third Princess, and because she could not tolerate such an attitude, she cried out angrily, Stay there!

    Xiang Shaolong stopped walking, and thought of her promiscuous past and also how she drugged him with aphrodisiacs to help Zhao Mu deal with him, and how she allowed Zhao Mu to take liberties with her while in the carriage. Hed suppressed all these feelings usually but now theyve come bubbling up to the surface and he felt extremely upset. He stared at her coldly and asked, What instructions does Lady has?

    Lady Yas heart turned cold on seeing his look and she softened. She moved to him and asked a little fearfully, Dont you know you cannot antagonize Zhao Qian?

    Xiang Shaolong was not appreciative of her change in tone at all and said emotionlessly, Your servant will not dare to do so in future, may I take my leave now?

    Lady Ya thought to herself that she has not blamed him wrongly, so how could she tolerate such an attitude from him so she stamped her feet and said, Fine! Xiang Shaolong, get lost now.

    Xiang Shaolong thought of the past and felt that without this woman, hell save himself a lot of troubles. Although life in future may not be so easy, but he cant really be bothered now and left. Of course he did not forget to take the inner armor with him as he left.

    That night Xiang Shaolong did not step into Lady Yas abode at all. After dinner, he went to the garden to practice his flying needles and after happily practicing for a while, his anger towards Lady Ya ceased as well. Just as he was pondering if he should look for her, Zhao Da suddenly came and knelt down on seeing him, his eyes filled with unshed tears of fury and helplessness as he said, Master Xiang please decide for us brothers. That conniving thief Prince Shaoyuan came to look for Lady and after talking to her in private for a moment, Lady invited him into her room.

    Xiang Shaolong was dumbfounded. Prince Shaoyuan had just killed Lady Yas loyal subordinate Zhao Er, and now this wanton is inviting him to his room. No wonder Zhao Da is so furious and for him to come and complain to him, its obvious that he is prepared to lose his life over this.

    Xiang Shaolong helped him up and instructed, Take it that youve never come to look for me, understand?

    Zhao Da was livid, Im not afraid of anything now.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly sighed and instructed him not to follow him. He went towards Lady Yas residence and deliberately took a detour and went through the back garden. Naturally the guards dared not stop him but when he reached the inner courtyard from the back garden, Xiaozhao and the other maids were all shocked and their faces turned pale, thinking of blocking his way.

    Xiang Shaolong had a murderous look and uttered coldly, Give way!

    The ladies dared not really stop him and they retreated.

    Xiang Shaolong went to Lady Yas bedroom and kicked the door open with his leg.

    Prince Shaoyuan and Lady Ya cried out in alarm at the same time.

    The two of them were sitting next to each other on a long chair, Prince Shaoyuans hands reached out and hugged Lady Ya tightly, as if he was going to kiss her lips while Lady Ya was trying to push him off, her face coy. The scene is enough to make Xiang Shaolong burn with fury.

    Prince Shaoyuan stood up angrily and pointed at him, What audacity!

    Xiang Shaolong recollected his thoughts and thought that if it comes to reasoning, he really does not have the authority to barge in like that and spoil their fun. But in this era where the strong represents everything, what counts is talent, so theres nothing much to be said. Besides, Price Shaoyuan caused the death of Su Nu, and he cant wait to rip him apart. His eyes glaring murderously, his hands on the pommel of his Rainbow Sword, he stared at him unwaveringly, making Prince Shaoyuans heart turn cold.

    Lady Ya actually had no intention of canoodling with Prince Shaoyuan, but because Prince Shaoyuan came to look for her saying that theres something about Xiang Shaolong and Lady Pingyuan that he has to tell her in secret, thats why she invited him into the room. Whod expect that after he said his words, he tried to force himself on her and Xiang Shaolong happen to barge in right at this time, scattering her wits.

    It was just a lovers quarrel for them earlier but now that Prince Shaoyuan is involved, this has turned into another matter.

    She saw that Xiang Shaolongs expression was icy cold, as if hes going to kill someone. She was so frightened that she jumped up and stood between the two of them, screaming, No!

    Naturally Xiang Shaolong knows he cannot kill Prince Shaoyuan, and he heard the footsteps of Prince Shaoyuans men hurrying over from the outside so he took the opportunity to step down and said, Protect him if you want! From today onwards, I shall not be bothered with your private affairs.

    He turned and left, ignoring the curses of the shocked Prince Shaoyuan.

    He bumped right into Prince Shaoyuans 4 warriors in the hall.

    The 4 of them were overcome by his aura and moved aside, watching as he left.

    Xiang Shaolong returned to his own room and felt relaxed instead.

    All this time he has been troubled by Zhao Yas scandalous past.

    Hes never had the experience of engaging with wanton women. Even on the day that he was sent to this era by the time machine, he was having fun with the queen of bars Zhou Xiangmei, but that was just a one night stand, and hed never think of living with her.

    Now that Zhao Ya has stated that she wants to change for the better and follow him, that is another matter. He saw for himself the 2 of them hugging and it doesnt matter if any force was used, the fact is Zhao Ya invited him into her room. Obviously wantonness is already in her nature, and never thought of defending herself against men. This point is enough to make him furious.

    The door opened, Zhao Ya walked in looking sad and angry and after she closed the door, she leaned against the wall at the side, looking sadly at the calm and composed Xiang Shaolong who was sitting on the rug.

    Lady Ya lowered her head, Its my fault for misunderstanding you.

    Xiang Shaolong said emotionlessly, Youve asked Third Princess?

    Lady Ya nodded her head slightly, and asked angrily, Why didnt you explain to me? I have feelings of jealousy as well!

    Xiang Shaolong chortled, This doesnt matter now, its late! Lady please return and rest! We have to be on our way again tomorrow.

    Lady Ya looked at him in shock, and on seeing his cold expression, she threw herself into his arms, her arms going around his solid neck and cried in alarm, Shaolong! Please listen to my explanation, he tried to force a kiss on me, I

    Xiang Shaolong remained unmoving as a rock, not even twitching the muscles on his face. He looked at her coldly and said, If you can explain why you invited a man who has just cruelly killed your loyal subordinate, and an enemy of mine, as well as a lecherous ex-lover of yours into your room, I will forgive you.

    Lady Ya was at a loss for words.

    For someone like her who grew up in a rich and powerful family, she wouldnt be overly bothered about the life and death of a subordinate. As for letting Prince Shaoyuan into her room, although it was Prince Shaoyuan who initiated it, but at that time she really harbored the thought of having her revenge against Xiang Shaolong. Of course she did not expect Xiang Shaolong to barge in.

    Hot tears rushed out.

    Xiang Shaolong smiled, Lady! I am not bothered about how you and Zhao Mu joined forces to harm me, because I thought that you will concede to me with all your heard from now on. Only today did I realize its just wishful thinking on my part. Even if you want to copulate, you dont have to do it with Prince Shaoyuan! There are a few hundred strong young men around here, choosing any one of them will make me feel better.

    Pak!

    A handprint appeared on Xiang Shaolongs face.

    Lady Ya covered her face and wailed as she retreated, crying out wretchedly, "You insult me, I really

    Xiang Shaolong raised his voice, Shut up! He touched his cheek and added, This slap will signify the end of our relationship, you can be with whoever you like, I will not be bothered. If you find me a hindrance to your eyes, just ask your imperial brother to kill me. But dont blame me for warning you, whoever tries to kill or harm me, will have to pay a bitter price. And he walked out of the room furiously.

    Lady Ya screamed, No! and tugged his clothes.

    Xiang Shaolong pushed her away and left.

    Extremely furious, he thought of his 2 greatest enemy.

    What kind of a world is this, he obviously knows that Zhao Mu and Prince Shaoyuan has committed atrocious crimes, how can he continue to let them strut about so publicly.

    No!

    I must become this eras strongest person, by then I need not bend over backwards just for survival, and live so unhappily.

    In order to avoid Lady Ya, he hid himself in a dark corner. As expected, Lady Ya ran out in tears looking for him.

    Xiang Shaolong went back to his room, thinking to himself that he wont be able to get a good sleep tonight, so he might as well practice with his newly set up climbing equipment to see if it works.

    Once he made up his mind, he felt like a little kid who is going to have fun. He changed into a black outfit, brought his equipment and climbed out his window into the courtyard.

    The only target for his practice is naturally Lady Pingyuan and her son. Under the cover of the night, he used his ability and swiftly and quietly made his way to the courtyard where Lady Pingyuan is staying.

    When that lone building came into his sight, he saw that security was tight. Unless one can morph into a bird, he can forget about slipping in. Lamps were lighted in the hall, and voices could be heard.

    Luckily Xiang Shaolong has the ability to climb up high.

    He first chose a tall and sturdy old tree about 10 feet high and shot out his hook, aiming at the branches about 3 feet away before attaching the rope to the clasp around his waist. Making use of the pulley he pulled on the rope and rose up, and in a short while reached the horizontal branch.

    He continued on like this and after a while he was almost at the top of the wall, about 8 feet high, the scene in the courtyard right below his eyes.

    He looked out for an opportunity and once again shot the hook out with the projectile, hitting right on target the wall on the other side of the courtyard. When the hooked which was wrapped in soft hide landed on the tiles, it only emitted a very faint noise.

    Xiang Shaolong tugged on the hook, until the hook was tightly embedded on the wooden beam of the roof. He tested its sturdiness before hooking it to the clasp on his waist again and leapt off the tree, and quietly slid down to the roof opposite.

    He then leaned down and took out a hollow and round metal tube, with the hole on one end bigger than the other. He pressed the wider hole tightly on the tile while he plastered his ears to the narrow end of the hole. Like a modern doctor with his stethoscope, the sounds in the room immediately amplified and filled his ears.

    He heard Prince Shaoyuan said angrily, If not for that Xiang Shaolong barging in, Ill surely be able to deal with that s.lut. Humph! Lets see if she dares to disobey me.

    Lady Pingyuan was heard saying, My child why be so impatient now. Zhao Ya is yours sooner or later, and even Zhao Qian wont be able to escape from your clutches, humph!

    Xiang Shaolong felt his skin go numb, he did not expect that Lady Pingyuan to actually be of the same thinking with her son.

    Lady Pingyuan continued, You better not go and bother Xiang Shaolong, this person can be made use of greatly by your uncle.

    Prince Shaoyuan said angrily, He treats me so badly, how can I take this lying down. Unless Mother can tell me clearly what you intend to do to him, or else I will certainly be at odds with him. He then tried cajoling, Mother! Im all grown up now, I should be able to share you and Uncles burdens!

    Xiang Shaolong secretly prayed, hoping that shell reveal it.

    Luckily Lady Pingyuan has always spoiled her son and couldnt withstand his begging and said, Do you know why Uncle kept pushing for the marriage between Zhao and Wei, and deliberately leaked the news about the Lu Gongs Secret Manual to the Zhaos?

    Xiang Shaolong felt his body turn cold on hearing this, so it turns out that Lu Gongs secret manual is part of the plot. From this one can see that how Prince Xinling, one of the 4 Princes of the Warring States period, is so formidable.

    Prince Shaoyuan begged, Mother! Tell me quickly!

    Lady Pingyuan said, This is a big secret, besides you and me, not a third person must know of this, understand?

    Prince Shaoyuan hurriedly gave his promise.

    Lady Pingyuan was silent for a moment before she said, I have no choice but to let you know as well, because well need you to coordinate with the skilled pugilists Uncle sent to put this important mission into motion.

    Prince Shaoyuan tapped his chest and said, Leave it to me.

    Lady Pingyuan said, In order to steal Lu Gongs Secret Manual, the Zhaos will certainly send their best warrior to Wei. Now that theyve sent Xiang Shaolong, this person is both skilled in swordplay and intelligent, just the right person for us.

    Prince Shaoyuan is not an idiot, and he uttered in shock, Is Uncle trying to recruit him/ But he and I

    Lady Pingyuan interrupted him coldly, Dont worry! Your enemy is my enemy, Ill make sure hell die without even a proper burial place.

    Prince Shaoyuan said happily, Thats really great.

    Xiang Shaolong who was eavesdropping from the roof was furious and really felt like leaping down and stabbing both of them.

    So it turns out that Lady Pingyuan has an ulterior motive with him.

    Such a vicious women, is really a fine specimen of this era where the strongest will survive.

    Lady Pingyuan said in a low voice, Once we bribe that fool, we can arrange for him to assassinate the useless King of Wei. With your uncles help and that fools excellent martial arts, it will certainly succeed.

    Prince Shaoyuan shivered and asked hoarsely, What?

    Lady Pingyuan humph, Look how alarmed you are, as soon as Xiang Shaolong succeeds, your uncles men will kill him on the spot and therell be no witnesses left. Then well push all the blame to the Zhaos, and by then your uncle will be able to openly send troops to attack Zhao and gain control of military power. By then wont the state of Wei will be in his pocket?

    Xiang Shaolong felt cold sweat running down his body on hearing it. Only now did he understand why Lady Pingyuan said Prince Shaoyuan will be able to get both Zhao Qian and Zhao Ya.

    Prince Shaoyuam exclaimed joyously, This is indeed a perfect plan, but Xiang Shaolong is no fool. Im afraid that he might pretend to be on our side but later complain about us to the King of Wei. That would be terrible.

    Lady Pingyuan smiled icily, Do not belittle me and your uncle. I married your father in the past with the hope that he can ascend the throne. Unfortunately he was unable to succeed and died early as well, or else you could have already be the King of Zhao. We have thought of a way to deal with Xiang Shaolong, and that is to force him to a dead end so that he has no choice but to throw in his lot with us.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brow, and thought to himself what are the ways they have to force him to a dead end?

    Naturally Prince Shaoyuan couldnt guess as well and kept pressing Lady Pingyuan for the answer.

    The regal lady who is beautiful on the outside but venomous as a snake on the inside said with a lowered voice, As long as Zhao Qians virginity is lost, where else can he go?

    Xiang Shaolong almost exclaimed out loud on hearing this, and at the same time was glad that his unplanned trip here has allowed him to overhear such an important plot. Naturally he concentrated hard to continue to listen in on the plans this mother and son team has for Zhao Qian.

  7. #27
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    Book 3 Chap 3 Turbulence in the camp

    That night Xiang Shaolong did not sleep a wink after he returned to his room, and spent the night thinking. Under Ding Shou and Wa Ches escort, the convoy passed the Zhang river and entered the wilderness that belongs to the state of Wei. Lady Ya knows that he is still angry so she stayed inside the carriage and did not bother him. Xiaozhao and the other maids looked unhappy and sad, because Lady Ya has given strict orders and they dared not speak to him. Prince Shaoyuan deliberately showed his uncooperativeness by lagging behind and slowing down the group. Xiang Shaolong was confident and was not bothered at all. By dusk, theyve only managed to travel about 20 odd li.

    By now Xiang Shaolongs attention was solely on the enemy who will appear any time now. He chose a highland with a mountain backing it to set up camp. Xiang Shaolong placed his own commanders tent as well as Lady Ya and Zhao Qians tents in the middle next to the mountain, the remaining 500 warriors split into 3 groups to set up their tents to the extreme right. Prince Shaoyuans tents were set up at the extreme left, which shows an obvious divide in the camps. Naturally Xiang Shaolong knows what he is up to, because tonight the highly skilled martial artist sent by Prince Xinling will infiltrate into Zhao Qians camp from his side before setting off drug inducing smoke so that he can sneak into Zhao Qians tent and despoil her. And the person who volunteered to do this is Prince Shaoyuan. If not for the fact that Xiang Shaolong is aware of their plot, its very possible that they have a high chance of success. Who would think that theyd have to be on the alert against an inside thief?

    Xiang Shaolong stood straight at the highest point of the mountain, looking at the rolling hills below him and secretly thought to himself that no wonder Prince Xinlings men would choose this place to strike. Thats because even when one is near the area, they will be difficult to spot and Prince Shaoyuan knows this secret, thats why he deliberately delayed the journey. By now Cheng Xu has come up to him and commented, I did not know that Imperial Protector is so well versed in setting camp. Even Zha Yuanyu who thinks of himself as an expert was complimenting your layout for being convenient and flexible and hes extremely impressed. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that hes had 2000 more years of experience since their time, naturally hes good at it but when he replied, he was very humble instead. Cheng Xu lowered his voice, Ive sent my trusted aide to make contact with your man Wu Zhuo and told him not to come to the camp for the time being. Hei! I think Sir feels that something is happening. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that this is not a feeling, but a fact. He is dealing with Prince Shaoyuan tonight so he does not want Wu Zhuos men to be embroiled in all this so that things will not be even more complicated. Right at this time Zha Yuanyu who is in charge of setting up camp came to them to report that his task is accomplished.

    Although Xiang Shaolong knows that no matter if its Hu Hui who has an old enmity with him, or Xiao Weimou and his team of assassins from Qi, they will only strike when hes deep into the state of Wei so that he wont be able to run back to Zhao. Therefore he instructed Zha Yuanyu to remove the 40 carts from the mules and line them along the circumference of the camp so that they can be the first line of barriers against enemy attacks. This move made Zha Yuanyu even more confident about him and he went gladly on his way to work. Cheng Xu saw that he is so insightful and was even more in awe of him. Xiang Shaolong was silent for a moment before he said in a lowered voice, I have something really important for you to do, but you must not ask the reason why. Find me a group of soldiers with good arm strength and prepare tools for digging ditches and await my orders. But you must hide it from others, especially Prince Shaoyuan, understand! Cheng Xu thought that he was going lay traps around the camp and left to follow his orders. Xiang Shaolong prepared himself for quite some time, sighed deeply and forced himself to look for Lady Ya. In order to deal with Prince Shaoyuan, he can only make peace with her.

    The soldiers were setting the fire to prepare dinner and when they saw Xiang Shaolong, they greeted this commander respectfully from the bottom of their hearts. Xiang Shaolong was secretly happy and knows that the incident where he killed Xu Hai has been imprinted in their minds. When he give them commands in future, itll be a lot easier. The cloth that separated the camp from the tents came slowly into view. Zhao Da and the other two were chatting with a few of Zhao Qians personal guards and they stood at attention when they saw Xiang Shaolong. After Xiang Shaolong smiled and greeted them, he went into the restricted area of the camp. There are 4 tents in there, Lady Ya and Zhao Qian stays in the bigger tents. Xiao Zhao and the other maids were preparing dinner at the empty space and was ecstatic when they saw Xiang Shaolong. Xiao Zhao and Xiao Mei even lowered their head and cried. Xiang Shaolong replied them with a smile and went into Lady Yas private tent. Zhao Ya was sitting numbly at a corner, her eyes swollen, obviously she has been crying. Xiang Shaolong secretly sighed again, and began to understand that he is growing to love her more and more, thats why he could not tolerate her outrageous past or her being close with other men from now one. Zhao Ya saw him coming in and she stood up in alarm and joy, unable to believe her eyes and cried out, Shaolong! Xiang Shaolong smiled, Youre not allowed to cry, Ill leave if you cry. Zhao Ya forced her tears back and shouted, throwing herself into his arms, her shoulders shaking but she dared not cry out loud. Naturally Xiang Shaolongs shoulder was soon wet. Xiang Shaolong caressed her back and said gently, Do you still dare to be disobedient in future? Zhao Ya shook her head furiously, meek as a lamb. Xiang Shaolong hugged her and sat down, wiped away her teas and said with a smile, Now let me test how obedient you are. Now go and look for Zhao Qian and tell her that tonight, I want all the women in here to hide in my tent. This must be kept a secret. Zhao Ya looked at him in shock, but as afraid that shell offend him again so she kept nodding her head, looking so obedient yet pitiful. How enchanting. Xiang Shaolong cant bear to see her like that so he whispered in her ear, Im afraid that someone will sneak in tonight and do something bad to her! Zhao Ya heard his gentle tone and she became bolder and kissed him cautiously, saying, You really will forgive me? Xiang Shaolong smiled and nodded. Zhao Ya stole a peek at him and asked, You really wont put it to heart at all? Xiang Shaolong sighed, What can I do? Who told me to love you so much that I cant stay away! Zhao Ya gave a shout of cheer and kissed him.

    After a long while, Zhao Ya said with much sufferance, You almost scared me to death, if you do that to me again, I can only die. Her pretty eyes reddened again. Xiang Shaolong felt bad for her and after consoling her, slapped her hard on her buttocks and commanded, Arent you setting off to work for me? Zhao Ya stood up and holding his hand, asked, If Zhao Qian were to ask me, how did Xiang Shaolong know that someone is going to attack her camp, how should I answer her? Xiang Shaolong knows that she has been assured and his alertness has returned. He knows that shes using Zhao Qian as an excuse to ask him, so he laughed and said, Dont worry! She will trust me absolutely, just do as I say. Zhao Ya was frightened and exclaimed, Shaolong! Its not that I dont trust you! Im just curious. And you still want to treat me like that. Xiang Shaolong saw how expressive she looked and felt his desire rising but he knows that tonight is not the time to have such fun so he kept his urge down and pushed her out of the tent. He then went to look for Cheng Xu, I want you to dig a few holes that can hide some people around Third Princesss main tent, and at the same time find 20 expert archers to hide with us in the holes and enjoy the grand event thats about to happen. Cheng Xu was dumbfounded on hearing that. After giving instructions about the details, Xiang Shaolong chortled and returned to his tent for his meal.

    The cold wind swept through the land. The crescent moon hung high up on the sky, illuminating the camp that was in total darkness. Besides the soldiers patrolling the circumference of the camp, everyone else was sound asleep after a tiring day of travel. Xiang Shaolong, Cheng Xu, Zhao Da, Zhao Wu, Zhao Qi and the 20 archers were the exception. They were hidden separately in the hidden holes at the 4 corners surrounding Zhao Qians tent, waiting for the grand event that Xiang Shaolong said will happen. They have fought to stay alert for many hours, and that is certainly not a comfortable stay. In another 4 hours the dawn will break.

    Just as Xiang Shaolongs own confidence was a little shaken as well, there was a sound that came from Prince Shaoyuans side of the camp. Everyone was immediately refreshed and using the moonlight and their eyes which has long been accustomed to the darkness, they turned towards the direction of the sound and stared.

    A skinny and short shadow that looks like the size of a child snuck in quietly. He moved nimbly to the nearest tent and in his hand he was holding a pipe looking thing. A faint light was seen. Everyone could clearly see that the intruder is a wretched looking man who is as skinny as a monkey, his hand holding something that looks like a tiny stove with a round pipe attached to it, and the fire was lighted in the stove. That person waited until the firelight in the stove was steady before he pushed the tube that was emitting smoke under the tent. Xiang Shaolong dared not even exhale loudly, looking that this person working slowly as he put the drugged smoke into the 4 tents. That person let out a bird cry, obviously the signal to summon his gang and truly, 10 odd people came over and spread out at the various important positions, surrounding the 4 tents. Another 5 or 6 people came later, one of them is naturally Prince Shaoyuan. Everyone worked quietly, not daring to make any noise. The atmosphere was tense and heavy.

    Prince Shaoyuan went to the door of Zhao Qians camp while the others moved to the tents of the maids, leaving only Lady Yas tent, which no one touched. Xiang Shaolong was fuming as he saw this, these beasts wont even let innocent maids off. If not for the face that Lady Ya is also Prince Shaoyuans target, and there is no way he can split himself, she would not have escaped tonight as well. Once the stove that sent the drugging smoke was extinguished, the short man made a hand signal and Prince Shaoyuan and his men moved unanimously into the tents. Xiang Shaolong knows that its time and he gave the secret signal. A chook chook sound was heard.

    The light arrows shot out from the heavy bows in the holes, eliminating the 10 odd men who were keeping a look out around the camp. Prince Shaoyuan and the rest realized the tents were empty and they cried out in alarm, but by then the 10 odd men outside already fell to the ground with a cry. Torches were lit. Another group of soldiers led by Zha Yuanyu surrounded the ladies camp. Those who snuck into the tents rushed out of it. By now Xiang Shaolong and his men threw away their bows and jumped out of the holes with their swords drawn, starting a merciless attack on them. For a moment the sounds of weapons clashing and battle cries thundered in the air.

    The person Xiang Shaolong targeted was Prince Shaoyuan so he took out a flying needle first and threw it at his thigh just as he was scrambling out of the tent. Prince Shaoyuan screamed and fell to the floor, dropping the sword in his hand. Xiang Shaolong dashed forward and kicked him hard on the groin. Prince Shaoyuan screamed like a pig being slaughtered, his cries echoing in the night sky and he collapsed onto the ground, the heart wrenching pain making him squirm violently on the floor. He does not even have the strength to strike now. Xiang Shaolong moved diagonally across, his sword shone, and decapitated an enemy who was about to retaliate. Thus the battle ended, with the enemies either killed instantly or seriously injured and captured, none escaped. The whole camp was a flurry of activity. The soldiers all ran towards them. Lady Pingyuan who was waiting for good news at the other side rushed over with her family warriors as well.

    The cloth surrounding the tents were pulled down, the torches illuminating everything as if it was daylight. Zha Yuanyus men stopped Lady Pingyuans men from charging over. Xiang Shaolong chortled and walked over to Prince Shaoyuan who was still writhing in pain on the ground and gave him a hard kick on his waist so that he turned over in pain. He then stepped on his chest, his long sword pointing at his throat and smiled at Prince Shaoyuan whose muscles twitched so much that his face was contorted and said, Hey! So its Prince Shaoyuan, Im sorry if Ive offended you. Lady Pingyuans angry and frightened voice rose up, Xiang Shaolong! Xiang Shaolong was still staring at Prince Shaoyuan as he shouted, Yuanyu how can you be so rude towards Lady, quickly invite Lady over. By now Lady Ya and Zhao Qian emerged from the commanders tent and looking at the person next to Xiang Shaolong and the surroundings, they all knew clearly what had happened.

    Although a few hundred people surrounded them, no one said a word, and only the crackling sound of the burning torches were heard. Lady Pingyuan walked over furiously and exclaimed, Arent you going to release my son quickly. Prince Shaoyuan was about to say something when Xiang Shaolongs long sword moved forward, the tip of the sword in his mouth. He was so frightened he dared not move, and even his moans stopped. Xiang Shaolong looked at Lady Pingyuan icily and said somberly, I, Xiang Shaolong, has been given an important task to escort Princess to Daliang. Now Prince Shaoyuan is in cahoots with outsiders and released drugged smoke in an attempt to outrage Princesss modesty. How is Lady going to explain all these. Lady Pingyuan saw her sons bloodied leg and she was at a total loss and anxiously cried out, Let him go first before we talk. Xiang Shaolongs eyes was stern as he said determinedly, No! I am going to execute him on the spot, and bear all responsibilities. At the most we will return to Zhao immediately and I will let his Majesty decide my fate. Lady Pingyuan turned pale and her lips trembled as she uttered, How dare you!

    Zhao Qians sweet voice said frostily, Such a man is worst than a beast, Imperial Protecter Xiang, kill him for me! Although Lady Ya felt that its inappropriate, she dared not interrupt for fear that Xiang Shaolong will misunderstand that she is trying to protect Prince Shaoyuan. Xiang Shaolong deliberately revealed a cold and cruel smile and looked at Lady Pingyuan challengingly. Lady Pingyuan looked as if she has suddenly aged, and she cried out, Fine! What do you want before youll let my son go. Xiang Shaolong turned his head and looked at Zhao Qian, asking with a straight face, Will Third Princess allow your subordinate to handle this matter totally. Zhao Qians pretty face blushed and dared not look at him but she lowered her head and nodded slightly. Xiang Shaolong saw how gentle this beauty is and other ideas rose in his head, but he remembered that she is going to marry a Wei and thought it such a pity. He turned his head back towards Lady Pingyuan and said, I can stop pursuing this matter, but Lady must write a letter of guarantee that Prince Shaoyuan must never again harbor such beastly thoughts towards Princess. What does Lady think?

    Lady Pingyuan gritted her teeth so hard that her silver tooth casing almost cracked. This move of Xiang Shaolong is really formidable, such that she is forced into never bringing this up in from of the King of Zhao to complain against him. Xiang Shaolong is extremely confident, because he knows that she still need to make use of him to assassinate the King of Wei so hes not worried that she will not concede. Lady Pingyuan was silent for a moment before she finally admitted defeat, Fine! Youre good. Xiang Shaolong smiled and said, The one who is good is Lady, I am just a little lucky.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 3 Chap 4 The war between a male and female

    The next day when the envoy was getting ready to leave, Lady Pingyuan remained unmoved and refused to leave with the team. Xiang Shaolong laughed secretly to himself and bring with him Zhao Da and the other tree as well as 10 odd specially trained elite soldiers, went to pay a visit to Lady Pingyuan personally. When they reached the tent, Xiang Shaolong told his men to stand guard outside while he went to see Lady Pingyuan alone.

    Lady Pingyuan was still furious and she said with a frosty look, Xiang Shaolong youre good, youve injured my son so badly. Xiang Shaolong knows that she was talking about the hard kick he gave to the groin. He secretly laughed to himself but when he spoke, he sighed instead, I didnt know he is Prince Shaoyuan at all in the darkness. Luckily I realized in time or I would have killed him. Lady Pingyuan was at a loss for words, but her anger was still unappeased so she stared at him and said, My son is still weak and is not suited for long travels, you can go to Daliang on your own! I will only leave when he has recovered. Xiang Shaolong looked at her fiery eyes filled with hatred and sighed, I am in a difficult position and have no choice but to put on an act in front of Zhao Qian. Actually Ive considered what Lady told me the other day and have come to a decision long ago.

    Lady Pingyuan was stunned for a moment, and this ignited Xiang Shaolongs hope. She eyed him for a moment before she nodded and said, If you really have such a thought Xiang Shaolong interrupted her, But what Prince Shaoyuan did last night was obviously done with your approval, and this has aroused my doubts about Ladys sincerity. Lady Pingyuan immediately lost the upper hand. In actual fact ever since Xiang Shaolong seemed to foretell her plan, which she was so confident of and spoil it, she has started fearing him and has no idea how she should deal with this man.

    Her instinctive reaction was to lower her eyes. Xiang Shaolong saw that she did not try to deny and knows that she is now confused by his forcefulness. He moved boldly forward, looking closely at her tired yet pretty face and said with a smile, Shall we talk about this after we reach Daliang? At least you should let me see Prince Xinling first! Lady Pingyuan saw her standing so close to her and she lifted her head, her face frosty as she said, Are you trying to be rude to me? How dare you insult your superior? Xiang Shaolong said calmly, I just have a secret to tell Lady, but I do not know if Lady is interested in hearing it. Lady Pingyuan was thrown off guard and she asked, What is it? Xiang Shaolong moved his lips closer, so close that it was only inches away from her, and deliberately pretended to be mysterious as he said, I dont know if it was Zhao Mu who leaked out news, but a few groups of horse thieves including Hui Hu are waiting within Weis border for us, and I heard that Lady is one of their targets.

    Lady Pingyuans face turned pale and she exclaimed hoarsely, What? Xiang Shaolong said with a straight face, I, Xiang Shaolong, can swear to heaven, if I speak a word of falsehood, then let me die a horrible death. He secretly thought that people of this era is not like those in the 21st century, they will not give their vows so easily and now he is witnessing the miraculous use of this method. Lady Pingyuan did not suspect his words as expected. She rolled her eyes for a while before she asked weakly, Is Hui Hu really part of it? By now Xiang Shaolong is absolutely sure that Hui Hu is the King of Weis man, and because Lady Pingyuan knows this secret, all the more she believes his words. He boldly sat down to her right, his mouth moved close to her ear, almost touching it and said, The news was relayed to me by the spies the Wu family planted in Wei. They even said the mastermind could very well be the King of Wei himself.

    Lady Pingyuan furrowed her brows and said, Can you sit a little further away to talk? Xiang Shaolong saw that although she looked irritated, her pretty face was blushing and her breathing was faster and knows shes feeling confused whether to reject or welcome him. He cant help but secretly laugh and was even more determined to seek his revenge. He thought to himself, since you can be unscrupulous towards me, why cant I have a little payback, and he gently kissed her rounded ear lobes. Lady Pingyuans dainty body shook, and was about to reprimand him when Xiang Shaolong retreated to his original position, his mesmerizing eyes looking at her deeply. Her heart immediately started pounding, and the reprimand she was about to utter stuck in her throat.

    What is happening? This person injured her son and outraged her modesty, but why didnt she react? Once she thought of this, her face burned and she lowered her face and said quietly, Fine! We will leave with you.

    When Xiang Shaolong returned to his troops who were all packed and ready to leave, he added Wu Zhuos 100 men into his group, thus increasing his control. These 100 family warriors were well built and alert, and with one look anyone can tell that theyre elite fighters. Cheng Xu who has been nervous and apprehensive all this while seems to have been finally reassured, and his smile is a lot more radiant now. Xiang Shaolong set the trap last night as if he could predict Prince Shaoyuans evil plot, and this has raised him to almost a god-like status amongst the soldiers. While waiting for Lady Pingyuans men to dismantle camp, Xiang Shaolong, Wu Zhuo, Cheng Xu and Zha Yuanyu went to a nearby hill to look at the map and discuss the route to take to Daliang.

    Wu Zhuo is very familiar with the geography of Wei and he said, From here to Tangyin, we have official roads which we can travel on. In the past the Weis set up gantries and camps along the roads, and there are watchtowers on higher grounds as well. But according to our scout, not only are the gantries missing along the road now, but we cant even find a single Wei to ask around. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that if the King of Wei really intends to send someone to attack him, he will not want to do it too far away from the Zhao border so that he will be able to push all the blame and say that the thieves went after them from the Zhao border. Especially when Hui Hu has a personal feud with Xiang Shaolong, so this excuse can be used to shut the Zhaos up and at the same time deal a great blow to Prince Xinling. Hai! All those in power in this era are all conniving people. But he thought about the politicians in the 21st century and felt that maybe its not so strange after all. Cheng Xu pointed at the river, which forked from the Yellow River, flowing across Tangyin and said, After we past the river, theres another official road that goes from the east straight towards another large city, Huangcheng, next to the Yellow River. If we were to travel there instead, wont the horse thieves be least expecting that?

    Xiang Shaolong said somberly, If Im the horse thief, I will certainly launch an attack while you are crossing the river. They came well prepared and outnumber us, so the outcome of the fight is predictable. The other 3 were dumbfounded. Everyone knows that when crossing rivers, theres no way to defend oneself on the river as the boats are totally exposed to the enemys catapults, and itll be a perfect opportunity for the horse thieves to attack. Xiang Shaolong is a soldier who went through vigorous training and after thinking for a while, he said decidedly, No matter which official road we choose, we will still fall into the enemys expectations. The other partys energy is conserved while waiting for us but we will be tired from the travels. The only way is to change this obvious advantage and make the enemy tired instead. Thats the only way we can win with our fewer numbers. He paused for a moment before continuing with confidence, Now well still travel south on the official roads but we will not cross the river when we come to it. Instead we will travel east along the water until we reach the inlets. This is certainly not within the enemys expectations and they will have to come after us via the river crossing while we set up camp next to the river and wait for the enemy. This will greatly increase our chances of winning.

    Zha Yuanyu commented, But that is not an easy route to travel on Wu Zhuo interrupted him, As long as we can keep our lives, we will be able to overcome any difficult routes. Cheng Xu agreed, Thats decided then! Well increase the number of scouts who will keep a lookout on the front, back, left and right of the group. Id rather travel slowly than to fall into a trap.

    After the decision was made, the large group continued on their journey. Xiang Shaolong personally chose a team of fit soldiers to be the scouts and they were separated into 5 in each team, with 2 teams each in front, at the back, the left and right, a total of 8 teams. They will use flags to signal to the main group once its safe. By dusk, theyre only a days journey away from the river. They chose a high ground that is easy to defend but difficult to be attacked against to set up camp. Xiang Shaolong did not sleep at all last night so he took the opportunity to hide in the tent and have a good sleep. When he woke up the surroundings were in total darkness. Beneath the blanket he sniffed a fragrance and felt a soft body. He lit his lamp and saw that it was Lady Ya who was leaning against him fully clothed and sleeping. Lady Ya was awaken by the glare from the lamp and she complained, You! Sleeping like a dead pig. Itll be terrible if theres an enemy attack. Xiang Shaolong laughed, Are you the enemy? He felt refreshed but extremely famished, before he remembered that he had not eaten. Lady Ya heard his tummy rumbling and laughed as she got up, I came especially to send you your dinner, hai! Its all cold now.

    Xiang Shaolongs mood was greatly improved and allowed this beauty who has always been served by others to serve him as he dine. By the time his stomach was full, its already morning. They continued on the journey, following the official road down south towards the river, with lolling hills and woods surrounding them, the scenery breathtaking. Lady Pingyuan became a lot more cooperative and the carriage that was carrying her and her injured son traveled closely behind Zhao Qians group while their 200 family warriors followed right at the back.

    Ever since the conversation that morning, Xiang Shaolong has not spoken to this venomous woman. He wonders if she is thinking of any nefarious plot again. When he went past Zhao Qians carriage, the pretty Zhao princess lifted up the curtain and called out daintily, Xiang Shaolong! Ever since they left Handan, this is the first time she initiated a talk with him. Xiang Shaolong was surprised. He slowed his horse down and traveled alongside the carriage. He looked at her bright and pretty eyes and asked, Princess, what instructions do you have! Zhao Qian boldly looked at him in the eyes for a moment before lowering her head, Xiang Shaolong! Im very grateful to you, but I hate you as well. She lowered the curtain as soon as she said this, cutting off his direct and greedy gaze.

    Xiang Shaolong has mixed feelings. As a Casanova, of course he understood the hidden meaning in her words. By calling his name directly, its obvious that she is treating him as a man who can be a match to her royalty. Shes grateful to him because he protected her chastity but she hates him because hes giving her away to the Weis. Although its an imperial decree that cannot be disobeyed, she cant help but feel upset with him. Feeling dejected, Xiang Shaolong can only try to concentrate on the passing scenery.

    In this world 2000 years ago, the world outside the cities still preserved an alluring primitive look. It not for the fact that winter is approaching, theyll certainly see herds of animals strolling along the grasslands. This road is mainly along the lower hills or across flat open plains so although in the distance there were cliffs and mountains, dense forests and woods, the route they took is a quiet and peaceful road. They turned around a little hill and on their left a small lake as still as a mirror suddenly appeared. The water in the lake was jade green without any waves, serene and clear, and in the early morning fog it looked especially enchanting. On the opposite bank green hills lined the distance, with green bamboos and trees, looking very delicate. Xiang Shaolong secretly thought it a pity, if he is on a tour, hell certainly stay here for a few days. Even after theyve left the little lake, the pretty scene was still etched deeply in his mind. But very soon he was attracted by another valley they passed.

    There were unique looking cliffs in the valley, the rocks lined intricately, the forest dense and once in a while a strange animal would appear. A stream was flowing down the cliff and under the sunlight, the water and rocks seems to be moving, the illusion captivating. Xiang Shaolong suddenly had a strange thought, if Crazy Mas time machine can really send people back to the past and present freely, then all he has to do is set up a tour agency and hell be able to earn big bucks. As he went on imagining, his mood became better and by dusk, they finally reached the northern bank of the river. The scenery that appeared was enough to captivate a time traveler like him. He is the only one who understands that the damage done to earth 2000 years later can be so unacceptable. The river was about 60 odd meters wide, flowing between 2 huge rocks, with abundant weeds growing in the middle of the river. There was an unexplained beauty about the river.

    Xiang Shaolong was totally engrossed with enjoying the scene until Cheng Xu reminded him and he gave the orders to set up camp next to the water. Without waiting for his instructions, Wu Zhuo had already sent someone to climb up the highest cliff to study the surroundings. On the surface, everything looks peaceful, and birds and animals would come and drink from the river occasionally, or even mingle around with their mules, enjoying the sweet river water. The camp he set up this time is the 6 petals camp, with the commanders tent and the ladies tents, including Lady Pingyuans right in the middle of the camp while the rest of the troops are split into 6 groups surrounding the central camp, like a flower with 6 petals. Naturally the circumference is still protected by the carriages joined together and the horses and mules were enclosed next to the river. By the time everything was settled, the sky is slowly getting darker and the various camps started their fires and smoke was seen everywhere. Xiang Shaolong, Wu Zhuo and Cheng Xu climbed up a huge rock to examine the happenings at the opposite bank.

    They could hear the sounds of animals and birds fleeing in alarm from the woods on the opposite shore. The three of the exchanged glances and smiled, secretly thinking that theyve had a close shave. Cheng Xu said, Yuanyu will find some men and pretend to build rafts and let the thieves think that we will cross the river tomorrow morning. He continued with a bitter smile, Tonight may be the last night of peace. Wu Zhuo said, The thieves will surely have men hidden on this side as well. When we change our route tomorrow and heard east along the river, will they give chase in a moment of anxiousness. Xiang Shaolong smiled, Wu Zhuo make a guess who could it be thats keeping an eye out for us at the bank opposite? Without a thought Wu Zhuo replied, Of course its Hu Hui, theyre the strongest amongst the horse thieves and has the capability of attacking us during the day. If its Xiao Weimou, he would not dare to openly launch an attack with a thousand troops within the borders of Wei. At the most he will use the strategy of attacking at night or with fire. Xiang Shaolong laughed, Knowing yourself and your enemy is the way of winning battles. This is the famous words of the great militarist Old Sun, so how can we let this opportunity to make him fall badly pass. Wu Zhuo and Cheng Xus eyes immediately shone.

    Xiang Shaolong continued, Besides, we have an added advantage, Hu Hui does not know that we have an extra 100 elite soldiers. Just based on that we can make Hu Hui fall on his nose and when he breaths out, his beard would all be gray (hui = gray). He lowered his voice and revealed his plan. Wu Zhuo and Cheng Wei were exclaiming how brilliant the plan was after they heard it. Xiang Shaolong asked offhandedly, Why is it that weve traveled for a few days but we dont even see a single Wei village, its as if were in no-mans land now. Cheng Xu replied, This is the King of Weis orders, the areas 50li around official roads are not to be inhabited, for fear that when enemies travel past the official roads, they can plunder the villages for food, women and men. Xiang Shaolong was enlightened and after going through the details of their mission a few more times, they returned to camp.

    That night he had dinner at Lady Yas tent and Xiao Zhao and the rest of the maids served them happily. They even helped him bath and change and he was enjoying himself amongst the bevy of beauties so much that his weariness was all gone. While he was hugging Lady Ya and lying on the rug, she caressed his broad and muscular chest and said, I really dont understand how you can predict that Prince Shaoyuan will launch a secret attack on Zhao Qian, and I dont understand why theyll want to do that? Xiang Shaolong was silent for a moment before he came to a decision, and told her about him overhearing the conversation between Lady Pingyuan and her son. Lady Yas pretty face turned pale on hearing this and the first thing she said was, What a good Prince Xinling, to make me think that hes really missing me, so hes trying to harm me instead. Xiang Shaolong sighed, You cant say that he does not miss you. If I really killed the King of Wei, wont you still end up being his? Lady Ya was at a loss and asked while hugging him tightly, What shall we do now? Xiang Shaolong replied, With me here, what do you have to fear? He has his plans of Zhang Liang*, but I have wall ascending ladders, humph!

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Liang

    Lady Ya furrowed her brows as she asked, What is plans of Zhang Liang and wall ascending ladders? Only now did Xiang Shaolong remember that Zhang Liang was a person who appeared at the end of the Qin era and the beginning of Han, so hes not born at this time yet. He was dumbfounded and laughed in reply, Anyway this is called acting according to circumstances. As long as the Weis dare not out rightly make an enemy of us, I am confident of returning home with our lives. Lady Ya asked, Why is Lady Pingyuan suddenly listening to you, it is because Xiang Shaolong slapped her butt warningly and said, Dont let your thoughts wander. I just analyzed to her the situation. Lady Ya giggled, Of course I believe you, Lady Pingyuan may be vicious but shes very uptight about relations between men and women. I just wonder if you can make her break her defenses? Dont forget that even Zhao Ni was unable to escape from your evil clutches! Xiang Shaolong said honestly, I did flirt with her a little. In order to survive, and under this major rule of thumb, I am willing to do anything.

    Before he finished his words, Xiao Zhao came in and said, Lady Pingyuan would like to invite Master Xiang over! Lady Pingyuan was seated along in her tent, her hair piled high up in a bun and affixed with a gold hairpiece. She was wearing a long brocade outfit with light makeup on her face, looking absolutely radiant. Xiang Shaolong cant help but secretly compliment this woman for knowing how to dress up, mainly because she is a born clothes rack, and looks good in anything she wears. She must have been an alluring thing when she was young, a pity that she is so vicious. When she saw Xiang Shaolong arriving, she said nonchalantly, Imperial Protector please take a seat! Xiang Shaolong loves flirting with especially alluring women, and she still looks so young, so he smiled and said, Can I sit anywhere? Lady Pingyuan stared at him, Imperial Protector, you are getting more and more discourteous with me. She stared at him fiercely again, as if reprimanding him for licking her earlobe the other day. Xiang Shaolong looked at her expression and knows that she is going to play along with his plan, thinking of changing her strategy to a softer one to trap him. But he is not afraid at all. Matters between men and women are like playing with fire, and one can burn oneself if hes not careful. Its still an unknown whether Lady Pingyuan will really fall for him in the end. Xiang Shaolong is not willing to press her too hard so he went to her side and lied down. Lying on the soft rug, he stretched lazily and gave a satisfied sigh. Lady Pingyuan turned her head around and looked at Xiang Shaolong who was lying now next to her and asked coldly, Xiang Shaolong! Stop playing games, what do you want? Xiang Shaolong deliberately breathed in deeply twice and said, Lady smells so nice! Theres nothing Lady Pingyuan can do to him, and suppressing the urge to slap him angrily, she said, Answer me quickly! Xiang Shaolong felt all these exchanges exciting and said, Right now I only want one person, Lady should know who that person is? Lady Pingyuan calmed down and nodded her head, Fine! If you answer one question of mine, and if I find the answer satisfactory, I will make a guess who is the person you want.

    A person of her status, by saying that is akin to agreeing to give her body to the other party. Xiang Shaolong has eavesdropped on her conversation with her son before and naturally knows that this woman has a sweet tongue but hidden daggers so he said with a smile, Matters between men and women are not a transaction, so how can you lay down rules beforehand. Besides its up to you to decide if my answer is satisfactory, so please forgive your subordinate for not accepting it. Lady Pingyuans gaze turned glacier and stared at him, Xiang Shaolong are you feeling guilty, thats why you dont even dare to answer a question? Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that she should be the guilty one and said, Who has no guilt? Those without guilt has gone to seen the King of Hell a long time ago. Lady Pingyuan has lived most of her life as royalty, and now she is in an esteemed status so how can she tolerate such behavior. She felt extremely unhappy, yet she also felt an excitement shes never felt before.

    All along, she has always remained emotionless as she carried out her plans that can benefit her. She has always never cared much about relationships between men and women. When she married Prince Pingyuan, all she thought was the possibility of him replacing the King of Zhao. Marriage to her is just a transaction. Therefore she never allowed other men to flirt with her at all. This time she met the young and handsome Xiang Shaolong, and although she was a little attracted by his appearance, what moved her heart was his strong will and high handed ways as well as his unique charisma. Strangely it made her want to bow down to one stronger than her. And slowly but surely he is advancing towards her. Now she feels as if she cannot take it any more, and yet she feels greatly excited by it all. Such dilemma is making her feel lost. By now she has forgotten that Xiang Shaolong is only a useful pawn. Xiang Shaolong could tell that this is her only weakness, thats why he deliberately used such methods to deal with her. The 2 of them stared at each other, neither wanting to back down.

    Xiang Shaolong feels no love towards her at all, but her high and mighty regal status as well as her radiant and mature outlook stirred up his lust. Of course mixed with it is a strong feeling of revenge. He felt that no matter what he does to this vicious woman, theres no need to be responsible for it. And her dangerous nature is in itself a very strong lure. He sat up and moved nearer, until he lightly touched Lady Pingyuans untouchable pale arms and slender legs before he stopped. With less than 2 to 3 inches between them, he looked at her challengingly, looking at her eyes, which showed the conflict in her emotions. Lady Pingyuan furrowed her brows tightly and said quietly, Xiang Shaolong! Arent you going too far?, secretly hating that touch that made her lose all her senses. Although Xiang Shaolong has the intention to flirt with her, he understands that for women like her who think so highly of themselves, the most important thing is to know when to stop, and he must strip her of her defenses bit by bit. He stood up and said with a laugh, It seems that Lady has not gathered the courage to accept real happiness. And he left the tent.

    Lady Pingyuan jumped up and cried out daintily, Xiang Shaolong! Xiang Shaolong stopped in his steps and turned around, his heated eyes roaming about her body a few times before asking respectfully, Does Lady has any instructions? Lady Pingyuan stamped her feet and said, You have not answered my question, I wont allow you to leave, or else just you wait and see what will happen when we reach Daliang. Xiang Shaolong walked towards her, his gaze and smile filled with conquering her. Lady Pingyuan was at a loss and actually took 3 steps back and for the first time revealed the weakness of a lady. Xiang Shaolong almost touched her bosom before he stopped, and reaching out his steady and strong hand, caught hold of her chin and forced her to look up at him. The skin under his fingers felt extremely tender. The light wrinkles around her eyes became a strange lure instead. Lady Pingyuans hands was clasped tightly around her sleeves, her breathing quickening, the fragrance blowing directly on the other partys face. She very much wanted to close her eyes but she knows that once she do that, the other party will take a further step forward in her molestation. At this point in time she still finds it difficult to accept the idea although her physical reactions tell of a different thing altogether. She deliberately thought of how he injured her son, but still she cant find the heart to hate this man. In fact she felt the strong pressure exerted by the other party. Xiang Shaolong said gently, Lady just ask! If I answer you honestly, Lady must allow me a kiss and you must not try to deny me that.

    Lady Pingyuans heart thumped wildly and she felt at a loss as well as extremely furious. However her body seemed to be leaning forward so she lifted her slender hand and pushed against his muscular chest but the other party did not move at all. Xiang Shaolong felt the excitement of taking advantage of a superior and released his hold on her chin, changing to grab her tender hands, which besides the dead Prince Pingyuan, no one else has touched before. He first forced her hands down and pushed it behind her before hugging her, sticking close to her thighs. Lady Pingyuan moaned quietly, her voluptuous body immediately leaned into him, pressing against him totally. Xiang Shaolong was afraid that she might not be able to take the excitement so he distracted her by saying, Speak! Xiang Shaolong am all ears. Lady Pingyuans body trembled and like a frightened bird struggled for a moment but of course this did nothing to change the situation. She lifted her head and looked at Xiang Shaolong, stammering, What are you doing?

    Xiang Shaolong suppressed the urge to squeeze her and said, If Lady is not going to ask the question, I am going to leave. Lady Pingyuan could not withstand it any longer and with a groan, collapsed limply against him and uttered, Xiang Shaolong! I want you to tell me, why were you able to set up a trap to harm my son? Xiang Shaolong had long guessed that she is going to ask this same question as Lady Ya, and with Lady Pingyuans intellect she will certainly suspect that he has overheard their conversation. Then that would mean their other plans to deal with Xiang Shaolong has been revealed as well. If she does not clarify this point, how can she lure him. He was secretly cursing that this woman is ultimately still trying to cause him his death. He thought that no matter how interested she is in him, it would never be greater than her thirst for power. He smiled and said, The person I wanted to deal with is not your son at all, its just that the man I placed in a secret location realized there are outsiders nearby and their numbers are not large, so I guessed they might be planning something against Princess. I just did not expect Young Master to be involved in this as well!

    This is a very good reply, and very reasonable as well. Because Wu Zhuos men are elite soldiers that Lady Pingyuan did not expect. Lady Pingyuan was relieved and her fake composure returned. She lifted her pretty face and was about to say something when Xiang Shaolongs mouth pressed down, sealing her sweet lips. If Xiang Shaolong does not know about her evil plots, he will never touch even a hair on the mother of his enemy. Because hes afraid hell be entangled in a messy relationship. But now its a game of plotting against each other, each using their own tricks, so theres no emotional barrier at all. Instead, he felt the joy and excitement of taking advantage of his enemys mother as revenge. Her body is still filled with life and suppleness, and doesnt feel old at all. Under the flirting of his lips and tongue, Lady Pingyuans reactions started to heat up. At the most intoxicating and exciting moment, Xiang Shaolong released his hold on her sweet lips, hands and body, moved back and with a bow, said with a smile, Thank you Lady for your favor. He ignored her silent look asking him to stay and left the tent. But he could still smell the fragrance of her body.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 3 Chap 5 – Fighting off enemies at the river

    Xiang Shaolong and Wu Zhuo’s 100 men, with strong bows in their hands, lied low in a dense forest about a hundred steps away from the camp, looking at the slowly leaving troops in the gradually brightening sky.

    When the sky was bright, Cheng Xu’s men has already disappeared around the bend at the lower stream.

    After a moment, sounds of hooves and men talking were heard on both sides of the river.

    A group of almost 400 horse thieves rode out from a dense forest at the upper stream while on the opposite bank a large group of surprised thieves ran out. One of them was sitting high atop a horse, with a wave of long and coarse gray beard, and he is indeed the most famous horse thief roaming the Zhao borders, Hu Hui.

    He was so furious his eyeballs were almost bulging out and kept hurrying his men to move the rafts for crossing the river out from the hiding place so that they can go after their enemies. Obviously they have lost their footing.

    Sounds of hooves were heard, the horse thieves on this side of the river are already riding hard along the river.

    The horse thieves on the other side are starting to cross the river.

    Xiang Shaolong took a peek at Wu Zhuo and saw that in this dangerous and tense situation, he still maintained his cool and was secretly impressed.

    20 odd wooden rafts, with war horses and other equipment on it, came crossing the river.

    When Hu Hui’s men ferried 2 batches of close to 400 warhorses and rations, they began to ferry the men across the river.

    Hu Hui was on one of the wooden rafts.

    By now, on this side of the river there were only about 50 to 60 horse thieves and totally unwary as they were busy moving the horses to the flat plains next to the river bank.

    Xiang Shaolong gave a hand signal and a hundred odd men released a wave of arrows from the dense forest, causing chaos amongst the enemy and the horses and more than half their men were taken down.

    Hu Hui and the rest were panicking as the hurriedly cocked their arrows to return fire. The small group of soldiers left on the bank screamed and scattered in all directions.

    Xiang Shaolong and his men have by now moved behind the rocks next to the bank and the sound of bows clanging were heard as the light arrows flew like locusts towards the horse thieves on the rafts who had nothing to cover them at all.

    There was no way the horse thieves could avoid the arrows and fresh blood stained the rafts and river red.

    Hu Hui hurriedly gave orders to retreat to the opposite bank.

    Everyone aimed at him and a flurry of arrows flew towards this obvious target.

    Although the horse thieves held the wooden oars high up, they were unable to block the hundreds of arrows and fell one by one.

    Hu Hui saw that the situation was amiss and with an angry roar, jumped into the water and hid under the wooden raft.

    The other thieves copied his move and all jumped into the water.

    There were about 200 horse thieves still on the opposite bank but besides jumping and shouting, there’s nothing they can do as well.

    The light arrows shot into the water, fresh blood kept bubbling up from the water, followed by bodies floating up. The scene looked totally brutal.

    It’s either you perish or I’ll die, this has always been a rock hard fact in wars.

    The wooden rafts were broken and the pieces flowed downstream.

    Xiang Shaolong was worried about the situation at Cheng Xu’s side so he gave the orders to retreat, ignoring whether Hu Hui was dead or alive. They went up the warhorses they stole and led the horses equipped with rations downstream.

    By now the battle at Cheng Xu’s side is coming to an end as well.

    When they reached a suitable site downstream, they used the carriages as a line of defense and Zha Yuanyu also led 400 men and spread out around the dense woods nearby, waiting for the pursuing thieves.

    400 horse thieves came rushing along the river and they had just turned the corner when they saw the waiting Zhao soldiers but by then they have already fallen within shooting distance of the hiding soldiers. Just as they were at a loss whether to advance or retreat, the Zhao soldiers who were under cover behind the carriages let out a volley of arrows together and immediately men and horses felled.

    The remaining men were unable to retreat in time and when they were thinking of going around the carriages via the side stream, Zha Yuanyu and his 400 hidden soldiers shot at them, causing total chaos among them.

    As they hurriedly retreated, they bumped into Xiang Shaolong’s reinforcements and was caught totally unawares. Less than 50 managed to escape by abandoning their horses and gear, running into the woods next to the bank.

    Under this great victory, all the soldiers cheered, even those from the Pingyuan family shared this victorious atmosphere.

    On Xiang Shaolong’s side only 40 odd men were injured, but none of the injuries serious. The outcome was something to be proud of and once again it proved that Xiang Shaolong has an excellent military mind and flexible and effective ways of warring.

    Xiang Shaolong sent 20 men to send the 300 odd warhorses they captured back to Zhao, but kept the weapons and rations for his own use. After tending to the injured soldiers, they continued to travel west along the river.

    By the time they pitched tents at dusk, they’re only about two and a half days away from the inner river.

    Because the road along the journey was uneven and they’ve just had a short skirmish, the men and horses were all tired. Everyone was trying to get as much rest as possible and no one was talking throughout the night. Early the next morning they continued on their journey.

    The scenery changed again, the mountains rose and fell in the distance, the trees and grass grew lushly and everything looked like a painting. Streams flowed between the mountains, with waterfalls, captivating one’s eyes.

    At the side is a huge and primitive forest with gigantic tress that even a few strong men holding hands won’t be able to go around its circumference.

    Sounds of animals and insects could be heard coming from the forest, and the Zhao soldiers hunted some wild foxes and rabbits on the way to add to their dinner.

    Sometimes they will come to a high point and from there they can see the unending plains and forests.

    Once in a while they will see an isolated village or farm amongst the tall grass and to Xiang Shaolong, everywhere he looks seems to be a paradise. He does not understand why humans still want to fight, and can only blame it on their inherent greed and evil nature.

    Although the scenery is beautiful, the journey was arduous. Not only they need to manually open up a path, many times they have to use tree trunks to pave the roads before they can travel in between the streams.

    They traveled less than 10li the whole day, and in the end set up camp at the top of a hill.

    Although they were tired, the soldiers were all in high spirits, and very willing to carry out any orders from Xiang Shaolong.

    Beauties will always love heroes, so Lady Ya is all the more conceding towards him, letting him enjoy the gentleness of this exceptional creature.

    Ever since Zhao Qian spoke to him that day through the window, she has been consciously avoiding him. He has no choice but to allow this situation to continue and did not make any moves to break this stalemate.

    After his meal, Lady Pingyuan sent someone to invite him over again, saying there’s something to discuss.

    Xiang Shaolong was also curious as to her present attitude, so he hurriedly went to Lady Pingyuan’s private tent.

    Who would have expected that Lady Pingyuan would put 2 family warriors in her tent, and he was greatly disappointed, all naughty thoughts disappeared totally.

    His relationship with Lady Pingyuan is truly a battle of wills between the 2 sexes. It gave him a feeling of committing something wrong, which gives him a stronger feeling of excitement.

    Besides, which man would not like new and fresh things, much less a flirtatious man like Xiang Shaolong.

    Lady Pingyuan was sitting on the floor rug with her guards up and after inviting him for a seat, she stared at him angrily and said, “This time we should be able to have a proper conversation!”

    Naturally Xiang Shaolong understood her meaning. He was secretly feeling irritated but on the surface he had no choice but to say respectfully, “Lady please give your instructions!”

    Lady Pingyuan stared at him again, a look filled with hate and love, but she said icily, “Now that we’re far away from the main road, where are we going actually?”

    Xiang Shaolong replied, “The journey has been difficult, Lady must have suffered. We are going to the river’s inlets first, before following the river towards Daliang.”

    Lady Pingyuan suddenly sighed and leaned a little closer, saying quietly, “If you… I can make them leave.”

    Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic and hurriedly nodded his head in agreement.

    Lady Pingyuan dismissed the 2 guards and after staring at him for a moment, she said after some thought, “You really are an exceptionally rare talent. Now no one will disbelieve that you once fought off Hu Hui’s 800 horse thieves with 50 men.”

    Xiang Shaolong smiled, “The horse thieves are just a motley crew of men, and it’s easy to win them.”

    Lady Pingyuan shook her head, “Some people are born leaders, not only can they make warriors work for them, they can also emerge victorious with their soldiers, never losing. You are one such person.”

    Xiang Shaolong has no idea what she is up to again, so he can only humbly accept the compliments.

    Lady Pingyuan’s pretty face suddenly blushed and she lowered her head and said, “After passing the river inlets, and about 20 day’s journey towards the southeast, you will reach Pushui, and if continue south down the river, you will reach Fengqiu in 10 days. That city’s general Guan Po is my man, we’ll be out of danger once we reach that place.”

    Xiang Shaolong replied, “Your subordinate will definitely follow Lady’s instructions.” He added curiously, “Why is Lady’s tender and smooth face suddenly blushing?”

    Lady Pingyuan blushed all the way to her neck and said, “Are you back to your old ways again? Now scram.”

    Xiang Shaolong saw that she was embarrassed and he felt pleased. He got up with a grin and with a bow, said, “Your subordinate takes his leave!” But his feet seems to have taken root and did not move at all.

    Of course Lady Pingyuan doesn’t really mean to chase him away and seeing that his legs are not moving at all, she asked happily, “Why aren’t you leaving yet?”

    Xiang Shaolong smiled evilly, “Isn’t Lady going to give your subordinate a little reward?”

    Lady Pingyuan was feeling utterly confused, and after looking at him for a moment, lowered her pretty face.

    Xiang Shaolong walked over and knelt down behind her. His hands reached out and with a little pull, this regal lady fell into his arms weakly and once again he managed to enjoy her sweet lips.

    This time Xiang Shaolong took it a step further, his 2 hands caressed her bosom.

    Lady Pingyuan’s body shook violently as she held his evil-doing hands in a death grip and moaned daintily, “Xiang Shaolong!”

    Xiang Shaolong understands very well that the most precious thing is something that cannot be obtained. By luring her bit by bit, is the best way to ensure that she won’t be able to harden her heart to harm him after they reach Daliang. So he stopped moving his hands and after having his fill of kissing her, he left, leaving this beautiful woman to spend the lonely night alone.

    For the next 20 odd days, they continued traveling east and passed the inner river and the west river. They passed one of the big cities in Wei, Puyang but did not enter it, choosing to travel south on the official road from Puyang directly to Pushui.

    After passing these few days in peace, their scouts once again found traces of their enemies scout, making them aware that danger is once again looming.

    They have lots of carriages and horses, and have to repair those faulty carriages often so their pace is as slow as a snail. There’s no way they can throw the enemies off their back so they can only pray that these nameless enemies will not be as formidable as Hu Hui.

    By now they are close to Daliang, and there are many official stops along the official road and every 10 li or so they will see the Weis military barracks.

    The attitude of the Wei soldiers was strange. After looking at their documents, although they did not try to make things difficult, but they refused to send troops to escort them, so when they reached the end of the official road, they have no choice but to travel east towards Pushui.

    3 days later they left the mountain track and reached a large grassy plains on the western bank of Pushui but they need to travel another 2 days before they can reach Pushui.

    The huge group stopped at the side of the grass plains.

    Xiang Shaolong, Wu Zhuo, Cheng Xu and Zha Yuanyu walked to a side for some discussion, their expressions all somber.

    Wu Zhuo said, “The enemies are now aware of our route and military strength but we have no information at all on the enemies that may attack us, which is the biggest fault in military with the enemy in the dark and us in the open.”

    Cheng Xu continued, “If the enemies were to attack, they’ll surely do it within these 2 days, because on such flat plains, it’s easier to attack than to defend. The enemies will definitely not miss such a good opportunity.” He continued with a bitter smile, “What I’m most afraid is the King of Wei will order his soldiers to disguise themselves as horse thieves and attack us, then we’ll be in very big trouble.”

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows and after thinking hard for a moment, said, “This possibility that Cheng Xu has raised, could very well become a fact. Since that is the case, we cannot just sit and wait for death.”

    The 3 of them were all ears as they waited to hear what miraculous plan this brilliant strategist has to save their lives.

    Xiang Shaolong said quietly, “We might as well find a sturdy and highland around here with a mountain backing us and start setting up tents and ditches, store up on wild meat and spring water and stay here for half a month or so. On the other hand we’ll send out light cavalry to make their way towards Fengqiu, and beg the defending general Guan Po to send reinforcements. So even if the King of Wei has other nefarious plans, there’s nothing he can do.”

    After much hard thinking, everyone decided this is the best plan they can come up with for a desperate situation.

    Immediately after that Xiang Shaolong went to look for Lady Pingyuan to discuss the plan and through the bamboo curtains, he told her of the plan and the reason. Lady Pingyuan said quietly, “You’re more experienced than me in this area, you shall decide on everything.”

    Xiang Shaolong has never heard her speak so gently and so obediently towards him before and he felt lust arising, so he asked, “Would Lady like me to visit you tonight?”

    Lady Pingyuan sighed, “Shall we talk about this after we’ve reached Daliang? My son is already very unhappy that I was alone with you on a few occasions, and now that he is slowly recovering, I don’t want him to get upset over us.”

    Xiang Shaolong thought of Prince Shaoyuan and his mood disappeared. He left her carriage and went to inform Lady Ya of the plan and told her to convey the message to Zhao Qian.

    After scouting for half a day, they finally find a flat piece of highland with a mountain backing at a stream next to the plains and started setting up camp.

    The whole army began busying themselves and at the same time they sent out 20 light cavalry carrying Lady Pingyuan’s handwritten letter with her seal and went to Fengqiu via 10 different routes to ask for assistance.

    The process of setting up camp this time is vastly different when compared to the past, with ditches being the main form of defense.

    Along the circumference of the highland they dug ditches one foot deep and five feet wide. The soil that was dug out was piled in front of the ditches and stones were added, making it into a short mud wall about half a foot high, with holes in it for the usage of bows and arrows and it was quite sturdy. They then pushed the carts along the inner circle of the wall to fortify the wall against the force of the enemy’s attacks.

    Outside of the short wall, the slope was filled with sharpened bamboo stakes and holes to trip the horses. There was danger everywhere to deal with the strong attacks of the enemy.

    The long grass and woods surrounding the area were removed to prevent enemies from taking cover amongst them.

    The camp itself was set up according to how it’s usually done, in the shape of a crescent moon, with the main tents in the middle and the 6 armies split into both sides, forming a half circle with the front protruding out. The camp and the short wall was more than 3 feet apart so unless the wall has been taken over, the camp will be out of reach of the enemy’s projectiles.

    After busying themselves for 3 days, they’ve finally made the camp into one strong in defenses with the ditch on the outside, a rampart on the inside and pikes and holes outside the walls.

    In order to prevent the enemy from using fire to attack, Xiang Shaolong dug ditches to connect the stream behind them into the camp. By the time everything was done, 5 days has passed.

    That day when Xiang Shaolong was instructing his men to set aside rocks collected from the slope, the scouts returned to report that they found a group of horse thieves close to 10,000 in strength rushing through the flat plains.

    Everyone understood in their hearts that this must be the enemy that has been waiting for them a long time in the plains without avail, therefore they could not take it any longer and has come to attack them directly.

    And this also proved that their guess was correct. No one will believe that there are no Wei soldiers mixed into the group of enemy.

    Although they know that to be the truth, they’re still not sure why the King of Wei would want to be so ruthless, and the only explanation is that Prince Xinling is indeed a threat to his throne and he’s thinking of using this to spoil the relations between Prince Xinling and the Zhaos. As for any other reasons, it something that they will not know. But the King of Wei is well known for being a useless king, so no one will find it strange that he’ll actually do something so ridiculous.

    The night passed peacefully and the next day, Xiang Shaolong instructed that besides the soldiers on duty, everyone else were to rest so that they can conserve their energy to deal with the enemy’s attack.

    Luckily they have kept a large amount of weapons, rations and arrows from Hui Hu and it’s enough for them to stay besieged for half a month without having to worry about food and arrows.

    Another advantage they have is that the enemy will not expect them to build a barricade so reasonably speaking they would not have brought equipment that can deal with barricades, so it will make their job defending much easier.

    At dusk, the horse thieves could be seen appearing on the plains and they even set up camp. Obviously there’s going to be a standoff between the 2 armies.

    Xiang Shaolong scrutinized his enemy and exclaimed hoarsely, “Look! Isn’t that Hu Hui?”

    The others strained their eyes and saw a group of horse thieves riding nearer towards them, and the one leading them is indeed Hu Hui.

    Cheng Xu exclaimed furiously, “From what is seen, Hu Hui does belong to the King of Wei and those horse thieves are Wei soldiers in disguise. Their job is to disrupt other state’s financial and political stability. The Weis are really vicious!”

    Zha Yuanyu shook his head and sighed, “I really do not understand why his Majesty would want to marry our prettiest princess to the Weis.”

    Cheng Xu warned him, “You’d better be careful with your words, if this goes to his Majesty’s ears, you and your tribe will all be in big trouble.”

    Zha Yuanyu smiled bitterly, “Let’s talk about it after we survive tonight!”

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he has seen that the number of horse thieves are almost 10 times more than their troops and was feeling afraid. From that he can deduce that the others will feel the same as well and morale will definitely be affected. He furrowed his brow and came up with a plan. He told Cheng Xu, “Prepare a round of fire arrows for me, I might be using them tonight.”

    After he spoke, he returned to his tent, ignoring their querying looks. He collected his tools and walked towards the back of the camp.

    At the area between the camp and the back of the mountain, the mules and horses were separated into 2 huge wooden enclosures, leisurely drinking the clear water redirected from the stream and nibbling on the green grass.

    Luckily this is only the beginning of winter, or those animals would be in big trouble if there’s a huge snowstorm.

    He lifted his head and studied closely the layout and shape of the cliffs and the nearby mountains and with the metal hooks, easily climbed up. He used a hammer to install the climbing rings that Guo Zhong made for him at the appropriate spots, moving towards the next mountain and attached a rough rope before climbing back to camp. As long as he can climb over the neighboring mountain, he can easily use this ‘secret route’ the drop down to the plains dozen of feet below and proceed with his secret mission.

    By the time he returned to the commander’s tent, Cheng Xu came running towards him anxiously and said, “Come and take a look quickly!”

    When he returned to the frontline, he saw that the horse thieves at the bottom were all at work, cutting down trees and putting a pile of sharpened stakes about a foot long on the ground in a row.

    Wu Zhuo furrowed his brows and asked, “What are they trying to do?”

    Xiang Shaolong has an idea on what it could be and exclaimed, “Those are the tools for attacking our mud city. They just have to line those trunks in a row on the slope, then they need not fear the attack from our arrows and rocks.”

    Zha Yuanyu exclaimed, “This is a very effective move, they just need to have 3 rows of these together front and back, they need not fear even rolling rocks. Also, this would block our view of them and we won’t be able to see what they’re planning.”

    Wu Zhuo laughed icily, “If they want to defeat this thing, they would first have to pay a horrible price.” He continued with a sigh, “If only their strength was halved.”

    What he meant was that, even if they sacrificed a lot of men, the remaining strength would still be enough to overrun and enter their barricades.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed, “Don’t worry! The enemy made a biggest mistake, and that is to belittle their opponent. Look at their camp, there’s no defenses at all. The rations and horses are just abandoned behind there. If we can give them a good fire, their expressions will be very interesting to watch!”

    Wu Zhuo and the rest furrowed their brows, looking at the packed thieves on the small hill below and secretly thought that it’s not them who belittle their opponent, but even a rat will find it difficult to slip out and set a fire to their camp.


    Xiang Shaolong just smiled and did not explain any further. He returned to his tent for a rest.

    After sleeping for 4 hours, it was dusk by the time he woke up. Lady Ya was waiting there quietly to have dinner with him.

    Xiang Shaolong sat up feeling refreshed and after freshening up, he ate 3 big bowls of rice.

    Lady Ya looked at him curiously, “It seems that you’re very confident, or else you won’t be so excited and in high spirits? But I cannot think of why you would still be so confident of defeating the enemy this time.”

    Xiang Shaolong hugged her and laughed, “Is Ya’er afraid?”

    Lady Ya happily kissed him before saying with a smile, “I really am a little afraid without you around, but after seeing you, I’m suddenly fearless. That’s right! Go over to Zhao Qian’s place! She said there’s something she would like to beg of you.”

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that Zhao Qian is a bigger headache to him compared to the horse thieves.

    After this pretty Third Princess dismissed her maids, she came to his side and said shyly, “Xiang Shaolong, can Zhao Qian borrow something from you?”

    Xiang Shaolong was asked curiously, “What do you want to borrow?”

    Zhao Qian suddenly opened her fair and tender palm and said quietly, “I want your personal dagger which you carry at all times.”

    Xiang Shaolong was perplexed, “Do you have so little confident in me? I will definitely send you to Daliang.”

    Zhao Qian’s pretty eyes reddened and she stared at him with sadness and hatred before saying, “Zhao Qian does not want you to bring her to Daliang. Everywhere else is fine, but not to Daliang.”

    No words other than these can so clearly express the love she felt for Xiang Shaolong.

    Hot blood rushed up Xiang Shaolong’s veins and he blurted, “Fine! I promise you, even if I bring you to Daliang, I’ll have a way to bring you back to Zhao whole and unblemished.”

    Zhao Qian was shocked, “Really!”

    Xiang Shaolong can feel her pretty face light up, filled with hope and he gritted his teeth and replied, “This is a promise!”

    After saying this sentence, he felt himself lightening up.

    In truth, every since he found out the complicated situation in the Wei royal family, and knowing that the King of Zhao is going to steal the ‘Lu Gong’s Secret Manual’, he felt that he cannot be the accomplice that helps to sacrifice Zhao Qian’s lifelong happiness. Now that he has expressed his stand, that feeling is so great.

    Zhao Qian was ecstatic, “Shaolong! Qian’er is really very grateful to you!”

    Xiang Shaolong saw that her confidence in him is so much greater than his confidence in himself and felt happy about it. He took out his dagger and shoved it into her tiny hand, taking the chance to hold her soft hands and said, “Unless it’s the last choice available, you must not kill yourself with this dagger.”

    Zhao Qian blushed to her neck and held this love token tightly against her chest. She lowered her head and said with love, “Qian’er will listen to Shaolong’s instructions.”

    Xiang Shaolong was captivated and was thinking of taking the opportunity to go a little further when the sounds of drums were heard coming from the foot of the mountain.

    Looking at the situation at the foot of the mountain, the expression on Cheng Xu and the rest were ashen. Only Wu Zhuo maintained a calm composure.

    The thieves had successfully lined the ground with rows of wooden stakes about 2 feet wide and surrounded all routes of escape at the foot of the mountain.

    There’s only a small gap in between the tied wooden stakes, only wide enough to allow a single person to pass, and he won’t be able to go through if he’s on a horse.

    Lanterns were hung on the top of the stakes, illuminating the slope clearly.

    Beyond the wooden stakes about 2000 horse thieves gathered, the 200 men at the forefront carrying a huge wooden shield as tall as a man, it’s ends pointed so that it can be driven into the ground too help block the attacks from falling rocks.

    Another 200 odd men carried tools like shovels and hoes and it seems that they are first going to remove the obstructions along the slope and fill up the ditches filled with sharp stakes. Following behind them are 500 archers holding strong bows, and after them came the troops holding long halberds, spears, etc. The formation looked majestic and sends a chill down their spines.

    Hui Hu and a few men who looked like leaders were sitting atop their horses, making pointing actions towards them, obviously discussing their plans of attack.

    Wu Zhuo pointed to a burly man, who looks like a wolf, next to Hui Hu and said, “That man is called ‘Wolfman’ Li Ao, a famous horse thief who frequents the border along the State of Han. His fame is on par with Hui Hu, and I did not expect that he also belongs to the King of Wei.”

    Xiang Shaolong commented, “So it seems that this 10,000 strong troop is made up of different groups of horse thieves, but they’re all men sent by the King of Wei. Humph! I think I understand now, the King of Wei is dealing with us so as to give Prince Xinling a hard blow, but also because there’s a personal grudge involved. Because I once killed a large group of Hui Hu’s men.” He suddenly realized, no wonder at that time Dou Liang would secretly leak news to Hui Hu, and ask Hui Hu to come and steal the horses and women. It’s because they are all spies sent by the King of Wei to stir up trouble at the Zhao border.

    Cheng Xu said, “It seems that they will take turns and attack us relentlessly day and night. This will be a long battle which will see who weakens first.”

    Zha Yuanyu heaved a cold sigh and said, “Even if reinforcements were to come immediately upon hearing the news, it’ll still take at least 15 days. I’m afraid we can’t even hold them off for 3 days, who would have expect them to be so strong?”

    The sounds of drums were heard.

    A string of men carrying shields came out from the tiny gaps between the rows of wooden stakes and lined up neatly in front, followed by the soldiers with tools and the archers.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that the sky is getting dark and after asking Cheng Xu for the bag of fire arrows that has been wrapped in oiled cloth, instructed them, “All of you will be in charge of defenses here. I’ll go behind enemy lines to burn their rations and chase their horses away, let’s see what great they can still do after that?”

    Everyone looked at him in shock, not comprehending how he is going to make his way to the enemy camp.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 3 Chap 6 Defeating the enemys army

    Xiang Shaolong returned to camp and changed into his black outfit, strapped on the belt containing his needles and the equipment used for mountain climbing, carried the bows and arrows on his back and after kissing Lady Ya and bidding his farewell to the maids, he left towards the back of the camp.

    He passed by Zhao Qians tent and he cant help but stand outside the entrance of the tent and called out, Princess!

    The tempo of the drums became more and more frantic, which means that the enemy is going to launch an attack soon.

    Boom, boom, boom

    Beat by beat, it sounds like the calls of the grim reaper, the sounds going straight into the deepest corner of the souls of everyone on the battlefield.

    Zhao Qian could have been thinking about Xiang Shaolong at that time, and upon hearing his voice, she lifted the flap of her tent in surprise and cried out, Shaolong! What are you doing here? Hey! Her pretty eyes noticed his black outfit.

    Xiang Shaolong looked that this young girl as pretty as Wu Tingfang, looking at her pure, innocent and refreshing face and the feelings that he has been trying to keep surpressed rushed up and he said with a smile, I am now going on a deadly mission to deal with the enemy, isnt Princess going to give me some encouragement?

    Zhao Qian was startled and her pretty eyes revealed her fear and excitement. She lifted her pretty face gently, pouted her lips and quietly waited for the arrival of her first kiss and happiness without any apprehension at all but her dainty and pert bosom was heaving quickly.

    Next to the camp there were suddenly war cries.

    The enemy has started to make their way up the slope.

    But nothing entered the ears of Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian, they were totally lost in that feeling of closeness, drunk in the soul wrenching proximity.

    The sounds of battle cries and arrows flying broke the silent night and fell and rose like waves.

    Xiang Shaolong released Zhao Qian and said with a smile, With this kiss! I, Xiang Shaolong, will have the confidence to protect Princess until the end of time.

    While Zhao Qian was still feeling intoxicated, Xiang Shaolong has already disappeared into the darkness of the night.

    The northern wind blew.

    Xiang Shaolong used all the skills hes learnt and based purely on his memory and feel, climbed up the steep cliff using the rope he had tied earlier. He quietly landed himself behind the enemy and made his way silently towards the enemy camp.

    He once received the strictest military training of the 21st century and such night sabotages is but childs play to him.

    Without his armor to weigh him down, he was like a bird that found wings. He moved silently and speedily like a civet cat and was soon at the back of the enemy.

    The thieves set up their camp according to the square formation, with 5 squares from the inside to the outside.

    The tents containing the rations were at the furthest back, followed by 2 large enclosures where hundreds of warhorses were kept.

    The situation over at the other side was getting more and more intense but the situation at the enemys camp here is peaceful, quiet and dimly lit. It seems that for the thieves whose turn is not up for their attack is trying to gather as much rest as possible.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed secretly to himself, and thought that he can guarantee that they will not have a good nights sleep tonight, but they will have a cruel nightmare which has come to life.

    He observed closely and found that the security at the enemy camp was lax, and some of the soldiers on guard duty were even sitting on the ground and nodding off.

    When he went to the horse enclosure, he felt it even more hilarious. It turns out that the 12 men on night duty were gambling happily in a circle, as if theyre totally unaware of the intense situation over at the battlefield.

    As soon as he gets rid of these 12 thieves, hell be able to set fire to the rations tent.

    The problem is, how can he kill these 12 soldiers who are experienced in battle and not let a single one escape?

    Xiang Shaolong cracked his head over this.

    Right at this time one of the men walked towards him.

    Xiang Shaolong was initially shocked, luckily he saw that the man was loosening his pants as he walked and he realized what the other party was going to do so he hurriedly hid behind a tree.

    That person just stepped into the woods when theres a flash of dagger, he felt a coldness at his throat and was dead immediately.

    Xiang Shaolong kept his Flying Rainbow, removed that persons outer armor and wore it. He swaggered out until he was behind 2 of the men and reached out to grab their heads and banged it hard against each other. His palms reached out and with lightning speed chopped at another 2 mens neck.

    His moves were smooth and swift and only when the 4 fell to the ground did the other 7 thieves realize what has happened.

    The dagger flashed. With the Flying Rainbow in his hand, Xiang Shaolong leapt up and landed on the rock that they had been using as a gambling table and slashed the throats of 3 men.

    Bang!

    He kicked his leg and it landed on the side of one of the mens face, who had just drew his sword. The man fainted.

    The remaining 3 thieves were terrified and escaped in 2 different directions.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly laughed to himself and Flying Rainbow flew from his hand, stabbing and killing one of the man in his back.

    The other 2 saw that he has lost his weapon so they drew their sword and came running back.

    Xiang Shaolong reached towards his waist and pulled out 2 flying needles and with a flick of his wrist, the needles flew out like lightning, aiming at the spot between the mens brows.

    By the time their bodies touch the ground, Xiang Shaolong has already picked up Flying Rainbow and disappeared into the darkness.

    The battle cries were even more intense now.

    Sounds of rocks and stones landing were heard, obviously the enemy is near the top of the slope and Cheng Xu and the rest had no choice but to release the rocks to attack the enemy making their way up.

    By now Xiang Shaolong has successfully destroyed the horse enclosure at the back and he hurriedly removed his bow and made his way past the horses nearer to where the rations are kept.

    Looking at the enemys camp from this angle, he happened to see that at the outermost area furthest back about 3 feet away there were a row of 20 odd tents, with a lamp hung outside each of the tent, shaking in the northerly wind. The camp was deserted with only a few guards on night duty who were dozing off, security was extremely lax.

    They cant really be blamed, for this is place is behind all their troops and they thought that Xiang Shaolongs men were all heavily surrounded far away, thats why they were careless.

    This morning Xiang Shaolong had made use of his high vantage view and saw clearly that the 40 odd tents at the last 2 rows were used to store rations, saving him the trouble of having to scout around.

    The camps back was facing the south, the northern wind is blowing right now. So if he can successfully set fire to the rations at the southern end and if the fire were to follow the direction of the wind, he may very well cause the rest of the camp to be on fire very quickly, especially when the inside of the camp is full of wild grass. It may become a huge fire that no one can deal with.

    After he made up his mind, Xiang Shaolong knelt down with one knee on the ground and lit the arrows first before shooting it towards the ration tent nearest to him. He chose the tent right at the back of the camp, so unless the smoke was very thick, the enemy will not find out about the fire so soon.

    After setting fire to the tents at the outer area, he set fire to the horses grains inside the horse enclosure. He found one exceptionally strong warhorse with stirrups and led it around the camp through the dense woods at the side, towards the middle of the camp.

    By now the northern side of the camp is thick with smoke and flames could be seen and a few alert guards have started crying out to others to put out the fire and were rushing towards the fire.

    What made the thieves even more panicky were the nervous neighs and trampling of the warhorses, and for a moment the whole camp was in chaos.

    Xiang Shaolong rode the horse and at the same time continued shooting fire arrows along the perimeter of the camp. As long as the perimeter of the camp is on fire, those in deep sleep inside the tents can forget about escaping the fire.

    While everyones attention was focused on the intense fire at the northern end, he wore the thiefs armor again and walked boldly across the camp towards the perimeter on the other side.

    The thieves camp is in a mess. The troops were trying to get as much rest as possible before they start the next shift of attack but they are now scurrying out of the tents sleepy-eyed and still in a daze about their surroundings.

    Some even thought enemies have attacked them and came running out with their weapons and armor in disarray.

    Everywhere else there were scurrying and panicky soldiers.

    Sound of hooves were heard from the northern end. Obviously the warhorses are in shock and running towards the plains.

    Xiang Shaolong rode past but no one suspected him at all. Some even called out to him as hes the only person to have a horse to run after the escaped horses.

    Xiang Shaolong called out a reply and turned a circle, still running towards the perimeter on the other side. By now the tents at the side along the back were embroiled in the fire and the fire engulfed the surrounding trees and grass, adding fuel to the rapidly spreading fire.

    He had used up his arrows so he might as well throw away his bow and pulled out his Flying Rainbow instead. He toppled every lantern that he saw and when the oil lamps dropped to the ground, the flames started immediately and its even more effective than the arrows.

    He heard something behind him. Xiang Shaolong immediately lied low on the horses back and 3 arrows flew past his back.

    He laughed and with a tight grip around the horses belly, is already far away from them. After toppling another 10 odd lanterns, he realized that the soldiers are not coming towards him. Without hesitation, he hurried the horse to run faster towards his own camp.

    By now the soldiers who were attacking the camp came running back in a frenzy, thinking that a large group of enemies have attacked them in their panic.

    These thieves, besides Hui Hu, Wolfman and another 4 leaders, the rest were all foot soldiers so by the time they retreated, Hui Hu and those on horses were already way ahead.

    Xiang Shaolong was brilliant and bold. He kept his Flying Rainbow and pulled out 2 flying needles instead and hid it in his hands.

    In the darkness, Hui Hu could only rely on the far away fire and could not see clearly so he thought that the person coming towards them is his own man here to give a report so he shouted from afar, What happened?

    Xiang Shaolong shouted back, Its Prince Xinlings men!

    The rest of the bandit leaders were shocked and hastened over.

    Hui Hu and Wolfman were a little further behind and Xiang Shaolong secretly lamented that its a pity. He raised his hands and the flying needles shot out.

    The strength of his wrist was formidable and the impact of the long and thin needles astonishing, going past the armor and the 2 bandit leaders right at the front were struck immediately.

    Before the 2 thieves fell, Xiang Shaolong had pulled out another 2 needles and threw them at another 2 people behind them.

    Hui Hu and Wolfman both realized that something was not right and as they cried out, they pulled their long swords and came towards him from 2 sides.

    By now the 2 men in the front row had already fell with a groan from the side of their horses.

    Xiang Shaolong had no intention of retrieving the flying needles and with one hand controlling the horse and the other hand pulling out Flying Rainbow, he faced Wolfman who was coming from his left side.

    Wolfman roared and borrowing the force from the running horse, aimed his sword towards his face.

    Xiang Shaolong cried out and raised his sword to block and at the same time leaned to a side and raised his leg and kicked Wolfman in his waist.

    This kick is modified from Thai kickboxing and extremely powerful. Wolfman screamed and fell off his horse.

    By now the 2 men at the back row who were struck by the flying needles dropped to the ground with a dull thud.

    The warhorses, having lost their riders, were stamping and jumping in shock. When the hoof of one of the horses stamped down, it happened to land right on the chest of Wolfman who had fallen to the ground. Sounds of bones cracking could be heard immediately and this ferocious man died immediately.

    Xiang Shaolong turned a circle around the 2 horses and took the opportunity to take out another flying needle and rushed towards Hui Hus back.

    Hui Hu saw that the situation was not right and turned his horse around, running swiftly towards the rapidly burning camp.

    Xiang Shaolong removed his armor to lighten his body weight and gave chase.

    His horse is carrying a much lighter load compared to Hui Hus horse, and its also especially strong so it was only about 7 or 8 horse lengths behind Hui Hu in the blink of an eye.

    Without a word, Xiang Shaolong threw his flying needle.

    Who would have expected that Hui Hu saw that theres no way he can run away so he might as well turned his horse around and coincidentally managed to avoid the flying needle.

    That place happens to be right between the camp and the retreating soldiers so there was no one around for the moment, and it became a one to one situation.

    Hui Hu raised his sword and came rushing back, shouting, Who is that?

    Xiang Shaolong laughed loudly, Its your old friend Xiang Shaolong.

    Amidst the sound of metal clanking, the 2 of them went past each other on horseback and exchanged 3 sword strokes but no one gained the upperhand.

    Xiang Shaolong did not expect him to have such excellent arm strength and swordsmanship. When he turned his horse around, he used his thighs to control the horse while his right hand held Flying Rainbow and his left hand drew out a flying needle.

    He has been spending most of his time on horseback recently and this made his horsemanship improve greatly so hes no longer the greenhorn he used to be.

    Hui Hu took the opportunity to draw his bow and arrow and cocked the arrow with lightning fast speed. With a clang he released a strong arrow, his long sword held across by his teeth.

    Xiang Shaolongs training has always been avoiding bullets so hes not afraid of his arrow at all. He leaned to the side and avoided the arrow and his thigh tightened against the horses belly and it surged forward.

    Hui Hu did not expect him to avoid this fatal strike and in shock he threw the bow at him while taking his long sword, which was clasped in his mouth.

    Xiang Shaolong raised his feet and kicked the flying bow away. Flying Rainbow swept past, towards Hui Hus chest.

    There was a loud clang.

    Although Hui Hu managed to narrowly block the sword, but his defense was raised chaotically while his opponents attack is planned. On top of that, he used the momentum from the running horse to increase the power of the strike so Hui Hu collapsed onto his horses back.

    Xiang Shaolong roared and with a backhand let loose the flying needle.

    There was a clink, and although the flying needle struck Hui Hu, it landed on his hard helmet and ricocheted off.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that the situation is dire, if he allows the two horses to run in the wrong direction like this, therell be no way he can catch up with this fiend within the short distance to the camp so he dismounted his horse with a back flip, turned a somersault in the air and Flying Rainbow flew out of his hand.

    By now Hui Hu had just managed to seat himself upright, his thighs clasping his horses belly when Xiang Shaolongs extremely sharp Flying Rainbow, which was made by the finest craftsman in the State of Yue, pierced him in his back and he died on the spot.

    The horse ran wildly and after a distance away, Hui Hus body fell from the horse.

    Xiang Shaolong landed on the ground safely and ran up to retrieve his Flying Rainbow.

    Thunderous war cries were heard from his side of the camp, apparently Cheng Xu and the rest saw how chaotic the thieves were and took the opportunity to kill their way out.

    Xiang Shaolong felt his valor rising and he cut off Hui Hus head, ignoring the flowing fresh blood and with the head held aloft, leapt up the horse towards the 2000 horse thieves who were retreating and shouted, Hui Hu is dead! Hui Hu is dead! Run away quickly! Escape!

    Those thieves who were running back carrying torches were already in a panic because they were being pursued, and now on seeing this person in front of them carrying Hui Hus head, thought that a strong army has come. No one dared to fight on and with a shout, all of them ran away in all directions.

    The defeat of the thieves was like a domino effect, the thieves running at the back has no idea what has happened but the chain reaction made them run for their lives as well.

    2000 odd men, defeated without even a fight.

    In a short while, Xiang Shaolong met up with Cheng Xu and his troops who were pursuing the thieves and the whole army cheered and killed their way towards the blazing enemy camp.

    The thieves have lost their leader, their camp is on fire, their rations and horses lost and none of them is in the mood for battle and were all running away. Xiang Shaolong led his men and killed until the day broke, coming out totally victorious.

    They have killed more than a thousand enemies, but on Xiang Shaolongs side only 5 men perished and 150 odd men injured. Fighting against the enemys 10,000 odd troops with less than a thousand men and yet they suffered so little losses, its really an unbelievable miracle. This has also established Xiang Shaolongs position in the battlefield.

    But it was really a close shave towards victory.

    When the enemys camp was on fire, Hui Hus men has already cleared all the obstacles on the slope and filled the ditches and was about to launch an offensive when urgent matters cropped up on their side and they had to retreat.

    Those wooden stakes became an obstacle to the thieves retreat instead and they were killed by the rocks that were rolled down and the arrows shot. Blood flowed like rivers and the scene looked like hell on earth.

    Hui Hu and Wolfmans head were soaked in herbs and alcohol and light cavalry were tasked to send these back to the King of Zhao through shortcuts so that he can show these off to their fellow countrymen.

    This is a psychological attack against Zhao Mu on Xiang Shaolongs part, to make the King of Zhao feel how important he really is. If not for the fact that theres now another twist in Zhao Qians affair, there might have been a chance for him to retain his loyalty.

    When Xiang Shaolong returned to camp, only Prince Shaoyuan whose hatred for him has now increased, refused to come out, using his illness as an excuse. Even Lady Pingyuan came out to welcome his heroic return, and of course Zhao Ya, Zhao Qian and the other ladies as well.

    Ever since ancient times, beauties have always loved heroes and when all the ladies looked at him, their gaze was filled with intoxication, making him feel as if hes in heaven.

    In the 21st century, such a situation is almost impossible because everything depends on teamwork and collaboration, and an individual is only a small fry in the whole organization.

    But in this warring states period, it is filled with romanticized individualistic heroism, thats why there are people like Shang Yang who can change the whole situation, and a famous general like Lian Po who rules the battlefield.

    Xiang Shaolong is a product that has crossed time, with the training and knowledge of modern military tactics, thats why he can emerge miraculously victorious so many times.

    So how can the ladies not fall for him.

    Even the evil hearted Lady Pingyuan is now looking at him differently, and is now thinking of other things. Such a talent, if sacrificed will be such a waste.

    Xiang Shaolong was injured in a few places and Zhao Ya and Zhao Qian dragged him into the commanders tent to tend to his injuries.

    Lady Ya saw that Zhao Qian was not at all concerned that Xiang Shaolong was only wearing his shorts and was feeling perplexed. She was afraid that if theres something going on between the two of them, then there might be big trouble.

    Zhao Qian asked with concern, Is it painful?

    With 2 pretty ladies putting their dainty hands on him, he was so comfortable he almost moaned. Xiang Shaolong replied with a smile and lied down and fell into a deep sleep with the fragrances of the 2 ladies.

  11. #31
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 3 Chap 7 Three states joined as one

    After winning Hu Hui, Xiang Shaolong still remained there for the next 10 days.

    During this time the injured were recovering very well and after a discussion, everyone agreed that they should no longer wait for the border guard reinforcements for fear that the Weis will have some tricks up their sleeves again. They will continue the journey on their own and hopefully be able to meet the reinforcements on the way.

    With this decision made, Xiang Shaolong went to see Lady Pingyuan.

    Her family warriors attitude towards him has changed greatly, being extremely respectful as if he is a deity.

    Xiang Shaolong had fouind out from Lady Ya long ago that ever since Prince Pingyuan passed away, the 3000 odd family warriors he left behind all did not think highly of Prince Shaoyuan so many of them left and now theres less than 500 of them left.

    If not for their connection with Prince Xinling, the King of Zhao would not have tolerated Prince Shaoyuan and allowed him to become such a bully in Handan.

    Most of these family warriors are from Zhao and has no feelings towards the State of Wei. Now that they are slowly realizing that after Lady Pingyuan goes to Wei, she may never return to Zhao again, they are beginning to have second thoughts. And Xiang Shaolong has become the most ideal person for them to throw their lot with, firstly because of his background as the grandson-in-law of the Wu family, and most importantly they saw how righteous he is and his astounding swordsmanship, bravery and tactics.

    In this era, a powerful man will naturally have men willing to follow him. And Xiang Shaolongs potential to become powerful is like the rising sun.

    Mercenaries and family warriors represent a persons ability.

    In the past Prince Xinling was able to snatch Jin Bis military token to deal with the Qins because he already has a few thousand family warriors under him.

    So its a most natural thing that those in the Pingyuans family changed their attitude towards him totally.

    Outside Lady Pingyuans tent, he bumped into the almost recovered Prince Shaoyuan but the latter did not even bother to take a look at him and went in on his own.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly commenting to himself, what a lad, consider yourself lucky that I did not give you trouble, and yet you have the audacity to show me your unhappiness.

    Ever since he injured Prince Shaoyuan so seriously, his hatred towards him has lessened greatly but now on seeing his antagonistic attitude, the feeling of old hatred came back.

    Inside the tent, Lady Pingyuan was leaning on her couch, her wrist resting on the soft cushion, looking especially alluring, which made Xiang Shaolongs heart beat faster.

    When she gave birth to Prince Shaoyuan, Zhao De, she was not any older than 15, so although she now has a grown up son, shes only in her 30s. This is the time a woman is most feminine, sultry and in need of the opposite sex.

    Having a relationship with such a mature lady is certainly only to pursue the gratification of the body, unlike the illusions surrounding young couples which are quickly broken by reality.

    Thats why when he saw how inviting Lady Pingyuan look, thoughts of copulation immediately entered his head.

    But instead he behaved properly and sat down at the side of her feet.

    Lady Pingyuan asked nonchalantly, Xiang Shaolong, youre not going to wait for reinforcements and planning to set off immediately?

    Xiang Shaolong was surprised, You guessed!

    Lady Pingyuan rolled her eyes at him coquettishly and said, Not a guess, but a deduction based on your character. Because youre not the kind who will let others have the chance to move first.

    Xiang Shaolong was a little thrown off guard and said with a bitter smile, It seems that Lady has changed your attitude towards me, not only are you not on your guard against me, but you seem to be luring me!

    Lady Pingyuan guffawed and rolled her eyes at him again, Its your thinking! But I am not going to lure you, instead I wish to have an honest talk with you, thats why the change in attitude is a very natural thing.

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to be surprised, That means that Lady has not been totally honest with me all this time.

    Lady Pingyuan replied frankly, You can say that, because at that time I could not see through you. It was only until you defeated Hui Hus enormous army that I realized that you are not one who is will willingly let others control you, and you have the intelligence and ability to achieve this.

    Xiang Shaolong smiled bitterly, Youre confusing me, how can I know when youre telling me the truth and when youre lying? Or maybe you only changed your tactic of dealing with me?

    Lady Pingyuan did not reply him but instead asked suddenly, Do you know why An Li wants to destroy this wedding agreement between Zhao and Wei?

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head.

    Lady Pingyuans eyes was filled with sadness as she slowly explained, The story will have to start from 20 years ago, which was 3 years before the battle of Chang Ping started. Zhao Qian was only 3 years old then.

    By now Xiang Shaolong is quite familiar with the history of that time and asked, Is Lady referring to the time the King of Qin sent the king of killing Bai Qi to attack the state of Han.

    Lady Pingyuan chuckled, King of killing? Humph! This nickname is indeed very suitable for that fiend whose hands are stained with blood.

    She sighed and continued, If the Qins were to invade east, those who will take the brunt first will be our 3 states, Wei, Zhao and Han. Facing the same calamity, feelings run especially strongly so the 3 most powerful officials in the 3 states secretly came to a deal, which is to let the 3 separated states join together and become a strong country while they are still living, which is akin to the Large State in the past. Only this way can they defeat the Qins and become the rulers of the world.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, So they actually had this thought.

    Lady Pingyuan changed the topic, Do you know why I wanted to marry Prince Pingyuan?

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that of course its because she thought that Prince Pingyuan could take over the leadership position! However, he said instead, Is that another political agreement?

    Lady Pingyuan said, I guess you can put it that way! It is indeed part of an agreement, which is to make use of the marriages between royalty to strengthen the relations between the various Kings. She continued with a smile, But the most important reason, is because Wuji and me were very interested in the state of Zhao. Before the battle of Changping, the Zhaos had the worlds best generals and fighters and were unrivalled. The state of Zhao was the first to abandon fighting battles with carriages and instead changed to using cavalry as their main force.

    Wuji is Prince Xinlings name.

    During the Spring-Autumn period, carriages were the main forces used in battles. The war carriage represents a persons status and ability. Changing the carriages to horses is in fact a revolution of that time, which also changed how battles were fought.

    Because the State of Zhao had been in constant battles with the ferocious Xiong Nu* and with their experienced gain from such battles, the Zhaos learnt that these nomadic army who fight mainly on horseback with archery is a lot more nimble and swift in their attacks. Therefore they abandoned fighting with carriages, a way of battle which looks majestic but is in fact useless.

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiong_nu

    Lady Pingyuan said sadly, But after Chang Ping, our dreams were rudely shattered, but it also made us believe even more strongly that the only way to survive is to reunite the 3 states. This is the only way to avoid fighting and wars amongst ourselves.

    Xiang Shaolong said, Those three important officials, naturally its Prince Xinling from Wei, Prince Pingyuan from Zhao, but who is the official in Han?

    Lady Pingyuan replied, I have no wish to say it. In any way they used their influence and decided on a string of marriage agreements between the 3 states. The Empress of Zhao is a Han, and Prince Xinling married a Zhao lady. The marriage of Zhao Qian to the Crown Prince of Wei is the most important one in the agreements.

    Xiang Shaolong finally understood and he slapped his thigh as he said, It must be that King An Li heard about this and was afraid the unification of the 3 states will make him lose his throne, thats why hes going all out to destroy this marriage agreement. But he is the King of Wei, if he wants to go back on the marriage agreement, he only has to say so, why waste so much effort? He looked at her coldly and asked, Why does Lady want to destroy Zhao Qians virginity?

    Lady Pingyuans pretty face blushed slightly and she asked, Can you not try to settle old scores with me!

    She continued with a sad sigh, But the situation changed, the early death of Prince Pingyuan has caused the shift of power in Zhao into that fiend Zhao Mus hands. Thats why Prince Xinling was forced to return to Wei and start a new round of fight with that useless King An Li, and Zhao Qians marriage agreement has lost its initial meaning.

    She was deep in thought for a moment, her eyes fixed on Xiang Shaolong before she continued, In actual fact no one is trustworthy nowadays, but on the surface everyone pretends to be honest in the ways they deal with the world. That useless King An Li has gone back on his words on many occasions, both to people in his own state and outside of it, so how can he go back on his word with the Zhaos. Besides hes very wary of Wuji, so he will not dare to oppose the agreement so publicly. She paused and said quietly, Dealing with Zhao Qian is only a secondary matter, the real person he wants to get rid of is me. Because he knows that when Wuji and I join forces, well be a huge threat towards him, because I have what Wuji lacks, which is viciousness.

    No one understands more than Xiang Shaolong what her last sentence means. Looking at her bright and lengthy eyes, he said quietly, Why is it that Lady is suddenly being so honest with me, telling me such a great secret?

    Lady Pingyuans smooth thighs moved slightly, touching the side of Xiang Shaolongs buttocks, her pretty face blushing and she said gently, Because I saw a new ray of hope in you. Unless you do not step foot into Zhao forever, or else you will certainly have to engage in a life and death duel with Zhao Mu. If you can eliminate Zhao Mu, or take over his position, then it will again be possible for the 3 states to unite. She lowered her voice and added, But this is not the most important reason, do you want to go on listening?

    Xiang Shaolong felt a headache coming on, he does not know if this is another of her ploy to deal with him. Because after eavesdropping on her conversation with her son the other night, her venomous nature has carved a very deep impression on him. Besides, she dotes on her son so much, so how can she really fall for her sons enemy and tell him whats really on her mind?

    He thought to himself that if she wants to play games with him, hell play along with her. He extended his hand and put it on her thigh, gently caressing her sensitive inner thigh, looked in her eyes and explained, Of course I want to listen!

    Lady Pingyuans eyes revealed an alluring gaze as she lowered her head to look at his invasive hand, saying gently, Because I want to surrender to you, and beg for your love and pity.

    Xiang Shaolong shifted forward and sealed her fragrant lips, his hands attacking her at the same time. Lady Pingyuans body was shaking violently, her tongue cold as ice due to her passion and nervousness. Such unhidden natural reaction served to fuel Xiang Shaolongs lust.

    A cold snort was heard from outside the tent.

    The 2 of them were so shocked they separated and looked towards the entrance of the tent.

    Prince Shaoyuan lifted the flap and entered, a flash of hatred and anger went across his eyes.

    They both guessed that Prince Shaoyuan had actually entered earlier and saw them in their heated embrace but he stepped out again and snorted to surprise them before pretending that nothing has happened and stepped into the tent again.

    Joy at having taken revenge surged in Xiang Shaolongs heart and without waiting for Prince Shaoyuan to speak, he rose and said, Well be traveling in the night tonight, so will Lady please make preparations.

    Without even looking at Prince Shaoyuan, he left.

    Xiang Shaolong finally understood some things that seemed so foggy long ago, for example the reason Tian Dan sent Xiao Weimou to destroy the wedding agreement between Zhao and Wei is because he does not want the 3 states to unite. Not only will that be disadvantageous for Qin, it will also become a threat to the state of Qi and the other states.

    Although the 3 states all had different family names, but they had once served the same master so naturally they are a lot closer to one another compared to other states.

    In the past Prince Xinling risked himself to steal the military token and wrestle over the military power because he wants to preserve the state of Zhao, with the hope that one day the 3 states can unite into one and become the strongest state.

    But Tao Fang once said that the Weis are most untrustworthy. Lady Pingyuan may have some true feelings for him, but for Price Xinling, hes just a useful pawn.

    And the thing that influenced his decision the most, is that he knows that the 3 states will never unify. This has already been written in history books.

    Can he change history?

    Commander!

    Xiang Shaolong turned towards the direction of the voice, it turns out to be one of two Zhao Qians personal maid, Cui Tong.

    These 2 maids were extremely pretty and outstanding, about one or two years older than Zhao Qian, which makes them about 17 or 18 years old.

    Cui Tong stopped him and with a lowered head, said Third Princess would like to request the audience of Sir.

    Xiang Shaolongs lust which was stirred up by Lady Pingyuan was not appeased, and on seeing how alluring and shy she looked, he felt a strong desire. But he thought that if he allow himself to do that, it will only serve to make Zhao Qian look down on him so he suppressed his urge and followed her to Zhao Qians tent.

    Cui Tong dared not walk alongside him, and walked half a step behind him instead.

    Xiang Shaolong turned his head around and threw a glance at her. When he saw her blushing, he asked quizzically, Why is Sister Xiaotong so shy?

    Cui Tong was showered and kept her head so low that her forehead was almost touching her chest and dared not look at him.

    By now the two of them have passed the guards and entered the compound and theres no one else around the ladies camps. Xiang Shaolong is after all a flirt and he grabbed her hand and asked gently, Is there anyone in your tent?

    Cui Tongs petite body trembled as she exclaimed in a mixture of shock and joy, Commander! Please, others will find out.

    The flap of the tent where Xiao Zhao and the rest stayed in flipped open, startling Xiang Shaolong and he hurriedly released his hold on Cui Tongs hand and hurriedly walked into Zhao Qians tent.

    For the past 10 days, Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian has been behaving intimately. Other than the last hurdle, they have tried every other physical things possible and also suffering from trying to hold themselves back. Thats why for these 2 days, they are restricting themselves instead and dare not overstep the border, afraid that they will do something that they might regret and let others catch him deflowering the beautiful Third Princess.

    Zhao Qian saw him arriving and happily gave him a long pouch which she sewed personally and said, I made this especially for your wooden sword. Qianer has never liked swords or weapons, but Xiang Langs wooden sword is an exception. And she stared with irritation at Flying Rainbow, which was hung at his waist.

    Xiang Shaolong like to carry Flying Rainbow with him because its light and swift and on seeing the beautys gift, he hugged her slender waist and kissed her tender cheeks before saying with a laugh, You dont even like the famous sword from Yue?

    Zhao Qian glared at him and said, The Yue sword is well made and pretty, but its still a gift from Zhao Mu, and seeing it reminds me of him. Therefore I have no wish to see it.

    Xiang Shaolong exclaimed in surprise, So you dont like Zhao Mu.

    Zhao Qians eyes reddened as she replied, Not only do I hate him, but I hate Imperial Father even more.

    Xiang Shaolong hugged her and moved to a side and sat down with her. Lying on the soft cushion, his hands roaming about her bosom, he asked, Did Zhao Mu try to do anything overboard with you?

    Zhao Qian was weak from his fondles and burrowed herself into his chest, saying sadly, I have a marriage agreement with the Weis, so he dare not be so bold. However Qianers mother died because of him.

    Xiang Shaolong was so shocked that he stopped his hand activity and asked hoarsely, What?

    Hot tears rushed out as Zhao Qian hugged Xiang Shaolong tightly, Xiang Lang must decide for Qianer, and kill that fiend for me.

    Xiang Shaolong wiped away her tears and asked gently, Tell me first how he caused your mothers death.

    He has never asked Zhao Qian about matters involving the imperial court, and thought that the Zhao empress now is her birth mother.

    Zhao Qian related sadly with tears in her eyes, At that time Qianers mother was still Imperial Fathers most beloved concubine. One night Zhao Mu and Imperial Father summoned Mother into the bedroom and the next day Mother hanged herself. Qianer was only 10 years old, but I will never forget that scene. Mother died horribly! And she cried bitterly again.

    Xiang Shaolong did not imagine that such a flawless and pretty princess would have such a horrible childhood and allowed her to cry and vent her anger. Caressing her back, he felt a wave of inextinguishable anger welling up.

    Zhao Mu and King Xiao Cheng are really worst than beasts, to actually engage in such sadistic sexual play in the palace. From this he can deduce that there are many more victims in the palace.

    The imperial palace is a place filled with the filthiest and unreasonable people.

    The only way to change such immoralities is for himself to unite the world and install new values.

    He remembered the words of Yuan Zong, the last great man of Mohism.

    When he was discussing the philosophy of this era with Yuan Zong, Xiang Shaolong mentioned Confucius and Yuan Zong said dismissively, He just refused to face reality, thinking of the past and present all the time and only knows how to protect tradition. Hes is not worthy to have such a high and respected position. He advocates so-called rituals, which only serves to make the various heads of states spends even more excessively and the countrys wealth will be in the selfish hands of a small group. He only theorizes but is not aware of the actual situations, and totally ignorant about hardship of wars. The most irritating thing is that he belittles those who works with their hands, and makes fun of his disciple Fan Chi who is a farmer as a small man.

    Naturally Xiang Shaolong is not intellectual enough to have a debate with him, but he does know that the 2 schools of thought, Mohism and Confucianism, are like the north and south poles, both opposite extremes.

    Not only is Mozi a famed warrior, hes also a craftsman, something that Confucius look down on. He worked with his hands and feet and regard rituals as a false pretense and a waste of resources. The biggest difference is, the teachings of Confucius is to the benefit of the traditional monarch while Mozi goes after a new outlook in society.

    No monarch will like Mozis ideals.

    This is also the main reason why Confucius was almost regarded as a deity later.

    It was also from Yuan Zong that Xiang Shaolong realized that the term ru* is not a term used only by the disciples of Confucius during that era.

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucianism

    A ru was initially the scholar who maintains the clans parents, ancestors, family history etc but after the family clan fell into hard times, they stayed around the commoners and using their knowledge of poetry, books, rituals, helped others with the rites for funerals etc, or teach others what they learnt in order to earn some money for living expenses.

    Its only when Confucius expounded on the philosophy of Education of a Scholar (Jun Zi Ru), did the term ru became a term specifically used for Confucianism.

    Each school of thought represents their ideals towards governance.

    To Xiang Shaolong, Mozis teachings are more suited to his taste. But of course he wont just accept everything in the teachings.

    Zhao Qians sobbing stopped and on seeing him so quiet, she cant help but call out, Xiang Lang!

    Xiang Shaolong lifted her face up and kissed her a few times before saying. Dont be afraid! Ill be there to protect you in future.

    Zhao Qian said sadly, I dont wish to return to Zhao.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned and asked, You want to stay in Wei?

    Zhao Qian exclaimed, Of course not, but as long as I can stay by your side, I am not afraid of any hardship. She continued with a cry, If I return to the Zhao palace, and theres no marriage agreement, Zhao Mu will certainly not let me off. Then death will be the only way for Qianer to repay Xiang Lang.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows and asked, Can he really be so lawless? Isnt Lady Ni able to escape from his evil clutches and remain unscathed?

    Zhao Qian exclaimed. Lady Ni is different! Her father-in-law is the famous Zhao general Zhao She and most of the leaders and generals in the army were taught by him. Therefore no matter how much Zhao Mu covets her, he dare not force himself on her. But my status is entirely dependant on my Imperial Father, if he doesnt protect me, theres no one who can save me.

    Xiang Shaolong consoled her, Theres me! Only now did he realize that Zhao Ni had married Zhao Guas brother, no wonder Zhao Ni and Lady Ya are so close to each other.

    Zhao Qian sighed, Zhao Mu knows how to use drugs very well, if hes really intent on having me, theres no way Qianer will be able to stop him. I can only copy my Mother! She felt a deep sorrow and started crying again.

    A fire of hatred burned in Xiang Shaolongs heart.

    For Zhao Qian, for Shuers revenge, when he returns to Zhao, that will be the time hell have a life and death duel with Zhao Mu! He will use all methods to attack this fiend, it doesnt matter even if he has to use the help of Prince Xinling and Lady Pingyuan.

    After he left Zhao Qian, he returned to his commanders tent.

    Cheng Xu and Wu Zhuo were waiting for him to discuss the route to take to Fengqiu.

    After his conversation with Lady Pingyuan, he was suddenly enlightened and understood what used to baffle him.

    If he can return to the 21st century, hell certainly become the leading expert in the history of the warring states period.

    The 3 states disintegrated and became Han, Zhao and Wei, but the most ironic part is that these 3 states have been constantly hoping to reunited again. The only problem is who will become the king!

    The most direct way is to attack and conquer.

    The first to start was the very magnificent Wei who even managed to invade Handan and stayed there for 2 years until they were forced to retreat by the state of Qi.

    Naturally the state of Qi did not come to the Zhaos rescue because they felt a special liking for them, but because what Qi fears most is the unification of the 3 states. Because under that situation, the first to be in trouble will be the state of Qi due to its close proximity to the 3 states.

    Later the Weis suffered heavy losses at the battle of Maling and 100,000 brave troops were eliminated in one day. Even the Chief Commander Prince Shen and the great general Pang Juan lost their lives and they never managed to pick themselves up after that fall.

    For the Weis, the battle of Maling is akin to the battle of Chang Ping to the Zhaos, with deep reaching influence.

    Because the other states were afraid of the unification of the 3 states, they took the opportunity to keep invading Wei. The continuous attacks by Qi, Qin and Chu made Wei unable to use their military power to unify the 3 states.

    But the threat by the Qins are growing bigger day by day.

    Therefore the most influential senior officials in the 3 states secretly arranged marriage agreements and such, hoping to unify the 3 states in a more peaceful way. Naturally they are the only ones who know the details.

    But the State of Qi has been keeping their eye on them all the time, thats why Tian Dan sent Xiao Weimou this time to destroy this marriage agreement.

    Now Xiang Shaolong is very certain that Xiao Weimou will not let them off.

    Xiao Weimou is not like Hui Hu, who was a mix of soldier and thief. He is a professional killer, a little like the special task force he used to be in, specializing in infiltrating enemy camps to investigate, search, destroy or assassinate, and will be a difficult person to deal with.

    Therefore they have to meet up with their reinforcements earlier, only then will they be really safe.

  12. #32
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 3 Chap 8 Defending against the enemy with fire

    The snow this year came especially late, the grass is still green on the plains and the lakes still sparkling.

    This place lies between the main Yellow River and its tributaries and the 2 main river splits into hundreds of smaller rivers. The rivers weaved across each other like silver threads, the grass was lush, thick and fragrant and it was a meeting place between the forest grass and dried grass of the plains.

    The entourage traveled slowly through this large piece of flat carpet-like grassland.

    This is still a place which has not been developed, and only a handful of nomads stayed there. They each have their own lifestyle, like the pretty Baiyi tribe in Zhao, and goes about their own business, not accepting the control of the government.

    This place has lots of cows, horses and deer. Traveling past this area, they will see them galloping in the distance or lazily grazing.

    But this prehistoric place is also a place where fierce beasts roam.

    The more frightening are the wild wolves pack, who kept following in front of behind the troops, not afraid of humans at all.


    Xiang Shaolong sent out 10 teams comprising of 5 men each to scout around the area to avoid being ambushed by enemies who might be hiding in the tall grass or the woods.

    3 days later, the terrain started to change, with rising and falling hills and wild grass everywhere, greatly slowing their progress.

    Xiang Shaolong felt extremely uneasy.

    With Xiao Weimous evil reputation, if his men are all really good as rumored, he will certainly know that they have battled Hui Hu. At the very least he would have captured some escaped thieves and grilled them to find out their whereabouts.

    If his deduction is correct, then Xiao Weimou must be following them and waiting for the best time to strike.

    But where will they strike?

    By noon, the answer appeared finally. Its a huge mountain diagonally in front of them, and the only way past it is a narrow passage about 3li long.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows deeply on seeing it and was silent for a moment before summoning Cheng Xu, Wu Zhuo and Zha Yuanyu over and said, If my guess is correct, Xiao Weimou and his men must be waiting for us at that narrow valley.

    Cheng Xu nodded his head, According to our scouts report, if there are people lying in ambush on the top of both side of the cliffs, just throwing rocks at us will be enough for all of us to perish.

    Zha Yuanyu said with a miserable look, This place is dense with grass and trees, if the enemy were to set up a fire upwind, the thick smoke will be enough to suffocate us to death.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed, Thick smoke can only be used to deal with those who are unprepared. Yuanyu, you will immediately organize all the men to remove all the grass and trees on this side of the mountain and slopes and dig a deep ditch at the bottom of the valley to lure the nearby streams into the ditch to surround the camp. We will join the carriages to face the mountain to protect the camp. At the same time prepare a large amount of clear water in the camp, each camp is to have at least 2 barrels and everyone is to carry with them cloths or handkerchiefs. When theres thick smoke, soak it in the water and cover the face with it, then they need not fear the choking smoke.

    Zha Yuanyu was about to get to work when Xiang Shaolong called him back again and said, Tell everyone to remove their armors or it might affect the tasks!

    Zhao Yuanyu left with that order.

    After Xiang Shaolong discussed a little further with Cheng Xu and Wu Zhuo, he was about to look for Zhao Ya and Zhao Qian when Prince Shaoyuan appeared hurriedly towards him with a few family warriors and demanded, Xiang Shaolong! Why are we stopping at such a dangerous place? How are we going to fend against the enemy if they use fire to attack us?

    Xiang Shaolong replied coldly, You can cross the narrow valley alone if you like! But I wont be accompanying.

    Prince Shaoyuans eyes were burning and after staying silent for a moment, naturally he dared not take the risk so he changed his tune, Since we cant enter, then we should retreat to a safer place.

    Wu Zhuo cant help but interrupt, The sun will set in 6 hours, and the mountain terrain is difficult to maneuver, if we retreat to a place where we get stuck, we might as well

    Prince Shaoyuan shouted angrily, Shut up! A servant like you has no right to interrupt.

    Wu Zhuos expression changed and his hand moved to his sword.

    Xiang Shaolong put his hand around Wu Zhuos shoulder and said with a smile, Young Master is mistaken, Wu Zhuo is my battle mate, his words are my words.

    Cheng Xu said with a cold smile, Whoever sounds more reasonable, we will obey that person.

    Prince Shaoyuan was so furious that the color on his face alternated between pale and red, and he left in a huff.

    Wu Zhuo said gratefully, To be able to fight side by side with Young Grand Master-in-law, is the happiest thing in my life.

    Xiang Shaolong patted him warmly before letting go of his hold on his shoulder and looking at the narrow valley, said, If we can survive tonight, Im confident that I can deal with Xiao Weimous soldiers hiding in ambush above the narrow valley.

    Chang Xu replied, According to my calculation, Xiao Weimous men are certainly not as many as ours, or else they would have attacked us head on long ago when we were traveling.

    They talked a little further before Xiang Shaolong went to see Lady Ya.

    Xiao Zhao and the rest had just set up camp and on seeing his arrival, hurriedly paid their respects.

    Looking at these pretty young girls, Xiang Shaolongs spirits lifted and after flirting with them for a moment, he went in to see Lady Ya.

    Lady Ya received him warmly and after letting him have his way with her for a while, they sat on the rug and she said, Shaolong! There are some words that Yaer must say, please dont be offended!

    Xiang Shaolong laughed, You must be wanting to ask me about my relationship with Zhao Qian. Dont worry! Shes still a virgin.

    Lady Ya replied, But you have aroused her desires, how can she be willing to marry to Wei, and if so why do we still need to go to Daliang?

    Xiang Shaolong replied nonchalantly, Naturally its to steal Lu Gongs Secret Manual!

    Lady Ya exclaimed seriously, Shaolong!

    Xiang Shaolong stopped smiling and said, I know you want to say, if Prince Xinling knows that we are going there to steal the manual, he definitely wont allow us to succeed, right?

    Lady Ya bit his shoulder in anger, so upset that she could not say a word.

    Xiang Shaolong caressed her shoulder and consoled her, Trust your husband! In this era where everyone is trying to trick everyone else, we can only act according to circumstances. For all you know we can have our cake and eat it too. Hei! It seems like a long time since I was intimate (xin fang = doing intimate things in a room) with you.

    Lady Ya replied coquettishly, Its not been intimate in camp, we dont have a room here.

    Before Xiang Shaolong has a chance to reply, Xiaozis voice was heard calling from the outside, Vice-Commander Cheng invites Master Xiang to come out immediately!

    Xiang Shaolong sighed and told Lady Ya, It must be that fellow Prince Shaoyuan who has gotten into trouble again.

    As expected, Prince Shaoyuan has summoned his family warriors and was determined to have his own way and retreat from this mountain on his own.

    By the time Xiang Shaolong arrived, Lady Pingyuan was trying to persuade her beloved son to abolish the idea.

    When Prince Shaoyuan saw Xiang Shaolong, he got even more furious and exclaimed irritably, I am not going to sit and die with others. There are forests all around this place, were in the open while the enemy is in hiding, how long can we defend ourselves? Only a fool who knows nothing about military matters will do such a stupid thing which is akin to committing suicide.

    Lady Pingyuan replied angrily, What right do you have to criticize others? Can you defeat Hui Hus huge army? That day when Hui Hu was attacking, besides hiding in your tent, what outstanding things have you done.

    Prince Shaoyuan did not expect his mother to embarrass him in public and he nodded his head and said, Fine! Now youre totally siding with an outsider, and turned around to deal with your own son. From today onwards, I dont have a mother like you.

    Pak!

    Lady Pingyuan gave him an angry slap and with her body shaking, exclaimed, Say that again one more time!

    Prince Shaoyuan cupped the side of his cheek that was slapped, his eyes filled with viciousness and alternated between looking at her and Xiang Shaolong before saying frostily, Now that you have a lover, why do you still need a son like me! He raised his voice and cried out, Children! Those who still want to stay alive, come with me.

    Lady Pingyuan was so furious her face paled and she cried out, No one is allowed to follow him. I am still in charge of this family, since when is it his turn to talk.

    The family warriors all kept quiet, but everyone knows that no one will take the risk with Prince Shaoyuan.

    Lady Pingyuan looked at Prince Shaoyuan coldly and said, If you do not come and kowtow to me and admit your mistake, you can forget about expecting my forgiveness. She humphed and returned to her camp.

    Xiang Shaolong did not even bother to take a look at the stoned Prince Shaoyuan, but just gave the orders, Those who really want to live, get to work immediately.

    All the family warriors uttered their reply and ignoring Prince Shaoyuan, went about chopping trees and cutting grass.

    The others all dispersed, leaving only Prince Shaoyuan standing all alone there, helpless.

    The sun was setting, the earth getting dark, the freezing wind blowing from the northwestern direction.

    Xiang Shaolongs army was all on the alert, waiting with their weapons. Only a few lamps were lighted in the camp and the scene was miserable and cold.

    Xiang Shaolong, Cheng Xu and Wu Zhuo were sitting on a carriage, which surrounded the camp, looking at the movements around them.

    The sound of something hard dropping was heard from the other side of the mountain.

    The three of them immediately perked up.

    Theyve finally confirmed the presence of the enemy, confirmed Xiang Shaolongs analysis.

    The sound of something falling came because the enemy ran into the horse-tripping ropes they put up.

    It must be known that before this moment, whether there really is an enemy out there is still an unknown, with no facts to support that point. They only deduced that if there is an enemy out there, then they must be hiding in the narrow valley. This place still belongs to the Weis after all, so Xiao Weimou will have to work speedily and attack the camp in the cover of the night.

    If they have to attack at night, this kind of place is most advantageous to attack with fire, and to attack with fire they must first position themselves upwind. Therefore their enemy will certainly have to leave the narrow valley and go to another mountain, which faces them at the other side of the camp.

    So based on this point, they laid down horse tripping ropes in the wilderness on both sides of the camp. If the enemy were to trip and fall and make some noise, they would be able to know the position of the enemy even in the darkness.

    Sounds of things dropping and quiet groans were heard.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed loudly and shouted, Xiao Weimou, youve been tricked! Release the arrows!

    Lamps were lighted in the camp, hundreds of fire arrows were shot high into the air, aiming towards the side and the entrance of the narrow valley, leaving only a clear spot upwind.

    The flames burned all around as the dry woods caught fire rapidly, and the wind blew the flames and smoke towards the narrow valley, surrounding the enemies who came under the cover of the night with flames. It turns out that Xiang Shaolong has already ordered his men to splash oil on the woods so that it will burn once it catches fire.

    Thick smoke rose up, most of them blown towards the narrow valley, with only a little smoke floating towards their camp.

    Everyone hurriedly dampened their cloths and covered their noses and mouths with it.

    Screams and groans were heard, the enemy is helpless and did not expect Xiang Shaolong to strike first and use fire to attack them instead.

    Shadows appeared.

    The entrance to the valley has been blocked by the huge fire and the enemies who were in hiding around the camp has no choice but to take the risk and attack the camp.

    The Zhao soldiers saw that their commanders eccentric plans have worked again and morale was greatly boosted. In unison, they all rushed over and started shooting arrows at the enemies who were making their way up the slope.

    Without any cover for protection and hindered by the dark smoke, the enemies fell one by one and only 10 odd enemies managed to past the flooded ditch that surrounded the camp but all of them perished at the slope.

    The outcome of the battle is certain.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that even in such dire circumstances, their enemies were still fierce and swift and was secretly thanking his good luck. If its a head on attack, he may be able to win but he will certainly suffer heavy losses on his side as well. The situation would not be so easy like now. Obviously intellect and bravery must work hand in hand, neither one can be missing.

    By now the surrounding forests were all in flames and the fire burned high into the sky, ancient trees falling one by one, swallowed by the fire, increasing the magnificence of the scene.

    Thick black smoke traveled into the narrow valley and the fire followed close behind.

    The enemy was forced by the fire to launch an attack and some of them have already become inferno men even before then rush out, and they will die even without the arrows shooting them.

    What was originally a picturesque wilderness has now become hell on earth.

    Screams and cries kept coming out from the scene of the fire, the shouts shattering the sky.

    Blood flowed like the river along the slope and ditch.

    By dawn, the perimeter up to 10 li away all became charred soil, the fire was still burning far away but has weakened greatly by now.

    Xiang Shaolong with his marvelous plan managed to take care of the enemy without losing a single man, and without even knowing what Xiao Weimou looks like. As the saying goes, those who are adept in battles, will have outstanding outcomes.

    Corpses lined the area after the fire and according to their calculation, almost a thousand men were burned or shot.

    Its just that they do not know if Xiao Weimou is one of the dead.

    Xiang Shaolong led a team personally to the narrow valley to make sure that theres no enemy left before letting the others set off immediately, leaving this horrendous place which now looks like hell.

    After passing the narrow valley and traveling northeast for about 4 hours, the group reached the western bank of Pushui.

    This part of the river was filled with more rocks than mud, so the water was very clear.

    After few li down north, a clear and sparkling huge lake appeared in front of them, with lush plants growing around it and huge eagles, wild ducks and kingfishers flying about. With the blue sky and white clouds as backdrop, it formed a very enchanting scene.

    After working hard for one whole night, everyone was in high spirits on reaching this place and immediately set up camp next to the lake and started preparing dinner.

    The soldiers were casting nets and catching fishes, and it feels as if they are on a holiday instead.

    Lady Ya was suddenly in the mood and ordered someone to put up curtains at a corner of the lake and started bathing and playing in the clear water. In the end even Zhao Qian, Cui Tong and Cui L couldnt withstand the temptation and joined them, their eyes filled with endless joy and fun.

    Xiang Shaolong sat lazily on a huge rock next to the lake, admiring the view of the lake and mountains, looking at the endless green grass, with the lake's water clear and green with the reflection of the trees, feeling extremely intoxicated.

    The soldiers were enjoying themselves too, stripping themselves naked and jumping into the lake and swimming languidly. After going through so much shocking events, no one can blame them for letting loose now.

    As Xiang Shaolong was sharing their joy, Lady Pingyuans voice rang out gently behind him, Shaolong, why arent you swimming as well?

    Xiang Shaolong turned his head around and smiled, If Lady is willing to frolic with me in the water, your subordinate will gladly oblige.

    Lady Pingyuans pretty face blushed slightly and sat down next to him before sighing sadly, My opinion of you is getting higher and higher. If you were in charge of the battle of Chang Ping, I can guarantee that the 400,000 who died would not be the Zhaos but the Qins, and the whole situation would have been different.

    Xiang Shaolong leaned over, touching her shoulder, smelling her fragrance and said humbly, Lady you flatter me, its just a small victory, nothing to talk about. He paused and asked, How is Prince Shaoyuan?

    Lady Pingyuans face turned icy and she said through clenched teeth, Dont talk about that useless beast. She sighed helplessly, and was silent.

    Xiang Shaolong was shocked, Does he dare not to kowtow to you and apologize?

    Lady Pingyuan turned her head around and looked at him deeply and said, Whats the use of kowtowing and apologizing? Ive never been satisfied with my late husband, and now this beast is even worse than him. She lowered her head and said with a blush, Shaolong! Can you give me a child, as long as he is half like you, Ill be very satisfied.

    Xiang Shaolong was initially startled, then he was ecstatic and said, Its only at this time that I really do not feel any enmity Lady has towards me.

    Lady Pingyuans pretty face blushed more crimson as she replied quietly, You earned this with your capability. After seeing your almost divine tactics time and again, I no longer wish to be your enemy.

    Xiang Shaolong reached out and held her wrist, asking, Do you want to become my woman?

    A look of helplessness came over Lady Pinyuan as she sighed quietly, Now I no longer wish to hide anything from you. For my return to Wei this time, its been arranged that Ill re-marry a general who has control of the military, this is a fact that cannot change. You will you blame me?

    Xiang Shaolong was relieved instead. In reality he only has lust and not feelings for this woman, and only harbored the feeling of having fun with her. On one hand he will use this to take revenge against Prince Shaoyuan for causing the death of Su Nu, and its also a way to stay alive, so how can he blame her. Of course he had to pretend to be sad and extremely disappointed on the surface.

    The alarm sound went off.

    Xiang Shaolong looked over in shock, and saw on the flat lands in the distance, a troop of horses and men were running towards them.

    Lady Pingyuans hands gripped his tightly and said ecstatically, The reinforcements from the pass are here.

  13. #33
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 3 Chap 9 In a dangerous position

    The capital of Wei, Daliang, is situated on the southern bank of the Yellow River, where the big rivers like Luoshui, Suishui, Weishui, Danshui and Honggou etc converge. The Weis also dug up 2 man-made canals Dagou and Lianggou to surround and protect Daliang. It became a natural barrier, making this great city easy to defend but difficult to invade, giving them stability. The State of Wei was situated in the middle of the central plains then, with her north backing Zhao, west siding Qin, east siding Qi and south facing Chu. Its at the crossroad of the meeting place of the world. Daliang is situated right in the middle of the state of Wei and is an important city in any battle plans since its right in the middle of important roads and waterways. If one wants to invade the other 5 sates, the task will be made very difficult if he does not defeat Wei first and in order to defeat Wei, Daliang is a place they must gain control of. Therefore one can see how important this capital of Wei is.

    Xiang Shaolong and his party rested at Fengqiu for 3 days and under the protection of 2000 men from the Pass, crossed the Yellow River and after traveling for another 15 days, Daliang is just in the distance. Throughout the journey, Xiang Shaolong was relaxed, as if he has joined a tour group for ancient China and traveling through old places. In his relaxed frame of mind, he imagined that on this huge and open land, there are countless cities scattered over it, each city with its strong and high city walls and the vast open land beyond the city walls. And each city is the center for battles and for expansion of the military. Everything important that happened in this era, happened around places like these, spreading with the invasion and defense of cities as centers. Whether a city could be protected or taken, shows the fortune and success of a country. Such battles which centers on attacking cities is the simplest and most straightforward and if seen from another angle, it also has an indescribable captivation. To a ruler in the warring stares period, its like a game of chess. Once hooked and youre unable to pull yourself away and the only way is to have a battle of wits, to see who will become the ultimate survivor.

    In these enclosed city walls, are military centers of different sizes, and are the most important military command center for the surround area and also the symbol of power. Defeating these cities will mean destroying the other partys governmental control. The troops from the Pass escorted them until they were about 10li north of Dagou before going back to Fengqiu, leaving the task of escorting them to the military situated at the outskirts of Daliang. By this time the welcoming party sent by Prince Xinling has arrived and escorted them through the hanging bridge past Dagou. And Prince Xinling, Wei Wuji, has already set up a formation on the other end, ready to receive this wedding entourage who has went through so much difficulties.

    Wei Wuji, one of the 4 Princes of the warring states period, was dressed in casual wear, sitting astride a horse. He has a square face and big ears, tall and good-looking with a stern and respectable air about him. Although he was smiling warmly, his eyes were gleaming which gives one a sense of awe. He may be Lady Pingyuans younger brother but he looks older than his sister, maybe because of long-term stress that aged him faster. After a round of small talk, all of them headed towards Daliang.

    The city of Daliang was full of sights and sounds, the city streets wide and spacious forming an inconsistent rectangular shape, following the curves of the rivers with the southern gate as the main gate. All the city gates have a protruding watch tower which greatly improved the defenses. They have to travel another 5li north from the city gate, and the sand was blowing in front of them. All of them awaited for the King of Weis orders and the edict states that besides Xiang Shaolong, Zhao Qian and the other ladies, the rest of the group have to set up camp outside the city. Naturally Lady Pingyuan, her son and their family warriors are not under such restrictions. Xiang Shaolong felt extremely surprised and indignant. And a look of unhappiness appeared on Prince Xinlings face but as its an imperial order, and unless he has made up his mind to rebel immediately, he can only accept this humiliating arrangement. After Xiang Shaolong gave some instructions to Cheng Xu and Wu Zhuo, he followed Prince Xinling into Daliang.

    Compared to Handan, Daliang looks different. It did not have the ancient magnificence of Zhao, but has its own exquisite intricacies. Its decorations were more colorful. The streets in the city were split into 8 large streets from north to south and 4 main streets from east to west crisscrossing one another. These 12 large streets are wide enough to accommodate more than 10 horses moving side by side, so one can imagine how huge it is. With the imperial soldiers opening the path for them, the entourage passed by the decorated streets outside the palace, went around the high walls of the palace and came to a place at the northeastern corner where the nobility and senior officials reside.

    Along the way the streets were full of activities and there were twice as many people on the streets as compared to Handan. When they saw Prince Xinlings flag, they all looked respectful and some even knelt down to pay their respects, which goes to show how esteemed Prince Xinling is in the hearts of the Weis. Prince Xinlings residence, Weie Chu is situated right at the end of the street. Behind the high walls, tall trees reached into the sky, which showed off Prince Xinlings extraordinary status. Xiang Shaolong was separated from Zhao Qian and the rest and were assigned different courtyards to reside in. Prince Xinling was very warm in his welcome and sent 4 pretty maids to personally serve him. After cleaning up, he received Xiang Shaolong immediately in the study. After all the maids retreated, Prince Xinling warmly invited Xiang Shaolong to partake the meal and after offering him a toast, Prince Xinling said, Shaolong you are indeed extraordinary, to be able to defeat more than 10,000 horse thieves with only 800 men. No wonder you can rise to fame so swiftly in Zhao. Xiang Shaolong knows that this is his opening speech, and hurriedly expressed his humble thanks.

    Prince Xinling raised his wine cup and was silent for a moment before continuing with a slight smile, Everyone saw that the battle of Chang Ping greatly weakened the state of Zhao from a strong state, but very few people saw that the Qins also suffered heavy losses in this battle. How else could I have defeated the Qins in Handan 6 years ago if not for that, and subsequent the combined forces of Yue Cheng and Qing He from your state, together with the states Han, Chu and Bi also greatly defeated the Qins. Xiang Shaolong has no idea why he would bring up this matter, so he just bulldozed his way through to try and flatter him, saying Its all due to your intelligence and decisiveness that gave the Qins their most terrible defeat ever since Shang Yang changed the policies. Prince Xinling smiled proudly, The King of Qin is narrow minded, he has such a good general in Bai Qi but because of a fit of anger, forced him to his death. Fan Sui also gave up his premier post 4 years ago which greatly weakened Qin further, which gave us the opportunity to conquer Taojun. If my estimation is correct, the Qins can forget about regaining their strength within the next 20 years.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly impressed and thought to himself that this Prince Xinling is indeed a talent of his times. Because from what he knows from the history books, it is indeed 20 odd years later that Qin manage to destroy the other 6 states. Prince Xinling personally poured the wine and after drinking a toast, said solemnly, Now that Lu Buwei caused the death of King Xiaowen, and allowed Yiren to ascend the throne and the world was in fear because they know how formidable Lu Buwei is. But I see it from another point of view. With the Qins being so suspicious of any outsiders, how can they allow Lu Buwei to control the politics, therefore there must be internal strife which will again weaken their plans to invade east. Xiang Shaolong complimented him sincerely, No wonder you are so well respected by the people, you can really analyze and understand the situations well. Of course he knew that in the end Emperor Qin exterminated Lu Buweis entire clan, thats why he is especially amazed by Prince Xinlings farsightedness. Among the 4 princes in the warring states period, he and Prince Mengchang emerged tops, and obviously he does live up to his name.

    He thought of how frightened the Zhaos were once they heard that Lu Buwei is now in power and the contrast against Prince Xinling shows how bold and far-sighted he is. Prince Xinlings eyes gleamed and he sighed meaningfully, Shaolong! If the 3 states were to unify, now is the time. In truth, Xiang Shaolong is very much interested in this idea because who can guarantee that history will not change. At least the Emperor of Qin now is a useless person, totally different from the smart and brave Emperor described in history books. Since he wants to deal with Zhao Mu, naturally he will need the help of Prince Xinling and once he thought of this, his heart started pounding. Prince Xinling is indeed astute, just by studying his looks and behavior, he already knows what he is thinking and nodded his head with satisfaction, My elder sister is indeed right about you, Shaolong is indeed a bold and intelligent man. He continued in a lowered voice, Does Shaolong know that you are in a dangerous position where you will find it difficult to advance or retreat. Xiang Shaolong nodded his head to indicate his understanding.

    However, Prince Xinling shook his head and smiled, You dont really know yet. Tell me! Do you know Hui Hu is which persons trusted aide? Xiang Shaolong was stunned and asked, Doesnt Hui Hu take orders from your King? Prince Xinling replied, That coward would not dare to touch anything that might incite public fury. Anlis most beloved Lord Longyang* handled all these secretive evil plans. According to secret reports, Lord Longyang hates you to the core, thats why he forced Anli to give the orders not to allow your men to enter the city so that youll be alone and helpless. If not for my strong support of you, Shaolong would have perished long ago. Xiang Shaolong felt numb but also found the situation hilarious at the same time.

    * http://knows.jongo.com/res/article/16544

    It was really unexpected that he would actually meet the famous Lord Long Yang, whose name has long become synonymous with gays. Without a question, An Li and Lord Long Yangs relationship is similar to King Xiaochengs relationship with Zhao Mu. Apparently the royalty in this era, due to the 2 extremes in their lifestyle of extravagance and constant fear of losing their lives, have all turned a little abnormal. Prince Xinling said, Lord Long Yang is one of the 3 most famous swordsmen in the state of Wei. He is intelligent and cunning, and certainly not easy to deal with. Xiang Shaolong sighed and said, We can consider this to pose difficulty in me advancing, but why cant I retreat then? Prince Xinling stared at him for a moment before saying calmly, Because if you return to Zhao, Zhao Mu will certainly try to take your life.

    Xiang Shaolong remembered that Lady Pingyuan once told him that the King of Zhao has taken a liking to him, and if thats really the case, what Prince Xinling just told him is not just to scare him. He sighed and said, To tell you the truth, I was ordered to come to Wei this time with another secret mission, which is to steal the Lu Gongs Secret Manual. He obviously knows that Prince Xinling is already aware of this, so he said it out first to gain his trust. As expected Prince Xinling chortled, reached out and patted his shoulder and exclaimed, Great! Its only now that I believe you really have the intention of allying yourself with us. If you can work for me well, I can guarantee you endless wealth and riches. He continued in a quiet voice, That fellow An Li, under Lord Long Yangs persuasion, is not busy preparing to eliminate Zhao, so even though Hui Hu is totally unrelated to him, he will never let a talent like you return. As for Zhao Qian, not only will she not be able to become the Crown Princess, her fate will be extremely terrible as well. Xiang Shaolong sighed helplessly and asked, What should we do now? Prince Xinling smiled slightly. The one who strikes first will gain the upper hand, the one who strikes later will be at the mercy of others. Does Shaolong understand these words?

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly felt himself sweating, finally understanding that Prince Xinling said so much to him because he is still intent on the initial plan he made with lady Pingyuan and Prince Shaoyuan, which is to assassinate King An Li, so he is just a pawn now. He was so furious that he felt like giving himself 2 tight slaps. How stupid and nave he was, to actually believe that the vicious Lady Pingyuan would really fall in love with him. Lady Pingyuan is indeed formidable, deliberately pretending to be unhappy with Prince Shaoyuan, and flattering him at the same time, saying that she wants a child with him so that hell be taken in. If not for the fact that he overheard the talk she had with her son that night, he wont even know how he died. That vicious woman actually slowly made her progress, sacrificing her body to lure him in, kept on flattering him with the only aim of using his bravery, intelligence, martial arts skill and status to help them kill the King of Wei. After that they will push the blame to him and the Zhaos, so that they can retreat safely from this matter. Such a venomous ploy is indeed enough to make ones blood run cold.

    In order not to arouse the other partys suspicions, he pretended to be full of vigor as he replied, If there is anything I can do, please let me know. I am willing to go through fire and water. Prince Xinling exclaimed happily, With these words from you, why should I worry that the plan will not work. He continued in a straight face, I already have a plan in mind, but its not the time to let you know yet. You can enjoy yourselves for these few days, I have a lot of beauties in my residence and you can choose anyone to serve you. Xiang Shaolong had an idea and deliberately tested the waters by saying, With Lady Ya around, I am already satisfied. A look of anger and jealousy flashed past Prince Xinlings eyes but he immediately changed it into a warm smile, You really know how to choose, Zhao Ya is extremely captivating, truly a fine specimen in a mans private room. Go ahead and enjoy yourself! He added, Youll have a good rest tonight, Ill arrange some activities for you tomorrow and I can guarantee that your trip will not be in vain.

    After Xiang Shaolong left the hall, he walked towards where Zhao Ya and the rest were residing at, knowing very well that in order to gain his trust, Prince Xinling will not restrict his activities in the manor nor send anyone to spy on him. Once he stepped into the garden, he immediately thought of Mei Canniangs quiet little mountain valley. If he can spend the rest of his life in that place where theres no fights, then wont all his troubles be gone? Pride and ambition is really the downfall of many. Xiang Shaolong suddenly felt dejection and an extreme weariness about the things that has been happening around him. Especially when he thought of Lady Pingyuan, he felt that pain of being cheated and hurt. After walking past a row of old, luxuriant swaying trees, the Flying Clouds Chambers which Zhao Ya and the rest are residing in came into view. Lanterns were lighted on the pillars and the eaves of the corridors and under the illumination of the lanterns, it can be seen that the corridors have double eaves, the roof was decorated with tiles and statues of beasts, extremely colorful and majestic. The paint and carvings on the main door was exquisite, the curtains on the windows were thick, with a soft and hazy light going through it.

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly felt lost. That feeling of a strange dream filled him again. Hai! If only it really is a dream. Even when he was facing the worst situation in Zhao, he has never felt so dejected. Just like what Prince Xinling said, even if he can escape from Wei, hell face death when he goes back as well, unless he can get his hands on Lu Gongs Secret Manual. But by then those troops pursuing him will certainly include Prince Xinlings men as well. This Prince Xinling is even more difficult to handle that the King of Wei, or else the Qins would not have suffered heavy losses under him time and again. If he really manages to unite the 3 states, for all you know he may really be able to take over Emperor Qin and become the worlds ruler. Can history really be changed?

    Xiang Shaolong lied down on Lady Yas couch dejectedly. Zhao Ya sat down and reached out to caress his face, asking in alarm, Shaolong what happened to you, why do you look so bad. Xiang Shaolong carried her up the bed and buried his head in her chest and sighed, If I have Lu Gongs Secret Manual with me now, I will steal all of you out of Daliang immediately and run far, far away. Zhao Yas delicate body shook a little as she cried out, Shaolong! Can you brace yourself? Seeing you like this pains me. She went to his ear and whispered, An Li has got nothing to do with the order not to allow Cheng Xu and the rest into the city. Xiang Shaolong raised his head up in surprise and looked at her, How did you know? Lady Ya covered her mouth and smiled, Dont ever think that we are totally helpless to defend, us Zhaos have spies all over the place. I even have my own people in Prince Xinlings residence. The look in her eyes turned icy as she continued, This matter must be related to Prince Xinling, to deliberately isolate you and give you the feeling that theres danger everywhere so that he and his sister can control you.

    Xiang Shaolong perked up immediately and he sat up, his eyes gleaming, Have you found out where Lu Gongs Secret Manual is hidden. Lady Ya stared at him unbelievably and said, If you obviously know that someone is coming to steal your things, will you let others find out so easily? She then stood up and took out a scrolled painting from a cloth sack and unrolled it on the bed. It turns out to be the floor plan of Prince Xinlings residence. Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic, Where did you get such a good thing from? Lady Ya smiled at him coquettishly, Dont forget what Im an expert in. If I cant even get this, how can I steal more important things? Xiang Shaolong thought of something and asked, If there really is a Lu Gongs Secret Manual, why isnt Prince Xinling starting to manufacture the equipment according to the diagrams instead, why would he be keeping it in his residence?

    Lady Ya replied, This involves the fight between Prince Xinling and the King of Wei. As long as Prince Xinling has not gotten his hands on the imperial throne, he will not take the secret manual out, therefore the manual must be kept in a secret location in his residence. Xiang Shaolong sighed, Im afraid that even before I can find the secret manual, that conniving Prince Xinling would already have killed me. Lady Ya suddenly extended her fair arms and covered his mouth, the soft and tender feeling shooting like electricity straight into Xiang Shaolongs heart. She pouted, Dont say anything inauspicious, all right? Xiang Shaolong sniffed in her fragrance and felt a little better. He took a close look at the map on the bed, silently committing to memory the positions of the houses in the residence. He had strict training on such matters before, so naturally he has a way of memorizing things.

    Lady Ya saw that he has regained his confidence and calmness so she happily explained to him the layout of the residence. Xiang Shaolong finally recovered from his depression and asked, Do you have a way to make contact with Wu Zhuo and the rest? Lady Ya said with pride, Such a simple matter, just leave it to me! Xiang Shaolong was silent for a moment before continuing, Tell Wu Zhuo to try and dig a tunnel from the camp to another location. If something happens, it may very well save lives? Lady Yas expression changed, Is the situation that bad? We are after all representatives of the King of Zhao Xiang Shaolong interrupted her, If you know that the King of Wei has the intention of attacking Zhao, you wont be saying that. Weve really made a wrong trip this time. As he spoke, he went off the bed.

    Lady Ya pulled him and asked, Arent you accompanying me? Xiang Shaolong replied, Prince Xinling will force me to assassinate the King of Wei anytime, time is running short, I must find the hiding place of Lu Gongs Secret Manual. Lady Ya was greatly startled, There are ferocious dogs guarding Wei Wujis residence, hell certainly find out if you enter. Xiang Shaolong laughed, Youre the expert thief, youll definitely have a way to deal with ferocious dogs.

    Lady Ya rolled her eyes at him and took out a small bottle from her bag and gave it to him, saying Just a little of this powder on your body, the ferocious dogs will avoid you. But not only are there ferocious dogs, there are guards as well! Hai! Since I know that youll be risking your life, how can I sleep in peace tonight? Xiang Shaolong took the bottle, hugged and gave her a kiss and said, Just strip and wait for me on the bed without a worry! I guarantee that no one will be able to see me.

  14. #34
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 3 Chap 10 - Meeting Long Yang


    Xiang Shaolong returned to his room and after dismissing the 4 pretty maids from their duties and ministrations, he changed into his black suit and carried his tools. He was about to slip out from the window when a maid called out, Lady Pingyuan arrives.

    Footsteps were heard and Lady Pingyuan is already at the door.

    There was no time for Xiang Shaolong to remove his outfit so in his haste he just grabbed an outer robe and draped it on. By then Lady Pingyuan has already entered the room.

    Lady Pingyuan closed the door, leaned against it and looked at him with a hidden smile.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting, as soon as she touches him, shell find out immediately about the tools he had on him and with her intelligence, of course shell know what hes trying to do.

    But if he does not hug and kiss her, it would be a deviate from his normal reaction and it will arouse her suspicions.

    What should he do?

    He suddenly had an idea.

    Xiang Shaolong sat back on the couch, patting on the bed next to him and said with an ulterior motive, Beauty! Come! This time there will be no one who can disturb us.

    Lady Pingyuan blushed and pouted, Have you forgotten that Im about to be married?

    Xiang Shaolongs ploy was working and he replied, I thought you are the one who forgot, thats why you came to my room to look for me. Besides, didnt Lady ask me to give you a child? If you dont climb up my bed, how am I supposed to impregnate you?

    Lady Pingyuan replied calmly, Will you be a little patient? My wedding will be held next spring, and well have all the fun we want the month before my wedding so that person will not suspect that Im not expecting his son at all.

    Xiang Shaolong expected her to say this, because its a good excuse for her to reject him and at the same time appease him so that he will not suspect that shes plotting against him.

    If he does not come up with a good plan 2 months later, he will soon be dead.

    This woman is so vicious!

    He has never hated a woman so much, especially when shes so mature and seductive and her status so esteemed.

    He stood up and walked towards her, until he was so close hes almost touching her bosom. He reached out, grabbed her soft shoulders and kissed her lips.

    Lady Pingyuans reaction was sizzling, her delicate body writhing in excitement but she was unable to touch Xiang Shaolongs body and find out about his secret.

    After a long moment, the 2 lips parted.

    The 2 of them exchanged looks, their hands held together, panting.

    Lady Pingyuan could not take the flirtation any further and panted, Shaolong! Hug me!

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head and said with a smile, Unless you are willing to go to Mount Wu with me, or else I will not touch any other part of your body except for your dainty lips.

    Lady Pingyuan was baffled, What is go to Mount Wu?

    It was only then that Xiang Shaolong remembered that this wonderful term is not being used during this era yet, so he made up a story, Mount Wu is a huge mountain near my hometown. Legend has it that when men goes there, they will have intimate fun with the fairies in the mountain, so the term go to Mount Wu means going to bed and having fun, does Lady understand now?

    Lady Pingyuans bright eyes revealed her dilemma and Xiang Shaolong was shocked, afraid that she will change her mind so he hurriedly ask, Why has Lady come to look for me?

    Lady Pingyuan regained her senses and pouted, Do I need to have a reason to look for you?

    Xiang Shaolong had an idea and took the risk, Lady better remind Prince Xinling that Lady Ya seems very confident of stealing Lu Gongs Secret Manual, I think she already knows where the manual is hidden.

    Lady Pingyuans pretty face turned icy as she said, That s.lut doesnt even know shes at deaths door. No matter how capable she is, she can forget about even touching the secret manual.

    Xiang Shaolong queried, Are you planning to kill her?

    Lady Pingyuan knew that she has made a slip of the tongue and with her expression remained unchanged, she explained, That was just said in a fit of anger. Shaolong! You cant possibly have fallen in love with that s.lutty woman!

    Xiang Shaolong replied, I dont know if I have fallen for her, but she is truly infatuated with me, so I do not wish to see any untoward befall her.

    Lady Pingyuan tried to struggle out of his grasp angrily, Let me go!

    Xiang Shaolong smiled, Lady is jealous! He still held on to her shoulder tightly and kissed her lips again.

    Under his flirtatious and hot kisses, Lady Pingyuan softened.

    Their mouths parted. Lady Pingyuan sighed helplessly again.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that she is in a dilemma. On one hand she wants to cause harm to him, but on the other hand she cant help but to look for him to alleviate her loneliness of so many years. Of course he will not uncover her plot so he changed the topic, What is Ladys future husband like?

    Lady Pingyuan turned silent before replying, He is the great general Bai Gui, have you heard of him?

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that this must be another political agreement, why would he be interested to know, so he leaned forward and kissed her neck.

    Lady Pingyuan has gone without physical intimacy for so long, so how can she tolerate such excitement so she struggled and cried out, No!

    Xiang Shaolong left her and looked at her with a smile.

    Lady Pingyuan struggled out of his grasp and pushed the door open, saying, I am leaving!

    Xiang Shaolong sent her out the door and said, Since youre not accompanying me, Ill have to look for Lady Ya.

    Lady Pingyuan saw that the 4 guards waiting outside the door seems to be listening on the conversation so she left after giving him a stare.

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to be going towards Flying Clouds Chambers but once he turned the corner and saw no one around, he removed his outer clothes and hid them. Using the hook and ropes, he climbed up the roof and followed Lady Pingyuan from afar, walking either on the roof or corridors or using the big trees as camouflage.

    For a person as careful as Lady Pingyuan, once she hears what he told her, she will certainly warn Prince Xinling!

    There are countless rooms in the vast residence and the nearer they got to the inner courtyards, the tighter the security with high walls and watch towers. If not for the fact that Xiang Shaolong had once undergone strict training, and has seen the floor plan of the residence and has the appropriate equipment, theres no way he will be able to infiltrate the place.

    There are alarm drums atop the watch towers, so one can imagine that in an emergency, once the signal is sounded, action will be swift.

    At this time Lady Pingyuan, under the escort of the 4 guards, walked into a corridor.

    The walls on both sides were long and tall which leads to an open area. Luckily there were a few rows of tall trees, or else thered be no way for him to sneak in undiscovered.

    Facing the entrance to the courtyard is a large building, in front of its door there are 2 rows of 18 guards and outside the house there are guards patrolling with guard dogs.

    Very carefully, Xiang Shaolong used the hook and ropes and jumped onto the roof from the tall tree nearest to the building.

    Lady Pingyuan went into the building alone and after passing a broad well, went to the main hall to meet Prince Xinling.

    Wei Wuji was lying on the rug, his right and left arms each holding a beauty and was drinking and enjoying himself. Even when he saw his elder sister, he continued with his flirtations.

    The decorations in the hall was exquisite and the colors matching, the glow from the lanterns soothing, giving one a very comfortable feeling.

    Lady Pingyuan sat down opposite Prince Xinling.

    Prince Xinling suddenly grabbed one of the women by her hair and pulled her head back.

    The woman tilted her head back and under the luminance of the lantern, the beautys alluring face was revealed to Xiang Shaolong who was hanging upside down outside the window. Looking at her fair neck, he cant help but gulp and at the same time felt pity for her.

    Prince Xinling then went towards her fair neck and started kissing and biting her violently, causing that beautys body to shake and squirm and she was moaning as well. Obviously she is in pain and not pleasure.

    By the time Prince Xinlings mouth left her, the tender and fair skin on her neck is full of teeth marks, and there was a faint trace of blood as well.

    The other lady seems to be unperturbed, still smiling and not revealing any look of surprise at all.

    Prince Xinling chortled madly and still pulling that womans hair, asked Lady Pingyuan, Do you think this woman is comparable to that s.lut Zhao Ya.

    Lady Pingyuan sighed and said, Wuji! Youre jealous!

    Prince Xinling pushed that beauty away and shouted, Scram.

    The 2 women hurriedly ran to the back hall to hide.

    Prince Xinling took a gulp from the wine bottle and wiped his mouth with his sleeve and said furiously, That b.itch Zhao Ya, when I defeated the Qin army, she was all condescending towards me in Handan. But look at how she is treating me now, I will make her sorry.

    Lady Pingyuan furrowed her brows, Wheres your patience gone? Cant you even wait for a few days? Have you seen Zhao Ya?

    Prince Xinling waved his hands, Dont talk about her. Only now do I believe your words, Zhao Ya sacrificed her body because of her adoration for Zhao Mu. When I destroy Zhao in future, I will certainly make Zhao Mu have a taste of all the forms of torture in the world.

    Lady Pingyuan said through gritted teeth, I cant wait to eat his flesh and drink his blood as well. If not for him, how could Prince Pingyuan, Zhao Sheng die so early for naught? She then told him what she heard from Xiang Shaolong about Lady Yas confidence in stealing the secret manual.

    Prince Xinling seems unbothered and said, Even if that s.lut knows that the secret manual is in the secret underground room here, security here is so tight she can forget about sneaking in. Dont worry!

    Xiang Shaolong who was outside the window was ecstatic. Firstly he has confirmed that there indeed is a secret manual and its in one of the secret rooms in this building. With a special task force agent like him, it is a big possibility that he can steal the secret manual.

    Lady Pingyuan commented, Its still better to be careful!

    Prince Xinling replied, I have already increased security. Even if she can get the manual, she can forget about taking it out of the residence.

    Lady Pingyuan was silent for a moment before asking, How are relations between you and An Li now?

    A flash of anger went past Prince Xinlings eyes as he said coldly, That old idiot is belittling me more and more. He only knows how to place his trust on petty people like Lord Longyang, Lou Wu, Su Song, Guan Pi etc. If I allow him to have his unruly way, our Great Wei will be destroyed sooner or later.

    Lady Pingyuan asked, When are you going to arrange for Xiang Shaolong to see An Li?

    Prince Xinling replied, Now were using the excuse that Zhao Qian is not used to the conditions here so she cant enter the palace to meet An Li yet so that we can have more time to prepare. But this matter cannot be delayed. Ive decided that on the 1st of the next month, which is 3 days later, well let Xiang Shaolong officially send Zhao Qian into the palace. An Li will certainly set a feast to welcome time and that will be the time to take action. He paused and continued, You better tie Xiang Shaolong tightly with love so that he will risk his life for us without a doubt.

    Lady Pingyuan sighed sadly, Youd better find another way to retain him, Im a little afraid to see him.

    Prince Xinling was startled, You cant possibly have fallen for him?

    Lady Pingyuan stood up and sighed again, shaking her head, The grander picture is of more importance, what is a personal loss? Its just that Im afraid that once I have a sexual relation with him and have his child, thatll be even worse. She turned around to leave as she finished her words.

    Xiang Shaolong was at a loss. He was stunned for a moment, and waited until after Prince Xinling went into the inner hall before he sneaked into the main hall and did a quick check. He only left secretly when he has made sure that the secret underground room is not beneath this hall.

    Xiang Shaolong burrowed beneath the blanket, holding Lady Yas burning body, so comfortable that he was moaning.

    Ever since he came to Daliang, he has this horrible feeling that hes lost in an angry sea. Its only when hes hugging this beauty can he feel a short moment of relaxation and safety. It doesnt matter if this feeling is so feeble or fake, its still enough to make one intoxicated enough to treasure it.

    Its the first time he felt no barriers or distance between him and Zhao Ya.

    The two of them used all their might to hug each other, enjoying the brief pleasure during this difficult time.

    Lady Ya kissed his ears as she asked, Why dont you go and take a look at Third Princess?

    Xiang Shaolong sighed, Im afraid I wont be able to hold myself back with her and when I return to Zhao later, Zhao Mu will surely use this to trap me.

    Lady Ya kissed him approvingly and said, Its rare that youre so alert, Xiang Lang! Zhao Ya loves you.

    Xiang Shaolong replied sincerely, I love you too! He then told her in detail what he has overheard.

    Zhao Ya said, The underground room must be beneath Prince Xinlings bedroom. Xiang Lang is so capable to be able to infiltrate into such a highly guarded place. This must be out of that conniving thiefs expectations.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, It may not be difficult to steal the secret manual, but the difficult part is getting you 12 weak and dainty beauties out of Daliang.

    Zhao Ya replied, All residences belonging to royalty and officials will certainly have a secret passageway for escape. If we can find this passageway, theres the possibility of escaping from the mansion. But even if we can get out, we wont be able to slip out of the city.

    Xiang Shaolong was inspired by her words and sat up. He thought that if there is a passageway, it will certainly be behind Prince Xinlings residence, because he has checked the floor in the main hall and did not find anything.

    Lady Ya sat up with him and laid in his arms, asking, Shaolong! What have you thought of?

    Xiang Shaolong explained, If there is a secret passageway, it must be connected with the secret room which holds Lu Gongs Secret Manual. That is only reasonable. Also, there will be more than one entrance to this passageway, so as long as we can find just one of the entrances, we will be able to move freely in here.

    Lady Ya smiled coquettishly, Leave this to me, I guarantee that I will not disappoint.

    Xiang Shaolong hugged her tightly and laughed, Zhao Ya is so obedient, how shall I thank you?

    Zhao Ya was about to reply when someone knocked on the door, followed by Zhao Qians sad voice calling out, Can Qianer come in?

    When Xiang Shaolong woke up, the bed was filled with a fragrant smell.

    Zhao Ya and Zhao Qian were on either side of him, hugging him tightly.

    With Zhao Qian around last night, he did not have fun with Lady Ya and naturally he dared not touch Zhao Qian as well. But that kind of intoxicating feeling is alluring enough as well.

    After having a good sleep, all the dejection he felt yesterday was swept away.

    He has let go of everything else and did not step out of Flying Clouds Chamber the whole morning, spending the time chatting happily with the 2 ladies and the maids.

    At noon, Prince Xinling sent someone to ask for him.

    At the outer hall, Prince Xinling was sitting with 3 other people, having tea. On seeing his arrival, he immediately introduced them and they turned out to be famous mercenary in his residence.

    One of them who was large built and ugly was Zhu Hai. When Prince Xinling stole the military token to defeat Qin years ago, it was all thanks to him who hid a 40jin hammer and used it to kill the General Jin Bi who was leading the military. He is one of the famed fiercest general in the world.

    The other two are Tan Bang and Yue Xing. The former was heavily bearded and looked like a Confucian scholar while the latter was short and stout, with a glance one can tell that hes a highly skilled pugilist.

    Prince Xinling smiled, Its the first time Shaolong has been here, let me bring you around and after lunch we can meet the most talented and beautiful lady in Daliang and lets see if you can manage to impress her.

    Xiang Shaolong immediately thought of the Shi Shaonu whom Lady Ya once mentioned and he was immediately invigorated and followed them out of the house.

    The 5 of them went separately in 2 horse carriages and under the protection of 20 odd guards, toured Daliang.

    The carriage went past the route they took when they arrived, which passed the imperial palace.

    The buildings were grouped magnificently together with carvings of phoenixes and dragons, with lush woods surrounding them. But when Xiang Shaolong thought of when these pretty buildings will soon become unrecognizable ruins, he felt a great pity.

    Along the walls of the palace, there were river ways intercrossed with roads and bridge, looking extremely picturesque.

    After leaving the palace area, they turned into a bustling street linking the north and south.

    Strangely, theres a path right in the middle of the large street, which is extremely flat with locust tress planted thickly on both sides, and next to them were wide drains. The pedestrian walkway is on the outer area of the drains.

    Prince Xinling explained, This is an official pathway reserved only for the use of his Majesty and officials with the ranks of dukes and above, commoners are not allowed to step on it.

    As he spoke, the carriage as already turned into the official pathway.

    At the southern end of the official path was tightly knitted residential and commercial areas, the layout was organized although chaotic in a way as well. Ladies, gentlemen and merchants were moving around the crowd with people talking and bumping into one another, making the place look extremely exciting and prosperous.

    They had lunch at the largest restaurant in this area, Dan Yang Lou. This restaurant has its front facing the main street and its back against a small river and was very exquisite.

    They took up a large private room near the river on the 2nd level and when theyve had some drinks, that Tan Bang became very chatty, revealing his scholarly nature. No wonder Prince Xinling would invite him along to accompany them.

    Although Zhu Hai and Yue Xing were more into martial arts, they too listened intently.

    Its the first time Xiang Shaolong has heard such an in-depth and witty analysis of current affairs and was very much intrigued.

    Right then Prince Xinling asked, Amongst the many schools of thought, which school and which person is the best?

    Tan Bang smiled and took his time to reply, Although its said that rivers all flow in different ways, but in todays time they have all merged. From what I see, amongst the modern people now, Zou Yan and Xun Qing* from Qi and Master Fei** from Han have all the accomplishments of learned men before our time, and can also do more than what has been done by our forefathers. Their teachings will certainly be the way to go for future ideals on managing a state.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xun_Zi
    ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Fei

    Naturally Xiang Shaolong knows who Xun Zi and Han Fei is, but he does not know the background of Zou Yan at all and asked, Who is Zou Yan?

    Everyone looked at him in surprise.

    Prince Xinling commented, I did not know that Shaolong dont even know who this famous and rare person is. He continued with a mysterious smile, Let me introduce you later.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, could it be that this Zou Yan is living in that Shi Cainus house, or else how could he see him so easily?

    Tan Bang lowered his voice, Mister Zou may be one of the rare talents in the world now, but he is famous now because the situation made him so.

    Everyone hurriedly asked him for the reason.

    Tan Bang sighed and revealed a sad expression, Ever since the weakening of the Zhous, the world has been without a leader and the various states fighting amongst themselves. All the suffering commoners were praying for the appearance of the true ruler so that all these wars can be stopped. Mister Zous teachings of the 5 morals said, listen to the words and obey the orders. Everyone hopes that he can give some hint so that they will know who will be the master of the new era.

    A gleam flashed in Prince Xinlings eyes, because he has long regarded himself as the savior in these difficult times, and he is working hard towards this goal.

    Xiang Shaolong used to be so sure that the ruler of the new era would be Emperor Qin, but after knowing the true situation here, he was confused again.

    Tan Bang lowered his voice, From what I see, the new ruler will certainly be Prince.

    Prince Xinling coughed dryly to cover the excitement he felt and said, That Zou Yan whom Mister Tan was referring to may be famous, but he came from Jixia* that comes out with wild theories. From what I see hes just someone who speaks empty.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_of_the_Gate_of_Chi

    Tan Bang replied with a straight face, No, this person is very different from those madmen at Jixia. He is a defender of Confuciuss teachings and does not look highly upon the words of Mohism. If Prince has some free time, you should read his works in detail.

    Prince Xinling pretended to appear very magnanimous and replied, Thank you for your pointers.

    Tan Bang was about to talk about Han Fei when footsteps could be heard outside the door and the soldier who was guarding outside the door came in and reported, Lord Longyang requests for an audience!

    Prince Xinling and Xiang Shaolong were extremely surprised, they did not expect Lord Longyang would be so bold to actually come looking for them.

    Those who come are without good intentions.

    Prince Xinling sat proudly, having no intention of rising to greet him at all and said loudly, If Lord Longyang has no intention to drink, than its best that you do not come in. He is obviously not giving Lord Longyang any face with these words, obviously their relation is so strained that they are openly at war.

    Zhu Hais gaze turned icy as he asked, Does Prince wants me to guard the door for you.

    Prince Xinling shook his head with a smile.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly impressed. Prince Xinlings expression can remain totally unchanged even if Mount Tai was collapsing in front of him, and this is precisely the secret to his success. At the same time he felt a little anticipation as well, wanting to find out exactly how charming is this Lord Longyang whose fame amongst men has extended through history.

    A gentle and melodious voice that could have belonged to either a man or a woman answered from outside the door, Why is Prince Xinling so upset, have I offended you in any way? Then all the more Longyang has to come in and offer my apologies.

    Xiang Shaolong felt his hair stand on hearing the voice. He did not expect that just Lord Longyangs voice is already so intolerable.

    Prince Xinling chortled, No need for apologies! He added with a shout, Arent you letting our esteemed guest in!

    The door opened.

    5 men came in.

    Xiang Shaolong stared at Lord Longyang who was at the head of the line, stunned for a moment.

    His pretty looks is unparalleled, his skin fairer and softer than a woman, his long eyes full of life and he walked daintily, like a little grass bending from the gentle breeze. If he were to dress up as a woman, he will definitely be an unrivalled beauty.

    He was at least half a head shorter than Xiang Shaolong, but his build was proportionate, his arms and limbs slender.

    The warrior outfit he wore was exquisite, with a dark green as the base embroidered with pretty silk flowers, very eye catching.

    The hat he wore was even better, made in the shape of a romantic and exaggerated tigers face, and behind the hat theres even a tigers tail.

    Although Xiang Shaolong has no interest in men, he has to admit that Lord Longyang is indeed very pretty.

    If not for the long sword he hung on his waist, Xiang Shaolong will never remember that Prince Xinling once told him that he is one of Weis 3 greatest swordsmen.

    You will never be on your guard against such a dainty and weak looking man.

    If one were to only compare beauty, Lian Jin would not be able to catch up with him even if hes on a horse.

    As for the other four, with one look its obvious that they are top swordsmen, especially the short and stout man behind Lord Longyang on the right. His eyes were gleaming and he has an aura of death. He looks like one who loves a fight, and others will not dare to belittle him.

    Lord Longyang walked daintily to the table and sat down gently. He threw a flirtatious look at Prince Xinling first before his glittering eyes traveled past the others seated around the table, landing at last on Xiang Shaolongs face. He stared at him for a moment before giggling, Commander Xiang, Ive missed you so badly!

    Xiang Shaolong felt himself go numb from his stare and thought to himself that this person is so coquettish that he must have long disregarded himself as a man. The thought grossed him out so much that for a moment he does not know how to handle him and can only smile stiffly, I do not have any capabilities at all, so how could I have caused Lord Longyang to miss me so much?

    Prince Xinling personally filled Lord Longyangs winecup and said with a smile, Id like to hear about it as well.

    Lord Longyang smiled daintily and replied, Commander Xiang was able to kill Lian Jin, a good fighter from Wei, and execute the horrible horse thief Hui Hu, obviously you really have the talent, so how can I not like you?

    Zhu Hai and the rest were furrowing their brows as they heard the conversation but theres nothing they can do to him.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly startled, this person was smiling coquettishly, and the eyes looking at him were full of feelings, not a trace of hatred towards him was revealed. This smiling with a dagger hidden is enough to make ones heart run cold.

    Prince Xinling chortled, Come! Let us drink a toast to Lord Longyangs affection. He swept his eyes across and his stern look landed on the 4 swordsmen standing behind Lord Longyang and cried out, Offer the wine!

    Naturally there will be someone who will offer wine to those 4.

    Everyone there had their own secret intentions, but all drank the toast.

    Except for Lord Longyang who did not move. He waited until everyone has drunk the wine before pouring it on the ground next to him, saying shyly, Lets offer this wine to the Earth Deity, to celebrate the number one swordsman from Zhao stepping on our Great Weis soil.

    Even with Prince Xinlings control, his composure changed slightly as he uttered coldly, Ive specially arranged a lot of programs for Shaolong today, if Lord Longyang has no other matters, please forgive us as we will be leaving immediately.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly cheering. In truth he was starting to get irritated with Lord Longyang effeminate way of talking.

    At the same time he was thinking to himself, if this Lords swordplay is as effeminate and willowy as him, it will be quite difficult to deal with. If during the duel hes as irritated as hes feeling now which makes him rash and anxious, he might lose because of it.

    Lord Longyang laughed, his pretty eyes looking at Xiang Shaolong joyously as he said effeminately, I came here today is to see how heroic and brave Commander Xiang is. Its such a small request, Im sure Master Wuji will not reject me!

    Prince Xinling and Xiang Shaolong exchanged looks, extremely annoyed but they really found it difficult to reject.

    A gleam came over Xiang Shaolongs eyes, and looking at this man famed for his beauty, he laughed and asked, I wonder if Lord Longyang is going to test me personally or will you let your men do it?

    Prince Xinling interrupted, Weapons do not have eyes. If Lord Longyang is fighting personally, then forgive me for not agreeing to this.

    Lord Longyang giggled, Since Master is so protective of me, I will let Sha Xuan take on Commander Xiang!

    Prince Xinling and the rest revealed a look of alarm and they looked towards the short and stout man whom Xiang Shaolong was scrutinizing earlier. This made Xiang Shaolong affirm his guess that this person must be a ferocious fighter who has won many duels.

    That Sha Xuan took a step forward and said loudly, Sha Xuan is willing to take some pointers from Commander Xiangs excellent swordplay!

    Xiang Shaolong knows that this duel is unavoidable, besides this also involves the reputation of Zhao. So he respectfully sought Prince Xinlings permission, asking, Will Prince allow Shaolong to accept the duel!

    Prince Xinling was very confident about him, and at the same time he wanted to see for himself his swordplay as well, so he replied with a smile, Sha Xuan is our Majestys skilled fighter, Shaolong must be careful. He continued loudly, This is purely an exchange of pointers, so I hope both of you will control your attacks. He then shouted, Men! Clear a space for a duel in the hall here!

    He had just spoken his words when the sounds of tables and chairs being moved could be heard outside the room.

    Lord Longyang smiled and stood up gently.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned as well, no wonder the King of Wei is so besotted with this person. All his movements are fluid, beautiful, his expressions alluring. Once you are with him for some time, its difficult not to treat him as a woman.

    Lord Longyang bowed slightly towards Xiang Shaolong and laughed daintily, I will wait outside for Commander Xiang.

    And he walked out of the room with his men, his hips swaying.

    Prince Xinling looked at his disappearing back view, his eyes shone and he lowered his voice and said icily, Kill Sha Xuan for me!

  15. #35
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 3 Chap 11 Little House by the Lake

    After the tables and things were moved to the corners, there was a large empty space.

    All the guests were asked to leave the upper level, leaving only men from both sides.

    Sha Xuan and Xiang Shaolong stood facing each other in the middle of the hall. The sunlight streamed in from a large window at the side, illuminating the ground near the window in a golden glow.

    Lord Longyang was very confident in his man, and was looking at Xiang Shaolong with a coquettish smile. However his subordinates were looking at Xiang Shaolong as if they did not think highly of him.

    Sha Xuans swordplay is very famous in Daliang, and he is the leader of the 8 senior imperial guards belonging to King An Li, one of the most feared characters in Daliang.

    Prince Xinling may look calm and composed on the surface, but he is secretly feeling nervous. If Xiang Shaolong were to unfortunately perish in the duel, then his plan to assassinate King An Li would have gone down the drain. But if he can kill the other party, there will be one less obstacle when assassinating the King of Wei.

    Clang!

    Sha Xuan removed his sword from the scabbard, and for a moment a cold ray was emitted. He seemed to have changed into another person, holding on to his sword heroically and retreated 3 steps. His retreat reverberated through the wooden floor, the sound of his steps loud.

    Although he retreated, his impressive aura was increasing instead of decreasing and the spectators at the side all felt stifled and was shocked.

    Xiang Shaolong could feel his opponents fierce and vicious aura, so he recollected his thoughts and entered into Mozi Swordplays world of quiet defense, and did not look into his opponents sharp and piercing eyes.

    Men on both sides saw that Xiang Shaolong was unmoving despite being oppressed by his opponents fierce aura. He stood straight, his composure calm, and they were all surprised. They did not know that it is the essence of Mozi swordplay to counter movement with calmness.

    Sha Xuan felt displeased, because in the past when he defeated his enemies, he relied on his special fierce aura to make his opponent frightened before attacking swiftly and strongly so that his opponent will shed blood within 5 steps. However, he did not expect that this person in front of him is not at all affected by his aura and this made him lose his bearings instead. But by now theres no room for retreat, so he roared and attacked with his sword.

    Lord Longyang and the men immediately cheered to boost his morale.

    This sword attack was as swift as lightning, aiming straight towards Xiang Shaolongs forehead, filled with a strong force that cannot be retracted.

    Xiang Shaolongs Flying Rainbow is still in his scabbard, as if he has no intention of retaliating at all. It was only until the sword was almost upon his head and Prince Xinling and the rest were beginning to worry for him that his body moved suddenly and diagonally across and came in front of the large window which sunlight streamed in. He was still looking at his opponent coolly, his eyes filled with unparalleled and strong determination.

    He came from a background of strict and elite military training, and is adept at using the environment to bring out the best in his fighting ability. Since he accepted the challenge, he is determined to get rid of his opponent in the shortest time possible, firstly to curb some of Lord Longyangs air, and secondly to make Prince Xinling think even more highly of himself.

    He is extremely experience in combat and very good at eyeing others out. With a look at Sha Xuans stance, he knows that this person has very strong arms and specializes in vicious and dangerous attacks. Thats why he avoided his sword attack to throw the opponent off guard.

    Sha Xuan roared angrily, and followed his sword again to make another attack.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed long and loud, Flying Rainbow came out of the scabbard like lightning and he held the treasured sword diagonally away from his body at a 45-degree angle on the side. It immediately captured the afternoon sunlight that was glaring in from the window and reflected the ray of sunlight into Sha Xuans round and fearsome eyes.

    Never in his dreams did Sha Xuan imagine that there would be a kind of swordplay against an opponent, which makes use of sunlight in a room. He felt a strong glare in front of him and for a moment he could not see anything at all.

    How can Xiang Shaolong let such a rare opportunity go so he avoided his opponents sword and his sword slashed diagonally, like the wind. For a moment, blood poured and a scream was heard. The fresh blood pouring from the side of Sha Xuans neck gradually ebbed as he fell to the ground.

    His sword had sliced his opponents throat, and everyone knows that theres no way Sha Xuan will survive.

    Men on both sides could feel cold sweat coming out from their pores as they witnessed the scene. Who would have imagined that with Sha Xuans swordplay, he could not even fend against his opponents one stroke.

    Xiang Shaolong returned his sword into the scabbard and smiled calmly at Lord Longyang, Brother Shas swordplay is too good, I would have liked to hold my attacks back but was unable to, please forgive me.

    Inside the horse carriage, Prince Xinling said happily, Xiang Shaolong has helped me vent my frustration, it feels so good!

    Xiang Shaolong remembered Lord Longyangs pretense of calm as he was leaving and asked with a smile, I wonder if King An Li will be displeased that I killed his guard.

    Prince Xinling gave a cold snort, That Sha Xuan, on the pretext of exchanging pointers, killed 5 of my very good swordsmen. Now that youve killed him today, what else can An Li say about that.

    By then the carriage has turned into a small road with trees growing densely around it and in front theres a tranquil and exquisite looking house and courtyard.

    Prince Xinling is in extremely high spirits, maybe because theres now a chance of assassinating the King of Wei. He told him warmly, Were now going to this place that all men in Daliang wishes to go, Little House by the Lake. The scenery here is breathtaking but the main reason is its mistress Miss Ji Yanran not only has the beauty to make a country fall, but her talents astound the world as well. Together with Widow Qing from the state of Qin, they are know as the eras finest pair.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly laughing bitterly. If it was the past, he will certainly be ecstatic to have the chance to meet such a famous beauty, but now his own life is in danger, how can he find the mood to flirt. Even if the other party was willing, hell have to think of a way to make her give up so that she will not have to worry about his future.

    Once he thought about that, he really felt like a tiger who has fallen on bad times.

    Prince Xinling has no idea that he is already aware of his evil plot and thought that Xiang Shaolong was just too excited to talk, so he embellished the story, Miss Yanran loves to chat about scholarly and martial pursuits with the various learned men who came from afar

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, Martial pursuits?

    Prince Xinling was shocked, I didnt expect you not to know this. Miss Yanran is ranked above Lord Longyang amongst Weis greatest swordsmen, at number 2. Hai! Such a beauty, how can any average man be compatible with her? Thats why she is still unmarried now. Whoever wins her heart, will certainly gain fame in the world immediately and become the envy of all men around.

    He sighed again, Talking about looks and skills, Shaolong has the qualities to be selected, but you might not be able to pass the scholarly test.

    As they spoke, the carriage has entered the courtyard.

    Under the shade of the trees, a small lake appeared in front of them. In the middle of the lake was a small island with a few exquisite rooms built on it, a long bridge linking the island to the land. It looks like a place fit for a deity to live in.

    No matter how dejected Xiang Shaolong was, he was invigorated on seeing it. To think that there would be such a scenic place in Daliang. Looking at the abode one can know the person who resides in it, so by this deduction, this pretty mistress must certainly be out of the ordinary.

    The little island on the pretty lake was shaped like a crescent moon, with a fake waterfall, looking like a painted scroll. Between the rooms there were strange flowers and grass, gentle waves lapping and long corridors meandering and linking them, exquisite with an ancient beauty. One can imagine that if one can take a stroll there, it will certainly be a very exhilarated feeling and one will be reluctant to leave.

    The carriages went up the long bridge, as if theyre now traveling into a beautiful painting, the breeze blowing past the water, the trees fighting for beauty. The colors of the pavilions and rooms stood in contrast with the lake and the mountains, the little bridges and streams partially hidden by the green leaves and trees.

    After passing through a bamboo pathway and 2 small pavilions, the carriages stopped in at an open space in front of a building. There were already 3 horse carriages parked there, obviously they are not the only visitors.

    Xiang Shaolong followed the rest down the carriage and a pretty maid came out from the building and paid her respect to Prince Xinling, saying Miss is having an afternoon nap now, would Prince Xinling and the rest of the guests please wait a moment in the hall.

    Prince Xinling doesnt seem in the least offended and happily led Xiang Shaolong into the hall beneath the building.

    Xiang Shaolong was laughing bitterly to himself secretly again. Looking at what the maid is like, he can imagine what the mistress will be like. To think that there is such a great beauty with character, but he does not have the mood or bravery to hunt. Fate does make fun of men.


    *End of Book 3*

  16. #36
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    Book 4 Chap 1 Fierce Beauty

    Ji Yanrans abode is made from white stone, hidden amongst the flowers and trees and its style was ancient and exquisite, like a building in heaven and those staying inside were beautiful fairies.

    Walking up the stone steps to the building, inside the door there was an exquisite stand for the guests to put their cloaks and weapons. 2 pretty maids were already waiting there to serve them.

    Tan Bang went close to Xiang Shaolongs ears and whispered, Learned lady Ji does not like people to bring swords into her abode.

    Xiang Shaolong nodded his head to show his understanding and thought to himself that this Learned lady Ji is really putting on airs. She obviously knows that an esteemed guest like Prince Xinling has arrived but she was still napping and her maids dared not wake her up as well. Furthermore, she refused to let anyone enter with weapons. But he thought about it again and felt that her haughty attitude is well done as well, because truthfully, he has to admit that men are cheap. The more difficult it is to get the woman, the more precious she will be. Even now he is thirsting to find out how truly beautiful she is.

    The 2 pretty maids seems especially taken with Xiang Shaolong as they served him meticulously, carefully dusting off the dirt and dust on his clothes before presenting him.

    After all the various work was done, the 4 entered the hall.

    They had just walked past the door when a loud and crisp voice shouted next to Xiang Shaolong, Esteemed guests have arrived! Esteemed guests have arrived!

    Xiang Shaolong was taken unawares and totally startled. He looked towards the voice and cant help but laugh, because its a talking parrot perched on a stand.

    The 2 pretty maids obviously doted on it and they smiled daintily as they fed this interesting animal.

    Xiang Shaolong glanced around.

    The large hall was elegantly decorated but the most unique part is that there are no rugs, just a few square tables and mats. The hall was filled with strange bonsai, as if they have moved part of the garden outside into here.

    On one of the huge walls hung a large painting of a beautiful woman, wearing light and thin clothes, looking quietly elegant, just like the talent and elegance exuded by the mistress here.

    Of the group of 4 tables in the hall, 3 groups were filled and there were 2 to 6 people in each group. All of them talked softly, as if afraid to awaken the mistress from her nap.

    Prince Xinling led them and walked into the hall and immediately more than half the people stood up and pay their respects to this second in command in Wei. Obviously it was the first time the rest of the people had seen him, and only when they realized who he is, they hurriedly stood up and paid their respects as well.

    With one look Xiang Shaolong took notice of a few of the people.

    Especially the group of 4 near the window on the left side. 3 of them were dressed in warriors clothes and have an outstanding aura, but what stirred his notice was the ferocity they exuded. Especially one of the large sized men who is built like a mountain and a little taller than Xiang Shaolong. His limbs were extremely thick, his long hair touching his shoulder, wearing a silver decorative piece on his forehead. His face was wide, his back broad, his eyes large like copper bells with a look of viciousness and slyness. He looks majestic and his whole body exuded an evil and shocking charisma.

    The 2 warriors beside him were both fierce and vicious looking but next to him, they immediately paled in comparison. The strangest thing is the hands of the 3 of them all bore scars of being burnt by fire.

    Another who took his notice was the group of 6 men on the right dressed as scholars. One of them was tall with a refined look, the deep eyes shimmering with intellect, looking like an immortal.

    There was only 2 people in the last group, the shorter one with an average look and from his clothes, one can tell that he is not a Wei. One wonders which country he could have come from, but for someone who can come here and see Ji Yanran, he is naturally a person of a certain status.

    Prince Xinling first greeted the group of 6 on the right, and spoke to the refined looking man, We were just talking about Mister Zou, and did not expect to see you so soon. He waved at Xiang Shaolong and said, Shaolong, come over and meet this extremely gifted man with foresight Mister Zou Yan.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, so this is the philosopher who is famed because of his Sayings of the 5 merits. He was about to come forward and offer his respects when a loud and thick voice from the left rang out, Master Wuji, may I ask if this is the Imperial Protector from the state of Zhao, Brother Xiang Shaolong?

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly startled and looked towards the voice. The person who spoke was the warrior who looked like the devil reincarnated.

    Obviously Prince Xinling does not recognize this person and asked in surprise, This gentleman is

    The Wei who looks like the person who introduced these 3 warriors here to meet Ji Yanran stepped forward and said respectfully, Feng Zhisen is a guest under Lord Longyang, pays his respect to Sir. This person whose intellect and bravery is known throughout the state of Qi is Mister Xiao Weimou, the warrior on the right is called Ning Chong, the one on the left if Zheng Lei. They are all famous warriors in Qi and Mister Weis personal fighters.

    Prince Xinling and Xiang Shaolong were both equally shocked, they did not expect this ferocious man would chase him so closely. Since he is now openly going after him in Daliang, he must be up to something nefarious. Obviously he is under the protection of Lord Longyang and has the backing of the King of Wei, no wonder he dares to be so rude here.

    Just as Xiang Shaolong feels a huge headache coming on, Xiao Weimou took a huge step forward and after paying his respects to Prince Xinling, turned towards Xiang Shaolong, extended his hand and said, Ive long heard that Brother Xiangs swordsmanship is outstanding, if theres a chance I must exchange pointers with you.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he wants to compete with him on strength and has no choice but to extend his own hand as well.

    The corners of Xiao Weimous mouth curved up into a cold smile as he used his strength to shake his hand. For a moment Xiang Shaolong felt as if his hands has been clasped with an iron manacle that is still being tightened.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly startled. Although he can still manage to fend him off, he still felt the pain in his hands as if the bones are cracking and he knows that his opponents arm strength is definitely better than his.

    Luckily he has a higher tolerance than ordinary men and did not embarrass himself in public. He even managed a smile and said, Has Mister Wei just had an accident with fire, why do your hands look as if they have been burnt?

    A mad fury flashed past Xiao Weimous eyes and he increased the pressure in his arms and said icily, Its just some silly act by some low down person. Its nothing much, besides, such childish pranks can only last for a moment. Sooner or later I will crush him to pieces.

    Such an explosive atmosphere, even Zou Yan and the rest can clearly feel that something unpleasant had happened between the 2 of them.

    Xiang Shaolong bitterly withstood his startling arm strength.

    Xiao Weimou had wanted to crush his fingers to pieces immediately so that he will no longer be able to use the sword. But after testing Xiang Shaolongs strength, he knows that he would not be able to achieve his ideal effect, so with a cold laugh, he released his hand and went back.

    His 2 subordinates stared at Xiang Shaolong with deep hatred. Obviously that fire had burned them quite badly.

    Prince Xinling signaled to Xiang Shaolong with a look and introduced the Weis next to Zou Yan, who are all famous men or senior officials. Obviously Zou Yan is very popular with the Weis.

    After the round of introductions, Prince Xinlings gaze rested on the last group of Weis and said with a smile, This is the first time Ive seen Mister Zhang Fengchang here. He looked at the person who is of average built next to him, and besides his intelligent eyes, the rest of him looks average and asked, This gentleman is

    Zhang Fengchang laughed, This is Master Han Fei from the state of Han. Im here all thanks to him today, because Miss Ji was complimenting Master Hans book Speaking of Difficulties after reading it and sent word to say she would like to meet him. Therefore I have to accompany and bring Master Han here to meet Miss.

    Prince Xinling and the rest were all excited as they did not expect to see such a famed intellectual here. But at the same time they feel a little cheated, as they did not expect this person to look so ordinary.

    This famous Han Fei whose name had gone down centuries is not one good at socializing. He just smiled clumsily, bowed slightly and to him it means offering a greeting.

    The 2 pretty maids hurriedly invited Prince Xinling and his men to be seated at a low table opposite Han Fei and his friend.

    By then only the table beneath the large painting of the beauty was empty, and this must be where Learned lady Ji will be seated.

    Like the others, Xiang Shaolong sat around the table, eating the snacks the maids brought out but his heart is in a turmoil.

    With the arrival of Xiao Weimou, the situation has become even more complicated.

    Besides, this person has amazing arm strength and his body is as solid as steel. Xiang Shaolong may be talented, but he may not be his match as well. If he were to join hands with Lord Longyang, and with Prince Xinling harboring hidden agendas about him, his trip here will really be filled with danger.

    As he was thinking, he heard Prince Xinling asking Han Feizi, Does Master Han have something to attend to during your trip to our state this time? Please let us know so that I can see if theres any way I can help?

    Hai Fei replied, This time Hai! This time I came under the orders of my King, to come come here and borrow rations.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly startled, he did not expect Han Fei to have a stutter, and his words are not adequate to express his meaning. He doesnt even know how to take the opportunity to speak up for his cause and point out why Wei should lend rations to Han.

    Indeed Prince Xinling furrowed his brows and replied, So thats the case, how much does your country need to borrow?

    Han Fei replied, 10,000 stones! And he stopped short at that, not elaborating further.

    Naturally Prince Xinling was unperturbed but just smiled and did not converse further.

    Zou Yan said loudly, Downfall comes after the peak, and after downfall comes the peak, the exchange of the 5 merits. Actually there were signs long ago that the state of Han will suffer from drought. 5 years ago I saw a meteor fall into the boundaries of Han, and I said there will certainly be calamity, and now the prediction has come true.

    Han Feizi furrowed his brows, obviously unhappy and he did not believe Zou Yans words at all. But the others around Zou Yan all agreed with him.

    Xiao Weimou who is from Qi like Zou Yan, laughed Mister Zou is indeed far sighted. Now the world is ruled by 7 states, would Mister be able to explain where the future will lie and enlighten us?

    Zou Yan smiled slightly and was about to reply when they heard the sounds of adornments clinking and a beauty, with the accompaniment of 4 maids, walked into the hall from the inside.

    Xiang Shaolong hurriedly looked over and he felt his brains go numb from shock.

    A beauty who looks like a fairy with supple skin and luminance being escorted out by pretty maids, like the moon being supported by many stars, walking daintily forward. This scene captivated everyone, their souls seemed to have gone to heaven.

    Her hair was combed into a high bun at the side, which matches her slim body and tiny waist. Her slim neck and fair skin was alluring, their brightness captivating.

    Her eyes were deep and dark with reflections like the water. No wonder her beauty is known far and wide, she is absolutely enthralling.

    She was wearing a long white robe with flowers, which flitted prettily as she moved, the wide sleeves fluttering, enhancing her beauty and posture.

    Her alluring outer beauty as well as her captivating inner beauty came together to form a painting of a beauty. Xiang Shaolong felt as if hes in heaven, and totally forgot about the things happening on earth.

    Even with Wu Tingfangs beauty, she pales a little even when compared to her, so apparently she is extremely enchanting.

    Ji Yanran walked over prettily and leaned languidly on the tall cushion behind the long table in the middle, looking even more charismatic than ever.

    The way she half sat and half leaned back is already alluring, but when she kept her legs up the rug, her skirt moved up to reveal her fair, flawless and supple dainty feet which makes Xiang Shaolong feel like crawling up the rug and pin her underneath so that he can explore her body and inhale her fragrance.

    After Ji Yanran seated herself properly, she tilted her pretty head and said with a smile, Yanran was too fond of sleeping and have made everyone wait so long!

    Xiang Shaolong regained his senses and took a look at the rest. He saw that Prince Xinling, Zou Yan, Han Fei, Xiao Weimou and everyone else looked enchanted; they have even less self-control than him.

    Just as everyone hurriedly assured her that its all right, Ji Yanrans shiny, lively and dark eyes flitted towards Xiang Shaolong and looked at him before flitting over to Xiao Weimous table, scrutinizing the rest of the people and lastly looked at Han Fei. A look of joy passed over as she exclaimed happily, Would this be Master Han Fei?

    Xiang Shaolong and Xiao Weimou were both greatly disappointed, obviously Ji Yanran is more interested in Han Fei than in them.

    Han Feis face blushed red and replied nervously, I am indeed Han Fei.

    Ji Yanrans pretty eyes lighted up as she gushed happily, After reading Masters grand works, it indeed has views that no one else has thought of before, I am extremely awed.

    Xiang Shaolong felt extremely disappointed, this Han Feis appearance has no attraction at all yet Ji Yanran is looking at him differently. Obviously this woman is more concerned about a persons intellect. When it comes to compositions or debates, if he compares himself to Han Fei, it would be like the comparison between a kindergarten student and a Nobel Prize winner. But he feels a little relieved as well, because he has problems preserving his own life now, so no matter how alluring Ji Yanran is, he will have to curb his desire to court her or he may not be able to handle it all.

    With a beauty praising him, Han Fei is at a loss as to what to do, and doesnt even know where to put his hands.

    Ji Yanran seems to have eyes only for Han Fei, and she said gently, Misters philosophy about governing a country with law, techniques and power, suggesting that people acts with one thing in mind which is to achieve gains while avoiding punishment, so the law must come into play if anyone commits any unwanted actions. It indeed looks right into the problem and is food for thought.

    Han Fei was at a greater loss for words and can only keep nodded his head, which makes others feel bad for him.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that if he can transplant his knowledge into his own brain, he might be able to enjoy the company of a beauty tonight.

    Zou Yan laughed loudly, and after Ji Yaran and everyone elses attention was diverted to him, said confidently, With Master Hans knowledge, your King will certainly appreciate it greatly, but why is it that there seems to be no improvement in your countrys cause to take over the world?

    Xiang Shaolong secretly cursed, Zou Yan was too much to rub salt on Han Feis wounds like that.

    A look of anger and embarrassment flashed through Han Feis face but he was unable to speak further.

    Obviously Ji Yanran admires Han Fei for his talent so she helped him out by saying, An intelligent man needs a good master as well. Shang Yang, who is a Wei, did not accomplish anything in Wei as well. But when he went to Qin, his reforms improved the state greatly, does Mister Zou think that I have spoken rightly?

    Xiang Shaolong secretly complimented her retort, this lady is indeed remarkable. Just as he though Zou Yan would be speechless, Zou Yan smiled slightly and said, Of course Misss words are very reasonable, but the point is not about the intellect of an individual. Besides an individual, there is still fate at work. Shang Yang was successful because of the situation, and he could not escape from the control of the 5 virtues. Only one who truly understands the 5 elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth and how they interact with each other will be able to grasp the changes of luck determined by Heaven.

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zou_Yan )

    Han Fei gave a cold snort, and his words came out a little smoother as he said, What Mister Zou said said is unconvincing, then. then are we supposed to sit and wait for fate, and dont have to do anything else?

    His words sound reasonable as well, but the way he stuttered them out, it just doesnt sound as convincing.

    Zou Yan is a good debater and he chortled, Of course thats not the case. Once we can grasp Heavens plans, we will be able to foretell the future and know the aim and direction where we should work on. Lets say digging a well for example, only when we know where the source of water is will we not waste our efforts in vain.

    Han Fei was so furious his face turned red but he could not find a retort, or maybe he doesnt know how to express it. Xiang Shaolong felt great pity for him and wished that he can find some paper and brush so that he can write down his opinions.

    Applause was heard, it turned out to be Xiao Weimou clapping in agreement.

    Ji Yanran looked towards Xiao Weimou and raised her brow, asking, This gentleman is

    Xiao Weimou puffed out his chest, like an animal looking for a mate and said loudly, I am Xiao Weimou from the state of Qi, I wonder if Miss have heard of me?

    Ji Yanran was enlightened, So its Mister Wei who advocates learning from beasts. May I ask, if men and beasts are the same, wont the world be thrown immediately into chaos?

    Now that Xiao Weimou has a chance to show off his knowledge in front of this beauty, how can he give up this chance so easily, so he smiled and said Miss has lived mostly in the city, naturally you would not understand the world of animals. The wilderness has been my teacher for many years and I have observed the lives of beasts and birds and have concluded that only if we go with natures flow will we not betray Heavens decree. We can enjoy the life given to us under the greater law of nature. If we were to try and suppress our nature, it will only cause more harm than good and will make one become a hypocrite whose thoughts are not in conjunction with ones actions.

    Ji Yanran looked at him with concentration, her expression showing that shes thinking about his words. Xiang Shaolong secretly thought oh no, this beauty is obviously very curious about things and very easily attracted by new and unique theories. If Xiao Weimou was to possess her, he would feel the pain and unfairness of it, so he cant help but blurt out, How can man and beasts be the same? Even different animals have different ways of living.

    Xiao Weimou laughed coldly, They can live differently, but their nature remains the same.

    Naturally Xiang Shaolong will not show any courtesy towards him so he stared at him and said smilingly, The difference between man and animals, is that we are not restricted by our innate abilities and desires; we can even sacrifice our own precious lives for the greater good. Animals walk on all fours, but we can stand up and because we need not use our hands to walk, theyve become nimble and can make things like this house and all other necessities. Do animals have that ability?

    Obviously Xiao Weimou has done some research on this question so he mocked in reply, Youre talking about abilities, not innate nature. Birds can fly but can humans fly? Fishes can live underwater but can humans live underwater?

    Xiang Shaolong is definitely not a philosopher, but now that hes spoken, he cannot back down and have to forge his way through, I am talking about innate ability. Because human brains are different from animals, we can think and reflect. Besides food, clothing and lodging, we also need mental stimulation; but for animals everything is about survival, they sleep after eating and mate when the time is right. Animals in nature are at a loss and can only react but man can fight against nature and defeat nature. Thats because man has a different innate nature, we know how to improve and expand, thats how we are now above animals.

    Xiang Shaolongs not very excellent argument is widely known in the 21st century, but for the people in this era, its a new idea and this made Ji Yanran immediately change her opinion of him.

    Obviously Xiao Weimou has never thought of this question and he replied angrily, Whats the difference, Ive seen both animal and human brains, theyre all just made of tissues and flesh!

    Xiang Shaolong chortled, You have just spoken about the greatest difference between humans and animals. Would animals analyze the difference between their brains and human brains?

    For a moment Xiao Weimou was dumbstruck, fury flared in his eyes and he wished he could tear Xiang Shaolong alive.

    Although Zou Yan does not agree with Xiao Weimous wild theory that humans should emulate aimals, but theyre both from the State of Qi and he does want to put Xiang Shaolong down in front of Ji Yanran. Therefore, he tried to pick a bone from an egg and retorted, Brother Xiang earlier said that the difference between humans and animals is that we can stand up, then gorillas and monkeys all can stand and walk, how do you explain that?

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, and thought to himself that he cant possibly explain to them about evolution. Luckily his mind worked quickly and he had an idea, The difference is in the construction of the brain. He touched his forehead and said, Primates do not have forehead like us, so they can only concentrate on immediate matters and wont think about tomorrow. But we can arrange and plan for tomorrows matters, or even plan for matters a year or ten years from now.

    In truth Xiang Shaolongs thoughts and arguments are already in a mess, but everyone knows that gorillas really do not have foreheads, so they all thought his reasoning logical.

    Ji Yanran clapped and chuckled daintily, How exciting, Ive not heard such an interesting debate like this for a long time.

    Her pretty eyes flitted towards Xiang Shaolong and she asked with a sweet smile, This gentleman here, please forgive Yanran for not knowing who you are yet!

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned and secretly lamented. He could not tolerate it further earlier and thus came up with a nonsensical debate, and he hopes that she has not really taken a liking for him.

  17. #37
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    Book 4 Chap 2 Chu Mohisms Fu Du

    Ji Yanran asked about Xiang Shaolongs background and Prince Xinling hurriedly replied, This is the No. 1 swordsman from the state of Zhao, Xiang Shaolong, remember that, Yanran.

    Ji Yanran looked at Xiang Shaolong with a smile before turning her attention back to Han Fei. Although Xiang Shaolong breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that she has not taken a liking to him, he cant help but also feel dejected, as if hurt. What a dilemma.

    Tan Bang went closer to Xiang Shaolong and whispered, This is Ji Yanrans rule, only she can ask a persons name and status. Ive been here more than 20 times but she has never asked who I am. Shaolong, youve already left an impression on her.

    Xiang Shaolong felt a mans pride surging up. He thought to himself that since he is not wooing her, why does he have to react to her moods but on seeing her only talking and laughing with Han Fei while the rest can only look on, he felt a sudden fury. Of course he felt a little left out and jealous as well so he stood up.

    Prince Xinling was stunned, Shaolong! What are you doing?

    Ji Yanran turned around and looked at him, a flash of light seems to pass her pretty eyes, obviously she only realized his perfect physique and outstanding aura now.

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to be candid and said with a laugh, Miss Ji is indeed a born beauty, it is my fortune to meet you, farewell!

    Ji Yanran was a little startled, then she seemed to understand his thinking and said with a slight smile, How many days will Mister Xiang be staying in Daliang?

    Xiang Shaolong saw that she has no intention of making him stay at all and was secretly furious and felt a great loss of face but he pretended to be nonchalant and said simply, Maybe a few more days!

    Prince Xinling and the rest had no choice but to stand up and leave with him.

    On the way back to Xinlings residence, Prince Xinling ranted in the carriage, Shaolong do you know what a good opportunity youve missed? Its rare that Ji Yanran is all smiles, for all you know she may play the zither and sing for the guests! Hai! His words carry a great regret, obviously Ji Yanrans singing and zither skills is extraordinary.

    But what Xiang Shaolong is thinking of is the vicious look Xiao Weimou gave him when he left. This person is not one who has only brawns but no brains, and he has many capable men under him. He is indeed in a very dangerous position now.

    After returning to Prince Xinlings residence, he went to Lady Ya and she immediately pulled him into the room and said, Ive made contact with Wu Zhuo and Cheng Xu and told them your instructions. Wu Zhuo wants me to tell you: He doesnt know if their spies in Daliang has been embroiled in Prince Xinling and Lord Longyangs fights because of this matter, so they have been in hiding and refused to make contact with him. Now we can only rely on ourselves. He also said hell try to find a way to sneak into the city.

    On hearing this Xiang Shaolongs mood turned for the worse and he collapsed on Lady Yas rugs.

    Lady Ya came up and helped remove his shoes, saying gently, Yaer has found the entrance to the underground tunnel, how are you going to reward me?

    Xiang Shaolong sat up in joy and pulled her into her arms. After giving her a good kiss on the lips, he said, Lady is really capable!

    Lady Ya happily nibbled on his ears before telling him in detail the entrance to the tunnel. She sighed and continued, Stealing Lu Gongs Secret Manual may not be difficult, but the difficult part is leaving the state of Wei and avoiding the pursuing soldiers. Lu Gongs Secret Manual is such an important item, Prince Xinling will surely check on it daily and once he find it gone, hell naturally think that were the ones who took it.

    Xiang Shaolong also felt this to be a headache.

    Right at this time Prince Xinling sent someone to summon him over immediately.

    The guard led him to the inner hall which he had overheard Prince Xinling and his sisters conversation the other night, and after they were all seated, Prince Xinling said seriously, An Li has given his imperial edict, he wants you to send Zhao Qian into the Palace the day after. That night he will throw a feast to welcome you as the ambassador.

    Xiang Shaolong felt a lurk in his heart, he knows the crucial time is about to come.

    Prince Xinling lowered his voice, Lord Longyang will use the excuse to exchange pointers about swordplay to kill you. The person who will fight will certainly be that Xiao Weimou, in that way An Li and Lord Longyang need not be responsible because Xiao Weimou is a guest from the state of Qi.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly lamented, if its a proper duel with Xiao Weimou, chances of him winning are really slim. Just based on arm strength alone, hes already on the losing end.


    Prince Xinling said quietly, Lord Longyang hates you to the core right now, hes definitely not going to let you leave Daliang alive and because he has the backing of the King, Im afraid even I cannot protect you. Shaolong do you have any plans?

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly cursing Prince Xinling but he sighed and said, What can I do? I can only take one step at a time.

    Prince Xinling sized him up for a moment before taking a deep breath and said, If Shaolong wants to avoid the calamity and at the same time enjoy endless riches, there is only one way. Do you want to know?

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, Its coming! But he pretended to be attracted and said, Please advice!

    Prince Xinling said, It is to kill An Li that useless King and Lord Longyang.

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to be shocked and exclaimed, What?

    Prince Xinling said coldly, A man must be vicious at times, since hes merciless, I need not show any kindness. I have men around An Li as well and we can hide the weapons in the Palace. As soon as you kill An Li, my men can immediately take out the weapons and kill Lord Longyang and the rest. When I ascend the throne, and with your great help, well take the opportunity when Qin is powerless to invade east to unify the 3 states. By then wont the world be ours? You can kill Zhao Mu for revenge as well, or else itll be a dead end for you when you return to Zhao anyway.

    The future he painted is indeed very attractive but Xiang Shaolong knows theyre all lies. He nodded his head, This truly is the only way, but King An Li will certainly have personal bodyguards and I cannot carry my weapon openly, how can I kill him?

    Prince Xinling saw that he did not object at all, his eyes gleamed with excitement as he said, I had planned to hide a dagger under your table, but its not that appropriate. Now that I guessed that Xiao Weimou will challenge you during the feast, then after you defeat Xiao Weimou, while accepting An Lis congratulations, you can surprise and kill him. You can also create some chaos with your swordplay and well have the chance to strike. At the same time my men will attack the Palace and we need not worry the plan will fail.

    Xiang Shaolong thought what if Im killed by Xiao Weimou instead? He had an idea, if he doesnt take this chance to gain more advantages, hed be a fool. So he said with a straight face, As long as I have nothing to worry, Shaolong will give his life to you and try my best.

    Prince Xinling furrowed his brow, What do you mean by nothing to worry?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Its Lady Ya and Zhao Qian, if they can leave Daliang, I will not have to worry and can do what needs to be done.

    This is called blackmail. Of course he knows Prince Xinling cannot let Zhao Qian go but hes not afraid of letting Lady Ya leave because the day after, whether the assassination is successful or not, he can still instruct his men to get Lady Ya back.

    As expected Prince Xinling said, Zhao Qian can never leave, because you have to send her to the Palace. As for Lady Ya? Since Shaolong has this request, I will certainly do my best.

    Xiang Shaolong was relieved of half his load and said, The King is not going to let Zhao Qian become the Crown Princess at all, then why is he still inviting her into the Palace?

    Prince Xinling sighed, Shaolong youre too nave. An Li can easily let Zhao Qian die mysteriously, then announce to the world that she died of illness and send her body back to Zhao. The King of Zhao will not be able to do anything to him. This may be too extreme, but its the best plan An Li can come up with as a last resort.

    Xiang Shaolong felt his whole body run cold on hearing this, which increased his determination to save the beauty.

    Prince Xinling said, As soon as you kill An Li, wont all problems be solved?

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head, Thats just the way I am, I do not wish implicate others in whatever I do. If Zhao Ya and Zhao Qian are not around, I will take responsibility for everything that I do, even if I fail and get captured I will not betray you. But once I think that I may implicate them, Im afraid I will not find the courage to strike, then thatll be terrible.

    Theres nothing Prince Xinling can do to him and he suppressed his anger and nodded his head, Let me think about this, there surely will be a solution.

    When Xiang Shaolong heard him say this, he was secretly overjoyed. He remembered that Wu Zhuo mentioned he will be trying to sneak into the city, so he said, In order not to let An Li become suspicious, Id better not coop myself up in your residence these few days. I should walk around outside, then all the more An Li will not be on guard against me.

    Prince Xinling furrowed his brows, How can you do that, Lord Longyang will find someone to deal with you.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed, Hes not that stupid. After seeing how easily I killed Sha Xuan, and now that Xiao Weimou is helping him, cant he wait another 2 days? Im also doing this for you, hoping that the plan can succeed more easily.

    Because Prince Xinling needs his help, he does not want to go against his request too much so he sighed and said, What other requests do you have? Ive just received a few dancers from Chu who are excellent dancers and singers. Let me send 2 of them for your enjoyment!

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that its still an unknown whether he can stay alive, where can he find the mood to have fun with beauties? He said seriously, I should not be going near women these 2 days so that I can maintain my best stamina. Hei! If I can kill An Li, even if you do not offer me beauties, Ill ask you for them anyway!

    A teasing look flashed past Prince Xinlings eyes as he chortled, If the plan succeeds, theres no problem even if you want the Empress or Princesses of Wei to accompany you.

    The 2 of them exchanged looks, and both laughed, each harboring their own motives.

    Xiang Shaolong left Prince Xinlings inner residence and walked towards Lady Yas Flying Clouds Chamber and as he was passing by the woods, a maid hurriedly brushed past him and stuffed something into his hands. Xiang Shaolong was still in a state of surprise as he took the thing when the maid increased her speed and darted into the woods. Because she kept her head lowered, he didnt even manage to catch a good look at her.

    Xiang Shaolong opened his hand, it turns out to be a nicely folded little handkerchief and when he opened it, a delicate map was drawn on it with a few tiny words at the side which read, Waiting for gentleman at the Windy Bridge, meeting from Shen Mou* hour. Ji Yanran.

    *Shen Mou time between 3pm to 7pm

    Xiang Shaolong was feeling perplexed and taking a closer look at the map, it shows the direction to that Windy Bridge from Prince Xinlings residence.

    Ha! This woman really spared a lot of thought into this, to actually use such a method to date him, obviously because she does not want others to know. He didnt expect her to put up such a haughty and proud front, but in fact she is also thirsting for men.

    His heart immediately started burning, but he remembered his dangerous situation now and sighed. He sat down in a small pavilion in the garden, contemplating whether to go for the appointment.

    Footsteps were heard and a guard rushed over and said, Master invites Sir over!

    Xiang Shaolong was surprised and followed the guard back into the inner hall to see Prince Xinling.

    Prince Xinling exclaimed happily, Shaolong is really capable, Yanran just sent someone over with a verbal message and invited you and me to her abode tonight at the Mou* hour to continue with the debate we had today. Obviously she has a very good impression of you, later I will tell someone to send you there!

    *Mou time between 5pm to 7pm

    Xiang Shaolong was startled and secretly thought what a close shave.

    So that handkerchief earlier was a trap, this is the real thing. He was really careless to have almost been duped, mainly because he was too confident about his charm and he cant help but feel shame and guilt.

    Prince Xinling saw that he has a strange expression and asked surprisingly, Is Shaolong unhappy? Everyone in Daliang finds it an honor if they can attend Yanrans banquet.

    Xiang Shaolong was just pondering who could be the one who wants to harm him and he answered with a bitter smile, Id better not go, in case I get distracted.

    Prince Xinling laughed, Dont be so nervous, and dont think that Yanran will fall for you so easily. Your theory was interesting today, thats why her interest was a little piqued! If you dont go it will arouse the suspicions of others instead.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed, You mentioned earlier that youll tell someone to send me there, are you not going as well?

    Prince Xinling sighed, She invited me only because its basic courtesy to do so, but her target is you. Go! If you miss Yanrans banquet, even I will think its a great loss to you!

    Actually Xiang Shaolong really wants to meet this unique beauty again and his departure today was due to a mans ego. Since now Prince Xinling is encouraging him, he made up his mind and said, I can go on my own, and at the same time I can take a walk around as well.

    Prince Xinling agreed with a smile.

    When Xiang Shaolong returned to Flying Clouds Chamber, Zhao Qian and Zhao Ya were chatting and when they saw him return, naturally they were full of smiles and overjoyed.

    He saw that Zhao Qian was around and dared not reveal the conversation he had with Prince Xinling earlier, afraid that he would scare this weak princess.

    Lady Ya seems to understand and said with a smile, Come! Princess! Let us serve Xiang Lang while he bathe!

    Although Zhao Qian doesnt mind being cozy with Xiang Shaolong, or even let him paw her, but she has never tried being naked with him. She blushed immediately and ran away.

    Lady Ya then pulled him towards the bath.

    While Xiang Shaolong was frolicking with the beauty in the water, he told her about Prince Xinlings plan for him to assassinate the King of Wei.

    Lady Ya felt her body turn cold, even though Xiaozhao and the rest of the maids kept pouring in hot water, it did not help. She exclaimed in alarm, The day after is so soon! What shall we do?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, We definitely cannot proceed with the plan to assassinate the King of Wei. No matter if it succeeds or not, I will not be able to live, so the only way out now is to find out how to steal Lu Gongs Secret Manual and then run away from this place safely with the whole group.

    Lady Ya looked dejected, Thats easy for you to say, this place is where the Weis are at their strongest. Both the King of Wei and Prince Xinling has the city heavily guarded so how can we escape when each step of the way is fraught with difficulties?

    Xiang Shaolong held her tightly and sniffed her face before replying, Dont worry! Prince Xinling made a show of pretense and said he will let you and Cheng Xu leave, because if not I will refuse to execute his assassination plot. The question is how can you avoid his pursuit, and we must also consider that he might hide things from me and secretly escort all of you to somewhere else.

    Lady Ya burrowed her head into his arms and said, Hell definitely do that. Besides how can I bear to leave you? Well die together if need be.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, This time its my turn to disallow you to utter the word die, trust me! He paused and continued, Yaer is an expert at stealing information and this time youre here especially to steal Lu Gongs Secret Manual. Im sure you had something planned out!

    Lady Ya replied, Of course I made plans! I just didnt expect this to be a trap! I followed the scroll that Guo Zhong obtained which shows the drawings of how the cloud ladder is made and with that, made a silk scroll. As long as we can steal the real Secret Manual, Xiaozhao, the maids and I, the 8 of us working together, Im confident well be able to copy a large portion of the scroll and make it look authentic. If Prince Xinling were to flip only a section of the scroll when hes checking it, hell definitely not find out that weve done something to it. But we need at least 10 days.

    Xiang Shaolong had a bright idea, Since that is the case, why dont you use just one night, make a rough copy of one section of the scroll and cut the rest of it out and replace it with blank copies, then itll be even better to trick Prince Xinling with.

    Lady Ya hugged him happily and kissed him. She complimented him with a sigh, Yaer is so silly, I didnt even think of such a good idea. But her mood immediately turned sullen, But how can we leave Wei? If Prince Xinling keeps you and Qianer behind, theres no use even if we manage to escape successfully.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Heaven will always leave a way out for man, we will certainly find a good plan to achieve both ends.

    Lady Yas pretty eyes shone, Heaven will always leave a way out for man, achieve both ends, Xiang Langs words are always so interesting and sounds good as well, Yaer really loves you!

    Xiang Shaolong said, Now let me see if I can bump into Wu Zhuo. This person is smart and brave and familiar with the situation in Wei as well, hell certainly think of an appropriate plan. I will be attending Ji Yanrans feast tonight, but I will slip back secretly. Now tell me quickly the entrance to the secret tunnel.

    After the 2 of them discussed the finer details, Xiang Shaolong prepared himself and left.

    He had just stepped out of Prince Xinlings residence into the street when a person rushed over and asked, Does Commander remember me?

    Xiang Shaolong looked over in surprise and felt that this person looks familiar. He took a while to remember he is Pu Bu, one of the famed family warriors under Prince Shaoyuan, who is on the same status as Xu Hai, the one he killed. He cried out happily, So its Brother Pu Bu.

    Pu Bu pulled him into a restaurant and after sitting down, said quietly, Most of us have given up on Prince Shaoyuan, and we do not wish to live amongst the conniving and unreliable Weis. We hope to follow Commander and do great things.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows, But Im having problems preserving my own life now. Both Zhao and Wei are not the place for me, if you follow me, Im afraid you might even lose your lives.

    Pu Bu replied, Theres 48 of us, were all brave men who are not afraid of death. We have thought over the various problems before making up our minds to follow Commander. Just looking at how Commander cares so much for our well-being, well be willing to work hard for Commander. With your capability, you will achieve something great sooner or later, please accept us!

    Xiang Shaolong had an idea, Arent you living in Prince Xinlings residence?

    Pu Bu replied, A group of us is staying in the residence with Prince Shaoyuan, while the rest is staying in a mercenary house nearby for the time being. Were just waiting for Commanders instructions now.

    Xiang Shaolong has learnt his lesson and thought to himself that he cannot be so trusting of this person for now. After they agreed on how they could contact each other, he asked, Are all of you from Zhao?

    Pu Bu shook his head, We have people from everywhere, please dont worry! We truly respect your character and military abilities and have no other intentions.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, All right! Go back to the mercenary house first and wait for my commands.

    Pu Bu left happily.

    He had just stepped out when Wu Zhuo took over his seat.

    Xiang Shaolong was overjoyed and hurriedly discussed with Wu Zhuo the plans secretly.

    After he parted with Wu Zhuo, the sun was still up. He saw that its still early so he might as well follow the maps instructions and go to that Windy Bridge. The bridge is indeed as the name suggests, with cold wind blowing past it. Not a lot of people crossed the bridge and those who did were all in a hurry.

    There are forests at the 2 ends of the bridge, with very few houses around. Its very quiet and secluded, an ideal place to kill someone.

    Reasonably Lord Longyang and Xiao Weimou wont go an extra step to lay a trap to kill him. His other enemy Prince Shaoyuan wont be so dumb as to spoil his uncles grand plan, so who could be the one who tried to lure him here?

    Once he thought about this, he was very curious and since the enemy is not here yet, he hid under the bridge first. Using the steel hooks, he tied himself securely beneath the bridge so that even if someone were to check under the bridge, they wont notice his presence so easily.

    Xiang Shaolong waited patiently and when the time for the appointment arrived, light footsteps could be heard on the bridge, as if his enemy is not wearing any shoes.

    Xiang Shaolong thought that its really a close shave, if he really thought that the beauty had asked him out, he will definitely be in trouble now.

    Someone above called out, Juzi! Im afraid Xiang Shaolong wont be coming, we didnt even see any trace of him while on the way here.

    Xiang Shaolong who was beneath the bridge was startled, could it be that the leader of Zhao Mohism, Yan Ping is here?

    A rough voice replied, How could that lad have seen through our trap? Thats really strange!

    Xiang Shaolong could tell that its not Yan Pings voice and felt even more troubled, the group above would either be from Qi Mohism or Chu Mohism. He did not expect their news to be so accurate and guessed that the Juzi Token is with him. Trouble really comes one after another.

    The person earlier asked, Juzi! What should we do now?

    That Juzi laughed coldly, Does he think that we cant find him as long as he hides in Prince Xinlings residence? Others may be afraid of Prince Xinling but would I, Fu Du be afraid of him?

    His subordinate asked quietly, I heard that he will be attending the King of Weis feast the day after. Lord Longyang and Xiao Weimou will definitely not let him off so if we want to strike, theres only tonight and tomorrow night.

    Fu Du was silent for a moment before replying slowly, We still need to prepare, so lets strike tomorrow night! If possible, we might as well kill Prince Xinling as well so that when our Great Chu deals with the Weis in future, itll be easier.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly glad he came and overheard this big plot, and at the same time found out that the other party is from Chu Mohism. He cant help but sincerely thank Heavens.

    The other party must have a spy, so they would know the situation in Prince Xinlings residence and the defense strength. Even so they actually have the audacity to enter the residence to kill and plunder, so obviously they are quite strong. But since he is aware of the other partys plot now, this would turn out entirely differently.

  18. #38
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    Book 4 Chap 3 Debating Heroes

    When Xiang Shaolong arrived at Ji Yanrans little house by the lake, there were already 10 odd elaborate horse carriages outside the door, the attendance a lot larger than this afternoons.

    After he gave his name to the guard, he saw one of the maids he met this morning coming out to welcome him and led him past the building which he met Ji Yanran this afternoon. She was carrying a lantern as she led the way and went through a small path in the woods. His eyes suddenly brightened, in large building with a lot of colorful lanterns hanging on it appeared in front, and he seems to hear people talking in it.

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but ask the pretty maid, Which other guests are here tonight?

    The pretty maid replied nonchalantly, The guests tonight are all specially invited by Miss, besides Master Han Fei, Zou Yan and Xiao Weimou whom Mister Xiang has seen today, theres also Lord Longyang, Philosopher Xu Jie and General Bai Gui.

    Xiang Shaolong sucked in his breath, this Ji Yanran is really something. Bai Gui is the person that Lady Pingyuan is remarrying, so naturally hes someone great while Lord Longyang is a favorite of the King of Wei and yet they all came for the event. Obviously her position in Wei is extremely elevated as well. Although he doesnt know who that Xu Jie is, he most be someone famous as well.

    He was perplexed as well, Lord Longyang should not be interested in women, so if hes not here because of Ji Yanrans beauty, what else can he be here for? Could it be to humiliate him to appease his anger?

    When it comes to learning, he wont be able to catch up with these scholars even if hes chasing them on a horse, so to ask him to speak is akin to embarrassing him on the spot. Therefore, he cant help but feel uneasy.

    When he stepped into the hall, he saw the table laid out and all the others the maid talked about were already here, all sitting back on the soft rugs and sitting comfortably around the table.

    Another 2 pretty maids came forward and helped him remove his outer cloak and shoes. Luckily it is winter now and hes wearing a thick cotton outfit so unless one reaches out to touch him, they wont realize his equipment hidden in his clothes.

    Stoves were lit in the room, making it as warm as spring.

    Lord Longyang is still behaving languidly and even proactively introduced him to the others.

    That Bai Gui is the oldest, at least 50 years old but very robust with gleaming eyes, giving others an impression that he is very smart. And he behaved haughtily towards Xiang Shaolong, only giving him a cold acknowledgement before turning towards Philosopher Xu Jie who looks like a typical scholar and spoke quietly to each other privately.

    Xiang Shaolong was seated between Hai Fei and Zou Yan, the seat beside Han Fei is still empty, obviously its Ji Yanrans main seat, followed by Lord Longyang, Bai Gui, Xu Jie and Xiao Weimou.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that he need not sit opposite Xiao Weimou and face him so he felt a little more comfortable.

    Zou Yan behaved quite coldly towards Xiang Shaolong and only gave a brief greeting before talking to Xiao Weimou, who is from Qi like him, totally ignoring Xiang Shaolong.

    Instead it was Han Fei who took a liking to Xiang Shaolong because of his help this afternoon and although he is not a very good talker, it still gave Xiang Shaolong a little warmth in this icy atmosphere.

    Ji Yanran only appeared now, wearing a white brocade robe and absolutely glowing, immediately capturing the attention of everyone. Even that Lord Longyang was no exception, he looked dumbfounded and Xiao Weimou was almost drooling while Han Fei blushed. Although their reactions were all different, they were all attracted by her.

    Ji Yanran looked at everyone with a smile, her clear and languid eyes flitted around and even Xiang Shaolong felt as if his soul had been enchanted. Her body emitted a fragrance after her bath, giving rise to other thoughts.

    She had just sat down when she said with a smile, Mister Xiang will have to be punished with a drink first, how can you leave before the end of the meeting this afternoon?

    Everyone immediately followed her wishes and agreed.

    Naturally at this point in time therell be pretty maids pouring wine and serving delicious food.

    After Xiang Shaolong gladly exchanged a toast with her, Ji Yanrans enchanting eyes flitted around the dining table and chatted cleverly, making everyone at the feast feel at home. However, she seems to be more interested in Han Fei, Zou Yan and Philosopher Xu Jie, talking and smiling to them more, and not paying much attention to the rivals Xiang Shaolong and Xiao Weimou.

    The truth is Xiang Shaolong has absolutely no clue about their conversation regarding poetries and song, and theres no way he can interrupt to show off even if he wanted to.

    After theyve eaten and drank, and with the urging of everyone, Ji Yanran ordered her flute to be brought out and played a tune for all.

    Xiang Shaolong doesnt know the tune she played but he does know that her skills with the flute is flawless and at the peak and cant help but be drawn into the music like the rest of them, totally intoxicated by the melody.

    After Ji Yanran finished her tune and everyone sincerely complimented her, she smiled and asked Xiao Weimou, Mister Xiao please forgive Yanran for being rude, but I would like to boldly ask you a question.

    Maybe Xiao Weimou has been affected by the atmosphere, or maybe hes trying to get into Ji Yanrans good books and fain her affection so his speech is a lot more refined and said gently, As long as its Miss who asks it, I will be most glad to answer any question of yours.

    Ji Yanran smiled enchantingly and said, The difference between humans and beasts is whether they have a sense of shame, what does Mister think?

    Everyone knows that the show is about to begin and stopped eating and drinking, quietly listening to their conversation.

    Before Xiang Shaolong came he thought that Ji Yanran had changed her mind about him but now that he saw she is treating him so coldly, he was about to find an excuse to slip back and steal the Secret Manual so that Lady Ya and the 8 maids can make a copy. Therefore he was not really concentrating on their conversation.

    Obviously Xiao Weimou came well prepared and said with a smile, Im afraid Miss has misunderstood my meaning. I do not mean theres no difference between man and beasts at all, its just that some innate nature, like the desire to live and procreate, is the same! Thats why there are many things worth learning from animals, for example animals will not lie, theyre more honest than us. Man should be true to their own nature before they can really enjoy life. He continued with a cold snort towards Xiang Shaolong, What insight does Brother Xiang has about my theory?

    Xiang Shaolong was thinking about Chu Mohisms Fu Du at that time so when he heard the words he was startled and said, What? Oh! I dont have any views on that.

    Everyone, including Ji Yanran, were immediately stunned and revealed looks of contempt.

    Xiang Shaolong was laughing bitterly to himself that hes not a debater so even if he has heard what he said, he wont be able to argue well. Luckily he has decided not to woo Ji Yanran, so its no big deal if he loses favor with her or not.

    Philosopher Xu Jie looked at Xiang Shaolong scornfully before saying, Theres a big problem with Mister Xiaos words. The difference between man and beasts lies exactly in their innate nature. Man are kind by nature thats why they show kindness to others; beasts, in order to fill their stomachs, have no such compassion and will willfully kill and eat other animals, sometimes even their own kinds are not let off. If man were to be so bad as to learn from beasts, wont the world be thrown into chaos?

    Xiao Weimou is an unrefined man and now that this scholar in Confucianism is butting into his theory, he felt a loss of face and asked coldly, Will man not kill other animals? What is Philosopher Xu eating now then?

    Xu Jie laughed, This is exactly the difference between those bloodthirsty beasts and us. We only eat domesticated animals, will beasts know how to do this?

    Xiao Weimou is obviously not his match and for a moment was dumbfounded.

    Xu Jie won in his first attack and was filled with pride in front of Ji Yanran, so he turned his attack towards Han Fei, I have read Master Hans great works as well and the theories are interesting. A pity that you committed the same mistake as your Teacher Xun Kuang*, which is to think that men are evil by nature, thats why they do not know the great meaning of changing the people with benevolent policies. They use punishments to rule the country and bully the people. With Masters abilities, to think that you were actually misled into following the wrong path, its really a pity.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xun_Zi

    Hai Fei was stunned for a moment as he did not expect Xu Jie to be so rude as to criticize him so disrespectfully. He is furious and could think of the retorts to make but the more angry he is, the worse is his stutter and he was unable to speak at all.

    Lord Longyang, Bai Gui and Zou Yan all have an icy smile on their faces, happily watching him being humiliated.

    Ji Yanran raised her delicate brows and although she felt bad for Han Fei, she was impatient about his inability to speak as well.

    Xiang Shaolong, as an outsider, suddenly understood the meaning behind Ji Yanrans hosting of this dinner tonight; which is to find a good way to govern a country. Thats why she looked at Han Fei in a different light and also invited the important people in Wei so that they can accept new theories and ideals.

    Xu Jie saw that Han Fei was unable to defend himself at all and became even more proud and insolent, saying As for you who denied the methods of the previous Kings, it shows that you are forgetting your roots. Its just like building a house, we must fist have a good foundation. Without a foundation, the house will not be able to withstand the weather, and this foundation is the models left behind by our learned ancestors.

    These words are targeting at Han Feis theory that there is no such thing as unchanging policies in governing a country. Han Fei feels that protecting the old ways is not proactive at all, so one should not follow old ways blindly but act appropriately according to different situations at different times. Such thinking is of course more advanced than those Confucians who advocates protecting the old ways, but a pity Han Fai is not eloquent enough to say it out.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that Han Fei was so furious his vein was almost bursting. He couldnt bear the sight and blurted out, Nonsense!

    Hed just spoken out when he realized hes in trouble. Indeed everyones attention turned towards him, and Xu Jie looked at him impertinently and said with a cold laugh, It turns out that besides leading soldiers to war, Commander Xiang has some insight about governing a country as well. I am willing to listen to your lofty ideals.

    Xiang Shaolong can feel Ji Yanrans pretty eyes staring at him, and thought to himself how can he possibly lose face in front of this beauty, so he forged ahead, Time moves forward, for example in the past wars were fought mainly with war carriages but now its fought with a mixture of steeds, foot soldiers and carriages. So obviously blindly relying on old ways will not work out.

    Ji Yanran sighed disappointedly, Mister Xiang seems to be a little unclear about Philosopher Xus point. What he is referring to is principles, not methods. Its just like a war is a still war, just different ways of fighting it.

    Lord Longyang smiled coquettishly, Brother Xiang, your swordplay may be excellent but it seems that you have not studied a lot. Now were debating with Master Han the difference between governing by virtue and by legalism!

    Xu Jie said loudly, Governing by virtue, you will be like the North Star, staying in its place while other stars move around you. He paused and recited again, People who are governed legalistically and controlled by punishment will avoid crime but have no sense of shame. People who are governed through virtue and controlled through propriety will have a sense of shame and correct themselves.

    These are famous Confucianism sayings, meaning that the way to govern a country is to use virtue as a foundation so that the people can be educated and the country peaceful. It has a totally different basis from legalism.

    Xiang Shaolong was not interested and felt that its better he find an opportunity to slip away soon. All this talk about governing with virtues, hes not even clear about the theories behind it. Its better that he leave early to avoid embarrassment to himself so he stood up and offered his farewells.

    Everyone was shocked. They did not expect that the debate has not even properly started and this person is already running away.

    Ji Yanran looked at him unhappily, If Mister Xiang is going to slip away after just saying a few words like you did this afternoon, Yanran will be very unhappy.

    Lord Longyang has not made enough fun of him yet, so how can he bear to let him leave. He also spoke up to make him stay.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that he cant be bothered if Ji Yanran is happy or not because to her, hes just an unimportant guest whose presence will not be missed. He was about to leave when he realized that Han Fei was tugging at his sleeve seriously so his heart softened and he sat down.

    Ji Yanran exclaimed happily, Now that is how a man should be. Mister Xiang seems to be deliberately holding back your opinions, Yanran really wants to hear your theories!

    Xiang Shaolong laughed bitterly to himself, thinking that Miss Ji really thought too highly of him. Compared to the rest, hes just a bumpkin, where can he find theories to expound.

    Xu Jie has been on the upper hand the whole night and secretly thought that he may be able to gain the liking of the beauty, so he will not let go of the chance to show off. He forced an attack and said, In Mister Xiangs opinion, which is better, governing by virtues or legalism?

    Xiang Shaolong saw the look of contempt in his eyes and was furious. He decided to forge ahead and said, Its not a question of better or worse, but a question of whether it works or not. Governing by virtue is purely idealism, if everyone in the world is a saint and there are no evil men, then everyone will obey the law without the use of any methods. But the truth is, the situation is obviously not like that, and it will never become a fact, thats why we need a set of laws and guidelines that everyone is aware of to restrict everyone and make them obey. Only after this is achieved can we talk about virtues and respect. Thats all I have to say.

    Everyone was shocked. To someone from the 21st century, this is a logic that everyone understands, but for people in that era, this is even more in-depth and refreshing than Han Feis theory of legalism.

    Ji Yanrans pretty eyes lighted up and she scrutinized Xiang Shaolong afresh, chewing on his words.

    Han Fei looked deep in thought, unconsciously nodding his head.

    Zou Yan was silent, as if hes thinking of some questions.

    Naturally Xu Jie would not admit defeat so easily but he no longer belittles his opponent and he said with a straight face, If a country is governed only by law, wont the person in power be able to suppress and bully the weaker ones with punishment?

    Bai Gui commented, If the government loves propriety, the people will not dare to be disrespectful; if the government loves righteousness, the people will not dare not to follow them; if the government loves trust, the people will respond with their emotions. This is the way a ruler should govern. If one were to prefer punishment, what would the people become? Mister Xiang please enlighten us.

    Xiang Shaolong chortled and after taking a long look at Ji Yanran, turned towards Bai Gui and Xu Jie and said, Thats just because legalism is not thorough enough, to put the power solely in the hands of the ruler! If everyone is equal in front of the law, the son of heaven heh. The ruler who commits a mistake will face the same punishment as commoners. For example if anyone who kills someone without a reason will be punished, who would dare to kill randomly? I did not say we should discard propriety and righteousness, these should be the basic principle behind any law. The true way to govern a country is to combine governing by virtue and legalism. Absolute power will only result in absolute disintegration.

    When he talked about the ruler will face the same punishment as commoners, Ji Yanran went Ah while Han Feis eyes immediately brightened. The others, including Xiao Weimou, all revealed looks of shock and alarm. Especially the last few words, is like a morning bell sounding, resonating deeply in everyones heart.

    For the people living in this era where the rulers are supreme, this is indeed a mind shattering theory.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that thats all the argument he can muster out, if he says some more theres bound to be mistakes so he stood up and said, I have already revealed all my worthless thoughts. Hei! I still have something important to do, farewell!

    Ji Yanran furrowed her brows and said angrily, Mister has just told us the most interesting part and you are leaving? Do you dislike Ji Yanran?

    Zou Yan forcefully dragged him back to his seat and laughed, Commander Xiang has piqued my interest in talking! I would like to ask how such legalism which includes the ruler as well should work?

    Lord Longyang said, Brother Xiangs theory on governing a country is even more ideal than the governing by virtues which we talked about!

    Xiao Weimou laughed icily, And more impractical as well!

    Xiang Shaolong smiled bitterly, Yes! It will not work now but if we work towards this direction, one day there will be a situation where power is divided into 3, the legal system, law enforcers and government. The ruler will be chosen by the people and only then will there be hei French ai! No, real live, equality and freedom.

    He almost wanted to blurt out about the French Revolution but luckily he caught himself in time and swallowed his words.

    These words were even more earth shattering and everyone could not digest the information at once. For people who have been living such a long time under the absolute rule of the kings, this is such an unacceptable thought yet at the same time extremely exciting and refreshing.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that everyone was furrowing their brows and thought what a better time to leave than this. He stood up and immediately walked far away from the table before bowing and saying, I was speaking nonsense, please dont take it to heart. He turned around and left, ignoring Ji Yanrans calls.

  19. #39
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    Book 4 Chap 4 Stealing the sky and exchanging the sun

    When Xiang Shaolong returned to Prince Xinlings residence, Ji Yanrans calls seems to be still ringing in his ears.

    When every guest of hers is trying all means hoping to stay, he is the complete opposite, running away as if afraid that she will entwine him.

    But this woman is indeed unique, when he first heard of her talent and beauty, he thought that she would be the melancholy type like Lin Daiyu*, or those haughty beauties who keeps an arms length away from everyone else. Only after hes seen her did he realize shes filled with a passion for life, always seeking facts, thirsting for a learned person to find out a good way to govern a country, or maybe to seek the perfect husband in her heart.

    (*Lin Daiyu Character from dream of red chambers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lin_Daiyu)

    But that person will certainly not be Xiang Shaolong.

    For him now, he has no time and neither is it appropriate for him to start any relationship with any woman. He has to conserve all his energy to protect and save Lady Ya, Zhao Qian, the maids and the others, that is his responsibility. If he becomes distracted because of another beauty and made a mistake, hell certainly regret it for the rest of his life.

    He may be a flirt by nature but he has a strong sense of responsibility as well. Besides, hes deeply in love with them.

    Making use of the light that was streaming out from the building, he made a big round and using his equipment, climbed up the dangerously sloping back mountain which was behind Prince Xinlings residence. He then easily slipped into the residence and from the description he got, came to the top of a tree next to a building.

    This courtyard belongs to Prince Xinlings inner quarters so security is very tight. Occasionally fierce looking guard dogs can be seen patrolling with groups of men. Luckily he has sprinkled on him the powder that Lady Ya brought with her or else he would not be able to escape from these animals sensitive noses.

    Now its almost 11pm at night, lights can still be seen in the building and he wondered who is not yet asleep.

    According to Lady Ya this should be where Prince Xinlings family reside in so if theres someone down there, itll be difficult for him to sneak into the secret tunnel quietly.

    After waiting impatiently for more than half an hour, he could not take it anymore and decided to take the risk, because he does not have the time to continue waiting any longer.

    He lifted up the treasure in his hand and activated the switch, the hook flew out 3 feet across and landed lightly on the roof, hooking it tightly.

    He then slid over like a flying bird and landed quietly on the roof. He found a sure footing and flipped over the roof down to the balcony on the 2nd level, which was covered by bamboo, moved to the window and looked into the room.

    It was an elaborately decorated room. Besides the curtains hanging lowly on the low bed, there was a dressing table and copper mirror and things usually found in a ladies room. The lamp was brightly lit and from the bed the moans and pants of a man and woman coupling could be heard.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that since this is the entrance to the secret tunnel, the person staying here must be someone Prince Xinling trusts, maybe his beloved wife or concubines. If Prince Xinling wants accompaniment during the night, he can always summon the woman here and theres no need for him to travel here. Could it be that his wife or concubine is having an affair?

    But there is no need to think further. Just as he was about to flip one level down, he heard voices from down below. A group of patrol guards were downstairs and they actually stopped and were quietly talking.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting and after waiting for a while, those people downstairs still have no intention of leaving. He gritted his teeth, drew out a flying needle and poked it through the gap in the window, lightly flipping up the latch on the window. He pushed open the window and flipped into the room.

    A gust of wind followed him into the room.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly alarmed and before he had a chance to close the window, a mans voice was heard from inside the curtained bed, Zhichun you must have forgotten to close the window properly, look! That window is opened!

    The voice sounds familiar, its actually Prince Shaoyuan.

    The woman called Zhichun replied in surprise, Thats impossible, let me go and close it, the weather is really cold!

    Xiang Shaolong was startled. This room may be big but theres no place to hide. The low bed is not higher than a foot and he cant squeeze under it even if he wanted to. In his anxiety he had an idea, he rolled towards the candle, reached out his hand and extinguished the flame by pressing on the wick.

    That Zhichun had just sat up and exclaimed with an Ah!, saying, The wind has extinguished the candle!

    Xiang Shaolong dared not hesitate and rushed towards the door and tested it with a push. It opened immediately and he was overjoyed. Using the sounds of Zhichun moving around as a cover, he dashed out and closed the door.

    Its an empty hall outside with a flight of stairs down, and there are 2 other rooms.

    The sound of the door opening was heard behind him and Xiang Shaolong was startled. He rushed forward and managed to hide behind a screen in time.

    At this time a totally naked beauty came out from the room. She looks younger than 20 and looked delicate with fair skin and a voluptuous body, extremely captivating. When she walked her bosom bounced which made her even more alluring.

    Zhichun walked towards the screen coyly.

    Xiang Shaolong was alarmed and only now did he realize that at his feet there were chamber pots and such, used for relieving oneself and he hurriedly dashed out from the other side of the screen and lied flat on the ground so that the candle will not reflect his shadow. Right at this time Zhichun stepped behind the screen but he exited just as she entered so she did not manage to see him.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought what a close shave and crawled towards the stairs. When he heard twinkling sounds behind the screen, he went down.

    Just as he reached the corner of the stairs, voices were heard from below, there were at least 4 men talking.

    Xiang Shaolong stood at the corner stunned and lamented his luck. If he cant manage to steal the Secret Manual tonight, itll be even worse.

    He turned around the corner and stuck his head out to look down towards the hall and saw 4 warriors sitting around a table chatting. If he were to walk down, no matter how careful he is, theres no way he can avoid them. He was so nervous his heart almost stopped.

    In his anxiety, he heard Zhichuns crisp voice call out, Is there anyone still around?

    Someone replied and walked towards the stairs.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly groaned. Hes really stuck in the middle now with no way to advance or retreat, so he hardened his heart and pulled out a flying needle, his concentration wholly on the warrior who is walking towards the stairs and at the same time squeezed himself into the corner of the wall so that the other party wont be able to see him from afar.

    The person replied as he walked, What instructions does Lady has?

    Xiang Shaolong realized that Zhichun is actually one of the 2 concubines he brought with him from Zhao.

    That warrior came to the stairs and came face to face with Xiang Shaolong and he cried out, Ah! It turned out to be the other expert family warrior who is of the same status as Pu Bu, Liu Chao.

    Xiang Shaolong was about to throw out his flying needle but hurriedly stopped when he saw it was him.

    Zhichuns voice called out, Liu Chao! Whats the matter.

    Liu Chao collected his thoughts and after exchanging a look with Xiang Shaolong, replied, Nothing! I just happen to see a rat scurry past and was surprised.

    Women are most afraid of small animals like these and Zhichun is no exception so she called out, Prince is hungry and Xiaoying and the rest are already asleep. Can I trouble you to go to the kitchen and get them to prepare some food. After saying this she ran back into the room as if shes running for her life.

    Liu Chao came up and whispered, We were just talking about Commander. Why is Commander here, is there anyway we can help.

    Xiang Shaolong made up his mind and told him about stealing the Secret Manual.

    Liu Chao saw that Xiang Shaolong puts so much trust in him and replied happily, Commander please wait for a moment!

    He went back and after informing the other 3 warriors, he asked Xiang Shaolong to come out.

    Xiang Shaolong instructed one of them to go to the kitchen and order some food, then he searched the hall carefully first, followed by the rooms. He found the secret entrance to the tunnel under a rug.

    Liu Chao said, Commander, put your mind at ease and go down! Well keep a look out for you!

    Xiang Shaolong had an idea, Its best that you go down with me, if theres a need you can put it back in its original position.

    Liu Chao gladly agreed and together they grabbed the copper rings and lifted up the stone slab and after walking down 10 odd flights of stone steps, came to the secret tunnel. One side of the tunnel leads towards Prince Xinlings inner hall while the other end leads to the back of the mountain. Obviously its a secret tunnel that can give safe passage to escape from Prince Xinlings residence because no one will expect that there will be an escape route at that dangerous mountain.

    Liu Chao took a lantern and after illuminating the tunnel, the two of them walked towards the direction of Prince Xinlings bedroom.

    When they came to another set of stone stairs which led up, Xiang Shaolong stopped and carefully scrutinized and knocked on the walls of the tunnel and realized that theres something different about one of the walls.

    The two of them tried pushing but the wall did not move at all.

    Xiang Shaolong had an idea, and started inspecting each brick and realized that one of them is slightly protruding. He tried pulling it with his strength and the brick came out immediately, revealing the keyhole inside.

    The 2 of them were overjoyed and Xiang Shaolong took out his tools for picking locks and following Lady Yas instructions, opened the lock in no time at all.

    When they pushed open the door and under the illumination from the lantern, the both of them were stunned. It turned out to be a treasure trove.

    In the large underground stone room there were more than 10 chests of jewelry and money. They opened 2 of the chests and under the reflection of the lamp, the jade pieces, gold and silver all glittered and blinded.

    Xiang Shaolong said quietly, Dont let the other 3 know about this until we have a plan to leave Daliang, then well take a few pieces for our traveling expenses. Remember you must not have thoughts of greed. Men have died for wealth and we could even lose our lives.

    Liu Chao is indeed a heroic man and after this reminder, he replied sincerely, Well spoken, Commander! I understand. At the same time he felt growing respect for Xiang Shaolong as a person who is not easily moved by money.

    Xiang Shaolong searched quickly and after some time he managed to find an even more secluded secret compartment at the corner of the wall and took out a rectangular metal box. He opened it, and indeed it is the Lu Gongs Secret Manual which was tightly wrapped in cloth that will prevent it from rot or moisture.

    He unrolled the scroll for a look and was relieved, because the silk on the drawings were so old its turned yellow and its more than 30 meters long. Its so thick and heavy that even if hes Prince Xinling, he wont be bothered to check the scroll from start to end every time. Therefore his plan is sure to work.

    He took a closer look and saw that was full of drawings of various tools for attack and defense, with detailed instructions on materials used, the quantity needed and the process of making it. Its indeed breathtaking.

    Theres not much time left so the 2 of them left hurriedly.

    When Xiang Shaolong woke up, Lady Ya and the 8 maids were still hard at work. The sun is not yet up.

    Lady Ya has already bounded the fake scroll with a section of the real scroll, and used some minerals and colorings to stair the sides of the scroll yellow. It looked so authentic, no wonder shes an expert in duplication.

    Xiang Shaolong only had to work under the cover of night and take the Secret Manual which only has the authentic front section, and easily slip it back into the secret room. This should be a very difficult task but because of Liu Chaos help, it became an easy job.

    When he returned to Lady Yas place, the sky is slowly brightening. Lady Ya and the rest were exhausted and were resting on the bed.

    Xiang Shaolong hugged her and slept for a while until Prince Xinling sent someone to look for him. He hurriedly washed up and left.

    Prince Xinling seems like he had not slept the whole night. Maybe hes trying to pretend to be on close terms because he received him in the side hall of the inner chambers. After they were seated he laughed and said, Because of your matter, I did not sleep the whole of last night and I finally found an appropriate arrangement.

    Right at this time a pretty maid came in to serve tea and Prince Xinling ordered, I have things to discuss with Commander, no one is allowed to step in here!

    The pretty maid acknowledged the order and left.

    Prince Xinling asked in passing, Did you manage to stir the interest of Yanran last night, I heard Lord Longyang and Xiao Weimou went to the feast as well.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed, Dont talk about it! Theres no way I can butt in a word at such a gathering!

    Prince Xinling disagreed, Thats not true, your ideas is very creative, even Tan Bang admires you!

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, whats the use of admiring me when youre still sacrificing me as a stepping-stone towards your success.

    Prince Xinling saw that he was quiet and asked, Has Shaolong taken breakfast?

    Xiang Shaolong rubbed his stomach and shook his head.

    Prince Xinling cried out, Attendants! Then he slapped his own forehead and sighed, Im really muddleheaded, I just chased everyone away. You sit here for a while, Ill go and instruct someone to bring breakfast. He stood up and left.

    Xiang Shaolong was overjoyed and jumped up, firstly aiming towards that inner room, the one that looks like an office that was filled with scrolls and such. At the side there is a side door and outside there is a huge open-aired well and behind the well there is a place, which looks like a pool for bathing.

    Theres not much time so he pushed open the side door and indeed it is Prince Xinlings bedroom. He took a hurried look so naturally he cannot find the entrance to the underground tunnel.

    He walked forward hurriedly and lifted up the rug on the bed for a look. The entrance to the secret tunnel appeared before him. The strange thing is that there is a copper pipe poking out from the ground towards the bed, and the other end is a dragons head made of copper, looking like as exquisite design on the head of the bed.

    Xiang Shaolong immediately felt cold sweat and hurriedly returned to the hall. Prince Xinling came back right at this time and was smiling, Breakfast will be served shortly, come! Let me tell you my plan!

    But what Xiang Shaolong was thinking about was that copper pipe, its obviously a listening device for the tunnel and the secret chamber. Noises from in there will travel through the pipe to Prince Xinlings bed and the design was intricate. Luckily he did not sleep last night, thats why he did not hear him moving around.

    Prince Xinling said, I will order someone to fake a document and will send it to his Majesty today to let Zhao Ya and the rest of the entourage return to Zhao, leaving only you and Zhao Qian. Zhao Ya is my invited guest, so Lord Longyang has no right to object.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, you can say all you want now, with your power, letting them go is an easy task. At the same time he knows that the fact is he will not let a single person leave, but hes just putting on a show. He pretended to be ecstatic, Thats really great, but can we let them leave earlier?

    Prince Xinling first revealed a look of difficulty before saying, If I cant even do such a small thing, Shaolong will surely belittle me. All right! I will arrange for Lady Ya and the rest to leave the city this afternoon and meet up with your troops before departing immediately. Shaolong need not worry.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly laughing to himself as he asked, How do we solve Zhao Qians problem then?

    Prince Xinling replied, I will send someone to impersonate as her so that you can send her to the palace, then Ill find a secret place to hide her. I, Prince Xinling, vow to Heaven that regardless if the plan fails or succeeds, I will send her safely back to Zhao unharmed.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought him formidable, as this would mean he has a hostage in his hands and need not fear Xiang Shaolong not following his instructions. Even if he fails and is captured, he would not dare to reveal the mastermind. He has indeed thought of everything.

    Breakfast arrived.

    As Prince Xinling watched him eat, he asked with a smile, Is Shaolong pleased with these arrangements?

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to be extremely grateful, Very pleased, I will certainly not let you down!

    Prince Xinling looked as if hes already succeeded and laughed heartily. He saw that Xiang Shaolong has no objections to him holding Zhao Qian and thought that he trusts him implicitly, so his suspicions towards Xiang Shaolong totally disseminated.

    Just as the both of them are thinking their own thoughts, a servant came to report that Ji Yanran has come to look for Xiang Shaolong.

    The 2 of them were equally stunned. That Ji Yanran would come personally to a mans place to look for him, this is indeed the strangest thing that can happen in the world.

    A strong look of jealousy radiated from Prince Xinlings eyes and he tried to cover it up with a dry cough and said, Shaolong you better go and see her! For all you know shes taken a liking to you!

    However Xiang Shaolong was furrowing his brows instead. He has a lot of things to be done today and they are all important matters regarding life and death. No matter how attractive Ji Yanran is, he cannot waste time on her.

    As he was thinking, he followed the servant to the hall in the outer chambers.

    Ji Yanran was wearing a white fur cape, standing quietly and delicately in front of a large window looking at the beautiful scenery of the woods outside. She did not even have a maid with her.

    There was no one else in the hall but all the back doors and side doors were filled with guards and maids who were squeezing there to steal a look at her. Obviously her attraction is akin to a superstar in the entertainment industry in the 21st century. Luckily theres no such thing as autographs in this era, or else her pretty hands will have to be kept busy.

    Xiang Shaolong came up behind her and said quietly, Miss Ji!

    Ji Yanran turned around prettily and smiled sweetly at him, Can you spare some time?

    Looking at her smiling face, Xiang Shaolong does not have the heart to reject her, so he nodded, If its just a while, theres no problem.

    When Ji Yanran heard that its only a while, she stared at him with sadness and anger before saying quietly, Then follow me! And walked towards the main door.

    Xiang Shaolong was feeling perplexed, where is this beauty going to take him?

    The horse carriage left Prince Xinlings residence by the main door and rode towards the east. Xiang Shaolong stole a look at her pretty side view, devoid of all cosmetics, radiating with the glow of youth. Her dainty body was fragrant, extremely captivating.

    Ji Yanran suddenly said, Absolute power will only result in absolute disintegration. This is the first time Yanran has heard such intelligent words that goes straight to the point. Mister is really brave. After you left last night, everyone, including Yanran, lost the mood to talk. Yanran has not slept the whole night, and kept on thinking about every word that Mister has said, and thinking of how confident you look when you said these words.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly lamented that he didnt mean for things to turn out like this. There is no time to talk to her about love and relationships.

    Ji Yanrans face turned cold and she asked, Why did Mister Xiang come with Prince Xinling to see Yanran?

    Xiang Shaolong very much wanted to say this is Prince Xinlings arrangement and hes got nothing to do with it. But how can he bear to hurt this great beauty so he sighed, Does Miss Ji ask this question to all your guests who come due to your fame?

    Ji Yanran sighed quietly and said gently, Mister Xiang is the first person that Yanran wants to ask this question to. Tell me truthfully, do I make you irritated, thats why youre always in such a hurry to leave and now youre thinking of how to leave this carriage?

    She rolled her eyes at him and continued, Ive never seen someone as unfathomable as you, keeping all your words inside you and only revealing some knowledge only when forced to the wall. How Yanran wish we can talk into the night, letting our words flow freely!

    Xiang Shaolong was relieved to see that she has not fallen in love with him, but just curious and would like to find out more about his ideas. Of course, if he were to launch an attack now and recite a few theories from the 21st century to make her happy, he may very well be able to get her heart. He can only lament that he has the intention but not the ability to carry this out, for he has to quickly make contact with Wu Zhuo and Pu Bu to arrange the urgent task of escaping from Daliang.

    The carriage stopped.

    Xiang Shaolong looked out the window in surprise. They have come to an empty space in the woods and there was no one around at all.

    Ji Yanran extended her fair hands and lightly pushed his shoulder, a look of excitement in her eyes as she said, If you dont find Yanran too irritating, then please get off the carriage!

    Xiang Shaolong was all the more perplexed, what has finding her an irritant got to do with leaving the carriage?

    Due to her urging, he went down the carriage in a daze.

    Ji Yanran told the burly man who drives the carriage, Go somewhere far away, you can only come back an hour later.

    After the man obeyed his orders, Ji Yanran removed her white fur coat, revealing the warriors outfit underneath. For a moment Xiang Shaolongs eyes shone, looking dumbfounded at the outline of her body and her imposing air.

    Ji Yanran drew the sword at her waist and said with a coy smile, Xiang Shaolong! I am here on his Majestys order to kill you, get ready!

    Xiang Shaolong was shocked, Miss must be joking!

    Ji Yanrans face was icy, her eyes sharp and she humphed daintily, Who is joking with you? Look out!

    Xiang Shaolong saw a flash of sword in front of him and dared not hesitate so he pulled his sword out as well. With a dang! he blocked this beautys forceful attack. He can feel that his opponents attack is strong and she does not lose out to men in arm strength at all but what shocked him further is that his opponents sword seems to have stuck to his which made it difficult for him to execute his sword moves.

    Ji Yanran seems to have transformed into a female leopard, or like a ghost has possessed her as she quickly retreated, her waist seems to be made of spring as she moved about, making full use of the strength in her waist and wrist. Her sword attacks were like the River Jiang, attacking every gap available.

    Xiang Shaolong was furious and executed the Mozi swordplay, defending himself. After blocking more than 10 attacks, he finally found a chance to counterattack and his sword sliced towards the tip of his opponents sword.

    Naturally Ji Yanrans arm strength is not as good as Xiang Shaolong, and she was only relying on her excellent swordplay so that Xiang Shaolong cannot execute his moves even if he has the strength to. Now that her opponent has struck her head on, she hurriedly retreated.

    Ji Yanran smiled coyly, Finally willing to reveal your real capabilities?

    Xiang Shaolong has wasted his strength trying to fend off her initial flurry of attacks and although he can say he lost because he was caught unawares, but the main reason is that his opponents swordplay is indeed excellent, even better than Lian Jin. At this point in time he dared not give way to her as he blocked his chest with his sword, the angle, strength used and timing made it difficult for her to attack.

    Ji Yanrans eyes shone and in an instant she moved her body diagonally and her long sword pierced up from the bottom, coming in contact with Flying Rainbow.

    Xiang Shaolong almost lost his grasp on his precious sword and in his shock he moved diagonally away.

    Ji Yanran easily moved back into the offensive and launched another flurry of lightning fast attacks so that her opponent does not even have time to catch a breath.

    Only now does Xiang Shaolong truly experience why she can be No. 2 in swordplay in Wei. She is indeed better than him but this is only in terms of swordplay. His advantage is that every part of his body is a formidable weapon so if he wants to stay alive this time, he will have no choice but to use unorthodox moves. As he blocked off the attacks using Mozi swordplays defensive ability, he was secretly scrutinizing his surroundings as well, looking to see if theres any way he can change defeat into victory.

    The more Ji Yanran fought the stronger she became, every move full of energy, frightening yet so alluring and a delight to see.

    At this time Xiang Shaolong kept retreating, he felt his back knock against a large tree.

    Ji Yanran laughed as her long sword struck towards him.

    Xiang Shaolong moved his sword up diagonally to block it.

    Dang! and Xiang Shaolongs Flying Rainbow flew out of his hand.

    Ji Yanran was momentarily stunned because it was obvious Xiang Shaolong loosened his grip deliberately and allowed her to strike the sword aside. Because she was using all her strength, her body fell forward from the momentum.

    Bang! Ji Yanrans shoulder was struck by Xiang Shaolongs flying kick and she fell forward due to the intense pain, collapsing onto the soft grass.

    Ji Yanran was about to turn over and use the strength in her waist to rebound when Xiang Shaolong leapt over and pressed down on her alluring body, his 2 hands grabbing her wrists like metal manacles and she was immediately immobilized.

    Xiang Shaolong grinned as he lowered his head, looking into her eyes with only a 3 inch distance between them, You do not concede?

    Ji Yanrans body totally relaxed and she loosened her grip on her sword, her pretty face blushing and pouted prettily as she replied gently, Why would Yanran not concede?

    Xiang Shaolongs face turned serious, Then how are you going to account to your King?

    Their limbs intertwined, the intoxicating feeling coming so strong towards them but instead they have their opposing situation. Xiang Shaolong found it really difficult to describe such feelings.

    Ji Yanran totally gave up trying to fight back as she laid on the ground limply. She blinked her huge and pretty eyes, What account, Yanran does not understand what Mister Xiang is talking about?

    Xiang Shaolong saw the look of sincere joy in her face and slowly understood. He stood up angrily, So you were lying to me.

    Ji Yanran pouted, Arent you going to help me up?

    Xiang Shaolong was so furious he almost wanted to ignore her. But finally he could not find the heart to be so cruel towards this beauty so he extended his hand and pulled her up.

    Ji Yanran bowed and said, Please dont blame Yanran? If I dont do this, how can I test your wondrous heh, wondrous leg skill. That area is still in pain!

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head as he smiled bitterly and he walked over to pick up his flying rainbow and after returning it to its sheath, turned and walked away.

    On the way back in the horse carriage, Ji Yanran looked totally ecstatic and self satisfied and kept on stealing peeks at the simmering Xiang Shaolong and said gently, Xiang Shaolong you look so good when youre angry!

    Xiang Shaolong was fuming and he stared at her angrily, I did not expect that talented Learned lady Ji would lie as well, and be so good at it too.

    Ji Yanran rolled her pretty eyes at him and said, Arent you wondering why I would want to test your swordplay?

    Xiang Shaolong leaned back on the chair, crossed his leg and made a show of nonchalance as he said with a chortle, Youre trying to see if Im suited enough to be your future husband, right?

    Ji Yanran covered her mouth in surprise, Youre only half right, because things have not reached that stage yet. Besides you only barely passed! She guffawed and continued with a laugh, Until today, youre the first who passed the first round. If youre really serious in wooing me, I can try my best to give you chances.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this woman is indeed funny and he furrowed his brow, Love is a strange and wondrous feeling between a man and a woman and comes naturally, its not a series of tests like what youre doing.

    Ji Yanrans eyes shone with an indescribable brightness as she said with a smile, Very well said, better than anyone else, thats why Yanran knows that you have a reason for pretending not to like me. However the way you looked at me revealed the secret in your heart. Especially when you were pressing down on me on the grass earlier, I am even more certain of your feelings towards me.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly felt guilty and was dumbfounded. He can only stare at her dumbly.

    Ji Yanran asked happily, So do you want to go back to Prince Xinlings residence, or to Yanrans little house by the lake?

    Xiang Shaolong seems to be startled awake and was secretly cursing himself for being bewitched by her and cried out, Turn left quickly!

    Ji Yanran gave the orders and before they reached the main door of Prince Xinlings residence, they turned into another street.

    Xiang Shaolong said, Please stop at the junction in front, I am getting down.

    After Ji Yanran gave the orders, she asked sadly, Mister Xiang, do you really not feel any longing for Yanran at all?

    Xiang Shaolong felt a wave of sadness and after a sigh, he went close to her ears and whispered, Miss is the most alluring beauty I have ever met in my life. However the timing is too inappropriate and very soon Miss will understand my difficulties. Forget me! All right? He hardened his heart and left the carrige.

    He was standing on the street when Ji Yanran lifted the curtain and called out, Mister Xiang!

    Xiang Shaolong secretly sighed and moved towards the window.

    Ji Yanran looked at him deeply, intelligence reflected in her pretty eyes and she said serenely and gently, Yanran understands now. If theres any problem, remember that Yanran will help you at all costs.

  20. #40
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 4 Chap 5 Bloody battle on the long street

    Xiang Shaolong met up with Wu Zhuo at an abandoned old house. This extremely reliable battle friend who went through life and death with him said, Weve already followed your instructions and dug a tunnel from beneath our camp to lead to a forest behind the camp. Weve also sent men to use that tunnel and make more than 10 wooden rafts in the forest and kept them hidden next to a small river that leads to the main canal. If we follow the flow of the water, we will be able to reach the southern border of the state of Qi in 2 days.

    Xiang Shaolong replied happily, Lady Ya and the rest will return to camp this evening. Tell Cheng Xu to put on an act and insist on traveling only tomorrow. In that way Prince Xinling wont be on his guard against us.

    Wu Zhuo furrowed his brows, Then how are you going to get out of the city? Prince Xinling will certainly send men to keep an eye on you.

    Xiang Shaolong said, I definitely cannot leave, or else no one will be able to escape. To use that tunnel to let everyone leave, well need at least 2 hours. You will start immediately after the sun sets and make some fake men as cover ups. All armors, horses and heavy items will have to be left behind. Try to purchase some horses from the traders after we reach Qi and if you travel by night, youll definitely be able to return to Zhao safely. In summary success will depend on being secretive, just pretend that youre horse thieves.

    Wu Zhuos expression changed, What about Grand Young Master-in-law, if I abandon you, Master will certainly take my life! At least I want to stay behind and accompany you.

    Xiang Shaolong replied sternly, This is an order, you must follow my instructions. Without you, Cheng Xu will definitely not be able to accomplish anything. He continued gently and consoled him. I will definitely treasure my own life and I have a detailed plan as well. Ill be able to save myself and take Zhao Qian away as well.

    Wu Zhuo still shook his head.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed and revealed to him the whole plan.

    Wu Zhuo was silent after listening to it before saying, If Grand Young Master-in-law does not return to Zhao within 3 months, I will kill myself to replay your kindness.

    Xiang Shaolong was both touched and helpless and after discussing further some details, they parted. He managed to find Fu Bu through a series of intricate communication methods and after some secret discussion, he went back to Prince Xinlings residence.

    Prince Xinling dragged him to lunch and after the meal Xiang Shaolong returned to Flying Clouds Chamber to see Lady Ya.

    Lady Ya has already received notification from Prince Xinling and has already packed. When she saw him return, she ran into his arms and cried bitterly, Without you, Yaer will not leave!

    Xiang Shaolong thought this to be a headache and after trying to cajole and scare her, he was finally forced to reveal his whole plan to her. Lady Ya knows that this is the only way they can survive so she had no choice but to tearfully agree.

    Its time to depart.

    On Zhao Qians side, she and her 3 maids were hugging each other and crying bitterly, as if they are about to be parted by death, making all who witness it feel sad as well.

    It was only under Xiang Shaolongs constant urging that the 2 maids Cui Tong and Cui L went on their way tearfully.

    Prince Xinling escorted them out of the city personally and when they reached the camp, Cheng Xu followed Xiang Shaolongs instructions and insisted on traveling only the next day.

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to be helpless and exchanged a look with Prince Xinling, finally accepting Cheng Xus suggestion.

    Prince Xinling smiled, Dont worry! Ive specially transferred a team of light cavalry to escort them on their way tomorrow morning.

    Xiang Shaolong had long noticed the Wei army camp nearby and looking at the scale knows that there is at least 2000 men there. He was laughing secretly to himself as he returned to the city with Prince Xinling.

    They were riding next to each other as Prince Xinling commented, From now on, its best that Shaolong stays in the residence, firstly to conserve your energy and also to prevent any other accidents from happening that can spoil the grand plan. Ive already sent men to send Zhao Qian to hide at a secret location so that Shaolong need not have any worries when you attend the feast tomorrow.

    On hearing that Xiang Shaolong felt as if his heart has dropped into a bottomless pit. If Zhao Qian has really been kept by him, wont he be totally under the control of this fiend? But he still pretended to be grateful on the surface.

    Heavens! What should he do next?

    Prince Xinling asked nonchalantly, Why did Yanran look for you this morning?

    Xiang Shaolong was thinking at this point that if Prince Xinling finds out tomorrow morning that Lady Ya and the rest have all slipped away, he will certainly suspect his sincerity, then how would he deal with him and Zhao Qian? He forced out a smile and said, I dont know why shes looking for me too, she was talking to me about everything and left after a while.

    Prince Xinling thought to himself that as long as she has not taken a liking to him, its all right, and he stopped talking further.

    Xiang Shaolong was in an extremely bad mood and returned listlessly to Prince Xinlings residence. When he returned to his room, he got rid of the 4 pretty maids. Just as he was feeling edgy and nervous, there was a plonk, and a piece of cloth wrapped around a stone was thrown in.

    Xiang Shaolong removed the cloth and it turned out to be a message from Liu Chao, generally informing him that Prince Xinling has increased the number of men to keep an eye on Xiang Shaolong, so he dared not come and meet with him. Zhao Qian has been brought to Lady Pingyuans residence and was being held there and they will keep a close eye on her. At the bottom of the cloth he drew a simple map, pointing out the buildings where Lady Pingyuan resides in.

    Xiang Shaolong immediately heaved a sigh of relief. As long as he knows that Zhao Qian is still within the residence, there is still hope.

    At the same time he guessed that Prince Xinling is up to no good and will still get Lady Pingyuan to send Zhao Qian into the Palace instead of him, thus treating him as an idiot.

    By now the sky is slowly getting dark.

    Xiang Shaolong decided to relax himself and allowed the 4 pretty maids to return and help him bath and change. He went out and joined Prince Xinling for dinner, keeping up pretenses all this while.

    During dinner Xiang Shaolong said, Id like to practice my swordplay alone tonight, its best that no one is sent over to serve me. Hei! Without Lady Ya, and with such alluring maids, itll be terrible if I cannot refrain myself!

    Prince Xinling did not suspect anything at all and agreed with a laugh. He was secretly thinking to himself, as long as I send more people to keep an eye on you, and with Zhao Qian in my hands, need I worry that youll fly away?

    Xiang Shaolong returned to his building and immediately made a small hole in the roof and ejected his rope out, grabbing on to a large tree nearby before going into his room. He was about to carry his wooden sword when a knocking was heard on his door.

    Xiang Shaolong had no choice but to hurriedly remove his equipment and walk out of the room to open the door. He saw Lady Pingyuan standing alone outside the door with a glow, looking at him deeply with very confused eyes.

    He thought that something must be wrong and had no choice but to welcome her in.

    Lady Pingyuan walked daintily and lightly towards his bedroom.

    Xiang Shaolong was immediately scared mindless. Right now his bed is full of stuff that should not be seen so how can he allow her to go in. His mind worked quickly and he dashed forward, hugging her waist from the back.

    Lady Pingyuan moaned daintily and collapsed softly into his arms, tears flowing down her cheeks.

    In his entire life, Xiang Shaolong has never experienced so many women crying over him before and he felt a headache coming on seeing this. He turned her around, tilted up her pretty tear stained face and pretended to be helpless as he asked, Whats the matter!

    Lady Pingyuan closed her eyes, gritted her teeth, trying to control her sobs as she shook her head, looking utterly dejected.

    No one other than Xiang Shaolong can understand her dilemma right now, wanting to harm him and send him to his death but yet cant help but come and see him. This is the reason for her torture!

    Lady Pingyuan collapsed into Xiang Shaolongs arms, using all her strength to hug him, her pretty face buried in his wide chest as she continued sobbing.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting that with her around like this, how is he going to save Zhao Qian and if those assassins from Chu Mohism were to arrive, he might not be able to preserve his own life as well.

    Lady Pingyuan calmed down a little and said quietly as she nibbled his ear lobe, Shaolong! Carry me into the room!

    Xiang Shaolong almost wanted to cry for help, how can his room be seen? He hurriedly said, Lady! Wasnt it supposed to be later before we can do it?

    Lady Pingyuan stamped her feet and pouted, I want it now! Arent you going to carry me in?

    Xiang Shaolong carried her up by her waist.

    Suddenly there was a knock on the door again.

    Both of them were equally startled.

    A servants voice was heard from outside, Lady, the Prince has something urgent and wants you to see him immediately.

    Xiang Shaolong put Lady Pingyuan down and pretended to be helpless and sighed. However he knows that once Prince Xinling received news that Lady Pingyuan has come to look for him, hes worried that his sister will let her emotions overrule her and spoil the plan, thats why he sent someone here to lead her away.

    Lady Pingyuan first looked furious, then her expression darkened as she replied, Coming!

    She rushed forward and hugged Xiang Shaolong tightly, giving him a hot kiss filled with complicated feelings of joy, pain and farewell. After that she lowered her head and left, not turning back for another look.

    At this point in time Xiang Shaolong doesnt know whether to hate her or love her, because that kiss earlier is really eternally unforgettable, getting right into his bones, with an inseparable mixture of love and hate.

    When Xiang Shaolong arrived at the huge courtyard that Lady Pingyuan resides in, Zhao Qians lonely heart was pining away for Xiang Shaolong. He has become this beautiful princesss only hope.

    On one hand she has almost blind confidence towards Xiang Shaolong, but shes terrified that he will not know that shes being held captive here. When the 2 extremely conflicting thoughts were torturing her mind, the 2 ladies who were assigned to guard after her every move suddenly shuddered and fainted onto the ground consecutively. And the awe inspiring and handsome Xiang Shaolong appeared proudly in her room.

    Zhao Qian was ecstatic and ran into Xiang Shaolongs warm and safe embrace, her dainty body trembling violently.

    Xiang Shaolong carried her to a corner that is not easily visible from the door or windows, reached out and loosened her robes.

    Although Zhao Qian has always been very obliging towards Xiang Shaolong, she was still shocked and secretly furious that this person still has the mood for such things during such a dangerous time.

    Just as she was about to object, Xiang Shaolong kissed her lips lovingly while continuing the removal of her robes.

    Zhao Qian was feeling all soft and ticklish from his nimble fingers working on her overly sensitive skin and just as she was losing her senses, she realized Xiang Shaolong has removed the small bag on his back and is already attiring her alluring body which now only has a slip covering it, with a thick robe that can withstand the cold, covered with a black armored vest.

    Xiang Shaolong squatted down and helped her change into shoes suited for long distance travel.

    Zhao Qian was so moved that hot tears ran down her cheeks, her heart filled with happiness and gratitude. Even if she has to die for Xiang Shaolong now, shell do it willingly.

    Everything was done and Xiang Shaolong stood up, holding her tightly as if hes carrying the most precious treasure in the world and asked quietly, Will my little treasure be obedient?

    Zhao Qian nodded her head vigorously.

    Xiang Shaolong took out a cloth binding and tied the beautiful princess to his back, crossed her slender legs around his waist and tightened it with the cloth. The two of them merged as one, with no space between them.

    Lady Ya made these cloth bindings in a hurry upon his request. Xiang Shaolong had undergone training before and is well aware of the importance of being well equipped, so he was extremely well prepared before the mission.

    Zhao Qian leaned on his strong back, her previous worries all swept away and she almost moaned in satisfaction and comfort.

    Xiang Shaolong went to the window and looked out. He pushed open the window lightly and listened.

    A patrol troop just walked past outside the building.

    When they were far away, Xiang Shaolong went out the window with Zhao Qian on his back and landed lightly on the grass outside.

    When he was training in the military, he often had to carry 10kg of things and climbed hills and valleys to train his stamina so a light beauty like her will definitely not hinder his movement.

    In the woods, hell suddenly stop moving, or hell suddenly run madly like the wind, moving swiftly and nimbly forward, his destination is of course that 2 level building which Prince Shaoyuan was staying in.

    At the southeast corner gongs and drums were sounded, followed by the voices of people mixed with the barking of ferocious dogs.

    Xiang Shaolong was shocked and looked towards the direction of the noises only to see fire blazing into the sky at that side. In this starless night the scene looked especially frightening.

    He secretly commented that Fu Du really came at the right time and while everyones attention were on the fire, he rapidly went towards Prince Shaoyuans residence.

    Shouts of fighting and weapons clanging were heard from the direction of the house Xiang Shaolong stayed in.

    By now Xiang Shaolong has reached the flowerbeds behind Prince Shaoyuans residence and saw that Prince Shaoyuan, together with Liu Chao and his men were running out of the house with weapons towards the sound of the fight.

    He was secretly laughing to himself, because Liu Chao had already opened the window and he climbed into the house and went into the tunnel with familiarity. After he closed the entrance, he ran down the tunnel towards the back of the mountain.

    His shoes were covered with soft cloth so even if he was running rapidly, no sound was emitted so he need not fear Prince Xinling will hear him. Besides, by now theres no way Prince Xinling will remain on his bed.

    After running a distance, the tunnel made a 90 degrees turn towards the south and in a short while, he was at the exit on the other end of the tunnel.

    He took out his lock picking tools and unlocked the metal door. After closing it properly again, he followed the stone steps outside the door and reached the last door that leads to the ground level outside.

    Outside is a dense forest, situated outside the southern wall of Prince Xinlings residence.

    After Xiang Shaolong sealed the tunnel properly, he checked out the directions and ran towards the nearest city wall of Daliang. As long as he can leave this city, chances of them escaping will be very much greater.

    No one was on the dark streets, its like a ghost city but hatefully, every household has a lantern hung outside their doors. Although the light was dim and the wind was blowing on the lanterns making them rock, but it makes hiding for him all the more difficult.

    Xiang Shaolong tried his best to avoid the larger streets, sticking to the darker alleys.

    Sounds of hooves were heard and Xiang Shaolong had just passed a main street but before he can dodge into an alley, the enemy noticed him and rode over shouting.

    Xiang Shaolong was extremely perplexed, he cannot figure out how did Prince Xinling manage to find men so quickly to come after him?

    But theres no use thinking about it now, he can only run for his life.

    Zhao Qian who was lying down on his back was lightly trembling, obviously shes very nervous which made him love and pity her more. Such an elegant beauty, to think she has to go through such difficulties!

    After he ran out of the alley and had just turned into a main street, he heard hoof beats coming rapidly from the left, 10 odd riders were coming after them like the wind.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that theres no way he can avoid them so he made up his mind and moved to a side, with his back against the houses and his front facing the enemies.

    The riders all dismounted and one of them chortled, Xiang Shaolong, lets see where you can escape to today?

    It turns out to be the one who treats animals as his teacher, Xiao Weimou and of course his left and right hand men Ning Chong and Zheng Lei were with him.

    Xiang Shaolong quietly counted, theres altogether 19 of them and all of them looked strong and stout. Luckily the other party obviously came out in a hurry and did not have with them long distance weapons like bows and arrows, or else they could have killed them easily.

    The 19 of them spread out and surrounded him in a crescent moon formation so that theres no way he can escape.

    Xiao Weimou laughed icily, Ive expected you to try to escape at the last moment, so Ive been keeping an eye on you day and night. Ha! That should be the beautiful princess you have on your back! Tonight I can guarantee that she will die in ecstasy.

    His men on hearing his words started laughing lewdly.

    Xiao Weimou added another sentence, After Ive had my fun, all of you will have a share!

    These ferocious men whooped, obviously they have already regarded Zhao Qian as a sure catch.

    Xiang Shaolong followed the things he learnt in the past during military training and breathed deep and long to maintain his calm and at the same time loosened the cloth that bind Zhao Qian to him. He instructed, Qianer! This is a life and death situation, you must be brave and no matter what you have to hide behind me.

    Zhao Qian was so frightened that she was loosing her senses but after hearing Xiang Shaolongs calm and confident voice, her courage increased and she stood firmly on the ground. However, the blood was not flowing properly to her limbs yet and she felt them go soft so she hurriedly pressed onto his shoulders and leaned on his back.

    Xiao Weimou saw that this is a chance not to be missed so he waved his heavy sword and shouted, Attack!

    Xiang Shaolong withdrew his wooden sword and stood his stance without a word, his eagle sharp eyes keeping track on the enemies who are coming towards him from the left, right and front.

    Xiao Weimou led the rest and followed behind, tightening the encirclement towards Xiang Shaolong.

    The people in the houses on both sides who were rudely awaken stuck their heads out the windows for a proper look but with swears coming from Xiao Weimous men, they were so frightened they retracted, afraid to see whats happening.

    Right at this time 3 long swords attacked towards Xiang Shaolong simultaneously.

    Once Xiang Shaolong saw his opponents swordplay, he knows that hes facing formidable opponents. Since his men are already so good, naturally Xiao Weimou would be even better.

    But now theres no time to think further, the hand which has a flying needle hidden flew out and struck right at the face of the enemy to his left. The wooden sword in his right hand blocked off the long sword attacking him from the middle and he used the opportunity where his opponents sword was reflected up to execute a side kick and kicked hard on his opponents groin, after which he fended off the attacker on the right with a sweep of his sword.

    The one who got struck by the needle fell facing up, and died on the spot.

    The one who got struck by the leg fell backwards, unable to get up.

    Xiao Weimou did not expect him to be so formidable and was immediately furious as he shouted, Attack! He raised his sword and attacked first, not giving him a chance to take out another flying needle.

    Xiang Shaolongs left hand drew out Flying Rainbow from his waist. For a warrior like him who has undergone rigorous training, both his left and right hands are equally nimble and strong, not like the average person who favors only the use of one hand.

    Xiang Shaolong cried out, Qianer follow me! and he moved diagonally to avoid Xiao Weimou.

    Zhao Qian followed behind him.

    The murderous air from the flash of the swords came from 3 directions.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that this is a matter of life and death and he cannot retreat. He felt valor rising up in him and vowed to protect the beauty behind him with his life. His right hand holding the wooden sword and left hand holding Flying Rainbow, he attacked fiercely, his magnificent and forceful aura is even stronger than the enemys.

    The sound of metal and wood clanging against each other was heard and blood was seen at the same time on Xiang Shaolong and his opponent. His chest was struck by the enemys sword but luckily he has his armor and although his enemys sword was sharp, it could only pierce through the armor a little and cause an injury about half an inch deep.

    The other sword slashed towards his waist but it struck the belt that held his steel needles so he was not injured.

    Such close combat is extremely dangerous, a case of either you perish or I die. Especially when Xiang Shaolong has to protect Zhao Qian behind him, he cannot try to avoid his enemys sword so he was injured once they fought. It only leaves to be seen who will be the last to fall before a victor can be ascertained.

    Amongst the 5 who attacked, one has his throat cut by Flying Rainbow and died on the spot. His wooden sword struck anothers arm and the long sword immediately fell to the ground as he hurriedly retreated while the other 3 were forced back by his attack.

    The sound of weapons slicing through the air could be heard from his left and right and Xiang Shaolong swept his sword towards the right only to see Xiao Weimou dashing towards him from the right, waving his sword towards his head.

    At the same time Zhao Qian screamed, another enemy was coming from the left near the wall, his target is obviously Zhao Qian.

    Zheng Lei and Ning Chong whose swordsmanship were only below Xiao Weimou came attacking from the front one behind another with the aim to kill Xiang Shaolong with one blow.

    These people are very experienced in fighting and once they strike they will not allow Xiang Shaolong any chance of escape.

    The sword attack from Xiao Weimou who is aiming directly at him may look simple but it encompasses changes and at any time he can change it into a slash. Just that attack alone is enough to keep Xiang Shaolong busy, to the point that he dare not become distracted.

    As for the other attacks he can only rely on his hearing to decide on the course of action.

    Xiang Shaolongs used all his strength in his left hand which was holding on to Flying Rainbow to heavily block against Zheng Leis oncoming sword attack and the impact forced his opponent to retreat 3 steps back. He swept his left hand and Flying Rainbow flew out of his hand, transformed into a flash of light as it flew straight towards the chest of the man who was going towards Zhao Qian.

    At the same time the wooden sword went up diagonally, blocking Xiao Weimous deadly blow before going into Mozi swordplays mysterious defensive mode but the wooden sword looks as if its on the offensive rather than defensive such that even with Xiao Weimous ferocity, he was stunned as well and retreated for the moment.

    Right at this moment Ning Chongs sword came straight at his throat from the front.

    There is not enough time for Xiang Shaolong to block with his wooden sword and in that instance he suddenly had an idea and jumped up.

    Clang!, the sword which was aimed at his neck now hit the belt around his waist which was filled with the steel needles.

    Just as Ning Chong was feeling surprised, Xiang Shaolongs wooden sword slashed vertically and hit him right on his head.

    Sounds of bone cracking were immediately heard and Ning Chong fell to the side, knocking into 2 men who were advancing and all 3 of them fell to the ground.

    Right at this time another enemy took the opportunity to stab towards his chest just as he was landing. A sharp pain resonated through his body and as Zhao Qian screamed, Xiang Shaolong gave a flying kick towards the front of his opponent. That person is still midway through his attack and with the kick he was sent tumbling backwards and knocked into another enemy who was coming up for an attack.

    The sword was pulled sharply out from Xiang Shaolongs left armpit and fresh blood spurted out.

    Since the beginning of the fight, although Xiang Shaolong suffered one light and one serious injury, he managed to kill 4 of his enemies and severely injure 3, with the expert fighter Ning Chong amongst the dead.

    Everyone was in a blood fury and the remaining 12 attacked madly.

    Xiao Weimou is all the more mad and came from the right again, with his sword slashing down.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that after his injury, hes definitely not Xiao Weimous match and cried out, Qianer follow me! and shifted to his left while staying close to the wall and blocking off the enemys ferocious attacks with the wooden sword in his hand.

    Xiao Weimou was blocked by his own men from attacking and in his anger, he pulled his own men away and dashed in to attack.

    Zhao Qian who was hiding behind Xiang Shaolong saw reflections from the swords and sabres surrounding them and fresh blood kept flowing from her beloveds body, only managed to follow him for 10 odd steps before her legs turned soft and she fell to the ground in a sitting position.

    By now Xiang Shaolong has been injured numerous times by the swords and when he felt Zhao Qian falling down behind him, he thought to himself that its the end. He geared up all his ferocity and without a care to himself, gathered his strength and made a sweeping strike, knocking the advancing enemies and also blocking one of Xiao Weimous heavy slash.

    Xiao Weimou did not use all his strength in this attack but because his arm strength has always been better than Xiang Shaolong, and also the latter is now tired out from the fierce fight, he immediately lost his hold on the wooden sword and it fell to the ground.

    The 10 over wounds all over Xiang Shaolongs body was pouring blood and in that dangerous moment he gave a flying kick which landed right on Xiao Weimous belly, making this ferocious man retreat quickly but it was obviously not enough to injure him.

    2 swords came attacking.

    Xiang Shaolong quickly pulled out 2 flying needles and with a flick of his hands, the needle on his right hand struck an enemys chest while the needle on his left hand, because of the serious injury sustained to his arm, missed his target and only struck the enemys shoulder and that person ignored the needle injury and continued his advance.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this must surely be the end and he pulled his dagger out and was about to kill Zhao Qian first to spare her the torture of being raped when the sound of a bow was heard and an arrow flew over like lightning, piercing that persons neck, flinging him away with the impact as he died on the spot.

    Both him and his enemies turned to look at the direction where the arrow came from and saw a strange person wearing an eerie mask, dressed in a long black robe and riding over speedily on a horse. That person threw away the bow and pulled out a long spear, dashing right into the battle.

    The enemy quickly returned to the fight in shock.

    That persons skills with the spear is extraordinary and also hes has just freshly joined the fight, all who opposed him were injured or killed, causing chaos to the enemy. In an instant he came next to Xiang Shaolong and extended the circle of the spear attack, forcing Xiao Weimou and the rest back. He called out quietly, Arent you getting up the horse!

    Xiang Shaolong could recognize it was Ji Yanrans voice and happily helped Zhao Qian up the horse, picked up his wooden sword before using the last of his strength to jump up behind Zhao Qian.

    Ji Yanran immediately controlled the horse with her legs, the spear in her hands danced around as it once again forced Xiao Weimou back and fought her way out of the encirclement, escaping with the 2 of them.

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