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

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    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 4 Chap 6 Tending to injuries at the Observatory

    Xiang Shaolong had countless nightmares.

    He dreamt that the time machine sent him back to the 21st century where he was charged with the major crime of messing up history. Suddenly Shuer and Suer came to look for him with blood flowing from the orifices on their faces, blaming him for not avenging their deaths. And then countless different faces appeared before him.

    These include his parents, relatives, friends, Mei Canniang, Wu Tingfang, the King of Zhao, Zhao Mu etc, and cries kept ringing in his ears together with the wails of souls and ghosts!

    In his haze he seems to know that he is pacing at deaths door.

    No! I must continue living.

    For others and for myself!

    I cannot give up.

    His body alternated between hot and cold, his soul seems to have left his body, as if theres unbearable pain, but it feels totally numb as well.

    He does not know how long he struggled at deaths door before he finally regained consciousness.

    For a moment, he seems to have returned to the safe military hostel in the 21st century.

    Cheers erupted next to his bed, Zhao Qian fell on the side of the bed, tears streaming down her face as she laughed and cried.

    Before Xiang Shaolong can take a close look at Zhao Qian, he felt darkness surrounding him again and he fainted.

    When he regained consciousness again, his mind and body seems to be much better.

    Zhao Qian is so happy that she can only cry bitterly.

    Xiang Shaolong wiped her tears with his hand weakly and asked feebly, What is this place, how long was I unconscious.

    A familiar voice rang out from the door, This is the highest level of my Heaven Viewing Pagoda, on the 5th level. Shaolong you were unconscious for 9 days, if it was someone else who was that seriously injured and lost that much blood, that person would have died long ago. But youre not the average person, so you definitely wont die. Obviously everything is planned by Heavens!

    Xiang Shaolong was momentarily stunned and saw a person walking towards the bed, and it turned out to be Zou Yan.

    He never really liked this person and he cannot imagine why he would risk his own life to save him and asked in astonishment, Why did Mister save me?

    Zhao Qian who was sitting by his bed replied, You are really indebted to Mister Zou for saving your life. If not for his excellent healing skills and meticulous care

    Zou Yan chortled and interrupted Zhao Qians words and said as he lowered his head to take a closer look at Xiang Shaolong, The person who really saved you is Ji Yanran. I just happened to be around! This Heaven Viewing Pagoda is a place I use to study astrology, and also the tallest building in Daliang, I guarantee that no one will search their way here. Besides I am in no way related to you, so no one will suspect me.

    Xiang Shaolongs mood turned for the better and he slowly regained the strength to speak. He puzzled, Mister still have not replied my earlier question.

    Zou Yan smiled a little, Ill have to start from the beginning. 3 years ago, I found a new star in the state of Qi, moving towards Tian Chang, the area where the Zhao and Wei borders meet and I know that the new leader of this era has finally appeared. Therefore I came to Daliang to look for a new master.

    Xiang Shaolong was totally befuddled, What is Tian Chang? Is there a state of Zhao and state of Wei there as well?

    Zou Yan said proudly, Heavens and humans are related, everything that happens on earth happens because of Heavens decree. My study of the 5 elements is based on the 5 stars in Heaven, wood, fire, earth, metal and water, and I deduce what will happen on earth based on Heavens decree. Tian Chang is how I separate the Heavens into different areas according to the layout of the states on earth. For example if a guest star happens to take over the main star of a certain area, then the ruler of that area will be in trouble.

    Xiang Shaolong is in no mood now to listen to such superstitious and outrageous theory so he asked, So what has that got to do with me?

    Zou Yan looked at Zhao Qian, who was looking at him with her large pretty eyes, filled with idolization and he is all the more thrilled and started theorizing, How can it not have anything to do with you? At the same time you arrived at Daliang, that new star happens to fly into the position of Daliang in Tian Chang, therefore I knew that the new saint has arrived. The first time I saw you, although I felt you have the aura of a dragon, I did not yet think of it until that night when you talked about the earth shattering theory about governing a country did I guess that you are the new saint. That night when you were attacked, I was convinced that I was right about you.

    After he spoke, he knelt down and kow-towed 3 times respectfully.

    Xiang Shaolong was amused and quickly asked him to stand, saying I can understand the front part, but why is it that you are even more convinced of your faith when I was attacked and injured?

    Zou Yan explained, On that afternoon that you were attacked, Miss Ji returned moodily to the little house by the lake and after my prolonged questions did she reveal that you refused to woo her. Therefore I told her: the new star in heaven is being forced aside by another star, and Im afraid you will meet with danger that night. Thats why Miss Ji was able to save you in time and send you here. Tell me, Shaolong, if youre not the new saint, how can things be such a coincidence?

    Xiang Shaolong was dumbfounded.

    A wave of fatigue swept over him and after he forced the medicine down, he fell into a deep sleep again.

    When Xiang Shaolong woke up, he felt a lot better than the last time and was able to sit up and eat. Scars have begun to form over his 10 odd wounds, leaving only the wound under his armpit still in very much pain, but the other wounds were not affecting him.

    Zou Yan has gone out, and there was only Zhao Qian in the highest level of this ancient observatory.

    This pretty princess happily fed him the porridge cooked with precious and expensive herbs.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at her sympathetically, Qianer! Youve lost weight.

    Zhao Qian replied gently, Compared to the sacrifice you made for me, this is nothing. That night I saw how you were afraid that I would be injured and thus used your own body to block the sword blows from the thieves, my heart was utterly broken. She continued worriedly, Sister Yanran has not been here for 3 days, this is really worrying.

    Xiang Shaolong felt an injection of energy, Does she visit me often?

    Zhao Qian nodded her head, She was so concerned about you, and comes every time to help me clean and dress your wounds.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, Doesnt that mean that the both of you have seen every part of my body?

    Zhao Qian blushed and nodded her head, but her pretty eyes revealed her joy and her expression looked absolutely alluring.

    Xiang Shaolong felt lust arising and said gently as he grabbed her hand, I must have revenge and see our Princesss whole body.

    Zhao Qian gently pulled her dainty hands away and continued feeding him the porridge, saying with a blush, See if you want to!

    A rush of love and sweetness welled up in Xiang Shaolong. To think that the beauty will allow this, how can he not feel grateful. He said with a smile, Not only will I see, but I want to investigate with my hands as well, will Princess object?

    Zhao Qian blushed to her ears and stared at him, not daring to answer him but her expression shows her utter willingness.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed happily.

    Footsteps were heard from the stairs.

    Both of them started getting nervous.

    Ji Yanrans sweet voice rung out, No need to be afraid! Its Yanran.

    Zhao Qian was overjoyed and went to welcome her.

    In a short while the 2 ladies appeared shoulder to shoulder in front of Xiang Shaolong.

    Ji Yanran lost weight as well but when she saw him her bright eyes shone immediately and her gaze intertwined with his.

    Xiang Shaolong said, Xiang Shaolong will never forget how Miss saved me.

    Ji Yanran sat on his bed without any embarrassment and first looked at his wounds before saying with a relieved sigh, No need for such polite words. The rate of your recovery is astonishing. You dont know how frightening you looked the other night with fresh blood all over your body, and you almost made me cry because of you. She continued with a blush on her pretty face, And its the first time Yanran cried over a man!

    Zhao Qian laughed, You dont know how good Sister Yanran was towards you!

    Xiang Shaolong felt a boldness overcome him and daringly grabbed Ji Yanrans delicate hands and said gently, It seems that not only have I passed, but I have taken a step further into your heart, right?

    Ji Yanran stared at him and said nonchalantly, Sorry. Youre still at the passing stage. Although she said that, she did not try to retract her hands at all.

    Xiang Shaolong was filled with love as he replied with a smile, I have a chance as long as Ive passed, didnt Miss Ji said that you will try your best to make it easier for me?

    Zhao Qian listened to their interesting exchange and cant help but steal a laugh at the side.

    After Ji Yanran stared at Zhao Qian, she told Xiang Shaolong, I came all the way here with so much difficult and am even sitting next to you, isnt it making it easier for you already?

    Xiang Shaolong was awakened by her words and returned to the cold and cruel reality, asking, How is the situation outside?

    Ji Yanran said calmly, Prince Xinling, Lord Longyang and Xiao Weimou are all trying their best to look for you and the defenses in the city has been increased numerous times. Even the areas outside the city and the river routes are filled with guards. Im afraid youll have to turn into a bird before you can fly out.

    Xiang Shaolong asked with fear and concern, What about the others?

    Zhao Qian sat closely next to Ji Yanran and said, Dont worry! Qianer asked Sister Yanran long ago, theyve all escaped safely, not a single person was captured.

    Xiang Shaolong was relieved but once he thought about Prince Xinling, he cant laugh. Hes lost the Lu Gongs Secret Manual, so how can he possibly let him off?

    Ji Yanrans expression turned serious as she said, These few days the Weis have been going door to door searching your whereabouts, and they will ultimately find their way here. For the moment theyre only keeping an eye on me and have not suspected Mister Zou yet. But as long as you remain in Daliang, youre still in extreme danger.

    Zhao Qian said quietly, Sister youre so capable, youll surely have a way.

    Ji Yanran replied, Ive been constantly thinking of a plan, but security is so tight. She remembered something and told Xiang Shaolong, Those equipment you have on your waist were all very strange, even a knowledgeable man like Mister Zou has never seen it before, where did you get it from?

    Xiang Shaolong knows shes referring to the hooks and clasps used for climbing and replied, Its my own design, made by the craftsmen of Zhao. As long as we can reach the city walls, I will have a way to climb over the walls with Qianer.

    Ji Yanran was very surprised and after scrutinizing him for a moment, sighed lightly, The more I am in contact with you, the more I realize how unfathomable you are. But with the current situation, its impossible for you to reach the city walls without being detected by those at the watchtowers. Even if you can leave the city, you cannot avoid the thousands of soldiers outside the city, so we still need to think of another way.

    Zhao Qian went close to her ear and whispered, Is Sister starting to like him more and more?

    Ji Yanrans pretty face blushed. Sounds of bells ringing was suddenly heard in the room.

    Before Xiang Shaolong can figure out what is happening, the expressions on the 2 ladies changed, Enemies are approaching!

    Ji Yanran helped Xiang Shaolong up while Zhao Qian hurriedly gathered all the blankets that has traces of blood and everything else that is associated with Xiang Shaolong.

    Xiang Shaolong asked in shock, Where can we hide?

    Ji Yanran helped him to a huge wardrobe and opened the door, only to see it filled with clothes inside with no space to hide a person at all. She then extended her hand and pushed, the clothes rose up miraculously and revealed a secret compartment inside.

    By now Zhao Qian has packed everything and even let the bed curtains loose before hurrying over to help Xiang Shaolong hide in the secret compartment. Ji Yanran pulled down the outer compartment holding the clothes and the wardrobe door closed automatically, how intricately done.

    That space that was meant for hiding 1 person now has 3 people squeezed inside, so one can imagine how cramped it is. The 3 of them stuck to each other front to back, with Zhao Qians alluring body pressing tightly against his back while Ji Yanran was squeezed face to face with him.

    He can clearly feel the marvelous curves of Ji Yanrans body, especially when hes only wearing a pair of shorts, and the exciting fragrance almost made him forget about the danger theyre now in.

    Ji Yanran is a little taller than Zhao Qian, her pretty face happened to lean on his shoulder and she quietly whispered in his ear, This is a place Mister Zou designed to save his own life, I did not expect wed get to use it instead.

    Although the place is cramped, its not stuffy at all. Obviously it has marvelously designed ventilation.

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly had a thought; no matter hoe respected people in this era is, but they all have a fear of not living past another day. Thats why Zou Yan has this secret compartment for hiding while Prince Xinling has his secret tunnel for escape.

    Suddenly there were strange noises in the secret compartment.

    Xiang Shaolong concentrated and realized its the rapid breathing of the 2 ladies. With the heaving of their bosoms, he can feel even more strongly the rubbing of their bodies against him. Luckily Xiang Shaolongs body is still feeling weak so he did not have any natural male reaction, or else the situation would be even more embarrassing.

    The 2 ladies bodies were becoming softer and weaker and Xiang Shaolong felt his lust arising and cant help but reach one arm forward and the other backward and hug them tightly.

    Ji Yanran is a little better but Zhao Qian moaned and her slender arms encircled him from the back and hugged his waist tightly, her whole body heated up.

    Footsteps were heard, obviously someone was searching the place level by level until at least they reached this highest level.

    Prince Xinlings voice can be heard outside, This is the first time Ive seen Mister Zous observatory. Hey! What gadget is this?

    Zou Yan replied calmly, This is an equipment used to measure the position of the stars in the sky, I am about to start making an exquisite and accurate map of the stars.

    Prince Xinling is obviously not interested in the tour and he commented as he pushed the door open, Hai! I thought therell be something interesting in this room, it turns out only to be your bedroom.

    Zou Yan laughed, My work can only be done at night, how can I not have a place to sleep.

    Prince Xinling said, Why dont I go to your star observatory first to explore!

    Footsteps traveled up towards the balcony at the top.

    The 3 of them just heaved a sigh of relief.

    There were footsteps coming in again and that person searched thoroughly, even pulling the wardrobe door open, not leaving anything unchecked at all.

    Their hearts were almost at their throats and were secretly cursing Prince Xinling for being cunning to lure Zou Yan away so that his men can do a thorough search.

    After some disturbances, Prince Xinling and Zouyan came down.

    The 3 of them were a little relieved and once again felt the excitement of their bodies and limbs intertwined together.

    Zhao Qian and Ji Yanran are both unmarried ladies and although they are very much interested in Xiang Shaolong, they still felt utterly embarrassed.

    Zhao Qian is a little better as shes used to being intimate with Xiang Shaolong; Ji Yanran has never had the experience of being squeezed in a mans arm and her heart kept beating madly. In this quiet place how can this sound escape Xiang Shaolongs ears and just based on this point is enough to thorough make her feel ashamed.

    Whether deliberately or not, the 3 of them almost felt as if they have no wish to leave this safe space.

    Xiang Shaolongs lips leaned towards Ji Yanrans ears as he said quietly, Hey!

    Ji Yanran raised her pretty face in a daze and in the darkness she can feel Xiang Shaolongs breath on her face. She felt utterly lost and forgot to speak.

    Xiang Shaolong had wanted to ask her if they can go out now, but he suddenly felt her lips so close to his and thought to himself that what a better time to take advantage of her than this. So he kissed heavily on her soft and wet lips.

    Ji Yanrans dainty body trembled and she finally followed Zhao Qians example and extended her arms to hug him tightly while tilting her pretty face up, allowing this man to continue with his ungentlemanly bullying.

    Footsteps were heard again.

    Although she obviously knows that those on the outside cannot see what is inside, Ji Yanran still removed her lips away from Xiang Shaolongs enticing mouth in fear.

    Zou Yans low voice was heard from outside the wardrobe, You can come out?

    Xiang Shaolong felt that something was not right. With Prince Xinlings status, theres no reason that Zou Yan will not send him off personally and if that is the case, he will not be back so soon.

    Besides if everyone else is gone, with Zou Yans candid character, theres no reason for him to lower his voice so much that he sounded a little hoarse.

    Zhao Qian at this time is totally intoxicated under Xiang Shaolongs strong manly embrace and will not be bothered with what is happening outside at all.

    Although Ji Yanrans senses is a little lost, but in her cloudy mind she seems to believe that it is Zou Yan who is calling from the outside and was about to reply when Xiang Shaolongs lips sealed over hers again.

    Ji Yanran secretly grumbled, thinking why is this person so lecherous that hes even ignoring Zou Yans calls.

    That person called out again twice.

    Ji yanran slowly regained her senses and knew that something is not right and at the same time realized that Xiang Shaolong is not that lecherous after all.

    The person outside cursed quietly, Prince is really doing extra work. Theres obviously no one but he still wants me to go to every level and pretend to be Zou Yan can call out 3 times, hei!

    That person left after cursing.

    The 3 of them all felt cold sweat down their bodies. Prince Xinling is really careful, and obviously he has many capable men under him. This person sounded really authentic in impersonating Zou Yans voice, just that his voice is a little lower and hoarse.

    Ji Yanran has always prided herself on her intelligence and although her senses were dulled by Xiang Shaolongs kisses, she still feel ashamed. At the same time shes totally in awe of Xiang Shaolongs intelligence and felt a love for him welling up from deep within her heart. She proactively kissed Xiang Shaolong back fiercely.

    Xiang Shaolongs hands explored the 2 womens back and buttocks greedily and for a moment lust filled the secret compartment.

    The earlier danger served only to fuel and excite their passion.

    Just as it was about to get almost out of hand, footsteps were heard again, followed by the opening of the wardrobe door and the lifting of the front panel.

    The 2 ladies were so embarrassed that they buried their heads in Xiang Shaolongs neck.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at Zou Yan with embarrassment as he said with a bitter smile, It seems that Im not some new saint at all, because I do not have the resistance of a saint at all.

    Zou Yan was almost at a loss for words as he chuckled, I think your recovery is even faster than what I imagined a saint would take.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 4 Chapter 7 Escape from Daliang

    5 days later, Xiang Shaolong was able to get off the bed and walk. Besides the wound under his armpit, which still gave him some pain, he has regained all his strength.

    The relationship between him and Zhao Qian has grown to a point that they cannot bear to be apart from each other. Although they are in hiding in the room all day long, they dont find the confinement difficult at all.

    Ever since that day, Ji Yanran had not returned and according to Zou Yan, Prince Xinling has always been suspecting her so hes keeping a very close eye on her.

    Xiang Shaolong believes that Daliangs security will ultimately loosen up, because that is human nature, theres no way they can carry on with this forever. Besides, even after such a thorough search revealed nothing about their whereabouts, anyone would have thought that they have escaped.

    That night just as they were embroiled intimately, Ji Yanran arrived and upon seeing the blushing Zhao Qian, her own face reddened as well, which made her look even more alluring and beautiful.

    Xiang Shaolongs body was all heated up but he dare not get into the real act with Zhao Qian and on seeing this lady whose beauty is more than Zhao Qian arriving, he was secretly overjoyed. Just as he was about to start flirting with her, Zou Yan came up.

    Xiang Shaolong had no choice but to let go of Ji Yanran whom he was half forcing into a hug and let her sit on the rug.

    Ji Yanran stared at him daintily for a moment, blaming him for behaving more and more rudely with her before she said, 10 days ago I sent some people out of the city and ordered them to dress up as both of you, even carrying a fake wooden sword with the purpose of letting others discover them. Now the plan is indeed working. Yesterday Prince Xinling personally led the troops and went towards the border of Chu in pursuit. The security at the gates of Daliang is more relaxed now, so its time for you to leave.

    Xiang Shaolong and Zou Yan both cheered, they did not expect Ji Yanran to have such a splendid plan. What is even more rare is that she only talked about it after the plan is a success, which shows how much self control she has.

    Ji Yanran looked at Xiang Shaolong with sadness and unhappiness, her pretty face revealing how she cannot bear to part with him.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned and he asked, Youre not leaving with us?

    Ji Yanran shook her head, I really wish to, but if I leave, everyone will know that I am connected with you and I will put many others in jeopardy, maybe even Mister Zou included. That day Prince Xinling came to search this observatory precisely because Yanran kept finding excuses to come here and look at the stars, and that aroused his suspicions.

    Xiang Shaolong knows this to be the truth so he sighed and asked, Then when can we meet again?

    Ji Yanran smiled prettily, Dont worry! Yanrans greatest wish in life is to be able to assist the new saint in unifying the world so that the people need not have to suffer wars any more, so I will not let you off from now on.

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head with a bitter smile, I dont believe that Im really the new saint. Even if I can return to Zhao, the way will be fraught with dangers. If you want to find the true new saint, youd better be more patient in your search in case you find the wrong person and regret it in future. His words were filled with jealousy, naturally because the reason Ji Yanran fell for him is all because he is that new saint.

    A strange look flashed past Ji Yanrans face and she lowered her head, not speaking.

    Zou Yan said seriously, What youve said further affirmed that youre the new saint, because the especially bright star that represents you is now being chased by other stars. According to the heavens, youll need at least 20 years before you can unify the world and before that youll naturally face countless dangers.

    Xiang Shaolongs body trembled as he heard all this and looked at Zou Yan dumbfounded and for the first time he dare not belittle this ancient astrologer because it is indeed about 20 years later that Emperor Qin unified the warring states and became the first emperor in history.

    Ji Yanran suddenly said, Mister Zou, Princess Qian, Yanran would like to ask you to wait outside the hall for a while. Theres something I have to speak with Xiang Shaolong about.

    Zou Yan and Zhao Qian understood her meaning so they went out the room and even closed the door.

    Ji Yanrans head was still lowered as she said quietly, Xiang Shaolong, I want you to know clearly that Ji Yanran likes you as a person, and it has got nothing to do with whether youre going to be the new saint or not.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that his words earlier have hurt her and was feeling extremely apologetic so he reached out to hug her.

    Ji Yanran exclaimed angrily, Dont touch me!

    Xiang Shaolong is an expert in the field of love and knows that she finds it a loss of face if she accedes so he ignored her warning and jumped over, pressing her down on the rug and kissed her hard on her lips.

    Ji Yanran gave a token struggle before her stronger reaction took over and she cant help but want to join with him immediately.

    After their lips parted, Ji Yanran said sadly, Tomorrow morning, Mister Han Fei will escort the grains he borrowed back to Han. Yanran has made arrangements with him, one of the carriages carrying the grains will have a secret compartment in it and it will certainly be able to bring you out of Daliang safely. Xiang Lang! Alive, Yanran will belong to your Xiang family and no matter what I will look for you. Dont forget about me!

    Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian hugged each other as they lay in the secret compartment under the carriage and left Daliang without much trouble towards the canal. When they reach that place they will change into traveling by boat and follow the river up west to the Han border.

    Late snow was falling outside and the carriages moved slowly. With thick blankets lining the bottom of the secret compartment, the 2 of them dont feel too uncomfortable at all. In fact they felt as if this is a warm and sweet little heaven.

    The 2 of them behaved intimately for a while before they suppressed their desire so that they will not lose self-control and engage in the real act.

    Zhao Qian looked at the top of the secret compartment and said sincerely, Ive never seen a girl more beautiful and intelligent than Sister Yanran. Just a little trick from her and she can escort us out of Daliang comfortably.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at her beautiful profile but his mind was on another matter as he asked with a smile, Would you mind not being a Princess!

    Zhao Qian turned around, leaned her face in her hands, her pretty eyes shining as she looked at him with love and said, Qianer will only mind one thing, and that is not becoming Xiang Shaolongs woman. I dont care about anything else.

    Xiang Shaolong kissed her lips lovingly and said with a low sigh, That will make things easier. Ill find a way to hide you, then report that youve been killed by Xiao Weimou so you need not return to the palace and become a pitiful princess.

    Zhao Qian was ecstatic, Will you really do that for Qianer? Youre not afraid Imperial Father will punish you?

    Xiang Shaolong boasted, I am the new saint, how can I possibly be so easily dealt with. He continued with a chuckle, Actually Im doing this for myself, its been to torturous suppressing myself.

    Zhao Qian blushed brightly as she buried her head in his arms, saying quietly with a mixture of shyness and happiness, Whenever Xiang Lang wants Qianer, Ill give myself to you.

    Xiang Shaolong was touched and hugged her tightly.

    Zhao Qian said gently, Didnt Qianer ask Xiang Lang to kill Zhao Mu for me as revenge? Ive now changed my mind, and only hope I can flee far away with Xiang Lang. I dont care about anything else.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly sighed, what about avenging Shuer? Zhao Mu and him, there can only be one.

    The carriage stopped, it has reached the pier at the canal.

    3 ships from the state of Han with twin masts returned to Han with the 10,000 stone of grains.

    Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian, with Han Feis cover, came out and hid inside a small cabin.

    Although all the soldiers on the ship are Han, Han Fei is still cautious in case news gets leaked out.

    The 2 of them were happily ensconced with each other especially now that they have unlocked the restriction of not being to join as one and both knows what will soon happen. Nothing much needs to be said about the flirtatious Xiang Shaolong, but even the usually gentle princess is starting to become bolder.

    Han Fei sent his trusted aide to send them their dinner and the both of them sat shoulder to shoulder on the rug, enjoying the meal.

    Xiang Shaolong wanted to drink some wine but Zhao Qian forcefully took his wine cup away and said coquettishly, No! Zhao Qian will not allow you to drink, I want to yo be fully aware of what youre doing.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at her pretty face and said while shaking and bobbing his head, Even if wine will not intoxicate, the person will still feel intoxicated. Later when I see Princesss beautiful body lying on the bed, I will definitely be thoroughly intoxicated, how can I still stay sober!

    Zhao Qian fed him a piece of meat as she exclaimed happily, So well said, and making me so happy on hearing it. Ill reward you with a piece of meat.

    Xiang Shaolong took the piece of meat in his mouth and leapt over hugging her and extending his hands to loosen her clothing, saying with a smile, Let me take a look at Princesss tender meat.

    Zhao Qian was greatly embarrassed and tried to use her hands to fend him off but the ultimate winner is naturally Xiang Shaolong and his hands reached into her clothes through the sleeves and started having fun with the tender flesh inside.

    The pretty princesss body totally softened as she curled into his arms as she accepted her beloveds attack with a mixture bashfulness and joy, saying gently at the same time, Its snowing outside!

    Xiang Shaolongs hands were enjoying themselves so how can he possibly be bothered if its snowing outside. He went close to her face as he continued his caress and said, Is what I am doing now considered stealing what Im supposed to guard?

    Zhao Qian guffawed and stroked his face a few times with her finger to signify that he should be feeling ashamed.

    Xiang Shaolongs felt warmth in his heart.

    Ancient beauties are even better than 21st century beauties. Because in this society where men are the center, their entire life is dependant on men, so they are more caring, more giving, not keeping away any part of themselves at all.

    Zhao Qian suddenly thought of Ji Yanran and said, Do you know that Sister Yanran is not a Wei, but the descendant of Yue royalty. Thats why shes so beautiful and her martial arts so good.

    Xiang Shaolong asked in puzzlement, How do you know?

    Zhao Qian replied, Of course I know it, when you were unconscious, we talked a lot. She paused and continued with a smile, Make a guess why the state of Han sent Master Han Fei who is not eloquent at all to come here and borrow rations? It turns out that the King of Wei is frustrated with him trying to urge him to change policies all the time, so he deliberately gave him an impossible mission so as to humiliate him.

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head and sighed, The state of Han is weak enough, and now theres such a muddleheaded King who use such a serious matter of borrowing grains to vent his temper.

    Zhao Qian replied, But the King of Wei made a wrong guess. Because Master Han Fei has Sister Yanran to help him persuade the King of Wei, who finally agreed to lend them rations. But of course the loan will have to be repaid.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, Something is not quite right. It seems that Wei will really attack Zhao, or else theres no need for them to be so nice to Han.

    Zhao Qian pouted, Lets not talk about such dampening matters, all right?

    Xiang Shaolong hurriedly apologized and laughed, Come! Let me take a look at Princesss pretty legs! and he reached out his hands to remove her robes.

    Zhao Qian screamed and leapt out from his arms.

    Xiang Shaolong sat up and moved to her side before stretching his body lazily and groaned in comfort before yelling out incoherently, Come! Let us do something great that will be unforgettable for the rest of our lives!

    3 days later, the ships entered the border of Han.

    Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian bid their farewells to Han Fei and Han Fei ordered his man to bring them a handsome and extremely excellent horse that is totally black in color, saying, Brother Xiang! This is Miss Jis most beloved horse, and she especially told me to bring it along for you to use on your journey.

    Zhao Qian exclaimed with an Ah!, recognizing it to be the handsome horse that Ji Yanran rode that night while saving them and happily caressed its head.

    Xiang Shaolong saw how the beauty has once again helped them and cant help but miss her, heaving a great sigh.

    Naturally Han Fei understands his feelings and as he shook his hand in farewell, he said, The trip to Wei this time, my biggest gain is getting to know a confidante like Yanran and a great hero with ambitions like Brother Xiang. This horse is named Jifeng (Gust of Wind). Take care!

    Xiang Shaolong recollected his emotions and bounded up Jifeng with Zhao Qian, speeding away like lightning and from far away they could still see Han Fei waving at them.

    The 2 of them traveled by day and rested by night, traveling along the Han border up north towards Zhao.

    Ji Yanran also prepared rations and a simple tent for them as well as some necessities needed for camping so that they need not worry over such matters.

    Their mood during the return to Zhao is a lot different then when they were going to Wei. Now theyre more relaxed and Zhao Qian has tasted for the first time the joining between a man and a woman and has changed from a girl into a woman. Shes as happy as a lark and kept singing tunes from Zhao in Xiang Shaolongs ears, giving him another sense of enjoyment.

    The more the travel up north, the colder it got and when it started snowing, they had to find caves to hide in.

    10 odd days later, they reached the wide forests of the Han border and after this area they will once again enter Wei border. It will take another 3 days before they can reach Zhaos border.

    This is a famous hunting ground in Han, with low hills and valleys, with a mixture of pine trees and trees with wide leaves growing there as well as a large variety of other trees.

    Black bears, horses, deer, mountain goats, wild rabbits etc can be seen everywhere as well as wild wolves, who sometimes ran after the horse in a pack. Xiang Shaolong had to kill a few with his needles and the wild wolves stopped to fight over and consume the bodies and finally stopped chasing them.

    Both of them on one horse, galloping though the snowy forest with a layer of snow cloaked over the trees. The pure and clean scene is enough to take ones breath away.

    This day they came to the western bank of a long river, the heart of the river has not yet turned to ice and the water reflected the snow and sun, flowing towards the northeast.

    The weather turned harsher. The both of them were heavily wrapped up to their heads in thick cotton robes and on top of that wore cloaks to keep out the wind and all these could barely keep them warm from the snow.

    The snow on the ground was up to knee level and even Jifeng had difficulty walking though it so they ha no choice but to dismount and walk, hoping to find a family where they can spend the night with and hide from the snow.

    Although it was bitterly cold, the scene of the endless snowy forest, the ever changing snowflakes are enough to take this pair of lovers breaths away.

    Silence surrounded them, with only the sounds of their feet stepping on the soft snow can be heard.

    Once in a while the roars of a ferocious tiger or howls of a wild wolf could be heard from the distance, making their hair stand.

    At noon, the wind suddenly blew madly and the snowflakes flew haphazardly around like thousands of silver needles, shooting towards them, making them unable to keep their eyes open and their steps unsteady. After a while, Jifeng refused to move further.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that no matter what they have to avoid this blizzard, but there no one in front of them, neither did they pass by any houses. Suddenly he remembered how he learnt to build an Eskimos igloo while in military training, which is quick to make and appropriate. He suddenly felt like a kid again and went to the riverbank and using his sharp knife, dug out frozen blocks of ice from the river. Under Zhao Qians doubtful stare, he made a large ice house enough to house man and beast. He used the tent as a blanket and even chopped some wood and started setting up a fire inside and soon the whole house was warm and cozy. The blizzard became a romantic and fun event instead. Even Jifeng regained his usual calm.

    Zhao Qian saw how capable her beloved is and all the more she idolizes him and sincerely wanted to make him feel good and enjoy her gentleness.

    The 2 of them slept naked under the blanket, their limbs intertwined, whispering never-ending sweet nothings to each other and in the end fell into a sweet sleep in each others arms. At dawn, they were suddenly startled awake by a strange noise.

    They listened carefully and it turned out to be the sounds of birds happily playing as they flew across the sky. They got up and looked out the small snow window cut out for ventilation and saw that the sky is now clear and the blizzard has stopped falling.

    They were ecstatic and hurriedly packed up, finally leaving that igloo filled with sweet memories with a tinge of sadness.

    Xiang Shaolong was afraid that Jifeng would be too cold so he wrapped up its limbs with cotton strips and the belly as well so that the cold will not penetrate into its organs. He also made a simple sled and put all their luggage on it so that Jifeng can pull it along with Xiang Shaolong leading him and Zhao Qian walking along by his side as they continued their journey north. By now they cannot tell if the land theyre walking on belongs to Zhao or Wei. After all, borders are something made by men and nature itself will definitely not adhere to it.

    The sheltered Zhao Qian was tired after walking lass than half a mile and sat on the sled, letting Jifeng pull her along effortlessly.

    The forest looks like its filled with layers of tall walls, never ending as they weaved through it, making them feel as if theyre lost in a maze. Luckily Xiang Shaolong is experienced in military travel and while the weather was clear a few days earlier, he found the position of the Polar Star and ascertained his location so they did not travel towards the wrong direction.

    Snow was stacked up beneath their feet and occasionally they would see the prints of animals on the snow crisscrossing one another, making it into a strange and unique drawing. Naturally they also left behind them another set of endless scars.

    The weather wont stay good for long, and it started snowing after noon, getting bigger as well.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly troubled, just as he was wondering if they should stop or continue, 7 wooden huts appeared amongst the trees towards their left.

    The 2 of them were overjoyed as they went towards the houses.

    The few wooden houses were built on a foundation of stone and made of pine wood with railings surrounding the house. There was snow packed on the roof and tall trees surrounded the front and back of the houses, making it a picturesque scene.

    They liked what they saw on first sight and came to the front of the house and called out loudly but there was no reply.

    Zhao Qian suddenly screamed and pointed at the entrance of the largest house, only to see it filled with bloodstains, the scene utterly shocking.

    Xiang Shaolong walked closer for a look and realized that the bloodstains were still quite fresh, obviously the incident happened not too long ago. Therefore he instructed Zhao Qian to wait outside while he went into the house alone. Not long after he came out with a solemn expression and after checking the other houses, returned to Zhao Qians side and said, Qianer dont be startled, a terrible crime and tragedy just happened here. It seems that all the men, women, old and young were all gathered to this house in the middle and slaughtered. Even the dogs were not let off, and the women had signs of being raped.

    Zhao Qians expression paled as she asked, Who did such a cruel thing?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Either horse thieves or army troops, or else they would not have so easily taken control of these strong hunters.

    Zhao Qian stammered, What should we do?

    Before Shaolong could reply, hoof beats were heard.

    Their feelings still unsettled, they turned around to take a look, only to see a person on top of a horse coming towards them. A huge burly man was seated on the horse and behind the horse he carried a pair of hunted wild deer.

    That person is about 25 or 26 years old, his arms stouter than an average persons, his eyes gleaming, his face rough and gallant with a great aura about him. He saw them from afar and called out in greeting, Friends, where are you from! and added, Teng Yi is back!

    Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian exchanged a look, both feeling sad for this returning man.

    The burly man called Teng Yi slowed down his horses progress, a strange look came over his eyes as he looked at the houses with no family coming out to welcome him, obviously feeling that something is not quite right.

    Xiang Shaolong went forward first to block him and said earnestly, Friend, please listen to me first.

    Teng Yi jumped off his horse nimbly and asked him coldly, Who are you people?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Were just passing by, inside

    Teng Yi pushed him away as he shouted, Move aside!

    With Xiang Shaolongs weight and steady stance, to be pushed aside like that, and although he was caught unawares, it can be seen that this Teng Yi has amazing arm strength.

    Teng Yi dashed into the house like the wind, followed by an earth shattering and heart rending cry. Men truly do not cry easily, unless they are really heart broken!

    Zhao Qian felt her nose stifling and leaned onto Xiang Shaolongs shoulders and wept as well.

    There was a wild roar and Teng Yi rushed out with bloodshot eyes and his sword in his hand, pointing at Xiang Shaolong and asked, Did you do this.

    Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian looked at each other in shock.

    Obviously extreme grief and fury has made Teng Yi lose his normal senses and he slashed towards his head with the sword.

    Xiang Shaolong is already well prepared and pulled out his wooden sword and forcefully blocked this blow while pushing Zhao Qian away with his other hand.

    Xiang Shaolong felt his arm go numb from blocking that blow and just as he was secretly thinking that this persons arm strength is comparable to Xiao Weimou, Teng Yi has made another attack like a crazed tiger. His swordplay was wide and extremely intricate and excellent.

    Xiang Shaolong never expected to meet such a frightening swordsman in this wild snowy forest and dared not even split his concentration to try to explain. He followed the Mozi swordplay and only defended, not attacking and retreating as he fought. After blocking off his opponents 100 odd attacks, Teng Yu suddenly cried out piteously and knelt down on the ground, holding his head and sobbing bitterly.

    Zhao Qian ran over in fear and hid behind Xiang Shaolong as she called out, Big man! We didnt kill those people inside.

    Teng Yi nodded his head as he cried, I know! Youre using a wooden sword and there are no bloodstains on you. Its just that fury got to my head. He then continued crying in the snow.

    Teng Yi knelt in front of the newly erected tombstones, his expression wooden.

    Right below, buried were his parents, brothers, wife and children.

    A self-sufficing happy life is no longer something he has.

    He doesnt even know who his enemy is, so he can only use all his effort and life to find them.

    Hatred was gnawing at his bleeding heart.

    Zhao Qian cried along with him.

    Xiang Shaolong came up to Teng Yis side and asked solemnly, Does Brother Teng want to take revenge!

    Teng Yi suddenly lifted his head, a look of resolution shot out from his eyes as he said, If Brother Xiang can allow me to avenge this hatred, I will give you my life.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this persons sword skill is excellent and his martial arts outstanding as well. If he has his help, itll be even better. He nodded his head, Did Brother Teng think why the thieves would gather everyone into one house?

    Teng Yi was stunned as he replied, Theyre thinking of keeping the other 6 houses for use.

    Xiang Shaolong was extremely impressed with his quick thinking and said, So they will definitely come back, and it will be before dusk.

    A strong look of hatred came over Teng Yis eyes and he leaned forward to kiss the know before coming towards Xiang Shaolong and grabbing his shoulders, said with gratitude, Thank you! Youd better be on your way! Or else itll be even more dangerous if you bump into them.

    Xiang Shaolong smiled, If you want to kill all your enemies, then you should not ask me to leave.

    Teng Yi looked at Zhao Qian and shook his head, Your little wife is both pretty and kind hearted, I do not wish harm to befall her. Although my 3 brothers are not as good as me, but theyre not easily trifled with as well so obviously the enemy is a big group and highly skilled. We might not be able to fight and win them.

    Xiang Shaolong said with confidence, If its a head on attack, naturally were not their match but now that were planning something against the unguarded, its another story altogether. Theres still some time left, we need to start preparing immediately.

  3. #43
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 4 Chap 8 Revenge on the Snowy grounds

    Xiang Shaolong and Teng Yi sat on the 2 sides of the window inside the house, waiting quietly for the cruel enemy to arrive. Teng Yis emotions have calmed down, revealing the collected and stable composure of a highly skilled fighter but the pain and sadness in his eyes was intensified. Xiang Shaolong wanted to keep his mind away and asked, Has Brother Teng been hunting here for a living since young?

    Teng Yi was silent for a moment before saying quietly, To tell you the truth, I once had the dream of doing a little something for Han so I was in the military before and even raised to the position of commander. Later I saw that the people on top were too much, they only know how to belittle talents and pander to outsiders so disheartened, I brought my family with me to live in seclusion here. But whod expect

    Sounds of hoof beats were heard. The 2 of them were immediately energized and stood up to look outside the window. Amongst the falling snowflakes, in the silvery white world outside, a group of men and horses rode towards them slowly. Xiang Shaolong was stunned on seeing the scene and exclaimed hoarsely, Theres at least 60 to 70 people! Teng Yi replied coldly, Its 90 to 100.

    Xiang Shaolong took a closer look and looked back at him in surprise, saying with a nod, Your observation is very accurate. Teng Yi said, Brother Xiang, you better leave! Just with the 2 of us, even with the traps we wont be able to handle so many people. Xiang Shaolong was originally feeling numb and was toying with the idea of retreating but now that he knows that Teng Yi has his mind made up to fight to the death, his valor was stirred instead and he said seriously, Brother Teng do not be pessimistic so quickly. As long as we can persevere a little longer, once the sky turns dark, itll be beneficial to our movement. Humph! I, Xiang Shaolong, is not one to retreat at the last moment.

    Teng Yi looked at him in gratitude before focusing all his attention on the slowly approaching enemy. By now the sky is slowly darkening and Xiang Shaolong looked hard before he exclaimed in shock, Its Xiao Weimou! And he felt a strong surge of apology.

    Teng Yi had already heard his story and was stunned, Its Xiao Weimou from the state of Qi! He sighed and continued, Brother Xiang need not blame yourself, this has got nothing to do with you. Youre a victim as well! Xiang Shaolong saw how understanding he was and felt a little better and at the same time gained more admiration for this highly skilled swordsman who is willing to lead a peaceful and boring life.

    By now the large group came to the empty space in front of the houses and dismounted. The house that Xiang Shaolong and Teng Yi were hiding in was where the tragedy happened so logically, Xiao Weimous men wont step in here. Xiao Weimou looked gloomy and Zhen Lei stood next to him, his expression not any better either.

    Looking at his men move the saddles and luggage from the horses back and moving them into the other houses, Xiao Weimou cursed and fumed, Im definitely not wrong. Xiang Shaolong pretended to escape to Chu but that is just a trick. If he wants to return to Zhao, theres only 3 ways. I bet he will not dare to travel through our Great Qi and the state of Wei, so the only route left is this path in Han, but why is it that we still cannot find him? Zhen Lei commented, We came here by ships and traveled on the official paths, so its not strange that well be about 10 days faster than him. Now we will stop and set a trap here and once he passes by this place, hell certainly not be able to escape unnoticed from the 10 odd sentry posts we set up.

    Xiao Weimou replied, Remember not to hurt Zhao Qian! After he spoke he walked towards the house Xiang and Teng were hiding in. The both of them were overjoyed and moved separately to the 2 huge windows next to the door and raised their bows, getting ready to shoot as soon as he steps within shooting distance. Zhen Lei called out, Head! That house

    Xiao Weimou grinned fiendishly, Such an exciting sight, its good to see it one more time. I love to see women who has been raped and killed by me. And then he walked forward with large strides. Xiang and Teng were ecstatic, as they got ready.

    Suddenly someone cried out from afar, Head! Somethings wrong! There are fresh graves here. Xiang and Teng instantly regretted their actions. They did not expect Xiao Weimou to be so cautious as to send his men to take a look around. They know that the chance is not to be missed and the sound of the bows rang as 2 arrows shot out the window towards Xiao Weimou. At that point in time that fiend was about 300 steps away from them and on hearing the swishing of the air he was startled and immediately dodged aside.

    He could have avoided both the arrows but because Xiang Shaolong knows that hes very nimble, he deliberately shot a little to the side so although he avoided Teng Yis arrow, he could not avoid Xiang Shaolongs arrow, which shot through his shoulder. He cried out in pain as he fell backwards. A pity that it did not strike any of his vital points but its enough to make him suffer.

    At this point in time almost half of the 100 men were already in the 6 houses while the rest of the 40 odd men outside all cried out in alarm and dashed towards the house they were hiding in. Xiang Shaolong and Teng Yi hurriedly retreated towards the back door and once they reached the back of the house, they lighted the fire arrows and shot them towards the other houses.

    These roofs and pine wood walls have all been tampered by them and a layer of inflammable pine oil has been poured on it so once it made contact with fire the flames spread immediately through the whole house and even the windows and doors were smeared with them. With the northern wind blowing, those who went into the houses seems to be in a space where they are cut off from the outside world and after traveling for the whole day, they all lied down to rest, not knowing that something has happened outside. By the time they realized something was wrong, the whole house was engulfed in flames. For a moment screams were heard everywhere, as if its hell on earth.

    The 10 odd men who were running towards the house saw that they were about to reach the steps to the house when they suddenly felt the ground give way and they fell into the trap that Xiang and Teng made earlier, into a deep hole more than 10 feet deep and filled with pointed spikes so theres no way they can stay alive even with luck. In that instant, more than half of the almost 100 enemies were either killed or injured and even the leader Xiao Weimou was injured.

    With fire seemingly shooting out from his eyes, Teng Yi roared as he dashed out, killing everyone on sight. Xiang Shaolong dashed out from the other side, 2 flying needles flew out and killed 2 bewildered thieves before he drew out his wooden sword and killed his way towards the direction of Xiao Weimou.

    Xiang Weimou was being helped up by Zhen Lei and another man and he felt the intense pain on his shoulder where the arrow injured him as he moved. He knows that he cannot fight and although he saw he greatest enemy Xiang Shaolong, theres nothing he can do except grind his teeth in hatred and now that theres only 20 odd men left, he cried out angrily, Lets leave! Zhen Lei and his man hurriedly helped him towards the nearest warhorse as they left in a hurry.

    Xiang Shaolong looked around and shouted, Xiao Weimou is leaving! The remaining thieves saw that it is indeed true and realized that the 2 of them were extremely highly skilled and although they have more people on their side, they could not take any advantage of them at all. In an instant their enemy killed another 5 of them and they all ran away in fear. Xiang Shaolong and Teng Yi saw that its a chance not to be missed and they went after Xiao Weimou.

    A few men who were loyal to Xiao Weimou turned back to stop them but they were soon gotten rid of by these 2 ferocious and highly skilled fighters. After Xiang Shaolong kicked a man flying away, he soon caught up with Xiao Weimou. Zhen Lei saw that they still have another 10 odd steps before reaching the horse so he pulled out his sword and turned back to block Xiang Shaolong.

    Xiang Shaolong shouted, Teng Yi! Give chase! as he slashed towards Zhen Lei. Zhen Lei is indeed a highly skilled fighter and blocked the blow with his own sword. He dashed forward without fear for himself and for a moment the sounds of swords slashing in the air was heard and the fight was intense. The worse thing is that Zhen Lei is fighting with the thought of perishing together with the enemy and for the time being theres nothing much Xiang Shaolong can do but to wait for the moment his attacks turn a little weaker. By now Xiao Weimou has jumped onto the horse. Teng Yi arrived just in time and slashed with his sword. One of the men was about to turn around to fight but was caught in the slash and he was thrown 7 steps back away by the impact, his blood spurting. This shows how strong is the hatred in his heart.

    Xiao Weimou tolerated the intense pain as he clasped his legs around the horses belly and rode out. Teng Yi roared and he leapt forward, his great hand extending out and he actually managed to grab the horses back leg. The horse lost its balance as with a terrified neigh, fell down on the snow and Xiao Weimou was thrown off its back. Zhen Lei turned around for a look and was immediately terrified.

    Xiang Shaolong was not one to miss the opportunity and he slashed thrice successively and on the 3rd slash, Zhen Leis long sword was thrown off and a huge opening was revealed. When Teng Yi leapt over and was tumbling around with Xiao Weimou, Xiang Shaolongs wooden sword pierced forward like lightning and Zhen Lei gave out a horrifying cry before he was thrown back by the impact and died on the spot. At this time Xiao Weimou was struggling, his hand pinching Teng Yis throat and just as he was about to gather his strength to shatter the throat, Teng Yi pressed down hard on the arrow wound on his shoulder and the pain thoroughly numbed him for the moment and he loosened his grip as well.

    Teng Yi sat on him and using his left hand, pulled out the arrow together with a piece of flesh as blood spurted out from the wound. Even as Xiao Weimou was reeling from the pain, his right fist was plummeting on his chest like a hammer more than 10 times and the sounds og bones breaking can be heard. Blood flowed out from the orifices of Xiao Weimous face and he died horribly on the spot. Teng Yi then fell off his body and crouched on the snow, crying bitterly.

    Unexpectedly, Xiang Shaolong found his lost Flying Rainbow on Xiao Weimous body and a wave of feelings rushed upon him. When Xiang Shaolong carried Zhao Qian up from the hidden hold underground, Zhao Qian was pale from worry and her delicate body was trembling.

    The heavy snow stopped, stars filled the sky, pretty and alluring. Xiang Shaolong kissed her fragrant lips lovingly and carried her up by her waist and walked towards the graves. Teng Yi cut off Xiao Weimous head and put it in front of the graves with incense as an offering.

    Xiang Shaolong put Zhao Qian down and asked, What does Brother Teng intend to do from now on? Teng Yi said calmly, I have nothing left, except for my life and my sword, and I have no other concerns. If Brother Xiang doesnt mind, I will follow you in future. I am not afraid of any hardship or danger, or even death, as it will end this pitiful fate of mine! Xiang Shaolong was overjoyed as he replied, Id really love it, but Brother Teng need not wallow in sadness. You should get back your fighting spirit and start a new life! Teng Yi shook his head, Brother Xiang will not understand the feelings I have for my wife, children and family. They are everything to me, now that I have nothing left, besides the gratitude I feel for Brother Xiang, I will no longer have any feelings for anyone else. That is too painful.

    Zhao Qian felt her nose sniffling, and started weeping. Teng Yi sighed, Ai! Weepy little princess! Xiang Shaolong hugged Zhao Qian as he said offhandedly, Xiao Weimous head will be worth a lot, does Brother Teng have any way of preserving it! Teng Yi replied, Thats easy, just leave it to me!

    With Teng Yi with them who is familiar with the environment, their journey became a lot smoother. Not only is he an outstanding hunter, hes also an expert in barbeque and knows how to season the food with wild herbs and plants, gaining much compliments from Xiang and Zhao on the food. Teng Yi treated nature as if it is a religion, believing that there are various types of deities in nature so whenever they came to a new place, hell kiss the soil and pray for luck.

    5 days later, they reached a large village near the border of Wei. There were a few hundred houses and a few animal enclosures scattered on the wide snowy plains and the scene looked beautiful and peaceful. Its really a paradise that one can hide away from in this chaotic warring period.

    Not only is Teng Yi very familiar with the people here, hes also well respected. A few young shepherd saw him arriving and immediately flew back to the village to report and some even came to welcome him with their gongs. Zhao Qian found all of these interesting and revealed a sweet smile, making Xiang Shaolong feel like carrying her into the room immediately and spend the night together.

    Along the way therere always men, women, old and young who walked over to greet Teng Yi, the men cant help but stare at Zhao Qian while the women were stealing glances at Xiang Shaolong. 10 odd dogs came out from all over the place and ran after their horses, shaking their heads and tails at Teng Yi, showing their welcome.

    Brother Teng! The sound came from the top. Both Xiang and Zhao were startled and lifted their head to look only to see a skinny youth about 16 or 17 years old with long limbs. Hes not considered handsome, but he has a suave, happy-go-lucky air about him with a happy and honest smile, his 2 legs swinging as he sat on the branch of a huge tree filled with snow about 3 feet off the ground, making one worry that if he were to lose his balance and fall, thatd be terrible.

    Zhao Qian exclaimed in alarm, Be careful! Stop shaking! That youth went Ah!, as if he only realized the danger now and fumbled, all the more causing him to lose his balance as he fell. Zhao Qian was so frightened she closed her pretty eyes but did not hear the sound of anything heavy falling. When she opened her eyes, she saw the youth with his legs hanging off the tree, his arms around his chest and grinning at her as he blinked. Zhao Qian stared at him angrily, upset with him for putting on such an act to scare her. Xiang Shaolong was extremely impressed and complimented sincerely, Friend, what great moves. Teng Yi shouted, Jing Jun arent you going to come down!

    Jing Jun chortled and made 2 somersaults as if hes making a performance before landing lightly and nimbly on the snowy ground before asking Zhao Qian, This regal and pretty looking miss, may I ask if you already have a husband! Zhao Qian stared at him with annoyance and thought that she is leaning so closely in Xiang Langs arms and yet he had to ask this question.

    Teng Yi said unhappily, Control your slick mouth! This is the royal 3rd Princess from the state of Zhao, how can you be so rude? Jing Jun was stunned as he looked at Xiang Shaolong and shouted, This must be Xiang Shaolong who defeated Hui Wu and Ren Lang! Teng Yi and Xiang Shaolong exchanged looks of puzzlement before the former asked, How did you know?

    Jing Jun replied, I heard the Wei soldiers at the border talking about it. They instructed us to help them keep a look out for Master Xiang and the Princess and if I find out anything, theyll give me a hundred taels of silver.

    Zhao Qian was frightened, You wouldnt do that right? Jing Jun jumped up without any effort and did a back somersault before kneeling on the ground, his hand clasped around his fist as he said, Of course I wont. I have made a decision to follow Master Xiang and roam the outside world. Master Xiang please accept my request. Xiang Shaolong felt a liking for this person and looked at Teng Yi, meaning that he will respect his thoughts on this.

    Teng Yi nodded his head, Jing Jun is the most outstanding hunter here and an expert in sneaky acts. I came especially to this village this time because I would like Brother Xiang to meet this lad who dreams of roaming the outside world all the time. Xiang Shaolong chortled, Get up! Follow me in future then!

    Jing Jun was so happy he jumped up and made 3 continuous somersaults as he cried out, Let me go and scout the roads first, Ill certainly come back tomorrow morning with a report! and he was far away in an instant. Xiang Shaolong saw how obedient he is and was secretly happy.

    That night they stayed in the village heads house and received the warmest welcome. During the feast, all the elders in the village came and it was extremely lively. Before bedtime, Teng Yi told the 2 of them. If you hear any weird sounds tonight, do not come out, because someone will be here to kidnap the village heads daughter. Xiang and Zhao were perplexed and could not understand why would there be thieves stealing women away. Teng Yi explained, This is a local custom, the night before the wedding there will be a ceremony to steal the bride away. Everyone will pretend nothing is happening and after the groom steals the girl home, they will consummate the marriage immediately. The next morning they will return to the girls home to hold the wedding ceremony. You can take part in the wedding feast as well.

    The sounds of drums shocked the lovers awake from their dreams. At this time the sky is not yet bright and Xiang and Zhao climed out from under their warm blankets bleary eyed and hurriedly washed up and changed. By the time they walked to the hall, its already filled with people here to take part in the wedding ceremony. They were arranged, together with Teng Yi, to sit behind the family to view the ceremony.

    The village head and his 4 wives were seated at the front row and the newly weds were dressed in red robes and crowns, each kneeling on one side and holding a basket of fresh fruits. The guests all clapped and sang to express their congratulations.

    Zhao Qian was smiling from ear to ear and she went closer to Xiang Shaolongs ear and whispered, Xiang Lang! Qianer wants to wear a wedding outfit like that as well and marry you. He felt a sweetness in his heart and replied, One day when we escape from Handan, well hold a wedding ceremony like theirs immediately, all right? Zhao Qian nodded her head furiously.

    At this time, someone tied strings made with 7 colors around the wrists of the newly weds and everyone gave their blessings like wishing them togetherness til old age and hearts joined forever. The ceremony is simple yet significant. After that they had a feast of more than 10 tables at the great ancestral hall in the middle of the village where the whole village attended. The little kids wearing new clothes were even more happy, using their laughter and noisy play to add to this joyous atmosphere.

    As the wine warmed them up to their ears, Jing Jun returned and went behind Teng and Xiang, saying with a lowered voice, The defences between Wei and Zhao are tighter than normal, everyone is keen on capturing Master Xiang and the Princess to get the reward. Luckily I know of a secret route via the water so if we take advantage of the snow and the cover of the night, well definitely be able to sneak back into Zhao. Xiang Shaolong said happily, If only itd start snowing soon! Teng Yi looked up the sky and commented, Dont worry! There will certainly be a heavy snowfall tonight.

    Teng Yis prediction truly did not disappoint as balls of snowflakes started falling since dusk. By now the 4 of them have already passed the border between Han and Wei and made their wooden rafts, to be controlled by Teng and Jing. With the water and wind going in the right direction, they safely returned within Zhaos border the next morning.

  4. #44
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 4 Chap 9 Shocking and sad news

    The next day at dusk, the 4 of them arrived at the sentry post just inside the Zhao border and outside the city of the Zi district. By now Zhao Qian has dressed up as a man, masquerading as Jing Juns younger brother and because none of the generals outside has ever seen this beautiful 3rd Princess, so as long as theyre out of Handan, no one will be able to reveal her real identity.

    The guard on top of the city walls called out to the 4 of them to stop and when he saw its Xiang Shaolong, the guard immediately opened the gate to let them in without even waiting for his superiors instruction. His attitude was extremely respectful, which shows how well respected and famous Xiang Shaolong is within the Zhao army now. The truth us when Xiang Shaolong sent back the heads of the thieves he killed, the weapons and war horses back to Zhao after each victory, the first to know are usually these guards, so naturally they have a very high opinion of Xiang Shaolong.

    Under the escort of the Zhao army, Xiang Shaolong and the rest rode towards the city of Zi. Zhao Qians horse riding skills are quite good and sitting high atop the horse, looks like a handsome young man. Before they reach Zi, suddenly there was a team of Zhao soldiers riding towards them. The 2 groups slowly got closer to each other and Xiang Shaolong recognized the 2 leaders. One of them is the general in charge of defending the city, General Wa Che, and the other is shockingly his great enemy Zhao Mu. Zhao Qian and Xiang Shaolongs expressions changed. But by now its too late to avoid them so they can only grit their teeth and move forward.

    Zhao Mu hastened his horse and came forward with Wa Che hurrying to keep up with him. The 2 groups met and all of them dismounted. Zhao Mu saw Zhao Qian dressed as a man and immediately recognized her, his eyes shone with greed as he knelt down and paid his respects, The Marquis of Julu pays his respect to Third Princess! This shocked Wa Che and the rest so much that they hurriedly fell to their knees in respect. Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting that Zhao Mus sudden appearance has spoiled what he thought was a perfect arrangement, and now he has to deal with the outcome if Zhao Qian is found to have lost her virginity. Zhao Qian was surprisingly calm as she said, Marquis of Julu, please rise!

    This time its Xiang Shaolong, together with Teng Yi and Jing Juns turn to pay their respects to Zhao Mu. The 2 of them already knows the relationship between Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Mu so they pretended to be extremely respectful but of course were cursing the ancestors of this conniving fiend in their hearts.

    Zhao Mu instructed Wa Che, The 3rd Princess must have endured a lot of shock and suffering along the journey, send her quickly back to the city to rest. Zhao Qian was quite obedient and without even taking a look at Xiang Shaolong, followed Wa Che back.

    Zhao Mu and Xiang Shaolong rode alongside each other and he complimented, Lady Ya and Cheng Xu has already told what happened in Daliang to his Majesty. His Majesty is extremely pleased with how Shaolong reacted to the situation and your intellect. The only problem is that muddle headed King Anli sent an envoy to blame his Majesty that he has not even set eyes on 3rd Princess and youve already kidnapped her. This matter is quite troublesome and it seems that more will come. Xiang Shaolong pretended to fully trust him and loyal as he said, I hope that Marquis will say a few nice words in front of his Majesty for me. Zhao Mu replied insincerely, That is but of course!

    He also asked about Teng Yi and Jing Jun. Xiang Shaolong replied, Theyre Hans who have helped me and I have accepted them as my family servants. He did not mention anything about Xiao Weimou. Zhao Mu asked quietly, Did Shaolong meet with any enemies on the way back?

    Xiang Shaolongs intuition told him that Zhao Mus words are not as simple as it seems. Besides with Zhao Mus status, why would he come here especially to wait for him? Or could it be that Zhao Mu and Xiao Weimou have some secret relationship? At the same time he remembered that Xiao Weimou once said that Zhao Qian must not be harmed, it could be because he promised Zhao Mu that hell hand her to him.

    He replied, I met Xiao Weimou, and also chopped off his head! Zhao Mu was stunned and asked hoarsely, What? Xiang Shaolong is all the more certain of his guess. If Zhao Mu is not sure of Xiao Weimous ability, why else would he be so shocked. After he heard Xiang Shaolong repeat his words again, Zhao Mu was silent for a moment before he turned his head and stared at him, saying According to our spies in Daliang, that night when you escaped from Prince Xinlings residence you were surrounded by Xiao Weimou and his men, but someone later saved you and sent you out of Daliang. Who is that person?

    Xiang Shaolong is all the more certain that Zhao Mu is in cahoots with Xiao Weimou. Because at that time things happened so quickly, and the residents there dared not witness the fight for fear of getting trouble on themselves. Besides, onlookers would not know that they were surrounded by Xiao Weimou and his men, they would think that theyre Wei soldiers. But now Zhao Mu is so certain of what happened, the only reason is that the news came from Xiao Weimou.

    He was secretly cursing but on the surface he pretended to be nonchalant as he sighed, Id like to know who was that hero who saved me as well, but he left after taking me and the Princess away from danger, not even leaving us his name. Zhao Mu furrowed his brow, Werent you seriously injured then? Xiang Shaolong was secretly chortling, thinking that evil fiend has finally let the cat out of the bag. If not for Xiao Weimou telling him, how would he have known that he was seriously injured. He pretended to be puzzled and looked at him, asking Who told you that I was seriously injured, its just all superficial wounds!

    Zhao Mu knows that he has revealed too much and coughed dryly to cover up his embarrassment. By now the team has entered the city walls of Zi. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself: Just come! Lets see who shall be the ultimate victor.

    The next morning Xiang Shaolong, Zhao Mu and the rest started the journey as soon as it was bright. Following the official path they reached Handan 2 days later and entered the Palace immediately to see the King of Zhao. He arranged for Teng Yi and Jing Jun to return to the Wu family first. The King of Zhao received him in the Politics Discussion Hall, and Zhao Mu was the only one accompanying him.

    After respects was paid to the ruler, King Xiaocheng walked down the stone steps from his dragon throne and with his hands clasped behind his back, commented, Shaolong! Tell me how I should deal with you? You successfully stole Lu Gongs Secret Manual and killed Hui Hu, eliminating a troublemaker for our Great Zhao and achieved great accomplishments. But you did not wait for my instructions and brought the 3rd Princess back on your own accord, making me go back on my words towards the Weis. Tell me! Should I reward or punish you. Xiang Shaolong pretended to be astonished as he knelt down and said, Your subordinate knows hes made a mistake, but I was really forced by circumstances, the Weis were

    The King of Zhao interrupted him, No need for more words, whatever you wanted to say, my royal sister Lady Ya has already told me. But ultimately you did not accomplish the mission I gave you. If King Anli goes back on the marriage agreement, then just let him go back on his words. But now it has turned out that he is putting the blame on me, tell me how should I account for this?

    Xiang Shaolong felt fury rising up and almost wanted to strangle King Xiaocheng. A father who does not care about the happiness of his own daughter, how can he be fit to rule a country. He controlled his temper and removed the bag on his back which contained the head of Xiao Weimou and said, Your Majesty can return Xiao Weimous head to the King of Wei and he will know that we have found out about his collaboration with Xiao Weimou, then he will no longer pursue this matter! The King of Zhao looked at the bag in surprise, then looked at Zhao Mu, not quite knowing what to do with Xiang Shaolongs suggestion.

    Zhao Mu pretended to be the good guy and said, Shaolong, youve made a very bold suggestion. But the King of Wei can always deny his relationship with Xiao Weimou, or even say that youre setting him up. Hai! Shaolong is still inexperienced indeed.

    Xiang Shaolong expected that this conniving thief would say this so he said with a smile, Both they and us are just looking for excuses! Your Majesty need only tell Anli that I was trying to save the Princess, thats why I escaped back to Handan in order to hide from Xiao Weimous pursuit. Its simply not safe within Weis borders. If the Weis want to marry the Princess, then ask him to send someone here to escort the Princess, lets see what he will do? Zhao Mu did not expect Xiang Shaolong to come out with such a plan and for a moment had no argument.

    The King of Zhao was stunned for a moment before nodding his head, This is a good idea to round things up. Well do just that and see how that old man Anli is going to react? He then told Xiang Shaolong, For now Ill take it that your accomplishments have atoned for your mistakes and you can keep your current position. Rest well for the next few days! If theres anything else I will summon you into the Palace. Xiang Shaolong was relieved and hurriedly bid his leave.

    Xiang Shaolong had just stepped out of the Palace gates when Cheng Xu came up. However there was no joy of meeting after a long absence and instead he lowered his voice and said seriously, Lady Ya is waiting for Commander Xiang., followed by a sigh. Xiang Shaolong feels a dark omen and taking a deep breath, asked, What happened? Extreme sadness shot out of Cheng Xus eyes as he gritted his teeth and said, Lady Ni is dead! Xiang Shaolong was stunned, What?

    Cheng Xu said dejectedly, It happened on the 3rd day after you left. When the maid went to her room that morning, she saw her holding a sharp dagger. Her belly had a fatal wound and the bed was stained red by her blood. Xiang Shaolong felt as if he is falling from Heaven straight into hell, the blood in his body turning cold, his chest felt as if it has been pounded by a thousand kilo force, his breathing difficult and all the strength in his body suddenly disappearing. He staggered and almost fell to the ground if not for Cheng Xu supporting him.

    His face turned as pale as paper and tears fell uncontrollably down his cheeks. He thought of Lady Nis love and elegance, yet such a horrible death befell her, is there justice in the world? After Cheng Xu steadied him on his feet, Xiang Shaolong said through gritted teeth, She certainly will not commit suicide, dont those maids know anything? Cheng Xu sighed, Thats all we know upon our return. Now all those maids have been dismissed and we cant even find one of them to question. Those in court are fearful of Zhao Mu and dared not ask too many questions. His Majesty is now totally under Zhao Mus control and will not object to anything he says.

    Xiang Shaolong exclaimed hoarsely, Zhao Mu? And he slowly understood. Zhao Mu saw that Lady Ni has given in to him and was extremely jealous so he secretly went to rape Zhao Ni. Zhao Ni was distraught after the shameful ordeal so she used death to wash off her shame. That conniving thief Zhao Mu, who is worst than an animal! A sudden stab of pain and sadness rushed to his heart and Xiang Shaolong finally broke down and wept bitterly.

    Xiang Shaolong hugged Zhao Ya tightly, as if hes afraid that she will suddenly disappear like Zhao Ni. Lady Ya cried hot tears together with him and wailed, Xiang Lang! Brace yourself, all the more Zhao Mu will not let you and the Wu family off. If you dont pull yourself together well all die under his hands sooner or later. Xiang Shaolong asked, Where is Xiao Pan?

    Lady Ya replied, For now he is under the care of my royal sister. This child is indeed strange, after crying for a few days, he kept quiet and has not cried since, only saying that he wants to wait for your return. As she spoke the last words, Zhao Pans voice could be heard screaming madly from outside, Teacher! Xiang Shaolong pushed Lady Ya aside and hugged Zhao Pan who had ran into his arms.

    This little lad has lost a lot of weight and he cried bitterly, Teacher! Its Zhao Mu that conniving thief who cause Mother to die, I feel such deep hatred in my heart! Xiang Shaolong became calmer instead and asked, Tell me what happened that night. Zhao Pan replied, I dont know anything at all. That day his Majesty sent someone to bring over some snacks and I fell into a deep sleep after eating it. When I woke up Mother is already dead and even her body had been moved away. Mother is so pitiful! and he cried bitterly again.

    Lady Ya couldnt control her sadness and leaned on Xiang Shaolongs back and sobbed uncontrollably and a cloud of despair surrounded them. Xiang Shaolong reached out to hug Lady Ya and said quietly, From today onwards, Xiao Pan you will follow your royal Aunt Ya. We must certainly avenge your mother, but we cannot act rashly or else itll only give that conniving thief an excuse to deal with us, understand? Zhao Pan nodded his head vigorously, Xiao Pan understands totally. All these time I have been practicing my swordplay everyday as you have instructed. I want to kill Zhao Mu personally.

    Xiang Shaolong told Zhao Ya, Yaer, take good care of Xiao Pan. For now Zhao Mu will not dare to do anything to you and Qianer, but its still better to be careful. Will you be able to get Qianer out of the palace to stay with you at your residence outside the palace, and at the same time tell Zhao Da and the rest to increase defenses and not give Zhao Mu any opportunities? Zhao Ya replied, Although Imperial brother usually does not bother himself with Princess Qians matters, now because of her marriage agreement with the Weis, it might be a bit difficult to get her out of the Palace. But I will think of a way. After I retrieved the Secret Manual, Imperial Brother has regarded me highly, maybe I can persuade him. Xiang Shaolong thought of something and after telling Zhao Pan to leave first, he told Zhao Ya that hes already having a physical relationship with Zhao Qian.

    Zhao Yas expression changed, What shall we do? Zhao Mu will certainly coerce Imperial brother to give orders to check if Zhao Qian is still intact. If they find a problem, theyll definitely not let you off. Xiang Shaolong replied, Zhao Mu is extremely distracted right now and may not think of this point for now. He continued with a furrowed brow, Just how do you determine if Qianer is still a virgin? Zhao Ya replied, Mainly is to see if her hymen is still intact.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought so thats the case and asked, Who will do the inspection? Zhao Ya replied, It should be the empress who inspects personally, because of Zhao Qians royal status, no one else is allowed to touch her body. Xiang Shaolong thought of the Zhao empress and a thread of hope filled his heart as he said, No matter what, try to get Qianer away from the dangerous Palace first, then well think of how to deal with Zhao Mu.

    By now Tao Fang has arrived with Wu Tingfang and Ting Fangshi and after the long parting, the reunion is certainly a joyful one. If not for the death of Lady Ni, this would be the happiest moment in his life, but now its a different matter altogether. In the secret chamber in the Wu family stronghold, they held the first important meeting since Xiang Shaolongs return. Besides Master Wu, Wu Yingyuan and Tao Fang, theres also the leader of the family soldiers Wu Zhuo. Now he has become Xiang Shaolongs closest and most reliable battle mate.

    Master Wu first expressed his admiration towards Xiang Shaolong, Shaolong has outdone himself in Wei and his actions have caused quite a stir. Now everyone regards Shaolong as Zhaos most promising person. But at the same time it has aroused the jealousy of Zhao Mus gang. Wu Yingyuan said, Now we have no other choice but to throw in our lot with the Qins. Thats the only chance of surviving, or else well just be sitting and waiting to die. Everyones heart was heavy. Besides Qin and Zhao, of the remaining 5 states, Wei and Qi all hates Xiang Shaolong to the core, Yan has trouble protecting herself and is currently under attack by Lian Po while Han is weak. The remaining state of Chu is too far away and they dont have many connections with the Wu family as well. Therefore the only way out is to join Qin.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly laughing bitterly to himself. When he came to the warring states period on the time machine, he had intended to ally himself with Emperor Qin who has fallen on bad times here but later troubles kept coming one after another and he did not even have time to take a breather. He did not expect that after all the twists and turns, hell ended up back on this old road. Wu Yingyuan continued, I just made contact last month with the man Tu Xian sent. Looking at Xiang Shaolongs lost look, he explained, Tu Xian is Lu Buweis best family warrior, having both brains and bravery with excellent sword skill. Hes on quite good terms with me.

    He continued with a sigh, According to Tu Xian, although Qins King Zhuangxiang* ascended the throne, but because everyone suspects that he killed King Xiaowen with Lu Buwei and King Zhuangxiang has been staying in Zhao for a long period of time, its very difficult for Lu Buwei to become the premier for now. Tao Fangs expression paled, If Lu Buwei is thrown out, itll be the end for us too. Master Wu said, Were now secretly helping Lu Buwei in various ways. Luckily this person is very experienced and cunning, hell not be kicked out so easily. As long as King Zhuangxiang stands on his side, there will be a way.

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

    Wu Yingyuan said, This is the most important point. The woman King Zhuangxiang loves most is Zhu Ji (Concubine Zhu) and the son he pampers most is Ying Zheng. As long as we can send mother and son back to Xianyang, well be able to capture King Zhuangxiangs heart tightly. Were the only ones who can accomplish this matter, although it will be a difficult task. Tao Fang was afraid that Xiang Shaolong would not understand and explained, Zhu Ji was originally Lu Buweis beloved mistress and in order to make King Zhuangxiang happy, he gave her to him to become his wife.

    Master Wu said, This womans beauty can rival a country and is very good in flirting and handling men. Shes also extremely loyal to Lu Buwei, so if we have her next to King Zhuangxiang, we can guarantee that King Zhuangxiang will not be against Lu Buwei. Xiang Shaolong cant help but ask, So is Ying Zheng the son of Lu Buwei or King Zhuangxiang, how old is he this year.

    Wu Yingyuan was stunned, Im afraid the only person who knows is Zhu Ji. Ying Zheng was born before the battle of Chang Ping, so he should be more than 13 years old now, most likely between 15 or 16 years old. Xiang Shaolong was perplexed, according to history books, Emperor Qin was only 13 when he ascends the throne a few years later. How can it be possible that the history books are so wrong.

    Wu Yingyuan said, Ive made an agreement with Tu Xian and will try to send Zhu Ji and her son back to Xianyang in the shortest time possible. So the most important task at hand now is not to kill Zhao Mu, but to try and make contact with Zhu Ji and her son to see how we can stealthily take them out of Handan. Xiang Shaolong asked somberly, How many useful men do we have on hand right now?

    Wu Zhuo replied, We have 2 groups of warriors under us, one group are the good fighters we attracted from the various states but these people are not reliable and may very well run away when something happens. The other group are the orphans I adopted for Godfather from various places and the blood relations of the Wu family, which amounts to about 2000 men and they are all trustworthy, willing to even lay their life down for the Wu family. Xiang Shaolong asked, If we want to move Zhu Ji and her son away, what would be the biggest obstacle?

    Tao Fang replied, Its still that conniving thief Zhao Mu, the biggest problem is that hes made Ying Zheng so happy that he totally listens to him. Xiang Shaolong gritted his teeth, That conniving thief again!

    Master Wu said, Do not belittle Zhao Mu. Not only has that fellow controlled King Xiaocheng, hes also joined forces with Guo Zhong, so the largest Warrior Association and Mohist group here will be on his side. Even Lian Po and Li Mu, generals who hold military powers in their hands dare not step too much on his toes. Shaolong now youre a thorn in his flesh, so you must be careful all the way or else you will die any time. Xiang Shaolong was stunned, What is the Warrior Association?

    Tao Fang replied, Its a place which specializes in training professional warriors. The Zhao Warrior Associations leader is Zhao Ba and hes extremely highly skilled. You have to be careful when you meet him, he is very powerful in Handan! All of them discussed the finer details a little more before Xiang Shaolong returned to his Hidden Dragon Abode.
    Tao Fang accompanied him as he walked, Our men went to the valley you described at Mulberry Village. The house is still there but theyve waited until now and theres still no sight of Mei Canniang. But dont you worry! Im trying my best to find her. Now Xiang Shaolong has another thing to worry about. Its been more than a year since he came to this era and hes falling deeper both in terms of relationships and feelings. Sadness and happiness came at him alternatively, making the 21st century moving further away from him.

    Sometimes its difficult to differentiate, between these 2 eras, which seems more like a dream. Or maybe life is just a big dream. Time is just an illusion, and the time machine is something that allows one to experience different illusions. Maybe even Crazy ma, who invented the time machine, has no answers to such confusing questions.

    Tao Fang said, Ive arranged for that 2 friends of yours to stay at the courtyard next to your Hidden Dragon Abode. Heh! Jing Jun and Teng Yi are the exact opposites, his eyes gleamed when he sees beauties whereas Teng Yi has no interest in them at all, how strange! Hidden Dragon Abode was just ahead so Xiang Shaolong stopped and summarized to Tao Fang the tragic fate that befell Teng Yi before he parted ways with Tao Fang and went to see Teng and Jing.

    Jing Jun was hugging a pretty maid and enjoying himself but when he saw Xiang Shaolong he was startled and jumped up, looking a little lost. Xiang Shaolong laughed, Enjoy all you want! No need to bother about me! and he went into the inner hall to look for Teng Yi. Teng Yi was sitting quietly alone on the rug in deep thought, and might be thinking of his dead wife and family again. Xiang Shaolong sat next to him and explained to him the current situation.

    Teng Yi replied after listening, If there are 2000 death warriors, it wont be a problem to break out of the city, but itll be more difficult to deal with pursuing soldiers. If possible, Id like to personally train these 2000 people. Xiang Shaolong thought about it for a while before replying, Let me discuss this with Wu Zhuo. Teng Yi said, Just say Ill be his assistant! When it comes to military and wars, I once spent a lot of effort researching old and new military tactics. When I was a commander in the past, Ive spent long periods fighting the Qins and Weis, so I have some insight and experience in this.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that this person is not one who boasts so if he can say this out, he must be very confident. He said happily, Then we should not delay! Well go and discuss this with Wu Zhuo immediately. Teng Yi greatly admires Xiang Shaolongs way of putting action to words and gladly agreed. Xiang Shaolong brought him to meet Wu Zhuo and the 2 of them hit it off immediately, having discussions about military and battles and both lamenting that they should have got to know each other earlier.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly glad and afraid that Wu Tingfang would blame him for ignoring her, he left the 2 to their talk and left on his own. Lady Nis death re-ignited the hatred he felt towards Zhao Mu and at the same time he learnt the importance of striking first. The most important task at hand is to make connection with Ying Zheng and after that it will be the time to escape from Handan. Once he thought of this, he cant help but start to miss Mei Canniang.

    Heaven has already been very cruel to him, and he hopes that nothing unfortunate will happen to her. He should also learn to control himself, unless he really have the ability to protect the women he loves, or else he really shouldnt involve himself in more relationships. For those who knows Xiang Shaolong very well, they would know that this change in his thoughts can be quite unbelievable.

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    Book 4 Chap 10 Each executing own strategies

    Xiang Shaolong stepped into the main hall of Hidden Dragon Abode and Wu Tingfang, Ting Fangshi together with the 4 maids were kneeling along the door to welcome him according to the procedures required of a wife and concubine to welcome the return of a long absent husband.

    He did not expect Wu Tingfang to be so obedient and was feeling quite lost because hes not quite sure what hes supposed to do according to procedure. Wu Tingfang smilingly invited him to be seated at the main chair and personally helped to remove his clothes together with Ting Fangshi while the 4 maids happily went to the bathing pool behind to prepare hot water for him.

    As Xiang Shaolong was enjoying the warm family atmosphere, he cant help but think of the ill-fated Lady Ni. Especially when he was soaking in the pool, he remembered how he frolicked in the water with this alluring beauty right before he left.

    Wu Tingfang is a lot more mature and voluptuous now, and more understanding as well. Not only did she not blame him for being moody, she even attended to him meticulously together with Ting Fangshi, using their pretty bodies to sooth his seriously injured heart.

    In his daze, together with the fatigue from a long travel, Xiang Shaolong did not even know how he got onto the bed and when he woke up, its already deep into the night.

    On the huge bed, beneath the warm blanket, there was only the flimsily clad Wu Tingfang hugging him tightly, sleeping sweetly.

    Once Xiang Shaolong moved, she woke up immediately; obviously her concentration is totally upon her beloved.

    Wu Tingfang asked gently, Hungry? You havent had dinner yet!

    Xiang Shaolong hugged her tightly, With you in my arms, everything else is forgotten.

    Wu Tingfang exclaimed happily, Its so good that youre back. Without you, everything lost its interest and meaning. Fanger did not want to ride horses, play archery, nothing at all, but everyday Ill be counting the days when youll be back. I never thought that pining for a person could be so painful!

    After Sister Ya returned, Fanger went to bothered her everyday to tell me about what happened during your journey. Both of us totally idolizes you. Ive long said that no one will be able to defeat you.

    Xiang Shaolong thought of Lady Ni and felt a stab of pain. He went closer to her ear and whispered, Ill eat my obedient Fanger first before eating my late dinner, all right?

    Wu Tingfang exclaimed, Of course! Ive been waiting for your loving for so long that my neck is growing long from the wait.

    Early the next morning Master Wu sent someone to ask him and Wu Tingfang to join him for breakfast.

    Xiang Shaolong hugged Ting Fangshi and cuddled with her for a short while, then kissed the 4 maids who had been painfully waiting for him before hurrying to the main residence with the recently nourished and exuberant Wu Tingfang.

    Once Wu Tingfang saw her grandfather, she expertly used her wiles and mischievous behavior to make him so happy that he was grinning from ear to ear.

    During the meal Master Wu told Xiang Shaolong, After Wu Zhuo returned, he gave me a detailed report of Shaolongs trip to Wei. I am very pleased with what I heard, Shaolong not only are you more intelligent than others, youre also brave and heroic. It really is Fangers good fortune to have you as her husband.

    Wu Tingfang saw how her usually picky grandfather was complimenting her husband and was so happy she cant help but smile sweetly.

    Just as Xiang Shaolong was expressing his modesty embarrassingly, Master Wu said, Well choose a time within these 2 days to hold a secret wedding between you and Tingfang. That Ting Fangshi will become your concubine, does Shaolong have any objections?

    Xiang Shaolong rose to bow and offer his thanks while Wu Tingfang lowered her pretty face in bashfulness and joy.

    After he returned to his seat, Master Wu continued, Whether we succeed or fail, Zhao Ya is the key point. Only through her will it be possible for you to get in touch with Ying Zheng and his mother. Luckily she is enamored with you so Shaolong should make use of this relationship well.

    Wu Tingfang pouted, Grandfather! Sister Ya and Shaolong are truly in love with each other.

    Master Wu sighed, Little girl! What do you know?

    Xiang Shaolong has no wish to argue with him over this, and he cant really blame him for this thought because Zhao Yas reputation is really too horrible. No one will believe that she will remain true to one person, and even he himself is not totally confident.

    Master Wu said, Last night Guo Zhong sent a messenger over to invite Shaolong to his residence tonight for a feast to celebrate the success of stealing Lu Gongs Secret Manual. The other invited guests are Zhao Mu, the Juzi from Zhao Mohism Yan Ping and the person I mentioned to you yesterday, Zhao Ba from the Zhao Warrior Association. With such an arrangement, Im afraid its not going to be something so simple as a celebratory feast.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows on hearing that and asked, Can I bring some men along?

    Master Wu replied, Of course you can! Now that you are our Wu familys Grandson-in-law, and has made great military contributions, your status is different from the past. How can you not have some family warriors following you?

    Xiang Shaolong thought for a moment before asking, Theres one matter which Shaolong is unable to figure out. King Xiaocheng and Zhao Mu all have the family name Zhao, do they have any blood relations with each other, but why is it they can mess everything up, and even have marriages between those of the same family name?

    Master Wu looked at him in surprise, Youre confusing me instead. People from the wild mountains like you have never placed much consideration on marriages between blood relatives, so why are you so particular about this matter?

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong remember his real background and he pulled off a nonsensical reply, Im just perplexed that the royalty would learn from us as well.

    Master Wu would never imagine that he came from another dimension, and even if Xiang Shaolong told the truth, he would not have believed him. He explained, There are 2 groups of people with the family name Zhao. One of the group is really from the Zhao family tribe, but after so many generations, the blood relations has been thinned greatly so everyone ignores it with some even encouraging marriages within the same family name. The other group are those bestowed the family name Zhao by the King, and Zhao Mu is one of the examples.

    Xiang Shaolong nodded his head in understanding.

    Master Wu said, There are 2 people whom Shaolong must be on guard against, and theyre Prince Xinling from Wei and Tian Dan from Qi. These 2 people are extremely formidable and have a lot of expert fighters under them. Youve stolen the Lu Gongs Secret Manual and killed Xiao Weimou, they will definitely not let you off. Unless they decide not to strike but if they do, it will certainly be after much planning and consideration and their strategy will be astounding, its not going to be something easy to deal with.

    Xiang Shaolong raised his brows as he replied, Shaolong is already mentally prepared, Grandfather please rest assured!

    Master Wu raised his head heavenward and chortled as he reached out his hand to pat his shoulder, saying, Good! That is my good grandson-in-law.

    Knowing oneself and ones enemy well is the key to winning a hundred battles.

    Even in the 21st century, gathering information is the most important task. Its just that during that time they can rely on satellites, but here they have to rely on peoples ears and eyes.

    Because of this Xiang Shaolong had a discussion with Tao Fang to decide how to find out what Zhao Mus strategy against them is. They also extended their spying network to Guo Zhong, Zhao Ba, Yan Ping as well as Zhao Mus 2 lackeys, the Physician Guo Kai and General Yue Cheng etc. After that he went with Wu Tingfang to Lady Yas residence situated outside the Palace.

    Teng Yi and Jing Jun became his personal bodyguards. Once he steps out of the house, they will follow him like a shadow.

    Wu Zhuo also chose another 10 excellent fighters to be his followers. All these people went to Wei with him so they have already established strong ties with him, therefore they can naturally work well with one another.

    The streets of Handan is livelier and more crowded as well. Looking at the dressing and hearing the accents, a lot of them were traders from other places. Obviously Zhao is now slowly recovering after its serious defeat at Changping.

    Xiang Shaolong and Wu Tingfang rode alongside each other, followed by Teng Yi and Jing Jun with the Wu family soldiers following right at the end and everyone on the streets turned to look at them.

    He cant help but feel a surge of emotions.

    Thinking back on the day he just arrived in Handan, he couldnt even protect Ting Fangshi then and cant help but have mixed feelings about this.

    But all these in front of him, is like a sandcastle built on a beach. One large wave is all it takes for everything to disappear without a trace.

    In fact the whole country can use this analogy as well.

    Again he felt as if this is a big dream.

    Why does life always feel like a dream?

    Only during special moments, for example when fighting a battle or when enjoying himself like last night with Wu Tingfang can he clearly feel the presence of life.

    No matter how he was thrown into this era, its difficult for him to feel for what is happening in front of him like the others. Because after all he is from another era, with 2000 more years of experience, thats why he can see more clearly, more deeply and more objectively than any scholar of this era.

    Wu Tingfang kept throwing sweet and beguiling smiles at him and soon, they were entering Lady Yas residence.

    Zhao Ya received them in the main hall.

    Xiang Shaolong specially introduced Teng Yi and Jing Jun to her and said quietly, Jing Jun is very good in stealth work at night, going over walls and into houses easily. If there is anything urgent I want to inform you, I will tell him to look for you.

    After settling on some simple communication signals, Lady Ya smiled smugly, Qianer is waiting for you inside.

    Xiang Shaolong was overjoyed and curious at the same time, King Xiaocheng really agreed to your request?

    Lady Ya led him and Wu Tingfang into the inner hall while Teng and Jing remained in the outer hall. As they walked, she explained, I gave Imperial brother a proposal, saying that I want to teach Qianer the secrets to enticing men so that when she becomes the concubine of another state, she can also make use of her natural beauty to push things that are beneficial to our Great Zhao. Imperial brother is not a person with a mind of his own so after I pointed out to him the advantages to it, he agreed.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly admired Zhao Ya for her quick and tactical ideas. He reached out and hugged her slender waist, tapped her buttocks lightly twice and said, So Zhao Mus family name is not originally Zhao, I wonder who is he and what is his background?

    Zhao Ya replied, No one in Handan dares to mention this, because Zhao Mu will go to unscrupulous lengths to deal with those who pursue his background. When he came to Zhao he was only 14 years old, and was introduced by an attendant. Because Zhao Mus swordsmanship was excellent and was obedient, and at the same time he has the same habit of liking men like Imperial brother so very quickly he won the heart of Imperial brother. At that time Imperial brother has not yet ascended the throne but because of their close relationship, even we could not say anything. I just did not expect that now that Zhao Nis death is so full of loopholes, Imperial brother still allowed Zhao Mu to cover everything up. Now everyone in the palace has given up on Imperial brother, but whats the use of that?

    Xiang Shaolong forced himself not to think of Lady Ni and asked calmly, Is the attendant who brought him in still around?

    Zhao Ya replied, Not long after Imperial brother ascended the throne, that attendant was found to have lost his footing, fell into a well and drowned by someone. At that time we did not suspect anything at all but now that youre asking about it, I think this person is killed by Zhao Mu to prevent him from revealing the secret of his background.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, Is that attendant from Zhao?

    Lady Ya thought for a moment before replying, Im not sure, but its not difficult to find out.

    Xiang Shaolong reminded her, This investigation must be done secretly.

    Lady Ya pouted, All right! Do I still need you to tell me that?

    Xiang Shaolong was about to speak further when Zhao Qian ran into his arms like a fragrant breeze, her delicate body trembling and using all the strength she has to hug him tightly.

    Wu Tingfang laughed, 3rd Princess, so youre equally enamored of him as well!

    Zhao Qian left Xiang Shaolongs safe embrace embarrassingly and holding Wu Tingfangs tiny hand, led her towards Lady Yas tranquil little building, the 2 girls chattering non-stop, behaving very closely towards each other.

    The 4 of them went to the small building and drinking the fragrant tea served by Xiao Zhao and the rest, enjoying the nice morning weather.

    The large garden outside the building has turned into a silvery white world, with snowy petals on the trees.

    Xiang Shaolong told Wu Tingfang and Zhao Qian, My 2 obedient lasses, the garden is so pretty, why dont you take a walk downstairs?

    Naturally the 2 ladies will listen to his every command and knowing that he has business to discuss with Lady Ya, they obediently went down to admire the snowy scene in the garden.

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong told Lady Ya about Ying Zheng.

    Lady Ya took a long look at him before saying, Xiang Lang, dont blame Yaer for being curious, but it seems that when you first came to Handan, you were already very interested in Ying Zheng. At that time you should not have known about the relationship between the Wu family and Lu Buwei yet, so how did you have such foresight?

    Xiang Shaolong was dumbfounded because with Zhao Yas intelligence, no matter how he tries to explain it will still sound inappropriate. Because with his status at that time, he shouldnt even be aware of the existence of Ying Zheng.

    Lady Ya went into his arms and continued, No matter what secrets you have, Yaer doesnt care as long as you love me.

    Xiang Shaolong was touched and after kissing her fragrant lips, said, Is there a way to arrange a meeting between me and Ying Zheng.

    Lady Ya sighed, Its no problem at all arranging for both of you to meet, at the most Ill sacrifice myself a little. The problem is theres no way this can be hidden from Zhao Mu. Besides, seeing Ying Zheng may hinder things instead. This person is engrossed with wine and beauty all day long, hes not much difference from a bum. He also believes that Zhao Mu is his benefactor and friend and worst, he may reveal your secrets to Zhao Mu. That would be terrible!

    Is Ying Zheng really such a person?

    Xiang Shaolong felt a problem coming on and asked, What about his mother Zhu Ji?

    Lady Ya replied, She is a very smart and formidable woman, and is about 30 odd years old now but she doesnt look that much older than me at all. Shes really a rare beauty and Zhao Mu and her already started a relationship long ago. However I think shes only with Zhao Mu for survival. This woman is extremely ambitious and will never be loyal to anyone, including Lu Buwei.

    Xiang Shaolong had an idea and said, This would be much easier, I will work on this woman.

    He secretly thought that as long as she is ambitious, she will not be satisfied staying in Handan as a hostage, then he will have a chance.

    He wont even mind if he has to sacrifice his body a little.

    In order to strike against Zhao Mu, he is willing to use any methods available.

    When he returned to the Wu residence and just after lunch, Lady Yas family warrior arrived to look for him, telling him to go to her residence immediately with the specific instructions not to bring Wu Tingfang along.

    Xiang Shaolong felt goose bumps rising, and was totally perplexed. After bidding his farewell to Wu Tingfang and Ting Fangshi, he hurried to her residence with with Teng Yi and Jing Jun.

    Zhao Ya stopped them in the main hall and with a somber expression, said, Empress Jing is here. She continued with gritted teeth, That conniving thief Zhao Mu really will not let you off even a little.

    Xiang Shaolongs heart sank, It seems like I will have to enter the palace and seek King Xiaochengs forgiveness. He did not expect that he cant even delay this for half a day.

    Lady Ya said, The situation may not be that bad yet, Empress Jing wants to see you personally! She continued with a giggle, A handsome looking man indeed will have some advantages.

    Xiang Shaolong smiled bitterly and went into the inner hall to meet Empress Jing.

    Empress Jing stood in front of the window with her back facing him and after dismissing her maids, said icily, Xiang Shaolong youre really bold! Are you not afraid of death? You dare to even despoil 3rd Princesss virginal body!

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that he has to put on a convincing act so he knelt down and said, Shaolong is true towards Princess, and has no intention of toying with her. I hope Empress Jing will try to understand what happened.

    Empress Jing turned around, her eyes furious but her expression cold as ice as she said, I dont care if youre really in love. If his Majesty were to find out, he will surely think that you brought 3rd Princess back to Handan because of your own selfish desires. Besides, stealing what youre supposed to protect is akin to the crime of lying to the ruler, even his Majesty wont be able to find an excuse to let you off. It seems that even now you do not realize how serious this is, and to think that I thought so well of you.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that something is not right. Looking at her expression and tone of voice, its nothing as simple as blackmailing him with this matter to have an affair with her. He has really underestimated her. He remembered Lady Pingyuan once said hers is one of the political marriages arranged for the unification of the 3 states, and she was a Han beauty who married into Zhao. He suddenly had an idea and immediately said, Shaolong knows hes made a mistake, Empress Jing save me!

    Empress Jings icy faade softened a little and she sighed, Xiang Shaolong! Stand up!

    Xiang Shaolong stood up and stayed there, not moving.

    Empress Jing turned around again, looking at the wintry forest outside the window and said slowly, What should I do about this? If I hide it for you, it will be found out sooner or later and by then even I will be implicated. If the Weis were to immediately come and bring 3rd Princess back, what do you think will be the outcome?

    Xiang Shaolong emboldened himself and walked to Empress Jings back, saying gently, Dont worry Empress Jing, the King of Wei already had the intention of going back on the agreement. Besides Zhao Mu will try to disrupt this as well so this wedding agreement will certainly drag on. After 6 months to a year, even if 3rd Princess is going to marry, Empress Jing can just push all the blame away.

    The Empress was silent for a moment before saying quietly, Im risking my life to hide this secret for the both of you, so how will it benefit me?

    Xiang Shaolong thought that here comes the chance and said determinedly, If Empress Jing were to have any instructions, Xiang Shaolong will go through hell and fire, risking my life to accomplish it for you.

    Empress Jing still have not turned around but she said calmly, Then kill a person for me!

    Xiang Shaolong moved closer, his body pressing against her back as his arms reached out to encircle her tiny waist tightly and nibbling at her ear, asked Is Zhao Mu the person Empress Jing want to kill?

    Empress Jings delicate body trembled as she leaned into his arms, Dueling with a smart person like you really saves a lot of time talking. As long as Zhao Mu remains alive, there is no hope at all for the state of Zhao and my position as Empress is just an empty title, do you understand?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, I understand! Theres another person, right?

    The other person would naturally be King Xiaocheng because once Zhao Mu and King Xiaocheng are killed, Empress Jings son will ascend the throne and Empress Jings status will raise to become the Dowager. Since her son is still young, power will naturally land in her hands. Who will care by that time whether Zhao Qian is still a virgin or not?

    In order to gain power, people in this era are all vicious. Wives killing husbands, sons killing fathers, everything is done in the extreme.

    Although Empress Jings body softened with his hug, her mind was still sharp and she said quietly, You are the one who said it, the person I want to deal with is only Zhao Mu. Ai! Its not that his Majesty does not want to give you opportunities, but youre now part of the Wu family and Wu Yingyuan is secretly on close relations with the Qins, so sooner or later theyll get into trouble and have the whole clan exterminated. But if you get rid of Zhao Mu, maybe I can protect you, or maybe even give you better opportunities.

    Xiang Shaolong turned her body around, hugging her closely to his body. How can Empress Jing stand all these, her face blushed like fire, her breathing rapid, lust filling her.

    Xiang Shaolong kissed her heavily on her lips, his hands greedily investigating the restricted areas.

    Firstly its because of her high and regal status, secondly its because her body is voluptuous and alluring, thirdly its because of her flirtatious behavior after her passion was flamed, which made Xiang Shaolong turn reel into real, and enjoy to his hearts content.

    Empress Jing used all her willpower and remaining strength to grab his disobedient hands, left his attacking lips and panted coquettishly as she said, I never say what I dont mean. Within 3 days, I want you to give me a satisfactory proposal, all right?

    The last sentence was filled with soft pleading, as if she has developed feelings for Xiang Shaolong.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this woman is so formidable she resembles Lady Pingyuan a little. He has to show her how beneficial he is to her, only then can they work happily together. He kissed her face and said, Theres no need for 3 days, I can give you an answer now.

    He paused and continued, To deal with Zhao Mu, theres only 2 ways, by wit or strength. By strength, the plan is naturally to assassinate him; by wit we will check out his background and then lay a trap for him. From what I guess, he must be a sspy sent by another state to try and bring down our Great Zhaos political situation from the inside. Or else if he has any love at all for Zhao, he wouldnt have done what he has been doing.

    Empress Jings eyes lighted up and looked at him intently, Youre not simple at all. But remember youll have to be swift and vicious when dealing with Zhao Mu, or else you will end up falling in his trap instead and youll never be able to pick yourself up again.

    A strong hatred gleamed in Xiang Shaolongs eyes as he said through gritted teeth, Just the tragic death of Lady Ni is enough to make us stand on opposing ends, so Empress Jing need not worry.

    Empress Jing voluntarily kissed him and said, Shaolong! I have to go. Remember you must not look for me as you will, I will make contact with you instead.

    Even after she disappeared around the door, Xiang Shaolong still did not feel relieved at all. On seeing that this woman did not ask to have immediate fun with him, he knows that she can readily control her lusts. This type of woman is the most fearsome and anytime she can turn around and point the gun at him while he is only a useful tool in her hand!

    Xiang Shaolong hugged Zhao Qian tightly and reassured her, Everythings fine now!

    Zhao Qian asked worriedly, I really do not need to fear anything? If Qianer has caused you trouble, I can only

    Xiang Shaolong reached out and covered her tiny mouth, and told Zhao Ya, You must keep a good watch over Zhao Qian. I will send Jing Jun to lead a few good fighters to pretend to be your family warriors. If it comes to the critical juncture we will be forced to strike.

    Lady Ya said, Please dont do that! In Handan I still have enough power to protect myself and Qianer. Besides Imperial brother holds me in very high regard now.

    She then pulled Xiang Shaolong aside and said quietly, You asked me to check on that attendant who brought Zhao Mu in, and theres now some headway. According to an old palace maid, that attendant called He Dan is from the state of Chu and was doted on and trusted by the late King. But what is the use of this news?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Right now I dont know of what use it can be. But Zhao Mu may possibly be a spy sent by the Chus, and his task is to ensure that the 3 states will never be unified.

    Lady Ya nodded and said, This guess is very reasonable, and also explains why Zhao Mu is linked with Xiao Weimou. Because what Zhao Mu represents is the common benefits for Chu and Qi, both do not want to see the unification of the 3 states.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows as he thought, But even if we know this, for now its difficult to use this information to deal a blow to Zhao Mu.

    Lady Ya laughed, Leave this to me, dont forget Im an expert in forgery. As long as I have a little information, I will be able to forge secret letters from the Chus to Zhao Mu. And even more delicately make it land in Imperial brothers hands while Empress Jing and I will fan the flames at the side. Zhao Mu will be in for a hard time then.

    Xiang Shaolong happily hugged and kissed her a few times, I will ask Tao Fang to keep an eye on any Chus who comes into contact with Zhao Mu, if we can find real proof, that would be ideal.

    After having some fun with Lady Ya and Zhao Qian, Xiang Shaolong returned to the Wu family stockade and he had just stepped through the door when the guards told him, The Juzi Mister Yan Ping came to look for you, Eldest Young Master is now attending to him.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that something is wrong, so he braced himself and went to Wu Yingyuans residence to meet him.

    Wu Yingyuan saw that he has returned and made an excuse to leave, leaving the 2 of them sitting opposite each other in the hall.

    Yan Ping said with a wooden expression, Brother Xiang has shown off your capabilities in Wei, making everyone look at you differently, but it has also thrown you into a dangerous situation. Im sure Brother Xiang knows about it!

    Xiang Shaolong was a little impressed by his straightforwardness and honesty, but because of Yuan Zongs matter, its difficult for him to work with this person. He sighed and said, Only idiots will not stir up feelings of jealousy, this is unavoidable.

    Yan Ping repeated the phrase Only idiots will not stir up feelings of jealousy twice and was impressed, Brother Xiangs words are indeed profound, my apologies! His eyes then turned sharp as he stared at him and said, No wonder Yuan Zong is willing to hand you the Juzi token.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, naturally it must be Zhao Mu who told the Chus. From this he can deduce that Zhao Mu indeed has close connections with the Chus, thats why the Chus can get hold of the latest news.

    Yan Ping said, This Juzi token is of no use at all to outsiders, and will cause trouble instead. If Brother Xiang can give it to me, I will surely repay you.

    Xiang Shaolong really had this urge to just give the Juzi token to him to avoid adding more trouble in future. But Yuan Zong would rather die than hand the token to Yan Ping, and he must have his reason for doing so. Yuan Zong also sacrificed himself so that he can escape to Handan safely so no matter what he cannot let him down. So although by doing so it will only be beneficial to him, he still persevered.

    He smiled and said, Even if the Juzi token is not on Brother Yuan, maybe he hid it or maybe he gave it to someone else, why are you so sure the token is with me?

    Yan Ping replied unhappily, That means Brother Xiang is refusing to hand the token over. This is such an unintelligent move, now there are many people in Handan who wants to see Brother Xiang dead and if I help them, would Brother Xiang be able to handle it?

    Xiang Shaolong laughed icily, You should be responsible for Brother Yuans death, I have not settled this score with you and yet you dare to threaten me.

    Yan Ping stood up suddenly and said calmly, Fine! Xiang Shaolong! Youre brave. If you can reach the Guo residence safely tonight, then let me try you out on your Mohist swordplay!

    He laughed loudly thrice and left like the wind.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that others have threatened him since he was young so hes not afraid of such threats at all. He left to look for Teng Yi and Wu Zhuo.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 4 Chap 11 The 3 major killer strikes

    Yuan Zong is really dead! A wave of sadness coursed through Xiang Shaolong. He thought of his desolate times in Wu An, Yuan Zong not only provided him with food and lodging, but also taught him Mohist Swordplay. Those 3 months he spent with him gave him the ability to survive in this messy time, hes really indebted to him. If he did not know that Yan Ping caused the death of Yuan Zong, he would not have made enemies with this Juzi from Zhao Mohism. Although he gained a few hundred more fearsome opponents because of this, his heart is still glad.

    He laid on a bed and enjoyed the after bath massage given to him by Chunying and the other 3 maids, trying to relax himself so that he can deal with the continuous battles tonight. This is a lawless world where the strong will survive. Or else he would have made a police report and request for bodyguards. He toyed with the square token with the single word Mo in his hand, the Juzi Token, and felt its strange icyness.

    Those traitorous Mohists Yan Ping and Fu Du, why are they going to all lengths to get this token? The 2 issues of Yuan Zong not having the Juzi token on him and the night attack at Prince Xinlings residence by the Chu Mohism, it must be because that conniving thief Zhao Mu who informed Yan Ping so that he can come cause trouble with him. This person is really extremely vicious, just a few words from him is enough to throw him into danger. He studied the token in his hand closely.

    When he read martial arts novel in the 21st century, they always wrote that whatever token, as long as its in ones hands, that person will have ultimate power over a sect or group of people and can command them. But obviously this Juzi token has no such power or Yuan Zong can always hold it up and therell be no need to run for his life. Therefore this Juzi token must have some other more substantial value, and not something so simple as a symbol of the Juzi status.

    But if thats the case, why didnt Yuan Zong tell him. Or could it be he has not found out the secret himself, so he did not reveal it since hes doubtful as well? At this time Wu Tingfang and Ting Fangshi walked laughingly towards the pool and sat down next to him. 2 more pairs of delicate hands joined to massage his muscles. He was so comfortable he closed his eyes, but his fingers were still rubbing the Juzi token.

    When he touched that word Mo, the 2 upper dots of the character seemed to have undiscernibly rotated a little and he opened his eyes to take a closer look in shock. He used his thumb to rub harder but the 2 protruding dots did not move at all. He quietly sighed and was about to give up when he suddenly thought that if its so easy to find out the secret to the Juzi token, Yuan Zong would have found it long ago. So he concentrated on his study again.

    Wu Tingfang was laughing at that side, Xiang Lang! What treasure is this, youre looking at it more intently than when you look at us! While Ting Fangshi commented, That thing is so exquisite! Xiang Shaolong just replied with a smile and used his fingertips to push hard on that 2 round dots but there is still not reaction at all.

    Wu Tingfang was feeling mischievous so she leaned over and gently bit his ear and pulled it. Xiang Shaolong was so comfortable he moaned and was about to put the Juzi token and deal with her when he suddenly had an idea. If pushing it down is useless, what about pulling it up? So he instructed Chunying to get him a small plier, pinched one of the round dots and pulled up with his might. There was a tak sound and the round dot rose up almost half an inch from the token. Xiang Shaolong was immediately energized and sat up.

    The women all crowed around him in puzzlement and all of them joined in to study the token in his hand. Xiang Shaolong pulled up the other dot and now it looks as if there are 2 round pillars protruding on the Mo word. He cant help but feel nervous and tried to turn the little pillar clockwise and it really turned, making another sound which sounded like a lock being opened. The women all tittered in amazement.

    Wu Tingfang grabbed his arms and said, Something is hidden inside, Xiang Lang, turn the other one quickly. Xiang Shaolong took a deep breath, suppressed his nervous feeling and turned the other tiny pillar. He tried but it did not move. However, when he turned it anti-clockwise, something strange happened. There was a tak sound and the Juzi token separated, revealing a tiny rolled brocade parchment of about 5 inches inside. The women cheered. Xiang Shaolong was utterly shocked and knows that he finally found the secret to this Juzi token by sheer luck.

    He opened the tiny scroll on the bed, and its about 20 feet long, filled tightly with diagrams and tiny words. The first half is the upper volume Mohism Military Tactics, the lower volume on the second half are all sword strokes. At the beginning of the scroll its written Mohist Swordplays addendum of the 3 major killer strikes. Xiang Shaolong was extremely interested and upon a closer read, he was secretly ecstatic. It turns out that these 3 major killer strikes are all offensive sword moves, a great contradict to the idea of mainly defense in the Mohist swordplay. He wonders if its because Mo Yu had a change of heart in his later years and created these 3 offensive moves to supplement the inadequacies of the swordplay.

    Although its named 3 strikes, but each strike there are at least a hundred odd diagrams, so obviously its an extremely complicated move. The most intricate thing is these 3 stokes are all related to defense, so it can be used seamlessly with the Mohist Swordplay Yuan Zong taught him.

    The first stroke is named Defending instead of attacking. Those lifelike human drawings were drawn sitting, walking, holding swords, jumping and rolling, and in all kinds of positions. Each picture is accompanied by detailed instructions and ways of using it. Each word is marvelously written and clear, making one feel extreme awe for this person Mo Yus intelligence.

    The second stroke is named Attacking instead of defending. If the first stroke is akin to stability like the mountains, this second stroke is like shocking waves that can split the shores, with unfathomable strength. Just these 2 strokes alone is enough to contain the essence of attacking and defending in swordplay. When matched with the Mohist swordplay, the power in increased many fold.

    The third stroke is named Attacking and defending concurrently, its changes are even more complex but its not the merger of the other 2 strokes, but an extremely mysterious swordplay. Not only are there defenses in the attacks, there are also attacks in the defenses, and the most formidable part is that it is ever changing, at anytime it can change from attack to defense or vice versa, making Xiang Shaolong totally inebriated while looking at it.

    For now theres no need for him to study the military tactics in the scroll, so he picked up his wooden sword and went to the courtyard, concentrating on studying and practicing these 3 sword strokes. The women all sat in the small pavilion in the courtyard, looking at their beloved concentrating as he danced with his sword.

    Xiang Shaolong read as he practiced and initially he had to stop and read frequently but when he got used to the moves, every move he made, whether cutting, slashing, piercing or carving, all of it contained the essence of the swordplay. Unconsciously he was absorbed into the mysterious swordplay and forgot about everything else. Such wondrous feeling, its the first time he tasted it ever since he learnt swordplay from Yuan Zong. The wooden sword seems to suddenly feel so light as he moved according to instructions, making sounds as it sliced thru the air, becoming the howl of a hero, increasing the formidable aura enough to make others afraid.

    He combined it with the original Mohist swordplay and practiced again and for a moment the sword aura was everywhere, at times quiet and at times moving. When quiet it feels like the calm sea, but when moving it feels like angry waves, the changes unfathomable. The women were all intoxicated by the sight, only feeling that Xiang Shaolongs every pose is extremely exquisite, every move showing the extreme capability of a human body, both quiet and exciting, forming into an earth shattering aura.

    Time flies, and it was only when Teng Yi, Jing Jun and Wu Zhuo came to look for him that Xiang Shaolong realized that he has unconsciously practiced swordplay for 6 hours. For someone who has never learned Mohist swordplay, he may not even gain any headway with these 3 strokes even after practicing for 3 years but for Xiang Shaolong, 6 hours is enough for him to learn a lot and change into a new person. Xiang Shaolong did not feel tired at all.

    He was curious, the strange breathing method of Mo Yu must be related to the mysterious innate ability in humans. If in future he can follow his method of meditation and practice his breathing, the effect may be even more miraculous and he may very well become a martial arts expert like those portrayed in martial arts novels, having mysterious internal energy. After he hurriedly washed up, he went to the hall to meet with Wu Zhuo and the rest.

    Teng Yi looked at him in surprise, Brother Xiang looks energized, like youve changed into another person, has something worth congratulating happened. Wu Zhuo added, Young Grand Master-in-laws are sharper than before, its really astonishing! Xiang Shaolong was secretly ecstatic but he changed the topic and said, How many men can be used right now?

    Wu Zhuo replied, We have enough men, its no problem moving 500 to 600 of them but once we do that, we will reveal the real strength we have and in the long term its more harmful than beneficial. Xiang Shaolong was extremely confident, Why not just the 4 of us, together with 10 elite fighters you pick, and well try it out! The 3 of them were collectively startled, isnt this obvious who will be stronger or weaker?

    Xiang Shaolong continued, If we were to fight head on, well definitely lose but now our aim is just to safely reach Guo residence, so its 2 different matters. Jing Jun said, If Im the only one, Im very confident that I will slip into the Guo residence unnoticed. Wu Zhuo suddenly became excited, To be able to fight together with Young Grand Master-in-law, is indeed the happiest thing. Come! Let us discuss this. He took out a painting from the front of his chest, and it turns out to be the street map of Handan.

    Wu Zhuo pointed at a small hill in the city and said, The Guo residence is on this hill, there are only 2 proper roads towards there, which leads to the front and back courtyards of the Guo residence. The other areas are either rocky terrain or dense forests. Teng Yi added, As long as we can reach the hill, with the rocks and dense forests as cover, we need not fear them using arrows or long distance projectiles, nor need we fear their bigger numbers.

    Wu Zhuo said, The problem is that they will certainly send men to keep an eye on us, then they will be able to choose any point in the mile long journey to attack and kill us. Xiang Shaolong thought hard for a moment before saying, We can use the tactic of Openly repairing the road while sneaking to Chen Cang*

    *An idiom from the Chu-Han contention
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chu-Han_contention

    Looking at them looking at him in bewilderment, he remembered that the story of Chen Cang happened during the Chu-Han contention, so naturally they have never heard of it. He hurriedly changed his words, Wu Zhuo you can send out 3 horse carriages at the same time, traveling towards 3 different directions. Those Mohists will certainly have to go after all the carriages and by the time they realize theres no one in the carriages, their strength is already divided. Only then will we set off, throwing them into disarray. The 3 of them thought that this plan is workable on hearing it.

    Jing Jun commented, We can use ropes and hooks to climb over family residences, and those following us will certainly be caught unprepared and not know what to do! The more they talk the more excited they became, as if they have already won the battle. In the end Xiang Shaolong said, If I am Yan Ping, I will definitely leave my men at the bottom of the hill where the Guo residence is, by then we can make use of the dense forest and have a good fight with them.

    Teng Yis expression changed, Why dont Jing Jun and I slip there first and lay some traps, then well be even more confident. Jing Jun loves making trouble and he jumped up, No time to lose, theres still 4 more hours to the feast, we will bring our equipment there immediately and start making traps. Wu Zhuo stood up and said excitedly, What do you need, I can provide everything.

    After the 3 of them left, Xiang Shaolong went back to his bedroom and took out his equipment and the belt filled with his flying needles and secured them around his body before kissing his wives and maids farewell and hurrying to meet with Wu Zhuo. On the way he saw a very happy looking Tao Fang. Tao Fang pulled him aside and said, Were really lucky, we found out about a mysterious person who just happened to meet Zhao Mu today and from his accent hes definitely a Chu.

    Xiang Shaolong asked happily, Has he been captured? Tao Fang replied, Hes still in the city. If we try to capture him we may alert the others. According to our spys investigations, he booked the room at the inn until tomorrow morning. As soon as he steps out of Handan, well capture him alive and imprison him at our pasture. I dont believe his mouth can be as stubborn as our torture equipment. Xiang Shaolong put his arms around Tao Fangs shoulders and chortled as they walked out, If we can get proof of that conniving thiefs nefarious schemes, well make sure hell get his just desserts.

    At this time the 2 of them reached the large open space behind the main door where Wu Zhuo has prepared 3 horse carriages and was waiting for his instructions. Tao Fang asked quizzically, Theres only one of you, why do you need 3 horse carriages?

    Xiang Shaolong laughed, The 3 horse carriages are all not for me, but a gift to that short lived Yan Ping! As he chortled, he let go of Tao Fang and left.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 1 The dinner feast at Guo residence

    Tiny snowflakes filled the sky, the weather bitterly cold. Luckily there were no gusts of wind or itll feel even more terrible.

    Wu Zhuo, Xiang Shaolong and over 10 odd men on horses left the residence hurriedly, all of them were wearing bamboo hats that covered most of their faces. Once they reached the streets they split ways immediately, 2 to a group, all traveling towards different directions. Firstly its the 3 horse carriages, now there is this move to trick the enemy. Even if Yan Pings 300 men are all waiting outside the residence, its difficult for them to follow so many suspicious characters at the same time. Besides who can be certain whether Xiang Shaolong is one of them.

    This move is to force Yan Pings Mohist warriors to retreat to the Guos residence where the dense forest and the road leading up the hill is. Xiang Shaolong and Wu Zhuo traveled a well planned route and swiftly left the forested area outside the Wu residence and arrived at the side of the main road where other common residences are. They did not travel towards the Guo residence but instead turned left in the opposite direction in spite of the snow. They did not care if they were being followed and when they reached the front of a large house, they gave the secret signal.

    The door to the house immediately opened. The owner of this big house is someone who has strong relations with the Wu residence and naturally he was glad to assist them. The 2 of them did not say anything at all but just entered the house and went to the back alley from the buildings backdoor. Only then did they hurriedly ride towards Xiuyue Hill where the Guo residence is situated. It was Wu Zhuo who arranged all these so that even if they were being followed, they can still beautifully shake off the other party.

    The snow hit their faces and Xiang Shaolong suddenly felt lost. Although its only been a few short years since he arrived in this ancient era, but he has experienced many heart-rending tragedies. Shuer and Su Nus unjust deaths have given him a huge blow! But Zhao Nis horrible death is something that he cannot accept even now! But its another cruel and heartless fact!

    Suddenly, these 3 blossoming beauties will forever disappear from this world and even if he killed Zhao Mu and Prince Shaoyuan, this fact will never change. Now his great benefactor Yuan Zong is confirmed to be dead as well. Hai! What is all these for?

    He can be killed at any time as well, and will that be a form of release? Will there be a chance to see them again after hes dead. Ever since the beginning of life, the question of life and death have always troubled humans. Is it only a short journey where one throws oneself into, and a persons existence will not stop when he dies. No one has ever been able to answer or prove this question. A religions answer where heaven and hell, or anything outside life and death, may very well just be an optimistic wish. But its something that one cannot do without, if there is only emptiness after death, its a situation which is very difficult to accept.

    Wu Zhuo who was riding next to him called out, Young Grand Master-in-law! Xiuyue hill is right ahead. Xiang Shaolong was woken from his reverie and gathered his thoughts, looking ahead. By now they have left the residential areas and come to the foot of the hill. Theres only one road which leads straight to the top of the hill and at the top ancient trees made up a forest and he could catch peeps of the huge building through the trees, looking extremely majestic. However there are no traces of men in ambush and theres an archway at the foot of the hill, written on it are the words Guo Family Residence but there are no guards there at all.

    The 2 of them turned to the woods at the side of the road and dismounted where Teng and Jing have left markings of the secret signal. The trees and grass were all covered by white snow and the scene looked pure and alluring but its not advantageous for hiding or escape at all. Wu Zhuo found another carved signal at the foot of another tree and made a hand signal towards Xiang Shaolong first before going into the woods.

    Xiang Shaolong put the Mohist sword in the brocade cloth Zhao Qian made for him and strapped it on his back and with his left hand holding his recovered Flying Rainbow, went after Wu Zhuo. Suddenly men and light appeared and surrounded them quietly. Wu Zhuo drew the 2 metal bars from his back and with a roar charged towards the front suddenly, not allowing the enemy to get a better feel of the surrounding area and strengthen their encirclement.

    Xiang Shaolong was still feeling upset about the death of his beloved beauties and Yuan Zong, so he was filled with fury as he pulled out his wooden sword and held it on his right hand as he followed behind and killed a path towards the woods. Their opponents did not expect them to be so ferocious. Of the 2 Zhao Mohists who were blocking Wu Zhuo, one of them took a step back in frenzy while the other came charging with his long sword.

    There was a clang as the weapons clashed and sparks flew in the darkness. Wu Zhuo took advantage of the fact that his opponents arm strength is not as good as his so he flicked the long sword away, creating an opening at his enemys front and made a false move as if to attack another person but the metal bar in his left hand turned back and struck the opening as quick as lightning. That person is quite formidable as well, he moved his sword back to defend and blocked the metal bar but he forgot about the other metal bar on Wu Zhuos right hand. He only saw a flash while Wu Zhuo bent his waist as the metal bar struck upwards into his opponents stomach.

    That Mohist did not expect the angle of Wu Zhuos attack to be so precise and with a scream, staggered backwards as fresh blood spilled on the snow and he died immediately. Wu Zhuo did not stop at all as his 2 metal bars seem to transform into 2 rays of light as he charged forward towards the other Mohist. The battle has finally started.

    All these Mohists were highly skilled but they did not expect that an unknown Wu Zhuo would kill one of their men in such a short time. They were all furious and charged upon him and for a moment the air was filled with a murderous aura. Xiang Shaolong who was following closely behind Wu Zhuo went into the state of Mohist swordplay, every move his enemy makes is very clear to him. Because their swordplay all came from the same source, he is very familiar with his enemys attack and could even see their loopholes and inadequacies.

    He roared as Flying Rainbow pierced and pricked madly in his left hand while in his right hand the Mohist sword slashed and sliced heavily, his left and right hands actually executing 2 different styles of fighting and strength, gentle and harsh at the same time. A furious fire burned in his eyes but his expression was cool and calm, as if hes another person altogether, his aura extremely imposing. As the weapons clashed, 3 Mohists were struck down at the same time, one of them injured by Wu Zhuos bars while the other 2 were naturally felled by Xiang Shaolong.

    A loud shout came from Xiang Shaolongs right side. An especially tall and huge Mohist who looks like hes of a higher rank came out from behind a tree, leaning forward and running furiously. Under the torch his metal pole glittered and was aimed towards Xiang Shaolongs heart, the aim accurate, vicious and swift. Xiang Shaolong saw that he revealed no loopholes at all as he moved and knows that he has met an expert in Mohism. He dared not be lax and with his left hand he executed one of the Mohists 3 killer strikes Defending instead of attacking with Flying Rainbow. He moved his sword back, its tip quivering, where his next attack will be still an unknown as he dealth with the 2 Mohist coming towards his left. He executed Attacking instead of defending with the Mohist sword on his right as the sword seemed to turn into a beam of light and curved forward like a swimming snake as it engaged his opponents metal pole.

    The Mohist swordplay is useful as it allows a single person to fight against overpowering numbers so although he was dealing with attacks from 2 different sides, he was not at all confused. Also it relies on intuition rather than the eyes so that even if ones eyes were covered, he can still fight with the enemy. In such dark surroundings with only a few torches illuminating things at the perimeter, its even more beneficial to Xiang Shaolong. That Mohist with the pole did not expect Xiang Shaolong to suddenly execute such an exquisite move and only felt his frighteningly strong pole attack which is akin to a dragon bursting out of a cave, upon meeting his opponents wooden sword, felt like a clay ox entering the water, empty and surreal, without any strength at all.

    He was surprised and reflexively pulled his pole back and retreated when he realized theres a sharp pain on his stomach. It turned out that Xiang Shaolong has given a flying kick to his fatal point. Although his tolerance for pain is 10 times more than the average warrior, he still howled in pain as he fell backwards, never to climb up again. Naturally this kick has got nothing to do with the 3 killer strikes of Mohism, because for someone from the 21st century, naturally he will not stick so strictly to the rules.

    The 2 Mohists on the other side thought that Xiang Shaolong is now on the defensive so they waved their swords to attack but did not expect that with a sudden glare of light, one of them had their right hand chopped off at the wrist while the other was struck in his thigh and as the retreated screaming, they knocked into the others advancing behind them and the situation was chaotic for a moment. Who would have expected Xiang Shaolongs swordplay to be so precise and vicious, a total deviation from the gentle nature of the Mohist swordplay.

    Wu Zhuos performance was not any worse either as he forced his way between 2 enemies, his hands moved to the middle of his metal rods as he executed close bodily moves. Although his enemy managed to slash him slightly on his arm, at the same time he pierced through one of his enemys chest while another enemys ear was hit by the end of the metal rod.

    In a short moment they have advanced a few feet. They heard a twang behind them. They hid behind a tree at the same time as an arrow shot past. Although theyve killed many of their opponents, but the Mohists still continued to advance towards them from all directions in waves and the situation was not to their advantage. Xiang Shaolong saw that the situation was not right and returned Flying Rainbow to its scabbard and he reached into his robes to pull out the flying needles, shooting them continuously. This move was greatly unexpected by the others and for a moment quite a handful of people fell to the ground.

    His opponents saw that wherever Xiang Shaolong waved his hand at, someone will be injured or killed, like magic and they all hurriedly hid behind trees. The 2 of them dared not hesitate and advanced towards the darkness and in a moment was hidden deep in the forest. The Mohists were all thrown off but they still gave chase.

    Now theres another problem. With such running and in the darkness, how are they able to see the secret signals left behind by Teng and Jing. Luckily right at this time, the sound of a bird calling was heard from afar on their left, which sounded very authentic. The 2 of them knows it must be that mischievous and tricky Jing Jun who is making the sound so they happily made their way towards the sound.

    The deeper they went into the woods the denser it became with thick snow, making it extremely difficult to walk. After butting of countless branches, there was a small light in the sky ahead, which dropped like a meteor. It turned out to be Jing Jun who jumped down effortlessly and blinked at them, saying, This way! The 2 of them hurriedly went after him as if theyve found their savior.

    The walked up a slope and came to a huge rock. They could almost make out the lights coming from the Guo residence amongst the woods ahead. Teng Yi suddenly appeared on the stone, with one knee on the ground and holding a huge bow in his hand. He looked serious as he scrutinized the human sounds and torches thats coming nearer. The tree of them went behind him.

    Wu Zhuo asked in puzzlement, What are you going to do? Teng Yi did not reply. Wu and Xiang were perplexed, they cant see the enemy clearly in this dense forest, so what is the use of having a strong bow? Down below screams were heard. Jing Jun exclaimed happily, They fell in!

    Both of them are excellent hunters so naturally they are expert in setting traps. Twang! An arrow left Teng Yis strong bow and shot into the dense forest. A cream was immediately heard. Impressed, Jing Jun said, Brother Tengs Arrow of the night forest is famed throughout the Han borders, even a passing rat would not be able to avoid it.

    As he spoke, Teng Yi released 3 arrows continuously with alarming ease and dexterity and every time a shot was launched, a scream will definitely be heard. By now Xiang and Wu realized that theres no trace of torches below at all. It turns out that Teng Yi has shot all the torch bearers and the torches fell onto the snowy ground and were extinguished. Teng Yi continued shooting his arrows, and each arrow will definitely find a target. Wu and Xiang were utterly impressed and secretly thought that luckily he is not their enemy, or else they wont even know how they have died.

    Teng Yi put down his strong bow and said calmly, No one will dare to come up now! Jing Jun jumped up and said, Weve tied ropes and cut up a path so we only have to follow the rope and soon well be at the Guo residence for the feast. Xiang Shaolong did not expect to come out of the Zhao Mohists encirclement so easily, and obviously saw that its extremely important to have good strategies.

    Once he thought that he can now try the prowess of the 3 killer strikes on Yan Ping, he was greatly energized and said quietly, Lets go! The Guo family residence was built on top of the hill, following the curves of the hill. Although its not comparable to the Wu stockades imposing and strict aura, it boasts of the beautiful scenery that the Wu stockade lacks. In front of the residence there were 2 ancient trees that almost reached heaven, lanterns burned brightly at the front door with more lanterns hung on the walls on both sides, making it look as bright as day. Xiang Shaolong informed them of his name at the door and immediately a middle-aged man who introduced himself as the housekeeper Gao Ang came and led them into the residence personally.

    Walking past a stone pathway through a bamboo forest, an imposing looking building suddenly appeared in front of them. Just a look at the building they know that Guo Zhongs wealth is comparable to those of royalty. Lanterns filled the spacious garden on both sides of the road, the layout complimenting each other, making them feel that the 20 odd feet of long stone path beneath their feet is the middle line in the residence and the opulent building before them is situated right in the middle of this garden.

    There are 2 pavilions in the garden, built on top of a rectangular pond with magnificent looking pillars and red tiled roof and at the tip of the roof theres an magnificent looking cover made of white stone. Exquisite carvings can be seen on the beams. Regardless of the rare flowers and trees, the tiny bridges and flowing water, the quaint pathways, just these 2 pavilions alone is enough for one to appreciate the builders taste and skill.

    A lot of thought was put into the decoration of plants in the garden, with the main roles delegated to everlasting trees, which can withstand the cold, matched with trees that change with the season and flowers which bloom all year round, making it a lush greenery. Although the garden is now filled with snow, it still makes one think of the beautiful spring/ summer scenery. Once in a while they could see rare rocks brought in from other places, which increased the exquisiteness of the garden. The main residence looked even more imposing among the garden, almost comparable to the Zhao palace. Its so imposing that its almost unbelievable.

    Jing Jun who has lived almost all his life in the mountains was dumbfounded and went close to Xiang Shaolong and whispered, Such a large house, how is one able to sleep in it? Xiang Shaolong saw that the housekeeper Gao Ang was way ahead of them leading the way and cant hear their conversation so he replied with a laugh, Hugging a beauty, do you fear not being able to sleep? Jing Jun immediately rose his eyebrows, obviously hes thinking of the program tonight after going back to the Wu residence.

    Xiang Shaolong thought of the Zhao palace and cant help but think of the perished Zhao Ni, remembering how he flirted with her in the royal garden. He felt a sharp pain in his heart and felt like stabbing himself to relieve that heart wrenching pain. Later he still have to put up an act with Zhao Mu, how will he be able to stand it? Teng Yi saw him suddenly turning pale and understood his feelings. He reached out and grabbed his shoulder hard, saying, The big picture is of most importance. The 2 of them exchanged a look, and a feeling of camaraderie welled up in them.

    Xiang Shaolong suppressed the pain in his heart and forced all thoughts out of his mind as he stepped up the wooden bridge, up the long flight of stairs, into the building. There were 16 tables in the building, split between the left and right side of the great hall. By the time Xiang Shaolong and his men arrived, the other guests are already there. Guo Zhong hurriedly came to welcome them and introduce him to the others. Zhao Mu brought a group of his family warriors to show off and all of them looked fierce and strong, obviously skilled swordsmen. He and his men, 12 of them altogether, already took up 4 tables.

    Yan Ping was dressed in white hemp clothing and alone, and for a change he was wearing a pair of straw shoes, an air of a proud and suave loner. If not for the barrier of Yuan Zongs revenge stuck between them, maybe Xiang Shaolong could have befriended him but now they can only solve the problem using this eras most commonly used method, which is through fights.

    For the first time he met the owner of the Zhao warrior association Zhao Ba. From the name he thought hed be a huge burly man but in face he is a lot shorter than the average person, but with big bones. Everything was expanding horizontally, wide chest and broad back with an especially thick neck and with his slightly hunched back he formed a very impressionable piece of triangular muscle, making one think that even if you try to strangle him, theres no way you can manage to cut off his air supply. His complexion was dark, his forehead protruding with a square face and huge eyes. It felt as if he has unlimited strength in his body and as he moved he gave off an imposing aura which created an impression on Xiang Shaolong as well. When he was in the special task force, fighting is as common as eating so hes good at analyzing his opponents. When he saw Zhao Ba, he immediately put him under the most difficult to handle enemy category.

    Four of his disciples accompanied him to the feast and naturally they are all expert swordsmen but what caught their attention was one of them is actually a young lady called Zhao Zhi. At first glance she did not have the beauty to captivate ones soul but her face hides an indescribable sadness, matched with her shockingly dainty phoenix eyes, slim face and sexy lips, she does exude a womanly charm. Especially when shes so tall, a head taller than Zhao Ba and only about 3 inches shorter than Xiang Shaolong. Such a tall lady and with a perfect body trained from constant exercising, it makes her look extremely outstanding.

    Zhao Ba, Zhao Zhi and their people all behaved coolly towards Xiang Shaolong, only giving a slight nod of their heads during the introduction, not hiding their animosity at all. When Jing Jun cant help but scrutinize Zhao Zhi from head to toe, the lady looked even more unhappy and a murderous look flashed past her pretty eyes. Jing Jun was so shocked he dared not look at her again. The other 2 guests are obviously Zhao Mus main lackeys.

    The philosopher Guo Kai looked like a Taoist deity, with an extremely long beard but his eyes were darting and just like what Lady Ya said, he looks conniving but he was the warmest towards Xiang Shaolong compared to the rest. What leaves a deep impression is his feminine and shrill voice. General Yue Cheng and Guo Kai are both about 30 years old, his eyes kept opening and closing and was alternating between lively and lifeless looks. He gives one the impression that hes engrossed in wine and women, with a slim body and nimble limbs. His military outfit gave him an imposing aura. Both of them have their family servants with them and took up 4 tables.

    Coming up next is Guo Zhongs 2 sons, Guo Qiu and Guo Ting, who looks thoroughly plain. Instead what caught their attention was this intelligent looking person among their family warriors called Shang Qi. His aura and grace exudes the obvious fact that hes smart and experienced, not someone to be belittled. After a round of introductions, Guo Zhong invited the guests to be seated. Firstly he asked Xiang Shaolong to be seated on the VIP table which is the first table on the right. Xiang Shaolong tried to reject unsuccessfully so he had no choice but to sit at this table meant for the main guest. Seated opposite him is naturally the host Guo Zhong, followed by Zhao Mu, Zhao Ba and Guo Kai.

    Seated along the row on Xiang Shaolongs side is the very solemn looking Yan Ping, followed by Yue Cheng. Guo Zhongs 2 sons were seated right at the end. The truth is even up to now, Xiang Shaolong has no idea why Guo Zhong would organize this feast. If he was really injured earlier, it would not reflect well on Guo Zhong as well. After a round of drinks

    Guo Zhong exclaimed happily, My whole life was spent next to a furnace making steel, now that Im older, all the heavy work has been passed to my sons. Now in my free time I will trek around the forests, looking at iron mines, studying the making of weapons. To me, nothing is more precious than the hand written records of the late saint Lu Gong. This time Shaolong has returned with the treasure, others may not know what a great contribution Shaolong as made but I am very clear about that. Come! Let us drink a toast to the comeback of great Zhao. Everyone lifted their cups except for Yan Ping who did not touch the excellent wine on his table at all. Xiang Shaolonh secretly lamented that once Guo Zhong said this, hes obviously implying that Zhaos rise and fall will all depend on him. In this era where people fight over power and status, how can such words not around jealousy in others.

    Indeed a look of unhappiness flashed past Zhao Mu and Yue Chengs faces while Zhao Ba looked ferocious. Only Guo Kai remained smiling while Yan Ping looked totally listless. Xiang Shaolong secretly observed the unique Zhao Zhi, every time she lifted her cup she only took a tiny sip, unlike the others who emptied their cups. Wu Zhuo whispered in Xiang Shaolongs ears, Guo Zhong is trying to cause harm to you! Xiang Shaolong nodded to show that he understood, and said loudly his thanks, Mister Guo has flattered me. I am just trying my best to follow his Majestys and Marquis orders and they gave all instructions. I was just a little lucky and did not fail in my mission. I think this toast should be offered to Marquis instead. Everyone hurriedly rose their cups towards Zhao Mu.

    Xiang Shaolong and his men were of course secretly cursing as they drank, scolding Zhao Mu for being a cruel, conniving thief. That beauty Zhao Zhi did not expect Xiang Shaolong to give such a good reply and a look of surprise flashed past her eyes as she quietly sized up Xiang Shaolong. Zhao Mus expression looked better as he chortled and happily;y drank up, as if all the merits should belong to him. But everyone knows that with his character, he will not be so easily taken in by Xiang Shaolongs words and this superficial happiness is just a show put up for them.

    Guo Zhong signaled the housekeeper Gao Ang who was standing behind him and the latter immediately passed the orders down. More than 10 odd pretty maids wearing butterfly looking outfits came out carrying piping hot, delicious food and placed them on the tables and warmly helped the guests top up their wine cups. Xiang Shaolong kept a close eye on Yan Ping and saw that there are only vegetables and rice on his table. Obviously Guo Zhong has made special preparations for his needs. Guo Zhong chortled and said, There have always been dance courtesans entertaining my guests during my feasts but since Juzi is willing to give me face today by attending this feast, there are slight changes in the program.

    He clapped his hands hard. Suddenly 10 odd women came out from the 2 side doors at the back, a few of them came to the center of the hall and started performing various dangerous and exciting acrobatic stunts. 2 of the women were impossibly turning somersaults on the shoulders of another 2 women, exchanged places before standing on the shoulders of another girl standing opposite them. Everyone except for Yan Ping clapped and cheered. Jing Jun boasted quietly, They should clap only after theyve seen my skills!

    Xiang Shaolong smiled. Jing Jun is after all a big kid and filled with the desire to win. After the women performed their ever changing acrobatics, they retreated out of the hall amidst the clapping of the guests. Guo Zhong smiled, The person whom we should really cheer is Miss Zhi. The skills of my maids here, were all taught by her. On hearing that everyone hurriedly cheered for Zhao Zhi, with Jing Jun being the loudest, making one feel at a loss whether to laugh or be angry. Zhao Zhi stood up and quietly acknowledged them, as if she doesnt care for such admiration at all, giving one the feeling that she has a lot of self-control.

    Guo Zhong suddenly coughed dryly and asked Xiang Shaolong seriously, I heard that there is a slight misunderstanding between Shaolong and Juzi, why dont I be the mediator and solve this problem. Xiang Shaolong was secretly hating him. Guo Zhongs words all seem to be for his good, but in fact he is fanning the flames and trying to incite unhappiness. The reason is of course due to Xiang Shaolongs relationship with the Wu family. Just a few words and it has put him in an embarrassing situation. Even if he hands them the Juzi token immediately, he will offend Zhao Mu because he has kept the fact that he actually has the token hidden from this evil fiend. But if he does not allow Guo Zhong to become the mediator, Guo Zhong will have an excuse to deal with him.

    Luckily Yan Ping said coldly, Mister Guo its too late for you to be a mediator now. Now the problem between me and Commander Xiang can only be solved according to Mohist rules. Everyone knows without asking that a duel is the only way. How can all these powerful people in Handan not know about the Zhao Mohists trying to ambush Xiang Shaolong, and they also understood that Yan Ping has suffered a huge setback and this has planted an unsolvable enmity between them.

    Zhao Mu said, One is the most esteemed guest of his Majesty while the other is the most doted imperial guard of his Majesty, no one would want to see any side hurt. Why dont I report to his Majesty tomorrow and let him decide? Guo Kai and Yue Cheng were secretly chortling in their hearts. Yan Ping is well respected in Zhao and recently he made a great contribution at the city of Fuyi when the Yans invaded them and is now on a same standing as the king of Zhao. If this matter is put to him, the person who lose out will definitely be Xiang Shaolong. How can this wily old fox Guo Zhong not know what they are thinking about.

    The animosity between him and the Wu family is not a recent thing and he was the one who revealed to the King of Zhao about Wu Yingyuan and Lu Buweis relationship. Now that the Wu family has such a formidable Young Grand-Master-in-law, he has to destroy him no matter what. At first he did not understand Zhao Mus stand but after testing him thru their conversation, they immediately came to a quiet understanding. But now King Xiaocheng regards Xiang Shaolong very highly and he has the support of Master Wu as well so they cannot openly deal with this young swordsman who was an unknown but has now become a person of standing.


    Zhao Mu first tried the plan of testing the Princesss virginity but did not expect Empress Jing to have other plans and she helped Xiang Shaolong hide the truth. Therefore he chose the highly skilled Yan Ping who has many expert fighters under him and told him that no Juzi token was found on Yuan Zong in order to cause friction between them. Then he allowed Guo Zhong to organize this feast as a cover, but in fact its to create the perfect chance for Yan Ping to kill him. Such ongoing vicious plans is indeed formidable. Once Zhao Mu said that, Yan Ping was the first to object, I appreciate Marquis kind intention, but the Juzi token is our sects ultimate treasure and it cannot be in the hands of an outsider a moment longer. This matter must be settled immediately. Everyone was secretly happy, knowing that Yan Ping will immediately challenge Xiang Shaolong to a duel.

    Zhao Ba laughed loudly and after everyones attention was on him, said, The duel between Commander Xiang and Lian Jin has shocked the entire Zhao region. A pity I was at another place testing the skills of the warriors of the school and could not witness the grand event, which up to now is a regret for me. My men are hoping to witness Commander Xiangs excellent sword skill. This is purely going to be an exchange of pointers and I hope that Commander Xiang would graciously give your advice. Wu Zhuo and the rest furrowed their brows, how can there be such an unfair situation in the world, arent they trying to wear him down one by one? Besides, with Yan Ping testing Xiang Shaolongs skills first, it will be greatly beneficial to the later opponents.

    Unexpectedly, Zhao Zhi stood up and with her sword came to Xiang Shaolongs table and said with a smile, Would Commander please give me your pointers! Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, what enmity does he have with her, that shed actually challenge him? He was about to reject when Teng Yi gave Jing Jun, who was raring to duel, an eye signal. That lad jumped up happily, his feet tapping on the table, made a somersault in the air over Zhao Zhis head and landed behind her, saying with a grin, If theres anything your disciple will do the work for you. The master will fight with the master, the disciple will fight with the disciple. Let me have some fun with Miss Zhi. Xiang Shaolong and the rest saw that this lad is suddenly now his disciple, and he is sprouting nonsensical and flirtatious words as well and they all thought it funny. The others saw that Jing Jun is as nimble as a monkey and were all secretly startled, secretly thinking that Zhao Zhi has met her match this time. Because Zhao Zhi is famed in Handan for her nimbleness.

    Zhao Ba has always thought highly of himself and secretly thought that Xiang Shaolong is not good enough to be placed on par with him. He was quietly furious and said icily, Xiao Zhi will exchange pointers with this little lad than! Zhao Zhi knows that her teacher is hinting to her not to show mercy, and also because shes always hated men who tried to flirt with her so she acknowledged the order and turned around fiercely, her long sword piercing forward as fast as lightning, aiming right at Jing Juns heart. Her pose was exquisite yet the moves were swift and vicious, it is indeed top rated swordsmanship.

    Everyone saw her sudden attack and thought that Jing Jun would certainly be caught unawares and thus unable to avoid her. Even Xiang Shaolong and Wu Zhuos hearts almost jumped to their throats, afraid that something will happen to him. Only Teng Yi remained expressionless like Yan Ping, as if even when the sky and earth splits, there will still be no change in his expression.

  8. #48
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 2 Open animosity

    Jing Jun did not expect his opponent to immediately strike without even a greeting. But he has lived all his life in the forests and grew up among ferocious animals so he has met even more dangerous situations than this numerous times. He chortled, made a false move as if hes going to move diagonally to the left and when the long sword is about to reach him, he moved to the right by a few millimeters and dashed to Zhao Zhis back towards the left, his speed even faster than a spirit.

    Zhao Mu and Guo Zhong exchanged a look, and both could see the surprise in each other. With such a person helping Xiang Shaolong, its akin to giving wings to a tiger. Therefore, that Wu Zhuo and Teng Yi must be formidable as well and they have no choice but to reevaluate Xiang Shaolongs ability.

    Zhao Zhi was obviously not afraid, this sword stroke is purely to test Jing Juns reflexes and now that she knows that her opponent is extremely nimble, she gave a soft grunt as she bent her legs and jumped up into the air, turning a huge somersault. The sharp weapon in her hand turned into a million sword sparks aiming towards Jing Jun from the air. Zhao Bas men immediately cheered.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that Zhao Zhis swordplay looks nice and tightly executed as well, absolutely not just showy moves and was secretly startled as he can deduce from this that Zhao Ba will definitely be extremely formidable. At the same time he remembered how Lian Jin called himself invincible in Handan; people with elevated status like Zhao Mu and Yan Ping will naturally not duel with Lian Jin but Zhao Ba as the head of the warrior association, why did he allow Lian Jin to have his way?

    He had a sudden thought, as if he could grasp the meaning of it, but cant really accurately describe what he felt. Such a weird feeling is making him feel extremely uncomfortable. The empty handed Jing Jun who was standing in the middle of the hall finally took out his weapon, a dagger secured to his waist. His hand reached into his clothes and a ball of something blackish looking suddenly flew out from his hand, first aimed towards Zhao Zhis right then it speeded up and turned back and hit Zhao Zhis long sword with a dang!.

    Zhao Zhis sword speaks were immediately dispersed and she also dropped to the ground. That thing belonging to Jing Jun flew above his head, turning circles above following the movements of his right hand, it turned out to be a shiny, silvery crescent shaped Flying Knife, which is extremely sharp on both sides, especially the sharp ends that is shaped like a cows horns, making one feel its horrible danger. Its the first time Xiang Shaolong has seen his specialized weapon and secretly thought that it will take little effort if its used to kill beasts.

    Jing Jun grinned and looked at Zhao Zhi, who seemed at a loss as to how to deal with his weapon, his eyes staring leeringly at her chest. Zhao Ba raised his voice, Such unorthodox weapons, how can it be even taken out in public. A loud laugh was heard from the main door and someone commented, Chairman Zhaos words are not quite right! In the world there are only weapons that can kill or cannot kill, theres no such thing as unorthodox.

    Everyone turned around in surprise only to see the great general Li Mu step into through the door accompanied by 10 over family warriors. Gao Ang and a few Guo family guards were running after him, obviously they did not even have the chance to announce his arrival. Xiang Shaolong took the chance to call Jing Jun back. A flash of icy murderous intent flashed past Zhao Zhis eyes before she quietly returned to her seat.

    The wily old fox Guo Zhong chuckled as he left the host table, his face full of smiles as he said, When did general come back, or else you would certainly not be left out tonight. Li Mus dynamic eyes swept over all the guests who stood up to welcome him and when he saw Zhao Mu, a murderous intent flashed swiftly in his eyes before he covered it up and said with a cold smile, I just hope that Mister Guo will not blame me for coming uninvited.

    He stared at the embarrassed looking Zhao Ba and said, Chairman is in charge of cultivating talents for great Zhao, but please do not be such a stickler for customs. I have been fighting with barbarians for a long time and am used to seeing the countless changes on the battlefield. When 2 armies fight, the only goal is to win the other party, who cares what weapon is being used. Zhao Ba was so furious his face turned dark but he was at a loss for words. Li Mu turned towards Xiang Shaolong and his tone softened as he said, Shaolong has accomplished a great merit, I came today to offer you 3 toasts. Bring me wine!

    This famous Zhao general who is almost on par with Lian Po shocked the entire gathering upon his arrival and even a bully like Zhao Mu dared not speak up and risk offending this number 2 person in the military. Words seem to be stuck in Le Cheng and Guo Kais throats as they dared not reply as well. Xiang Shaolong was secretly surprised, he did not expect this person who represents the Zhao military would show his support for him publicly, and now he is no longer fighting alone.

    Only Yan Ping remained seated, not showing any deference to Li Mu at all. Li Mu did not blame him at all and just drank 3 cups of wine with Xiang Shaolong, even seating himself down at Xiang Shaolongs table. Wu Zhuo and the rest immediately left their seats while Guo Zhong summoned his men to arrange for 3 extra tables behind for them and Li Mus men.

    After everyone was seated, Zhao Mu gave a dry cough and said, Great general has just returned, I wonder how is the situation at the border? Li Mu replied icily, This is the first time the Marquis of Julu has asked about the Xiong Nus but the reason I rushed back to Handan this time is because of Lady Nis incident. After discussing with Premier Lian, we felt that there are many suspicious points regarding her suicide and decided that the military will jointly send in an official request to his Majesty to look into this matter thoroughly. Marquis is the person who dealt with this case single handedly, so you will know that my words are not baseless. I still need to seek your advice.

    Xiang Shaolong was suddenly enlightened. He remembered Zhao Qian once mentioned that Zhao Ni is the daughter-in-law of Zhao She, a famed general of Zhao who once defeated the Qin army. Because of her insistence of preserving her chastity she was well liked by the people and even has the support of the military, thats why even Zhao Mu dared not touch her. Now that Zhao Mus lust has gotten the better of him and caused her death, theres no way his relations with Zhao She, the military and the other generals can maintain cordiality and now they are going to fight each other face on. Thats why Li Mu is being so open about his intention to deal with Zhao Mu now.

    Zhao Mus expression changed for the worse immediately but because of Li Mus military powers and status, he dared not throw his temper. Guo Kai said condescendingly, Lady Ni committed suicide because of her pining for her dead husband, this is a fact and his Majesty is most aware of this matter. General is not putting your energy at the borders, isnt all this unnecessary?

    Xiang Shaolong did not expect someone as subtle as Guo Kai would actually rebut Li Mu. Obviously the fight between the military and Zhao Mus gang have reached a burning stage where each will not give any face to the opposite party. Li Mu is indeed a hardened soldier. He looked heavenward and laughed loudly, Were exactly afraid his Majesty will be tricked by unscrupulous people, thats why we have no choice but to interfere. The way to winning is first to settle internal problems before dealing with external problems. If you say this is unnecessary, this must be a very extreme joke.

    Guo Zhong has never joined in any factions fight but the various groups will try to pull him towards their cause due to his influence, hence he was able to make friends with all sides. Now that he saw that the atmosphere is getting more and more fiery, he felt that things might be getting out of hand so he interrupted and tried to cool things down by saying, We will not talk about state affairs tonight, but only talk about entertainment. I have arranged a very exciting show of beauties dancing with swords, shall we all enjoy it? He has not even given the signal when Yan Ping called out, Hold it!

    Slowly standing up, he pulled out from his back the Juzi sword which is at least 1.5 times longer than the average sword and looked at Xiang Shaolong icily as he said, Commander Xiang, tonight either you will perish or I will die. Let me see what that traitor Yuan Zong has taught you? Because of Yan Pings special status, there is no way Li Mu can find a reason to interrupt or interfere. Xiang Shaolong knows that this duel is unavoidable and thought to himself that he might as well let this duel be a form of offering for Yuan Zong. If not because that his has numbers on his side, theres no way Yan Ping can harm even a hair on that Mohist master! He stood up loudly, his eyes icy as he stared at Yan Ping and said, Who is the traitor? You can debate about it when you see Mo Yi himself!

    Yan Ping snorted angrily, obviously he is feeling extremely furious as he moved to the middle of the hall and stood ready. The hall was silent, everyone knows Yan Pings swordplay is unfathomable. Naturally some are secretly cheering while some were worried for Xiang Shaolong. Zhao Mu is secretly laughing, because if Yan Ping is killed, King Xiaocheng will still be extremely unhappy although he knows that Xiang Shaolong has no choice. If Yan Ping were to kill Xiang Shaolong and get rid of this thorn in his eye, it will be beneficial to him. So no matter what the outcome is, he has all to gain and nothing to lose.

    Xiang Shaolong left his table and beyond everyones expectations, he actually walked towards Zhao Mus table instead, his eyes frosty as he stared at Zhao Mu unceasingly. Zhao Mu and his men were on the alert, some of them even moving their hands to their sword handles, getting ready to deal with any moves that might be harm Zhao Mu. Xiang Shaolong came to the front of Zhao Mus table and with a slight smile, removed the Flying Rainbow from his waist and placed it together with the scabbard on the table in front of Zhao Mu, saying calmly, This sword will be returned to Marquis. It has once happily drunk the fresh blood of Xiao Weimou, it has not shamed the reason why Marquis generously gave it away. He then stared hard at this conniving thief who now has a blood feud with him before turning around and walking towards Yan Ping who was standing in the middle of the hall.

    Although Xiao Weimou died because of him, the real person who killed Xiao Weimou is Teng Yi. The reason why Xiang Shaolong said that is to deliberately antagonize Zhao Mu and at the same time let him know that he is already aware of his nefarious plan. The act of returning the sword signifies that a clear line will henceforth be drawn between them, an open rebuke. At this instant, he doesnt even care about King Xiaocheng, much less Zhao Mu. And only when he publicly shows his animosity like this can he get the full support of Lian Po, Li Mu and the military.

    Indeed Zhao Mu was so furious that his face turned red and pale, looking extremely horrible. As for the rest it is the first time they found out that Xiao Weimou has been killed and were all surprised and whispered amongst themselves. An expression of shock even flashed past Li Mu and Yan Pings faces. Xiang Shaolong felt greatly relieved that he now no longer have to put on an act with his enemy Zhao Mu. His eyes staring at Yan Ping, he reached out and drew his Mohist wooden sword as waves of murderous aura emitted from him like steam. At the same time his mind was clear, everything is inconsequential, forgetting even about Yuan Zongs revenge. Only his Mohist wooden sword and his opponents Juzi sword is left in this world, with no place for anything else.

    Although Yan Ping looks as stable as a mountain with no loopholes at all, it seems that Xiang Shaolong totally understands his enemys movement and intent, which are totally reflected in his calm mind. This is the method of keeping ones heart as clear as jade in Mo Yis 3 killer strikes, which uses a extraordinary breathing method and a resolute mind. The open animosity with Zhao Mu has also made him calmer, like a reverend who has suddenly found the Way, he has now reached the epitome of the way of the sword. In other peoples eyes, Xiang Shaolong seems to have suddenly changed into another person, as quiet as still water but also simmering within an explosive strength and murderous aura.

    Zhao Mu and Zhao Ba revealed a look of shock at the same time. Theyre all expert swordsmen so they naturally know that the essence of swordplay can be most effectively executed when once reaches such a stage. Yan Pings expression turned somber, he deeply understands Mohist swordplays reason of emphasizing more on defense than attack so thinking that Xiang Shaolong will be young and rash, decided that he will not attack first. If not for the fact that Xiang Shaolong is revealing such a frightening aura, he will never control himself and give way like this.

    Xiang Shaolongs gaze fell onto his opponents Juzi sword. Under the firelight, it seems to radiate an indescribable shine and dust could not even settle on it. Obviously its extremely sharp. He cant help but feel puzzled, isnt Mohist sword plays dexterity based on its cumbersome weight, but isnt this sharp and swift long sword just the opposite of the essence of Mohist swordplay? Unless Yan Ping has some other skills, or else this type of sword can never fully execute the essence of Mohist swordplay. Once he thought of this, he has a plan in his mind and he lifted his wooden sword as he walked slowly but surely towards Yan Ping. Yan Pings eyes was shooting daggers at him as he stared at Xiang Shaolongs shoulders.

    The hall was so quiet one can hear a pin drop. Only the footsteps of Xiang Shaolong, which seems to be in total synchronization with the tempo of the universe, can be heard. Everyone suddenly has a strange feeling, as if everything is now in Xiang Shaolongs control and everything in the universe will have to bow down to him but little do they know that this is exactly the essence of the Mohists 3 killer strikes.

    Xiang Shaolong thought of the Zou Yans observation tower in Daliang, remembered the beautiful scene of the sky filled with stars and an encompassing feeling of the universe flared up in him as he roared and executed the move of Attacking instead of defending from the 3 killer strikes. The Mohist sword seems to extend yet retract, suddenly it seems to be moving weirdly in a fashion that encompasses the meaning of the mystical universe straight towards Yan Pings face. Even for a person as calm as Yan Ping, he was startled as well. He only felt his opponents sword styles are like the Changjiang River, never ending, and if he only uses Mohist swordplays defense style, hell immediately be beaten. What is even more shocking is that his opponents styles seems to be made to go against the Mohist swordplay and yet they are undeniably Mohist swordplay as well. Left with no choice, the Juzi sword morphed into icy sparks as it meets the attack with an attack.

    Xiang Shaolongs intent is to force him to execute his secret skills and now that he saw his trick has worked, he suddenly retreated and executed one of the moves Returning sword stance from Defending instead of attacking. Yan Ping was ecstatic, thinking that his opponents elaborate swordplay is just a farce and he returned to the old method of Mohist swordplay. He invented this swordplay of his, and named it Breaking Mohism, used especially to deal with his enemies within the Mohist sect. Thats why hes so confident of killing Xiang Shaolong so at this point in time he wont let such a splendid opportunity pass and hurriedly moved forward to attack, totally forgetting about his initial plan to use defense as the main strategy. Xiang Shaolongs mind is as clear as water and on seeing his opponents sword sparks grow wider, but the aim is towards his right shoulder. However, that is the loophole he deliberately showed.

    Defending instead of attacking is the first stance oh Mohist swordplays 3 killer moves and it encompasses 120 moves and each move has a loophole which are in fact intricately designed traps to lure the enemy in, which is exactly the essence of using defense instead of attacks. On seeing that Yan Ping has been tricked, he laughed loudly as he moved forward like lightning and Yan Pings sword stabbed into empty air. Xiang Shaolong turned his waist slightly and his Mohist wooden sword turned back like lightning and struck heavily but surely on his opponents sword.

    He knows that Yan Pings swordsmanship is excellent and extremely experienced as well, so hes definitely not worse off when compared. Even if he has the 3 killer strikes, hed just learnt them after all and not totally adept at it so he is not insisting on injuring his enemy at all. However he took the opportunity and used his wooden sword which is at least 3 to 4 times heavier than his opponents sword in addition to his extraordinary arm strength to force his opponent to use his strength. Yan Ping was immediately greatly disadvantaged as he felt his right hand go numb and his Juzi sword almost slipped from his grasp. Xiang Shaolong was secretly startled. Although Yan Ping looks as skinny as a pole on the surface, his arm strength is extraordinary and the rebounding force of the clash cause his right arm to go numb as well.

    Yan Ping gave a quiet snort and moved away diagonally, executing the defense stance of Mohist swordplay, which is so tight, that even splashing water wont be able to get past him. Just as the onlookers were dumbfounded from what just happened, Xiang Shaolong moved his sword to his left hand and in a totally unexpected way, the wooden sword seemed like a swallow flying as it flew out in a curve and came back, sweeping Yan Pings right shoulder. Yan Ping did not expect that his opponent can use the sword so well with his left hand as well and as his right hand have not recovered from the impact, he had no choice but to take another step back and face his enemy. The Juzi swords execution was light and nimble as it tried to counterbalance his opponents heavy handed sweeps.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed loudly, Youve been tricked! as he wooden sword rose to tangle with his opponents precious sword. The 2 bodies joined then separated. On the surface it seems theres no injury to either of them but everyone can see that Yan Ping has been greatly disadvantaged and his face is now extremely pale. Xiang Shaolong took 3 steps forward towards Yan Ping. Yan Ping gritted his teeth and retreated in unison. At the same time they moved to the left in unison, as if theres an invisible thread joining the two of them together.

    Yan Ping is indeed someone who has trained hard for many years and his expression quickly returned to normal, as if he is not injured at all. It turned out that earlier Xiang Shaolong had kneed Yan Ping on his lower calf and if not for the fact that his stance was steady and he immediately moved his strength down, he would have fallen to the ground. However the pain is still throbbing and he knows that he is not able to fight a long battle and he gave a low snort and the Juzi sword attacked towards his opponent, moving like a meteor. Xiang Shaolong fighting mood is at its peak as he counted Yan Pings breathing and steps. Before his opponent struck, he can already predict accurately if its a real or fake move by observing the slight change in his opponents quickened breathing and lighter footsteps. He executed the most formidable move, Forgetting feelings from the 3 killer strikes Attacking and defending concurrently, throwing himself at deaths door, using only the earlier advantage he gained to compete with his opponent on their innate ability and gut reactions.

    There was a cry as Yan Pings sword dropped to the ground and he hurriedly retreated, the expression on his face as pale as a dead person. His left hand clasping his right arm as fresh blood oozed from between his fingers. Although this slash did not take his life, Yan Ping will not be able to fight for the time being and its still an unknown whether his right hand will be crippled. Immediately some people rushed out with the intention of helping to hold this proud man.

    Yan Ping stood up straight and shouted at those who came forward to go away. He stared at Xiang Shaolong and asked, Why did you hold yourself back? Xiang Shaolong put his sword back into the sheath on his back and said calmly, Although Yuan Zong died because of you, but its after all the internal fight of your Mohist sect and has nothing to do with me, so is there a need to fight to the death?

    Yan Ping asked quietly, What swordplay were you using earlier? Xiang Shaolong replied calmly, Its a swordplay I created myself, what does Juzi think of it? A deep hatred flashed from Yan Pings eyes as he shouted, Good! and he walked towards the main door without even turning back, not even bothering to take his sword with him.

  9. #49
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 3 Mother of Emperor Qin

    After Yan Ping left quietly after his defeat, Xiang Shaolong took the opportunity to take his leave.

    Li Mu happily gave him a lift and his men gave up 3 horses for Teng Yi and the rest while Xiang Shaolong was invited up the carriage with him.

    The entourage rode slowly down the hill of the Guo residence.

    Li Mu was silent for a moment before he bared himself, This time we can tolerate it no longer and decided to throw in the hatchet, using Lady Nis incident to have a last confrontation with Zhao Mu. He put his hand on Xiang Shaolongs shoulder and said seriously, The Premier and I have been keeping a close watch on you. Shaolong you are our Great Zhaos a rare talent of this generation, and youre still so young. He sighed before continuing, If his Majesty still wants to protect Zhao Mu this time, Shaolong should leave Zhao immediately and go somewhere else to find your fame. Dont be like us and stay on blindly to protect a country with no hope.

    Xiang Shaolong was surprised, Weve gotten the secret manual, why are you still so pessimistic. I think the people of Great Zhao are slowly getting prosperous and in another few years well regain our lost strength!

    Li Mu interrupted him, Shaolong youre still not very familiar with affairs of the state. Even without the battle of Changping which greatly weakened us, we still have our disadvantages. They are they Xiong Nus who kept encroaching on our borders, and in order to deal with them, our resources will be depleted in the long run. Thats why among the various states, only Great Zhao has the least population. Although we have many famous generals, but ever since the beginning of the empire, we can only defend our soil and does not have the ability to expand.

    Xiang Shaolong sincerely felt a liking for this famous general who is on par with Lian Po and cant help but ask, Since you can see this point so clearly, why are you still in Zhao and not leaving?

    Li Mu looked out the window, a look of extreme sadness flashed in his eyes as he sighed quietly and said, Man is not without feelings, unlike plants and trees. I have been defending the northern border for so long, fighting the Xiong Nus, and have established a deep relationship with those living at the borders. If I abandon them and leave, who else can stop the vicious and merciless Xiong Nus, how can I bear to let them be murdered. Hai!

    There was helplessness in his words.

    Xiang Shaolong was moved and asked, Can you delay the submission of your document to his Majesty for 1 to 2 days.

    A light flashed past Li Mus eyes as he stared at him and asked, You seem to be confident, what ingenious move do you have?

    Xiang Shaolong respects him from the bottom of his heart so without hiding a single thing, told him about the possibility that Zhao Mu is a spy sent by the Chus to create havoc.

    Li Mu grabbed his shoulders tightly, a ray of hope shot from his eyes as he said, Shaolong youre really something. Well use this point, which has never been thought of to deal with Zhao Mu. Ill be staying in Handan for a few days, well keep in close contact and coordinate the timing to submit the document.

    The 2 of them discussed a little more and soon they arrived at the Wu family stockade. Before he left the carriage, Li Mu held him back and said, Shaolong youre still young and full of vigor and may find it difficult to resist temptations. You may know that wine and women can harm a person, even an iron man will not be able to withstand days and nights of merry making. Shaolong you must remember that.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that his flirtatious escapades, especially his affair with Lady Ya, have spread far. Thats why Li Mu had such an advice for him. He blushed and lowered his head to accept the lecture.

    He had just stepped into the Wu residence when the guards immediately called him and Wu Zhuo to meet with Wu Yingyuan while Teng and Jing both returned to the back courtyard to rest.

    Wu Yingyuan was accompanied by Tao Fang and received them in the secret room in his inner chamber. After listening to the report on this recent trip, he praised them before saying, Tu Xian just sent someone to contact me, saying that Lu Buweis situation now is not too good. His enemies in the Qin court is using the reason that hes not a Qin to carry rumors to King Zhuangxiang and wants him to be excluded. King Zhuangxiang is someone who is easily swayed and he may be convinced by them. Therefore the matter of moving Ying Zheng and his mother back to Xianyang cannot be delayed further. With she and her son next to King Zhuangxiang, Lu Buweis status will be as stable as a mountain and he may even become the premier. Otherwise even our hopes will be dashed.

    Xiang Shaolong was still moved by what Li Mu had said so he furrowed his brows, Can we delay it for a few days, and see if theres hope to topple Zhao Mu first?

    Wu Yingyuan looked at him with concentration, I know you cant wait to tear Zhao Mu to pieces, but this is after all a personal feud. You should take into account the bigger picture. Now the fate of the Wu family is on your shoulders, one mistake and everyone will perish.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed quietly, If Zhao Mu is toppled, is there still hope for Great Zhao?

    Wu Yingyuan was irritated and interrupted him, Thats just wishful thinking. Even if Zhao Mu is killed, with such a muddleheaded ruler like King Xiaocheng, the Zhao family will still be destined to die. The Crown Prince is nothing good as well. The only way out for the Wu family is to rely on Qin, that is the only hope.

    Xiang Shaolong lowered his head speechlessly, and knows that after his conversation with Li Mu, he has been greatly moved by his great sacrifice.

    Only Wu Yingyuan, this 100% businessman is more formidable. He doesnt talk about feelings, only about actual benefits, because history has long proven that what he said is indeed correct.

    Wu Yingyuan dotes greatly on this son-in-law in his heart and knows that his words have been a little too stern, so his voice turned more gentle as he said, I know that Shaolong is smarter than others, I wonder if you have any headway regarding the matter of sending Ying Zheng and his mother back?

    Xiang Shaolong braced himself up and said, Its still too early now. After I rest for a while, I will look for Zhuji. Only if she can be convinced will the matter be able to succeed.

    Wu Yingyuan and the rest were stunned.

    Its already the Mou* hour and he still said its too early?

    (*Mou Time between 7pm to 9pm)

    Does he want to wait until the middle of the night to sneak into Zhujis bedchamber?

    Xiang Shaolong soaked himself in the pool, his mind in a dilemma.

    He is someone who places great emphasis on relationships. The first place he came to after traveling in the time machine is the state of Zhao and after spending these time with the Zhaos, and after how he and the Zhao army relied on each other when they went to Wei, hes already established close relations with them. Subconsciously he has regarded Zhao as his own country and hope to do something for her.

    But he knows that even if he gets rid of Zhao Mu, the state of Zhao wont be any better. Such a torn feeling made him even more dejected.

    Ting Fangshi who is next to him asked gently, What is Shaolong thinking about?

    Wu Tingfang who is on the other side said with a little jealousy, Of course hes thinking of Sister Ya and Princess Qian!

    Xiang Shaolong hugged the 2 naked beauties and remembered Li Mus warning about not indulging in wine and women so he said with a bitter smile, With you two beauties next to me, how can I think of other women. Its because I have a matter to attend to tonight and cannot accompany you, thats why I was feeling troubled.

    Wu Tingfang said understandingly, Master Tao has informed us, Xiang Lang just put your mind at ease and go. We will wait for your return obediently. Ai! I forgot to tell you, ever since you went to Daliang, Sister Ting has been sleeping with me every night, talking about our secrets. Tonight us sisters will wait for you on the bed.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought, Oh heavens!, if they want intimacy everytime, itll be very difficult even if he wants to avoid wine and women.

    Wu Tingfang continued excitedly, I did not expect even Yan Ping is not your match and I really hope you can put that Zhao Ba down a peg or two as well.

    Xiang Shaolong thought of Zhao Zhi and cant help but ask about her.

    Wu Tingfang lowered her head with embarrassment as she replied, I heard shes one of the lovers of that baddie Lian Jin. You killed Lian Jin so naturally shell hate you to the core.

    Xiang Shaolong was suddenly enlightened.

    The reason why Zhao Ba is so full of hatred for him may be related to this, and not because he is in cahoots with Zhao Mu. But of course there may be other reasons as well.

    Whether in this era or the 21st century, whoever have power will certainly have other people who will side him, this is a fact that will never change with time.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that time is almost up and told Chunying who was adding hot water into the pool, Help me get Masters Teng Yi and Jing Jun here.

    The snow fell relentlessly on the ancient city of Handan.

    Xiang Shaolong and Teng Yi hid themselves in a dark corner, looking at the huge house with lanterns still lighted in it.

    Xiang Shaolong whispered in Teng Yis ears with a smile, That rascal Jing Jun must be secretly cursing now because I dragged him out from a warm bed with a woman in it.

    Teng Yi gave a cold snort, Dare he? Ive warned him, if he starts going overboard, Ill send him packing back home.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that with Teng Yi controlling Jing Jun, itll not be easy for this lad to go overboard.

    The wind howled and Jing Jun who is 10 times more nimble than the average person jumped down from the wall and came quickly to where they were hiding. He said quietly, I didnt expect the inside to be so huge! Ive found out where Zhuji lives.

    Xiang Shaolong nodded his head, Let us go then!

    The 3 of them dashed out from the dark place and came to the bottom of the high wall.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at the snowing sky and thought that a dark and windy night like this is perfect for espionage. Everyone would be snuggling in their blankets in such cold weather and even the guards will be hiding in the rooms lighted with stoves.

    In this quiet and lonely night, they seem to be in another unique world. Especially when Xiang Shaolong is thinking that he can see the beauty who gave birth to the first Emperor of China, he felt both excited and exhilarating.

    Xiang Shaolong savored this strange feeling carefully as he followed Jing Jun and climbed over the wall swiftly, landing within the courtyard.

    Inside the houses all joined one another, making it difficult for one to see everything at once. What is unexpected is that with Ying Zhengs status as a hostage, why is he able to use such a big place.

    They landed in a rectangular opened air courtyard and facing the high wall is a row of houses, which looks like the residences of servants.

    Jing Jun executed his skills and led the way in front with familiarity. They passed by numerous houses, came to a garden forest with a pond, a fake hill and pavilion.

    Jing Jun pointed at a 2 storey building on the other side of the garden forest, which still has lamps burning in it and said, I overheard the maids talking earlier, Zhuji should be staying there but I dont know which room?

    Teng Yi scrutinized the surroundings and said, Well keep a look out here for you, if the situation is not right, Jing Jun will give out a bird call to inform you.

    Xiang Shaolong nodded his head in agreement and snuck towards the building. He chose a window with no lights and after checking that nothing is amiss, dashed inside.

    This place looks like a small hall.

    He quickly walked to the wooden door leading out and plastered his ear on it. On hearing that theres no one outside, he pushed the door open and went out.

    Outside is a corridor with one end leading to the outer hall and the other end to a flight of stairs leading upstairs.

    The house was quiet, it seems that the maids are already in dreamland.

    He had not finish this thought when he heard footsteps from the top of the stairs.

    Xiang Shaolong hurriedly hid back into the room and wondered why someone is still awake at a time like this.

    The footsteps stopped in front of the door.

    Xiang Shaolong was astounded, theres not enough time for him to leave by the window and he hurriedly went to a corner and squat down behind a small cabinet. Although its not a good place to hide, its better to come face to face with the person coming in.

    Indeed someone pushed the door and entered, followed by the sounds of cups and plates knocking on one another.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that the other party has no idea that someone is hiding in a corner so he boldly extended his head out for a look. It turned out to be 2 pretty maids.

    One of the maids yawned and said, Hes the worst, every time he comes Madam would not be able to sleep, and well have to serve them at the side.

    The other maid said, Madam is usually a person of few words but when she sees him she seems to have endless things to say.

    The maid who spoke first laughed, Its better than serving that lecher. His body cant make it yet he wants to rely on hateful toys. Sister Xiang has only half a life left after being toyed with him for 3 nights in a row. Hai!

    Xiang Shaolongs heart dropped, needless to say this lecher must be Ying Zheng. Now that the maids are talking about it, it seems that Lady Yas words are not wrong at all.

    What is this all about? How can the heroic and smart Emperor Qin be someone like that, how is he going to exterminate Lu Buwei in future and consolidate the 6 states, building the largest foundation for China.

    Amongst the chatter, the 2 maids prepared the tea and left.

    Now that he knows that someone is still awake, Xiang Shaolong dare not go upstairs via the stairs so he left by the window and saw that there is a darkened window on the second floor. He was climbing halfway up when a group of patrol came with lanterns from the small path in the garden. Xiang Shaolong was startled, because if this is where Zhuji stays, the guards will certainly be extra alert and will not miss this person hanging in midair.

    He gritted his teeth and increased his speed, in a moment he went through the window into the room.

    Its a large bedroom for a lady, the floor was piled with thick and soft rugs while the bed is empty. Besides a few tables and mirrors, on the walls pretty paintings were hung. Xiang Shaolong was suspecting if this is Zhujis bedroom when the familiar footsteps of the 2 maids sounded outside the door again.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly lamented.

    This is what they say, a wolf in front and a tiger below. Luckily there is a large wardrobe at the corner of the room and left with no choice, he ran over and opened it for a look. There are 2 compartments inside, although there are clothes piled on the lowest compartment, but he can still squeeze in, if barely. He dare not hesitate any longer and immediately squeezed in and just as he closed the wardrobe door, the 2 maids pushed open then door and came in.

    Followed by sounds of them arranging the blankets.

    After a moment the 2 maids walked out but they did not close the door.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting, it seems that Zhuji and her lover will come in anytime, then wont he have to suffer in here and listen to Zhujis moans.

    Tonight seems to be a difficult time to get in touch with Zhuji. Spending the night under the blankets with Wu Tingfang and Ting Fangshi is naturally a hundred times better than being curled up in here.

    Besides if Teng and Jing sees that he has not come out after so long, something may happen.

    Just as he was feeling troubled, footsteps, one heavy and one light, could be heard coming closer, followed by the sound of the door closing.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly cried out, Heavens! and he closed his eyes and left everything to fate.

    Outside he could hear the friction of the clothes moving, and the moaning made by a man and woman.

    Since Xiang Shaolong was feeling bored, he started guessing who Zhujis lover might be.

    Reasonably it definitely cannot be Zhao Mu, since he knows that the military will soon be going to King Xiaocheng tomorrow to settle scores with him, so now he should be going to the King of Zhao and trying to poison his mind. Because after all, the King of Zhao does have some feelings for Zhao Ni and if he really finds out that the person who caused her demise is Zhao Mu, he may ignore all marital feelings and order Zhao Mus death. So theres no way Zhao Mu will take this flippantly.

    But Zhuji and her son has always been under Zhao Mus supervision, and anyone else who wants to go near will need his permission.

    Who can this person be then?

    An extremely gentle voice can be heard from outside the wardrobe, The thing that I asked of you, how is it now?

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly complimenting her. Just by listening to her voice, he knows that this woman is very well versed in using her gift of beauty to ensnarl men. No wonder the newly crowned King Zhuangxiang could not forget about her.

    Since Lu Buwei chose her to captivate King Zhuangxiang, naturally she is someone extraordinary.

    That lover replied, Now the situation is uncertain, its still not the time to return to Qin.

    Xiang Shaolong was shocked and he immediately recognized him as the effeminate philosopher Guo Kai.

    He did not expect it to be him. No wonder he linked up with Zhuji, just that he wonders if Zhao Mu is aware of this matter.

    Zhuji pouted, Whats so uncertain. Now that my husband has ascended the throne, as long as my son and I can return to Xianyang, Zhenger will be the crown prince to ascend the throne. Whats there to worry about!

    Sounds of kissing was heard again and Zhujis moans became more intense. Obviously Guo Kai is trying all his means to pacify Zhuji.

    Zhuji exclaimed breathlessly, Dont!

    Guo Kai replied, Every second of the night is worth a thousand gold, its rare for us to have this chance. Come! Lets talk further within the bed!

    Zhuji replied a little angrily, Youre only interested in my body but not at all concerned about my troubles. Tell me! Why didnt you do what you promised me.

    Guo Kai replied anxiously, Dont you know that Ive put a lot of work into it? Its just that King Zhuangxiang has just ascended the throne and all parties are now keeping a close eye on both of you. Besides, Lu Buweis status is not that stable now as well and hes in danger of being overthrown at any moment. No matter how we see it, you should not be sneaking back into Xianyang at this moment.

    Xiang Shaolong gradually understood, the reason Zhuji ensnarled this important person in Zhao Mus gang is because she wants to make use of his power to escape Handan.

    Its just that one wonders if Guo Kai is really planning to betray Zhao Mu or he just wants to cheat her of her body, and it seems more likely that its the latter. One just have to think that Guo Kai now has power in his hands and he has a large extended family in Zhao, so no matter how selfish he is, once he is faced with a life and death decision, hell certainly think of his own parents, brothers, wife and children first.

    The most embarrassing thing is if Guo Kai were to go to Qin, he will certainly lose his life and Zhuji. Because Zhujis 2 other men, regardless of whether its Lu Buwei or King Zhangxiang, will certainly kill him because of jealousy.

    For someone as smart as Guo Kai, how can he not consider about something so important?

    Of course Zhuji understands this reasoning as well, but shes just too anxious to return to Qin and become the Empress so she couldnt care about anything else.

    Indeed Zhuji remained silent.

    Guo Kai said gently, Come! The weather is so cold! What can be a more comfortable place than beneath a blanket?

    Sounds of clothes being removed followed.

    Zhujis voice said, You get onto the bed first, Ill join you shortly after undressing.

    Guo Kai is obviously very tired and he yawned and went up the bed.

    Outside sounds of Zhuji removing her robes and accessories were heard.

    A strange noise was heard, it turned out to be Guo Kai snoring.

    Xiang Shaolong was affected as well and felt his eyelids getting heavy. Just as he was falling asleep. Footsteps came nearer.

    Any drowsiness was immediately dissipated, and he secretly thought that it cant be that much of a coincidence that Zhuji is actually coming to the wardrobe to take her sexy lingerie.

    He has not finished his thought when the wardrobe door was pulled open.

    Xiang Shaolong had an idea out of impulse and jumped up, hugging her and throwing her down to the ground with one hand covering her tiny mouth, pressing her voluptuous and scantily clad alluring body beneath his. At the same time, he whispered close to her ear, I am Xiang Shaolong, here to look for you on Lu Buweis orders!

    He repeated it 3 times before Zhuji stopped her struggle and her delicate body softened.

    On the bed, the rhythmic snoring of Guo Kai was heard.

    Xiang Shaolong thanked heavens and raised himself up a little, and came face to face with Zhuji.

    He cant help but feel his heart beat faster.

    He saw the lady under him was extremely enticing, filled with the allure of a mature woman with eyes that could speak volumes, which are now sizing Xiang Shaolong up.

    Suddenly Xiang Shaolong could feel her whole alluring body and a wave of lust coursed through him. He was so startled he hurriedly suppressed his lust in case the other party feels it.

    He slowly removed his large hand that was covering her mouth and immediately saw Zhujis pretty face.

    Shes certainly not a perfect and delicate beauty like Wu Tingfang, Lady Ya or Ji Yanran. Her face is a little too long, the bridge of her nose a little crooked and her lips a little too thick, but when matched with her pretty eyes, it formed a wild beauty and allure that can take ones soul away. Especially her lips which seems to be full of character, the corner lightly curved up, making men think that its not an easy task to subdue her.

    Heavens!

    This is Emperor Qins birth mother!

    He has been looking for Emperor Qin all this time but never in his dreams did he think that he could take advantage of his mother like this.

    Her body fragrance drifted into his nose.

    Zhuji looked at him unblinkingly and said quietly, I know who you are, because the person Zhao Mu most want to get rid of now is you.

    Xiang Shaolong recollected his wandering thoughts and went close to her ear and said, I hope you also know the relationship between the Wu family and Mister Lu. He sent Tu Xian to make contact with us to get you and your son back to Xianyang as soon as possible.

    Xiang Shaolong tried to bear with the itch he felt in his ear and suppressed the urge to take advantage of her, but he cant help but lightly bit on her rounded earlobe and said, Firstly I have to make contact with you to understand the situation before we can settle the details of escape. I

    The sound of someone turning was heard on the bed.

    The both of them were startled.

    Zhuji said hurriedly, Come again tomorrow night! Ill wait for you.

    Xiang Shaolong hurriedly rolled aside.

    Zhuji stood up nimbly and at this time Guo Kai called for her from the bed.

    Zhuji blushed slightly as she lowered her head and stared at Xiang Shaolong for a moment.

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but feel lust welling up as he reached out and grabbed her calf, pinched it before letting go.

    That captivating feeling is even more touching than the actual act of copulation.

    Zhuji rolled her eyes at him before walking towards the bed.

    Only after she extinguished the lamp and went into the bed curtains did Xiang Shaolong regain his thoughts.

    He secretly thought that this woman is indeed formidable before leaving hurriedly.

    By this time even if he made any noise, Guo Kai would not find out.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 4 No route for advance or retreat

    After breakfast, Xiang Shaolong went to see Master Wu and his son but he did not see Wu Zhuo and Tao Fang.

    He remembered the suspicious Chu who was in contact with Zhao Mu and knows that those two must be away because of this matter.

    When he reported the situation last night when he saw Zhuji, Master Wu and his son turned somber.

    Wu Yingyuan furrowed his brows and said, This woman is extremely formidable, no man can escape her allure. But why is Guo Kai so bold, the servants there should all belong to Zhao Mu, so how can he hide his visits from Zhao Mu?

    Master Wu replied, Zhao Mu allowd Guo Kai to handle a lot of matters for him, for all you know those people there are all placed by Guo Kai. Thats why he can steal what hes supposed to protect without any fear at all.

    He turned towards Xiang Shaolong and said, The 2 new family warriors you recruited are rare talents. Treat them well, wealth and women, just give it to them.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, I understand! but he secretly thought to himself that a relationship based on such material goods, how can it sustain?

    Wu Yingyuan replied, It seems that Shaolong can easily smuggle them out now, the question is how to leave Handan and avoid the pursuing soldiers along the way? He paused and asked suspiciously, Isnt this a little too easy!

    Xiang Shaolong was only worried about the other aspect, Our Wu family has such an extended family, easily more than a thousand, how can we escape out of Zhao?

    Wu Yingyuan smiled, Ive arranged for this since 2 years ago. The Wu family has business all over the world, so all along theres always been people who were sent to other areas to take care of business and the farms. Recently, with the excuse of setting up a new farm, even Tingwei has been sent out, in case he lets slip of our plans when hes out merrymaking.

    Xiang Shaolong was suddenly enlightened, no wonder he have not seen Wu Tingwei. He asked, Since the King of Zhao is aware of father-in-law and Lu Buweis being in correspondence, and now that we keep sending our family people out of Handan, how can he not be suspicious?

    Wu Yingyuan replied, They can only suspect! They have never gathered any concrete proof. Besides, both the Guo family and us have connections with the various powerful people in other states and sometimes we even helped the King of Zhao in overseas secret missions. If not for Zhao Mu fanning the flames at the side, whats the big deal about having relations with Lu Buwei?

    Xiang Shaolong is even more perplexed, Why is Zhao Mu so intent on getting rid of the Wu family?

    Master Wu slapped on the table and exclaimed angrily, Its all because of that fellow Guo Zhong who caused all these. I dont know how he managed to find out that one of our family ancestors is a Qin, and investigated that the family name Wu is a major family name over at the Qin side, thats why the King of Zhaos suspicions of us grew day by day. Zhao Mu is just following the King of Zhaos wishes and taking the opportunity to trample us!

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong manage to find out what happened.

    Wu Yingyuan returned to the earlier topic, Since Guo Kai has secretly entangled himself with Zhuji, we have to think of a way to make use of this matter to affect the relationship between Guo Kai and Zhao Mu. Without Guo Kai around to give nasty ideas to Zhao Mu, itll be easier to handle Zhao Mu.

    The corners of Master Wus lips revealed a slight mysterious smile as he said, Well talk about this later. He turned towards Xiang Shaolong and said, You better think of a more concrete plan so that you can strengthen Zhujis confidence when you see her tonight, then itll be easier to cooperate in future.

    At this time a servant came to report that theres a guest looking for Xiang Shaolong.

    Xiang Shaolong was feeling perplexed, who could be looking for him?

    By now Xiang Shaolongs status in the Wu family is even greater than before, and is obviously the most important person after Master Wu and Wu Yingyuan, so he received the guest in the main hall of the main mansion.

    He went to the hall, and his visitors turned out to be the old family warriors of Prince Shaoyuan, Liu Cao and Pu Bu.

    Xiang Shaolong came forward joyfully and helped the 2 of them up, asking with a mixture of surprise and joy, Ive been waiting for you to arrive everyday, and finally my wait is over.

    The 2 of them saw how Xiang Shaolong holds them in such high regard and were so grateful that hot tears welled in their eyes.

    Xiang Shaolong asked about the situation in Daliang.

    It turns out that ever since Xiang Shaolong escaped out of Prince Xinlings residence, Prince Xinling has been livid. After he found out that besides the front section of the Lu Gongs Secret Manual, the rest has been swapped and stolen, he was so upset he almost committed suicide. He even suspected his sister Lady Pingyuan had leaked the news to Xiang Shaolong and started behaving coldly towards her and her son.

    Because of this Prince Shaoyuan became very bad tempered and kept on scolding and beating his family warriors. Pu Bu and the rest took the opportunity to resign.

    Without the support of Prince Xinling, Prince Shaoyuan faces the difficulty of supporting 200 odd family warriors so he might as well dismiss them. Therefore Pu Bu and 40 odd other men returned to Handan.

    They are familiar with the surroundings here and after finding out that Xiang Shaolong is safe, came to find him immediately.

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly has an idea and after summoning someone to borrow from Wu Yingyuan a large sum of money, he stuffed the money to the 2 of them and said, Find a place to settle down but you must remember not to reveal your relations with me. Have fun and make merry all you can, when I need your help, I will look for you.

    The 2 of them knew that he is now in a life and death fight with Xhao Mu and on hearing what he said, understood his meaning. They also saw that he is 10 times more generous than Prince Shaoyuan but his character is a 100 times better, so obviously they will want to follow him loyally.

    Liu Cao said, Were very popular in Handan, and now that weve officially left the Pingyuan Residence, why dont we pretend to throw in our lots with Zhao Mus devious faction so we can become your eyes and ears.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this is indeed a good idea, who would have thought that the family warriors of Pingyuan Residence who used to be his enemies would now belong to him. They discussed who they should align themselves with and decided on how to make contact before the 2 of them left happily.

    Xiang Shaolong felt more relieved and went to look for Teng Yi. Seeing that he was training the warriors of the Wu family, he thought of the idea of the special task force and told him, See if my suggestion is doable, among these 2000 warriors, choose about 100 of the best and name them Superior Troops. Bring them to the farm and train them separately, let them learn the various different skills. If every one of them has half the skills of you and Jing Jun, it wont be an impossible task when the time comes to force our way into the hostage residence to save people.

    At first Teng Yi furrowed his brows deeply when he heard that, secretly thinking how can a hundred people accomplish anything great, until Xiang Shaolong explained the method of keeping the strong and eliminating the weak as well as the strict training he underwent while in the special task force. This extremely experienced and ferocious warrior had to admit defeat and say, This is the first time Ive heard of such training methods, Shaolong youre absolutely an incomparable military genius. War in your hands has become a form of art.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly laughed, if he can change the sabers, swords and arrows into guns and cannons, just this ancient special task force will be able to conquer the 6 states and unify the world. By then would he need to fear a mere Zhao Mu.

    The 2 of them discussed in detail the methods of training and equipment needed before Xiang Shaolong led Jing Jun and that 10 personal bodyguards towards Lady Yas residence.

    While riding on the road, Xiang Shaolong thought of the missing Mei Canniang and had the urge to immediately turn his horse around and go to Mulberry Village to take a look for himself.

    He then remembered Ji Yanran at faraway Daliang, and for a moment was helplessly filled with sadness.

    Jing Jun who was riding alongside him was looking at his surroundings and looking at the pedestrians on the streets, he suddenly said earnestly, Xiao Jun is very grateful towards Brother Xiang and Brother Teng. Without both of you who brought me to such an exciting and fun place, I dont know how I am going to spend my life?

    Xiang Shaolong cast aside his troubles and said with a laugh, But it may also cause you to lose your life!

    Jing Jun grinned and said suavely, Then I can only accept my fate! Precisely because of this danger that I may lose my life anytime, it makes fun time with beauties all the more interesting. That feeling is just like when I was 5 years old and the first time I helped my father hunt tigers.

    Xiang Shaolong asked hoarsely, A 5 year old kid cant even walk steadily, what help can you render?

    Jing Jun laughed as well, That I forgot, I only remember when the ferocious tiger fell into the trap, the horrible roars were so frightening that I peed in my pants.

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but chortle loudly, his sadness momentarily forgotten.

    Behind them hoof beats were heard.

    Everyone turned their heads back in unison on hearing it.

    A horse came nearer, the riders cloak covering the whole head and for a moment they cant see the face clearly. Only when it got near did they recognize the person.

    Jing Juns eyes brightened immediately.

    Xiang Shaolong was slightly surprised as he called out, Where is Miss Zhi going?

    Zhao Zhi slowed her horse down and went to Xiang Shaolongs other side, turned her face towards him and looked at him frostily, Where is Commander going then?


    Jing Jun who was on the other side blinked at her and said, Miss Zhi have yet to reply Brother Xiangs question?

    Zhao Zhi felt angry upon seeing Jing Jun, feeling that hes more irritating than anyone else and retorted with fury, When adults are talking, its not your place to interrupt!

    Xiang Shaolong laughed, Miss is wrong, Xiao Jun is my good brother, his words are my words.

    Jing Jun did not expect Xiang Shaolong to think so highly of him and he immediately became proud, puffing up his chest and deliberately heaved a sigh of pity as he said, And I thought Miss Zhi is here to look for me!

    Zhao Zhi was so furious that her pretty face turned pale, Who wants to look for you?

    Without knowing why, Jing Juns words and actions always irritated and anger her.

    Jing Jun chuckled, Who are you looking for then!

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but feel that this lad is indeed quite good at making fun and flirting with women.

    Zhao Zhi knows that she has fallen into Jing Juns questioning trap. If she answers that shes here to look for Xiang Shaolong, it will mean that Jing Juns earlier insinuation that she has taken a liking for Xiang Shaolong and is therefore here to look for him. But if her answer is no, naturally shes here to look for Jing Jun.

    But the truth is Zhao Zhi doesnt even know herself why she is here to look for Xiang Shaolong.

    Last night Xiang Shaolong had an outstanding victory over Yan Ping, who is a highly respected martial arts master in Handan, shocking everyone present.

    Zhao Ba who has always thought highly of himself is now feeling afraid, especially since the military is now backing Xiang Shaolong up, Zhao Ba will not dare to embroil himself in the fight between the 2 big political and military powers. After the feast he immediately warned all his disciples, especially Zhao Zhi, not to antagonize Xiang Shaolong.

    But Zhao Zhi is a proud person and after she went home, the more she thought about it, the more upset she became. After she woke up, she unconsciously went up her horse and came riding to the Wu residence and on the way there actually bumped into Xiang Shaolong, thats why she caught up with them.

    Right now she is dumbfounded and her pretty face blushed.

    Xiang Shaolong does not know the degree of closeness she has with Lian Jin, so he said with a quiet sigh, At that time, being in a situation that one is forced to determine life and death in a duel, its either Lian Jin will perish or I will die. Besides Lian Jin and Zhao Mu used underhanded tricks first while my fight with him was aboveboard, so who can blame me?

    Zhao Zhi was stunned, and lowered her pretty face.

    The matter regarding Lian Jin and Zhao Mu using aphrodisiac to weaken Xiang Shaolongs energy has spread through the powerful in the imperial court long ago. Although Zhao Zhi has heard something about this, she forced herself to ignore it. But without knowing why, the way that Xiang Shaolong just talked about it like a passing matter, made her truly believe what has happened. Or maybe its because last night Xiang Shaolongs conduct has shown that he is not one who is afraid of the powerful and that he is aboveboard in his attitude!

    Her love for Lian Jin may be strong, but its all superficial attraction to the opposite sex. Lian Jin had made use of her young blossoming heart and took the opportunity to steal her heart.

    Such first love may be unforgettable for her, but it has not reached the stage where it has eaten into her soul. When Lian Jins perfect image was destroyed, this love dissipated with the wind as well and for a moment her mind was in a blank, and she did not know what to do.

    Xiang Shaolong seems to understand the change in her perfectly and asked with a smile, Miss Zhi, will you let Jing Jun send you home?

    Zhao Zhi was startled, I dont need anyones escort! She slapped her horse and went galloping into the side street on the left.

    Xiang Shaolong gave Jing Jun an eye signal and Jing Jun was overjoyed as he slapped his own horse and went after her, ignoring the looks of others as he shouted, Miss Zhi, wait for me!

    Xiang Shaolong was delighted.

    That lass Zhao Zhi is really not too bad, and extremely compatible with Jing Jun both in terns of age and appearance. Most importantly he could tell that Jing Jun has fallen for her at first sight but it seems that if he wants to woo her successfully, hell have to put in a lot of effort.

    Suddenly Xiang Shaolong realized that he has changed a lot.

    If it was in the past, women to him are the more the merrier and he will never reject any who approaches him. Maybe now he has too many beauties, or maybe the pain of having the women he love die horribly one after another has made his attitude towards women a lot more cooler and he doesnt really feel like stepping into the love arena now.

    Everyone who is born will have to face the deaths of people around him, and the end will come with his own death.

    For the past year, he has experienced the heart wrenching pain of such deaths.

    He thought of what happened with Zhuji last night. At that time although he felt great lust, it has nothing to do with love or feelings at all, just the rash desire of pure basic attraction to the opposite sex.

    But its so difficult to control.

    Hell have to be careful when he sees her tonight, or else if he were to have a physical relationship with her, things will become even more complicated.

    He only hopes that she will not flirt with him, this woman truly understands how to lure men.

    Lady Yas residence came into view and Xiang Shaolong sighed before riding in.

    The guards hastened their horses to follow him closely and 11 steeds swept into Lady Yas residence like the wind.

    Lady Ya has gone to the Palace and only Zhao Qian and Master Pan is in the residence.

    Zhao Pan has matured in a short time, unlike in the past where he will slip out and have fun the whole day or make fun of the maids or forming up gangs to create trouble.

    Zhao Qian pitied him because of the horrific experience he went through and accompanied him in his studies. As for Zhao Pan, in front of his beautiful cousin, changed his character and studied hard as well.

    Xiang Shaolongs heart ached on seeing this and he took Zhao Pan to the garden where he conscientiously taught him the Mohist swordplay and ordered his men to spar with him.

    While Zhao Pan was forgetting himself in his sword practice, Xiang Shaolong started chatting with Zhao Qian who was looking from the side, I didnt expect this child to become so understanding.

    Zhao Qians eyes reddened as she replied, The person he loves most is Aunt Ni. Now his heart is filled with hatred, not only does he hate Zhao Mu, he also hates Imperial Father. Thats why he sees you as a role model and wants to become as smart and brave so that he can avenge Aunt Ni.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at Zhao Pan, who has a face of darkened concentration and determination, which is clearly a mismatched expression for a person of his age at all and he felt iciness in his heart.

    His intuition tells him that Zhao Pan will definitely not be an ordinary person in future but for now he cannot guess what great things will he accomplish.

    Zhao Qian said quietly, He accepted me partly because I belong to you, and also because like him, I hate Imperial Father and Zhao Mu greatly as well.

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly felt terrible and he asked, Doesnt your Imperial Father respect Lady Ni the most? Why would he just sit there and look at Zhao Mu commit murder? At least he should look into this matter thoroughly. Besides this matter has caused the military much unhappiness and this can become the greatest danger for Zhao since the battle of Changping.

    Zhao Qian sighed sadly, No one can understand Imperial Father, he wasnt like that in the past. But after the battle of Changping, he changed totally, becoming indecisive and kept on changing his mind about matters, to the extent that hes even a little afraid of facing his officials, especially the generals from the military. He allowed Zhao Mu to exercise sole power and cover everything up. Like this matter regarding Lady Ni, he should have given strict orders for a thorough investigation but after Zhao Mus interference, he made this into a small matter very easily and thus settled it, making all in the palace disheartened with him.

    From Zhao Qians qords, Xiang Shaolong saw the other effect the battle of Changping has done to the state of Zhao.

    The defeat of that battle is mainly because King Xiaocheng fell for the Qins extremely juvenile trick of sowing discord and allowed Zhao Gua to replace Lian Po. It can also be considered a clash of power between a newly crowned leader and a powerful old general.

    After this greatest defeat in the history of Zhao which totally weakened them, King Xiaocheng lost his confidence and became someone who runs away from reality, to the extent that hes even afraid of seeing the silent reproach in his ministers eyes.

    Therefore Zhao Mu took the opportunity to come in and fulfilled his mental and physical needs.

    Maybe the King of Zhao became a homosexual because he has given up on himself, and was embarking on destroying himself out of guilt. Of course it is also possible that he is born like that but what is the true reason, maybe even King Xiaocheng does not know himself.

    Zhao Qian said sadly, I still miss the time when we were escaping from Daliang, hoping to have you hugging and loving me every night. Shaolong! When will we leave this hideous place, find a deserted place and let Qianer cook for you while you hunt for our livelihood?

    Xiang Shaolong was laughing bitterly to himself, if he had stayed on at Mei Canniangs valley, maybe he would be able to spend the rest of his life like that. But now its as if he is already riding on the tiger and finds it difficult to dismount, and he cant do it even if he wants to.

    Even if he goes to Qin, what he will meet may be even more complicated fights for power. In this ancient warring states period, it seems that there is no paradise to live in. Or else Mei Canniang would not have been almost raped by bandits and Teng Yis wife and children would not have been killed.

    He sighed and told the story about paradise to Zhao Qian. When this pretty princess is totally engrossed in the story, as if her soul has flown to that human utopia, Zhao Ya came back with a somber expression.

    Xiang Shaolong and her went into a quiet room for discussion.

    Zhao Ya sighed, On the battlefield Li Mu is an unmatched and fierce warrior, but when it comes to political intrigue he is really too impetuous and also underestimated Zhao Mus influence over Imperial brother.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly alarmed and asked, What happened?

    Zhao Ya did not reply him directly but said with a troubled look, They do not understand that after the battle of Changping, what Imperial brother fears most is others telling him he has made a mistake. Now Li Mu is obviously trying to force Imperial brother to admit that he has slipped up in the matter of Sister Ni and blaming him for covering up for the suspected murderer, so how will he be willing to accept this.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brow, What actually happened?

    Zhao Ya looked at him and said, After the feast last night, Zhao Mu entered the Palace immediately to look for Imperial brother, but no one knows what he told him. Most likely hes blaming the military for using this opportunity to create chaos and to shake Imperial brothers hold on the throne; naturally he wont have anything good to say about you either.

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong understand the term a muddleheaded ruler will bring downfall to the country. When power is concentrated in the hands of one person, this person will become the key to success or failure. Although the modern democratic system is full of cons, but its a hundred times better than having a muddle headed ruler controlling the life and death of everyone.

    Zhao Ya continued, This morning Imperial brother summoned me and asked me in detail about you and forced me to reveal my real relationship with you, I almost could not handle the questionings.

    Xiang Shaolong asked in shock, How did you answer him?

    Zhao Ya started to look a little unnatural as she replied, Of course I wont reveal the truth, but it seems that he still believes that I am not enamored of you, or maybe because my reputation in the past was just too bad! After she spoke she lowered her pretty face, looking troubled.

    Xiang Shaolong pinched her chin and lifted up her pretty face, saying, Now Im involved with the military and the Wu family, 2 important factions, your Imperial brother wont dare to do anything against me rashly!

    Zhao Ya exclaimed miserably, Im worried to death! You must not overestimate the power of the military and the Wu family. If Imperial brother ignores everything and execute you immediately, by then itll be too late and no one will really come to a face to face confrontation with Imperial brother over you.

    A fury welled up within Xiang Shaolong as he said with an icy laugh, Want to kill me, Im afraid King Xiaocheng will need to mobilize his army to do that, I will not let myself be caught so easily.

    Zhao ya pouted, Sometimes youre really like a person with all brawn and no brains. Just Imperial brothers personal guards alone total 20,000, there are about 30,000 soldiers guarding the city and the commander Le Cheng is Zhao Mus man. If something happens, who can save you. If something were to happen to you, how can I continue living! As she finished her sentence, hot tears flowed out, obviously she is extremely worried and frightened, but it seems that theres something else as well.

    Xiang Shaolong gathered her into his arms and said with a smile, Dont worry! Someone has once said that I am the new saint who will face many dangers, so I definitely wont die.

    Zhao Ya was stunned, Who said that? What is a new saint?

    She paused and continued without interest, I am at a loss right now and feeling very troubled, Shaolong teach me quickly what I should do.

    Xiang Shaolong was silent for a moment before replying, Now theres not much choice left, only by escaping from Handan will we have a chance of survival. But before we leave I must tear that Zhao Mu into pieces before the hatred in my heart can be appeased.

    Zhao Ya caressed his cheeks lovingly, You must promise to bring Yaer with you!

    Xiang Shaolong said with surety, That is of course, not only will I bring you, Xiao Pan and Qianer will come with us as well.

    Zhao ya asked quietly, Are we going to Qin. Hai! The Qins are even more frightening than the people from other states!

    Xiang Shaolong said with a laugh, Dont forget I am the new saint. He stood up and continued, Im afraid I will only have time to accompany all of you after we reach Qin. King Xiaochengs reaction is totally beyond my expectations, I have to look for Li Mu immediately to discuss this and try to mollify your Imperial brothers feelings.

    Zhao Ya accompanied him out and said, I will be in charge of keeping an eye of the situation in the palace. Luckily Empress Jing is on your side speaking up for you and Imperial brother is still wavering, so for the time being he would not dare to use such harsh methods to deal with you yet. As she finished her words she suddenly lowered her pretty face, a look of unfathomable confusion flashed past her pretty eyes.

    Of course Xiang Shaolong did not see that, but he just felt troubled.

    Zou Yan may really believe that he is some new saint, but he knows that theres no such thing at all.

    If there is a new saint, it should be Ying Zheng.

    But the Ying Zheng now, how can he be the new saint who unifies the world?

    Xiang Shaolong greatly misses the high tech weapons he used in the 21st century.

    In this era, even the most formidable swordsman can only deal with a dozen odd people but not a hundred odd people, much less thousands of well trained soldiers.

    Therefore he can only use strategies and tactics so that he will have a chance to preserve his life and escape.

    Suddenly, he felt as if he cant bear to leave Handan.

    Its finally time to leave this great ancient city.

  11. #51
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 5 Secret discussion of the grand plan

    Xiang Shaolong came to Li Mus Great General Residence in Handan, over a thousand men and horses were gathered in the open area within the walls, all decked out as if they are about to leave immediately.

    Xiang Shaolongs heart sunk and when the guard took him to see Li Mu, Li Mu happened to walk out from the building, all dressed in his military attire. When he saw Xiang Shaolong, he pulled him aside and said, Theres no hope for Great Zhao. His Majesty summoned me to the palace today and wants me to return to the northern border immediately to deal with the Xiong Nus. He did not give me a chance to bring up Zhao Nis matter at all and even said openly that Zhao Mu will be in charge of Handan. You better leave quickly! Or else you might lose your life.

    King Xiaochengs reaction is obviously beyond the expectations of this famed general.

    Li Mu continued in a low voice, A lot of commanders within Handan used to be my subordinates. I have told them about you and instructed them to help you secretly. He then told him a few names.

    He added, If Zhao Mu sends people to go after you, you can escape to the northern border. As long as youre within my region of power, I will have a way to protect you and even his Majesty cant do anything about that.

    Xiang Shaolong did not expect that this person whom he has only met 3 times would actually have such strong feelings of friendship and chivalrous. He was so touched that he was at a loss for words.

    Li Mu removed his sword and pressed it to him, This sword is called Blood Wave and a lot more times better than Flying Rainbow. It can cut a flying strand of hair and slice through enemys armor like air. With your out of the world swordplay, having this would be akin to adding wings to a tiger. Do no reject, or else I will look down on you.

    Hot tears streamed out from Xiang Shaolongs eyes as he received this precious sword with the frightening name.

    Li Mu patted his shoulder and said, Wherever can accommodate you, just go to that place! Maybe one day we will meet on the battlefield and by then were serving different masters and we may have to fight to the death. I will definitely not give way and you must do the same to me as well.

    After he finished his words he laughed loudly, with seemingly unending sadness and bravery. He then got up his horse and left his residence, towards his journey north.

    Xiang Shaolongs feelings were mixed as he looked at him numbly and for a moment felt all alone in the world.

    He took the sword out for a look and saw on the especially long and shiny sword, there seems to be red lines on the body, looking like waves.

    On the pommel of the sword were the words Blood Wave written in the ancient form.

    The joy from last night has suddenly flown away without a trace and the only thing he can do now is to rely on his own intelligence and ability and make sure that the Wu family and those that he love will be able to leave this lawless place safely.

    Xiang Shaolong left the Great General Residence feeling at a loss.

    Without a highly respected man like Li Mu handling the situation, no matter how unhappy the military is with Zhao Mu, they would not dare to risk the lives of their whole clan and speak up about Zhao Nis case, and no one will dare to stand on his side. He has no wish to implicate others too, so now he can only rely on the Wu family and himself.

    Li Mu has been ordered to return to the northern border, the military world in the state of Zhao all knows clearly the Kings wishes, which is to stand on the same side as Zhao Mu and he, Xiang Shaolong, is Zhao Mus biggest thorn in the flesh so naturally he will have difficulty keeping himself alive.

    Not many will be willing to help others in distress, but therell be a lot of people who will gladly rub salt into wound, because they can strike a blow to the Wu family and at the same time ingratiate themselves with Zhao Mu.

    Now the biggest question is, when will Zhao Mu gain the King of Zhaos agreement to get rid of the Wu family and Xiang Shaolong.

    Is there a way to delay the King of Zhao from making this decision?

    Just as he returned to the Wu fortress feeling troubled, Tao Fang came up and said, That Chu person called Dan Jin has been captured and locked in our jail. However this is a very stubborn person and refused to talk at all. Now were waiting to see what you suggest, maybe we might have to torture him seriously.

    Xiang Shaolong seems to see a ray of hope and asked, Have you searched his bags?

    Tao Fang sighed, Its just some unimportant stuff. With Zhao Mus cunningness, he will never let others catch hold of him so easily. He continued, Even if this person is willing to cooperate obediently and stand out to testify against Zhao Mu, Zhao Mu can still push all blame away and instead point out that were accusing him. Hai! Do you think King Xiaocheng will believe his man or us?

    Xiang Shaolong quietly sighed, As long as we know clearly the relationship between Zhao Mu and the Chus, well be able to set a trap for him. Thats why we cannot let go of this clue so easily.

    By now the 2 of them have arrived at the back courtyard and entered a secret doorway in a building into the heavily guarded underground jail.

    That Chu spy Dan Jin was tied on a wooden pillar, blood and dirt on his face, looking dispirited. Obviously he has suffered and he lowered his head without saying anything.

    Although Xiang Shaolong pities him, but theres no other choice. This is like a war, to be lenient towards an enemy is akin to committing suicide.

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly has an idea and pulled Tao Fang aside, This person is obviously one who is not afraid of death, or else the Chus wont have sent him here to be in charge of such an important mission. But there is a limit to anyones tolerance, as long as we can find that, we can destroy his will.

    Tao Fang said with exasperation, The question is what way?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, This method is called relentless questioning. Find another 10 odd people and keep on asking him repeated questions, do not allow him toilet breaks or food and most importantly do not let him sleep. During questioning you must use strong light and shine it into his face, Ill want to see how long he can hold on.

    This is the first time Tao Fang has heard of such a questioning method and asked doubtfully, Will it really work?

    Xiang Shaolong replied with certainty, I guarantee it will. Get someone to deal with the injuries on his body first, give him some clean clothes to change into and you can proceed.

    He then told him some techniques on questioning and things to ask, making Tao Fang thinks that it all sounds very feasible before he left to look for Wu Yingyuan.

    Wu Yingyuan is receiving a guest in the secret room and when he knows he has come, immediately invited him in.

    He is a totally non-descript merchant, tall but with a dreadful face, his looks doesnt look appealing at all.

    After Wu Yingyuan invited Xiang Shaolong for a seat, he said, Shaolong! This is Mister Tus most reliable man who has the reputation of being a resourceful strategist Mister Xiao Yuetan.

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, so this is the secret envoy sent by Lu Buweis number 1 headman, Tu Xian. So from this it seems that Lu Buwei is going all out to send Zhuji and her son back to Xianyang in the shortest time possible.

    Xiao Yuetan is quite polite and said, Before I came to Handan, Ive already heard the great name of Master Xiang. Please do not be offended, but my face now is a fake one but due to uncontrollable circumstances, I cannot see others with my real looks.

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly realized that this person is an expert in disguise, and no flaws could be seen at all on the surface. He had an idea and said, So it means that Mister can turn the Crown Prince and his mother into any looks.

    Xiao Yuetan nodded his head, Master Xiangs train of thought is very quick, this is exactly one of the reason Master Tu send me here to Handan. But as for sneaking them out, it will have to depend on all of you.

    Xiang Shaolong was about to say that its not difficult at all to sneak them out but Wu Yingyuan gave him a kick under the table so he hurriedly swallowed his words.

    Wu Yingyuan interrupted, If we can save mother and son, how will Mister Lu receive us on his end?

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong suddenly realized that with their abilities, and with Xiao Yuetans skills for disguise, its not a problem saving mother and son at all. The difficulty is that the Wu family are all going to run away at the same time, thats why Wu Yingyuan is linking Yingzheng and his mother with the Wu family in order to force Lu Buwei to receive them as well.

    Indeed Wu Yingyuan added, The Hostage Residence is heavily guarded and ever since King Zhuangxiang ascended the throne, a troop of Imperial Guards have been stationed permanently in the residence. The city of Handans strict security is also famed throughout the land so other than a forceful attack, there is no other way. But Mister Xiao need not worry, we have already made plans and can guarantee that we will send both mother and son out of the city without any danger to them.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he is exaggerating, theres no grand plan to save them yet but if it was him, he can only do the same thing as well and lie to gain the other partys trust.

    Xiao Yuetan replied, My Master has discussed this matter with King Zhuangxiang. When the time comes our army will pretend to attack Prince Taiyuan and attempt to take over the city to lure the Zhaos attention while Master Tu will personally lead a troop of elite soldiers and infiltrate into the Zhao border to receive you. As long as you can reach the western bank of Northern Liaoyangs lake, Master Tu will be able to escort you past the borders of Wei and Han back to our country. He paused and asked, Can I first listen to your marvelous plan.

    Xiang Sholong secretly thought him formidable. He has said so many things, but in actual fact he did not reveal at all the position and route of the elite troops Tu Xian is leading, because if they are to work in tandem, Tu Xian should already be within Zhao borders.

    Wu Yingyuan kicked him under the table again, obviously he wants him to immediately present a nonexistent plan to deal with this esteemed guest.

    Xiang Shaolong has no plans at all, so he pretended to be mysterious and said, Can Mister Xiao wait for 3 days, because the most important factor in the plan is to make contact with the mother and son and I am still in the midst of arranging this matter. Only after I get some headway on this can I make final confirmations on the other details.

    Xiao Yuetan said a little unhappily, At least you should reveal a little information to me?

    Xiang Shaolong said calmly, Your appearance may lead to changes to the whole plan. We may even make use of your skill of disguise to let us leave Handan without anyone even realizing it, thats why we need to make new arrangements.

    Xiao Yuetans expression looks a little more soothed as he said, I understand a little now! He turned towards Wu Yingyuan and said, I heard that the dace courtesans in the Wu family are famous throughout the land, how can I miss that.

    Wu Yingyuan chortled, Ive made arrangements for you long ago!

    Xiang Shaolong knows that hes no longer needed so he slipped out.

    As soon as he stepped out of Wu Yingyuans inner residence, Xiang Shaolong felt extremely fatigued. The fortress is peaceful in the afternoon. In the garden the maids and children were playing ball, with waves of laughter. The snow on the ground has already been swept clean but icicles still hung on the tree branches.

    When he walked past, the prettier maids were making eyes and flirting with him, hoping to gain his attention.

    But this man who has always been flirtatious only felt a sense of sadness.

    Although Wu Yingyuan said that he will move most of the people out of Zhao earlier, but everyone knows that it only means the closest and direct family members, as for the distant relatives and these maids in front of him here, they will all be heartlessly deserted and ultimately become the object of the Zhao peoples wrath.

    This is a helpless matter, even Xiang Shaolong can do nothing about it.

    In this era where men vie with one another, a persons fate is not controlled in his own hands.

    Heaven will suddenly turn into horrible hell!

    He is not worried that Lu Buwei will betray them. In this unstable land with constant wars, the Wu familys livestock business is extremely important to the military and economy and with the formidable father and son team in the Wu family, they will certainly spread out part of their resources and wont leave anything to the Zhaos. That will be a fatal blow to the state of Zhao and they will find it even more difficult to survive. This is also the retribution of the King of Zhao.

    Wu Yingyuan is a strategist, and has already planning everything quietly since a few years ago. Just looking at how he has taken a liking to him and married his most beloved daughter to him, is enough to proof how bold and far sighted he is.

    Only this kind of person can live happily in a world like this.

    Whistling was heard from behind.

    Before he even have a chance to turn his head back for a look, Jing Jun is already next to him like a gust of wind, his attitude relaxed.

    Xiang Shaolong asked curiously, Succeeded? Naturally hes asking about Zhao Zhi.

    Jing Jun shook his head happily and said nonchalantly, She kept on ignoring me, in the end I followed her home but she chased me away with her sword.

    Xiang Shaolong was surprised, Then I really cannot guess why you can still be so happy now!

    Jing Jun chuckled, The interesting thing is that her father is actually a school teacher, he came out and reprimanded me sternly, saying a whole lot of things about see no evil and speak no evil or words to that meaning. Actually I didnt hear a single word he said, but on the account of his pretty daughter, I pretended to accept his teachings and lowered my head. Maybe he saw that I should be good in studies, he actually said something about teachings, and told me to go to school everyday and learn the ways of being a man. I just have to give him some smoked meat during the New Year or major festivals. Hee! At that time Zhao Zhi was almost mad with fury and kept staring at me, but theres nothing she can do at all. Brother Xiang dont you think this is exciting?

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head and laughed. To be harassed by someone like Jing Jun, Miss Zhao Zhi is going to be in trouble. She cant win him in fights nor can she chase him away, how is she going to deal with him?

    Jing Jun asked, Where has Brother Teng gone?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, He has a special task and has gone to the farm outside the city.

    As he said this, he suddenly had an idea and asked, Is there a way to make thousands of warhorses suddenly feel weak in the legs and unable to walk?

    Jing Jun furrowed his brows, Just have to feed them some herbs, but if the quantity is too huge, it might be a little difficult.

    Xiang Shaolong thought that he should be asking Wu Yingyuan this, since the Wu family has been in the livestock business for generations. No one would be more experienced than them.

    Jing Jun said excitedly, Is there anything you want me to do!

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head, Just go and study in peace! But remember Brother Tengs instructions, dont go overboard, we still have to go to the Hostage Residence tonight.

    Jing Jun gave a reply and left laughingly.

    Xiang Shaolong stepped into his Hidden Dragon Abode and only thought of having a good sleep, not wanting to think of anything else.

    When he woke up, its already dusk.

    Xiang Shaolong regained his spirit and he felt more optimistic and energetic as well.

    Naturally Wu Tingfang and the rest served him meticulously.

    Chunying and the rest of the maids looked a little upset, naturally they were blaming him for not having had his way with them today yet.

    He can only laugh bitterly in his heart. His stamina may be a lot better than the average person, but resources are still limited and although the 4 ladies are young, beautiful and alluring, but more important matters are at hand so he can only suppress his urge.

    During dinnertime, Lady Yas loyal servant Zhao Da actually came looking for him.

    Xiang Shaolong thought that Zhao Ya has something urgent so he hurriedly put down his bowl and chopsticks and invited him into the inner chamber.

    Zhao Da has a strange expression and it was only after a while that he said, Lady has no idea that Ive come here to look for you.

    Xiang Shaolong felt that something is very wrong and asked sincerely, Just say it out boldly! I will be responsible for you.

    Zhao Da said, Actually for servants like us, we have no right to interfere in Ladys affairs at all, but in our hearts, the few of us brothers have already viewed you as the Master who is most worthy of our loyalty, therefore we cant be too concerned about other matters now!

    All the more Xiang Shaolong felt that something is amiss and egged him to reveal the purpose of his visit.

    Zhao Da made up his mind bravely and said somberly, After Lady returned, in less than a month, a person called Qi Yu who is a royalty from the state of Qi came to Handan as an envoy. This person looks even more handsome than Lian Jin, and famed in Qi for his intellect and swordsmanship, hes also an expert with the ladies. But after he arrived in Zhao, he seems to be smitten with Lady and was pursuing her relentlessly. His Majesty and Zhao Mu also kept creating chances for him to meet with Lady and it seems that Lady is a little interested in him too.

    Xiang Shaolong was relieved on hearing that, he is very confident of himself in this aspect and he also does not believe that Zhao Ya, who has gone through difficult times with him, would have a change of feelings so easily.

    Zhao Da looked at his expression and said anxiously, There are some things which I must say even if I dont wish to. After Lady came back, she missed you so terribly that she has no appetite at all, and there were constant rumors in the city about your death. That Qi Yu took the opportunity and spent a few nights in Ladys room. It was only after your return that Lady kept her distance from him but he came last night again to harass Lady and only left this morning. Us brothers had a discussion before deciding to come and inform you.

    Xiang Shaolongs heart froze immediately. With Zhao Yas s.luttish character, in such a situation where she was pining for him, she really needs the consolation and excitement of other men in order to rid herself of the pain and loneliness.

    Humans are not without feelings. Such matters between men and women, once started will be difficult to break off, especially when this Qi Yu is not any worse than him. Thats why Zhao Ya is still being tangled up with him right now.

    Hai!

    A s.lut is a always s.lut. It may be something to do with the hormones in her body, to ask her not to have a man for a long period of time will be a very difficult matter.

    A feeling of pained betrayal welled up in him.

    Zhao Da lowered his voice and said, If Lady is just having fun with that man, we wont do something so unscrupulous as to tell on her. We are extremely gratuitous towards Lady and are willing to die for her, but were afraid that not only is she being cheated of her feelings and body, there might be something else and if it harms you, it wont be worth it.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, What is it all about?

    Zhao Da said painfully, We have been secretly checking on this Qi Yu and realized that every time after he meets Lady, he will immediately sneak over to see Zhao Mu.

    Xiang Shaolong was utterly shocked, What?

    Zhao Das eyes reddened as he lowered his head, his hands clenched tightly into fists, obviously his heart is filled with fury and regret.

    To him, Xiang Shaolong is a trustworthy hero and only he can be a match for Lady Ya whereas Zhao Mu is a person everyone in Handan hates, so one can imagine his feelings right now.

    Xiang Shaolong slowly understood.

    This lure of using handsome man is truly formidable!

    If Zhao Mu can control Zhao Ya again, then on their side no one will be able to leave Handan and it will also be the end of Zhu Ji and her son. Because Zhao Ya is extremely familiar with all their movements and secrets.

    But it seems that although Zhao Ya is still being tangled up with Qi Yu, she has not betrayed him yet. Thinking of her distressing expression today as she told him to take her away from Zhao, and yet afraid that the Qins would be unreliable, he can understand her feelings of uncertainty. After all, the King of Zhao still dotes on her a lot, will she really be willing to betray King Xiaocheng?

    She wanted to leave the state of Zhao mainly because there is no hope for the state and she does not wish to end up being in a destroyed state, and Qi Yu can give her protection, bringing her back to the state of Qi, which is separated from the Qins by the state of Zhao.

    Obviously there is a secret agreement between Qi and Chu and they will go through all means to stop the 3 states from joining, to the extent that they will split the 3 states among themselves. Therefore Zhao Mu was able to invite Xiao Weimou to deal with him and now he can ask the expert in love to snatch his beloved away from him.

    Naturally the King of Zhao is backing this up because he does not want Zhao Ya to get involved with the Wu family, and at the same time he wants to make use of Zhao Ya to understand the Wu familys secrets and when the time is ripe, he will exterminate the Wu family from the roots and take over all the livestock farm, getting rid of this thorn in his flesh.

    Xiang Shaolongs train of thought kept expanding, and thought that maybe the King of Zhao may also be a participant in Zhao Nis incident, because Xiao Pan once said that they fell into a deep sleep after eating the snacks the King sent them.

    The King of Zhao allowed Zhao Mu to do this because he thought that Lady Ni gave herself to Xiang Shaolong only because she could not tolerate the loneliness. Therefore as long as Zhao Mu can give her the same enjoyment, they will be able to win her back. They did not expect Zhao Ni to be so fiercely protective of her chastity that she actually committed suicide after being raped.

    With such comprehension, everything that he did not understand in the past now seems to fall into place.

    The reason why Zhao Mu can single handedly cover up the case of Zhao Nis death is because he had the approval of the King of Zhao. He did not want to reveal his own part in the evil deed so hed rather offend Li Mu and forcefully suppressed this matter.

    He has truly given up on the state of Zhao.

    On his revenge name list, the King of Zhaos name has been added.

    Now the most problematic matter is Zhao Ya.

    Has she fallen too deeply with Qi Yu?

    No wonder the King of Zhao handed Zhao Qian so readily to her.

    But is it possible Empress Jing is also putting on an act? Deliberately luring him to assassinate Zhao Mu so that the King of Zhao will have an excuse to execute the Wu family.

    Once he thought of this, he cant help but feel cold sweat running down his back.

    Zhao Da asked, Master! What should we do now?

    Xiang Shaolong sighed and said, You will jest pretend that you dont know anything about this at all, and from now on dont follow or carry any investigations about Qi Yu. This is extremely important, understand?

    Zhao Da nodded his head, wanting to say something but stopping himself.

    Xiang Shaolong thought of a matter and asked, All of you are so loyal towards your Lady, but arent you going to tell her when you obviously know that Qi Yu has been going to see Zhao Mu?

    Zhao Da replied, We told her long ago but was instead reprimanded, saying that Qi Yu is the envoy from Qi, so naturally Zhao Mu will have to make him feel welcome. She even said she will not let us off lightly if we continue to follow Qi Yu.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly alarmed, it seems that Qi Yu has really enticed this fickle minded s.lut, why else would she not allow Zhao Da to continue his investigations.

    If he can snatch her away from Lian Jins hands, of course others can snatch her away from his hands. This is very fair.

    Besides, with Lady Ya giving out favors so readily in the past, proves that she always like to try new things.

    Zhao Da could not take it any longer and said, If Lady really allies herself with Qi Yu, we all hope that we can come and follow you instead.

    With Zhao Das loyalty, to actually say such words that betrays his master, obviously shows how disappointed and upset they are towards Zhao Ya.

    Zhao Ya has already betrayed him once, will history repeat itself again.

    When she knows that theres no hope of escape, will she betray him again because of Qi Yu and her own interest?

    Xiang Shaolong felt extreme fury and said quietly, One day, if I can really become someone important, I will be most happy to accept all of you if you come and look for me.

    Zhao Da thanked him happily before leaving.

    Xiang Shaolong was feeling troubled, his mind in a blank, not wanting to think at all.

    The ladies all saw his strange expression and hurriedly asked him for the reason.

    How can he tell them his worries, so he hardened his heart and said, Chunying, all of you go and prepare hot water, I want all of you to accompany me in the pool.

    Chunying and the rest all understands what he is referring to and theur pretty faces blushed immediately, but they cannot conceal their happiness as they all rushed towards the pool.

    Xiang Shaolong forced his spirits up and secretly thought that he will face problems as they come. Hes not afraid of anyone at all.

    At this moment what he needs the most is excitement, so that his spirit can be released from feelings of despair and anger.

    The stronger person will conquer.

    Fine!

    Let me, Xiang Shaolong, see who is the stronger person.

  12. #52
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 6 The real and fake Ying Zheng

    As the northern wind blew, Xiang Shaolong and Jing Jun climbed over walls quietly, avoiding the patrols and gantry posts and arrived at the garden outside Zhujis building.

    Jing Jun stayed behind as a look out while Xiang Shaolong took the familiar route to the window on the 2nd floor, pushed it gently, and the window opened immediately.

    Zhu Jis voice called out quietly from inside, Is it Shaolong? Come in quickly!

    Xiang Shaolong slipped in through the window.

    Zhu Ji hurriedly closed the window, turned around and leaned on the window ledge, her chest heaving, obviously she is feeling very nervous.

    Only a weak, lone lamp was shining in the room but because its placed on the corner of the window ledge, it will not reflect their shadows on the papered window.

    The lamp emphasized half of the right side of Zhu Jis body while her left side was cast in the shadows, making her dainty and voluptuous body look all the more dimensional and extremely alluring.

    A stove was lit in the room, making it as warm as spring, which is why although Zhu Ji was thinly dressed, she still felt comfortable.

    Her pretty eyes burned like fire, with a warmness that can scald as they stared unwaveringly at Xiang Shaolong, as if shes trying to scrutinize him inside out.

    This is the first time Xiang Shaolong has met such a bold and wild character, a woman who is not afraid of men at all and his heart cant help but beat faster but on the surface he looked at her coolly.

    This is definitely not a simple woman.

    Zhu Jis lips quivered slightly as she asked, Xiang Shaolong! Can I trust you?

    Xiang Shaolong smiled slightly, It seems that Lady has no other choice!

    Zhu Jis pretty eyes stared at him, Even if I can trust you, but what ability do you have that will enable you to take me and my son away.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought, Since I can infiltrate into this place, naturally I can bring you out. He was about to blurt this out when he suddenly felt that something was amiss and changed his words, This is the reason why I came to discuss with Lady, because I guessed that Zhao Mu will certainly gather all his men at the Hostage Residence.

    Zhu Ji nodded her head, Youre very astute, no wonder Zhao Mu is so wary of you. Every time they talk about you, I will listen very carefully. I did not expect Buwei to actually find you, its really great.

    Xiang Shaolong heard that when she was talking about Lu Buwei, she seems to be talking about a stranger and was secretly startled. I seems that she will not be loyal to any man. Men are making use of her, she is also making use of men.

    He furrowed his brows and asked, How is the situation at the Crown Princes side?

    Zhu Ji sighed lightly, Unless you can lead a huge army and successfully attack Handan City, or else you can forget about taking him away. Ever since my husband ascended the throne, Zhao Mu has transferred 200 highly skilled warriors who is constantly by his side day and night on rotation shifts. He also added high walls outside, making it a residence within a residence. Also, there is a troop of almost a thousand soldiers who have been posted here permanently to guard. Unless you can turn into a bird, or else you can forget about infiltrating that place to see him.

    Xiang Shaolongs brows furrowed deeply on hearing this. When Wu Yingyuan was telling Xiao Yuetan about how heavily guarded the Hostage Residence is today, he was not exaggerating, instead he even understated the real situation.

    Zhu Ji continued nonchalantly, Besides its no use even if he is saved. Zhao Mu is an expert in using drugs and has given him s strange herb and he must take the antidote regularly to ensure his safety. If theres no antidote, he will die of poisoning in less than 10 days.

    Xiang Shaolong feels as if his whole spine has been frozen into an ice pillar.

    Oh my gosh! Is this going to be the future Emperor Qin?

    This time he is really stuck between a rock and a hard place, unable to advance or retreat at all.

    And he thought that saving mother and son would only require the lifting of a finger, he is really too nave.

    He breathed out a gush of cold air, By keeping the Crown Prince like this, besides giving vent to their anger, what other good does it do to the Zhaos?

    Zhu Ji said lightly, You should have heard of Zhao Mus nefarious plot, to deliberately use wine and women to make him into a useless person. To tell the truth, Zhao Mu cant wait to send him back to become the King of Qin. But the time is not yet ripe, because Lu Buwei will stand to gain from it, do you understand?

    Of course Xiang Shaolong understands. The reason why Lu Buwei is so anxious to send mother and son back to Xianyang is because he wants to strengthen his relationship with King Zhuangxiang.

    At this instant he finally realized that when Zhu Ji was talking about her son, she only said he and did not address him in any other form or utter his name directly. He tone was so indifferent that its scary and for a moment he cant help but feel perplexed.

    Zhu Ji suddenly said with hatred, Its better that this lad is dead, I get furious for no reason just at the sight of him.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, people said that no matter how vicious a tiger is, it will not eat its offspring. Why would Zhu Ji curse her precious son who can make her become the Empress Dowager?

    Zhu Ji moved over, took his hand and pulled him as she walled towards the bed and said gently, Come! Lets continue the conversation on the bed!

    Firstly Xiang Shaolong is totally not in the mood and secondly, he just had a wild time with Chunying and the maids and is still tired and thirdly, he remembered the advice not to have any amorous relationship with this woman whom both Lu Buwei and King Zhuangxiang was enamored with so he immediately slipped his hand away and grabbed hers, saying Im afraid this is not a suitable time and place!

    Zhu Ji pouted, Dont you think I know? Its just that those maids have been ordered to come and check on me every once in a while. Its a lot safer hiding in the bed.

    Xiang Shaolong thought that he has misunderstood her so he hurriedly followed her into the curtained bed and immediately a fragrance wafted into his nose.

    Zhu Ji told him to lie down inside and used the blanket to cover the both of them. She turned around and snuggled into his arms and hugged him tightly, her tiny mouth going up to his ears and whispered, I want to tell you a huge secret, but first you must make a blood oath not to tell anyone else before I can let you know. Hai! I have no other choice but to tell you as well. I am not allowed to take even a step out of this place and theres no one I can trust.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly surprised, what secret can be so great that he needs to make a blood oath?

    He answered, I, Xiang Shaolong, is a man of my words. Once Ive made a promise, I wont go back on my words, Lady can rest assured.

    Zhu Ji said with relief, I know you are a trustworthy man, but I am still worried, so why dont you just give in to me!

    With a beauty besieging him like this, he has no choice but to make a blood oath. At the same time he was secretly laughing, he doesnt even believe a blood oath will become true, so what restriction can this promise do to him? But since hes made the promise, he will not reveal it so readily.

    Zhu Ji was hesitant for a moment before saying quietly, The child they imprisoned is not my son at all.

    Xiang Shaolong almost shrieked in surprise.

    Heavens! What is this all about?

    Before Zhu Ji has a chance to talk further, there was a knock on the door and the maid outside asked, Is Lady asleep? His Marquis is here!

    Xiang Shaolong was terribly startled and was about to jump up when Zhu Ji pressed him down. She extended her hand and pushed on a decoration at the front of her bed and the place where Xiang Shaolong was lying on immediately became a movable board and he was flipped to a secret compartment under the bed.

    In that instant, instead of lying in the warm blankets on the bed above, Xiang Shaolong is now lying in the secret compartment beneath which only has a blanket as a base. Luckily there are holes for ventilation so he has no lack of air.

    The door opened and Zho Mus voice said, Beauty, Ive come to visit you!

    Zhu Ji replied, Marquis looks so energetic today, something good must have happened today to make you so happy, I am so happy for you as well!

    At this moment Xiang Shaolong, who is hiding in the secret compartment, guessed that where he is lying must be the personal secret compartment of that adulterer Guo Kai. After hearing what she said he has to compliment Zhu Ji for knowing how to make a man feel good.

    Later he could feel Zhao and Zhu sitting down on the bed, followed by kissing sounds and Zhu Jis alluring moans and panting.

    After a moment, Zhao Mu smiled, I heard that your lover Lu has sent Tu Xian to come to Handan to save you, are you happy, beauty?

    Zhu Ji pouted, Dont you know my heart? Without you, I am not going anywhere, besides its only a rumor! Who would be so stupid as to come here on a death mission?

    Xiang Shaolong who is below was secretly thinking that shes formidable because Zhu Ji is obviously trying to test Zhao Mus news.

    Indeed Zhao Mu gave a cold snort, How can it be a rumor, now the old officials of Qin are in a fierce fight with Lu Buwei and wants him to bear the responsibility of the death of the previous King. Im afraid even your King Zhuangxiang wont be able to protect him. Once Lu Buwei is dead, I will naturally send you and your son back to Xianyang, by then do not forget about me.

    Although Zhao Mu did not say anything, but Xiang Shaolong and Zhu Ji both guessed that the news must have come from the powerful Qin officials who want to topple Lu Buwei.

    The fights between the Qin court and the local control for power have now widened.

    The main battlefield is in the Qin court whole the side battle is being fought at Handan.

    An originally very simple matter has now become extremely complicated, especially what Zhu Ji said earlier, it extremely unexpected and earth shattering.

    Zhu Ji threw a tantrum and said, Not going back! Not going back! I am definitely not going back, just let Zhenger go back, I want to stay here with you.

    Even Xiang Shaolong below was dumbfounded on hearing that. How can she sound so sincere and real, if shes in the 21st century, shell definitely be a superstar in the entertainment industry.

    Zhao Mu was totally taken in and they started kissing again, followed by the sounds of Zhao Mu removing their robes and the lecherous laughter and moans of the coupling between a man and a woman. Xiang Shaolong can only lament on his bad luck down below. If they start to have fun on the bed, he will feel even worse.

    If he wants to kill Zhao Mu now, itll be as easy as lifting a finger, but of course he wont be so stupid as to do that.

    Luckily Zhao Mu is still in the mood for talking so he stopped Zhu Jis attack and said, The reason Im so happy today is because that s.lut Zhao Ya has finally fallen into my trap and unable to pull herself out of it. No one understands her more than I do, not only does she hanker after wealth and riches, she also loves the new and will discard the old. But shes been giving special treatment to Xiang Shaolong. Luckily I still have a killer move, which is King Xiaocheng using their relationship as siblings and by telling her on the pros and cons, theres no way she will not submit.

    Xiang Shaolongs heart sunk to the bottom. Its the end! Zhao Ya has really betrayed him. He wonders how much about him has she revealed to her imperial brother? Luckily in order not to cause her undue worry, he did not tell her a lot of things, or else the outcome would be unthinkable.

    Zhu Ji asked deliberately, Why are you talking about Xiang Shaolong all the time with such hatred, what has he got to do with me? I am not interested in him at all.

    How would Zhao Mu know that this sly woman is testing him, or maybe he wont put his guard up against a beauty who has lost her freedom, so he said lightly, How can there be no relation? The Wu family has always been in contact with Lu Buwei and Xiang Shaolong is the grandson-in-law of the Wu family. If Lu Buwei wants to sneak people out, hell obviously need the help of the Wu family. He paused and continued with a cold snort, Xiang Shaolong better not end up in my hands, or else Ill make him regret that he was ever born. You shall watch at the side when I torture him!

    Xiang Shaolong who was hiding beneath was gritting his teeth on hearing it and wished he can jump out and kill him.

    Of course Zhu Ji knows that Xiang Shaolong is listening so she cant help but laugh and ask, How can that inexperienced lad win you? Hell end up in your hands sooner or later, and you can do what you want with him.

    Apparently Zhao Mu got excited on hearing it and said, Come! Get up the bed!

    At least Zhu Ji has some conscience and she objected, You come looking for me in the middle of the night and now youve made me hungry, where can I find the mood.

    Obviously Zhao Mu is totally enthralled by her and hurriedly summoned the servants to prepare snacks for her before saying with satisfaction, No one in Zhao dares to offend me now. As soon as I exterminate the Wu family from the roots, no one else will dare to do anything without my approval.

    Zhu Ji flattered him and said gently, I think Xiang Shaolong must be a total idiot, or else why would he think that Zhao Ya who is famous in the world for being a s.lut would be loyal to him?

    Xiang Shaolong can only laugh bitterly, these few words of Zhu Ji are obviously meant as a free gift for him.

    Zhao Mu did not expect that there is a twist to all this and replied seriously, Youre wrong! Zhao Ya has indeed given her true feelings to Xiang Shaolong, thats why shes still helping him hide a lot of things. But I understand her too well, so theres no way she can win me. If she doesnt want to die together with Xiang Shaolong, shell have to work with me obediently. He sighed comfortably and said, Not only is Xiang Shaolong not an idiot, hes very formidable as well. If not for Zhao Ya this weak link, itll still be uncertain who will win in the end.

    Xiang Shaolong thought of one thing and was sweating immediately.

    If Zhao Qian told Zhao Ya about how Ji Yanran and Zou Yan saved them in Daliang, and she told Zhao Mu, then Ji Yanran and Zou Yan will be in big danger.

    At this time the maids came to inform that the food is ready.

    Zhao Mu and Zhu Ji went out of the room.

    What better time to leave than now?

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thanked heavens and slipped away.

    Zhao Qian tossed and turned in bed, unable to get to sleep.

    Without Xiang Shaolong next to her, she felt lost and alone.

    She then thought of Zhao Pan, this child who has lost his mother is slowly becoming frighteningly melancholy. Only when hes with her or Xiang Shaolong will he show a little naivety and happiness, and he wont even give any face to Zhao Ya.

    If he has shown himself to be a little weaker, maybe Zhao Qian will feel better.

    Right at this time, the curtains were suddenly lifted and she was about to scream when she heard Xiang Shaolongs familiar voice call out, Qianer! Its Shaolong!

    Zhao Qian never expected her beloved would appear next to her bed in the middle of the night and threw herself at him in joy, hugging him in a death grip.

    Xiang Shaolong removed his shoes, hugged her and snuggled into the blankets. He gave a long kiss before asking quietly, Did you tell Lady Ya about how Sister Yanran saved us?

    Zhao Qian is extremely astute and she asked in shock upon hearing his words, Is there something wrong with her? Why would there be a problem telling her?

    Xiang Shaolongs expression changed, That means youve already told her!

    Zhao Qian shook her head, I didnt. But its not because I dont trust her, but because Ive promised Sister Yanran that I will never reveal this matter to anyone. Thats why I only told her the story that we agreed on long ago.

    Xiang Shaolong heaved a great sigh of relief.

    Zhao Qians body trembled, Heavens! What has Lady done? To make you actually sneak in here in the middle of the night just to ask me such a question?

    Xiang Shaolong caressed her back lovingly, Have you seen her tonight?

    Zhao Qian replied, I heard that she has a guest so its inconvenient for me to go over. Hai! I remember now, every time they say theres a guest, Xiao Zhao and the rest will have a very strange expression, as if they are furious but unable to say anything about it. Could that guest be Zhao Mu?

    Xiang Shaolong has already been numbed by all these, he will no longer get agitated over Zhao Ya and Qi Yus secret rendezvous. He is someone who is able to take things lightly.

    He had once suggested to Zhao Ya to allow Jing Jun and the rest to protect her but she rejected him determinedly. At that time he didnt think too much of it but now he knows that she did not want to let him know about her affair with Qi Yu.

    Zhao Qian pleaded, Xiang Lang! Please tell me what this is all about?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Did you notice anything strange about Lady these few days?

    Zhao Qian thought carefully for a moment before replying, Now that you mention it, it really seems that Lady is different from the past. Not only is she listless, there was even once I found her crying alone but when I asked her, she just said that she was thinking of Lady Ni. Sometimes she would also throw her temper at the servants for nothing. She pouted and hastened him to talk, What is this all about! This suspense is making me feel terrible!

    Xiang Shaolong sighed and said, Think again, did she say anything special, for example words like well never be able to escape or something along that line.

    Zhao Qian replied, That she did not, but she did mention once that Lu Buwei cant even protect himself now and he can face clan extermination any time. If we follow the Wu family and throw our lots with him, its akin to sending the sheep to the tigers den.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, Then how did you answer her?

    Zhao Qian kissed him and said, I said as long as I can follow you, death doesnt matter at all. She trembled and continued, Thats right! At that time she had a very strange expression, now that I think of it, she looks almost ashamed and regretful. After that she made an excuse and left.

    By now Xiang Shaolong has totally given up on Zhao Ya.

    Zhao Mu is right, he understands Zhao Ya more than him. Thats why he can use make use of this fickle minded woman twice to harm him.

    After heaving a sigh, he told the gist of what happened to Zhao Qian.

    Zhao Qian had already guessed what has happened and was strangely calm.

    Xiang Shaolong told her, You have to pretend that nothing has happened.

    Zhao Qian kissed him lovingly and said gently, Qianer understands, I have great confidence in this new saint here and I know you will definitely be able to bring Qianer and the Wu family past this difficult period safely.

    Before Xiang Shaolong left he asked, Will you be able to bear abandoning your father and follow me to an unknown fate?

    Zhao Qian nodded her head with certainty, As long as I can leave Imperial father, Qianer is not afraid of anything. There is something I have not told you, which is after my mother died, Qianers nanny once said something bad about Zhao Mu and the words drifted to Imperial fathers ears. He immediately offered poisoned wine to nanny and before she died, she held my hands and said as she cried, if there is a chance I must go far away from the Palace, being a commoners daughter is far better than being a Princess.

    Xiang Shaolong was full of thoughts when he heard this.

    He really cannot understand the mind of royalty, just like how he cannot understand Zhao Ya.

  13. #53
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 7 Lies and trickery

    After Xiang Shaolong and Jing Jun returned to the Wu Residence, they each went back to their own rooms.

    Before they parted, Jing Jun seemed to have something to say but he stopped himself.

    Xiang Shaolong knows what hes thinking and said, Nothing will happen during the day, just rest assured and go to school! But be careful, now in Handan, besides the Wu residence, theres no other safe place.

    Jing Jun was ecstatic as he replied, I am a born hunter, I wont become prey so easily.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he is cunning and smart, and his skills at escaping is unparalleled so he was not worried.

    When he returned to Hidden Dragon Abode, all the ladies were already in dreamland.

    Although Xiang Shaolong is extremely tired, but his mind and spirit was greatly affected by the string of events that has happened tonight and was not in the mood for sleep at all. He suddenly had an idea, so he sat down on the bed next to his wife and concubine and followed the meditation skills written on the 3 killer moves, sitting cross legged as he adjusted his breathing, his mind melding with his heart, his heart joined with his spirit, his spirit joined with the universe as he eliminated all thoughts and unintentionally went into a state of nothingness, something he has never experienced before. His spirit seems to leave his body, joining and parting and when he regained his senses, it was already morning and the ladies were awake.

    Xiang Shaolong ignored the ladies surprise and he was secretly astounded. He has been meditating for more than 2 hours but it felt as if he was asleep and woke up in the blink of an eye. He was sitting cross-legged but he did not feel any numbness in his limbs at all from lack of blood circulation.

    When he was training in the special task force, he has learnt Qigong as well, using different methods but hes never had such a refreshing feeling before and for a moment hes not really concerned about Lady Yas matter.

    During breakfast, Chunying and the maids served him especially meticulously with bright and sweet smiles and although its the cold winter, he can still feel the allure of spring and his mood turned for the better, filled with the strong desire to fight.

    After kissing the ladies, he hurriedly went to look for Xiao Yuetan, who was still sleeping with a beauty in his arms. When he knew he was looking for him, he put on a robe and came out.

    At this time Xiao Yuetans disguise has been removed, revealing his sharp features, a far cry from what he looked like yesterday, even having an air of flirtatious charm.

    After exchanging civilities, Xiang Shaolong said quietly, The news of Master Tu coming to Zhao has already been leaked by those in your country who are against Mister Lu, and the King of Zhao and Zhao Mu has learnt of this.

    Xiao Yuetans expression changed slightly, revealing a look of surprise and uncertainty.

    Xiang Shaolong continued, But it seems that they still do not know where Master Tu is but its certain that they have sent men to search.

    Xiao Yuetan said, I will send someone to warn Master Tu. Shaolong, Master Tu will be very grateful to you, this news is too important.

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong realize that Xiao Yuetan have not come to Handan alone. Seeing that his tone towards him has changed, he was secretly amused as he said, Zhao Mu is keeping the Crown Prince very heavily guarded. He then told him what Zhu Ji has revealed last night, even telling him about how Zhao Mu has been drugging Ying Zheng.

    Xiao Yuetans expression really changed totally and he was quiet.

    Xiang Shaolong has already felt last night that his main purpose is to bring Zhu Ji and her son back to Xianyang and is not at all enthusiastic about how they should bring the Wu family over to the Qin border. Now that hes heard the true situation, he finally understood that for outsiders like them to save Zhu Ji and her son is impossible, even with the most expert skill of disguise.

    Just like what Zhu Ji has said, unless they attack the city, or else how can they bring Ying Zheng away and even if they did, hell end up dying from poisoning.

    Xiao Yuetan took a deep breath and said, Where did Shaolong get these news from?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, I have men planted around Zhao Mu and last night I finally had the chance to make contact with Lady Zhu Ji, she told me personally.

    Xiao Yuetan was impressed with Xiang Shaolongs abilities, and after a moments hesitation, said, Shaolong please forgive me for being straight, it seems that the King of Zhao has long been suspecting that the Wu family is in secret contact with our Master Lu, and now that the news of Master Tu coming here has been leaked, anyone can guess that the purpose is to steal away mother and son. Now you are stuck, how will you be able to proceed with the plan?

    Xiang Shaolong said confidently with a smile, I can only answer you tomorrow, anyway we have not come to the end of the road. Can you please pass the message to Master Tu that if he really wants to bring the Crown Prince and his mother back to Xianyang, both sides must be able to cooperate sincerely.

    Xiao Yuetan knows that Xiang Shaolong has seen through their intentions and said with a slight blush, This is but of course of course! Heh! I will inform Master Tu.

    He continued with furrowed brows, Zhao Mu is famous for his art in using drugs, how can we solve this issue?

    Xiang Shaolong laughed, Tomorrow I will have a satisfactory answer for you.

    Xiao Yuetan saw how energized and relaxed he looked and his confidence was raised as well and said with a nod, It seems that Ill have to make a personal trip to see Master Tu and I can only be back about 3 to 4 days even at the earliest. I hope by then Shaolong will have good news to share.

    Xiang Shaolong continued talking to him in secret a little more before he left and on the way back bumped into Tao Fang who was out looking for him. He looked spirited and Xiang Shaolong thought that the Chu spy could not even hold out for a day and has revealed the truth. However, Tao Fang only said, Shaolongs plan is really useful, its just one night and hes almost half collapsed and only wants to sleep. I dont think he can hold out much longer and will soon confess.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this can also be considered good news. Such methods may be inhumane but its a little better than torturing his body. No matter how strong a person is, under such a situation, will also become extremely weak.

    Tao Fang said, Young Master left the city early this morning to the livestock farm and wont be back for a few days. He lowered his voice and added, Hes going to make arrangements for pulling out of Zhao, itll be the Farmers Festival in 10 days time and we traditionally have a prayer ceremony and the King of Zhao will come personally to the farm to oversee it. At that time we will send part of the family to a secret hiding place which has been prepared long ago and after the grand event, we will send them towards Qin one by one.

    Xiang Shaolong was a little relieved. With Wu Yingyuans farsightedness and planning, anything that he thinks is secure will definitely not have any problems.

    Tao Fang led him towards the Wu family mansion and said along the way, At that time when I met Shaolong at Mulberry Village, I already knew youre no ordinary man but I did not expect you to have such accomplishments today.

    Once he mentioned Mulberry Village, Xiang Shaolong cant help but think of Mei Canniang and he turned gloomy!

    He did not expect that after coming to this ancient period, there are a lot more things that makes him worry compared to in the past.

    Tao Fang knows what he was thinking and tried to console him a little, but he knows that his empty words are of no use at all so he said, Old Master wants to see you!

    Master Wu met his Grandson-in-law alone in the secret meeting room and came straight to the point, Find a time today and Ill hold a simple ceremony for you and Fanger to become official husband and wife.

    Xiang Shaolong hurriedly kowtowed and offered his thanks.

    Hes already developed deep feelings for Wu Tingfang and was glad to have such a pretty wife.

    Master Wu furrowed his brows, I thought with all the intimacy youve had, Fanger would get pregnant very quickly, its so strange

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly startled, although he has thought of this question before, hes never too bothered about it.

    Master Wu did not seem too bothered too and continued, I want to tell you something important regarding the life and death of the Wu family and even Tao Fang is not aware of this matter. Only a few people who are from the immediate Wu family is aware.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at him quizzically.

    Master Wu said with seriousness, All the residences of Princes and Royalties will have secret tunnels used for escape and this is an open secret to all. We are no exception, we have 4 secret tunnels leading to the outside of our estate and the exit are all near the fortress. But for us, this is just a cover.

    Xiang Shaolongs eyes immediately brightened and he asked unbelievably, Is there a secret tunnel that leads to outside the city?

    Master Wu said proudly, Exactly, this tunnel that leads to outside the east city gates took 3 generations about 70 odd years to complete and is 3 li long. Countless Wu family members have sacrificed their lives building it, a lot of effort was put into just the layout of the ventilation holes. Its more than 10 feet deep underground and even digging a well wont be so deep down. We made use of an underground river to build it and the entrance is at a secret cave at the back of the hill and it can only be reached via a short tunnel at the back of the house and is extremely covered.

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong understand why the Wu father and son are so confident about escaping from Handan.

    Master Wu said, Thats why as long as you have the ability to bring Zhu Ji and her son to the Wu residence, we will be confident of escaping.

    Xiang Shaolong was greatly excited and felt his confidence soaring, it seems that the most difficult problem has suddenly been solved.

    Master Wu suddenly exclaimed, This secret tunnel is not easy to travel, its wet and stuffy. Ive used it once when I was young and have never gone down since, and I had hoped that I will never have the need to use it to escape. Now that Im old, itll be even more difficult for me to travel!

    Xiang Shaolong said, I heard from Master Tao that during the Farmers Festival, we will take the opportunity to send a group of people away, Grandfather you

    Master Wu interrupted, If I were to leave as well, itll be strange if that muddle headed ruler King Xiaocheng does not take immediate action. Everyone can leave except me.

    Xiang Shaolongs expression changed on hearing this.

    Master Wu smiled slightly, as if hes almost at the end of his road and said gently, The world now belongs to youngsters like you. I am old and my days are numbered, I do not have the courage to face a new life in Qin and neither can I survive the scares and difficulties involved in escaping. Thats why Ive already told Yingyuan that I have decided to stay here and not leave.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, How can the King of Zhao let you off then?

    Master Wu chortled, Who wants him to let me off? I wont even leave a piece of my skin for him to find. I have been prestigious all my life and even in death will I not be humiliated.

    Xiang Shaolong cried out hoarsely, Grandfather! For the first time he felt sincere admiration for this plump old man from the bottom of his heart.

    Master Wu said suavely, Dont behave like a woman or a child, I have high expectations of you. In all great matters, someone must be sacrificed. If King Xiaocheng wants to attack my Wu family fortress, hell have to pay a terrible price. I am really happy, even at a time like this, I still have a group of men who are willing to lay down their lives with me.

    He paused and continued, Once you take Zhu Ji and her son away, King Xiaocheng will attack immediately. If theres no one to block him for a few days, how are all of you going to escape? He added with resolve, My mind is made up, do not say anymore.

    Xiang Shaolong knows its difficult to make him change his mind, and in fact this is what he has asked for. He asked, How many people know about the secret tunnel? It seems that even Tingfang is not aware.

    Master Wu replied, Thats why it can remain a secret. Dont worry! Those who know about this is very reliable. If you see Wu Zhuo over the next few days, tell him to lead you to it. As long as we can get out of the city, no one will know how to survive better than generations of livestock farmers like us.

    He gave a cold snort and added, Since hes dishonest, I need not be loyal. Since King Xiaocheng can treat me this way, I want him to have a taste of the most bitter fruit hes ever had after the battle of Changping. Ill make sure there wont be a single usable warhorse in his whole country and let him sit and watch while the state of Zhao is slowly carved apart and disintegrate.

    Looking at the gleaming hatred in Master Wus eyes, Xiang Shaolong suddenly understood that once a person views death as a certainty, he can be a really scary person.

    Xiang Shaolong is already mentally prepared for this and riding on his beloved steed which Learned Lady Ji has given him, he went to Zhao Yas residence and met her at the inner hall. Looking at his beauty who is only a few feet away, Xiang Shaolong however felt that the distance between their hearts is like lakes and mountains apart.

    He was more alert to his surroundings and indeed noticed that Xiaozhao and the other maids were a lot quieter, their faces expressionless, with sadness hidden in their eyes.

    Zhao Ya is smiling like a flower as usual but Xiang Shaolong can see that beneath the forced smile the dilemma deep within her heart.

    She looked at him in surprise and said, Shaolong you looked especially in high spirits today, are there new developments. She lowered her voice and added, Have you caught a hold over Zhao Mu already?

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head and said, Its not that easy!

    Zhao Ya asked, Then are there developments over at Zhu Ji and her sons side?

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to look troubled and said with furrowed brows, The place where mother and son are kept are heavily guarded, theres no way to infiltrate it as well. Do you have a way to let me meet up with them?

    Zhao Ya lowered her head and bit her teeth, Let me think about it!

    Xiang Shaolong knows that she indeed has feelings for him, or else she would not have revealed so much uncertainty and could have pretended that shes totally not up to the task.

    He said with a straight face, Ive been thinking last night, and decided to follow Empress Jings words and assassinate Zhao Mu.

    Zhao Ya was stunned, Shaolong! She lifted her pretty face and looked at him with misery.

    Xiang Shaolong was feeling secretly pleased and said with a low voice, Only by killing Zhao Mu will we have a chance to kidnap Zhu Ji and her son. I now have a batch of about 500 Wu family warriors who are not afraid to die and we have the strength to fight openly with Zhao Mu. As long as I do everything nice and clean, who would dare to say I am the murderer?

    Zhao Ya looked at him, in a loss.

    Of course Xiang Shaolong knows that she thought he has already fallen into Empress Jings trap, and only felt an indescribable pleasure.

    S.lut, since you want me to die, then let me lie to you for some fun.

    What is the best place to make the move?

    Zhao Ya lowered her head and said quietly, Its the Farmers Festival 10 days later, Zhao Mu will go with Imperial Brother to the livestock farm outside the Wu family fortress for prayer ceremonies. Hai! Shaolong you must think it through again.

    Xiang Shaolong can feel her inner struggle and pain and his heart softened a little as he said gently, Dont be so unconfident in me! I will split the 500 men into 2 groups, one group will lay in ambush along the way to ambush your Imperial Brother and Zhao MUs carriage

    Zhao Ya exclaimed hoarsely, What? Even Imperial Brother

    It is exactly Xiang Shaolongs intention to force Zhao Ya to thoroughly betray him. Only by making use of Zhao Ya will he be able to trick the King of Zhao and Zhao Mu. He need not make a pretense of the deep hatred in his eyes as he said, The way your Imperial Brother covered up for Zhao Mu regarding Lady Nis matter, needless to say its because he is the cause of all this. Such an evil fiend, why keep him in this world?

    Zhao Ya looked at him in a loss, then suddenly lowered her head as if she has come to a decision as she bit her lips and said, Then the other group will go to the Hostage Residence and kidnap them, but how are you going to leave the city?

    Xiang Shaolong said confidently, I will open a short tunnel that will lead us out of the city at the west of the city. The Wu family has enough manpower and equipment in this area so its guaranteed that no one will find out. We will also prepare men and horses outside the city and will leave by over 10 different routes to escape. Along the way there will be pre-prepared hiding areas so that even if the big army comes after us, it would be difficult for them to find us. Besides, by then the city of Handan will not have a leader after your Imperial Brother and Zhao Mus death so they will certainly be in a mess. If Empress Jing comes to power, she wont be so enthusiastic in going after us. This plan can be considered foolproof, and later on I will arrange for you and Qianer the time and place to meet.

    Zhao Ya lowered her head and did not speak, the rapid changes in her expression, which she tried to hide, are all revealed to Xiang Shaolongs eyes.

    He pretended to be surprised and asked, Yaer! Whats wrong? Is there something wrong with my plan?

    Zhao Ya was startled and regained her composure as she shook her head and replied, Nothings wrong, its just that everythings too sudden for me to accept so quickly.

    Xiang Shaolong deliberately made fun of her and said, This is being deliberate, as long as we strategize well, I guarantee that the muddle headed ruler and corrupt official will only live for the next 10 days.

    Zhao Ya took a sad look at him and did not say further.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he has laid enough groundwork so he stretched lazily and stood up, Come! Let us go and look for Qianer and Xiao Pan!

    Zhao Ya lowered her head and said quietly, Shaolong!

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that something is wrong, yet he is filled with hope as he asked, Whats the matter?

    Zhao Ya was hesitant for a moment before shaking her head and said, Its nothing, we can talk after we reach the state of Qin.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed secretly, knowing that Zhao Ya has let go of the last chance she has to retain him.

    Their relationship has now been terminated!

    From now on, all feelings have ceased and they will have nothing to do with each other.

    After he left her residence, he can feel the joy of pain.

    Pain because of Zhao Yas change of heart, joy because he has discarded this relationship baggage.

    Ever since the last time Zhao Ya allowed Prince Shaoyuan to enter her bedchamber without a reason, hed already known that she has a weak will when it comes to matters revolving men and women, and this is in her nature. Zhao Ni and her faced almost the same situation but she was not like her, flirting with men everywhere.

    This is called a short pain is better than a lengthened torture.

    Once he thought of this, he immediately felt an indescribable sense of release.

    These 10 days until the actual day, the King of Zhao will deliberately make things easy for him so that he can take his time to arrange the assassination attempt and he can use this as an excuse to confiscate all of the Wu familys extensive assets.

    Without a grand excuse, the King of Zhao will never dare to touch the Wu family because it will cause other wealthy families in the country to fear for themselves and start moving to other states and the situation would be terrible. He has really put a lot of thought into this.

    Now he only has to find out where the real Ying Zheng is and he will be able to proceed with his secret plan.

    Maybe he can even persuade Master Wu to leave with them.

    Once he thought about this, he wished that he could sprout wings and fly into the Hostage Residence immediately and ask that alluring beauty Zhu Ji this question.

    The weather was bitterly cold as the northern wind howled.

    There were not many people or carriages on the streets, all those who can would rather stay home than come out and face the bitter cold.

    Hoof beats were heard and a group of riders appeared ahead and as they came nearer, it turned out to be Cheng Xu and 10 over soldiers.

    On seeing a friend, Xiang Shaolong went up and greeted him warmly.

    Who would have expected that Cheng Xu would suddenly look stunned and he forced out a smile as he said, Commander Xiang, I have something urgent to attend to, well chat if theres a chance next time. And he hurriedly rode away.

    Xiang Shaolong stood there stunned.

    He can only think of the famous words Mens heart can turn cold and the world turn icy.

    It seems that no one in Handan welcomes him now.

    Behind him he heard hoof beats again as a rider rode past him and swiftly handed him a ball of paper. He opened it and it turns out that Pu Bu is arranging to meet him and its written on the paper the place and time.

    Xiang Shaolong felt a warmth filling his heart as he returned home after tearing up the piece of paper.

  14. #54
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 8 The secret about Ying Zheng

    Xiang Shaolong sat alone in the garden in his Hidden Dragon Abode, a manmade fountain spurting water from the stone, forming a winding stream through the rocks. By now the stream is almost turning into ice, with only a small portion of water still flowing in the middle, looking extremely intriguing.

    Wu Tingfang and the rest all dared not disturb him.

    Thoughts rolled in his mind as he thought of how he first met Zhao Ya on the streets on Handan, how he conquered her in his own way. He also thought of how Zhao Mu touched her all over in the carriage, of how aroused she was with all his ministrations. That there are already premonitions that she will develop feelings for someone else, because she cannot defend herself from any mans flirtations at all.

    She is just following her heart, not caring about right or wrong, or else she wont have been so intimate with Zhao Mu knowing fully well that he is causing harm to the country and the people, until he has treated her so badly before she left him. If it were Zhao Ni or Zhao Qian, they would not have gone against him under such threats.

    But he still trusted her, upon seeing her pretty and wonderful side, he truly believed her honeyed words.

    Of course, if he is still planning to stay on in Zhao, maybe their relationship could have continued. But now it has been proven that she cannot withstand the test of benefits and lust.

    People of this era all likes to use trickery of the heart, the higher the position of the person, the more so.

    Cheng Xu who had once gone through thick and thin with him would do a sudden turnabout now caused him much heartache.

    Many in this world are those who add salt to wounds, very rare are those who come to help when one is in need.

    As he became lost in his thoughts, he was unconsciously following the Mohist meditation technique to stop his thoughts and he immediately felt better. He was suddenly jolted by the sounds of footsteps, it turned out that Tao Fang has come to look for him.

    He saw the look of delight on his old friends face, who came up to him, swept off the thin layer of snow on the huge rock next to him, sat down and said, That lad is even lousier than imagined, hes finally confessed.

    Xiang Shaolong counted the time, if they started the questioning from yesterday, they have at least bombarded him with questions for more than 30 hours, which is not something that one can easily hold up against. He asked happily, What inside news have you found out?

    Tao Fang was a little miffed as he answered, Actually hes only a messenger, and has no idea what is Zhao Mus background at all. He purely reports verbally what is happening in Chu and then hell relay Zhao Mus words back to Chus Prince Wen Xin, Chu Leng, who is a top official whom the King of Chu trusts.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, What is Zhao Mus message this time?

    Tao Fang replied, He only asked Prince Wen Xing to send someone over with gifts 3 months later, only this point is a little unique. The rest are all normal recent news like the one regarding Xiao Weimous death.

    Xiang Shaolong had a thought and asked, Is he still being questioned now?

    Tao Fang replied, Of course! I was afraid he was lying so I followed your instructions and kept forcing him to repeat the details to see if anything does not correspond.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, Has he ever been to Handan in the past?

    Tao Fang shook his head, Its the first time he made contact with Zhao Mu. In order to avoid suspicions, I believe they send different people here every time.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, How long does it take at the fastest to travel between Chu and Zhao?

    Tao Fang said, If its a rushed journey on a quick horse, and because there are many checkpoints along the way, just the journey alone will take 2 months. Thats why I suspect that this person is lying.

    Xiang Shaolong is adept at spying techniques and said with a smile, No, he is not lying, this is a secret message that will prevent others from forcing the information out. 3 months may be half the time actually meant, in fact he is referring to half a year. Sending gifts over meant the opposite, Ive already thought that if Zhao Mu is sent here by the state of Chu, he will never let the Secret Manual of Lu Gong fall into the hands of the Zhaos, so the real meaning is he wants the Chus to send over skilled exponents in half a years time to steal the secret manual. Zhao Mu is really loyal to the state of Chu.

    Tao Fang was enlightened, So the words all meant the opposite, its taking gifts, not giving gifts. The Chus are really wily, and Prince Wen Xing already knows that the gift refers to so he will know once he hear the message.

    Xiang Shaolongs eyes shone, Most importantly we have to find out who he pretended to be when he came to Handan and what are the ways he used to make contact, the more details the better. I was just worrying that I wont be able to kill Zhao Mu but this trip will really prove to be exciting.

    Tao Fang is beginning to understand his thinking and left excitedly.

    Tao Fang had just left and Jing Jun came looking for him, looking totally dispirited.

    Xiang Shaolong stood up and smiled, It seems that the lesson is not that interesting, right?

    Jing Jun came to him and said honestly, I was bored to death and I dared not offend my future father-in-law. And to think that I had to spend money to buy 10 catties of waxed meat for him, and I did not even get to touch Zhao Zhis hand in the end.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, You did not get to see her?

    Jing Jun sighed, Whats the use of seeing her, there are so many students, do you think I can really walk up and start touching her? I think most of the people goes there for lessons because of her.

    Xiang Shaolong chortled, Is she having lessons as well?

    Jing Jun shook his head, Initially she was sitting at a corner, making me think that she is accompany me for the lesson but in a short while she ran away with a smile and totally disappeared. I couldnt find her anywhere after the lesson ended. Hai! I wont ever go again even if you force me with a sword.

    Xiang Shaolong shook his head and sighed, Such impatience, how can you win the ladys heart.

    Jing Jun only shook his head.

    Xiang Shaolong said, Come with me outside for a walk.

    The 2 of them changed into commoners clothes and went up the carriage and out of the stockade before slipping off the carriage at the corner. Jing Jun followed him from afar to see if theres anyone following him.

    An hour later, Xiang Shaolong met Pu Bu at a dense forest south of the city.

    Pu Bu said excitedly, Things are going a lot smoother than imagined. Zhao Mus number one man Zheng Yue recruited all of us. Not that I am boasting, but us warriors, when Prince Pingyuan was still alive, were quite famous and respected in Handan.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, Is there any news?

    Pu Bu replied apologetically, We have just settled down and have not heard anything. I think we will take at least 6 months to a year to fully gain their trust.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Its all right, you will stay there for a period of time, I will come back to look for you. After we accomplish a big mission, I will bring you back with me.

    Pu Bu replied, We will listen to Master Xiangs instructions. He paused and continued, Master Xiang! We only hope to follow you.

    Xiang Shaolong replied earnestly, I understand, I will not let you down in your trust and expectations of me.

    After they agreed on the mode of contact, Xiang Shaolong asked, Do you know of this person from Qi called Qi Yu?

    Pu Bu replied, That is a good question Master Xiang, the first task given to me and Liu Cao is to be his bodyguard and bring him around for fun. Hei! This lad really has a thing with women, all these women who saw him stuck to him like bees to honey.

    Xiang Shaolong felt a pain in his heart and thought of Lady Ya and asked quietly, Have you accompanied him to see Lady Ya?

    Pu Bu replied, That we did not, but last night he did not ask for company and slipped out of the Envoy Lodge, maybe he went to look for her.

    Xiang Shaolong said, Dont tell anyone about this. All right! If theres nothing special, try not to make contact with me, no matter what you hear regarding Zhao Mus plans to deal with me, do not try to let me know. You must remember that.

    Pu Bu knows that hes smarter than the average person and although it doesnt sound very logical, there must be something to it, so he agreed.

    After they parted, Xiang Shaolong went back to the Wu Residence and surprisingly We Yingyuan, Wu Zhuo and Teng Yu were all waiting for him.

    In the secret chamber, the few important members of the Wu family, Master Wu, Wu Yingyuan, Wu Zhuo, Tao Fang and Xiang Shaolong were all seated, even Teng Yi as well, which goes to show that because of his relationship with Xiang Shaolong and his outstanding performance, he has already gained the trust of all in the Wu family.

    This is an important meeting that will impact the life and death of the Wu family.

    Wu Zhuo gave his report first, Teng Yi and I, under Young Grand-Master-in-laws instructions, chose 500 men from the 2000 elite soldiers and followed his suggested method and kept testing them. Hei! I did not expect only 77 to pass the tests. We will start training them tomorrow, but I can guarantee that these warriors will be able to fight off a hundred men single-handedly.

    Xiang Shaolong said with a smile, You only have 10 days, make good use of the time.

    Everyone were perplexed, and asked him why hes so sure theres only 10 days.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed and told them everything, only hiding the matter regarding the fake Ying Zheng, because he has made a promise to keep it a secret.

    Wu Yingyuans brows furrowed deeply as he asked, Then how are you going to get mother and son out? Wont it be even worse if he dies of poisoning after being rescued?

    Xiang Shaolong replied confidently, There is a twist to this matter, but just as Zhu Ji was about to reveal it, Zhao Mu came and interrupted the conversation. In any case, just leave it to me.

    Everyone heaved a sigh of relief, and regained their hope.

    Teng Yi listened coldly, no change of expression on his face at all, giving one the impression of a hero with deep resolution.

    Tao Fang complimented, Shaolong is indeed smarter than others, making use of Zhao Ya to trick the King of Zhao and Zhao Mu. Seems that no matter what out of the ordinary things we do for the next 10 days, they will not interfere.

    Master Wu nodded his head, If we do not have Shaolong, we will surely fail terribly this time. He turned towards his son and said, Is the livestock farm in Qin almost ready?

    Everyone was surprised, only now did they realize that Wu Yingyuan had gone to the state of Qin to make arrangements.

    Wu Yingyuan replied, Ive chosen 4 places to run the farm and have already sent experienced hands to deal with it 2 years ago and now its beginning to have some semblance of a farm and just about able to contain the resources and animals that we will be moving there. Humph! I really feel like seeing with my own eyes the expression of that muddleheaded ruler King Xiaochengs face after we leave.

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but ask, There are so many animals in the farm and along the way there will be roadblocks set up by the Zhao soldiers, how will we leave?

    Wu Yingyuan said with a smile, We will not move even a strand of grass in this farm, what were moving are the few farms near the Qin border. The past few years weve been using the excuse that were going to deal against the Qins to slowly expand our farms near that area and the best animals are also sent there.

    Tao Fang continued, On the surface the Zhaos are still maintaining cordial relationships with the Wu family and the soldiers at the borders do not know the situation here at all. As long as the Qins agree, even if we move all the animals, it wont pose any difficulty at all. Besides, were now only sending over the best animals to use as stud stock.

    Wu Zhuo said, Many of the Zhao soldiers at the border are Wu family disciples I secretly planted there whose names have been changed, so its a lot easier to work.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly impressed. It turned out that in order to save Ying Zheng and his mother, Wu Yingyuan has started working on it a few years ago, thats why everything can move at such a breeze now.

    Teng Yi asked nonchalantly, There wont be any animals left behind for the Zhaos?

    Master Wu replied calmly, Of course!

    Xiang Shaolong cant bear to think of the scene where the farms will be filled with the corpses of cows and horses, but they have no choice but to do this.

    He changed the topic, The most important thing now is how many days we can defend the fortress, the longer we withstand them the better the chance of us escaping.

    Teng Yi and Tao Fang were just informed about the secret tunnel so they understood his meaning.

    Because the Zhaos will think that they are trapped in the stockade and will not send anyone to go after them, while Zhu Ji and her son can leave the city via the tunnel. So the longer they can hold the stockade, the further they can escape, to the extent that they may even reach Xianyang before the border guards receive any news.

    Wu Zhuo replied, You can count on me and Teng Yi for this. Within these few days I will secretly move the equipment and men needed to defend the stockade in and hide them well while Brother Teng will be in charge of teaching them the art of defending a city.

    Wu Yingyuan told Tao Fang, Master Tao better transfer those outsiders somewhere else and try to dismiss the unrelated maids and servants. As for the song courtesans, chose the best ones and send them out of the city, but you must pretend to be secretive about all these.

    Everyone else, with the exception of Teng Yi and Xiang Shaolong, all laughed.

    The former because he has seldom smiled since the horrible deaths of his wife and children while Xiang Shaolong is because he thought of Master Wus decision to perish together with the stockade.

    He cant help but utter, Grandfather

    Master Wu interrupted, This matter can only be washed with blood, so that the descendents of the Wu family will never forget their hatred with the Zhaos. Whoever wants to deal with the Wu family will have to pay a terrible price.

    He sighed softly and a look of reminiscence shot out from his eyes as he said slowly, Our forefathers are actually Qin royalty, but because of strife we were forced to end up in Zhao. Depending on our unyielding resolution, we set up a farm in the deserted areas and became the worlds number one livestock farm. Now my descendents are finally returning home while I can only die heroically. That life has turned out this way, what more can a man ask.

    Wu Zhuo was silent while Wu Yingyuan and Tao Fang looked miserable.

    A look of respect shot out from Teng Yis eyes as he said emotionally, Good man!

    Master Wu smiled and stood up with some trouble, saying Thats why I am going to enjoy myself to the fullest for the next few days, do not bother me if theres nothing important.

    He chortled and under the looks of everyone present, left the room humming a tune.

    Teng Yi and Xiang Shaolong walked side-by-side back to the inner hall and asked, What do you plan to do with Qianer?

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he dotes on this pretty princess and was worried that he will abandon her so he assured him, I will bring her along no matter what.

    Teng Yi was assured and turned around to look for Wu Zhuo.

    That evening, Master Wu held a secret wedding ceremony for Xiang Shaolong and Wu Tingfang and at the same time accepted Ting Fangshi as his mistress, so that both now have a formal status.

    That night Xiang Shaolong infiltrated the Hostage Residence with Jing Jun again.

    Xiang Shaolong was familiar with the place and avoided the guards on patrol, coming to Zhu Jis bedchamber. The 2 of them hid on the bed and talked secretively.

    Zhu Jis pretty face is on the same pillow as him, her body pressed tightly against him. Because she is lying on her side, sounds of her alluring breathing drifted into his ears following her breaths and that sort of pull is something no man can resist.

    Luckily Xiang Shaolongs eyes were staring straight ahead at the top of the curtained bed or else once he sees her eyes, he will definitely not be able to control himself and do something that he should not have.

    In this era where men holds power, women all knows how to use their natural charms to control men. Zhu Ji is exactly one of the best in this area. Or else King Zhuangxiang wont be pining away for her and intelligent men like the bisexual Zhao Mu and Guo Kai wont be enamored with her at the same time.

    Zhu Ji did not talk about business first and instead asked, You have not fallen for that s.lut Zhao Ya?

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that women are women after all. Time is precious yet Zhu Ji has the inclination to talk about such gossip, so he can only accede to her and asked, Are you familiar with her?

    Zhu Ji answered unhappily, Zhao Mu used to bring her to my place in the past, do you consider that familiar?

    Xiang Shaolong remembered that Zhao Ya once hinted that she has something going on with that fake Ying Zheng, so it seems that its under Zhao Mus instructions that she was doing such ridiculous things. He felt a wave of nausea and at the same time felt as if he has been released, because he no longer need to be responsible for Zhao Ya relationship-wise.

    Zhu Ji suddenly laughed lightly and said smugly, Zhao Mu may be wily, but he is definitely not our match. You should know how to make good use of this s.lut!

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought her formidable, she was able to see through his plans immediately. He took a deep breath and said, If the plan succeeds, itll really be all thanks to her help. He cant help but ask, Lady! Where exactly is your son?

    Zhu Ji replied, First tell me your plan, I can only tell you after I decide if its viable.

    After going through so many experiences, Xiang Shaolong has learnt not to reveal everything. He told her the gist of the plan but omitted the most important part about the secret tunnel in the Wu family and changed the escape route to be from the west of the city.

    Zhu Ji is already very satisfied and kissed his cheek gently, her slender hand caressing his broad chest and asked flirtatiously, Your waist is so hard, what is tied around there?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Its equipment that can make me fly over walls and needles that can kill silently.

    Zhu Jis expression changed, Does Zhao Ya know you have such abilities?

    Xiang Shaolong thought carefully and shook his head, Although she has seen them before, Ive never explained how they are used. Besides it seems that she is still hoping that I can escape alone and should not have told Zhao Mu about it.

    Zhu Ji heaved a sigh of relief and whispered in his ear, We cannot just depend on luck. Can you bring me some strong drugs tomorrow, if need be, I want to think of a way to slip out myself.

    Xiang Shaolong is beginning to think that this woman is not simple at all and asked with a furrowed brow, Even if we can drug the maids who are guarding you, we wont be able to pass the guards. You must not believe Guo Kai, hes just lying to get your body.

    Zhu Ji guffawed, Only a fool would believe him. The person I want to drug is him. This is the only route to escape after I pondered on this problem day and night over the last 10 years. I want to drug him because his build and weight is about the same as me. I only need to prop my shoes higher and tie something like what you have in my clothes.

    She continued with a sigh, Hai! If I dont find something to do, Id go crazy being locked up like this. She paused and continued in a sharp voice that sounded exactly like Guo Kai, Thats why I imitated his way of talking and actions everyday. If not for the fact that I know I wont be able to go far, or else I would have slipped away long ago.

    Xiang Shaolong was bowled over and complimented her sincerely, You did a really great imitation.

    Footsteps were heard from outside the door and Xiang Shaolong hurriedly hid in the secret compartment.

    The maids opened the door and came into the room, lifting up the curtains on the bed and only left after seeing Zhu Ji who was pretending to be asleep.

    Xiang Shaolong squeezed out.

    Zhu Ji leaned over again and hugged him, saying, Theres a man under Buwei who is adept in the skill of disguise

    Xiang Shaolong interrupted her, Youre referring to Xiao Yuetan, I just met him!

    Zhu Ji exclaimed happily, Only now do I trust you wholeheartedly. All right! Ill tell you, although I do not know the skill of disguise, but I had learnt some tricks from him in the past out in interest. When I am feeling bored everyday I will try to think of a way to disguise myself as Guo Kai. Im confident that unless I meet someone familiar, or else no one will be able to tell.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed secretly, from this one can tell how much Zhu Ji yearns to leave this cage, and he can also see her fierce determiniation during such dire situation.

    Zhu Ji said, Most importantly you must bring me the drugs. Man is strange, regardless of comitting good or bad deeds, once things get started itll be difficult to control, so soo ner or later Zhao Ya will betray you totally. With Zhao Mus cautious and suspicious nature, he will certainly increase the number of people guarding this place.

    Xiang Shaolong agreed, Now that youve said this, I too feel a bad omen. If Zhao Mu finds out that I have the ability to move about over high places, he will certainly pinpoint on this area and deal with it. He then sat up.

    Zhu Ji asked in alarm, What are you doing?

    Xiang Shaolong did not reply her but moved to the side of the window and looked out, and it happened that a team of patrol just walked past. After they left, ha made a signal to Jing Jun who was outside and in a short while, that lad slipped in swiftly through the window like a civet cat.

    After Xiang Shaolong instructed him to return to the Wu family to take the drugs and saw him leaving safely, he went back to the bed.

    Zhu Ji stared at him with her large eyes and said, So you actually have someone who is so highly skilled helping you, no wonder Zhao Mu is so wary of you.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Lady, you better tell me quickly the matter regarding the Crown Prince!

    Zhu Ji said languidly, Why the anxiety? You still have to wait for him to take the thing here before you leave. You dont even know how torturous it is for me to keep everything to myself and its not easy for me to find someone like you to talk to.

    Xiang Shaolong felt both anger and humor over this and cajoled her, Take it that I beg of you?

    Zhu Ji was ecstatic and she used her wiles and asked gently, Shaolong! Will you kiss me?

    Xiang Shaolong had no choice but to turn his head around only to see her enigmatic and flirtatious eyes staring at him unwaveringly.

    Their eyes locked for a moment and Zhu Ji took the initiative to kiss his lips, her slender body lightly moving against his.

    Waves of giddiness swept over his body and Xiang Shaolongs lust was immediately aroused uncontrollably.

    Zhu Jis fragrant lips moved apart a little and she said with a light laugh, And I thought youre a weirdo who will not be moved, so it turns out that youre no different from other men.

    Xiang Shaolong felt irritation and because of this his attention was diverted and he suppressed his lust while exclaiming angrily, Lady!

    Zhu Ji extended 2 fingers and pressed on his mouth, and as if cajoling a kid, said, Dont be angry, I sincerely want to be close to you!

    Just when Xiang Shaolong could do nothing about her, Zhu Ji said with a serious tone, At that time in order to avoid being seen, Buwei and my husband did not bring me with them. I had just given birth to a son then and he was not even a month old. After they left, I knew the situation is not right and the Zhaos may very well kill Zhenger to appease their anger so that night I ordered my servant to go find another baby to take Zhengers place.

    Xiang Shaolong was enlightened, So thats how the fake Ying Zheng came about.

    Zhu Ji said with worry, Things done in a hurry will certainly have loopholes. We cant find a baby around the same age at such short notice so we could only pay a large sum of money to buy a 3 year old kid to replace him. Luckily at that time no one thought highly of my husband and they dont even know if he has children. That night when Zhao Mu found out that Lu Buwei and my husband had left, he sentenced all the maids and servants to death in fury, leaving only me and my fake son but his suspicions were not aroused at all.

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong understand, no wonder Ying Zhengs age is different from the history books, so the real situation is so twisted.

    The battle of Changping happened during 260BC, and he has been here for a few years and now it is 249BC, a difference of 11 years.

    If Emperor Qin was born in Zhao after the defeat of Changping, and with the difficulty in news being passed during this ancient era, the news may have been delayed by one year. Therefore Ying Zheng should be born at the beginning of the year, the year after the defeat at Changping, and he ascended the throne on 246BC, which is only 3 years away from now. Hence he should be 13 years old by then, which proves that the history books were correct.

    Hes so stupid not to have guessed that this Ying Zheng is a fake one.

    The things that he could not figure out in the past immediately became logical.

    This is more reasonable, with Emperor Qins intellect and bravery, how can he be a useless person.

    Zhu Ji took out from within her clothes an exquisite jade piece with a unique design, with a phoenix carved on it. She removed it and somberly pressed it into Xiang Shaolongs hand and used his palm to cover it up, her 2 hands grabbing his hardened fists tightly and said gently, The real Zhenger has been sent to a poor family in Handan who had just lost 2 sons in the defeat of Changping, and its been agreed that in future this jade piece will be used to identify each other. Zhenger has the same jade piece hung around his neck. This has a phoenix carved on it while his has a dragon carved on it.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, Does that couple know about the Crown Princes background?

    Zhu Jis eyes revealed both joy and worry and she was so nervous her breathing quickened as she breathed out, Of course we cant let them know, we just told them hes an illegitimate son borne by a girl from a rich family. At that time I didnt expect to be put under house arrest immediately and the servant who knew about the matter has been killed. Therefore I only have the opportunity to tell you this matter when you came today. Heavens! You must find him for me, or else I wont want to live either.

    Xiang Shaolong can feel the remaining body warmth of Zhu Ji from the jade piece in his hands and he said confidently, I can guarantee with my head, I will certainly find him.

    Of course he is confident, or else history would not have ended up thus.

    Zhu Ji whimpered, Dont try to cajole me.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, I am someone with special abilities, my intuition will certainly not go wrong.

    Zhu Ji looked at him doubtfully for a moment before moving to his ears and telling him the secret in her heart, the name and address of the person who took in her son.

    Xiang Shaolong memorized it.

    There was a soft sound at the window, Jing Jun has returned and he was carrying a big bag of drugs and came grinning to the curtain. He was eyeing Zhu Ji up and down and was immediately dumbfounded and forgot to speak.

    Zhu Ji giggled and naturally she looked alluring.

    Xiang Shaolong said with a reprimanding tone, Xiao Jun!

    Only then did Jing Juns senses return and he said, This is a very strong drug, just a little can knock a person out for a day and even cold water wont rouse him. Theres enough here to knock out over a hundred people.

    They could hear hoof beats coming nearer from afar.

    Zhu Ji and Xiang Shaolong were both stunned and knows that Zhu Ji has indeed made the correct guess about Zhao Ya.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that not only is Zhao Ya sinking deeper and deeper, but she has been controlled by Zhao Mu again, or else Zhao Mu wont have sent people here to increase defenses in the middle of the night. Obviously Zhao Ya has revealed to Zhao Mu in bed regarding his ability.

    After he hurriedly made an agreement with Zhu Ji on the time and place for escape, the 2 of them left swiftly.

    Theyve just climbed over the wall when the guards came rushing over from where the fake Ying Zheng stayed to start a new defense formation.

    From this moment on, this resilient mother of Emperor Qin, will have to use her own strength and intellect to escape.

  15. #55
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 9 The Big Exchange

    Early the next morning, an impatient Xiang Shaolong slipped quietly into the streets and deliberately went a big round before coming to where the poor lived in at the west of the city.

    Although its where the poor lived, their lives are not that bad, only their houses were a little run down and the fallen walls not repaired! Most of the people here used to be farmers but the wars destroyed their farms and hence they have no choice but to find work in the city.

    He followed the address and came at last to the South Alley which Zhu Ji told him.

    At this time he cant help but feel nervous as he grabbed a passerby and asked, Where is Zhang Lis house?

    That person saw that he looked respectable and pointed to a fenced up house at the end of the alley and said, That is his house! He seemed to have some words which he found difficult to say, but he just shook his head, sighed and left.

    Xiang Shaolong was not concerned at all and his mood became more relaxed. He secretly thought that this should be right, and walked over. He went to the door and shouted, Zhang Li! Zhang Li!

    A forty over year old average looking woman stuck her head out and eyed Xiang Shaolong suspiciously for a moment before asking, Who is looking for Zhang Li?

    Xiang Shaolong said with a smile, You must be Madam Zhang! He took out the jade piece and showed it to her.

    With a bang, Madam Zhang slammed the door close as if she has seen a ghost.

    Xiang Shaolong was totally dumbfounded by her reaction and stared at the closed wooden door like a retard.

    In a short while an argument between a man and a woman can be heard from inside.

    Xiang Shaolong now understood. Naturally they are unwilling to return a child whom they have raised for 10 years, so he can only compensate them well with money.

    He reached out and lightly knocked on the brass ring on the door.

    After a pause the door opened and a man stood next to the door and said with lowered head, Sir, please come in.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that he looked honest and secretly complimented Zhu Jis subordinate for knowing how to choose a person rightly.

    He stepped into the house and saw that woman sitting at a corner weeping. A cloud of gloom hung in the house and theres no liveliness in it at all.

    He did not even hear any childs voice or clothing and items.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brow and asked, Wheres the child?

    The woman sobbed even more uncontrollably.

    Zhang Lis eyes reddened as he said painfully, Dead!

    That word sounded thunderous and made Xiang Shaolongs body tremble. He almost had an heart attack as he exclaimed in shock, How did he die?

    Zhang Li said miserably, Few years ago when the Yans attacked Handan, all children above the age of 13 were conscripted to defend the city, and he was killed by one of the random arrows shot by the Yans. Although we took your money, we could not protect the child, just kill us! Theres no meaning living on anyway.

    Xiang Shaolong exclaimed hoarsely, But he wasnt even 10 years old last year! He remembered the behavior of the passerby earlier and now understood that he was feeling sorry that they have lost their son.

    Zhang Li replied, We can only blame that hes a lot bigger built than 13 year old kids. While he was outside playing one day, he was captured by passing soldiers.

    Xiang Shaolong collapsed onto a chair and buried his face in his hands.

    Heavens! Emperor Qin is actually dead, what should he do?

    No! This is impossible, this couple must be lying. But looking at their expressions, he knows that this is the truth, especially when theres a new memorial tablet placed on a table on one side of the wall.

    Zhang Li took out a jade piece and handed it to him, This was taken from his body. Hes buried in out back garden, would Sir want to take a look?

    Xiang Shaolong removed his hands and his eyes fell on the jade piece.

    A ridiculous yet bold idea came uncontrollably to him.

    Xiang Shaolong went to Lady Yas residence and as expected, Zhao Ya has not returned.

    There are more unfamiliar faces in the residence. He did not see any of those whom he is familiar with like Zhao Da and the rest. Amongst the maids, with the exception of Xiao Zhao and Xiao Mei, the rest have all been transferred away.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that Zhao Ya will certainly have a very good excuse for all these arrangements, but he still wants to hear her say it personally. The more she lies to him, the more he can turn his love for her into hatred.

    Zhao Pan was practicing his swordplay alone in the back garden with deep concentration but once Xiang Shaolong stepped into the garden, he could detect him and he ran forward with his sword as if he has seen the only family he has in the world.

    Xiang Shaolong pulled out the sword named Blood Wave which Li Mu gave him and shouted, Lad, look out for the sword!

    Zhao Pans eyes gleamed as he slashed forward with his sword.

    Xiang Shaolong stood easily with his sword and said with a stern expression, Do you think this is a game? Be more vicious!

    Zhao Pan roared as he executed the Mohist swordplay and slashed and stabbed at Xiang Shaolong, making a total of 7 attacks.

    When he reached the 7th stance, he was finally disarmed by the reverberations mainly because he is smaller sized and not as strong.

    Zhao Pan looked totally dejected and extremely unhappy over his defeat but theres nothing he can do.

    Xiang Shaolong picked up the long sword for him and took him to the tiny bridge in the middle of the garden. They sat on the low barrier and he said seriously, Xiao Pan! Do you really have the perseverance to eliminate all difficulties and avenge your mother?

    Zhao Pan nodded his head with resolution, No matter what, I must kill Zhao Mu and the King.

    Xiang Shaolong asked solemnly, Arent you good friends with the Crown Prince?

    Zhao Pan said unhappily, Hes never been my friend, he only knows how to use his position to bully me. Ever since Mother got to know you, hes been going around telling everyone that Mother is a s.lut. If its possible, I want to kill him as well. He suddenly added, But even if I become as formidable as Teacher, I still wont be able to kill them, or else Teacher would have killed them long ago.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly surprised at his astute observation and said with a smile, You want revenge, I want revenge as well. Why not we split duties, I will deal with Zhao Mu while you will deal with that muddle headed ruler King Xiaocheng, how about that?

    Zhao Pan did not expect Xiang Shaolong to think so highly of him and he stared at him with huge eyes, looking morosely at his only family.

    Xiang Shaolong said, Now I am going to tell you a very important thing, if you really have the determination to avenge your mothers humiliation, then instruct me to go ahead. Otherwise you are never to reveal anything about this at all, not even to Princess Qian and Lady Ya.

    Zhao Pan jumped up, kneeled on the ground and kowtowed to him 3 times, his eyes reddened as he said, As long as I can avenge Mother, I am willing to do anything.

    Xiang Shaolong said quietly, Stand up!

    Zhao Pan stood up, his eyes filled with the look of extreme curiosity.

    Xiang Shaolong smiled a little and continued, I want you to become Emperor Qin who unifies the 6 states!

    Zhao Pan was stunned for a moment before asking quizzically, What is Emperor Qin?

    By the time Zhao Ya came into the garden, Xiang Shaolong has just hung the jade piece on Zhao Pans neck.

    From this moment onwards, he is the heir to the Qin throne Ying Zheng.

    Zhao Pan looked both shocked and overjoyed, but the look in his eyes was unwavering, filled with a determination which was never there before.

    No one can understand better than him, a child who grew up in the Palace, how rare this chance can be.

    And only be becoming the ruler of the strongest state in the world can he have the ability to kill the King of Zhao and avenge his Mother Lady Ni.

    Not only does he hate the King of Zhao, but also every other Zhao who just stood by the side and gave him the cold shoulder.

    Now the only person he trusts totally is Xiang Shaolong.

    Zhao Ya came towards them with a smile and complimented, Ive never seen Xiao Pan so hardworking before.

    Xiang Shaolong gave a look to Zhao Pan and the latter slipped off obediently.

    Zhao Ya tried to force a smile on a face, but her countenance was pale and tired, obviously she did not have a good night.

    Xiang Shaolong asked deliberately, Yaer are you feeling unwell?

    Zhao Ya stammered slightly, No! Nothing much. I was going around these few days trying to gather information for you and am so tired.

    Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows as he asked, Why are there so many unfamiliar faces here now, where has Zhao Da and the rest gone?

    Zhao Ya seems to have prepared an answer long ago and said nonchalantly, I had them transferred to my residence in the Palace. Without their help, its inconvenient for me to work in the Palace.

    She was afraid that he would pursue the topic so she changed the subject, How is the plan progressing? Have you contacted Ying Zheng?

    Xiang Shaolong answered dejectedly, It seems that other than a direct attack, there is no other way. But the Wu familys warriors can fight one against ten, so my plan will definitely succeed. Zhao Mu and King Xiaocheng can forget about living past the Farmers Festival.

    Zhao Ya lowered her pretty face, unable to hide the pain and uncertainty in her expression.

    Xiang Shaolong thought secretly: let me give you another chance, and asked with concern, Yaer you seem very troubled these few days. Why dont you say what is troubling you so that I can share your problems, there is nothing that cannot be solved.

    Zhao Ya was stunned, Nothing is troubling me, Im just a little scared!

    She gathered up a smile and collected her spirits and said, Shaolong you better tell me the details of your plan on that day so that Third Princess and I can work with you, in that way we can avoid any last minute mishaps.

    Xiang Shaolong replied with a smile, No need to be so anxious, I will tell you the detailed arrangement in a few days, because there are some areas which we still have not settled on. He secretly sighed and understood that Zhao Ya is really going all the way out to betray him.

    Zhao Ya suddenly asked, Shaolong! Have you heard any rumors about me recently?

    Xiang Shaolong said lightly, Youre referring to Qi Yus matter! How can it be? I absolutely trust my good Yaer, and understand that you are pretending to be on their side so that the King of Zhao will not suspect us.

    Zhao Yas expression started to look unnatural, as if shes a little afraid to be alone with Xiang Shaolong, and said, Arent you going to see your beautiful princess?

    Xiang Shaolong stood up suavely.

    Zhao Ya looked at his expression which is full of heroic air morosely, her eyes looking totally lost.

    Xiang Shaolong gave a cold snort in his heart, and once he thought of the fact that later one, she will understand that he has been lying to her, and he felt an extreme satisfaction rising in his heart.

    The next few days, everyone in the Wu family were getting ready. Men and supplies we constantly streaming in secretly from the tunnel into the stockade.

    Xiang Shaolong personally trained those 77 members of the Wu familys special task force. The methods he used overwhelmed even Teng Yi, who is well versed in the art of warfare, and how could he have known that these are the training methods from the 21st century.

    He also visited Xiao Pan frequently and taught him how to pretend to be the Ying Zheng who has lived with a poor family for 10 years and in the end, it was Xiao Pan who told him the things he has thought of instead.

    Xiang Shaolong saw how smart and obedient he is and was greatly assured.

    Unconsciously, it is now only 3 days away from the Farmers Festival.

    The situation became tense.

    The most worrying thing for Xiang Shaolong now is Zhu Ji. If she cannot get out, they will really have to invade Hostage Residence by force. Without her, Xiao Pan will not be able to become Ying Zheng.

    Thats why they have another back up plan.

    That afternoon, Xiao Yuetan who has been gone for 7 days finally returned.

    After entering the secret room, Xiao Yuetans attitude is vastly different and said apologetically to Wu Yingyuan and Xiang Shaolong, Firstly! Master Tu asked that I apologize to you first, because we had other selfish plans then and the words I used were not the whole truth. But I guarantee that from now on, we will sincerely co-operate with all of you.

    To Wu Yingyuan it is like a dream and he doesnt know what has Xiang Shaolong done to make this persons attitude change so drastically.

    However Xiang Shaolong was secretly startled and knows that this Tu Xian is a courageous and wise person and only then will it be possible for the plan to succeed.

    Xiao Yuetan said, Luckily Xiaolong tipped us off, or else Master Tu may have been captured by the Zhaos.

    Xiang Shaolong asked, How many of your men are here?

    Xiao Yuetan replied, There are 30 men who came into the city with me and they are all top notch fighters. He paused and continued, There are 120 men with Master Tu and they are the most elite among his men.

    Xiang Shaolong said, Mister Xiao better order all those who have entered the city to come to the Wu residence.

    Xiao Yuetan was stunned and asked, Is Shaolong thinking of fighting head on with the Zhaos?

    Xiang Shaolong replied with a smile, It may be that, but it may not be that too. Please allow me to keep you in suspense first, I will reveal the whole plan the day after. This matter is too important and I hope you will understand.

    Xiao Yuetan smiled, Shaolong is so confident, I am even more assured instead. Master Tu is now hiding in a dense forest outside the city near the hills, quietly waiting for us to send the Crown Prince and Lady out.

    Wu Yingyuan laughed, Mister is really formidable, those few song courtesans who had served you were all pining for you. Just a word from you and we will send them to your residence in Xianyang

    Xiao Yuetan looked overjoyed and replied, Everyone says that the Wu family is generous and you indeed live up to your reputation. I am definitely making you my friends.

    Xiang Shaolong took his leave and on the way bumped into Jing Jun who came to look for him. It turns out that Teng Yi had something to discuss with him.

    They went to a small building near the city walls which has now become their temporary command center. Teng and Wu were studying the detailed map of the Hostage Residence.

    Xiang Shaolong asked quizzically, Where did you get such good stuff?

    Teng Yi said smugly, I drew it. I just have to see it once and will be able to memorize and write it out.

    Xiang Shaolong was greatly surprised and did not expect Teng Yi to have such amazing memory and excellent drawing skills. After complimenting him, he continued, I hope we dont have to use the backup plan of invading the Hostage Residence by force. Otherwise even if we succeed, we will suffer heavy casualties as well.

    Teng and Ma nodded their heads at the same time, obviously they have some fear and reservations about attacking the Hostage Residence.

    Jing Jun said, If we were to successfully attack the Hostage Residence, it is indeed an extremely difficult task. But if we only need to rescue Zhu Ji, the situation will be totally different. I just have to lead those Elite Army. He then revealed his plan, which sounded totally reasonable.

    The other 3 were astounded and all changed their impressions of him.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this lad is really born to be in the special task force, even better than him, and said seriously, From now on you will be the leader of the Elite Army. Its best that you forge good relations with them so that when you work together in future, there will be no problems.

    Jing Jun was ecstatic. While others were overwhelmed with duties, he had nothing to do but just be a runner for Teng Yi. Now that hes suddenly the leader of the Elite Army, naturally he is overjoyed.

    With a shout, he went looking for his subordinates.

    Wu Zhuo shook his head with a wry smile. Without his orders, who would listen to the commands of a young and inexperienced lad.

    Teng Yi closed his eyes and recollected his thoughts for a moment, then opened his eyes and said, I still worry about Qianer.

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Logically speaking, they wont do anything to Qianer before the Farmers Festival in case our suspicions are aroused.

    Teng Yi said, In the eyes of the King of Zhao, Qianer has committed an unforgivable crime. Im afraid he will sentence her to death on that day and we will live to regret it.

    Now that hes said that, Xiang Shaolong is worried about Xiao Pan as well. With the King of Zhaos ruthlessness, maybe he will not let a child off as well and he asked in alarm, What should we do then?

    Zhao Mu has forced Zhao Ya to transfer all her own people away, on one hand his people can keep an eye on Lady Ya so that she will not dare to betray him, and at the same time they can control Zhao Qians life and death.

    Xiang Shaolongs concern is clouding his thinking and his brains is totally not working, unable to think of any way that can change this terrible situation. The biggest problem is that they can only wait until the last moment to save Zhao Qian.

    Teng Yi said, If the King of Zhao summoned Zhao Qian back into the Palace a day earlier, there will be nothing we can do at all.

    Although it is now winter, Xiang Shaolong was sweating as he exclaimed, I have not thought of that!

    Teng Yi said calmly, Just leave this matter to me. Zhao Mu is still not aware that we have seen through his evil plans so he wont send a huge army to keep an eye on Lady Yas residence. Even if he were to send people to escort Zhao Qian back to the Palace, he wont use so many manpower too. As long as we send men to keep an eye on Lady Yas residence round the clock, we can act according to circumstances and need not worry about any mishaps.

    Xiang Shaolong is the only one who knows what the problem is, and it is Xiao Pan. He is determined not to tell anyone about Xiao Pan impersonating Ying Zheng. In future only he, Zhao Qian, Wu Tingfang and a limited number of people will know of this, no one else will know Xiao Pans real identity.

    Teng Yi said, What I fear is that the King of Zhao would be so ruthless and sentence his daughter to death. This is really problematic.

    Xiang Shaolong hardened his resolve and said, Maybe I will have to do it the hard way, I will pressurize Zhao Ya to let me bring Qianer here. Her only way is to seek the Kings advice. If he really has the intention of killing his daughter, he wont mind her coming to the Wu family, and can even accuse us of one more crime, kidnapping the princess. By then they will have even more reason to back them up.

    Teng Yi said, Logically speaking you should take Zhao Ya along as well. Wont she be suspicious?

    Xiang Shaolong also felt that this plan is not really workable and just as he was worrying over it, Lady Ya sent someone to invite him over to her residence.

    Xiang Shaolong went on his way hurriedly, knowing fully well that it is time to give Zhao Ya all the fake cards.

  16. #56
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 10 Going along with the mistake

    Xiang Shaolong met Zhao Ya at the quiet inner hall.

    It was a sunny day, the sun who has not shown his face for many days shone gently on the silvery white world.

    This time Xiang Shaolong did not even see Xiao Zhao and Xiao Mei, it seems that everyone in the whole residence has been changed with Zhao Mus men.

    Zhao Ya was dressed in yellow and she seemed to be in better spirits but it still could not hide her sad and tired face. There is a kind of heartbreaking, lonesome beauty, which revealed the torture and dilemma in her heart.

    But Xiang Shaolong has no pity for her at all. He only thought that she deserves it.

    After they were seated and the maid who served tea left, Zhao Ya said quietly, How are things progressing?

    Xiang Shaolong gave a small smile and replied, Quite smoothly. Do you have any new information on your side, did Zhao Mu hear of anything at all?

    Zhao Ya shook her head, Imperial Brother and Zhao Mus attention are all placed on the war with the Yans, and has no time to bother about other matters for the moment. She paused and continued, Instead Empress Jing is urging you to strike quickly and wants me to tell you that Imperial Brother is very unhappy because you submitted the document together with Li Mu and its quite possible that he will deal with you and the Wu family after the Farmers Festival.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that they are trying to make him more determined to strike. Zhao Ya, youre really hardworking.

    Zhao Ya saw that he was quiet and asked, Have you made contact with Lu Buwei and the rest? If theres no one from Qin to help, how are we going to send Zhu Ji and her son back to Xianyang?

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to be troubled and said, Weve made contact long ago. They sent Tu Xian and his men over first but they still do not trust us. They only said that if we can get Zhu Ji and her son out of the city, then we are to meet them at Magu Hill west of the city.

    How is Zhao Ya supposed to know this is all nonsense so her pretty eyes brightened and she pressed on, Theres only 2 days left, is the secret tunnel out of the city ready?

    Xiang Shaolong suddenly had a bright idea and said, Everything is ready. He continued with an earnest voice, To me, you and Qianer are more important that Zhu Ji and her son, so Ive decided to send you, Qianer and Xiao Pan out of the city first before I activate the attack on your Imperial Brother and the Hostage Residence. Otherwise Id rather cancel the whole plan.

    Zhao Yas delicate body shook as she lowered her head and said, Are we really that important?

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly laughing to himself as he replied, What joy do I have left if I lose all of you. According to past experiences, your Imperial Brothers troops will leave the city the day after at the hour of Chen (between 7am to 9am). I will wait for you at the back door a little earlier, around the hour of Mao (between 5am to 7am). If everything is appropriate, Ill immediately send someone to send all of you to the west of the city and after Ive kidnapped Zhu Ji and her son, I will meet up with you and leave the city together via the secret tunnel.

    Zhao Ya asked, Who is in charge of the ambush outside the city?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Of course Wu Zhuo will be in charge. When the troops pass by the tall grassland, our men who are already in hiding in pre-dug ditches will shoot arrows when they are caught unprepared and they will be unable to react. This plan can be considered flawless.

    Zhao Yas lips quivered slightly and with a voice as soft as an insect buzzing, said, All right! At that time I, Third Princess and Xiao Pan will slip out to meet up with you.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that he has reached his aim and went to look for Zhao Qian. Zhao Ya used the excuse that shes returning to the Palace to report to Empress Jing and left the residence. However Xiang Shaolong of course knows that she is going to report the latest situation to the King of Zhao.

    Naturally Zhao Qian is overjoyed at seeing him, but also worried that he wont be able to win against the King of Zhao and Zhao Mu.

    Xiang Shaolong hugged her, whispering sweet nothings to her and at the same time telling her about the plan to change Xiao Pan into Ying Zheng.

    The expression on Zhao Qians pretty face changed, not knowing whether to feel scared or excited as breathed out, No wonder Xiao Pan has been behaving strangely these few days, talking to himself. I was so worried that he has lost his senses because he missed his mother too much yet I dare not tell you for fear that you will be distracted.

    Xiang Shaolong said, Besides you and Tingfang, no one else knows his real identity, so under no circumstances must you reveal the truth of this matter.

    Zhao Qian replied, I understand!

    To assure her, Xiang Shaolong told her what he said to Zhao Ya earlier and further discussed how they could help Xiao Pan disguise before he returned to the Wu familys stockade.

    The next day Xiang Shaolong went back to Zhao Yas residence to look for her and to test her.

    As expected, Ziao Ya has no objections to this arrangement.

    Standing from Zhao Mus viewpoint, Xiang Shaolong and the Wu family is just toying within his palms, and theres no way they can escape from his hands. Thats why he will never let go of this opportunity that seems heaven bestowed to totally eliminate Xiang Shaolong and all of the Wu familys power in one fell swoop.

    Xiang Shaolong smiled and said, Kids are more easily frightened, Id like to take Xiao Pan away first, does Yaer have any thoughts about this?

    Why on earth would Zhao Ya bother about an unimportant orphan so she nodded her head in agreement.

    Xiang Shaolong stood up and was about to leave.

    Zhao Ya called out softly, Shaolong!

    Xiang Shaolong turned around and Zhao Ya threw herself into his arms, her slender hands encircling his neck as she kissed him, using all her strength to portray the pain in her heart.

    Although Xiang Shaolong is not at all interested, he had to pretend to lustily savor her tiny mouth.

    As their lips parted, Zhao Yas tears flowed uncontrollably.

    Xiang Shaolong pretended to be surprised and asked, Do you have any problems?

    Zhao Ya leaned on his shoulder and wailed, only recollecting herself after a long while and said, Im just too happy, thats why I behaved this way.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly cursing.

    Zhao Ya stepped away and wiped her tears as she said, Go and look for Xiao Pan!

    Xiang Shaolong took Xiao Pan away openly and along the way he changed him into some torn and old clothes he prepared earlier and gave him some instructions before bringing him back to the Wu stockade.

    Before that he has already told the needed people that Ying Zheng is actually another person. Those in the Wu family were very excited and the happiest is Xiao Yuetan, because this has changed the entire situation.

    They have just stepped through the door when Wu Yingyuan and Xiao Yuetan rushed forward and knelt down, calling out Crown Prince.

    Xiao Pan pretended to be overwhelmed and hid behind Xiang Shaolong, and kept crying out that he wants to see his real mother.

    Xiang Shaolong told them, Hes still not used to his real identity. Let me bring him to Tingfang for her to look after and well talk again after hes seen the Empress.

    They did not suspect a thing at all and happily showed this fake prince into the inner mansion.

    Time passed, and the day of the Farmers Festival finally arrived.

    Everyone in the stockade woke up before dawn.

    All the ladies and children used the excuse that they are going to the farms to celebrate the Farmers Festival to leave the city. Ting Fangshi and the 4 maids were one of the batch who were sent away.

    Wu Tingfang threw a tantrum, insisting on staying by Xiang Shaolongs side. No one could do anything about her so they had to agree.

    Inside the stockade, besides the 2000 elite soldiers under Wu Zhuo, there are also 700 odd loyal warriors and 200 odd male and female strong servants, in all about 3000 people. In addition to the high walls and the moat, they are a force not to be reckoned with.

    This is also the reason the King of Zhao dare not make any rash moves. Itll be easier to deal with them if they can be lured out of the strong fortress.

    After their meal, Xiang Shaolong led Teng Yi, Jing Jun, Xiao Yuetan and his 30 highly skilled men as well as Wu familys 77 elite warriors who are akin to the special task force, out of the city in the dark.

    Shortly after they left the stockade, Wu Zhuo led another 50 skilled men and a horse carriage towards Lady Yas residence.

    The sun only came out slowly an hour later, after they reached the back door of Lady Yas residence.

    The back door opened immediately and Zhao Ya and Zhao Qian dashed out from inside.

    Someone opened the carriage door and invited them in.

    Zhao Ya followed Zhao Qian into the carriage and only saw Wu Zhuo and 2 other people sitting inside, and he said coldly, Lady, hello!

    Zhao Ya tried to be calm as she asked, Where is Shaolong?

    Wu Zhuo signaled the 2 men with his eyes and they immediately struck, tying Zhao Ya up sturdily and even sealed her pretty mouth.

    Wu Zhuo passed the pre-prepared clothes to Zhao Qian to let her wear over her clothes and in a short while, she has turned into a man. Unless one looks closely, no one will be able to tell the difference, especially the fake moustache above her lips is so well made.

    Zhao Yas alarmed and pretty eyes looked at Wu Zhuo, and looked at Zhao Qian who seemed not to care about her and finally realized what is happening. She felt a mixture of shame and regret.

    Wu Zhuo looked at her with distaste, Youre such a stupid and cheap s.lut, how dare you betray our Master Xiang, you really do not know your own ability. And he spat at her.

    By now the carriage has turned into a small lane, and Wu Zhuo and Zhao Qian dismounted before the carriage continued on its way.

    Zhao Yas tears finally flowed uncontrollably.

    Outside the carriage window, snow suddenly fell.

    Xiang Shaolong, Teng Yi, Xiao Yuetan etc were hiding in the dense woods opposite the Hostage Residence, concentrating on the happenings at the main door. Everything seems to look normal, there arent even guards at the door, as if they are not prepared at all.

    Xiao Yuetan asked doubtfully, Would Lady be able to slip out so easily?

    Xiang Shaolong looked at the falling snow and secretly thought that it is indeed written in history books that Zhu Ji and her son arrived at Xianyang safely, so this seemingly impossible matter should happen smoothly. He said with confidence, Definitely!

    Before he could finish his words, the door to the Hostage Residence opened. First 10 Zhao soldiers on horses came out, followed by an elaborate horse carriage, and another 20 riders followed behind it as they came out to the streets pompously, turned left and rode towards the west.

    Everyone was ecstatic and hurried to act.

    Jing Jun who was hiding in ambush at that side received the flag signal and immediately gave orders to prepare to attack. 30 elite members swiftly used their pre-prepared ropes and climbed up the trees lining on each side of the road, their bows and arrows aimed at the fast approaching target.

    Just as the carriage was about to reach the trees where the men were hiding in ambush, loud hoof beats were suddenly heard from behind and a Zhao soldier on horseback came rushing up, signaling them to stop their advancement.

    The leader of the carriage team was startled and ordered his men to stop moving.

    Suddenly the sounds of arrows flying were heard and 31 men, including the last Zhao soldier were all killed, with one arrow in each of them as they fell down their horses.

    The elite soldiers all jumped down and landed squarely on the horses backs, controlling the alarmed and neighing war horses.

    Jing Jun landed lightly on the roof of the carriage and just as he was about to lean upside down and poke his head in to claim his reward from the fake Guo Kai who is in fact Zhu Ji, a man with a sword banged the door open and dashed out.

    Everyone were stunned.

    This person was dressed in finery and looked to be about 25 to 26 years of age, his height comparable to Xiang Shaolong, his looks extremely handsome and suave. His eyes were so alluring it captivates the soul and he is more than qualified to be the dream man of any woman.

    Hes also very alert, on seeing the bodies of the Zhao soldiers on the ground and surrounded by enemies, he roared and wanted to dash into the woods at the side. However, his neck felt tight and he was grabbed around the neck by Jung Jun who was on top of the carriage and the sword in his hand fell to the ground.

    2 elite soldiers dashed up and immediately tossed him flat on the ground and at the same time punched and kicked him. He was in such pain that he curled up on the ground.

    Xiang Shaolong, Xiao Yuetan and the rest arrived and on seeing such a scene, their expressions changed.

    The horse carriage was empty.

    Xiang Shaolong stepped on that mans stomach and shouted, Who are you?

    Jing Jun grabbed his hair and pulled his face up to reveal a pretty toy boy.

    That man was so frightened he turned pale as he stammered and pleaded, Sirs spare my life, I am an envoy from the state of Qi and has no enmity with you.

    Xiang Shaolong and Jing Jun looked at each other, they did not expect this Qi Yu to be so useless, cowardly and afraid of death.

    Xiao Yuetan exclaimed agitatedly, What shall we do? Obviously Guo Kai did not go to Ladys room last night.

    Everyone were immediately aware that this man in front of them must have tried to go and take advantage of Zhu Ji and only left now after breakfast. Even though Zhu Ji has the ability to entice all men on earth, there is no way she can use her ability because since she wasnt able to get Guo Kai to her bed, of course she has no chance to drug him.

    Xiang Shaolong pulled out Blood Wace, pointing it at Qi Yus eyes and roared, You want your left eye or right eye?

    Qi Yu stammered, Spare me! I promise to do anything you ask.

    Xiang Shaolong regained his calm and composure and said with a smile, I only want you to go back to Hostage Residence.

    The team rode back to the Hostage Residence in spite of the heavy snow.

    Xiang Shaolong and Xiao Yuetan sat in the carriage, holding the shaking Qi Yu as hostage. Looking at this Casanova, they dont know whether to be angry or to laugh.

    The door opened and someone called out, Why has Master Qi returned?

    Under Xiang and Xiaos threatening gestures, Qi Yu called out, Ive left an important document behind and need to take it back from Ladys place.

    That guard said, Master Guo has ordered that no one is allowed into Hostage Residence.

    Qi Yu followed what Xiang Shaolong whispered in his ear and said, This document has something to do with your countrys King and is extremely important. Ill be responsible for anything that happens, let me in quickly!

    That guard had no choice but to let him in because of his special status and also because he just came out of the residence earlier.

    The accompanying Zhao soldiers are of course Jing Jun and his men in disguise. Firstly, it was snowing heavily and also because these soldiers sent to protect Qi Yu are from a different camp to those guarding the residence so they do not know one another and for the moment no one could detect anything wrong.

    Everyone heaved a sigh of relief as the carriage hurriedly arrived at the empty space next to Zhu Jis residence.

    Jing Jun is in charge of staying outside the residence and on seeing the various defense setup in the garden and the ditches for archers, he cant help but heave a sigh of relief, feeling glad that they need not force their way in.

    Xiang Shaolong and Xiao Yuetan escorted Qi Yu on his left and right, with 4 more men following them and went into the building. The 4 Zhao soldiers standing guard at the steps recognized Qi Yu and although they saw that he looked pale, they thought its because he exerted too much energy last night and so did not suspect anything amiss.

    2 of the guards followed them into the building.

    2 pretty maids were cleaning up the hall and they both smiled and came towards Qi Yu to welcome him once they saw him.


    Xiang Shaolong gave a secret signal and the 4 elite soldiers struck at the same time, using the techniques they learnt from Xiang Shaolong to knock the 2 maids and 2 guards out. They immediately tied them up tightly with ropes, stuffed their mouths and dragged them to a corner.

    Xiang Shaolong asked Qi Yu frostily, How many others are there in the house?

    Qi Yu replied obediently, There are another 5 maids and 2 of them are accompanying Zhu Ji. To stay alive, he is indeed revealing everything that he knows.

    Just as the 4 elite soldiers were about to go search, the main door suddenly opened and Guo Kai dashed in and asked Qi Yu unhappily, Why have Master Envoy come back again, didnt you have enough fun last night? His tone was filled with jealousy.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he must have heard the news from the fake Ying Zheng and this came over hurriedly to make sarcastic remarks at Qi Yu who has taken his Zhu Ji and felt like laughing.

    Qi Yu could only look at him and smile bitterly.

    Only now did Guo Kai have the time to look at the people accompanying Qi Yu and when his gaze fell on the coldly sniggering Xiang Shaolong, his expression changed immediately and before he has the chance to shout, a sword was already at his throat.

    Xiang Shaolong asked with a smile, How have Master Guo been!

    Guo Kai stammered, You will never be able to escape!

    Xiang Shaolong replied nonchalantly, Who is escaping? He deliberately emphasized on the word escaping.

    Xiao Yuetan ordered, Escort them them.

    2 soldiers went off first to look for the other maids whom they have not captured while Xiang Shaolong and the rest took the 2 of them and went up the second floor to Zhu Jis tightly closed room.

    Guo Kai was threatened and had no choice but to order the strong maids who were inside guarding Zhu Ji to open the door.

    The door opened slightly and Xiang Shaolong forced his way in and knocked the 2 maids unconscious.

    Zhu Ji was sitting in a daze in front of the copper mirror, looking unhappy when she suddenly saw a Zhao soldier dash in and hit the maids. Just as she was totally scared stiff, Xiao Yuetan has already dashed forward and knelt on the ground, saying quietly, Your subordinate Xiao Yuetan was late in saving you, Lady must have suffered! As she spoke, he was so overcome by emotions that he almost wept.

    Xiang Shaolong thought that this person really does know how to act, no wonder Lu Buwei thought so highly of him. He reminded them, Lady, disguise yourself as Guo Kai quickly.

    Only now did Zhu Ji recognize that its Xiang Shaolong and she jumped up with joy. She first went to Guo Kai and Qi Yu and gave each of them a slap on the cheek.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought her formidable and at the same time ordered Bring the 2 of them out first, remove Master Guos clothes and then tie him up.

    2 members of their group obeyed the orders and pushed them out of the room.

    With Xiao Yuetans expert help, when Zhu Ji put on Guo Kais signature long beard and wore his official robes and hat, even Xiang Shaolong could not see the difference.

    Zhu Ji remembered something and asked, Where is Zhenger?, he voice obviously shaking.

    Xiang Shaolong said with a smile, Fortunately hes still alive!

    Zhu Ji exclaimed in joy and almost wanted to rush forward to hug and kiss Xiang Shaolong. She turned to Xiao Yuetan and asked, Does does he look like his Majesty?

    Xiao Yuetan coughed drily and stole a look at Xiang Shaolong before replying with embarrassment, Extremely like him, but he looks as good as Lady too.

    With such a question and answer, Xiang Shaolong knows immediately that even Zhu Ji herself is not sure who this son of hers belong to. Of course she would never imagine that the son she is about to see is not her own flesh and blood at all. Such a messy affair, who knows how it can be explained.

    They dare not stay any longer and walked out of the room.

    Guo Kai was tied tightly and when he saw himself walking out from the room, he was so shocked his eyes almost fell out.

    Zhu Ji imitated his voice and said, Kill him for me!

    Guo Kai and Qi Yus faces immediately paled.

    Xiang Shaolong has no wish to kill a defenseless person, so he said laughingly, Keeping him alive will be even more torturous than killing him.

    Zhu Ji rolled her eyes at him and said, You are a very good man! and walked downstairs first with a smile.

    Xiang Shaolong and the rest have now turned into followers, and escorting Qi Yu, ran after her.

    Zhu Ji, disguised as Guo Kai, walked out the main door first and imitating Guo Kais voice and tone, reprimanded Qi Yu who was following behind, If youre not an honored guest from the state of Qi, I would have punished you severely.

    Qi Yu lowered his head, looking as if he has made a great mistake.

    As Guo Kai continued his reprimands, he went up the horse carriage together with Qi Yu and of course Xiang Shaolong and Xiao Yuetan followed them in.

    The horse carriage drove out and arriving at the main gate, the leader of the guards guarding the gate walked over and said, Master Envoy

    Zhu Ji interrupted, I am going out with Master Envoy for a while, all of you guard the doors closely.

    The leader was stunned, Sir! This place needs you here.

    Zhu Ji said with her most officious air, I know what to do. You, Chen Gui, are in no position to tell me what to do, open the door quickly!

    The wonderful part is that she even knows the other persons name.

    That leader has no choice but to order the doors to be opened.

    The team left Hostage Residence with no trouble at all.

  17. #57
    Senior Member kohchun's Avatar
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    Book 5 Chap 11 Army arrives at Stockade

    The carriage stopped.

    Zhao Ya was just blaming herself and feeling ashamed and regretful when Wu Zhuo went up the horse carriage and released the ropes that bind her.

    After she has flexed her limbs, Wu Zhuo ordered her off the carriage.

    Zhao Ya recognized this to be a dense forest not far away from the Wu family stockade and just as she was feeling alarmed, a few people appeared from behind the trees and the leader is none other than the person she betrayed, Xiang Shaolong.

    Zhao Yas legs weakened and she collapsed onto the ground, hot tears streaming from her eyes, unable to talk at all.

    Xiang Shaolong pushed the person next to him and that person fell next to Zhao Ya as he said icily, Ill let you adulterous pair become a pair of lovebirds with the same fate.

    Qi Yu stammered, Dont kill me. Sir, you promised me.

    His cowardice made even Zhao Ya feel despise and loath.

    This good looking man seems like an upright and arrogant man usually but it turns out that he is so timid and useless. Especially when he is next to Xiang Shaolong, compared to the latters heroic air who is not concerned about his own life or death, one can immediately see the difference is as vast as heaven and earth.

    At this time even Zhao Ya feels as if she has been blinded by ghosts to have actually fallen for a person like him.

    Zhao Ya forced herself to get up and cried piteously, Shaolong! Ive let you down and Im not good enough for you, kill me!

    Xiang Shaolong looked heavenward and laughed long and hard, saying coldly and unfeelingly, I do not want a s.lut like you to sully my precious sword. Remember? I once said that anyone who tries to kill me will have to pay a terrible price. Now I will prove it to you, tell your Imperial Brother and Zhao Mu to come!

    Zhao Ya was stunned, Werent you trying to escape?

    Xiang Shaolong smiled mysteriously, Of course! I will leave immediately. Now that I have Zhu Ji, I can account to the King of Qin.

    Sounds of hoof beats could be heard from afar.

    Xiang Shaolong revealed a look of surprise and exclaimed, Oh no! Weve been found out.

    Wu Zhuo exclaimed frightfully as well, We have no time to leave, return to the stockade first.

    Zhao Ya looked with tears in her eyes as this man who has once let her tasted real love leave. The pain and regret she felt is like a poisoned snake biting her heart.

    Qi Yu who was next to her exclaimed happily, Look! The Zhao soldiers are here, we are saved!

    Darkness appeared before Zhao Yas eyes as she fainted away.

    Mission accomplished, Xiang Shaolong and the rest returned triumphantly to the cheers of the Wu family warriors, passed the drawbridge and rushed straight into the stockade.

    Master Wu welcomed them personally at the square while Xiao Pan hid behind Wu Tingfang who was dressed in warrior clothes and Zhao Qian, looking as his mother Zhu Ji who has changed back into herself entered the stockade and alighted from the carriage.

    At this point in time, in Zhu Jis eyes, she can only see Xiao Pan. The expression on her face is a touching, ecstatic joy that cannot be hidden as she ran towards Xiao Pan.

    Xiao Pan ran out crying as well and threw himself into her arms as mother and son hugged each other and sobbed uncontrollably.

    After being separated for 10 years, her flesh and blood whom she has been pining for everyday is not back in her arms. How can she not cry.

    And because of this mother he thought of his real mother so he sobbed even harder than Zhu Ji and even more honest, the anger that has been simmering inside him flooding out in waves.

    Master Wu came to the mother and son and said with much feeling, Lady, this should be a time of joy.

    The horns were sounded, it means that the Zhao soldiers have already arrived at the stockade.

    Zhu Ji lifted her pretty face, her pretty eyes now red and swollen from the crying as she looked at Master Wu and said, Its all thanks to Master Wus chivalry that us mother and son will have this day. I wont say any words of gratitude, but as long as us mother and son still have some say in Qin, we will protect the Wu family and ensure youll have riches and your descendants will be safe. She has already learnt that Master Wu is planning to perish with the stockade heroically so that they can escape, so she spoke sincerely from the bottom of her heart, which she seldom does.

    With tears shimmering in his eyes, Master Wu laughed loudly, With Ladys words, I will be able to smile in the underworld.

    Xiao Yuetan was worried that any delay might bring more problems so he hurried her, Lady! We have to leave immediately.

    Wu Yingyuan and Jing Juns elite troops, together with Xiao Yuetan and 30 of his skilled fighters escorted the mother and son, as well as Zhao Qian who was saying her goodbyes sadly to Xiang Shaolong, towards the back of the house. Naturally they are going out of the city via the underground tunnel to meet up with Tu Xians group.

    Xiang Shaolong, Wu Zhuo, Teng Yi and the rest stayed behind because without them, how can they fend off the Zhao army who is more than 10 times bigger than them.

    The Zhao army did not invade the stockade immediately but set up defenses outside. The other soldiers in and around Handan kept coming as backup, bringing with them various tools used for invading a fortress. It was only the third day did they complete the whole setup to surround them.

    This is exactly what Xiang Shaolong and the rest hoped for, which is to lure and keep the Zhao army here so that Zhu Ji and the rest can escape safely to Xianyang.

    The most wonderful part of this whole plan is that the Zhaos think that Ying Zheng is still in their hands so theyre not too bothered that others have escaped. Theyll be satisfied as long as they can bring the stockade down and kill everyone in the Wu family.

    Xiang Shaolong appeared periodically at the walls of the stockade and even made special arrangements for Master Wu and Wu Tingfang to appear there as well so that the Zhaos will not suspect that they have other plans.

    On the third night, the warriors who were in charge of keeping an eye on the 4 underground tunnels that leads only to the woods outside the stockade found Zhao soldiers making their way in and hurriedly threw in the burning firewood. With the help of huge fans, they literally burnt a few hundred of the arriving Zhao soldiers alive before sealing the underground passages with rocks.

    Naturally the King of Zhao was fuming over this and sent someone over to curse at them beneath the stockade walls early in the morning.

    Xiang Shaolong found this very amusing, this is the first time he saw such meaningless cursing.

    Teng Yi did not said a word but took out his specially made strongbow and made the Zhaos dumbfounded by shooting the extremely loud cursing expert off his horse. The distance was more than 800 steps away and the range several feet further than an ordinary bow.

    The cheers from the Wu family warriors were deafening.

    Whereas the Zhao soldiers were speechless.

    Suddenly a person rode over but this time he has learnt his lesson, pulling his horse to a stop when he was a thousand steps away and shouted loudly, Xiang Shaolong, his Majesty wants to speak with you.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly laughing to himself and thinking that he is not so stupid as to shout and strain his throat just to converse.

    Wu Zhuo who was next to him summoned a man over and said with a smile, Its good to humiliate him in public!

    Xiang Shaolong understood his meaning and said, Tell him to go ahead and fart! He cant help but laugh after he said this.

    Wu Zhuo and Teng Yi couldnt restrain their smiles and to Teng Yi, this is a rare expression.

    That person was stunned for a moment before shouting down, Go ahead and fart!

    His voice reverberated along the walls.

    Those on the Wu family side all chortled and the atmosphere was filled with happiness while the Zhaos were fuming on their side.

    The conversation could not proceed and amidst the booming sounds of the war drums, the Zhao army prepared to attack the stockade.

    The huge Zhao army surrounding the city, without including the reinforcements, totaled about 30,000 odd men consisting mainly of foot soldiers. This is all the strength the Zhaos could gather within such short notice and the thoroughly surrounded the stockade.

    In the chapter Masculine & Feminine Cities in Sun Tzus Art of War, cities are mainly grouped into 2 types: cities on higher ground or backed against mountains with a good source of water are called Masculine Cities and is extremely difficult to besiege. Cities on lower ground, or are between 2 mountains, or if backed against a valley, and where plants do not flourish are called Feminine Cities and as long as one has enough strength, they can be easily overtaken.

    The Wu family stockade is the typical Masculine City. When the city was initially built the King of Zhao was hoping that it would become another important post, which they can defend the city from, but how could he have expected that now its a place of betrayal against himself now.

    Therefore the Zhaos did not want to attack the stockade rashly so that they will not suffer heavy losses. Initially they thought there would be problems regarding rations and the people in the stockade but now that they saw that the morale in there is so high, they know theyve made a big mistake.

    The generals had initially wanted to have a drawn out siege of the stockade but they did not expect that Xiang Shaolongs sentence would infuriate the King of Zhao so much that he could not control his temper and ordered a head on attack.

    The Wu family is enormously wealthy and the way the stockade was built was according to the strictest standard at that time and is extremely solid. The stockade walls are thick and high, enough to fend off the enemys direct attacks, climbs and knocks. The moat is deep and wide and at the top of the walls there are the elite Wu family warriors. Hence, even though the Zhao army is more than 10 times bigger, they are still not confident of breaking into the stockade. Their only advantage is that they have unlimited reinforcements that is enough to let them have a long battle of stamina.

    Although Xiang Shaolong and the rest have the convenience of the underground tunnel, they have already transported all their store of rations inside, while the farmers outside the stockade have to escape to Qin, so theyve now become a lone army. However their aim is just to defend for a short period of time, so they are feeling lighthearted, and to them this is just a game with the Zhaos of defending the city.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at the grandly approaching Zhao army with their shields up and asked with furrowed brow, Why dont they cut off the water source to the moat, instead theyre going through the trouble of crossing the moat?

    Wu Zhuo said with a laugh, This is a live river, we need not irrigate water in. There is a spring supplying water beneath the moat and they cant stop the water supply even if they want to.

    Xiang Shaolong was enlightened, his knowledge grew with each experience.

    Teng Yi said calmly, The way to break this is to divert the flow of the water, but that will take at least 10 odd days to complete. Im guessing that they are swiftly trying to build mobile bridges at the back end to put across the moats to make it more convenient for attacking the stockade.

    Xiang Shaolong asked quizzically, Then those people below are just putting up a show?

    Teng Yi explained, A besieging army fears boredom the most, so there is a need to make them move. They can take it as a form of stretching or exercise, as thats the only way to maintain morale.

    Xiang Shaolong nodded his head to indicate his understanding. In a war, a persons psychology cannot be neglected, its the same in the past and for the future.

    The Zhao army below gave a shout as they charged forward until they reached the bank of the moat and squatted down, hiding behind their shields. Thousands of archers charged behind them and after hiding behind those shields, raised their bows to shoot and for a moment arrows rained down on the walls.

    Teng Yi gave an order and the Wu family warriors all hid behind the ditches and did not return the strike.

    Teng Yi shouted in a voice even louder than that cursing officer, Prepare sand! Fire extinguishing teams get ready.

    Before he could finish his words, another 2000 odd soldiers from the enemy side dashed out and shot at the city walls with burning arrows.

    The attack on the stockade finally started.

    Both sides used burning rocks to attack each other, the outer walls and top of the stockade bore the damage made by the impact and the fire but its just superficial damage, the basic structure is not affected at all. The Wu family warriors are on higher grounds and has sufficient rocks so their defense was tight with minimal casualties whereas the Zhaos had more than a thousand dead or injured within a day, a heavy cost to pay.

    Until now, the King of Zhao and Zhao Mu still cannot understand why their opponent is so well prepared. They have been secretly keeping an eye on the movements in the Wu family and only saw people and rations being moved out of the stockade but nothing has been transported in.

    They could not imagine the existence of the underground tunnel, so they cant be considered stupid. Firstly, its almost impossible to build such a long underground tunnel. Also, if there is a underground tunnel, Xiang Shaolong and the rest will have no reason to stay here. How could they have guessed that this is the most crucial factor in Xiang Shaolongs plan.

    News came that night that the Qin army is near the border and the King of Zhao was so frightened that he hurriedly forced his generals to attack the stockade relentlessly day and night.

    On the 10th day, after suffering heavy losses, the Zhaos finally successfully built 3 mobile bridges for crossing the moat and moved their ladders in to climb and attack the stockade walls as well as use huge logs to batter the stockade gates.

    The Wu family warriors used rocks and fire weapons to return the attack and also used a weapon resembling a long hook to deal with those enemies climbing up, as well as pouring cauldrons of boiling water and oil down. After killing and injuring almost 2000 of their enemies, the Zhaos retreated, only defending the 3 wooden bridges.

    About 50 odd men died and a hundred odd injured on the Wu familys side.

    Those injured were immediately transported out of the city.

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong truly feel that in a war, one persons strength is so miniscule and to him, it certainly does not feel good.

    By the 20th day, the Zhaos finally managed to divert the flow of the water after which they spent another 3 days to fill up and flatten the moat with soil and rocks. The Wu family stockade has lost its advantage.

    The Zhaos launched their attack, pushing the armored battle vehicles used for attacking cities over the flattened moat.

    These battle vehicles came in various types with the most formidable being the Climbing City Vehicle, Smashing Vehicle and Flying Platform.

    The Climbing City Vehicle is about as high as the city wall so that the enemy can swiftly reach the top of the walls in the vehicle; the Smashing Vehicle has a sturdy log on it and used to smash continuously on the city gates and walls; the Flying Platform is for the use of the archers to attack the defending soldiers at the top of the walls.

    The only way to deal with this is to use huge rocks to attack them.

    In less than 2 days, all the huge rocks have been used up. Xiang Shaolong gave orders to retreat.

    By the time the Zhao army entered the city, the whole Wu family stockade has been set ablaze. Because the buildings have all been smeared with oil, they cant extinguish the fire even if they wanted to.

    The Zhaos looked on as the fire burned for 10 days and what remained were charred and totally destroyed buildings burnt down to the last tile. They couldnt describe their feelings but in any case, they definitely did not feel good.

    More than 8000 Zhaos perished with another 10,000 odd injured. The whole country was in shock.

    The Wu family have always enjoyed good reputation among the common Zhao people and now that the King of Zhao had forced them to rebel, there were naturally lots of complaints.

    By the time the King of Zhao found out the underground tunnel leading out of the city from amongst the rubbles and realized that he has fallen for Xiang Shaolongs trick, its already more than a month later.

    Although the King of Zhao was fuming, there was nothing he could do.

    At this time he did feel a small sense of regret. Such a capable man like Xiang Shaolong, not only did he not make good use of him, but have now given him away to the Qins. How torturous indeed!

  18. #58
    Senior Member kohchun's Avatar
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    Book 6 Chap 1 Arriving safely in Xianyang.

    The State of Qin was founded on the eastern bank of the upper streams of the Qin River.

    Ever since their ancestors started the kingdom, the Qins have favored taking over by strength, and were formed by traveling nomads. They struggled to survive in this difficult land and had long drawn battles with the Barbarians. Hence, every single word in their history is written with blood and tears.

    Although their ways of battling in organized nomadic groups weakened their links with the earth and making it difficult for them to settle down in a place, but it resulted in the Qins ancestors not being restricted by boundaries and were able to continuously venture into the never trodden land in the east and battle with the barbarians.

    During the time of King Zhou, one of his subject with the family name Ying was given this place because of the contribution he made by helping the Zhous rear horses for battles and he established this region near the capital. In actual fact, this is a difficult task of helping King Zhou defend his borders and preventing the barbarians from attacking.

    The 400 odd years of Western Zhou dynasty are the Qins most difficult and arduous times. With sweat and blood and the countless lives of their own people, they protected their overlord, the Zhou Dynastys western border and at the same time continued with their expansion into the west. Facing such relentless challenges and with stubborn heroism, the Qins built an extremely solid foundation.

    The chance of a lifetime finally fell on the Qins.

    Because of the incompetent King You, the barbarians attacked the city and the King was killed. Thus the power of the Zhou dynasty was disintegrated.

    King Ping moved to the east and due to his contribution in protecting the King, the Duke of Qin was bestowed a dukedom and the Qins finally have a place to call their own.

    When the states first started their wars, the weakest among the 7 states was Qin. It was only when Duke Mu of Qin took over and he depended heavily on foreign advisors like Baili Xi, Jian Shu, Songsun Zhi etc, that he established a strong foundation.

    The country and army really prospered due to the reforms of Duke Xiao and Shang Yang. They totally overturned the traditional setup of the tribes and established new military setups, where those who contributed militarily will be promoted and brought the power of the imperial family to its peak during their time. They also moved the Capital to Xianyang and built a majestic city with grand palaces and standardized weight measurements in the country. They divided the country into 31 provinces and abolished the borders set up in the past. The people are allowed to own their own land for farming, with the government taxing them directly.

    Hence the state of Qin took a great leap and became the strongest and was feared by all the other states.

    At the time when Xiang Shaolong escaped and traveled the long journey from Handan to Xianyang, the Qins were just enjoying the fruits of Shang Yangs reforms.

    Xianyang is located south of Mount Jiuji and north of River Wei. Hence its also known as Wei City.

    Together with his pretty wife Wu Tingfang and leading Teng Yi, Wu Zhuo and more than a thousand family warriors, Xiang Shaolong brought them into Qin and received a warm welcome from the leader of the border patrol, who quickly sent someone to report back to Xianyang and also prepared 5 huge ships so that they need not make the arduous journey through forests and mountains. They disembarked on the northern bank of Xianyang where Wu Yingyuan, together with the family warriors and Zhao Qian, as well as Lu Buweis number one subordinate Tu Xian, are already waiting. The scene was magnificent.

    Wu Tingfang was reunited with her father and they were both ecstatic, feeling as if they have been parted a long time; at the same time they remembered how Master Wu had committed suicide heroically and all the different emotions were mixed.

    Xiao Yuetan and another youth whose dressing looks like a military advisor accompanied Tu Xian as they came forward to welcome Xiang Shaolong.

    This Tu Xian is tall and thin and looks to be about 30 years of age. Hes very sturdily built, tanned and nimble, his movements seems to have an air of overwhelming power and his eyes energetic. With a horse like face, hes not considered handsome but he does have a strong, manly aura and charisma.

    He took a huge step forward, pulled Xiang Shaolongs sleeve and said with a long laugh, Tu Xian is extremely lucky to be finally able to meet such an extraordinary person whom Ive admired for so long. Besides Xiang Shaolong, who else can accomplish such a historic task?

    Xiang Shaolong doesnt really know how to react to such an enthusiastic welcome and hurriedly expressed his modesty. At the same time he thought that this is the honeymoon period between Lu Buwei and the Wu family, so Tu Xian must have been instructed by Lu Buwei to take good care of them.

    Tu Xian was introduced to Teng Yi and Wu Zhuo one by one and his reaction was enthusiastic and warm.

    At this time Jing Jun darted out from some obscure place. After being apart for so long and now reunited, everyone were overjoyed.

    Xiao Yuetan behaved as if hes an old friend and introduced that youth to Xiang Shaolong, This is a famous man from Chu, Mister Li Si. He is now Big Masters She Ren.

    She Ren means houseguest.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly thinking that the name Li Si sounded extremely familiar. He suddenly remembered and exclaimed, So its that Mister Li Si who has the grand ambition of helping a great ruler conquer the world!

    Li Sis body trembled as he lowered his head and said, Mister Xiang must be joking. I cant call this a grand ambition. I only hope that I can make good use of my abilities under the leadership of Premier Lu and will be contented if I can accomplish that!

    A puzzled look flashed past Xiao Yuetans face. He quietly thought that when he introduced Li Si as a famous man from Chu, its just out of courtesy. The truth is Li Si is a nobody, just that he is a smooth talker and Lu Buwei has some liking for him. He had asked to follow them today so that he can witness Xiang Shaolongs glory, so why did Xiang Shaolong seem that he has long heard of this name? He cant help but ask, Where has Shaolong heard about Mister Li?

    Xiang Shaolong secretly cursed himself, he cant possibly tell Xiao Yuetan that he got to know about Li Si from the movie Emperor Qin. He quickly changed the topic and asked, Has Master Lu become the Premier?

    Tu Xian went to Xiang Shaolong and said with gratitude, Master Lu has instructed me to clearly express his gratitude towards Old Master Wu, Master Yingyuan and Shaolong. If Empress Ji and Crown Prince Zheng did not return to Xianyang safely, things might have been totally different. Empress Ji and Crown Prince Zheng has been praising Shaolong in front of his Majesty and Master Lu and his Majesty is going to throw a feast for you tomorrow night so that you will have some time to rest. Well all be one family in future.

    Xiang Shaolong sighed secretly to himself that this all sounds very nice but in fact they just want to trick him into becoming Lu Buweis lackey.

    He has long been sick and tired of politics and the fight for power and has no interest at all in the power struggle between the outsider Lu Buwei and the local royalty, so he secretly came to a decision.

    Just looking at the Wu familys new residence in Xianyang, made up of 12 courtyards, one knows just how importantly the Qins is regarding the Wu family and the love King Zhuangxiang has towards Zhu Ji and Ying Zheng, who is actually Xiao Pan in disguise, and his trust towards Lu Buwei.

    Although the new Wu residence cannot be compared to the Wu family stockade in Handan in terms of size and grandeur, but its situated near the Palace in Xianyang in an area where all the highly ranked officials stay in. On a trotting horse, one can reach the main entrance of Xianyang Palace in a short span of time.

    Xianyang is split into the inner and outer city.

    The inner city is mainly made up of Xianyang Palace situated north of River Wei and Xinle Palace south of Weinan, spanning over the River Wei and is joined by a bridge about 280 steps long, forming a majestic cluster of Palaces and the scale is far greater than what the palaces in Handan or Daliang can achieve.

    The 2 Palaces looked majestic and tall, looking as if its almost reaching the sky, and one can imagine a ruler descending to earth from Heaven.

    The outer city is more than 10 times bigger than the inner city where the commoners reside in where trade is flourishing with a wide variety of goods at good prices.

    When Xiang Shaolongs party went past the market east of the city, they witnessed the sale of various animal products like meat, leather, veins, horns, fats etc. There were also handmade products from ceramic, wood, metal, cloth etc. The range of products far surpassed what Zhao and Wei can offer, obviously there is a direct relation between the power of the state and its economy.

    According to Tu Xian, who was traveling in the same carriage as them, the commerce in Xianyang is split into private and official commerce. The government has set up procedures and officials to look after market trading to check and encourage trade expansion. For example officials in charge of salt, metal, handicraft as well as the Minister over the Masses, Minister of Horses, Minister of Works, Minister of Cultivation etc oversees the specifications, quantity and production of the products and all these reflects the Qins strong economic power.

    On the way to the Wu familys new residence, they saw that the dressing of the people are not as bright or grand as those in Wei and Zhao but the population is even more than Daliang, and of course Handan cant even be compared to them.

    It was a pleasant change for Xiang Shaolong as he secretly thought that this should be the scale of a strong country.

    Most of the passersby were armed and has the air of fighters, something that Wei and Zhao cannot be a match against.

    After arriving at the square in front of the Wu familys residence, Tu Xian and the rest bid their farewells and before Li Si left, he secretly indicated to Xiang Shaolong that he would like to come and visit him tomorrow morning. After Xiang Shaolong agreed wholeheartedly, Li Si left looking a little bewildered.

    Everyone in the Wu residence came to the main door to welcome this group of We family heroes, especially Xiang Shaolong, who is like a star in the Wu family and idolized.

    Wu Yingyuan arranged 4 groups of houses as temporary housing for the men as most of them will start on their journey tomorrow morning to the large farm at the outskirts north of Xianyang. Because the state of Qin is so big but under populated, therefore the scale of the farms can be even bigger than before.

    It was only after Xiang Shaolong dealt with the congratulations from the clan can Chunying and the other maids were able to surround him with Wu Tingfang and Zhao Qian and bring him to his new Hidden Dragon Abode.

    Ting Fangshi was unable to take the difficult journey and had fallen ill and Xiang Shaolong was so alarmed that he hurried to her room.

    His love has lost much weight and her countenance pale, She fell sick partly because she was worried about Xiang Shaolong and now that he is back, she hugged him and cried with joy. By dinnertime, she was in better spirits and was able to get down from her bed.

    Looking at how happy Chunying and the other women were, Xiang Shaolongs worries were all gone as he embraced Ting Fangshi and Zhao Qians trim waists and asked happily, Who will accompany me tonight?

    The 2 girls blushed prettily, naturally they both would like to be with him.

    Wu Tingfang said with a smile, Why dont the 3 of us accompany you! Im just afraid you wont be able to handle it.

    Zhao Qian added with a giggle, What about the other 6 maids? Lets see how youll handle it?

    Xiang Shaolong looked at Chunying and the other 3 maids and asked bewilderedly, How can there be 6?

    Ting Fangshi said with a smile, You forgot about Princess Qians Cuitong and Cuilu?

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, Didnt they stay behind in Handan?

    Zhao Qian pouted, You forgot about them! Luckily I told Master Tao to secretly bring then out amidst the chaos. They arrived in Xianyang 10 days earlier than you.

    Xiang Shaolong was overjoyed, Why dont you ask them in quickly see me?

    Zhao Qian called out and 2 pretty maids ran out from the inner hall and collapsed in front of Xiang Shaolong and started crying uncontrollably.

    Xiang Shaolong felt apologetic that he has forgotten about them and felt really sorry for them. He got up and helped them to their feet and after consoling them, he went to the grand hall of the main building to have dinner with Wu Yingyuan. Tao Fang, Wu Zhuo, Teng Yi and Jing Jun were also there.

    After a round of drinks and congratulatory words, Wu Yingyuan thanked him earnestly, Its all thanks to everyone here who worked and fought together without fear of their own lives that our Wu family can have a chance to survive.

    Tao Fang added, This time we can really settle down in peace. After the Empress and the Crown Prince returned to Xianyang, Master Lu was immediately appointed as the Premier. If he makes another military contribution, he will be appointed as a Duke or Marquis and with the Wu family having such a huge backing, Old Master will be able to rest in peace in Heaven.

    With the mention of Master Wu and his wives, concubines, maids and servants who chose to perish with him, everyone became somber.

    Wu Yingyuan said through gritted teeth, Premier Lu will certainly collect this blood debt for us. Supervisor Tu told me in private that the Premier already has plans to attack Zhao and hopes that Shaolong can lead it.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting. Honestly, his main enemy is Zhao Mu, the King of Zhao is at most just an accomplice. It is not his wish to lead an army to destroy the cities in Zhao and bring misfortune to the people.

    He deeply felt the revulsion towards offensive wars.

    Theres another bigger problem. He must not become Lu Buweis lackey no matter what, because in history, Emperor Qin was on bad terms with Lu Buwei 10 years after he ascended the throne, so how can he stand on Lu Buweis side?

    But it seems that everyone in the Wu family has long regarded Lu Buwei as their new Master and looked as if they are going to live and die with him. He cant possibly tell them how history will turn out and knows theres no way he can make them believe him. This is indeed an extremely bothersome problem.

    He sighed and said, The King of Qin has appointed Master Lu as Premier, didnt the royalty and officials in Qin have any objections?

    Wu Yingyuan saw that he didnt seem very concerned that Lu Buiwei is about to hand him an important task and looked at him in puzzlement before adding, Not only were there objections, their reactions were very vehement as well. He paused and continued Ever since the outsider Shang Yang, the Qins have been very intense about their prejudice against outsiders. Later, in order to deal with the Union* set up deal with the Qins and to avoid being attacked by the 6 states in the east, they had no choice but to use Zhang Yi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Yi_(strategist) ) to deal with the Union. Later they also relied heavily on Fan Sui and used his strategy of attacking those close to them and having cordial relations with states further from them to deal with the Union of the 6 states. We can say that its only when they had no other choice did they make use of talents from other states to help them.

    (Union Collection of the 6 states Qi, Chu, Yan, Zhao, Han and Wei who joined forces to fight against Qin)

    He sighed again and said, But after Bai Qi forced to commit suicide by King Zhaoxiang, the Qin military were very displeased and they finally forced Fan Sui to lose his official post and the prejudice towards outsiders were reinforced again. Although we have Qin blood in us, were still being regarded as outsiders and under Master Lu. Therefore we must help Master Lu with all our efforts, otherwise if he falls, we wont have it easy as well.

    Naturally the last few words were meant as a reminder to Xiang Shaolong.

    Xiang Shaolong thought of Mei Canniang and a wave of sadness came over him as he hugged Ting Fangshi and fell onto the bed. He pulled her outer robe aside, revealing her heaving bosom which is still wrapped up in her white inner robe to his eyes.

    A mesmerizing fragrance wafted into his nose, her ample bosom can be seen from the loosened collar.

    Xiang Shaolong buried his face in her chest as his tightly wound emotions relaxed and at the same time he felt the weariness towards fights and revenge. He only hopes that he can retire to some peaceful woods in future together with Ji Yanran and Mei Canniang as well and live a life with his loved ones that even immortals would be envious of.

    In his mind an image of flowing rivers, green grass, lush woods, high mountains and clear water surfaced.

    What he wants is not grand clothes and sumptuous feasts, but a life back to nature and hard work.

    In this under populated word, to find a paradise on earth and start his own farm to grow some crops while his ladies will rear ducks as he fished and hunted. Hell be contented if he can live such a life until his death.

    Ting Fangshis pretty face reddened, her eyes closed tightly, her breathing heavy as she moaned daintily, totally enrapturing his soul. Obviously she is in the mood for love, which is insatiable.

    Xiang Shaolong is not in the hurry to possess her. He thought of the primitive jungles they passed on the way here, there were heavy fog, thousand feet tall waterfalls and great lakes. His imagination soared and he was secretly determined that he will certainly live the rest of his life in the forests one day.

    To someone from the 21st century, this type of lifestyle is the most alluring.

    Ting Fangshi forced her pretty eyes to open, her fiery and sultry eyes blaming him for taking his time to join with her.

    Xiang Shaolong was intoxicated in both body and mind as he forgot everything else and concentrated all his energy into her mesmerizing body.

  19. #59
    Senior Member kohchun's Avatar
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    Book 6 Chap 2 Dinner Feast at the Qin Palace

    Sweet voices roused him up from his deep sleep and he opened his eyes. The sun is already rising and he sat up suddenly.

    The pretty Princess Zhao Qian was startled, and she said with her hand covering her smile, The 3 of us have lost, we all thought that you wont be able to get up. Her pretty face blushed with embarrassment as she finished her words, obviously she remembered the exciting battle they had last night.

    Xiang Shaolong was reminded of this by her and he tried flexing his body and realized that he is still feeling energetic. He laughed loudly and threw Zhao Qian onto the bed with a hug and said, Lets do it one more time with obedient Qianer!

    Zhao Qian tried to resist but her body went soft and she did not have the strength to get up as she moaned, Mister Li Si from the Premiers Residence has come to look for you!

    Xiang Shaolong remembered the appointment Li Si made with him secretly yesterday and sighed. He put his hands into Zhao Qians robes and groped around first before he got up and let his wives and pretty maids help him wash and change. He did not even have to move a finger and everything has been done for him. He was thinking of how he should get the 2 pretty maids Cuitong and Cuilu up the bed as well and cant help but laugh to himself that he has not changed at all in the sense that he still likes to try out new things like all men.

    Li Si was waiting for him at the inner hall, looking calm, or at least that is the way he looked on the surface.

    After making some small talk and Qiuying had served them tea and snacks, Li Si went straight to the point, Where has Mister Xiang heard about my name, why do you seem so familiar about me?

    Xiang Shaolong had asked Tao Fang last night about the background of this famous official who will help Emperor Qin unite the 6 states in future and found out that he is Han Feis Junior Brother and wanted to lie and say that he heard about him from Han Fei. But he thought that there may be a day where his lie will be exposed so he gave up the idea. He smiled and asked, Has Mister Li ever heard about such a thing called fate?

    Li Si was puzzled, What is fate?

    It was only during the Han Dynasty that Buddhism which expounds on Fate came to China, so naturally Li Si does not understand what Xiang Shaolong is saying at all.

    Xiang Shaolong took a sip of hot tea before explaining, Fate is like an invisible hand, which will inevitably join different people together no matter how different their background, how far apart they are, into friends, rulers and subordinates, or maybe husbands and wives or masters and servants. This is called fate.

    Li Si looked surprised and he thought over it for a while before nodding his head, I did not expect that not only is Mister Xiangs sword skill famous in the world, your ideas are thought provoking as well. I just wonder what has this got to do with Mister knowing about me?

    Xiang Shaolong replied nonchalantly, Its very difficult to explain what fate is. Although its the first time I met you, it feels as if I have long known about your aspirations so I just blurted those words out. Or maybe its because I have heard of Brother Lis tutelage under Xun Zi*!

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

    Li Si furrowed his brows. Although he is Xun Zis disciple, their philosophies are far apart. He was about to speak further when Xiang Shaolong changed the subject, What are your views on ruling a country?

    Li SI was stunned for a moment. If it was King Zhuangxiang who was asking him this question, hell certainly be pouring out his views. But not only does Xiang Shaolong not have an official post, he is also under Lu Buweis faction. If he were to speak so closely to his heart to someone he has just made an acquaintance of and revealed all that he knows, he may get into trouble. He cant help but hesitate.

    After he came to Xianyang, although he had a few in depth talks with Lu Buwei and Lu Buwei has also expressed his admiration towards him, but he can tell that not only is Lu Buwei extremely ambitious but overbearing as well and will get into trouble sooner or later. Besides, he was feeling secretly bothered as their views on ruling a country is vastly different from each other so itll be very difficult for him to be recognized or entrusted with heavy responsibility.

    Xiang Shaolong said with a smile, Mister does not want to be just a small fry whom no one bothers!

    Ji Si was startled and hurriedly said, Mister Xiang must be joking!

    Xiang Shaolong said with a straight face, In order to accomplish great things, then one must take great risks. If Mister cannot put aside your fears for your life, then our conversation today will end here and we will not breath a word about this to anyone else in future, how about it?

    Li Si looked at him intensely for a moment, and felt that Xiang Shaolong shows a sincerity that can move others. He felt a burning passion in his heart as he threw all caution to the wind and said, I wonder what views and suggestion Mister Xiang has?

    Xiang Shaolong asked, In Mister Lis opinion, how does the future bode for Premier Lu?

    Li Sis expression changed slightly as he exhaled a long breath and said with a sigh, Mister Xiang is making it difficult for me.

    Xiang Shaolong understands the difficult position he is in and asked gently, What work is Mister Li doing now in the Lu Residence?

    Li Si replied frankly, I am helping Premier Lu write his Lu Chronicles according to his instructions. The Premier hopes that with this book he can come up with a complete philosophy and reforms for ruling the country. Hei! I am just one of his many subordinates, the word helping is a bit of an exaggeration.

    Xiang Shaolong is not a historian and this is the first time he has heard about this and asked in puzzlement, So theres actually such a happening. I wonder what are the new ideas on ruling a country in the book?

    A look of disdain appeared slightly on Li Sis face as he said calmly, What kind of new ideas can he have? Its mainly a collection of the essence of the philosophies of others before, who supports the idea of Divinity of Heaven, which means that one can only rule the world well if he follows the natural order of heaven and earth. The ruler and subjects will walk their own path and not interfere with one another. A ruler should rule the country with benevolence and reflect on himself from time to time, seeking virtuosity constantly until in the end, the ideal state of having nothing to govern is achieved.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that he was clear on his reasoning and was secretly impressed and asked gently, Does Mister think that Premiers ideals will work?

    Li Si dare not reply him at all and asked instead, What does Mister Xiang think?

    Xiang Shaolong knows that if he doesnt show off a little, he will be looked down upon by this learned, ambitious and younger man, so he said coolly, Premier Lu is governing the Qin politics as a Han, and places more trust on people from Zhao, Wei and Han. The Empress who was his companion is from Zhao as well. On top of that, ever since Shang Yangs reforms, Qin has been using legalism and militarism to govern the country, which is a polar opposite of Premier Lus ideals. There is no where the 2 can blend at all and as for what will happen in future, I hope that Mister can advice me.

    Li Si slapped the table and stood up, saying, With such a talent like Mister Xiang in Qin, I should return to my hometown and be a farmer instead.

    Xiang Shaolong grabbed his arm and pulled him back onto the chair and said earnestly, Mister is exaggerating. Firstly I know nothing at all about ruling a country but most importantly I have no interest in an official career. Everything that I have done in the past is for survival and not fame. There will come a day when I will retire to the woods and not bother myself with worldly affairs. Whether Qin can unify the 6 states will have to depend on you.

    Li Si was momentarily stunned and secretly thought that these words would be more appropriate if King Zhuangxiang told it to him. Although King Zhuangxiang was impressed with Xiang Shaolong, he is not a wise ruler at all and follows Lu Buweis advice on everything. With the current situation, who else can outsiders like them rely on other than Lu Buwei? But Xiang Shaolong seems to imply that there is a new leader, which is really incomprehensible to him.

    Xiang Shaolong put his hand on his shoulder and said with a smile, Mister Li will understand my words in future, just rest assured and stay in Xianyang! This is the only place you can expand your ambition.

    After Li Si bid his farewell, Xiang Shaolong went to look for Teng Yi for breakfast.

    During the meal Teng Yi asked, What are your plans for the future?

    Naturally Xiang Shaolong will have his plans, which is based on the information he gathered from the movie Emperor Qin. Help set a solid foundation for the fake Yingzheng, Xiao Pan, so that he can hadle Lu Buweis attempt to wrestle power in future and the appearances of evil officials.

    Now that he has found Li Si, there is still the father and son Wang Jiang and Wang Bi. They are all famed generals who will help Emperor Qin unite the world in future. With these 3 helping Xiao Pan, he can retire to the woods in peace.

    He gave a relaxed sigh as he sat back on the chair and stretched, To tell the truth, I have no great ambitions at all. After I kill Zhao Mu, I will move to one of the Wu familys farm far away and live a secluded life. Ill be contented with hunting or fishing during my free time.

    Teng Yi revealed a small trace of a rare smile and said nonchalantly, If you can do that, Ill go hunting with you.

    At this time Jing Jun rushed in like a gust of wind and said energetically, Come! Let me be the guide and show you 2 big brothers the glorious sights of Xianyang.

    Teng Yi furrowed his brows, Whom have you been making hanging out with recently?

    Jing Jun sat down on the rug opposite them and replied excitedly, Of course its the people from the Premiers residence. Its so exciting here, there are fights and injuries everyday. Just a few days ago some swordsmen from the Premiers residence were ambushed in the largest officials brother in Xianyang, with 3 dead and 7 injured. Those thieves who made the sneak attack were lucky that I was away at the temple north of river Wei to peek at those ladies offering prayers. Otherwise, there wont be so many dead and injured.

    Xiang Shaolong and Tengyi exchanged looks, both secretly alarmed. This lad is young and rash and may cause trouble.

    Teng Yi furrowed his brows, Dont the Qins value law and legalism? How can there be fights?

    Teng Ji replied smugly, Now Xianyang is in a mess, who can be bothered to interfere. Especially when it involves the people of the Left and Right Premiers residences, no one dares to intervene.

    Xiang Shaolong said sternly, You better not cause any trouble these few days. Once we are clear about the situation, well go back to Zhao immediately to deal with Zhao Mu, understand?

    Jing Jun was ecstatic and bowed respectfully, Xiao Jun understands. Great! I can get Zhao Zhi back here.

    Teng Yi reprimanded in a low voice, You are getting more and more ridiculous!

    Jing Jun fears Teng Yi the most and was so frightened he immediately bowed down and dared not make a sound.

    Teng Yi sighed and said to Xiang Shaolong, Shaolong! This lad is still young and doesnt understand the severity of the situation. I will take him in hand, you dont have to worry.

    Xiang Shaolong said with a laugh, Why would I blame him?

    Jing Jun said, Xiao Jun respects both brothers the most!

    Teng Yi shouted, Shut up! He made an eye signal at Xiang Shaolong, signifying that he wants to reprimand Jing Jun in private.

    Xiang Shaolong understood his meaning and went back to Hidden Dragon Abode alone. He has not even stepped through the door when he heard the cheers and laughs of the ladies near the well. He hurried over for a look and it turned out that his wives and maids have all changed into light and short dresses and happily playing ball while Ting Fangshi sat at a side and watched with a smile.

    Chunying and Xiaying rushed forward and dragged him into the game.

    This day was therefore spent amidst such happy atmosphere. At dusk, Wu Yingyuan asked someone to invite him over so that they can go to the Palace together for the feast.

    When he thought of how he will soon be meeting this famous Lu Buwei who can affect the history of the warring states, Xiang Shaolong cant help but feel a little nervous.

    How could he have expected that just a fight at Black Leopard Bar can totally change his fate!

    The horse carriage drove slowly into the grand entrance, past a round shaped corridor, into the square in front of the main hall.

    There were rest areas for soldiers on both sides of the main door, where there are 2 camps of troops under the command of the Military Official. After some routine questionings, they allowed the 12 riders who were protecting Xiang and Wus carriages into the inner palace.

    Although Xianyang Palace is a few times larger, its layout is the same as the Zhao Palace where its front court back rest format. The outer part is where the King of Qin deal with state matters and hold court, the inner part is where the King and his concubines and childrens bedrooms are.

    The 3 main halls in the front part looked grand and majestic, the Premier Hall and various departments are on each side; the inner part consisted mainly of the King of Qin and the Empresss 3 back palaces, and on the right and left side there are the 6 Eastern Palaces and 6 Western Palaces, where the Empress Dowager, Concubines and various Princes reside in.

    Xiang Shaolong was sightseeing along the way and saw halls, courtyards, woods, pavilions, platforms, corridors etc, which looked solemn yet respectable, something that the Zhao Palace cannot be compared to.

    The construction of the buildings at the inner court is even more diversified and the layout compact with groups of buildings surrounding a courtyard with walls surrounding them and the different sections separated by tall walls. If theres no one to lead the way, being lost is no big surprise.

    Once he thought that Xiao Pan will one day become the master of this place, and he was the one who single-handedly facilitated all this, Xiang Shaolong cant help but feel pride and a sense of achievement.

    King Zhuangxiangs feast is held at the Health Cultivating Palace at the back, which is also the inner Palaces most grand wooden building, a 3 storey tall building. On the tall platform there are 2 pavilion looking buildings and on each side of these buildings and the lower platform there are each 10 rooms of different sizes. There are bedrooms, rest areas, bathrooms etc which are connected by corridors. There are drawings on the walls and the steps on the corridors are carved with dragons and phoenixes, and the whole place looked grand and magnificent.

    The horse carriage stopped at the square and Lu Buwei had specifically told his housekeeper Mister Tu to welcome them there. Naturally he was especially happy and courteous when he saw them.

    As they walked up the long steps, Tu Xian said in a low voice, Besides Premier Lu, Lord Yangquan is also here tonight. This person thinks that he has made a great contribution to his Majesty in the past and is extremely proud and overbearing. Even his Majesty and Premier Lu have to give in to him a little, the 2 of you will have to handle him carefully.

    Wu Yingyuan saw how forthright he was towards them, obviously he is regarding them as family and was secretly overjoyed as he kept on agreeing.

    Xiang Shaolong thought that there will come a day when they have to oppose Lu Buwei and was secretly sighing instead.

    Maybe this is the pain one has to suffer for knowing the future and he cant help but feel all the more determined to retire away from the world.

    They had just stepped into the door when they heard a long laugh and saw a grandly dressed man whose body shape and limbs are a lot more stout than others striding towards them. He was wearing a tall hat with feathers and ornaments on it and the feathers flapped as he walked, boosting the power he exuded.

    This person is about 40 years old with a square face and big ears. He looks a little unique, and his eyes a little too thin and long but shining, giving others the impression that he is profound and formidable.

    Wu Yingyuan hurriedly pulled Xiang Shaolong to kneel and pay his respects, crying out Premier Lu.

    Before they were on their knees, Lu Buwei has already dashed forward to help them up, his lighted eyes landed on Xiang Shaolong as he exclaimed in surprise, No wonder Empress Ji and Mister Xiao kept complimenting Xiang Shaolong. I, Lu Buwei, have traveled the world and its the first time Ive seen such a talent like Shaolong.

    His loud booming voice reverberated in the hall.

    Xiang Shaolong saw that Lu Buwei is only a little shorter than him but his aura is intense. He was secretly impressed and hurriedly said humbly, Premier, you flatter me!

    He sneaked a peek and saw that besides the 3 tables at the top level, there are 2 other tables each on the left and right side of the hall and next to each table stood 2 palace maids. He heaved a sigh of relief as he need not handle so many people and was naturally a lot more relaxed.

    Lu Buwei did not put on the airs of a Premier at all as his left and right hand grabbed theirs and pulled them towards the table on the right at the top level as he said quietly in Xiang Shaolongs ears, I was just worrying that I have the army but no general and its good that Shaolong is here, I no longer have to worry I wont accomplish great things. And he chortled.

    Wu Yingyuan who was on the other side said happily, We will have to depend on Premier to promote us.

    However Xiang Shaolong is secretly lamenting. Man have feelings and with Lu Buwei having such high regard for him, how will he be able to extract himself from all these and retire to a life in the farm?

    At this time 3 people came to their table and Lu Buwei waved his hand and dismissed the maids first before saying in a low voice, I have already arranged with his Majesty to let Shaolong become the Vice-General to General Meng Ao. General Meng is originally from the state of Qi but has always been ostracized by the local generals ever since he came to Qin. He was depressed that he was unable to use his abilities. In fact his military strategies are something no one in Qin can compare with and if he has Shaolongs help and make great military contributions, I will certainly reward both of you well.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that Lu Buwei is formidable to use such a method to pull him over to his side, direct and forceful, how can anyone not work for him wholeheartedly. He pretended to be touched before saying, Premier regards Shaolong so highly, I am willing to die for you with no hesitation at all. The problem is Shaolongs greatest enemy Zhao Mu is still living. As long as I am unable to tear that fiend to pieces, its difficult for me to put my mind on other matters.

    Lu Buwei grabbed his arm tightly as his eyes flashed and said, I cant wait to skin him and break his bones as well. Shaolong just go ahead and do whatever you want, I will support you in everything. After you get his head, remember to bring it back to Xianyang so that his Majesty and I can have a look at it!

    Its only now that Xiang Shaolong fully have a taste of Lu Buweis formidability. No wonder he can become the Right Premier of the strongest state in the world although he is only a merchant.

    Also, he could deduce with just those few words he said that he was planning to sneak back into Handan to assassinate Zhao Mu. From this it can be seen how quickly and astutely his mind works.

    The Door Official cried out, General Meng Ao arrives!

    Xiang Shaolong almost wanted to blurt out, To speak of Cao Cao and here he comes.*, luckily he remembered that Cao Cao has not been born yet and hurriedly kept his words.

    (*Chinese idiom similar meaning to speak of the devil)

    Lu Buwei turned around and said with a loud laugh, What can be happier than meeting an old friend?

    Xiang Shaolong and Wu Yingyuan looked towards the front door and saw a tall and skinny man dressed in brocade robes and striding into the hall with big steps, bowing with respect from far away as he said, Meng Ao pays his respect to Premier Lu!

    With his unique way of walking, Lu Buwei stepped forward and put his arms around Meng Ao warmly and walked towards Wu and Xiang.

    This Meng Ao has a longish face, about 40 odd years old, tanned with a weather beaten face. His brows looked as if they are frequently furrowed but his eyes are alert, which gives others the feeling that he is extraordinary. His body is very healthy and nimble, obviously he could maintain this top form due to the amount of exercise he gets.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that Lu Buwei has an eye for talent, therefore this Meng Ao is definitely a man of ability.

    Meng Ao and Wu Yingyuan are already acquainted with each other and after exchanging greetings, his sharp eyes landed on Xiang Shaolongs face.

    Xiang Shaolong did not want to exchange looks with him so he hurriedly bowed to show his respect.

    Lu Buwei introduced the both of them.

    Meng Ao obviously doesnt really know how to socialize, his tense face has no smile at all as he said a little stiffly, Glad to meet you!

    Wu Yingyuan laughed, That lad Jing Jun has just been here for a few days but has already made friends with General Meng Aos sons and they have been going to the outskirts to hunt and have fun!

    Lu Buwei complimented, That lad is indeed skilled. Hes only been in Xianyang for such a short time but he has already defeated 3 famous local swordsmen. However he concedes to no one except Shaolong, making all of us itch to witness Shaolongs ultimate swordplay.

    Only now did Xiang Shaolong realize that Jing Jun has been doing all these things and he doesnt know whether to be happy or worried. It seems that for the time being he has no choice but to stand on Lu Buweis side.

    Meng Ao heard his sons being mentioned and revealed a trace of a rare smile and said, Lets see when Shaolong is free, please come to my house. Xiaowu and Xiaotian both idolize Shaolong a lot!

    Before Xiang Shaolong has a chance to answer, the Door Official cried out again, Left Premier Lord Yangquan, Great General Wang He arrives!

    Meng Aos smile immediately disappeared while Lu Buwei gave a cold snort. It seems that the battle between the new and old, outsiders and locals have reached a stage when they dont even try to appear cordial.

    Xiang Shaolong looked towards the main door and saw a short, fat man wearing a grand robe together with a big and stout man wearing battle robes walking over with large steps and heads held high.

    The Qins style is really different from the Zhaos. There are no family warriors surrounding them or a band welcoming them. Everything is simpler and this made Xiang Shaolong more relaxed.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly found it funny that both Lu Buwei the Right Premier and Lord Yangquan the Left Premier brought with them a general to the feast and this is obviously not a coincidence but an arrangement by the King of Qin to ensure that the power on both sides are balanced.

    But this Wang He is an important pillar in Qin while Meng Ao is an unsuccessful general. Obviously Lu Buwei has not gotten the support of the Qin military and this can be his fatal weakness, which is why he is trying so hard to get Xiang Shaolong on his side. Otherwise this materialistic merchant will not be bothered to take even a look at him.

    Lord Yangquan and Wang Hes gaze fell onto Xiang Shaolong.

    Xiang Shaolong and Wu Yingyuan hurriedly bowed to show their respect.

    Wang He is very magnanimous and smiled in return.

    Lord Yangquan looked proud and nodded slightly as he squinted his evil looking eyes surrounded by flesh and said with as cold laugh, How many days have Commander Xiang been here! If I did not come and attend this feast today, Im afraid I still want be able to see you in your glory!

    These words were obviously blaming Xiang Shaolong for not visiting an important person like him after he arrived in Xianyang.

    Wu Yingyuan was secretly cursing but on the surface he smiled and said, My foolish son-in-law arrived only yesterday and I hope Lord Yangquan can be magnanimous about his lapse and not take it to heart.

    Xiang Shaolong was relieved instead. This Lord Yangquns moods are reflected so clearly on his face and he is quite ordinary, definitely not Lu Buweis match. Instead it is Wang He who is more formidable.

    Dang!

    A sound was heard.

    18 stout and broad warriors with long spears came into the hall from the back hall in neat lines and stood on both sides.

    Next, sounds of close footsteps coming down the stairs could be heard from behind the hall.

    Xiang Shaolong then realized that King Zhuangxiang had been in the hall upstairs all along and only came down to host the feast when he was informed that all the guests have arrived.

    At the same time he guessed that Lu Buwei was upstairs earlier in a secret discussion with King Zhuangxiang and from this one can see how close their relationship is.

    Everyone split into 2 sides and knelt to welcome the arrival of King Zhuangxiang.

    Firstly 4 guards with serious expressions stepped out, followed by 8 pretty young palace maids. They are dressed mainly in purple, with red and blue sleeves, which looked a little dowdy as compared to the embroidered and grand dresses of the palace maids in Zhao and Wei.

    They were split into 2 groups, with 2 men and 4 women in each group, standing in 2 straight lines looking very serious.

    The sounds of accessories clanking could be heard.

    A pretty lady with the bearing of royalty and wearing long robes holding the hand of a splendidly dressed child about 10 years of age walked in slowly.

    Xiaong Shaolong peeked and thought that it was Zhu Ji and Xiao Pan but upon close look, he realized his mistake.

    At this time the servant cried out, Lady Xiuli, Prince Cheng Chongqiao arrives!

    Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, so this is the prince that Lord Yangquan is supporting. That ladys beauty is extraordinary, she should be a concubine that King Zhuangxiang appointed after his return to Qin from Handan. For her and her son to be able to attend this feast, it means that she has the ability to vie with Zhu Ji and Xiao Pan. Obviously King Zhuangxiang is smitten with her too, otherwise she would have been banished to the cold palace.

    The sounds of accessories can be heard again and Xiang Shaolongs eyes brightened immediately.

    Zhu Ji was in a short dress with gold embroidered floral patterns which dazzled, with another floor length long dress beneath. Together with her coiffed hair, she walked lightly like a willow tree swaying in the breeze, showing off her slender waist, lush bottom and natural allure. Immediately she wins that Lady Xiuli hands down.

    With one hand holding her dress and the other holding Xiao Pan, who is dressed mainly in black, she looked especially enchanting.

    Xiang Shaolong remembered how he had once held her under the bedcovers and talked, that was another experience altogether. He lowered his head to avoid eye contact with her.

    The servant announced, Empress Ji, Crown Prince Zheng arrives.

    2 pairs of mother and son came to the side of the tables and knelt down to await the arrival of King Zhuangxiang.

    Xiao Pans eyes did not shift, not even taking a single look at Xiang Shaolong at all.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly complimented him. He had in the past instructed Xiao Pan not to treat him any differently, otherwise it may arouse the suspicions of Zhu Ji or other people.

    The 4 guards cried out in unison, His Majesty arrives!

    Xiang Shaolong dared not peek any longer and can only try to imagine what he could have looked like.

    A gentle, melodious and calm voice rang out in front, Everyone, rise!

    Everyone cried out in unison, Thank you, Your Majesty!

    Xiang Shaolong rose together with everyone else and lifted his head for a look, and coincidentally came eye to eye with King Zhuangxiang who was observing him.

    This King of Qin who was once held hostage in Handan is about 40 years old, tall and thin, and seems to look a little like a Taoist. His skin is as fair as a lady, his face pale but has a rare scholarly charisma with long, slender fingers. He gives others a feeling that he is from a good family background with the air of someone from a large family. A pity that his eyes doesnt seem alert enough, otherwise he would have outstanding magnetism.

    He was wearing a long square board on the top of his head that made him look even more impressive as a ruler.

    Naturally he was wearing a rulers robes, with a black base and yellow patterns with gold edges, looking solemn and grand.

    He saw that Xiang Shaolong is far better than other people in terms of body size and spirit, King Zhuangxiangs eyes lit up and the corners of his lips revealed a trace of a gentle smile as he said softly, Only an extraordinary person can accomplish extraordinary things. Shaolong, you have not disappointed me.

    Xiang Shaolong did not expect King Zhuangxiang to address him directly by his name and in such a friendly tone as well, and he hurriedly expressed his thanks.

    King Zhuangxiangs eyes fell on Wu Yingyuan and he said gently, To have such a son-in-law, what more can Mister Wu ask for. It is predictable that the Wu family will have great glory in future because of Shaolong.

    Wu Yingyuan expressed his thanks happily.

    Lord Yangquan and Wang He exchanged a look, both can see the unhappiness in the others eyes.

    King Zhuangxiang looked at everyone and said calmly, Everyone be seated!

    The drum sounded again.

    Another 18 guards walked out from inside and together with the previous guards, formed into teams of 9 and they went to their positions behind the tables and stood guard.

    Everyone went to stand next to the tables and waited for King Zhuangxiang to be seated, the guards to take their positions and Ladies Xiuli, Zhu Ji and their sons were seated before they dared to sit down.

    On the 2 tables on the right, at the upper level, was where Lu Buwei and Xiang Shaolong was seated, followed by Meng Ao and Wu Yingyuan; on the other side it was entirely different with Lord Yangquan and Wang He each taking a table.

    Xiang Shaolong deliberately did not look at Zhu Ji and Xiao Pan to prevent King Zhuangxiang or the others from realizing that he has a special relationship with the mother and son. This is what is called, Rather be suspected than to prove suspicions correct.

    The palace maids were like butterflies flitting amongst flowers as the served the guests wine and delicacies.

    King Zhuangxiang said, Now that Empress Ji and Crown Prince Zheng has returned to Xianyang safely, I no longer have any worries. Let us have a toast!

    Everyone raised their cups but Lady Xiuli, Lord Yangquan and Wang Hes expressions naturally looked a little uneasy.

    King Zhuangxiangs eyes landed on where Zhu Ji and Xiao Pan were seated and his gaze became even more gentle and with his melodious voice full of feelings, he said, My Prince Zheng, Shaolong is your benefactor, arent you offering a toast to Mister Xiang!

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but be charmed by him and he truly felt that his success is not based on luck. King Zhuangxiang was acknowledged by Lu Buwei as a rare treasure while he was down and out and later he was able to move Lady Huayang, who was King Zhaoxiangs favorite then, and she made him her son. In the end he won and became the successor to the throne and all these can be accomplished because of his unique charm. Otherwise, no matter how much money Lu Buwei spends on bribing, it would just be a waste of effort.

    Xiao Pan stood up on hearing that and walked to Xiang Shaolongs table.

    Its only at this time that the 2 of them had the opportunity to meet eye to eye.

    Xiao Pans eyes reddened immediately, feel of feelings, but luckily he quickly hid what he felt.

    Naturally palace maids came up to help pour the wine.

    Xiang Shaolong stood up, bowed respectfully with his hands held above his head as he received the fine wine Xiao Pan handed him and drank it in one gulp.

    Xiao Pan has grown more stout, his expression calm. When Xiang Shaolong thought of how he will grandly unite the world in future, he cant help but feel his heart tremble.

    The 2 of them went back to their respective seats.

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but take another look at Xiao Pan and realized Zhu Ji was looking at him with a smile, her eyes gentle and he was so shocked he quickly lowered his eyes.

    After chatting with everyone for a while, King Zhuangxiangs gaze settled on Xiang Shaolong again and he asked calmly, If we were to attack Handan, destroy Zhao and capture Zhao Mu alive, how much troops does Shaolong think will be needed?

    Zhu Ji and Xiao Pans eyes lit up at the same time.

    Lord Yangquan and Wang He listened intently, waiting to hear his response.

    Lu Buwei laughed loudly and said, Shaolong be brave and speak your mind!

    Xiang Shaolong smiled a little and replied, With the current situation, well only need 20,000 men to attack Handan but to destroy Zhao, even if everyone in Qin were put to work, its still impossible.

    Everyone was shocked.

    Lord Yangquan said with a cold laugh, Its only been a short time that Commander Xiang is exposed to military warfare, thats why he expressed such ignorant comments. Would Great General Wang explain these to Commander Xiang so that he wont continue with his wrong understanding unknowingly.

    He still insisted on addressing him as Commander to remind others that he is just an insignificant and lowly ranked commander, and also to show that he still regards him as an outsider.

    King Zhuangxiang and Lu Buweis expressions were initially unhappy upon hearing Xiang Shaolongs words, then they thought deeper into it.

    Zhu Ji on the other hand was smiling slightly, full of confidence in Xiang Shaolong.

    Whereas Wu Yingyuan kept making eyes at Xiang Shaolong, hoping that hell be careful in his words.

    Meng Aos eyes lit up, obviously he understood the meaning behind Xiang Shaolongs words.

    Xiang Shaolong looked at Wang He calmly, his eyes shining intensely.

    Wang He felt his heart turn cold upon his gaze and became more cautious as he said, Id like to ask Mister Xiang to explain why he would have such a stand.

    Once he said that, King Zhuangxiang, Lu Buwei, Wu Yingyuan and Lord Yangquan, these 4 men who has no knowledge of military affairs immediately knew that Xiang Shaolong was not speaking nonsense, otherwise Wang He would not show such hesitation.

    Xiang Shaolong smiled calmly and said, After Changping, Zhao indeed suffered great damage and not only was military morale affected, it also greatly affected the confidence of the royalty and officials in the country. But its exactly because of this attitude that developed the determination of everyone to defend against the enemy to the death. The defeat of the Yans is proof of that. My suggestion of using 20,000 men to attack Handan is to make use of the opportunity that our Wu family had just evacuated from Zhao and all the beasts in the farms had been poisoned and died. The Zhaos, in this aspect, will be at a loss for now and adding on to the fact that their morale has been beaten, I have the confidence of winning. But this must be a quick battle and take the opportunity that Li Mu and Lian Po are still engaged with the Xiong Nus and Yans so they will be unable to extricate themselves for the time being. We will attack the city and then retreat, for that place is not suitable for a long stay.

    He continued somberly, If were just going to attack the city, we need only 10,000 men but if we want a quick battle with minimal casualties, we will definitely need 20,000 men.

    Wang He was stunned for a moment before saying with a sign, What Mister Xiang has said is not without reason.

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but like him even more, because he is not someone who will lie thru his teeth.

    Meng Ao said solemnly, I totally agree with Shaolongs words.

    Lord Yangquan was so furious that his face was alternating between being fiery red and deathly pale and after exchanging glances with Lady Xiuli, he was at a loss for words.

    Zhu Ji laughed delicately and addressed King Zhuangxiang with a flirtatious look, Your Majesty! I didnt recommend the wrong person! Its the first time the Great General and General Meng shares the same agreement on any matter!

    Once she said that, both Wang He and Meng Ao started feeling embarrassed.

    Xiao Pan looked at Xiang Shaolong, feelings of admiration and longing welled up in him.

    King Zhuangxiang took a look at Lu Buwei first before he continued smoothly, Then can Shaolong explain why you said that we will not be able to destroy Zhao even if we use all out resources?

    Wu Yingyuan is the most nervous now. If Xiang Shaolong cannot convince the King of Qin on this matter, that whatever little advantage they gained earlier would be gone as well.

    Xiang Shaolong explained, Although it is said the most important thing in a war is the countrys strength and military power, but relationships with external parties and information is equally important. As the saying goes, the battle is won if one knows the enemy as well as one knows oneself.

    Lord Yangquan interrupted, The Great Qin has never overlooked these 2 aspects. The late King appointed Zhang Yi as Premier and this took care of external relationships and destroyed the unification plans of the 6 states. As for information, we send spies regularly to the various states and have never slackened in this area.

    Xiang Shaolong is beginning to despise this senior statesman and asked impolitely, Can I ask you then, if we were to attack Zhao with all our military resources, what will the reaction of the other states be?

    Lord Yangquan was dumbfounded, because if he does not have the support of actual information, how is he able to answer such a hypothetical question.

    Lu Buwei patted Xiang Shaolongs thigh beneath the table to show his happiness that he has managed to put Lord Yangquan down.

    Wang He is after all on the same boat as Lord Yangquan so he said, Indeed this matter cannot be rushed. Lets not talk about Qi and Chu for now, but the other 3 states depend on one another for survival and they will certainly unite and fight against us. Any single one of the states do not have the strength to fight against our Great Qins thousands of men but if they were to join forces, itll be a different matter altogether.

    By saying this, not only has he helped to intercede for Lord Yangquan, it also meant that he has affirmed Xiang Shaolongs explanation.

    Xiang Shaolong did not allow them to have a chance to take a break and hurriedly added, If Zhao is under attack, the other states will not just sit and watch. Even if at the beginning they have the intention viewing the fight of 2 tigers while sitting on a mountain, waiting to sweep in once both sides are injured, but once the Zhaos close their Pass to defend themselves from inside and at the same time send troops to cut off our reinforcements paths, the other states will send troops to help sooner or later. By then we will be surrounded by enemies and the situation is not optimistic.

    King Zhuangxiang slapped the table and exclaimed, What a good description viewing the fight of 2 tigers while sitting on a mountain, its the first time Ive heard of such an interesting verse.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly thought to himself, could it be that this verse has not been used during this era yet? After thanking King Zhuangxiang for his compliment, he continued, Besides, Lord Xinling of Wei is still around and he can influence the other states. If they join forces again, well be in even greater danger.

    Everyone went silent. 8 years ago, Lord Xinling from Wei, together with the troops from the other states, defeated the Qin army badly at Handan. Everyone still remembered the events as if it just happened and were apprehensive.

    King Zhuangxiang sighed, Then would it mean that well just let the fiend Zhao Mu go off scot-free?

    Just with that sentence, he knows that King Zhuangxiang does not have the grand ambition of unifying the world, or else he would have said how do we conquer the 6 states? instead.

    Xiang Shaolong replied with a straight face, If the intention is just to capture Zhao Mu, your Majesty need not use a single soldier at all, just leave it all to me.

    Everyone was stunned.

    King Zhuangxiangs spirits rose as he asked, Is this a boast?

    Xiang Shaolong replied, Not a boast at all. I only need half a year to gather information, then I can set off and capture Zhao Mu back alive and kicking to your Majesty and you can do anything you want with him. But most importantly this must be kept a secret, otherwise Im afraid I wont be able to come back alive.

    King Zhuangxiang slapped the table and cried out, Whoever dares to reveal this matter will be executed immediately with no excuse!

    At the same time Lu Buwei sighed next to Xiang Shaolongs ears, How can you say that out?

    Xiang Shaolong knows that hes worried that Lord Yangquan will try to harm him and he put his hand under the table and wrote on his thigh the word fake. Lu Buwei immediately understood his meaning and looked at him with admiration and approval.

    Lord Yangquan lowered his head so that others will not be able to see his happy expression.

    Zhu Ji laughed coquettishly and teased King Zhuangxiang, Zhao Mu alive and kicking, Shaolong really has some interesting phrases. Is your Majesty still in doubt about my suggestion earlier?

    Once everyone heard that, they knew immediately theres more to this.

    Indeed King Zhuangxiang chortled, I am extremely happy to have this conversation with Shaolong. If we can capture Zhao Mu alive to appease the anger in my heart, hell definitely be handsomely rewarded. From now on, Shaolong will be my guest as well as the Crown Princes Grand Tutor, to teach Zhenger martial arts and the art of war.

    Lu Buwei was ecstatic and hurriedly raised his cup to congratulate Xiang Shaolong.

    The Crown Prince is the successor to the throne and if one can become his Teacher, when the Crown Prince ascends the throne in future, he will be able to exert the most direct influence. Therefore this is not a minor official post and everyone is eyeing this position.

    Lord Yangquan walked out from behind his table and knelt on the floor, beseeching, Your Majesty, please reconsider. Our Great Qin has been established for hundreds of years and are famed for our fighting ability. All those Grand Tutors who are fit to teach the Crown Princes are the best swordsmen in the country and never has an outsider taken this position. Besides, Commander Xiang firstly has not made any military contribution and secondly we do not know if his swordplay is really as good as rumored. Why dont your Majesty decide again after Commander Xiang captures Zhao Mu back!

    His words can be considered reasonable, so obviously this person still has some brains but King Zhuangxiang is not listening at all and said unhappily, How can I possibly judge a person wrongly. Well just do it this way, there is no need for Left Premier to speak any further,

    Wang He cant help but step out as well and knelt down, Your Majesty must reconsider, otherwise Im afraid others will not agree in their hearts.

    Once this great general speaks, its akin to the military in Qin voicing out their objections and although King Zhuangxiang was furious, he cant help but hesitate.

    On seeing this, Xiang Shaolong knelt and said, What Left Premier and Great General said is not unreasonable. Your Majesty, please retract your orders. Lets see if I can capture Zhao Mu first before you decide.

    Wu Yingyuan and Zhu Ji secretly thought its a great pity, and Zhu Ji was secretly lamenting that her chances of getting in touch with Xiang Shaolong has now been reduced.

    Whereas Xiao Pan almost felt like giving Lord Yangquan a good beating.

    King Zhuangxiang sighed and said, Officials, please rise.

    Lord Yangquan and Wang He knows that he has changed his mind and went back to their tables happily.

    Xiang Shaolong walked back to his table calmly.

    Wang He saw that he did not seem at all bothered and cant help but feel curious.

    Before King Zhuangxiang could speak, Lu Buwei laughed loudly and drew everyones attention to him.

    Lu Buwei said seriously, How can the position of Crown Princes Grand Tutor be left empty for more than half a year. Regarding military knowledge, Shaolong has shown his remarkable observations and in both Zhao and Wei, Shaolong managed to overcome enemy troops with a smaller number of men. He also executed Xiao Weimou and his famed has spread throughout the land. As long as Lord Yangquan and Great General invite who they think is the greatest swordsman in our country to have a duel at a later date in front of his Majesty, well be able to see immediately who is better.

    King Zhuangxiang was overjoyed, Well do it this way! All right, let us drink and be merry.

    He clapped his hands and a group of dancers floated into the hall immediately to sing and dance but they could not dispel the tense atmosphere hanging in the air.

    Both sides were getting ready to make the other side fall badly.

    Xiang Shaolong laughed bitterly to himself, knowing that he is now embroiled in the Qin courts power struggle.

    Maybe this is what they refer to as, having no choice when one is out in the martial arts realm.

  20. #60
    Senior Member kohchun's Avatar
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    Book 6 Chap 3 News from afar

    The following 10 days, Xiang Shaolong spent the most relaxing time ever since he arrived in this ancient era.

    Together with his wives and maids, Teng Yi, Jing Jun, Wu Zhuo and the thousand family warriors who followed him from Handan, they went to the Wu familys newly established farm at the outskirts to rest and relax.

    The farm is very big and on a fast horse it takes at least 2 hours to ride from one end to the other and it has 18 simple but well equipped houses. They chose a courtyard next to a pretty valley and named it Hidden Dragon Courtyard.

    Every morning when they wake up, he will ride with his wives and maids on the open plains and at the same time practice his archery. He also got the 3 highly skilled fighters Teng Yi, Wu Zhuo and Jing Jun to duel with him and practice the use of various weapons as a warm up practice for the duel with that still unknown person whom Lord Yangquan and the rest are going to choose.

    The Elite Soldiers have expanded to 300 men from the original 77 men and they practice day and night to prepare themselves so that they can be chosen to return to Handan in future to capture Zhao Mu alive.

    With a real special task force warrior like Xiang Shaolong heading the unit, this batch of people improved by leaps and bounds and learnt the various spying and tactics used once they have infiltrated the enemy camp.

    There are a lot of people in the Wu family and some of them are craftsmen who know how to work with metal. Following Xiang Shaolongs instructions, Wu Zhuo set up a workshop for the blacksmiths and they made secret weapons like climbing hooks and flying needles according to his designs.

    Xiang Shaolong also did not forget to meditate according to the instructions on the scroll taken from the Mohist token. Teng Yi was very interested after he found out about this and learnt the technique from him and he practices it with greater effect than Xiang Shaolong.

    Xiang Shaolong might as well just give him the scroll so that he can study the military and sword fighting techniques on the scroll on his own. Their relationship is now even closer than real brothers.

    Just as they were enjoying the bliss, Tao Fang came.

    Everyone gathered in the hall for a meeting.

    Tao Fang exclaimed excitedly, Theres news from Handan and its really exciting. But he did not immediately continue with his story.

    When everyone saw him trying to keep them in suspense, they were so anxious. The only exception was Teng Yi who remained unmoving and calm as usual.

    Tao Fang said with a laugh, Let me tell you one issue at a time! This time the person who was most affected by us is Zhao Mu. Only when the Zhaos found our secret tunnel that led to outside the city did they realize they have been tricked. Later then received news that the real Ying Zheng has reached Xianyang and King Xiaocheng was so upset he fell sick and also gave Zhao Mu a terrible scolding, refusing to see him for one whole month. Their relationship only improved a little recently but Zhao Mus influence is not as before. Instead that Guo Kai must have said something and managed to trick that muddle headed King Xiaocheng into trusting him.

    Xiang Shaolong cant help but ask, How is Zhao Yas situation?

    Tao Fang knows that he has not forgotten this capricious beauty and said with a sigh, She fell very ill as well. That Qi Yu still wanted to look for her but she chased him out of her residence and many people saw that!

    Wu Zhuo asked in bewilderment, The King of Zhao did not blame her at all?

    Tao Fang said with a sigh, It seems that she had once tried very hard to persuade the King of Zhao not to deal with Shaolong so now the muddle headed ruler is now feeling a little regret over that and she is so seriously ill as well. It could be due to these reasons that Zhao Yas standing is not very much affected. Now everyone in Handan is fearful, worried that we will lead the Qin army to attack Zhao. Recently King Xiaocheng has sent envoys to the various states hoping to join forces with them to deal with the Qins invasion. What a joyous outcome.

    Teng Yi asked, Whats the fate of the fake Ying Zheng?

    Tao Fang shook his head and sighed, Executed by Zhao Mu. He was so furious and he can only take it out on this innocent and pitiful person.

    Although Xiang Shaolong felt a little sad about this, but its something that cannot be helped.

    Tao Fang suddenly reached out and put his hand on Xiang Shaolongs shoulder and said quietly, Let me tell you something but you must not get angry.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned and asked, Whats the matter?

    A strange look passed over Tao Fangs eyes as he said solemnly, Theres news of Mei Canniang.

    Xiang Shaolongs expression changed as he asked, Shes dead?

    Tao Fang shook his head, No! She married to another village nearby and even has a son now. Her husband is quite a famous hunter and it seems that hes quite in love with her.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned for a moment, and felt more relaxed instead. He thought of their parting and maybe at that time Mei Canniang has already made up her mind not to leave that peaceful place. Thats good too! Most importantly she has found someone good.

    Jing Jun went to stand next to Tao Fang and whispered, Did you send my letter to Zhao Zhi?

    Teng Yi was shocked and exclaimed, Did you reveal in your letter that we will be returning to Handan?

    Teng Yi was startled and replied, Of course not, how can I not know the severity of this matter.

    Tao Fang took out a letter and pressed it into Jing Juns hands and said with a laugh, It seems that Zhao Zhi is a little interested in you!

    Jing Jun exclaimed with joy, turned 3 somersaults and dashed off in a rush, causing everyone else to laugh at him.

    Tao Fang saw that even after hearing the news about Mei Canniang, Xiang Shaolong still remained calm so he was assured and continued, The man we sent to Daliang has returned with news, it seems that Learned Lady Ji has gone to the state of Chu.

    Xiang Shaolong was stunned, Oh no! She must be going to Handan to look for me.

    At the same time everyone understood his meaning. Naturally Learned Lady Ji cannot go directly to Zhao to look for him so she can only go to Chu first and then travel to Handan via Qi.

    In ancient times communications is not very convenient and most likely Ji Yanran is still unaware of what has happened in Handan.

    However Xiang Shaolong could not think straight due to his concern and said with determination, Well go to Handan immediately!

    Tao Fang replied, We have to at least wait until the day after. The Qins have already selected a person to fight with you for the position of the Crown Princes Grand Tutor and the duel is set for the day after in front of his Majesty. Anyone who has some status will be there to watch the duel.

    Wu Zhuo asked, Who is that person?

    Tao Fang replied, I think hes called Wang Jian!

    Xiang Shaolong was greatly stunned and thought how can there be such a coincidence.

    Xiang Shaolong sat alone to think next to a tiny waterfall near the farm.

    In this Warring States era, there is indeed paradise everywhere, just like the rare scenery right before his eyes. The mountain peaks standing in line, strange and unique rocks, clear water flowing in between, waterfalls and ponds and the moving water reflecting the rays of the sun. One can never grow tired of seeing this scenery.

    He sat next to a pond, listening to the musical sounds of the waterfall falling into the clear pond, looking at the lush green bamboo trees next to the bank waving in the wind. The scene is filled with the sense of spring, life and growth and he cant help but feel energized.

    But once his attention turned to the duel the day after, hes filled with gloom again.

    No matter which one of them wins, hes afraid therell be a problem.

    The problem is whether he can change history.

    If the answer is no, he can then not bother himself with anything and retire to the woods happily, enjoying life with his wives and maids everyday and Xiao Pan will naturally become the first Emperor of China.

    The frustration is that he cannot be sure.

    If he wins Wang Jian, will the other party still become a key official in unifying the 6 states in future?

    This is really a test to his brains.

    But he cannot lose as well, otherwise the Wu family warriors will be badly affected and itll also be a great blow to Xiao Pan and even his trip to Handan may be affected as well.

    Just as he was feeling troubled, the sweet laughter of young girls can be heard.

    Hidden amongst the trees, the 2 pretty maids Cuitong and Cuilu, each carrying 2 small wooden pails, came to fetch water. They were talking and laughing softly and did not notice the presence of Xiang Shaolong.

    The 2 girls came to the side of the pond and put down their small pails.

    Cuitong sat down on a rock while Cuilu took off her shoes, revealing her pretty naked feet and stepped into the water. She was relaxed and occasionally let out a tinkling laugh.

    Xiang Shaolong remembered how he flirted and had fun with Mei Canniang at the lake in the valley and a wave of emotions came over him.

    Cuitong suddenly asked, Has Young Master hugged you before?

    Cuilu giggled and asked her back, What about you?

    Cuitong blushed and nodded her head. She looked bothered as she said, Hai! He just lightly put his hand around my waist and kissed my face, thats all.

    Cuilu laughed, Our little lass is in love.

    Cuitong said angrily, Youre not much better than me, you were calling out for Young Master last night in your dreams.

    Cuilu cried out with embarrassment, Dont say anymore!

    Looking at the 2 girls, the troubled Xiang Shaolong cant help but feel his heart lurch and stood up from where he was hidden.

    The 2 girls suddenly saw that theres a person and turned their heads around. When they saw it was Xiang Shaolong, they were initially shocked, which quickly turned to embarrassment as they blushed, not knowing where to hide themselves.

    Xiang Shaolong was afraid theyll run away out of embarrassment and quickly moved to their sides and grabbed their soft hands.

    The 2 girls bodies went soft immediately as they collapsed onto the ground next to the pond and refused to get up, their heads bowed so low that it seems theyre trying to hide them in their bosoms.

    Xiang Shaolongs lust was ignited on seeing this and asked with a laugh, You refuse to move? Then we can just have fun here in this pond.

    The 2 girls were greatly shocked and cried out in unison, No! Well be seen.

    Xiang Shaolong threatened them, You dont want to be seen? Then come with me obediently!

    The 2 girls stood up helplessly, filled with embarrassment and joy.

    Xiang Shaolong pulled the 2 girls along, stepping on the uneven rocks as they walked along the river upstream and after a short wile came to a small pond at the highest level. It offered them a birds eye view of the pretty scenery down the valley.

    He told the 2 girls to sit down next to him and with his arms around their shoulders, they admired this fairy-tale like scenery.

    The 2 girls cant help but lean towards his embrace, their fragrance intoxicating him.

    Is civilization a good thing or a bad thing?

    Man is caught in his own trap by the technology 2000 years later by constantly spoiling this beautiful nature. If anyone could have come to his era like he has, they will certainly be filled with regret that nature has changed so much.

    Cuitong asked quietly, Has Young Master been sitting there all this while earlier?

    Xiang Shaolong replied mischievously, I was sleeping and didnt hear anything about a light hug, kissing faces or someone talking in their dreams last night.

    The 2 girls were immediately shamefaced and groaned as they buried their pretty faces in his arms.

    Xiang Shaolong was secretly commending that men in this era is really fortunate as his hands caressed their soft cheeks, massaging them gently.

    The 2 girls were trembling under his touch as their breathing quickened.

    At this point in time, there is no need for words.

    Xiang Shaolong lowered his head and as if looking for a treasure, searched for Cuitongs fragrant lips and he kissed her hard.

    Whereas his other hand started his invasion towards Cuilu.

    Cuilu has no defense against his expert caresses and teasing so she moaned in protest, Young Master!

    By now the sun is slowly setting and a white cloud happened to float across and became a bright red fireball hanging in the sky under the reflection of the setting bright sun.

    Xiang Shaolong left Cuitongs fragrant lips and this pretty young girl who was aroused gave a soft moan and turned around to hug his strong waist.

    He lowered his head towards the blushing Cuilu whom he was caressing. This pretty girl was sneaking peeks at him and on seeing his direct gaze she became totally embarrassed. That captivating look made Xiang Shaolong unable to control himself and he asked with a laugh, With the grass as our bed and the sky as our blanket, will the 2 elder sisters object?

    The 2 girls were moaning so much that they couldnt speak.

    That night Xiang Shaolong thoroughly enjoyed himself but even when he was being captivated, images of Ji Yanran, Mei Canniang and even Zhao Ya flashed through his mind.

    The women all knew that he will soon be leaving for Zhao and in their sadness, they tried even harder to make him happy, unable to bear the parting with him.

    Time seems to past especially fast under such situations and they left this pretty little valley 2 days later to return to Xianyang City. With the exception of Jing Jun, Teng Yi and Wu Zhuo both stayed behind to continue the training of the elite troops.

    They have just reached the Wu residence and Wu Yingyuan has already dragged him aside, saying seriously, Tu Xian has done a check on that Wang Jian. It seems that not only is this persons swordsmanship is the best in Qin, he is most formidable in horse riding and archery. He can fire 3 arrows consecutively and he uses an iron bow with copper string. No man or beast within 500 steps can escape.

    He thought of that irritating Lian Jin, whose archery skills may not even be better than this persons, Xiang Shaolong cant help but feel his head grow numb as he asked, How old is this person?

    Obviously Wu Yingyuan is worried for him and said with a sigh, He should be around 20 this year and it seems that he has quite gentle and scholarly features. No one would be able to guess from his looks that he is so formidable.

    He continued somberly, Tu Xian found out that Lord Yangquan and Wang He have already decided long ago that he will duel with you but they dragged it for so many days so that he can make use of this time to practice harder. These people are up to no good and knows that you have been separated from your wives for so long, youll certainly expand a lot of energy between the sheets. To think that they can even think of that. Even Premier Lu is very worried now!

    Xiang Shaolong remembered his amorous night and felt guilty and at the same time thought that he is indeed belittling his enemy.

    Wu Yingyuan tapped his shoulder and said, Try to conserve your energy as much as possible. I will explain to Fanger.

    Xiang Shaolong returned to Hidden Dragon Abode and hid himself in the Solitude Room to meditate according to the Mohist instructions and in no time he was deep in meditation, forgetting about everything else.

    Kok! Kok!

    The sound of the door being knocked woke Xiang Shaolong up abruptly.

    Xiang Shaolong hurriedly opened the door only to see Wu Tingfangs looking distressed and stammering, Xiao Jun has been beaten up and hes quite seriously injured!

    Xiang Shaolong was shocked and hurriedly made his way to the main building. Wu Yingyuan and Tao Fang were all there as well as the 2 Wu familys resident physicians who were helping to stop the bleeding and bandaging Jing Jun.

    Xiang Shaolong squeezed his way to Jing Jun and after instructing everyone else to stand back, he began to inspect his injury.

    He has at least 7 to 8 stab wounds and the most serious was the one on his left chest, which almost pierced his heart. The other injuries may look scary but theyre all superficial woulds. However, 2 of the stab wounds were so deep that his bones can be seen and his flesh and skin is opened wide, looking extremely frightening.

    Jing Jun lost too much blood and is now in a semi-conscious state, his face contorting in severe pain occasionally.

    Although Xiang Shaolong was upset, he knows that he should be able to survive this. He retreated to stand between Wu Yingyuan and Tao Fang and asked, Who did this!

    Wu Yingyuan replied, Weve already informed Tu Xian, they will send someone to investigate. Luckily this lad has a strong constitution. Hes so seriously injured yet he only collapsed after he dragged himself back. Hes really formidable.

    Tao Fang said, These people are obviously after his life.

    The guard was heard calling out, Premier Lu arrives!

    Everyone did not expect Lu Buwei to visit personally and they turned around in surprise to welcome him.

    Lu Buwei walked in under the escort of a dozen odd bodyguards and after taking a close look at Jing Juns injuries, he walked to one corner to speak with the 3 of them. He said seriously, This must be the ploy of Lord Yangquan and his men. They want to kill Xiao Jun so as to affect Shaolongs mind. Shaolong you must not be tricked.

    Xiang Shaolong said calmly, Obviously theyve underestimated Xiao Juns ability to escape. As soon as Xiao Jun wakes up, we will know who did this.

    Lu Buwei replied, No matter who did this, we will settle everything with our enemy after the duel with Wang Jian tomorrow. As long as Shaolong gets the title of Grand Tutor, I will give Shaolong all my support to help Xiao Jun claim this blood debt and let everyone know that Lu Buwei is not someone to be bullied.

    Xiang Shaolong is in a dilemma. He does not want to be on such close terms with Lu Buwei but it seems that if the situation were to continue developing like this, he will become Lu Buweis party sooner or later.

    This is not the problem. Hes most afraid that once everyone develop feelings for one another, itll be a headache in future.

    Jing Jun groaned and regained consciousness.

    Everyone rushed forward.

    Jing Jun only saw Xiang Shaolong and he exclaimed angrily, Big Brother! They were so vicious!

    Xiang Shaolong reached out to press his shoulder down, Dont move!

    Lu Buwei asked quietly, Who did this!

    Jing Jun calmed down a little and gritted his teeth in pain, saying, There were 20 odd people, I only recognize one of them as Scarface Guoxing.

    After Lu Buwei gave instructions for him to be carried to the room to tend to his injuries, his eyes gleamed murderously as he said, This Guoxing is quite famous in Xianyang and is one of the 3 main tutors in Weinan Martial Arts School. The principal Qiu Risheng is quite close with the military and has never given any respect to my men. Shaolong, help me kick that school down at a later date. I want the Qins to know that they wont have a good life if they offend me. How many people will you need? Just say it out.

    Xiang Shaolong secretly sighed and thought that he wants them to be his fighter and replied, This is just a small matter, we have enough resources to deal with this.

    Lu Buwei exclaimed happily, With Shaolong around, our entire situation is changed. If Lord Yangquan and his men were not afraid of Shaolong, they would not have resorted to such tricks.

    He paused and continued, I will come and meet up with you first tomorrow before we enter the Palace together. I am confident that Shaolong will not disappoint.

    Xiang Shaolong had a thought and he made some eye signals with Wu Yingyuan and Tao Fang first before saying, Let Shaolong send Premier Lu out!

    Wu and Tao understood his meaning and let him send Lu Buwei to his waiting carriage outside alone.

    Lu Buwei is an extremely astute man and he asked quietly, Is there something Shaolong wants to say?

    Xiang Shaolong just smiled without talking, until they came to the carriage before he said, Not a moment during the last 10 days have Shaolong not been thinking hard for Premier Lu and I think that its not a very good idea to continuously oppose the local Qin power. Maybe in the end both sides will be seriously wounded.

    Lu Buwei sighed, Congeniality should be the key to everything. Ive thought of this as well but the Qins have always been suspicious of outsiders and no one will believe that Im sincerely giving my best for the state of Qin.

    Xiang Shaolong said calmly, Since they joined forces because of mutual benefits, then we will split them up by luring them. For the hardcore people like Lord Yangquan or Weinan Martial Arts School, we will destroy them heartlessly and make use of the opportunity to stand our ground. But for people like Wang He who are not doing this for personal gains entirely, we can try to bribe him into joining our side.

    A strange light came over Lu Buweis eyes and after eyeing Xiang Shaolong intently, he nodded his head and said, Shaolong seems to have a plan, say it out quickly!

    Xiang Shaolong gave a short summary of his plan.

    After hearing it, Lu Buwei said, Naturally itll be good if this can be done but Im just afraid that if were not careful, things can become worse and lives will be sacrificed in vain.

    Xiang Shaolong said calmly, The Wu family is hugely indebted to Premier Lu, so whats the big deal even if I have to take some risk?

    Lu Buwei chortled and grasped Xiang Shaolongs shoulders tightly before leaving.

    Xiang Shaolong knows that he has gained Lu Buweis trust and he turned back to look for Jing Jun.

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