Pan Army Camp, continued from post #98
Yi Quan quickly pulled the bearded soldier behind him and eyed Zhou He, “Lord Zhou? Do you know of this soldier? Did he dare to offend you in some way? I will make sure he sees his deserved punishment.”
After the initial shock, Zhou He came to realize his surroundings. Lan Tianying and other soldiers were standing near him and could easily hear the conversation. It would be unwise to reveal the bearded soldier’s identity, as the punishment for impersonating a soldier is immediate execution. Hence, he replied, “Please don’t misunderstand. This soldier has helped me out once in Luoyang but I’ve never had the chance to thank him. I was just surprised to see him here.”
Yi Quan nodded, “I’m glad it is of nothing important. If Lord Zhou and Prince Ying doesn’t require me for anything, then I shall be off to take care of other things.” Without even bothering to acknowledge Lan Tianying, Yi Quan quickly turned and dragged the bearded soldier away.
“What happened to him? He seems to be in a hurry…” Prince Ying wondered aloud. It appears that he has not yet been able to recognize the bearded soldier as his mind was still too preoccupied with the upcoming battle and possible Donghai ambush.
Yi Quan quickly dragged the bearded soldier into his own tent and shut the entrance tightly.
“What are you doing here?” He asked in a low but forceful voice. He did not raise his voice as he was afraid those outside would overhear their conversation.
“I’m already here. Does it matter why I am here?” the bearded soldier replied.
Yi Quan rolled his eyes, “You think I don’t know why you’re here?”
The bearded soldier shrugged, “If you already know, then why bother asking me?”
“You may have risked your life to be here for him, but he may not even appreciate your sacrifice…” Yi Quan scoffed.
The bearded soldier’s expression suddenly turned into one of surprise. //How did he know about him…?//
"And are you going to leave Lanyi all alone in the Palace? You know my sister is going to be furious when she finds out that you have run away."
"Lady Yi likes to throw fits and complain all day long, but she is still fair. She awards and punishes her maids justly and will not blame my faults on Lanyi. Also, now that I am gone, Lanyi becomes even more valuable to her, so she will not severely punish Lanyi."
Yi Quan continued in a softer tone, “Lanxi, is it really worth it? If you want, I can make sure you are allowed to leave here safely. It’s alright if you don’t want to return to the palace. I can make sure that you are safe wherever you go. But the army is a dangerous place. Not only do you risk dying on the battlefield, but if they find out that you are a woman, they will execute you.”
Lanxi stared at the ground silently for a few seconds before replying in a firm and resolute voice, “I already knew of these risks before I took action.”
Yi Quan sighed and shook his head. He knew there was no chance of changing her mind now. If she would rather die than leave, then there is nothing he can do to persuade her otherwise. Perhaps the only thing he could do for her now is to ensure her safety while she is here.
“I will inform them that you will be my personal guard. That should minimize the need for you to interact with the other soldiers and the risk of exposing your identity. You can rest here for now. I still have some things to attend to. Be careful.” With that, Yi Qian exited the tent, leaving Lanxi alone inside.