Upstreams of Aman River
A group of magnificent three story ships anchored and lined up along the river. Even though the river is large, it seems that they have occupied almost a quarter of the area. If the riverbanks were narrow, one large ship may have hindered the smooth passage of other vessels.
It's usually uncommon for one to see a large ship like this on regular days, not to mention five large ships appearing at once. With the conspicuous group of ships, anyone who laid eyes on them, even if they aren't informed regarding national news, can immediately guess who the owner of this fleet was.
Who is it?
None other than the most famous person on earth. Being the utmost cherished person by the Xi Lei King; he is the most powerful and legendary man- even the King of Li desires him - Xi Lei's Duke Ming, who else?
Lie Zhong Liu was not mistaken, if Feng Ming's fleet did not encounter any unforeseen circumstances, then they should have begun entering the Tong territory. Another 150 li upstream and they would have reached the city of Fang Di, which intersects between the Tong and Yong Yin borders.
That's the first stop Feng Ming and the others would have to pass before entering the Tong Kingdom.
However, that is only if "there were no unforeseen circumstances."
At present, there are at least two unforeseen circumstances that forced Feng Ming to order the fleet to temporarily stop. Also taking the advantage to appreciate the beautiful hillside scenery and Aman's shores.
The first unforeseen circumstance was extremely serious.
"The Xiao family's information gathering has obviously got some issues. We can only rely to our own spies for information. However, Zi Yan hasn't returned yet to give us updates and our ships cannot rush into Tong Kingdom just yet."
This was what Rong Hu said. Moreover, it was precise. They needed to delay their trip for a few days until they hear from Zi Yan.
The second unforeseen circumstance was being too sentimental.
Luo Deng, who was responsible for contacting the old master Xiao Zong, Feng Ming's bad-tempered father, brought back depressing news for Feng Ming. After Lady Yao Ye carried Cai Jiang away, Xiao Zong who loves his grandchild as his own life, quickly followed behind. Therefore, the letter Feng Ming wrote to Lady Yao Ye, requesting for the Wen Lan flowers still has not arrived on time.
After hearing this news, Feng Ming turned to his maids and asked, "What should we do now?"
They unanimously said, "Duke Ming, please decide." After finishing, three pairs of eyes awaited for Feng Ming's response.
FM: We still need to wait for Zi Yan, so let's be patient, just like waiting for the Wen Lan Flower.
Regarding the Wen Lan Flower, Feng Ming had promised Du Feng that he will personally deliver the flower in the hands of Princess Chang Liu. However, he doesn't know whether Princess Chang Liu had received news of this, if she had, then she would be anxiously waiting as well. If Feng Ming were to reach Tong Kingdom and carelessly meet Princess Chang Liu, if the unfortunate pitiful princess asked him about the Wen Lan Flower, how is he supposed to answer her?
Closing his eyes, he knew that scene would be a disgrace. Not only that, but he would lose Du Feng's trust. Feng Ming didn't want to ruin such a romantic thing. He gave the order the second time, hoping that Luo Deng can quickly send people to locate Lady Yao Ye, the woman who carried his child off to who knows where, and send another letter requesting for the Wen Lan flower, believing that once the flower came, they would be set to continue onwards.
For this stop, Rong Hu was completely responsible for Feng Ming's safety, even the maids made no objection in staying with Feng Ming.
"It's clear that we can enter Tong Kingdom and at this time there's an order to anchor the ship. Would that old scoundrel Luo Ning decide to come and kill you?"
What they were most worried about was the old Xiao henchmen, especially Luo Ning - the most influential one among the Xiao family. Faced with a possible crisis and after thinking for a long while, Feng Ming finally thought of a solution.
"Convince Luo Yun?" Rong Hu opened his eyes wide. Displaying a serious expression, he hesitated, "If we have his help, it would be great. However, even though this person is currently protecting Duke Ming, his attitude towards Duke Ming is not very respectful. I'm just afraid it will be hard to convince him."
Feng Ming always had a good feeling about Luo Yun, he chuckled, "If we don't try, how will we know? Recently, he accompanied me with sword practice. Although he's merciless each time, but I am vaguely aware that he is pushing me to work harder. For him to painstakingly put in effort for me shows that he has a good heart."
While saying that, his female attendants standing behind him were staring wide-eyed.
Luo Yun is different compared to Rong Tian, Rong Hu, and Lie Er. His actions towards Duke Ming shows "no mercy," and each strike is heavy like wanting to take his life. Duke Ming usually has other people caring for him, which is different compared to this young simple man.
Time and time again while practicing, Luo Yun had brought out the stubbornness of Duke Ming. Every day, Duke Ming would drag his injured body to practice, while saying, "I don't want my subordinates to look down on me."
Surprisingly, Rong Hu actually agreed, "Not bad. During practice, Luo Yun is very hardworking. He is also very careful. Noticing that Duke Ming's footwork is unsteady during turning, that's why these days he purposely moves around Duke Ming during practice."
"You've also noticed it too?" Feng Ming said, "Then it's decided. Chiu Lan, bring Luo Yun here."
Before Chiu Lan could speak out, Chiu Yue already interrupted her, "I just saw him on the deck earlier, let me go find him."
Turning to walk out, Chiu Yue happened to see Luo Yun finishing his deck patrol and coming towards her direction. Chiu Yue raised her handkerchief and waved towards him. Luo Yun immediately walked over in front of her, "What is it?"
Seeing his cold face, a fire started burning inside Chiu Yue as she placed her face downward, "What do you mean what is it? Duke Ming is looking for you, where did you run off to?"
After hearing that, Luo Yun turned towards that direction and walked inside.
Chiu Yue didn't expect him to walk straight there right away, she quickly pulled him back, "Hey, I haven't finished yet."
Luo Yun stared back at her, underneath the handsome dark face was a hint of redness. His lips slightly moved as if he was angry but restrained himself. The clear distinction between the black and whites of his eyes made Chiu Yue's heart skip a beat.
That moment, Chiu Yue found that her action of pulling his sleeve was very ambiguous, she quickly pushed him aside, looking down, half shy half angry, she said, "I'm warning you, after you go inside and Duke Ming speaks with you, you have to show some respect. He is the Xiao family's Young Lord, in the future if someone... hey! I haven't finished yet!"
Looking up, she happened to see Luo Yun's image disappearing behind the curtain. Feeling angry, Chiu Yue stomped her feet and chased after him.
After entering, Luo Yun immediately asked, "Young Lord is looking for me?"
"Luo Yun, you have come?" Facing the skeptical Rong Hu, Feng Ming made a signal with his eyes, then turned and revealed a bright smile, "I would like to hear your opinion on something."
Feng Ming told Luo Yun about the two reasons for their sudden stop and then asked him, "What do you think?"
Quietly listening to Feng Ming, Luo Yun saw Feng Ming's full anticipation. His eyes shining bright, although a bit silly, but this look was extremely hard to see on other people's face.
The old master always does things arbitrarily. His type of lifestyle, no one would dare to oppose of and this was something Luo Yun yearned for since he was young. For a Young Lord to not make his own decision, Luo Yun was planning on ridiculing him, but noticing the slight redness on Feng Ming's neck due to minor injuries, he thought for a moment before swallowing back his words and lightly said, "What is Young Lord planning on doing?"
"I intend to make a temporary stop, waiting for those things to be completed before continuing."
"What?" Not only Feng Ming, but the rest didn't expect it to go smoothly. Chiu Yue looked at him pleasantly surprised. Feng Ming asked, "You also agree that we should stop?"
"Yes." Luo Yun uttered.
"Rong Hu, take a look!" Feng Ming happily turned to face Rong Hu and winked at him, "Didn't I say that Luo Yun would understand?"
Feng Ming turned back to face Luo Yun, only to unexpectedly catch a glimpse of his lonely fleeting expression. Feng Ming's smile froze, stupefied for a bit with his mouth open, he didn't know what to say.
Luo Yun is a righteous person, but maybe the next day, he might be troubled over the Xiao family's decision regarding this matter due to conflicting views such as his father - Luo Ning. In case of a quarrel, will Luo Yun continue to stand on the side of justice? This is enough to put him in a difficult position.
Feng Ming didn't know that even if he did not intend to stay, Luo Yun would still try to find a way to delay their trip in entering Tong Kingdom.
Feng Ming also didn't know about the dangers he faced during the trip to Tong Kingdom, which Luo Yun was able to sniff out and it was much more larger than he thought.
Feng Ming also didn't know that at this moment, a familiar figure of stubbornness and weakness appeared in Luo Yun's mind...
And that he will soon meet this unforgettable figure in Tong Kingdom, covered in fog.
Although Luo Yun's attitude was rather strange, but since he nodded his head in agreement, this was a very good thing.
Feng Ming immediately ordered the ships to stop to wait for Zi Yan's news along with the Wen Lan flower.
Once the order was sent down, the fleet of ships stopped along the Aman River for full six days.
Foreshadowing that a new character will be introduced soon... someone close to Luo Yun, his identity will be revealed soon... =)
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 1.4
Feng Ming is having Chiu Lan look over his work regarding memorizing the names of the ministers in Tong Kingdom. Chiu Lan is impressed that Feng Ming is able to remember all the strange names along with their titles.
FM: Are there really no mistakes?
Feng Ming's handsome face expressed a sense of delight, letting out a sigh of relief, he said, "I'm finally able to remember all of them. I was afraid of being embarrassed when I reach Tong Kingdom. Those names of the ministers are a total mess, it's completely different than Xi Lei. Once we reach there, if I display that I don't know anything, it would be shameful. It's good that the two nights I studied has paid off." Feng Ming accepted the towel handed by Chiu Xing and wiped his face.
At present, it can't be regarded as beginning of spring.
The more they travelled southeast, the weather became hotter, even Feng Ming changed into a simple unlined light silk material sewed together in a comfortable style, loosely tied at the waist by a brightly colored belt. Even his hair was tied by a simple piece of cloth. This look was similar to what was worn back in Dong Fan palace.
The cool breeze blew over the unusually quiet river.
If no one were to disturb, the scenery would had been so harmonious and beautiful.
"Young Lord, your subordinate seeks your audience."
The one disturbing them was Luo Ning. This person's patience was quite impressive. After the fleet stopped for six days, this was the second time he waited on the main ship, hoping to grant audience from Feng Ming.
"So it's you again." Knowing that the person who came was Luo Ning, Feng Ming withdrew his smile. He ordered Chiu Yue and the others to remove the dishes and utensils to greet the guest.
Feng Ming couldn't forget that this stubborn "subordinate" named Luo Ning had came to bother him with a terrible request, "accompany Luo Yun with practice," no, it was, "Luo Yun will accompany you during practice."
Because of that, everyday for more than two hours, Feng Ming had to suffer from bruises to his face along with kicks and punches, half of it thanks to that small request by Luo Ning.
"Is there something you need?" Feng Ming asked.
"I wanted to ask Young Lord when we are planning to set sail?"
Of course it was this question.
Rong Hu stood behind Luo Ning and gave a signal towards Feng Ming. Everyone shook their heads as they became more and more insync. Feng Ming knew his intention, he only smiled and gently replied to Luo Ning, "Please rest assured, Luo Ning. I will go to Tong Kingdom, but there are a few things I still haven't taken care of, once I've received news from my mother and Zi Yan, I will immediately order for departure."
"Lady Yao Ye's whereabouts is unclear and Zi Yan has yet to send any news for the past few days. If we keep waiting like this, we don't know how much longer we'll need to delay." Luo Ning looked straight at Feng Ming, without changes in his tone of voice, he continued, "Young Lord's trip has startled many nations, I don't know how many people are monitoring our fleet movements. Right now, Tong's borders is about 150 miles away, we can arrive there within one day. If we stop without going further, it will cause others to suspect that Young Lord does not dare to enter Tong Kingdom. It will be a huge damage to the Xiao Family's reputation.
Again with the Xiao Family's reputation.
"You are right." Feng Ming smiled. He knew that Luo Ning would appear and use the Xiao Family's name to force him to set sail. However, after many discussions with Rong Hu and the maids, they felt that Feng Ming's image as the Young Lord was deteriorating each day and that he needs to create a more brilliant and stronger image.
The fight between Rong Tian's group and Xiao Family's group should be fought till the end. Being caught in the middle of it, Feng Ming needs to be stronger or else he will be sandwiched into one of the world's most handsome patties.
To display a tough exterior, the first thing is to not feel fearful when standing in front of the Xiao Family's bodyguard leader, Luo Ning and stubbornly oppose him. Of course, this means to not make Luo Ning angry, but in simple terms is to not let Luo Ning intimidate him.
"If Young Lord said that I'm right, then please order the anchor to be removed."
Feng Ming continued smiling. Chiu Yue and Chiu Xing had reminded him beforehand that "the time Duke Ming confronts Luo Ning, you need to smile because Duke Ming looks the most beautiful when smiling. Even the most heartless person in the world will not be upset when seeing it."
"Is Young Lord afraid to answer my question?" Luo Ning couldn't hold in his impatience. His entire life he was a proud member of the Xiao Family, believing that all royalties and elite were within the palm of his hands. His blood boiled with pleasure and his heart completely ruthless, learning about 90% of Xiao Zong's arrogance. He can't believe that because of a callow Young Lord, he would waste his time and patience on him.
"I'm not removing the anchor."
"Young Lord just said..."
"I said that you are right, but only from your perspective it's best to remove the anchor." The almost perfect lips of Feng Ming were slightly forming another beautiful smile, "But from my perspective, I will not remove the anchor."
Luo Ning's face went cold, lowering his voice he said, "Please explain yourself, Young Lord."
"I don't need to explain." Feng Ming blurted out a shocking answer.
"Young Lord!" Hearing Luo Ning's loud growl, Feng Ming ordered himself to stay calm and continued smiling.
"Luo Zongguan*, please don't be upset, let's talk it out slowly." Feng Ming raised his hands and opened his palms to display no ill feeling.
(* NOTE: is a formal title for those who oversee/manages the house or certain activities, etc... similar to supervisor or manager. This is just how Feng Ming respectively addresses Luo Ning.)
Luo Ning stared at him, not saying anything.
"I am the Xiao Family's Young Lord, am I not?" Feng Ming kept smiling, setting a question for Luo Ning. His cheeks were extremely tired. Only God knows how much longer he needs to maintain that perfect gracious smile, which was not an easy task.
"The Xiao Family's fleet belongs to me, right?"
"I have the right to order the ships to stop, right?"
"Yes." Luo Ning is not someone who can be provoked, after answering one word, he followed by, "But if Young Lord do this, the Xiao Family will be ridiculed by the world and everyone in the Xiao Family will be ashamed because of Young Lord."
"That's right, everyone in the Xiao Family."
In a good mood, Feng Ming asked, "How about Luo Yun?"
Luo Ning was surprised, his face became gloomy as he coldly scoffed, "Of course Luo Yun would feel the same."
"That's good." Feng Ming seemed to have been waiting for this answer of his, he clapped his hands, the sound rang out. In a moment of cheerful smile, he turned around and said, "Luo Yun."
Luo Yun had been standing on the inside of the door, he had no intention of intervening; only when Feng Ming called out to him did he stepped forward and indifferently said, "Luo Yun is present."
"Luo Yun," Luo Ning didn't wait for Feng Ming to speak, relying on his seniority within the Xiao Family and his special relationship with Luo Yun, he ordered Luo Yun, "Go ahead and tell the Young Lord how you feel about the whole fleet anchoring for six days. Don't worry, just speak the truth, the Xiao Family does not speak against our morals and beliefs."
Because of Feng Ming, the Xiao Family had picked the top ten bodyguards, with Luo Yun as the leader and representative among the younger generation of elite. His position can easily suppress Feng Ming's in the eyes of the Xiaos.
You have to realize that as the Young Lord, Feng Ming has no evidence to prove his identity, it's no different than emerging out of thin air. At this point, Feng Ming's lack of qualifications and mediocre martial arts are not enough to earn respect throughout the Xiao Family. What Feng Ming had was just the words of acceptance by Xiao Zong.
One can only guess that when Feng Ming's wishes and decisions are constantly in conflict with the Xiaos and can not win any of their support, then that shining title as the Young Lord will one day be obliterated.
"Your subordinate feels that Young Lord has every right to decide everything for the Xiao."
"What did you say?" Luo Ning couldn't believe his ears as he stared at Luo Yun, anger and confusion rising high, his pupils constricted. How could Luo Yun speak on behalf of that kid?
Feng Ming had expected Luo Yun's answer. Seeing Luo Ning's expression at this moment, he almost couldn't hold back his laughter.
After Luo Ning's burning rage cooled off, his mind slightly cleared. The matter regarding the Young Lord can be temporarily put aside, however the matter with Luo Yun needs to be dealt with first.
"Young Lord, we will discuss the matter of departure later." Feng Ming had no time to reply as Luo Ning coldly faced towards Luo Yun and said, "You come with me." He then turned and walked out onto the deck.
The ship had rooms in the lower section to store items, there were also rooms for some of the bodyguards to rest with four to five people in one bedroom. Luo Ning went below and randomly picked a discreet room. Luo Yun wryly followed behind.
The wooden door shut. Luo Ning turned around, sending his sharp piercing eyes onto Luo Yun's young face.
"A great opportunity like this and yet you speak on behalf of him." After walking a few steps, Luo Ning's anger had been suppressed, replaced by a cold killer front, "You have seen all of his incompetence and impulsiveness. Such a person like that and yet he can be the Xiao Family's Young Lord, I just feel pity that the Xiao Family's hundred years reputation will be destroyed in his hands." With each snarl, these words in his mind seemed to have been suppressed for some time now.
"Whether or not we like it, he is already the Xiao Family's Young Lord. What good is there constantly belittling him in front of everyone else?" Luo Yun asked coldly.
"The Old Master is still alive!" Luo Ning's eyes sparked a glimpse of light. "As long as the Old Master changes his mind, he can always retrieve the business back in his hands and hand it to someone more deserving." He paused, seeing how Luo Yun is already as tall as him, his eyes became a little warmer.
He whispered, "When all of the Xiao Family despises him, the Old Master will understand that he does not deserve to have everything of the Xiaos. By that time, Luo Yun, the Old Master will think of you."
"Oh?" Luo Yun scoffed, "He will think of me?"
He lowered his eyes, slowly stroking the sword that had accompanied him for many years. From the time he understood things, he began practicing martial arts. He was still very little, the sword was very long and heavy that holding it was a very difficult task. However, his mother always told him that he was born to hold a sword.
Little Yun, continue practicing, then one day, you will become your father's pride and joy...
His mother always encouraged him, as long as there's an opportunity, she would always watch him practice and see his improvement. His mother would stand to one side, watch him in excitement, thrilled that he slowly held the sword tightly and became one of the strongest swordsman among the younger generation of the Xiaos.
Remembering the sad longing eyes of his mother, Luo Yun's eyes also became lonely, "The Old Master will never think of me, this is just my mother's wishful thinking."
"Luo Yun, your mother, she..."
"Rong Hu suddenly came to me a few days ago." Luo Yun interrupted and then slowly continued, "He asked me why the Xiao Family continues to send spies to Tong Kingdom to inquiry information, but every time they bring back news of Prince Tong, Qing Li and nothing is mentioned about the Royal Uncle Qing Zhang."
"What qualifications does Rong Hu has to question you? Why didn't you tell him to ask the spies that were sent back?"
Luo Yun sneered, "Because I also held suspicion."
"I deliberately pulled that spy back and carefully interrogated him. The news he brought back were just a few words, nothing more. Even a fool can tell that he was ordered to do so. However, who is the person who could give orders to these spies?"
Luo Ning heard the lack of respect in Luo Yun's voice, he tightened his eyebrows, "Who exactly are you suspecting?"
A stubborn look displayed on Luo Yun's face, he did not directly answer the question Luo Ning gave out, instead he continued, "Tong Kingdom Qing Zhang and Qing Li are in battle for the throne, the Great and Powerful Royal Uncle. This news is very important for the Young Lord to understand the current situation in Tong Kingdom. The matter regards the Young Lord's safety, who would dare to conceal this news? The order for the spies to not reveal the truth, who could do this?"
Luo Ning laughed in rage, "Young Lord, Young Lord, we went through such great lengths for you and yet you continued saying Young Lord this and that. Have you really made that incompetent kid into some sort of being to be worshipped?"
"My mother is the only one who has the ability to do so, am I right?" Even though Luo Yun asked, his tone was already certain. The face that never held much expression had a hint of frustration, he whispered, "My mother is usually in charge of gathering information from different nations for many years. All of those spies will certainly listen to her words. Uncle, please tell me the truth, my mother is currently in Tong Kingdom, am I right?"
If Feng Ming was here at this moment, he would definitely be surprised. In front of Feng Ming and his group, Luo Yun and Luo Ning had always called each other father and son, so why at this time, Luo Yun called Luo Ning as uncle?
Luo Ning was surprised by the sudden title, he let out a sigh from within. Ever since Luo Yun was young, he spoke little words and concentrated on his martial arts. He would ignore things around him, however, because of that Young Lord, Luo Yun questioned him today. Though extremely rude with words, but his facial demeanor at this moment was very much like his stubborn younger sister.
"Your mother arrived in Tong Kingdom some time ago." After saying that, Luo Ning sighed loudly and explained, "Luo Yun, your mother did all of this because of you. God has been unfair to you. That Feng Ming cannot even compare to a single finger of yours, so why should he deserve everything?"
"Because he is the son of Lady Yao Ye and that my mother is not Lady Yao Ye, but a woman Xiao Zong will never love - Luo Qian Qian."
Luo Qian Qian.
Luo Yun's voice was gentle and very warm when speaking of that name. Chiu Yue would have never imagined that Luo Yun would have such a sentimental tone.
That was his biological mother's name. She was also a lonely, ill-fated and stubborn mother.
"For my mother to head to Tong Kingdom and order the spies to conceal the important news means that she made plans to deal with the Young Lord. That is also the reason why I do not wish the Young Lord to enter Tong Kingdom too early."
LN: Are you planning on helping him?
LY: With me beside the Young Lord, I will not let her succeed.
Luo Yun looked up to meet with Luo Ning. Seeing his calm gaze filled with indefinable feelings, Luo Ning knew that this child has made his decision.
After a moment of silence, Luo Ning sighed as he sternly asked him once more, "Do you really want to go against your biological mother because of this incompetent half brother of yours?"
"You're wrong." Luo Yun said, "I'm doing this for my mother."
Regardless of whether that young man on the deck, who constantly enjoy his days with the female attendants, is incompetent or not, or whether the Xiao Family's business will go underwater under his hands, that person cannot be killed.
That person is Lady Yao Ye's child. Even if he is incompetent, he is still Lady Yao Ye's child. And Lady Yao Ye is the person who Xiao Zong loves the most. If Feng Ming were to die in the hands of his mother, then Xiao Zong, the person his mother holds a long unrequited love for, will have no mercy in taking her life.
Even though Luo Yun is not completely clear about the jealousy among women, but he is well aware that a man can do all sort of crazy cruel things for the woman he love....
While Luo Yun and Luo Ning were debating over the incompetent person who could not compare to Luo Yun's finger, Feng Ming and the others were worried about Luo Yun.
"Duke Ming, please rest assured, I don't think that dark faced Luo Ning would do anything to him."
"That's right. Then again, they are also father and son. At most, they would probably curse at each other, absolutely...they will never stab a few holes."
"Stab a few holes?" Chiu Xing shuddered. "Chiu Yue, does your voice tremble when you're comforting others? It's better if you don't say anything, each time you do, you cause our hairs to stand up."
CL: If Duke Ming is worried, you can always send someone to go and see. I feel that what Chiu Yue said is reasonable, they are father and son, at most he would probably scold Luo Yun. Rong Hu, what do you say?
Ever since Luo Yun was taken away by Luo Ning, everyone was no longer in a happy mood. They simply got back to the main room and found a place to sit. Rong Hu, who was sitting to the left of Feng Ming, had a serious downcast face.
Seeing his face, Chiu Yue felt a bit scared, she asked, "Rong Hu, even you think that something would happen to him?"
Thinking about it, the Xiao Family league of assassins is notorious for disowning their own kind. This time, Luo Yun had publicly defied his higher up and spoke on behalf of Duke Ming, which will not bring him any good. It's heard that assassins deal with their traitors, if harshly it's death sentence, if lightly it's cutting their arm and leg veins. Just thinking about it made his face pale.
"Chiu Yue, you don't have to be too scared. I didn't say anything not because I was worried about Luo Yun, instead it's because I keep thinking about it and still can't figure it out." Rong Hu got his arm relentlessly pinched by Chiu Lan did he noticed Chiu Yue's pale face. He tried to explain and then remembered why he was in deep thought, "When Luo Yun gave his answer to Duke Ming, it was too easy. Luo Yun has always disliked Duke Ming so why would he suddenly decide to help us? You have to know that one word from him, not only did it make his father lose face, but among all the Xiao Family men during this period of time no one can force Duke Ming to depart."
Everyone nodded simultaneously with a puzzled expression.
Luo Yun is not a person who is highly favorable, he has a foul temper, cold exterior, if he doesn't sneer then he'll laugh disdainfully. So why would he suddenly decide to side with justice and obediently obey the "Young Lord's" order?
A long while later, Feng Ming broke the silence, he tentatively asked with a slight hint of excitement, "Could it be that he was moved by my perseverance and approachable spirit?"
After listening to this question, Rong Hu and Chiu Yue gave him a funny look, refusing to respond.
Only relatively considerate Chiu Lan replied in a hesitant way, "Ah...that could be it...being with Duke Ming for some days now, maybe..."
While thinking of how to reply, the sound of approaching footsteps were heard.
Everyone looked eagerly towards the door, as for Chiu Yue who was anxiously worrying, she quickly jumped up from her chair and headed towards the curtains.
When the curtains lifted and the appearance of the oncoming man's face was seen, her relaxed expression was immediately covered in disappointment.
"So it's you. What do you want?"
The person that came was Ran Qing, who was selected by the Xiao Family as one of the guards for Feng Ming.
"Miss Chiu Yue, please report to Young Lord that there is someone near the ship, claiming to return from Tong Kingdom and was sent by Zi Yan with a letter to hand to the Young Lord."
"Zi Yan finally brought news!" Rong Hu stood up and went to the door, "Where is the letter?"
Ran Qing gave the letter to Rong Hu, "The letter was checked for poison, the messenger is now guarded on the deck of the main ship and can be sent over here for questioning at any time."
Rong Hu took the letter and carefully examined for any poison once more before handing it to Feng Ming.
"Zi Yan has sent the letter? He really does a swift job." Feng Ming and the others were worried about Zi Yan's safety since Tong Kingdom is brewing a large storm and being alone in that nation right now is very dangerous.
Receiving a message back made them a bit relieved.
Chiu Xing urged him, "Duke Ming, hurry and read what Zi Yan wrote."
Everyone focused their attention on the letter in Feng Ming's hands.
Feng Ming quickly opened the letter, reading it softly and then relaying the message back to the others, "Zi Yan said he arrived in Tong Kingdom and found the spy Mian Ya planted there. The situation within Tong Kingdom is just like Mian Ya said, no major changes. Qing Zhang and Qing Li are still arguing over whether or not the Great King Qing Ding is alive or not. The ministers are also divided into two groups, respectively, the ones in support of Qing Zhang are..Wow, such a long list? The officials in Tong Kingdom are so many...."
Zi Yan wrote three full pages on thin silk. The beginning was just information he gathered about the inner palace, along with the situation at Tong's border regarding the small city Fang Di. Nothing out of the ordinary.
When reading the third page, Feng Ming was surprised he gave an "Ah."
The others who heard him were startled, Rong Hu asked, "What's wrong? Did Zi Yan mentioned that something was not good?"
"I'm not sure whether it's good or bad." Feng Ming still holding the silk paper muttered, "Zi Yan said he will investigate the sea, wanting to help me with opening a water route for transporting the luminescent sand and make some preparation for it. He also happened to encounter one of the Xiao Family's caravans at sea."
CX: That's good!
FM: He's going to show them the Xiao Family seal that I gave him in order to borrow several large ships and an experienced crew. He's planning on starting near the Dan Lin strait and making their mark.
"Ah? That's a very good thing."
"But..." Feng Ming widened his black eyes, he stared at Rong Hu and reported with a wry smile, "He said he's going to the Dan Lin Strait, isn't that...Uh, the Dan Lin Strait where pirates constantly linger around, even my old geezer, Xiao Zong, suffered a major loss there, isn't that right?"
What do you guys think of Luo Yun now?
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 2
Steep cliffs and waves crash against the shores.
Zi Yan was like a withered statue under rain and wind for hundreds of years and still standing quietly on the cliff facing the sea.
He has been standing there for more than three hours, even his little finger did not make any slight movements. After a long and harsh training, he had developed a habit of surveying the enemies' movements while standing stiff in the mountains.
The sea was calm, but Zi Yan's focused eyes could see the distant place offshore. He was fully aware that his dangerous enemy was lurking beyond that area.
The pirates along the Dan Lin Strait are brutal and violent, the whole world trembled in fear of them. They hid in the dark like invisible swords underneath the deep waters; sharp and cold like icicles, occupying the entire main area of the sea. No matter if it's a merchant ship, fishing boats or a royal fleet, if they were to enter this sea, it' will be no different than swimming within the pirates' palm. Whether you get ambushed or not will only depend on God's blessing or the pirates' mood.
Because of this, the high profit obtained by delivering the luminescent sand has always brought a touch of fear in others, which makes it hard to force them into danger, thus, the price of the luminescent sand has always skyrocketed.
Under these conditions, opening a safe water route to transport the sand from Dan Lin to the mainland is an easy thing to say, but hard to accomplish. The problem the Holy Master Xiao gave Duke Ming to solve is a very difficult one indeed.
Before leaving Feng Ming, Zi Yan had made a suggestion. He would head to Tong Kingdom and complete two things for Feng Ming. The first one was to investigate the current situation in Tong Kingdom so that Feng Ming, Rong Hu and the others wouldn't continue heading there blindly without prior knowledge. The second thing was to solve the luminescent sand water route issue.
No one clearly understands how terrifying the pirates are than he did.
The time he served the Great King and was put on secret order to train in this area, he had encountered no fewer than twenty big and small pirate battles. But what made him understand the frightful truth of the pirates was that surprise night attack.
That beautiful peaceful night, the sea was calmer than any other nights, when the hideous, fearsome men boarded the ship from different sides. Zi Yan was calm and fearless in nature, but for the first time when those slender narrowed eagle eyes stared at him, his heart was a bit in shock.
Those times when Zi Yan repeatedly battled with the pirates, he had several victories and thought he somewhat understood the strength and tactics of the pirates in Dan Lin. However, after that surprised attack where he narrowly escaped, he finally understood that those past encounters with the pirates were just the insignificant small predators of Dan Lin Strait.
Silently stalking, quietly ambushing without their target's knowledge, and using the seawater and wind as their advantage, they were able to attack the boat in the darkness under their leader's command. It was orderly and everyone's roles were divided up clearly. These pirates' attack was at the highest level of efficiency, merciless and evil, which are the powerful forces within these raging waters.
Dan Lin - He Di, this man with many different identities. Not only is he a royalty of Dan Lin, but he is also a pirate. Even though he is considered a ruthless bandit, he is also a calculating individual who is deeply admired for his insightfulness, one of his most impressive traits.
If the strait of Dan Lin didn't have frightening pirates, the plentiful luminescent sand along the coast of Dan Lin would not become a valuable treasure that everyone in the world would pay any amount of gold and silver to buy.
The price of the sand skyrocketed, making the Dan Lin Royalties the richest in the world. Separated by a strait, they can rely on the strait and the pirates as shields while sitting on the sideline, watching the other nations kill each other on the mainland. Not only that, they are also enjoying the extravagant gifts double handed to them for the luminescent sand.
Zi Yan finally came down from the cliff and headed back to where the Xiao Family's convoy was waiting.
ZY: Each ship departs separately in four different directions.
Zi Yan reached inside his chest pocket to pull out a sea map, spreading it out and pointing at the network of lines he drew onto the map.
ZY: Unload everything except for a small amount of water and food, leave behind two boxes of gold and silver.
One elder sailor looked at the map, anxiously replying, "These ships of ours are not used to undergo rough seas, the fresh water and food are not enough. Not just that, these waters are filled with pirates, even if there are no wind or waves, to cross the Dan Lin Strait is not an easy task, not to mention separating the ships..."
ZY: The ships are not heading to Dan Lin. You are to depart into four different directions. When sailing off, scatter the gold and silver in each cabin. Once you discover the presence of pirates, there's no need to battle them, immediately abandon the ship and use a small boat to escape. But the most important thing is that you must keep in mind the time and location of the ambush and report it back to me.
The subordinates in charge of the convoy for the Xiao Family who had experienced many years at sea, immediately understood as their faces slightly changed. Someone whispered, "The pirates are not to be trifled with, this is not a small matter. Should we wait until Young Lord comes to Tong Kingdom to decide this?"
ZY: I have the Xiao Family's plate from Duke Ming and thus, I'm entitled to mobilize the fleet. You just need to act according to that order.
He was adamant about his decision, making the crowd of men answer in agreement.
Knowing that they will meet pirates, the ones chosen for the task were highly skilled and unafraid of death. The Xiao Family men headed out according to Zi Yan's direction. Once they discovered the presence of pirates, they immediately abandoned the ship, looked up to the sky and used astronomical observation to determine their location.
As for those ships, they were lost in the palm of the pirates. Luckily, the Xiao Family's fortune is large and Zi Yan will take on all the responsibility so none of them were worried.
Zi Yan prepared brush and ink, jolting down one record for each person who came back. He wrote down the size of the pirate vessel, their speed, the number of pirates, whether the matter was big or small, he asked each person with utmost carefulness.
The fours ships were not attacked at the same time, thus the small boats came back at different times. After questioning one boat, another would return. Just like that, he was busy questioning and only when the sun was at its peak did he stopped writing.
The person in charge of the Xiao's convey was Ran Hu, who is related to one of Feng Ming's ten Xiao family bodyguards - Ran Qing - as uncle and nephew. Even though his name means "tiger", he is an easy-ongoing and cautious person. After meeting Zi Yan who presented himself with the Xiao Family's plate from Feng Ming, they had been getting along well.
Zi Yan and Ran Hu finished all the necessary records together. Seeing Zi Yan marking the map of Dan Lin Strait, he stated, "You seem very familiar with the Dan Lin Strait."
ZY: The pirates along the Dan Lin Strait appear seemingly everywhere and roam around in rampant. If you encountered them, they might attack immediately, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Take a look.
Zi Yan placed his brush down, he drew a curved line connected into an arc based on the records he collected regarding the location of the attacks.
ZY: Outside of this arc, the vessel should be safe, but once any ships enter this line, it will disturb the pirates.
Ran Hu quickly understood, "This area of the sea must have lots of pirates to survey whenever a vessel appears."
Zi Yan nodded his head. The order to send the ships in four directions along the sea was not random. Since coming to the coast, he tried to recall the original scene he had fought with the pirates. His intuition told him that the pirates may seem scattered with a leader for each group, but they are all internally related. Using the abandoned ships of the Xiao Family as sacrifices to investigate a few places just prove his speculation.
Now that his guesses are right, the situation seems more serious.
Ran Hu saw Zi Yan's face taut upright, he smiled and patted the young general who was about the same age as his nephew and advised, "Don't worry too much. The pirates of Dan Lin are notorious for being difficult to deal with. Their habits of running amok at sea is because they rely on their viciousness and familiarity of the sea conditions. Next time, the Xiao family will travel by large ships loaded with highly skilled men. Even if we encounter the pirates, we can still fight back. The sea is boundlessly wide, if we meet them, it'll only be a matter of who's stronger. These pirates have small and big ones, we won't necessary meet the big ones."
His words did not have any effect. After listening to him, Zi Yan was still staring at the map more carefully.
ZY: Take a look at this area.
Taking his brush, he made a dot near the edge of Dan Lin and the arc. After finishing, he looked up to see Ran Hu's response.
RH: An island?
ZY: (nodded his head) These small islands are scattered along the Dan Lin's coast and Dan Lin Strait. Among them, there are two that appear on every sea map, everyone knows this. As for the others, I've found them that one year I was on duty. Ran Zongguan, based on the time and location the four ships were attacked, take a look once more and tell me what you see.
Hearing him speak cautiously, Ran Hu became attentive. He picked up the map Zi Yan had recorded on and looked at it with careful eyes.
Even though Ran Hu was old, he had qualifications, but still he cannot compare to the main zongguan (*caretaker) Luo Deng.
That year when Xiao Zong left to battle the pirates, he returned alone and defeated. Because of Xiao Zong's order, Luo Deng was silent on the matter and certainly would not tell any other fleet who were not involved, like Ran Hu. Not just that, Ran Hu's convoy mainly come in contact within the vicinity of Bo Jian's coastal border, therefore, their understanding of the pirates in Dan Lin is not as knowledgeable as Zi Yan.
After a long moment, he put down the map. Although his face was not pale, his eyes were slightly different than before.
Zi Yan did not wait for him to speak, he marked three spots on the map, "That year, these three areas I've investigated has rapid whirlpools. Those undercurrents change according to the seasons. Ships that have no understanding of the situation would likely meet with misfortune."
Ran Hu's eyes flickered, staring at the modified map, his voice lowered, "This would hinder our ships, along with the tight knitted islands and the undercurrent as a natural barrier, traveling southeast would be difficult to cross the Dan Sea. It seems that this sea is entirely controlled by the pirates. Also...they are not acting randomly on their own, but taking orders from one leader?"
So it seems that in order to battle head on with the pirates, one has to become a powerful naval captain.
RH: If that is the case, even with a large fleet with highly skilled Xiao men, encountering the pirates might not end in good result. I thought that this route should be the easiest to break through if there is enough manpower and a vast fleet, along with plenty of water, food, weapons, and a slow response surveillance by the pirates in which we could capture them, but now I know that I've been wrong. As soon as the pirates sense something is wrong, they can send a signal to the nearest island and if they immediately send for reinforcement, we will be caught in a dangerous position. The only route of escape would be northeast, but what would be waiting for us would be a terrible whirlpool engulfing a whole ship...How hateful! When did these pirates create a tight surveillance line like this?
ZY: Talking about the surveillance line, it was not perfected before, leaving a few flaws. I have marked several routes that I had successfully broken through and reached Dan Lin's coast. However, after several investigations, those flaws were discovered by the pirates and mended.
RH: I still can't quite believe it. The pirates of Dan Sea had been fighting for centuries, there has to be at least four or five different groups of pirates. I have never heard any of them taking orders from anyone. Could it be that there was someone with great skill who subdue all of them? After forcing them to pledge allegiance, the secret was not declared. So who exactly is this greatly skilled person?
Who could it be....
A pair of sharp eyes instantly flashed inside Zi Yan's mind.
The man's eyes made him extremely uncomfortable, whenever he recalled of it, a slight tug was felt without warning, something hard to ignore.
According to Zi Yan's intuition, those pair of cold eyes, he was sure that this person who is not quite known among the eleven kingdoms was still a powerful figure. If Zi Yan cannot get rid of this person, Duke Ming will have no other way to open up a sea route to transport the luminescent sand and complete the task Holy Master Xiao Zong gave him.
Moreover, how could the kind and gentle Duke Ming deal with this person?
RH: First, we must report this situation to the Young Lord and see what his plan would be. Right now, we shouldn't act recklessly since we already lost four ships and didn't result in anything worth mentioning.
ZY: We've lost four ships, but if we didn't do it then there won't be any progress.
Ran Hu was slightly shocked while looking at Zi Yan, he silently thought, no wonder this person is Xi Lei King's subordinate, his courage is comparable to Xiao Family's league of assassination. He asked, "Do you have a plan?"
ZY: The pirates have been against the regime for centuries, they've been accustomed to a carefree life, but after encountering a force more powerful than theirs, they were forced to yield allegiance. Once that unified leader disappears, those once integrated pirates would be in chaos, torn apart. At that time, the tight surveillance line would no longer exist, we can use that opportunity to defeat each one and open the sea route. We must shoot the horse before the person, capture the king before defeating the enemy, this strategy can be applied to the current situation.
RH: Shoot the horse before the person, capture the king before defeating the enemy? Great! This statement is indeed brilliant.
ZY: These words were from Duke Ming. Next time when Ran Zongguan meet the Young Lord, you will hear more incisive words from him.
RH: Ah? Hearing you say that, I am eager to meet the Young Lord. Ha, who would have thought that the world famous Duke Ming is the Old Master's son?
After chuckling, Ran Hu returned to the topic, "But this is something easier said than done. First of all, we don't know who is the leader of the pirates. Second, even if we do know, how do we get rid of him?"
"I have a plan."
Zi Yan pulled out a letter and handed to Ran Hu, "Ran Zongguan, please request someone to send this letter out as soon as possible. Hopefully before Duke Ming catches up to us, this matter will be solved."
Ran Hu received the letter, seeing a few words written on it, "To Dan Lin Second Prince, He Di," he asked in surprise, "How is this matter related to the Prince of Dan Lin?"
ZY: Ran Zongguan don't need to ask much, just have this letter sent. Even though the pirates are ruthless, but towards a fishing boat who has paid enough money for permission of sea usage, they will give clearance. As long as enough gold and silver is received, they would agree to send a message for those borrowing route to Dan Lin.
After finishing, Zi Yan finally revealed a slight smile.
He knew what kind of consequence this letter may bring. It's very strange, although he only met this person once, it seems that he understood him very well.
Proud, overbearing, unscrupulous, intolerable of belittlement by others, not only that - grievances must be avenged. He can't forget how he stabbed that man's right shoulder. No matter what, Zi Yan was never afraid.
Despite the consequences, he was not worried. He is aware of the importance of opening this route. The one year time limit will pass very fast. According to his understanding, Holy Master Xiao is a heartless person and he knows that His Majesty will not allow Holy Master Xiao to touch a single hair of Duke Ming.
In addition to that, this is the time that His Majesty requires support from the Xiao Family's fortune. He has to use the fastest and most direct method to create a safe water route. No matter how stupid and unimaginable that method is, even if there is only a small chance of success, he is willing to pay the price, no matter how big that price is.
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 3
How could anyone forget?
The memory never seems to follow it's owner's order.
He's Dan Lin's most lascivious Prince. However, his other talent is to maintain absolute sobriety while winning and in distraction of debauchery,
No matter if he was drunk or sober, he just can't forget Zi Yan - the stunning man he met in that short moment.
Why is that?
With a flat chest, his face not quite handsome and his insignificant smile, perhaps it wasn't even a smile; maybe a warning, a provocation before leaving, or maybe it was even disdain.
"Your Highness..." Lying on the soft padded mattress, a beautiful woman slithered her way onto it just like a snake, her breath was like a faint breeze.
He Di stroked her perfect full bosom, with a smile he then gently pushed her to the side and lifted a cup to drink.
Tong Kingdom just sent over several beautiful women, but unfortunately, there was nothing new. Within a few more days, he once again remembered that bastard who left without coming back.
The dejected beauty looked at him, as his eyes swept towards her, she immediately looked down, afraid to even move. He Di ignored her, he changed his focus onto another beauty serving and kneeling to his left. She's also a gift from Tong Kingdom, who just recently became one of He Di's concubine not so long ago.
He Di's lips curved upward in evil intentions, his hand followed his thoughts as he twirled her right into his chest, causing her delicate facial features to press against the revealed chest beneath the open layers of clothing. Laughing as if he was chatting, he asked, "Recently, the amount of gold and silver Your Royal Prince sent over is two percent less. Why is that? Is his small treasury also being taken over by his Royal Uncle?"
The beauty timidly glanced up, softly whispering, "Your servant has no knowledge regarding Prince Qing Li's matter. Your servant was gifted to Your Highness, therefore, your servant only know of you and no other prince."
"What a sweet tongue you have." He Di pinched her round cheeks. He didn't know why he felt anxious.
A war was about to begin in the mainland and during this past year, he took advantage of the situation to rectify the pirates he captured. From the Mo Eastern Strait to the southern part of Dan Sea, many of whom still referred to it as the Dan Lin Strait , are within his control.
Aside from this Dan Lin Prince which was his only older brother, who will be the heir to the throne, his age and title are one step above He Di's.
The hardest thing was that after enjoying all the young beauties of each kingdoms, he was still not satisfied. It's been a long time since he caused any trouble. He seems to be missing the scent of blood.
On top of the large cushion, He Di changed into a more comfortable position. He tried hard to restrain himself from remembering the young man who had imprinted himself within his mind.
That man with a lean body, not a single place where anyone should crave for, yet they can't meet, which infuriated him.
That day while He Di was hiding at the bottom of the ship, peering from below, he was determined to capture that young man. But why after much difficulty of cornering him, shredding his shirt and teasing the two cute red nipples did he allow that young man to find a chance to escape?
After that night, while He Di seized all of the big and small pirates, he also silently investigated the whereabouts of Zi Yan. For him to elude the surveillance line and enter, wouldn't that mean the sea area has been compromised? Because of that, He Di noticed many loopholes in his surveillance network, which he quickly and effortly mended, further strengthening the security and control of the entire sea.
Even though Zi Yan was smart, he couldn't have imagined that the pirates had created a surveillance network and that he was the big reason behind it, which contributed to the security system.
He Di was prideful, he made sure nothing was overlooked and no flaws appear with the surveillance in Dan Lin Strait. As long as the young man with undaunted eyes appears once more, he will immediately notice and quickly capture him.
One look at that man's eyes, He Di understood that those eyes will no longer be hasty because of that one night surprise attack and will not avoid protecting his life at all cost.
Zi Yan will definitely come back.
The thing that disappointed him was that that man was too quick and since then, he never appeared again.... How hateful!
But now, finally there was something interesting that allowed him to exercise his muscles. A few days ago, he received a report from his subordinates that four small merchant ships had crossed the surveillance line without permission. However, the odd thing was once they saw the pirates in the distance, they didn't engage in battle and immediately escaped by small boats. They spread a little gold and silver on the decks, apparently to have the pirates dispute among themselves while they have enough time to escape.
Interestingly, all four ships appeared in the same water, the same day, in the small ship and used the same kind of trick.
The more interesting thing was the choice of location his opponent chose to break through, it made him think long and hard about it.
This matter might seem trivial to others and not worth mentioning, but it made He Di stay on high alert at the same time. His whole body was filled with an unusual excitement.
Who could it be?
Who else could it be?
After countless times of disappointment, a sense of anxiety and eagerness emerged from deep inside. He must be more patient than ever.
He ordered one of his most competent subordinates - Kong Liu - to investigate this matter. While patiently waiting for the news from his subordinate, he was wining and dining with his ladies.
At this moment, it seems that his patience has finally paid off.
"Your Highness, it seems that a strange merchant ship is preparing to cross the Dan Lin Strait. Not just that, according to the news, they are hoping to create a stable route from Xi Lei to Dan Lin to transport the luminescent sand from Dan Lin."
"Well, what a large ambition." He Di leisurely leaned against the high pillow and sneered, "Dan Lin Strait is my territory, do they think they can cross it whenever they want? The luminescent sand isn't something money can easily buy. So who exactly is this person who is so overly confident?"
"The flags on the ship are of the Xiao Family. Also, it's rumored that the Young Lord of the Xiao Family received an order from the Holy Master Xiao to open up a sea route in this area."
"The Xiao Family Young Lord? Isn't that Duke Ming - the one who is most beloved by Xi Lei King?"
"That's right, we also heard that he will soon arrive in Tong Kingdom, perhaps he's heading there because of this reason. Although this person has a huge reputation, he is not someone to be wary of. Also...does Your Highness remember that young man who jumped the ship that year?"
He Di's eyes suddenly flashed a sharp light.
"Which one?" He said in a casual tone.
His throat tightened.
The fingers that were stroking through his woman's hair slowly clenched, causing her to shriek in pain.
"The one called Zi Yan." His subordinate replied, "He is also one of them."
Kong Liu had followed He Di during the surprise attack on Zi Yan, therefore, he knew that person's appearance. Not just that, after that person had escaped, He Di even purposely ordered a painted picture of that special "fugitive."
"Is that right?"
"It's true. I am certain it's him."
"Oh?" He Di gently answered as if he was indifferent to the news.
Only those who knew him would understand that this indifferent attitude was his lingering sexual desire he has been restraining for quite some time now, which finally found a small opening to shine through.
The initial burst was like a fleeting cloud, but as a result, it brought a different feeling beyond his expectation.
After He Di gently answered, he continued to maintain his patience.
Regarding Zi Yan, that battle was just a short moment in time, but it felt like a battle that lasted for eternity between two opponents and He Di's years of training was to fight him.
He continued to endure, after the letter Zi Yan asked Ran Hu to send had arrived, he received the verification he had been waiting for.
Opening up the letter and reading through it, He Di ordered the female attendants to prepare the wine and a large glass made of gold. After drinking the wine, he stood up from the furred mat, curling his naturally heartless thin lips into a smirk, "Kong Liu, do you know what the message inside the letter said?"
"Your subordinate does not know."
"He asked me, after ten days, to pick a place to battle." He Di laughed in complete delight.
Kong Liu was surprised, then he was upset, "This person does not know what death is, what a fool."
"He is not a fool." He Di shook his head, "This person's swordsmanship is superior, if he were to put his life on the line and fight me in a battle, perhaps he could kill me. Once he kills me, these pirates will inevitably disperse. Opening a safe route to transport the luminescent sand will no longer be a problem. This is the best conclusion after battling me. He addressed the letter to Dan Lin second Prince when sending this letter, which means he wanted me to agree to the challenge. If I don't agree then he will take this matter and spread the news everywhere, hoping to brand me with a "coward" reputation. He's trying to use this to weaken my influence on the pirates. In fact, he's not wrong. This person understands that the pirates only recognize the strongest as their leader."
After listening to his explanation, Kong Liu nodded in agreement, but then said, "This person must not have a deep understanding of Your Highness's status among the pirates. How will Your Highness answer to this matter that will not jeopardize your status among the pirates? Anyhow, your subordinate has confidence in Your Highness's swordsmanship. Even if Your Highness were to fight, that arrogant Zi Yan kid will only die in your hands."
He Di's facial features were perfect, in fact, he can be regarded as very handsome. However, his slender eyes added a touch of evilness. His lips when he smiled brought an even more sinister feeling, but also emitted a strong charm that can easily seduce anyone, secretly tempting all the beautiful women around him.
"This letter challenging you, how does Your Highness plan on responding to it?"
He Di gave an enigmatic smile, comfortably laying back onto the layers of brocaded pillows.
"Granting his wish means that I can't afford to have the rest look down upon me. This letter, I'll say I've never seen it before."
"Never seen it?" Kong Liu was stupefied. Judging by His Highness's temperament to avenge grievances, this reaction was very hard to believe.
"Kong Liu, starting from today, by all means inquire about the Xiao Family's Young Lord."
"This..." Kong Liu had known He Di for a long time and understood that His Highness does not like subordinates who were nosy. After spitting out one word, he quickly withheld the rest of his words and said, "Understood, your subordinate will follow through."
"Send men to mobilize large ships and be ready to pack, gather the best men, equip the best weapons and carry along lots of luminescent sand."
He Di's orders surprised Kong Liu for a moment. After receiving the order, he carefully inquired, "What is Your Highness planning to do?"
"For him to challenge me to a battle because he wants to open up a stable route to transport the luminescent sand is already a big mistake." He Di smirked, he called out to one of the beauties to come over and removed his shirt, revealing a scar on his right shoulder. He ordered her to crawl down and lick the old wound. While enjoying the servitude of having his lost flesh tended to, he remembered the lightning flash stab that person gave to his right shoulder. Slowly closing his eyes, he finally ordered, " Immediately send a letter to Tong Kingdom Prince - Qing Li. Tell him that I was shocked to learn about his father's passing. Deeply saddened, I plan on visiting Tong Kingdom to give my condolences."
That young, brave and talented man seemed to value that so-called Duke Ming very much. As long as Duke Ming is captured, it would be the same as capturing him. If that was the case, then that tough looking young man full of integrity would sacrifice himself for the sake of that person. Using someone else as a sacrifice is also one of He Di's many talents.
Just like that, Zi Yan could never have guessed that he had contributed to the perfection of the surveillance system. Zi Yan could also never have guessed that his "battle to the death challenge" with He Di hoping to disperse the pirates would bring another added layer of dangerous variable to the already troubled Feng Ming, who was at that very moment traveling to a different nation - Tong Kingdom.
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 4.1
Semi-summary for this chapter.
The largest fleet of the Xiao Family finally decided to hoist anchor after one day had passed. The reason for the departure wasn't because the good news Feng Ming had long waited for had arrived at last.
In fact, bad news had come one after another.
The first one was regarding the Wen Lan flowers: The subordinate of the Xiao Family, who had been chasing after Lady Yao Ye, had finally handed over Feng Ming's letter of request to the Lady's hands and then breathlessly brought her reply letter back.
Lady Yao Ye's letters were usually very direct, and her response letter was no exception. It only contained a few harsh words, expressing her point of view very clearly, just like when she wrote the letter to Xiao Zong to force marriage.
"You little rascal, do you think the Wen Lan flower that your mother effortly planted is something you can randomly give away to others easily?"
Feng Ming and his maids were filled with anticipation when they opened the letter, but after reading it, they were disappointed. It was clear to Feng Ming that Lady Yao Ye loved the old man more than her own child.
Seeing that he probably wouldn't be able to receive the Wen Lan flower, Feng Ming felt disheartened for not being able to fulfill the promise he had given to Du Feng.
The second bad news was Zi Yan's letter. There was no problem in him investigating the situation within Tong Kingdom, but provoking the pirates on his own was a different story.
Feng Ming had been hesitant to head to Tong Kingdom because he had been waiting for these two news to arrive, but since the Wen Lan flower now seemed to be unobtainable and Zi Yan was on the verge of encountering danger soon, Feng Ming didn't want to sit still and do nothing any longer.
He ordered Luo Deng to hoist anchor and prepare to set sail for Tong Kingdom.
"Isn't this too quick?" Unexpectedly, the first person to stop Feng Ming was Luo Yun.
Everyone stared at Luo Yun in surprise, even Chiu Yue looked at him strangely.
After hearing the news, Luo Ning came to meet with Feng Ming. While stepping through the door and hearing Luo Yun's words, he immediately interrupted, "Young Lord has made his decision, your subordinate will act upon it." He turned to one of his bodyguards and ordered, "Go and tell the other ships to prepare to set sail." Turning back, his eyes swept towards Luo Yun, filled with a hidden meaning.
Luo Yun stared back at him with his cold eyes, then glanced over to Feng Ming with a worried expression. He knew it was an imperative to set sail, even though he knew Tong Kingdom was going to be filled with dangerous traps, but the matter involved his mother and he could not tell Feng Ming a single word about it. He could only stiffen his handsome face as if he had nothing more to say.
Unlike the rest, Rong Hu didn't care much about the Wen Lan flower. If Lady Yao Ye didn't want to give it up, then there was no point in forcing the issue. The one thing that made him worry was regarding Zi Yan. He had known Zi Yan for some time and understood his personality. When Zi Yan encountered a difficult problem, he wouldn't disclose much and would only mention half of it. For him the lightly use of the word "investigate" would usually mean extreme danger. Therefore, when they received Zi Yan's letter, Rong Hu was in half agreement with Feng Ming's decision to set sail.
After several days of anchoring, the large ships finally departed.
During the remainder of the trip, Chiu Lan and the twins were busy creating some new outfits for Feng Ming. It would be another 150 miles until they reached the borders of Tong Kingdom. Everyone knew how dangerous their journey could become because Prince Qing Li wanted to seize the opportunity to eliminate Duke Ming in order to prove the death of his father.
While helping Feng Ming with his bath, Chiu Xing brought up the topic of Luo Yun and how heartless he was in training, causing all the bruises on Feng Ming's back. Feng Ming defended Luo Yun by stating that Luo Yun was the only person who would seriously train with him. Because of the strict training, Feng Ming was able to see improvement in his swordsmanship and was now able to block up to ten strikes from Luo Yun. The maids were skeptical about Feng Ming's improvement, but figured that Rong Hu might be more knowledgeable in that area than they were. Speaking about Luo Yun, Chiu Lan said, "That's right, I saw Luo Yun wearing something that was awfully familiar."
CX: (laughed) What do you mean familiar? That was something Chiu Yue made for Duke Ming. Some time ago, during training, Luo Yun pierced a hole through Duke Ming's armor. Didn't Chiu Yue get upset and threw it at Luo Yun? That foolish rascal decided to wear it himself.
CY: Speaking of this, I get so angry, but what's so funny about it?
After the bath, Feng Ming was fitted into fancy garments and ornaments. While admiring his handsome image, they heard a loud sound from outside.
Lie Zhong Shi and Liu Dou, along with Little Autumn, came to greet them and to hand over a gift to Feng Ming.
CY: Why are you two here? Did you have fun on the trip? I thought you left on another ship to play and never come back.
Originally, those two followed besides Feng Ming, however, because of their constant loud arguments to the point of dreadfulness, Chiu Xing and the others couldn't take it anymore. So they had tricked them onto another ship to calm the atmosphere.
Chiu Yue wanted to keep Little Autumn by her side, but unfortunately the little marten was too loyal to its owner.
Surprised that Lie Zhong Shi and Liu Dou had a gift from Lie Zhong Liu, Feng Ming was curious if they had received news from the Prime Minister. They informed Feng Ming that the gift had been handed to them before leaving Yue Zhong with the instruction that once they reached Tong Kingdom, Feng MIng could open up the gift. Other than that, they didn't received any news from Lie Zhong Liu during the trip.
Once it was reported by the guards that they reached Tong Kingdom, Feng Ming eagerly received the gift. He placed it on the table, after loosening the brocade on the outside, a box was revealed.
Everyone was curious what goods the strange Prime Minister had sent, they all hovered over to take a glimpse. There was no letter on the outside like most gifts would have. Feng Ming could not figure what was inside, he unlocked the silver buckle on the box and the moment he opened the lid, he gave a scream that ran as far as two meters. The maids who were in sight of the object also gave a terrifying scream.
"What happened?" Rong Hu stormed in from outside. On high alert, he looked warily around the room, his eyes swept over to Lie Zhong Shi and Lie Dou, who both gave an innocent look as they pointed towards the box on the table.
Rong Hu's eyes paused on the box, surprised he said, "Isn't this the head of Qing Ding? Why is it here?"
Feng Ming had seen the preserved head before, however, this time he was scared to death, mostly because he was not prepared. After recovering from the shock, he came back to the table, "Oh Mother, my heart was almost jumped out."
The head was originally brought by Third Princess to the secret campsite where Mei Ji had resided. The Princess had hoped to use it to gain a favor from Rong Tian. When Ruo Yan ambushed the campsite, the whole place had been set on fire. Luckily, the head had been kept in a small room, which had been spared from the fire. After Rong Tian had returned to the campsite, he had taken the head with him and as they had entered Yue Zhong city with the help of Lie Zhong Liu, that object also followed them to Yue Zhong as well. He didn't know whether Rong Tian or Lie Zhong Liu had switched the box due to the damages it had received at the campsite, but if it had been the same box, Feng Ming would have been cautiously aware of it.
CL: The Prime Minister is so strange, why did he send such a terrible thing to Feng Ming?
CX: How horrid, let's just toss it.
FM: Why toss it? He specifically ordered for the gift to be given to me once we reach the borders of Tong Kingdom, therefore, it will certainly be useful.
Silent for awhile, he asked Lie Zhong Shi, "Did your brother say what purpose this might have?"
LZS: He didn't say anything.
Lie Dou shook his head confirming this statement.
FM: (chuckled reluctantly) This is clearly a riddle to test me. The Prime Minister gave this to me so there must be a use for it. But what could it be? I can't bring this gift and hand it to the Prince of Tong. He would never thank me, instead, after receiving the gift, he would have an excuse to turn me into the murderer of his father and then mobilize an army to surround and kill me.
Feng Ming's tightened his eyebrows into one line.
While pondering, Rong Hu was preparing to speak, but Luo Yun's voice interrupted him. Outside the cabin, the voice came closer, "We see the port of Fang Di."
Very quickly the curtain of the door lifted and Luo Yun appeared in front of everyone. He appeared to have something to report, but the sudden smell of herbal scent used to cover up the smell of decay reached him.
Luo Yun had been around assassins since he was little, therefore, he was sensitive to the smell of the rotting head. His eyes gazed over at the opened box in the middle of the table. Walking over and seeing the object inside, his face darkened, "Why is this here?"
Rong Hu noticed that his tone was slightly rebuke and dissatisfied.
LZS: This was something my brother wanted to give to Duke Ming. It needed to be carefully kept without any damages.
LD: Also to not allow anyone else to see it.
FM: It's hard to explain... I just found out it was on the ship. Ignore how it got here. Right now we've reached Tong Kingdom so what is the most important thing we need to do?
RH: Duke Ming, please don't worry. The Information that the head of Qing Ding is here will remain a secret. No one will reveal this. (His eyes glanced over at Luo Yun.)
At this time the ship slowed down preparing to stop. Luo Yun didn't notice Rong Hu's glance, instead he took a closer look at the head and praised the preservation technique before closing the lid and rewrapping it up.
RH: How about you leave this gift in my possession and regarding what to do with it, I will let Duke Ming make the decision in the future.
The ship finally pulled to a stop. Luo Deng informed them that there was someone waiting for them at the fort of Fang Di. Feng Ming asked if it's Zi Yan, but Luo Deng answered that it was someone much more important.
Feng Ming couldn't believe the first person to greet them upon arrival to Tong Kingdom was the Royal Uncle Qing Zhang.
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 4.2
Dong Fan's capital, Ping Xi.
Overlooking the top of the wall, Lie Zhong Liu could see Rong Tian leading ten thousand troops inside the gates. Although Lie Zhong Liu usually displayed a calm demeanor, he was relieved.
At this time, every nation was on high alert. To secretly bring such a large amount of troops safely across several nations to Dong Fan was not an easy task.
Once the soldiers reached Dong Fan, his important preparation could begin - training the soldiers.
Which nation wouldn't think the more troops the better? After his subordinates greeted and escorted the troops, Rong Tian immediately met with Lie Zhong Liu.
Spending several days on the road, Rong Tian was slimmer than before and the contours of his face were more angular. Once Lie Zhong Liu stood in front of him, he held out his hand to stop the arms that were about to greet him. Rong Tian laughed heartily, "I've finally reached this place. Prime Minister does not need to waste time in these ceremonial greetings. I believe Prime Minister has reached Dong Fan many days ago, so you must have made lots of implementations"
"Your Majesty, allow Lie Zhong Liu to report each one to you."
"Hopefully it will not take long." Rong Tian walked into the room alongside him. Despite the busy schedule, he took off his cloak and placed it on the back of his chair, "Prime Minister, please go ahead, I'm listening."
"The first thing, Dong Fan has workshops to create weapons. There are a total of twelve workshops, all of them are run by the military. I have consolidated the twelve sites to five, concentrating all the skilled craftsmen together, along with the materials. The number of workshops are fewer, but now on a larger scale so they can be easier to manage."
"Good." Rong Tian said, "By doing this, the production of weapons will be more efficient."
"Second, to promulgate the Grace Order, I have assigned people to copy the Grace Order and post them throughout Dong Fan. Those who are literate will be asked to read it to others, hoping to bring more awareness to the Grace Order."
Rong Tian added, "Not just spreading awareness, we also must establish some official posts tasked with recruiting talented people. As for those within the army, regardless of their commoner's background, as long as they have made accomplishments, they should be commended."
Lie Zhong Liu glanced at Rong Tian, slightly curving his lips.
His attitude was more serious than before, he could be regarded as being neatly dressed, looking very much like a Prime Minister. Still facing Rong Tian, he smiled - however, he only pretended to be not as serious as he looked on the outside.
Seeing that Lie Zhong Liu was only smiling for show, Rong Tian knew what he was really thinking. Not bothering to care, Rong Tian read over the stack of documents Lie Zhong Liu handed him.
"I'm upset that I can't immediately sign all of these documents for you to take care of them right away, so you can't really blame me. Since you have agreed to become the Prime Minister, you have to understand the challenges waiting for you. Just like the suggestion of having Feng Ming travel to different nations, that was your idea."
Rong Tian handed one document to Lie Zhong Liu, changing three days to two days one barrel of rice. "If you want the soldiers to fight battles, you need to give them a full meal, also having extra food supplies in times of emergency. Three days one barrel is not enough. Two days one barrel. Hand this to Dong Fan's Little King and have him stamp it and issue the order."
He continued looking over each document without making additional changes. While doing so, Rong Tian admired Lie Zhong Liu's sense of thoroughness, he couldn't find any other places to fix.
After signing the last one, he handed it back to Lie Zhong Liu. Lie Zhong Liu received it with open arms, but Rong Tian didn't let go; he looked deeply into Lie Zhong Liu's eyes and said, "These past days, it's been hard for you."
Lie Zhong Liu tried hard to keep his calm demeanor, but he couldn't help from revealing a wry smile. "What's so hard about completing these little things? However, to report to Your Majesty about the bad news is a difficult job for me."
Rong Tian was surprised, "What bad news is causing the Prime Minister to have a headache?"
LZL: I just received news about it from Li Kingdom.
RT: Ruo Yan?
LZL: Ever since Long Tian murdered the Fan Jia Royalties, Fan Jia's morale has been weakened, their people no longer have the will to fight. Ruo Yan relied on his army's power and therefore did not encounter much resistance. Thus, Fan Jia has fallen into the hands of Li King not long ago.
Rong Tian loosened his grip, allowing Lie Zhong Liu to take the documents.
RT: Fan Jia's defeat was expected.
LZL: However, after Li army's victory and occupying Fan Jia's capital, Ruo Yan ordered for Li General, Zhuo Nian, to look after Fan Jia, while Li King's own carriages immediately headed back to Li Kingdom.
RT: Headed back to Li Kingdom? There might be a reason for it. Unlike Fan Jia, Li Kingdom is Ruo Yan's main territory. He has been unconscious for awhile and to immediately head to Yong Yin after waking up, then to Fan Jia, it wouldn't be strange for his people to feel unrest without their King. If Li Kingdom experienced any trouble, Ruo Yan would meet with disaster so wouldn't it make sense for him to hurry back to the capital?
LZL: If he headed back to Li Tong (the capital), then I wouldn't be so worried. Ruo Yan ordered for Miao Guang to take charge of the daily affairs of Li Kingdom. If there are any important matters, then she is to send the news quickly to him. Do you know where Ruo Yan was headed to?
Rong Tian felt an uneasiness inside, he looked silently at Lie Zhong Liu.
Lie Zhong Liu requested him to look at the large map hanging in front of the hall. Pointing to an area within the map, without blinking an eye, he said, "Here."
"Tian Yin?" On Rong Tian's extraordinarily handsome face surfaced a trace of sensitive doubt.
If he wasn't filled with ambition to conquer the world, countless years of studying each nation, then he wouldn't have immediately known the name of this town.
This town couldn't be any more ordinary. Ruo Yan should be in dire need to appease his people, so why is he not within the palace, but instead chose to rush to such a small town?
Rong Tian lifted a finger, gently caressing the little dot on the map. This town was located at the edge of Li Kingdom, a junction point of Li Kingdom, Yong Yin and Bo Jian. It had been repaired since a war had taken place long ago, but then abandoned. Ruo Yan choosing to take shelter there and not in his cozy comfortable capital of Li Tong means that he must've used some number of troops to guard him. This location was detrimental to managing both Fan Jia and Li Kingdom's affairs, unless he is ...
Thinking of a possibility, Rong Tian's face slightly changed, "Is he waiting for news? Or waiting for someone?"
Those were the only two possibilities.
The position of Tian Yin was very unique. The advantage it could bring to Ruo Yan was that any person bringing news in and out of Yong Yin or Bo Jian would reach him the fastest.
No news could get past Li King.
Speaking of which, who could possibly make Ruo Yan loosen his complete focus on Fan Jia and Li Kingdom's affairs and rush tirelessly to Tian Yin?
Bordering Yong Yin...
"Feng Ming." Rong Tian's tone turned cold, his eyes filled with murderous intent, "He dares to lay a hand on Feng Ming again?!"
"And..." Saying up to this, Rong Tian was filled with hate as he tried to restrain himself. It almost seemed as if Ruo Yan was strangling his heart, but Rong Tian took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. His eyes glanced over at Lie Zhong Liu, analyzing the matter as he spoke calmly, "According to Mian Ya's report, Feng Ming has entered Tong Kingdom. If Ruo Yan's current destination is Tian Yin, then he's still a far distance from Feng Ming. What exactly is his intention?"
"Now does Your Majesty understand the bad news I've mentioned?" Lie Zhong Liu shrugged his shoulders, he took a sigh and gave a bitter smile, "Receiving bad news is the most terrible thing on the battlefield, to be more precise, it is not knowing what your enemy is thinking."
"No matter what his intentions are," Rong Tian turned to the back side of his chair, taking the dust covered cloak, he re-buckled the silver buckle at the neck, with resolute eyes he said, "I'll be leaving immediately, I'm heading to Tong Kingdom."
Once he reaches Tong Kingdom, he will have to fiercefully embrace that young man he has been thinking of intensely. Embrace him tightly until he is crushed. And just like in his thoughts, easily crushed up Xi Lei King's heart.
To tightly hold him, scrunch him up, to savor and swallow him whole while never needing to regurgitate him for an entire lifetime.
Only in that way, he would no longer be as scared as he was.
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 4.3
A bit of summarizing to speed things along. Feng Ming's first encounter with Royal Uncle Qing Zhang and Zhuang Pu.
Just as Feng Ming arrived at the port of Fang Di, he was confronted with an unexpected grand ceremony.
"Welcome, Young Lord Xiao!" Feng Ming was greeted by a large group of people who were responsible for greeting guests and at the same time, singing and music were heard.
A large red carpet rolled down from the Xiao Family's ship halfway onto the dock of Fang Di. Tong Kingdom's soldiers stood in rows, holding their spears in a composed manner.
The large banners marked with Royal Uncle Qing Zhang's crest, also representing Tong Kingdom's behalf, were held on both sides. Thirteen pale blue flags both on the left and right, making a total of twenty six troops.
In Tong Kingdom, these were the specifications for greeting a nation's most noble guest.
However, even for the highest dignitaries, it was rare for a Royal Uncle of a high status to personally greet the guests.
Rong Hu softly whispered to Feng Ming that the person in front wearing a dark blue robe was Tong Kingdom's Royal Uncle Qing Zhang, while the person standing next to him was Zhuang Pu, the Imperial General. He was also known as Tong Kingdom's number one master swordsman and it was rumored that Qing Zhang thinks highly of him.
Feng Ming silently kept his words in mind. He understood that the position as an Imperial General in Tong Kingdom was a significant official post, with many further rankings below it. The bodyguards who were responsible for protecting the Royal Family within the palace were normally under the command of the Imperial General.
Therefore, for both the Royal Uncle and the Imperial General of Tong Kingdom to welcome Feng Ming at the small port...
Feng Ming felt nervous and asked Rong Hu in a low voice, "Do you think they knew that Qing Ding's head is on our ship and are planning on inviting us down below to kill us off?"
Luo Yun's voice full of disdain, intervened, "If Young Lord is afraid, you don't need to disembark, just quickly remove the anchor and head back. With this little amount of troops they have, if they plan a siege on our fleet, there is a little chance of winning."
Although his words were filled with disdain, they were in fact for Feng Ming's sake.
Since knowing that his mother was somehow involved in Tong Kingdom's matter, Luo Yun was very reluctant to have Feng Ming encounter her here.
"How can I not get off?" Seeing the grand welcome from the people below, even though Feng Ming was scared, he tried to use his words to hide those feelings. He chuckled, "It's alright if I'm humiliated, but I cannot let Rong Tian be humiliated. Get ready to disembark."
The subordinates onboard shouted for everyone to prepare for the Young Lord's disembarkment. Feng Ming was adorned in precious jewelry and ornaments from top to bottom and made his way down the ship in the most dignified manner possible.
Walking towards Qing Zhang, about ten feet away, Feng Ming stopped and carefully looked at Qing Zhang. Feng Ming greeted him and said, "For Tong Kingdom's Royal Uncle to personally welcome me, not only it is unexpected, but I feel very embarrassed."
Feng Ming exposed a candid smile only he could have and asked, "One of my Zongguans of the Xiaos informed me that Tong Kingdom's Royal Uncle had personally come. He was overjoyed and said that if the Royal Uncle is here then I can have a peace of mind during my stay here in Tong Kingdom. I wonder if what he said is true?"
With a direct question like that, those who came to greet Feng Ming couldn't be more surprised of the question.
Before Qing Zhang could reply, the Imperial General Zhuang Pu, standing next to him, revealed a smile and asked in response, "Does the Young Lord of the Xiao believe that he will encounter misfortune here in Tong Kingdom? Could it be that the Young Lord has done something "modest" that even before he disembarks, he is worried about his own safety?" These words were like cotton attached with needles, alluding that Feng Ming was involved in the conspiracy of murdering Tong Kingdom's Great King Qing Ding. It was an extremely lethal question.
If Feng Ming did not respond, Zhuang Pu just had to lift a finger and the group of troops behind could immediately rush forth and slice him into a bloody mess.
What was even more worrisome was that, although they had prepared such a grand entrance for him, there was no guarantee that there were no other troops hiding inside the forest or within the vicinity of the town.
He must not show any sign of weakness!
Luckily, it were moments where the situation appeared the most critical that Feng Ming was forced to show his true colors. Staring at Zhuang Pu without an ounce of fear, Feng Ming suddenly raised his right hand and made a gesture, ordering those standing behind him not to follow.
Taking a deep breath, Feng Ming proudly walked forward alone in front of Zhuang Pu, within an arm's distance. Facing Zhuang Pu, Feng Ming politely asked him, "Does the Imperial General believe that I have a guilty conscience?"
His stance was indescribably unrestrained and casual.
In such a close range, one could see the outline of his handsome, gentle, clear, spotless eyes.
Using Rong Tian's charming demeanor that the other had constantly taught him along with his own unique calm and frank composure, Feng Ming had found an excellent weapon of psychological warfare and perhaps was very suitable for "melee battle."
The people present were all well aware of the rumor of Duke Ming murdering Tong Kingdom's Great King. At the moment, for Feng Ming to be standing at a close distance where the famous swordsman, Zhuang Pu could easily stab him with a sword, surprised even Zhuang Pu.
After the shock, Zhuang Pu, filled with admiration, said with a serious face, "Duke Ming is very courageous, Zhuang Pu was very rude just now, I request for Duke Ming's forgiveness."
"Ha ha! It's all a joke, General Zhuang mustn't take it seriously." Royal Uncle Qing Zhang had been standing beside and was watching Feng Ming carefully. At this moment, he finally let out a laughter, somewhat pretentious, to avert their attention.
He is the only younger brother of Tong Kingdom's Great King Qing Ding, also the Royal Uncle of the Great King's son Qing Li. In fact, he is about thirty-something, but because of an excessive consumption of wine and women and not knowing how to restrain himself, his face was pale and he had a potbelly, he was chubby in appearance, all in all giving the look of a dissolute person.
After several laughters and seeing everyone's eyes turned towards him, he said to Feng Ming, "I'm extremely honored to have Duke Ming visit our kingdom. As the representative of Tong Kingdom, I, the Royal Uncle, welcome Duke Ming. I've prepared a bit of wine within the city so will Duke Ming join me? Come, Duke Ming, please ride with me in the carriage as we enjoy the view of Tong Kingdom's Fang Di."
Not waiting for Feng Ming to answer, he reached out his hand and grabbed Feng Ming's arm.
The welcoming troops parted in the middle, opening a path leading to an ornate horse drawn carriage with the Tong Kingdom's royal markings. This was definitely a private carriage of Qing Zhang.
Zhuang Pu unhurriedly asked, "The men within Royal Uncle's convoy are highly skilled swordsmen in Tong Kingdom. They will definitely ensure absolute safety for Duke Ming before arriving at the banquet, unless...Duke Ming has a hidden hardship and does not want to sit in the same carriage as Royal Uncle?"
Rong Hu, along with the other bodyguards' faces slightly changed. They immediately gave a wink to signal each other, seeking an emergency plan.
What they worried about was if there were assassins hidden inside the carriage, wouldn't it be hard to guarantee Duke Ming's little life?
What he hated at this time was the fact that he was just a bodyguard and could not speak out against it, that would have been totally unacceptable and a great insult to the Tong Kingdom Royal Uncle, and would just increase suspicion towards Duke Ming.
Furthermore, the information they received stated that Tong Kingdom Prince Qing Li wants to kill Duke Ming to avenge his father. Royal Uncle Qing Zhang is Qing Li's opponent so he should be taking sides with Duke Ming. Because of this, they could not ruin the friendly relationship between Duke Ming and Qing Zhang!
Feng Ming was also secretly crying out. He never would have guessed Qing Zhang would be so straightforward and immediately be on friendly terms with him like a brother. Right now, his arm was being held tightly and if he were to refuse riding in the same carriage, wouldn't he be revealing his fox tail*? (*NOTE: exposing lies)
Ah, that's not right. How is he a fox? He clearly didn't kill Qing Ding.
At most, he personally placed himself as a scapegoat in place of a pig's crime.
"Duke Ming, please."
"Ah...please, please do, Royal Uncle." Feng Ming smiled, but glanced back at the unsightly faces of his bodyguards. He then pretended to gladly join hands with Qing Zhang as they walked off.
"Duke Ming!" When Feng Ming hesitantly walked in front of the private horse carriage of Qing Zhang, Rong Hu came from behind in a timely manner, ignoring Qing Zhang's surprised and slightly angry face, he smiled at Feng Ming and said, "Did Duke Ming forget about Lady Yao Ye's instruction? Sitting in carriages, you are required to change into breathable shoes."
How could Feng Ming not know that he was making stuff up, so of course, he played along, suddenly making a face and slapping his forehead, "That's right, I almost forgot my mother's rules. Luckily you have reminded me." Turning to Qing Zhang, he apologized, "Royal Uncle, please wait a bit. It's a strict family rule, I can't go against it."
Even though Qing Zhang hadn't met Lady Yao Ye before, he had heard rumors that she was eccentric. He revealed an understanding look.
"Allow your subordinate to change your shoes." Rong Hu knelt down, pulled out a pair of new shoes from his inside chest pocket, not sure if those shoes were made for him by Chiu Lan, but he pretended to help Feng Ming remove the fine boots off his feet.
Because of this time delay, Luo Yun reached them, holding a seat cushion in hand from who knows where, he said, "I've brought Young Lord's special cushion, do you want me to place it inside the carriage?"
Feng Ming knew the time and the situation, he turned to Qing Zhang and politely asked for his opinion.
For a pampered noble to use their own special things during travel was very common. For example, Tong Kingdom Princess Consort Chang Liu from Zhao Bei would bring her own footrest otherwise she would refuse to step foot outside. Feng Ming was both Duke Ming and the Xiao Family's Young Lord so for him to bring along his beloved items was highly likely. Qing Zhang could not refuse.
After gaining permission, Luo Yun immediately brought the special seat cushion inside Qing Zhang's carriage, after awhile, he climbed down to report back, "Young Lord, the cushion has been set."
Feng Ming gave an "Ah." He understood clearly that when Luo Yun entered Qing Zhang's carriage, he made sure to check for hidden weapons and assassins hiding onboard.
At this time, Rong Hu's "exchanging shoes" procrastination operation came to an end. He stood up and said, "The shoes are changed, Duke Ming can board the carriage."
At that same time, Chiu Lan along with Chiu Yue and Chiu Xing were holding a small side dish, placed on top of each was a hot tea and plates of dried fruits.
"Duke Ming instructed us to prepare specialized tea from Yong Yin and dried fruits for Royal Uncle so that the two of you could enjoy the roadside scenery while we servants will service alongside."
These maids were fast thinkers, allowing Feng Ming a sigh of relief.
Within a short moment, they had been able to delay time, search the carriage, and bring three maids to protect Feng Ming inside the carriage.
Not waiting for Feng Ming to ask for his opinion the second time, Tong Kingdom Royal Uncle had carefully examined the pretty faces of the maids and laughed, "Good! Good! Although there's tea prepared inside the carriage, I'm afraid it won't be good without these beauties to serve it. Come, Duke Ming." He held onto Feng Ming's hands as they both headed inside the carriage.
Rong Hu and the bodyguards, along with Qing Zhang's escort, stood together in one place, front and back of the horse carriage.
Chiu Lan brought all of the items inside the carriage. Luckily, Qing Zhang's carriage was large enough to hold all five people without feeling crowded.
So what are your impression of these new characters so far?
I'm hoping to complete more chapters this week before the Memorial weekend, but with Fanime coming up, I'll try to put up at least one more chapter this week. Thank you for following! =)
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 5.1
Obviously, Qing Zhang didn't have plans to kill Feng Ming inside the carriage.
He didn't hide any assassins or weapons inside the carriage. He didn't object to allowing the maids serving them. After boarding the carriage, he was very pleased and enjoyed the special tea from Yong Yin.
Sitting face to face with Qing Zhang, Feng Ming was full of curiosity about this Royal Uncle who had taken over most of his Older Brother's power, therefore he couldn't resist to ask, "Royal Uncle must be very busy, so why did you not hesitate to leave the capital of Tong Kingdom to meet up with me?"
QZ: If I didn't personally came here today, I would be very worried.
FM: Ah? Why do you say that?
QZ: Hasn't Duke Ming heard of the bad unaccounted news regarding Tong Kingdom's Great King?
FM: I heard some.
QZ: Well, Tong Kingdom's Prince Qing Li suspects Duke Ming of killing his father. He vowed that if Duke Ming dares to come to Tong Kingdom, he will make Duke Ming pay in blood. Duke Ming must have heard more or less of it, right?
Ever since Feng Ming set foot on Tong Kingdom, he had seen Tong soldiers with sharp gleaming spears in their hands; therefore, his acting skills couldn't be rough to give them a reason to train their weapons handling.
He thought about how his success or failure would affect Rong Tian, Lie Zhong Liu, everyone in the Xiao Family, etc... even if his acting skills were not top notch, he would definitely have to force himself to reach its pinnacle.
After hearing Qing Zhang's words, Feng Ming immediately answered with a dissatisfied tone, "Could it be that Royal Uncle also believes in those rumors? If I did murder Tong Kingdom's Great King, would I dare to step foot onto the Tong territory? There is no such fool who is not afraid of death, right? I believe that Prince Qing Li is being confused by a troublesome person. I am confident that he will soon be aware of this..." As long as the head in Rong Hu's possession was not discovered by him...
Seeing him speak in a serious tone, Qing Zhang laughed and waved his hand, "I certainly don't believe that Duke Ming would be heartless to do such a thing. Also, I don't believe that my Royal Brother is dead..."
Feng Ming silently thought, of course he doesn't believe because if he did believe that Qing Ding is dead, then his nephew would ascend the throne as King, taking away the power in his hands.
"....Qing Li is still young, he can be easily vulnerable to other people's persuasion. I feared that during his moments of confusion, he would do something stupid and rashly ambush Duke Ming. Therefore, after receiving news of Duke Ming reaching the borders of Tong Kingdom, I immediately rushed over here, in order to meet Duke Ming upon your first arrival in Tong Kingdom and to ensure your safety. First reason is to protect Duke Ming. Second, is for the sake of my naive nephew - if he would really kill Duke Ming, how could we face the Xiao Family and Xi Lei's King? Ah, ever since Royal Brother's whereabouts are unknown, Qing Li's temper has become worse each day. Even towards his Royal Uncle, he has become very disrespectful. However, he is still the only flesh and blood of my brother, if I would allow him to commit a huge mistake and my Royal Brother comes back, how am I to explain everything to my brother?"
Speaking sensible words this time along with the helpless look on his face made a very convincing act. (This time speaking sensible words, combined with a helpless look on his face, he was very convincing.)
Feng Ming was very cooperative and gazed at him with grateful eyes.
"Duke Ming," Qing Zhang said, "I have a favor to ask of you, hopefully Duke Ming can agree."
Feng Ming slightly trembled inside, he said, "Please ask, Royal Uncle."
QZ: Qing Li holds a grudge against Duke Ming, but that is because of trickery by others. I urge Duke Ming not to be resentful about this....
FM: Of course.
QZ: ....I also urge Duke Ming that once we reach the capital Tong Ze, you promise to meet with Qing Li, remove all misunderstandings and shake hands.
QZ: Safety is absolutely not a problem. The troops inside Tong Ze are within my control. I would use my head to guarantee Duke Ming's safety. With me by your side, Qing Li will not dare to touch a single hair of Duke Ming. As long as Duke Ming has the courage to meet with Qing Li just once, it will be enough for those around Qing Li to believe that Duke Ming is innocent. Afterwards, Qing Li won't be able to do much by himself. Even if he doesn't come to his senses, he will have no way to cause you much harm.
Feng Ming silently thought about the situation and relations within.
Qing Li wanted to kill him in order to use his life as announcement of the death of Qing Ding, thus, to ascend the throne. For that very same reason, Qing Zhang would absolutely not allow Qing Li to succeed. Therefore, Qing Zhang should be highly interested in Feng Ming's safety, wasn't that right?
Moreover, without taking the accuser Qing Li into consideration, why should Qing Zhang want to harm him?
Why should he dare to offend Rong Tian and the Xiao Family for no reason?
Argh! Even though this man's words were not entirely genuine, but they were partially stating the truth.
Cautious, Feng Ming tried to find out the reason, while answering in a flustered manner, "Royal Uncle's kindness, Feng Ming doesn't know how to repay it."
Qing Zhang's lips suddenly curved in a strange arc, he chuckled, "Repayment is not as simple. As long as Duke Ming agrees with my two requests, then my kindness would be repaid."
"Ah?" Feng Ming was dumbfounded at this moment.
Is this a mistake?
This old man was too straightforward.
QZ: It's just two small requests, I guarantee Duke Ming will complete them without much difficulty.
FM: Uh... what are those two small requests?
QZ: The first one...I hope Duke Ming can switch Fen Cheng port exchange with Fang Di port instead in the future.
Seeing Qing Zhang's true greed, Feng Ming quickly understood the situation.
The Xiao Family was the world's largest shipping business and Fen Cheng the biggest pier used. All of the cargo shipped in and out required to pay the local government's taxes. If all items exchanged at Fen Cheng city were instead from now on shipped to Fang Di, then Tong Kingdom would gain a lot of taxes from the Xiao Family every year.
This was nothing more than wanting a huge bribery because pier taxes were due every year.
This Qing Zhang actually wanted to overtake Yong Yin's tax business. His reaction was very fast! He must have received news regarding Tai Can - the official in charge of Fen Cheng port, who had disappeared, and guessing that Fen Cheng port's operation was unstable, he thought changing ports wouldn't do much harm to the Xiao Family, but the interest would be in his favor. Therefore, he tried to find a method ensuring Feng Ming to agree to this request.
Excellent! If this man was born in modern times, he would definitely be a top businessman.
QZ: In fact, Fang Di is not a bad port. Although it's a bit dilapidated, but if the roads are widened, coupled with a few expansion repairs, it would be much better than Fen Cheng port.
Feng Ming certainly didn't want to argue with him regarding this matter, "I will have my subordinates take care of it. As long as the cargos are smoothly handled in Fang Di, then all of the shipments will be handled in Fang Di."
"Great! Duke Ming is a very easy going/practical person!!" Qing Zhang blossomed when he smiled, he affectionately patted Feng Ming on the shoulder.
FM: The second request....
QZ: The second request is even simplier. I have heard of Duke Ming's extraordinary beauty and thought that those words were just exaggerated rumors. But seeing you today, Duke Ming is even more vivid than the rumors. The reason why I brought the best artist here is because I want him to paint a portrait of Duke Ming. Of course, I'm afraid that no brushes in the world can capture Duke Ming's complete grace, but as long as half of your charm is presented, it would still be a masterpiece. If Qing Zhang could have that painting and hang it within the Royal Palace, it would be a great blessing. Don't know if Duke Ming would agree to this request?
Feng Ming thought long and hard but could not imagine that his handsomeness was to the point of extraordinary. However, if a portrait could exchange for Tong Kingdom Royal Uncle's kindness, then he wouldn't mind.
Didn't know what people had rumored about him, hopefully it was nothing like "beautiful appearance but stupid," or something like "has a long forehead but no brains?"
FM: You're too kind, Royal Uncle ... I ...my appearance is quite ordinary... Having the best artist come and have my portrait hung up in your Royal Palace, I'm afraid I don't deserve it...
(NOTE: It's been written in history books and that the best artists granted by the Kings, cannot be easily invited to come and paint a portrait to just anyone.)
QZ: Duke Ming is too humble. Doesn't Duke Ming know that a portrait of you has been sold at a high price? Portraits that look a bit like you could sell for twenty pieces of gold. If the artist is able to paint a portrait similar to 70-80% of Duke Ming, then that portrait could sell for more than 100 pieces of gold.
FM: What? (Feng Ming's eyes widened, his mouth dropped in surprise.)
During that moment of surprise, the rotation of the wheel finally came to a stop. One of Qing Zhang's guards reported, "We've finally reached the Banquet, Royal Uncle and Duke Ming please exit the carriage."
When Feng Ming hadn't even stepped out of the carriage, Luo Yun and Rong Hu came and ordered several clever guards into the hall, "Prepare Young Lord's cutlery." Before Feng Ming sat down to eat, all of the places that were commonly searched had been thoroughly checked.
During the banquet, there were lots of burning incenses inside and not a lot of people. The main ones were only Feng Ming, Qing Zhang and Zhuang Pu. Zhuang Pu was not a talkative type of person and the one doing the most talking was Qing Zhang. He lamented about his Royal Brother, his unworthy nephew, and sang praises about Feng Ming.
Feng Ming occasionally had personable verbal exchanges, but was trying hard to keep himself awake.
After the long banquet night, Feng Ming finally decided to take his leave for the night. When asked where he was going to be resting at, Rong Hu gave Feng Ming a signal to which Feng Ming replied that he would be heading back to the ship to rest.
Qing Zhang didn't bother to stop him, but asked Feng Ming if he intended to come to Tong Ze. Feng Ming answered that he will.
Tong Ze was the capital of Tong Kingdom. According to the discussion Feng Ming had with Lie Zhong Liu, Tong Ze was one of the destinations he must stop at.
QZ: That is good. I will be traveling the same way as Duke Ming. My ship is also stationed at Fang Di port. Tomorrow morning, please allow my ship to travel alongside with the Xiao fleet. We'll travel upstream towards Han Ruo. Once we reach Han Ruo, we'll disembark and travel by foot for four days until we reach Tong Ze.
At this time, Zhuang Pu stood up to report, "Since the Xiao Family has many highly skilled men traveling along the Aman River, I will not have to worry about Duke Ming's safety. As for me, I will bring another set of troops to follow along the shore and help one another. Once we reach Han Ruo, we'll join up again. The guards under my command and the guards beside Duke Ming will both escort Royal Uncle and Duke Ming; therefore, the both of you will be guaranteed absolute safety, how about it?"
Luo Yun and Rong Hu, who were responsible for the protection and safety of Feng Ming, had carefully studied the route heading to Tong Ze several times. Following the Aman River to Han Ruo and then travel by land was the easiest and safest way.
Zhuang Pu was Tong Kingdom Imperial General with the important duty of protecting the Tong Kingdom's Royal Family, so naturally he was an elite senior bodyguard with similar thinking as Luo Yun and Rong Hu.
Rong Hu and Luo Yun exchanged glances, confident of this suggestion.
Feng Ming had become a major factor in Qing Zhang and Qing Li's power struggle. If Qing Zhang allowed Feng Ming to encounter trouble in Tong Kingdom, not only would he lose that shining light in front of him, but also expose his true face - using unlawful means to take control of the situation in Tong Kingdom.
Ah, these people must be very afraid that Feng Ming will be killed by Qing Li~
FM: For me to travel alongside Royal Uncle is a very good thing.
QZ: Then it's settled.
After settling on tomorrow's plans, Feng Ming was glad he finally got out of that boring banquet. He climbed onto the horse carriage with both Rong Hu and Luo Yun right behind to protect him and at the same time exchange their views about the situation.
"Qing Zhang clearly insists on traveling together with Duke Ming, what do you think?"
"According to his reasoning, it does seem that he is protecting the Young Lord's safety."
Feng Ming intervened, "Right now, he has to protect me, the situation calls for it. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. This sentence can be used to describe the situation today."
For Feng Ming to be in alliance with Qing Zhang would undermine Qing Li's power. To a person who had been accused and vowed to be killed by Qing Li, this was good news.
Of course for Qing Li, not so much.
"Even if Qing Zhang is willing to protect Duke Ming, there is no guarantee that there is not someone from Qing Li's men among his guards. Right now, whether he is sincere or fake, we must not let our guard down regardless of by water or land, we must strengthen our protection."
"Yes, let's do that."
Qing Zhang personally escorted Feng Ming to the main door and after seeing his carriage leave in the distance, he returned back to his room.
Quickly returning to his luxurious furnished bedroom, Qing Zhang yawned, while removing his belt, he ordered the female attendants to leave.
Once everyone had left, he shut the door, his eyes suddenly flashed in the darkness without the slightest weariness.
"My Lady? My Lady?" Qing Zhang lit a small candle and walked towards the embroidered bed, then lowered his voice and asked, "My Lady, are you still awake?"
A white jaded hand suddenly stretched out from under the canopy, so beautiful it was thrilling. That hand grabbed hold of Qing Zhang's shirt and pulled him in to which Qing Zhang gave a gentle "Aiya~" and fell inside the canopy. It was hard to see anything inside. The looming fragrance floated about, tingling his thirst.
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 5.2
"Royal Uncle has come back?" A low bassed feminine tone sounded out like a musical instrument.
QZ: I have met with Duke Ming.
After a moment of silence, a sweet female voice exclaimed, "Oh!"
QZ: Just like my lady says, he is very gullible. During the banquet, I kept on praising him on the various achievements he made and repeatedly told him that I won't let Qing Li harm him. He must have felt that I will not harm him at all. Before leaving, he even agreed to travel with me to Tong Ze.
Qing Zhang's ears burned red as if someone blew a heavenly breath behind his ears. He reached back and suddenly was overjoyed when catching the soft hand of his lady.
This beauty's trick was very ambiguous, she made him believe that she loved him, but yet always refused to let him easily touch her. Tonight, she agreed to give him the upper hand, of course to reward him for his diligent efforts.
"Royal Uncle must remember, once you reach Tong Ze, you need him to meet with Qing Li first. You must never let him be suspicious of you at all."
Qing Zhang gently played with her soft hand, filled with confidence he said, "Lady Qian Qian, please rest assured. I'm not the type of person to reveal any flaws. Duke Ming is a naive brat, even if there are ten of him, they would not be my opponents. Also, this time, I have brought along Imperial General Zhuang Pu. This person has no clue about my plan and even believes that I'm protecting Duke Ming in order to stabilize the peace within Tong Kingdom, so he will certainly protect him safely. With him to cover up, no matter how clever Duke Ming's bodyguards are, they won't see anything out of place."
QZ: After traveling for more than 10 days from Fang Di to Tong Ze, they will soon believe I have no ill intentions towards Duke Ming. Just like that, once we reach Tong Ze, I will arrange a meeting between Qing Li and Duke Ming. Their attention will then be completely focused on Qing Li.
The woman sarcastically answered, "Congratulations, Royal Uncle. If this plan succeeds, the one sitting on the throne of Tong Kingdom will be you, Royal Uncle."
QZ: I actually have to congratulate My Lady instead, your son will now have a chance to inherit the Xiao Family business. Isn't this even larger than the small throne of Tong Kingdom? Hopefully, once this plan is successful, My Lady won't forget your promise to me.
The soft hand he was playing with suddenly withdrew. Qing Zhang was not annoyed, instead he licked his lips and said, "There are rumors that not just Xi Lei's Great King fancy Duke Ming, but the Li King is also captivated by him as well. In my opinion, Duke Ming is very pleasing to the eyes, but the most beautiful is a young wife who can satisfy, flirt and be charming like you..."
LQQ: Once Royal Uncle successfully gets rid of that little bastard, then you can think about these things. Right now, I'm only worried about that useless Qing Li. We have painstakingly created all sorts of advantages for him, and even formed a scheme to lure that kid away from the two layers of bodyguards. I'm just afraid he might miss this opportunity to kill him. This useless trash is always doing things without definite assertiveness and if he starts hesitating before taking action, therefore missing the golden opportunity, our plan will immediately fall short.
QZ: That is not possible. He is currently under Shang Yi's spell to the point that he lost all awareness. He has been drugged by the medicine she gave him. Right now, as long as Shang Yi tells him something, even if it's to jump into the sea, this foolish kid will follow through with it. Not to mention, you just want him to avenge his father. Naturally, after avenging his father, we need his little life to compensate in the future. Ha ha ha! After I execute him to relieve the pain of Xi Lei King and Xiao Family, I will find him a good burial place to express the sorrow as a Royal Uncle.
Tong Kingdom's capital, Tong Ze.
Tong An Quarter - Prince Qing Li's residence was located less than ten miles east of the Tong Palace. This place was quite large with tall red walls and a great variety of rare plants planted inside the luxurious interior. This was the generation of Tong Kingdom monarch's bestowment to their eldest sons, also known as the Royal Prince's quarter.
Qing Li's chamber was also the most spacious room within the "Royal Prince's quarter." The North Xiu Chamber was connected to the Royal Prince's bedroom, very convenient to move between the rooms. That room would be renovated every three months so that Shang Yi, the beloved beauty of the Prince, could reside in it.
That one afternoon, Qing Li was still nestling inside the bedroom with Shang Yi.
SY: Hush, let me concentrate.
QL: Alright, alright. I won't argue with you.
Qing Li leaned back behind Shang Yi, his hands reached forward and were placed on her soft slender waist, admiring the beautiful image of her concentrating.
Shang Yi was in her late teens, around 17 or 18. Her appearance was able to move people, she had a docile personality, could flatter others easily and held some knowledge of medicine and fortune telling. After her parents passed away, she had been sold into Tong An Quarter. Their first meeting left Qing Li stunned by her beauty. He loved her dearly and thought that the heavens were compensating him for the loss of his father by sending her to him.
SY: Your Highness, I've made the reading and the outcome looks optimistic.
QL: Oh? How is that?
SY: This appearing fortune is a good omen.
Shang Yi explained softly, a bit playful and fatigued, she fell back into Qing Li' arms.
SY: Your Highness's ascension to the throne is Heaven's will, no one is able to stop you. But...
QL: But what?
SY: But the fortune also states that there will be a hidden obstacle, the ascension would need you to complete an important task.
QL: I thought it was something bad! So that is it. This important task must be to avenge the death of my father. Luckily, you enlightened me that day, or else I would be useless against my Royal Uncle. As long as I kill that Duke Ming or something, one, it will avenge my father; two, it will allow the officials to believe that my father has been murdered; three...
SY: Three, you will receive support from Xi Lei King (Rong Tong). Your Highness is so smart, I don't know why those officials chose to serve Qing Zhang and not you.
QL: Sooner or later, they will regret it.
In Qing Li's eyes, a glimpse of vicious light flashed, but it was only for a short while. He started laughing, slipped his fingers through the open slit between Shang Yi's waistband and the inside of her clothes.
QL: The pills you made last time, do you still have them?
SY: I shouldn't have made those pills. Each time Your Highness takes them, you become exceptionally aroused, sooner or later, I'll probably die in your hands.
Making a few complaints, her eyes were filled with flirtatious lust, she removed the sachet hanging on her waistband, took out two dark green pills and handed them to Qing Li.
Qing Li rejoiced, he took the pills and ordered his maids to bring over some water.
Suddenly, a voice reported from outside the door, "Your Highness, Princess Chang Liu is requesting to see you."
"What is she doing here?" Hearing the news, Qing Li became upset, "I'm currently busy and have no time to see her."
He turned back to Shang Yi, who had already removed her outside apparel, she was beautiful beyond words, arousing Qing Li's thirst. He chuckled a few times before taking the jaded cup to drink the medicine, but then the door flung open.
The beautiful sunshine from outside instantly darted against their faces. Shang Yi was startled as she sat up and stared towards the door.
Because the good moment was destroyed, Qing Li was even more furious, he shouted, "Who!"
The neatly clothed person stood in front of him. That person was a beautiful young woman with five maids closely following behind.
He froze a bit before bitterly saying, "So it's you."
Shang Yi immediately got out of bed and kneeled down, "Greetings, Princess Consort."
When Chang Liu stormed into the room, she had a clear picture of the situation. Seeing Shang Yi's half opened dress skirt, she became even more angry, but her face retained its sense of calmness. Ignoring her greeting, she faced Qing Li and coldly bowed to him, "Greetings Your Highness."
QL: Are you here to just greet me? I already said that I'm busy and yet you dare to storm in! Does the Princess of Zhao Bei not know any manners?
Qing Li snorted, seeing his beloved Shang Yi kneeling on the ground, he couldn't help but feel saddened. While helping Shang Yi up, he glared at his wife, "Is there something important for you to impatiently storm in like this?"
Because Princess Chang Liu had long refused to marry him had became a gossip throughout the world, along with Du Feng's reputation as the "Reluctant King" had spread like wildfire, Qing Li felt extremely humiliated by by this.
Therefore, despite the fact that Chang Liu eventually married to Tong Kingdom, Qing Li has never felt anything towards his principal wife.
CL: I have repeatedly ask for an audience with you, but Your Highness continues to refuse to meet me. I ask Your Highness, the buildings in the back of Tong An Quarter have long been abandoned, but just recently, more and more strangers are frequenting the area. Not just that, they are also carrying weapons on hand, does Your Highness know about this?
QL: I know. Those are some of my highly skilled men. I wanted them to stay there.
CL: What is Your Highness planning on doing with them?
QL: It's not up to you to interfere.
CL: Are you planning on using them to help you assassinate Xi Lei Duke Ming? What type of person is Xi Lei Duke Ming? He is beloved by the people of Xi Lei and is currently the Young Lord of the Xiao. Does Your Highness ever wonder why he has the courage to openly travel? Because no matter who kills him, no one can escape the retaliation of Rong Tian and the Xiao Family. What you are doing is digging your own grave.
QL: What do you know? You ignorant woman! A Prince's affairs are not for someone like you to meddle in!
Chang Liu was a Princess married into the Tong Kingdom, even though she didn't have Qing Li's love, she was still his main wife and had never received such a heavy scolding by Qing Li like this. She was shocked, but she never blamed her husband. Diverting her attention, she stared at Shang Yi who was standing to the side, seemingly fragile.
CL: This is all because of this vile woman influencing Your Highness, isn't it? What audacity! You dare to seduce His Highness...
QL: You're the outrageous one!
Qing Li grabbed Shang Yi, noticing that she was trembling, he became more furious and pointed at Chang Liu.
QL: Get out! You're not only vicious, but a jealous woman without a cure! Someone! Drag her out for me!
Hearing his shout, the guards rushed in from outside and made their way towards Chang Liu.
A popping sound was heard when Chang Liu slapped one of the nearest guards across the face. Proudly standing in one place, an awe-inspiring inviolable view. She stared at Qing Li for a long while before opening her trembling pale lips, "No need to get involved, the Princess Consort will leave on her own."
The Princess harshly glared at Shang Yi once more before turning around and walking out.
Several maids behind her quickly followed after her.
Seeing her image fade from view, Qing Li didn't feel his anger subside yet, he faced the guards and shouted, "Get out!" He kicked the door and suddenly losing balance, he waddled back a bit.
"Your Highness!" Shang Yi was by his side in time to hold him up from behind, she gently said, "Your Highness mustn't be angry and injure your body."
Qing Li turned around, seeing the face of his beloved, his mood became slightly better. He allowed Shang Yi to help him return to bed.
QL: I just don't understand why my father chose a hateful wife like her. In the future, if I ascend the throne, I will dispose of her and crown you my Queen.
SY: Shang Yi does not wish to be Queen. I just hope that Your Highness will soon avenge the Great King and kill Duke Ming. As long as Your Highness becomes Tong Kingdom's Great King, this would be a blessing to the people of Tong Kingdom.
QL: That is most certain.
Hearing the words of his beloved made Qing Li relieved. His heartbeat quickened as her small soft hand was placed on top of his chest. An indecent smile slowly formed on his face, "Ah? Where did those two pills roll off to? Tell the maids to find them and then we'll have a good time..."
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 5.3
Chang Liu hurried back to her room. She told the female attendants to leave while keeping behind her personal maid, Shi Min, who had loyally followed her for many years.
After ensuring the doors were shut, she couldn't hold back her tears as she burst out crying on her bed.
Shi Min has been serving the Princess since she had still been a young child in Zhao Bei. Sometimes, she feels like Chang Liu is her own little sister. Standing next to her and seeing her cry made her feel sad, so she kindly tried to comfort her, "Crying will only worsen your health, Princess has to take good care of herself."
Chang Liu swallowed her tears and replied, "Why should I take good care of myself? In this world, is there truly anyone who cares for and respects me? My father forced me to marry into the Tong Kingdom because he wanted our two nations to form an alliance, wishing to protect his kingdom in case of chaos. However, today, Qing Li is acting recklessly, wanting to assassinate Duke Ming no matter what. If somehow he succeeds, as his main wife, how would I not be directly affected? If I'm implicated, it would be difficult for Zhao Bei to avoid a catastrophe. Are the forces behind Duke Ming easy to offend?"
Shi Min understood why Chang Liu was constantly worried. While wiping her tears, she softly spoke, "Princess is right. Even though His Highness has moments of nonsense, he isn't without reason, why is he stubborn this time and won't heed to your words?"
"It's all because of that vile woman next to him!" Chang Liu turned around to sit up, while wiping her tears with a handkerchief, her eyes revealed a glimpse of disheartenment, "From the moment that woman of unknown origin appeared, Qing Li became more imposing, domineering, arrogant and refuses to listen to anyone's words. He just wholeheartedly favors her."
"That woman's origin is not as simple as it seems, not only does she seduces him, but also gives him some sort of pill. It's definitely nothing good. Haven't Princess noticed His Highness's appearance and physique, it's worse than before."
Chang Liu's eyes were still red as she sneered, "Well, serves him right."
Shi Min sighed, "At this time Princess still holds a grudge? Everything is because of that vixen next to him. It seems we must get rid of her as soon as possible."
"That woman acts with extreme caution. It has been three months since her appearance, but she has not once left her Quarters. She also has medical knowledge, it will be very difficult to deal with her. However, Qing Li will not listen, despite advisement, he still won't believe it and will constantly say that that lowly woman gave him health supplements."
Chang Liu thought back about all the occasions she had met Qing Li in the past. All of them had been unpleasant experiences and had given her a feeling of withering away. Realizing that she was married to the wrong person, she couldn't help but shed her tears again.
"Princess." Shi Min walked towards the windows, checking all four corners. To ensure no one would be eavesdropping, she closed them. Returning back towards the bed, she whispered, "When Princess came here for marriage, it was not your decision. Right now, why don't you use this opportunity to run back to Zhao Bei? Then, even if Duke Ming is going to be killed by Prince Qing Li, many people would already know that Princess was highly against it."
Chang Liu's eyes suddenly brightened, but quickly returned to their dim state, she shook her head in sadness, "Because I am a Zhao Bei Citizen, therefore, I was sent here for marriage. If I abandon my husband now at this crucial time, it will damage the reputation of Zhao Bei royalties and also make it difficult for my father to explain the situation to Tong Kingdom. The most frightening thing is if Qing Li is successful and ascends the throne, wouldn't it be making another enemy for Zhao Bei? Even if the person who ascends the throne will be Qing Zhang, for the sake of Tong Kingdom King's reputation, he would not easily forgive Zhao Bei."
Shi Min thought a bit about it and figured this one suggestion was not feasible. She knitted her eyebrows, "How about...Princess write a letter right now and have someone quickly send it out to His Majesty, requesting for his assistance?"
"It's too late. From Tong Ze to Zhao Bei and back would take a long time. Also my father is faraway and with Qing Li taking pills to the point of unclear thoughts, this plan won't be useful."
"I will not allow Qing Li to succeed."
Shi Min saw how determined Chang Liu was, therefore she also gave in, "What will Princess do?"
Chang Liu sneered, "I'll personally write a letter and have it be secretly sent to Duke Ming. I'll write down all Qing Li's plan so that he will know. Not only will I tell him Qing Li's plan to kill him, but I will also act as his spy and investigate Qing Li's plan for him."
She bit her lower lips, looking over at Shi Min, a helpless smile appeared across Chang Liu's face, "I heard Xi Lei Duke Ming holds a person's affection in high regards. If he receives a personal favor from someone, he would most definitely return the favor. If that is true, no matter how complex the situation is, as long as this ill fated life of mine can have a worthy ally to rely on in Tong Kingdom."
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 6.1
Sorry for the late update, have been quite busy this past week and since I didn't want you all to wait any longer, enjoy this one part of the chapter. =)
Yong Yin, port Fen Cheng.
To lessen the suspicious looks directed at him, Lie Er disguised himself as an ordinary trader coming to the pier and observing the reduced goods that were brought in.
In the past, the port had been packed densely with active traders. During the busiest times, cargo ships had to queue before entering the dock.
At present, the number was three or four times less.
Lie Er certainly knew what was going on after Yong Yi had received a letter from Le Ting. He had leaned lazily against Yong Yi while reading it: The wine brewer Chao An was wrongfully imprisoned, before his execution he made a curse, leading to a tragic execution, leaving a terrifying impression on everyone.
Who knew what other future injustices there would be? For those with a brain, if they had other options, they would try to avoid the port of Fen Cheng.
Looking at the slightly disturbed pedestrians as they hurriedly passed by, Lie Er hid his face under the large straw hat, for he couldn't conceal the sly smirk on his face.
Just like the Prime Minister had said, as long as His Majesty was not beside him, Duke Ming would be able to come up with something extraordinary that was able to leave the people stunned.
Thanks to Duke Ming's impressive ability for coming up with the "magic" trick.
Saving Chao An was a small thing. The important thing was that the people of Yong Yin were not aware of the details behind it. After this incident, not only were the people now aware of Crown Prince Yong Quan's brutality, but it also brought forth a serious blow to the economy of Fen Cheng port.
Tai Can had left without a trace, the official post he had held was no longer attractive as before. The new officials would have to spend lots of time to appease the merchants and traders.
Lie Er walked through the marketplace. He bought a rice cake and leisurely strolled along the side.
Yong Yin King had finally granted Yong Yi's request to place the city of Yue Zhong under his jurisdiction. Yong Yi had left and rushed over to Yue Zhong, where he was soon going to meet up with Wei Chiu Niang and Qian Lin. As for Lie Er, he gone to chase after Feng Ming in Tong Kingdom.
Today, he decided to rest at Fen Chang and tomorrow morning, continue his journey by boat.
It was a rare opportunity for Lie Er to go market shopping, even he could not remember the last time he was able to leisurely shop by himself. Since the boat was scheduled for tomorrow's departure, he decided to have some fun himself. Strolling along the pier while finishing up his rice cake, he continued licking his fingers until he suddenly remembered what Yong Yi had said about Fen Cheng's famous wine. While he was still here, why not try it? He heard that the wine changes its taste when leaving the city, so he might as well personally enjoy it.
While thinking about it, Lie Er decided to head to the main road in front of the Fen Cheng port.
Just after two steps, the crowd in front of him suddenly changed direction and seemed to come towards him. Everyone's face lit in excitement, shouting, "It's here! It's here!"
"They are starting to sell!"
"Hurry! If we're late, there will be no more."
Lie Er ended up pulling one man's sleeves, who passed in front of him, to inquire about the chaotic scene. Asking about where everyone was heading to this quickly.
"Of course, it's to make money! Young mister, you don't know. Up ahead they are selling a good product. The price is cheap, only seven apiece.The products could be resold for four or five times the profit. There weren't many good products lately in Fen Cheng, yet this new product suddenly appeared and everyone is rushing to buy it. It seems that when the products are displayed for purchasing, they would all sell out immediately. Aiya, I have to go, do you want to come along?" Probably thinking that the goods would soon be sold out, he quickly turned and rushed towards the surging crowd.
So it was to buy from the original supply source.
Since the good product was cheap, of course many people were fighting for it.
Lie Er had no interest in things like that. Seeing an overweight merchant passing by with sweat pouring down like rain, Lie Er asked, "What kind of product is selling so well?" If he met Duke Ming, he had to tell the Xiao Family to sell these kinds of product.
The merchant didn't turn around, but replied back, "Xi Lei's Duke Ming."
"What?" Lie Er's face changed, as if he heard wrong, he shouted out, "What product? Can you say it again?"
More and more people crowded in front of him, that merchant seemed to have squeezed himself in there and did not seem to hear Lie Er.
Lie Er frowned, he readily reached out his hand and grabbed a man who was passing by, then ferociously asked him, "What kind of product are you buying? Speak!"
That man was just an ordinary trader, he didn't understand why he was being grabbed. Seeing how the young man's appearance was decent, but his expression was grim, the man immediately answered truthfully while shivering, "I'll tell you, I'll tell you, it is Xi Lei's Duke Ming."
"What is Xi Lei's Duke Ming?" Lie Er raised his voice, his eyes stared more intensely.
"What is it? Speak quickly!"
Lie Er rolled his eyes, this man had never been threatened before so when he scared him a bit, the poor man began stammering. Having no patience to wait for him to finish, Lie Er followed the flow in the direction of where the crowd was.
Lie Er wasn't as tall and strong as Rong Hu, but he was very adapted to close range strike. The crowd of merchants and traders couldn't be viewed as his opponents. Lie Er ended up squeezing and stepping pass them only to hear several "Aiya" in the process as he pushed his way to the front.
The man selling the products had four or five sturdy men to help with the transaction. Lie Er managed to buy one of the Xi Lei Duke Ming.
Since he was standing in the front row, Lie Er could conveniently buy the product. The money in his hand disappeared and was replaced by a clay figure. He took a closer look at the figure, "Xi Lei Duke Ming" was created meticulously. The inside was made with clay, the outside coated with a layer of white cream, very similar to a person's skin color. The face had a slight pinkish tone for the cheeks, but the most astonishing thing about it was that it appeared lifelike, the face was almost a complete replica of the real Xi Lei Duke Ming.
The figure had arms and legs, wearing a purple robe on the outside and tied with a white ribbon around his waist, the same loose clothing Duke Ming loved to wear daily.
At first glance, it looked just like a miniature Duke Ming placed inside his hands.
While a bunch of people were buying the miniature figures of Duke Ming by the dozen, Lie Er continued to examine the clay figure.
He felt something was wrong and immediately lifted the clothing on the clay figure, between the legs it had a man's organ, in fact, it was made with extreme care. After a slight shock, a monstrous rage boiled over Lie Er's head.
This was not an ordinary clay figure, instead it was those kind of sex toys people used in their private room!
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 6.2
Lie Er almost exploded in anger while he secretly watched the man with the whip (the one selling the clay dolls). Memorizing his face, Lie Er clenched the doll in his hands and walked away.
There were plenty of people buying, but the goods were in short supply. In less than an hour, more than twenty large boxes of goods were sold out. Those who were able to buy one, carefully carried their large bag containing "Xi Lei's Duke Ming" and left happily. As for those who couldn't buy one, they left in disappointment.
When the crowd gradually dispersed, the huge sweating men seized the money in hand and gave it to the man with the whip. They threw some of the broken clay dolls into the river and decided to head out for a few drinks.
Lie Er followed them to the brothel as they threw several pieces of coin onto the table. Following people was an old task he did in the past and following these not so bright men was quite easy for him. He had long forgotten to find a vacant room to stay and while following these men, he overheard them calling their leader, "Brother Xiong."
Lie Er called the waiter over, gave him some money and asked, "Who are those men causing a racket over there?"
The waiter accepted the money and answered carefully, "Over there is Brother Xiong and his men. Well, in fact, he is one of the rifraffs in Fan Cheng. He normally would cause a commotion around town, but rarely comes here. It's strange though, how they suddenly became rich. I don't know who has given him the idea of making Xi Lei Duke Ming clay dolls to sell, but everyone loves them and even fight over them. He naturally made quite an amount and now comes to this brothel and call for some female hostess to serve him wine..."
When Lie Er heard the "clay dolls of Xi Lei Duke Ming" his veins darkened, and he smirked, "I wouldn't expect those kind of stuff, and even for people to fight over it." If His Majesty were to know about this, he would definitely swallow whole all those buyers.
It seems like some people are not afraid of death.
That year when Lie Er was a spy in Yong Yin palace, the first priority was to conceal one's emotions. Having mastered the skill, even with a body filled with anger, the waiter of the brothel was not able to see a trace of it and answered Lie Er, "Of course many people rush to buy it. Some love it so much they keep it in their possession. Other merchants would buy it and sell it to nearby towns. When the business started, only merchants from this town would buy it, now more and more people from different cities are coming here. Ever since Tai Can left the port of Fan Cheng, it's because of these Xi Lei Duke Ming that there is a bit of life. I heard that some people buy it here for seven taels and bring it to another place to sell it for 1200 taels each. Aiya, only noblemen in the capital could be able to afford it! Brother Xiong and his men sure made a good profit."
As he spoke, he helped pour some wine for Lie Er. While stooping he said in a low voice, "Don't think that those dolls are for kids, they are for adults. When the clothes are taken off is when it looks the most beautiful. Ah, just imagine, if Duke Ming looks like that, won't his body be just as beautiful?"
Lie Er was boiling with rage, just a little more and he would have beaten the waiter's face into a pulp. However, since he is alone in Fan Cheng, he cannot casually reveal his identity. Clenching his teeth, he smiled, "Hearing you say that, even I can't help myself and would like to buy one."
"You could wait until tomorrow." The waiter smiled, "Every day the items are sold out."
"Tomorrow, my boat will come for me." Lie Er threw out a few more money, "I think Brother Xiong might have a few left at his house. I could spend a large amount to buy some of it. So would you happen to know where his house is?"
The waiter took the money and smiled with more enthusiasm, "I know, I know! Everyone knows where Brother Xiong's house is." He immediately gave up Brother Xiong's address and even directions to get there from the brothel, which road is more convenient and how to recognize Brother Xiong's family members, all the details were reported to Lie Er.
Sorry for the super long wait, I'll probably summarize the rest of this chapter to head on to the last chapter of the Volume with Feng Ming and his crew on the rough sea encountering He Di.
Thank you Fern and Joyce for proofreading this portion. =) ~ Christy
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 6.3
After receiving the address, Lie Er pointed at the untouched food and wine on the table, "I was waiting for a friend, but he still hasn't arrived. I'm going to head down for a bit, just leave the food and wine there, there isno need to clean it up yet."
Walking downstairs, he began to ponder, this matter isn't something that the rascal Brother Xiong could come up with. Even if he has the brains to come up with this terrible idea, how can he know the image of Duke Ming and the way he dresses?
Even though the clay doll is small, it is carved with exquisite craftsmanship, very lifelike and with seductive beautiful curves. This kind of craftsmanship must have been done by a skillful master.
An item like this being sold for seven taels, wouldn't that be loss of profit? Who would waste the cost to insult Duke Ming like this?
If this matter were to spread wide, then it would endanger Duke Ming's reputation and Xi Lei King's. It would be of great hindrance to His Majesty's future.
The more Lie Er thought about it, the more he felt troubled. He was in a rush to meet up with Duke Ming in Tong Kingdom, but this matter cannot be left as it is. But to act rashly, if something were to happen to him in Fan Cheng, then there wouldn't be anyone to help him.
Please don't let anything happen.
As he walked, he thought long and hard. Following the address of what the waiter wrote down for him, and eventually found the house he was looking for. Just like what the waiter said, Brother Xiong's house was large and made of bricks. Not sure whether or not Brother Xiong had offended many people and afraid of revenge by the enemies, therefore the house was deliberately built very high.
Lie Er went around and investigated the inside and outside of the house. He spied on Brother Xiong's family members and saw nothing in particular. They were all normal people who didn't know any martial arts or anything that gave Lie Er any reason to be suspicious.
After checking out the place for two rounds, Lie Er figured that in order to find out the source of the clay doll, he might as well interrogate Brother Xiong about it. He went back to the brothel where Brother Xiong and his men were still enjoying themselves with alcohol and entertainment.
Lie Er was not in a rush, knowing that they will eventually disperse and go home after having fun. Brother Xiong drank a lot today and enjoyed his time with the female entertainers, so naturally he would be less prepared and his reaction would be slow. These are favorable conditions for when Lie Er will interrogate him.
As he listened to the music and movement in the room next to him, Lie Er poured himself a cup of wine. The sky began darkening and finally a man's drunken voice was heard, "Let's go back home now..."
"What's the point of going home? There's wine and beautiful women here, it is a lot better than at home."
"Are you afraid of getting hit by your wife when you come home late?"
The crowd bursted into laughter.
Lie Er heard Brother Xiong's voice, "Enough, we have more than enough wine to drink and lots of fun with the beautiful women! You've helped me sell the clay dolls of Xi Lei Duke Ming and earned lots of money, as well as enjoying good food and wine, yet you still want me to continue treating you until the next morning? You all greedy bastards! Scram! Waiter, check please!"
The music and singing stopped, the courtesans were handed their gratuities and the men were pulling themselves together but still falling left and right due to all the alcohol they consumed.
Lie Er slowly put down the cup of wine, gave a sneer, a ruthless smile formed in his lips. He stood up and walked towards the main room, but with one heavy step, he became dizzy and almost fell down. Lie Er was shocked, he held his hands out towards the wall, propping himself in a way to help him move forward. Although his hands were touching the wall, his whole arm felt paralyzed, there was not even a bit of strength left. They felt like cotton propped against the wall. Unable to leverage his whole body, he fell to the side and hit the corner of the table, his whole mind became foggy and a loud sound was heard when he hit the ground.
Something has gone terribly wrong!
Lie Er lied on the ground, his arms and legs were paralyzed, he was both in shock and in doubt. Could it be that Brother Xiong is a hidden master of martial arts?
A small rogue man in Fan Cheng like him, why would he deliberately want to go against Duke Ming?
Lie Er tried hard to think while using all his strength to move his body. Right now, he is lying on his back and is unable to lift anything.
What kind of poison can be so terrifying like this?
The sound on the outside of the room gradually diminished. The men gave some tips to the waiter and left the room. Lie Er kept thinking that Brother Xiong will return later to interrogate him so he kept his ears open for sounds of movement. However, the men passed by as if unaware of his existence inside the room.
They were not the ones who poisoned me?
Even if it's not them, the situation was not any better.
At this time, as Lie Er lay there unable to move at all, he remembered what Yong Yi had reminded him several times, "Don't be stubborn, don't stir up trouble, and most importantly, don't get involved in other people's business." As a result, he has now become a puddle of mud inside the room of a brothel, he can't stop smiling helplessly.
He also blamed himself for being so stupid.
Usually as a bodyguard for Duke Ming, going to strange places, before Duke Ming could touch anything, testing for poison is the first thing to do. Yet Lie Er ignored the fact that his food and drinks could be poisoned as well.
Lie Er's heart sank, the feeling of uneasiness grew heavier.
No matter who the other party might be, for him to carefully take advantage of the situation and skillfully use other people's flaws cannot be discounted for.
The curtains suddenly lifted, this slight movement made Lie Er's anxiety rise to the highest point.
While lying in the ground, his area of viewing was very limited. Looking diagonally towards the noise, Lie Er saw clearly the person who lifted the curtain, he was the person who received the tips from the men - the waiter of the brothel.
The waiter walked into the room, he was not surprised upon seeing Lie Er on the ground. He turned around and lifted the curtains, using a respectful voice he said softly, "This is the person who was questioning about Brother Xiong. Unfortunately, it is not Xi Lei King who is here. However, since he questioned about the clay dolls of Xi Lei Duke Ming, then he should be someone who is related to Xi Lei King."
As he carefully explained, a slender and elegant figure came from behind the door.
The person who came in wore a simple outfit, his shoulders were covered with a dark outer cloak in which people of Yong Yi still wear. The handsome face held traces of a faint smile.
He was leisurely walking into the room, seeing Lie Er on the ground, he was very surprised. But for a moment, the smile on his face deepened revealing a set of white teeth, "Even though he's not Xi Lei King, he is someone who brings me much joy compared to Xi Lei King." He made a gesture at the waiter, "You did very well."
The waiter was initially uneasy, worried that he didn't complete the task. He didn't expect to be praised instead. Seeing his master walk slowly towards the prisoner as if perhaps to interrogate him, the waiter quickly approached wanting to pull Lie Er off the ground.
However his master prevented him from doing so.
"Don't touch him, let me do it." A pair of flawless hands reached out, gently pulling the motionless Lie Er from the ground into his arms. He said with a gentle voice, "I plotted this scheme in hope to see if Xi Lei King would come or not. I can't believe the person who has fallen prey would be you, why did you come here? That's right, you're in a rush to meet up with everyone, therefore you needed to use the port of Fan Cheng to switch boats, am I right? Fu Qu?"
He spoke so softly and with a spoiled smile, no matter how anyone concludes it, the feeling felt like a touch of spring breeze.
Lie Er's limbs were paralyzed within his arms and he nearly fainted with fright.
"Why aren't you answering me?" The voice came from above, with little patience after a short moment, he nodded and softly continued, "I understand, you are no longer called Fu Qu, I need to call you Lie Er, is that right? Could it be...you've followed that Yong Yi and now have a change of heart towards me?"
While speaking, he held out his fingers and lifted Lie Er's chin, instructing him to turn around and face him.
Lie Er never wanted to, but his helpless body had no strength left and he can't control being moved around. His eyes was supposed to be closed tight, but they were wide open, staring at the handsome cruel face, he gritted his teeth and answered in a hoarse voice, "Yu Lang, if you got guts then just kill me!"
Yu Lang's eyes was full of tenderness, he sighed, "How can I kill you?" His arms opened wide and then brought Lie Er into a tighter embrace.
Lie Er had no way to resist his embrace, staring at the ceiling that won't stay still, he was both nervous and afraid, "You...where are you planning on taking me to?"
Yu Lang heard his voice, it was too weak as if like a whisper, but full of horror. He looked down at him, "Of course I am bringing you to where I live. Right now, with your condition, if I let you go, you wouldn't even be able to walk."
Lie Er was like a fish on a platter, he can't live and he can't die. If he had a little bit of strength left, he would have jumped out of this person's embrace and killed himself.
Why was he so stupid?
The world is so huge and he still has fallen into the trap. A deadly trap that no one can see any flaws in it. With a gentle appearance on the outside and a terrible cruel person on the inside, who else would come up with a plan like this?
Fan Cheng is a gateway to Tong Kingdom, the main path to follow behind Duke Ming. He wanted to reunite with them and was just planning on staying here for one or two nights.
Yu Lang must have randomly chose a local ruffian and gave him clay dolls of Duke Ming to sell every day. The only term of conditions might also be to come to the brothel after finishing and enjoy the daily entertainment and wine.
Brother Xiong must not know the reason for selling the clay dolls, along with his family as well, becoming a prop in this perfect play. Because they are not aware of the hidden dangers within, therefore, it is easy to fool others.
As long as the person is related to Duke Ming, then they would pursue the matter, but also trace the source. Therefore, they would investigate Brother Xiong, track him to the brothel, and what is more convenient than monitoring him in the next room?
No matter how careful the person tracking him is, they will put their focus on Brother Xiong. Who would have thought that the real danger was in the room he wasn't paying attention to - his own room.
"Don't be afraid, there is no need to be afraid of me." Yu Lang's voice lingered besides his ears, feeling pity, he said, "Take a look, just a short moment and your whole body is covered in cold sweat."
Lie Er's back and the rest of his body was covered in cold sweat, he closed his eyes and didn't say a word.
The sound of horse hoofs from afar came closer and stopped in front of him.
He felt himself being carried gently into the horse carriage. The curtain rolled down, obscuring the moonlight and noisy streets outside. He felt the fingers of some God's hand throwing him into utter hell.
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 7
On the Aman River, the five large ships of the Xiao Family sailed in one line, with an addition of a large ship belonging to the Royal Uncle of Tong Kingdom - Qing Zhang.
Although his ship cannot be compared with the grand ship of the Xiao Family, but Qing Zhang's ship has two high stories, wide decks and a layer about 15 to 16 meters in depth. It can be regarded as very large and luxurious.
Accompanied for a few days, Qing Zhang was politely invited by Feng Ming to board Feng Ming's ship to chat. Although he has military powers and holding such high status in Tong Kingdom, Qing Zhang was cooperative with Feng Ming's personalized protection guidelines and ordered his subordinates to remove their weapons before boarding and gladly allowed the Xiao bodyguards to search them. He even allowed Luo Yun to search his body, "I have absolutely no intention of harming Duke Ming."
Indeed, Qing Zhang and his henchmen did not have any weapons on them and upon being searched by Feng Ming's bodyguards, the possibility of harming Feng Ming was highly unlikely.
Luo Yun and Rong Hu welcomed his considerate attitude because it was convenient to their work. After many days like that, their hostility towards Qing Zhang was not as strong as the first time they met.
Since Qing Zhang often come to visit, Feng Ming was worried that Lie Zhong Shi and Lie Dou will accidentally say "Your Great King's head is in Duke Ming's hands." Therefore, Feng Ming reminded them several times during the trip to not participate in conversations. They obediently listened and returned back to the third ship - there is a large warehouse filled with the Xiao Family's treasures and weapons on that ship. In a sense, it was paradise for them.
Like any other day, Qing Zhang came over during the afternoon.
It happened to be the same time Zhuang Pu had the responsibility of escorted items along the road and came to report to Qing Zhang about the situation every three days. Feng Ming decided to invited them for dinner.
Chiu Lan was responsible for arranging the banquet. Taking into account that the guests are from the same kingdom, along with nice cool weather, she decided to place the banquet on the deck after having the area cleaned and a huge carpet spread out based on the Tong Kingdom's customs.
Feng Ming secretly exhorted, "Remember to place lots of head pillows like the ones in Tong Kingdom in case Qing Zhang decides to ramble on and on, I can just lie down and take a nap."
Chiu Lan chuckled, "The banquet haven't started yet and Duke Ming is already thinking of resting. Rest assured, the pillows have already been prepared, a large and soft one, comfortable enough for you to sleep soundly."
As for the feast, Chiu Lan was in charge, even better compared to the usual royal chef. Qing Zhang was able to eat well and repeatedly praised the delicious food. If he could, he would have immediately placed a deposit to ask Chiu Lan to be his personal chef. Even a stern person like Zhuang Pu was enraptured after he finished eating.
Luo Yun and Rong Hu were as usual, sitting behind Feng Ming on either side.
After satiated with food and drinks, it was the routine chat. Qing Zhang loved to talk and the one thing Feng Ming worried most about was that this Royal Uncle's saliva was even more than the Aman River. When he open his mouth, he would speak about everything endlessly. Luckily, Zhuang Pu was present this evening and Qing Zhang chose a more interesting topic to discuss - the art of war.
"Speaking of the art of war, the most fascinating person that no one can compare to is the famous General Wei Qian of Yong Yin that one year." Zhuang Pu wasn't interested in debauchery but when speaking about the art of war, he was definitely interested.
A remark that everyone agreed.
The reputation of the late General Wei is something that no one dared to disagree.
Zhuang Pu drank two glasses of wine tonight, his face was not red but yet white. However, he was more approachable than usual. When speaking about Wei Qian, he couldn't help but let out a sigh. "It's a shame that the royal family of Yong Yin was unable to see great talent. A person with peerless military talent, and yet they didn't even know how to cherish and eventually threw aside Wei Qian's descendants. From there on, those who become generals would sigh at the mere mention of this."
Qing Zhang nodded and continued, "That's right!" General Zhuang is also a great general and would naturally be disheartened about this."
Feng Ming knew his alcohol tolerance was low so he didn't dare to drink wine. After finishing his meal, he told Chiu Xing to bring over a cup of tea in front of him as he leisurely recline onto the high pillow. Listening to Zhuang Pu's comment, he followed Qing Zhang's response and shouted, "That's right!" He turned around to wink at Rong Hu and gently laughed.
The art of war of Wei Qian was currently being diligently studied by Qian Lin, along with Wei Chiu Niang as his guidance teacher. This is like a heavenly blessed talent who is able to obtain the biggest secrets of the world and following a very good teacher. In the future, wouldn't he scare the whole world?
Thinking about it, Feng Ming was completely satisfied.
It was all thanks to that mischievous Prime Minister Lie Zhong Liu.
Thinking about Lie Zhong Liu, Feng Ming couldn't restrain himself from thinking of someone else.
No, no, no, he cannot allow himself to remember. If he start thinking about that person then it won't stop. And if that person knew, then he would definitely tease him for not having strength; just like a woman, endlessly yearning.
I can't think of him!
I can't think....
A slight pain in his lower back, turned out that Luo Yun lightly poke him causing Feng Ming to snap out of his train of thoughts. He looked towards Qing Zhang's direction and smiled. "While watching the mist covering the riverside, I wasn't paying attention. What was Royal Uncle's question again?"
He leaned back onto the soft pillow, his long hair gently hang down leisurely in a beautiful posture. When he smiled and asked his guest, his eyes shined brighter underneath the night sky, very alluring and seductive.
Even though Qing Zhang have been thinking of the beautiful and mysterious Luo Qian Qian, he couldn't help his heart from beating wildly as he stared at Duke Ming. He recovered, then cleared his voice and warmly said, "I wanted to ask Duke Ming; the Art of War often said that the most important thing in a war is forage. The worst thing to encounter in a war is when there is a limited amount of forage. For example, if Duke Ming were to be put in a position of the General, leading tens of thousand or hundreds of thousands of troops in the expedition, and the food portion is about to run out, what will Duke Ming do?"
Qing Zhang paused and looked at him kindly, "When I was in Tong Ze, I often heard of Duke Ming's wisdom, and extraordinary insights for many problems."
Feng Ming secretly frowned.
I'm not a general, I haven't even been taught Wei Qian's Art of War. I am just a pathetic ordinary college student, so why is my life so unfortunate to constantly be questioned about this topic?
At this moment, his identity is Xi Lei's Duke Ming along with the title of Young Master Xiao. If he is unable to answer this problem, then he would embarrass both sides, and if Lie Zhong Liu were to know about this, then he'll see him as having no promising future.
His facial features remained calm as he pretend to think and asked, "If there's food shortages, are there any passing village where we can purchase from?"
Zhuang Pu gave his complete attention to this military problem. Ever since Qing Zhang mention of this issue, he expressed his interest in the subject, he smiled and said, "With such a large army, even if there is a village where you could buy grain, it would not be enough for everyone."
Feng Ming silently thought, that he already knew. If the solution was that easy then they would not have asked the "wise" Duke Ming.
He chuckled lightly, "Before I tell you my answer, I will like to invite Royal Uncle to speak about your solution."
Qing Zhang couldn't believe that the question would land back in his court. "I haven't lead an army into battle before so how can I know what to do? According to how I see it, if there is a shortage of food along the way, I would retreat. If the soldiers were to battle on an empty stomach, wouldn't they lose?"
"That's not necessarily true. In fact, food deficiency generally happens around 10 days to half a month because sooner or later there will be a town that would be large enough to supply sufficient food." After finishing his words, Zhuang Pu sternly continued, "However, the hardest part to control is that once there is shortage within the army, there would be inevitable chaos among the troops. Not to mention half a month, three to four days would be tough to handle. If the troops cannot eat a fully for one day, there will be arguments. As long as they can get through that period of time then they will be able to survive and continue."
"Ah?" Feng Ming gently emitted a sound, "General Zhuang Pu, please explain it clearly a bit, if you were to meet with such issue during the journey, how will you deal with it?"
The way Feng Ming asked the question was subtle but on point. Not only did he not make the other person uncomfortable but also so they wouldn't know that he was clueless.
Zhuang Pu was planning on expressing his views on this matter so he straightened himself from his seat and carefully replied, "If I were to encounter this situation, first, I would order the soldier in charge of the grains to reduce the daily food so the food reserves can be stretched out for a few more days."
"Ah," Feng Ming nodded his head, "That makes sense."
"After that the second step is to monitor the army and check if there is anyone who is creating a clamor and punish him in order to avoid possible chaos."
Feng Ming continued nodding, "This is necessary, military riot is very terrible, but just punishing repression may not be enough."
"Of course," Zhuang Pu laughed, "Being a general, you must understand the morale of the troops. How could I just repress it? Along with that, the third step, I will report to each division and indicate the cause of food shortage and increase their reward after the war. With these three steps, the troops will stand with me during this harsh condition and get through the time of food shortages."
At this point, his face can't help but reveal a point of pride, "That year when battling at Jing Sun Island, I have encountered such a thing. There was a shortage of food on the island, even more terrifying because it was impossible to encounter any village food supply. But after using these three steps, I was able to stabilize the army. The food then was only able to fill half a person and last for about ten more days. Luckily, on the eighth day, the food supply the Great King sent out finally came to aid us."
Holding military power in hand, Qing Zhang highly respected and valued Zhuang Pu, therefore, lost no time in praising him, "General Zhuang's battle at Jing Sun Island was peerlessly brilliant. If General Zhuang was not there, then I'm afraid Jing Sun Island would still be occupied by the pirates. Besides that food shortage, I also heard that the situation was quite critical. Alas, only a general with enough talent like you were able to handle the situation properly. Not only were you not affected by the food shortage, but return in victory. Even if Wei Qian was alive, he wouldn't be able to do the same."
"I wouldn't dare." Zhuang Pu said, "How can Zhuang Pu have the ability to surpass the Great General Wei Qian? I just wondered how Duke Ming would solve this situation if you were to encounter food shortage?"
Everyone's eyes rested onto Feng Ming.
As he continued cursing about his bad luck of constantly being questioned, unable to say "I don't know" or use Rong Hu to answer for him, Feng Ming decided to sip his tea calmly, hoping to stretch out a bit of time to think.
Those who saw him would think that he has a shocking answer, who would thought that he was racking his brain to think of a suitable answer.
He is dead this time.
Even if he's not dead, it would be a disgrace no less.
If Rong Tian was beside him then he would not let him be humiliated. No, if Lie Zhong Liu was here, he would also have a method to rescue him. Lie Zhong Liu's brain can be comparable to Zhuge Liang. Liu Bei is so fortunate, at least Zhuge Liang didn't bring up the idea for Liu Bei to travel to different kingdoms....
Ha? Three Kingdoms?
Feng Ming was shocked as he tried to remember which person in the Three Kingdoms had to experience food shortage.
"Towards this military issue, there must be an extraordinary insight that Duke Ming could enlighten everyone with?"
As Zhuang Pu's words ended, it was also the same time Feng Ming placed his cup of tea on the table.
"I have no extraordinary insight, however..." Feng Ming's eyes clearly showed his whites and blacks, shining brightly as if it was ignited with unlimited confidence. "I remember a story about the food shortage."
QZ: Duke Ming please tell us quickly, I'm very curious.
"There was once a general, he lead his troops on an expedition and was short on food. His situation was just like what Royal Uncle Qing Zhang and General Zhuang Pu had said. The food supply in the village was not enough and yet had to lead the army through this difficult time."
Feng Ming paused to glance over at them.
Zhuang Pu and Qing Zhang listened intently, they nodded silently and didn't speak up to break Feng Ming's storytelling atmosphere.
"He knew about the food shortage and was very worried. Once there is a shortage of food along the journey there surely will be disputes. Also, he didn't want to retreat. Thinking about it day and night, he finally came up with a solution."
Speaking up to here, everyone's attention was more focused.
"The general called for the grain official to come into the camp. He asked him how many days of food would be left until there's no more. The grain official said, the food..."
How miserable, what did the author of the Three Kingdoms wrote?
Was it ten days or fifteen days?
Or was it one month?
"Duke Ming" Qing Zhang thought that Feng Ming was trying to stall some more and couldn't help but asked, "So how many more days until the food runs out?"
"Ah..." Feng Ming bit his lips. Who cares?! Anyways, these people here have not read the book Three Kingdoms so I can say whatever number of days there is.
"The grain official said, the food is only good to last for ten days. After the general heard that, he told the official, when you return, remember to change the spoons of the soldiers. Change it from a large spoon to a small one."
Everyone was shocked.
They expected Feng Ming to give a surprising solution, who would have thought that his answer was the same as Zhuang Pu, except the detail to saving food was simpler, letting the soldiers half hungry. They were all disappointed.
Seeing them that way, Feng Ming quickly explained, "I haven't finished."
"The grain official was very loyal to the General. Hearing that order, he added a few words, if we do that, the soldiers would have a mutiny. The General smugly answered, "Don't worry, just do as I tell you and tell your subordinate to do the same. If there is a dispute, I have a way to resolve it. After hearing that, the grain official complied with the General's command, changing the tablespoon into a teaspoon a day, causing the soldiers to only be half full."
Zhuang Pu sighed, "Doing that will cause a mutiny. Just don't know what method the General has to defuse the crisis."
"The soldiers saw that their portions suddenly decreased and had to go hungry each day, there was in fact a mutiny. The grain official was scared and immediately report it to the General. 'General! Not good, the soldiers are rebelling.'"
Qing Zhang listened in fascination, he curiously asked, "At this moment, are the food supply relief going to appear?"
Qing Zhang isn't a General and unlike Zhuang Pu, he will not ask such an unintelligent question. If the food relief came then that General would just be regarded as lucky and wouldn't be considered as a Wise Commander.
Feng Ming shook his head, rejecting Qing Zhang's speculation. "After the General finished listening, he bowed to the grain official and earnestly said to him, the food shortage will cause a mutiny among the soldiers soon. Due to this critical moment, I want to borrow you to relieve the distress."
Everyone was waiting for him to continue when there was a slight sigh from behind that suddenly caught the attention of Feng Ming.
Could it be that... Luo Yun had guessed that solution to this problem?
Looking back, when he first read this paragraph in the Three Kingdoms, he was greatly shocked. If Feng Ming were to guess, he would have never guess how Cao Cao would solve this crisis. Not only did Luo Yun figured it out, but he even let out a long sigh, showing that he is not a ruthless cold blooded person like how he is usually seen.
"The grain official asked, General must be joking, how can my body be used to quell the mutiny of the soldiers? What does General want to borrow? The General said, I want to borrow your head for a bit, hang it on the gates of the barracks, to settle the hearts of the soldiers."
When he said it in a calming tone voice, everyone's heart sank.
Chiu Yue and Chiu Xing gave a scream and quickly covered their mouths, their eyes panic with anxiety.
Qing Zhang and Zhuang Pu's faces slightly changed, but since they are royals who are accustomed to bloodshed, they soon realized that this was really an excellent approach.
"The story later, you all can guess." Feng Ming shrugged his shoulders, "The General killed the Grain Official and ordered someone to hang his head on the gates of the barracks and told the soldiers, the Grain Official was corrupted, and was punished by the wise general. After the soldiers found out, they scolded the grain official and regarding the food shortage, they have to endure hunger for a few days, showing their endurance and no more dispute happened. Because of one grain official's life, the troops of the general was able to go through the most difficult period and eventually won the battle."
Once the story finished, Feng Ming let out a sigh of relief, "I'm finished."
The whole deck was silent.
After a long while, Zhuang Pu inhale a breath and said, "Such extraordinary scheme. Not only did it stop the soldier from creating chaos, but also set their mind at ease. If Duke Ming wasn't the one to tell the story, I wouldn't have figure out this method. It seems like my three steps were just simple. Duke Ming's extraordinary insight, I have finally get to acknowledge it."
"This isn't my method." Feng Ming insistently said, "It's just a story."
Zhuang Pu surprisingly looked at Feng Ming, "Does Duke Ming have a more better method?"
"What other better method do I have?" Feng Ming smiled, shook his head and frankly said, "If I was a General and met with this problem, I will just follow your "three step" method. I will not use the method in this story."
Zhuang Pu understood, after listening to the story, his attitude towards Feng Ming was much better, "Duke Ming has a good heart, but you have to understand the difference between leading troops into a battle than just an ordinary expedition. In the end, someone will have to sacrifice. Once the troops rebel, there will be more casualties. Sacrificing a grain official to quell tens of thousands of soldiers, as a General, he will have to make that choice. Though it's harsh and hard to bear the thought, if it's necessary, then it must be used."
Feng Ming frowned, "That is the reason why I'm not fit to lead troops to war."
Hearing him say these words, Luo Yun stared at Feng Ming from his bed for a moment, then looked down; deep in thoughts.
"Ha ha ha!" Qing Zhang's signature laughter rang out.
He stood up and clapped his hands, "Duke Ming's story is really wonderful. Once I'm back in Tong Ze, I will have to tell others about this story. The day is late and I get to listen to a good story, I am very satisfied. I will not disturb Duke Ming's rest any longer, till next time."
Zhuang Pu naturally didn't stay long and follow Qing Zhang to bid farewell.
After sending them off in a small boat, Chiu Yue and Chiu Xing praised Feng Ming, "Duke Ming is amazing; just one story stunned the two of them."
Even Rong Hu came forward and said, "The story Duke Ming told today made everyone think about incessantly. I was worried that Duke Ming would be bullied by them, and was planning on finding an opportunity to interrupt to help you. Luckily, I didn't do anything reckless."
"I just suddenly remembered this story within seconds..." This was what Feng Ming was trying to explain to them, but it would be useless so he let them continue to praise him and bring him back to the room to rest.
Luo Yun didn't say a single word, instead he just followed silently behind.
--FENG YU JIU TIAN VOLUME 14 CHAPTER 8.1
The day continues further into the night. At this time, the sky looked as if it was covered by a thin layer of clouds. The moon that was shining brightly is now unexpectedly halfway hidden. Following along with the clouds, the two sides of Aman River darken into an unclear scenery, even the shape and edges of the mountains and hills are difficult to make out.
Chiu Lan followed Feng Ming into the room, changed his clothes. With quick movements, the maids situated him in a satisfied manner until Feng Ming was able to fall asleep.
Rong Hu didn't have to supervise tonight, but Chiu Lan needed to stay behind whenever Feng Ming beckoned for her. Feng Ming felt that since Rong Hu and Chiu Lan recently got married, he didn't want to ruin good moments for the newlyweds; therefore, he wanted to chase Chiu Lan away and let Chiu Yue stay behind to care for him.
When Chiu Yue heard that, she looked over to Chiu Lan and then glanced over to Luo Yun who was standing inside Feng Ming's room. Her composure was slightly unnatural, but it was hard to refuse, she nodded her head , "Your servant understands."
The one in high spirit was Rong Hu. Even though he didn't display his smile, but looking at his eyes, one could tell he was extremely excited. Rong Hu nodded his head, and facing Chiu Yue he said, "Thank You," and disappeared quickly with Chiu Lan.
Seeing the two of them leave, Feng Ming shook his head and chuckled, "Eating, drinking, and having sex sure is human nature."
Before finishing, a small soft elbow belonging to Chiu Yue pressed against him, "It's late, Duke Ming needs to sleep. If you have dark circles under your eyes, aren't you worried Royal Uncle of Tong Kingdom is going to laugh?"
Luo Yun figured Chiu Yue was not happy, he coldly said, "I'm going outside to look around a bit." He then left.
Feng Ming lay in bed for Chiu Yue to carefully place a blanket over him, he gently advised her, "He's a good person, why are you constantly butting heads with him?"
CY: I'm the one butting heads with him? Duke Ming needs to re-examine the situation a bit, it's him that is butting heads with me. Everything was fine and handy, why did you suddenly talk about him? You should learn Chiu Xing's bad habit of talking about unrelated things. You also need to sleep."
As Feng Ming lay in bed after Chiu Yue left him, he cursed himself for drinking lots of tea while listening to Qing Zhang's rambling earlier, leaving him wide awake. As his mind wanders, he starts thinking about Rong Tian and wonders if he made it to Zhao Bei and if he had met Princess of Zhao Bei before; because Feng Ming already met Du Feng and from that person he had heard of their story.
He even learned to play a flute....
While thinking about Rong Tian, Feng Ming missed him so much, he missed seeing his face and the way he touched him. After a while, Feng Ming began to touch himself and started masturbating to the thought of Rong Tian. Reaching his climax, Feng Ming let out a loud cry, calling out for Rong Tian before starting to sob, realizing how painful it was to be separated from him. After crying for a short moment, Feng Ming covered his face with a blanket. Once he calmed down, he peered out from under the sheets and noticed Luo Yun standing in his room.
Embarrassed, Feng Ming asked him when he got inside, Luo Yun said "for a while now." Feng Ming wondered if it was when he was crying or was it even earlier. Before he could ask, Luo Yun handed him a clean cloth.
"What is this for?" Feng Ming asked.
"Don't you need to wipe yourself?" Luo Yun questioned in reply.
Bright red, Feng Ming couldn't believed Luo Yun saw him masturbating and yelling for Rong Tian. Feng Ming asked Luo Yun if he would tell the others what happened. Luo Yun asked him, "What happened?" Feng Ming told Luo Yun that he is a good person, but before he could finish his sentence, their ship went under attack.