CHAPTER 8: SONG OF THE CHU

II

In the next moment, all Heavy Armors moved.

The ruined walls rumbled with the unbelievable sound of footsteps; a group of black iron armors soaked in the thick snow-white steam that could not disperse in the wind headed towards the enemy's sea of artillery fire, like water against the sea current.

The first batch of Heavy Armors resembled a blade that could block everything, sweeping through like a fierce whirlwind, pushing directly into the enemy's line. Heads, bodies, and limbs were exploding into pieces, but strong fire could not burn black iron. As long as the golden box itself did not burst, most of the corpses could still remain upright. The corpses of the officers and soldiers inside were dead, but the mechanical gears were still rotating, as if their souls had not yet dissipated, continuing to rush forward.

When it became difficult to carry on, there would be someone following behind to open the golden box at the back of the black armor to ignite the lead hidden in it.

The officers and men under the iron masks did not differentiate from each other, thousands were united as one. Seasoned commanders were the same as the newly recruited little soldiers in the Northern Camp. They either slayed the enemy's heads with a Wind Slasher in their hands, were under the enemy's artillery, or exploded into a purple firework anonymously.

Li Feng stood on the Red Kite with his arms crossed. He suddenly said to Tan Hong Fei who was ordered to stand on the side, "Where is A Min?"

Tan Hong Fei was suddenly called, he was stunned for a moment then responded, "His Highness Jun Wang has gone up to the city wall."

The hot wind blew away the anger on Li Feng's face. Standing amidst this devastation, he gradually calmed down. He threw the imperial sword in his hand to Tan Hong Fei: "Pass on my verbal decree; the national calamity is at hand, the Crown Prince is too young to bear this heavy responsibility. I am inept and incompetent, buried this nation and its people here, unworthy of the ancestors. I want to pass the throne to Yan Bei Wang — it is already too late to make a written decree; you can take this to A Min and escort him away."

Tan Hong Fei: "..."

He grabbed the heavy sword in a hurry, took a glimpse of the ruler's face, sweeping his eyes over the greyed temples of Emperor Long An.

Li Feng waved his hand indifferently.



Chang Geng went up to the wall with his longbow, taking over the aerial battlefield.

Tan Hong Fei landed beside Chang Geng in the roar of Baihong, carrying with him the imperial sword as if it was a hot potato: "Your Highness!"

Chang Geng knew what he was going to say as soon as he saw him from the corner of his eye.

Tan Hong Fei: "Your Highness, the Emperor said..."

  A wounded soldier with only one leg left came up to them: "Your Highness, the rockets are all out!"

"If the rockets are all out, change to iron arrows. When the arrows are all out, mount the ownerless Wind Slashers. No need to panic." Chang Geng did not even blink, he spoke bluntly, "We will stay and defend until the wall collapses to pieces — General Tan, you return that thing and tell Li Feng, I do not owe him anything, I do not want to become a lonesome monarch losing their country in his stead.

“Moreover, he is now a battle flag, the two armies are confronting each other. The flag cannot be lacking, the brothers sacrificing themselves are all relying on this flag. Keep a close eye on him, do not let him die easily.”

At this moment, at least for General Tan, even ten of Li Feng would not be as helpful as one Chang Geng, thus he tossed back the Emperor’s instruction to the man himself. He made a long whistle and stood guard closely of the Emperor's Red Kite together with several other Black Eagles.

The Heavy Armors under the wall used human flesh to break a blood-soaked path. The roaring explosives and the powerful Baihong arrows would be rendered useless. The ground became a deadly battlefield, the Western Army was momentarily at a loss and had to place their efforts in the aggravating aerial attack.

Countless Wind Slashers that had lost their owners were mounted on the large Baihong bows. After Yan Bei Wang gave the order, the legendary divine weapons praised by the people were fired off without hesitation like iron arrows, the turning and revolving white blades resembling a dandelion, weaving the wind inside then slashing it to pieces, carrying the names of the deceased, surging forward towards the mass amount of Western Eagles.

Chang Geng wiped the dust-covered Qian Li Yan glass with his fingers, then clipped it onto his clear cut and straight nose bridge, ordering: "Mount the second batch of Wind Slashers!"

A young soldier beside him was acting as a self-proclaimed personal guard. After hearing his order, using the teenage voice that had not yet changed, he shouted: "Mount the arrows!—"

He then turned to Chang Geng and asked in a low voice: "Your Highness, what if the Wind Slashers run out? Shall we throw stones under the city?”

Chang Geng glanced at him, as if with a smile, he said, "Although all the ammunition has been exhausted, thanks to accumulation of Great Liang's Emperor over the years, there is still some Ziliujun left inside. If we truly cannot defend the city, then learn from General Han Qi. Splash Ziliujin down the wall, burning the entire capital, the foreigners can't even dream of taking anything from us.”

The young soldier shivered from his careless remark.

Chang Geng: “How old are you?”

The young soldier was taken by surprise for a moment and said: "...Eight - Eighteen."

Chang Geng laughed: "Don't use this trick with me."

The young soldier scratched his head: "...Fifteen."

Some poor families with too many children, when unable to support them all, would send half of their children to the army to eat military salary. In fear that they would refuse to take them in if they were too young, the families would lie about their ages.

"Fifteen." Chang Geng whispered, "When I was in my fifteenth year, I followed Marshal Gu to Jiangnan to investigate Wei Wang's rebellion, I did not know anything. You are better than I am."


At that moment, a group of Eagle Armors in the distance took off at the pope's command.

A Western Eagle held a large explosive, shooting it directly into the city. The large explosives that should have been supported by the iron arm of the chariot had a great recoil power, thus as the artillery was shot out, the person holding the explosive on the other end would be repelled to death immediately.

This group of Western Eagles resembled a daring suicidal troop, shooting heavy explosives inside and outside the city wall like rainfall. In the blink of an eye, the city wall immediately collapsed by half.

The Red Kites were shaken by the waves. Wang Guo, who was hugging the mast tightly, calling for his ancestors, was pushed aside by a panting Zhang Feng Han.

"Your Majesty!" Master Feng Han had already taken off his formal attire, holding a fish bubble in his hand. The fish bubble was filled with Ziliujin inside, the shade of deep purple seemingly turning black. He almost fell over due to the trembling of the Kite. A guard beside him was frightened to death, hurrying forward to catch the dangerous object.

Master Feng Han: "Your Majesty, the ammunition is now empty. This old subject followed His Highness Yan Bei Wang’s order, transporting all the Ziliujin we have left to the city gate. The subordinates have been instructed to place it…”

"Your Majesty be careful!"

"Protect the Emperor!"

Artillery flew towards them, interrupting Master Feng Han's words, grazing past Li Feng's Red Kite, its corner exploding immediately. It groaned, then leaned to the side.

Another artillery relentlessly pursued after them, crashing into the belly of the Red Kite. The Kite lost control under severe damage. Li Feng's pupils shrank into needle-like dots in the midst of the crowd's shouting.

Tan Hong Fei roared loudly, his wings suddenly opened, as if they could cover the sky.

In that moment, he grasped hold of the artillery, the Eagle Armor was accelerated to the fastest speed. The high temperature and the impact instantly shot the old Black Iron Camp subordinate, who had carried grievances about the old case of twenty years ago, together with the large explosive, becoming a firework that would never return.

  ...But fortunately, he did not dishonor his mission.




At last, the Wind Slashers that had claimed the lives of countless foreigners on the city wall were all out. Chang Geng looked back at the capital city with not much sentimental attachment, and a feeling of pity arose inside him — for the Marquis' Manor could not be seen from this distance.

Then he raised his longbow, dipped the tip of the iron arrow in ignition oil, and fired at the enemy in the air. The arrow was lit on fire as the oiled tip traveled at high speed, surging like a meteor — this was a signal.

Master Feng Han pulled up his sleeve: "Red Kites, get ready!"

In addition to the Kite Li Feng was on, the last dozen Red Kites in the capital took off, resembling a group of dancers dressed in red, wearing beautiful makeup, moving with light steps onto a mountain of blades, a sea of flame carrying Ziliujin, colliding with the Western Eagle Armors coming to find death in the air.

The sky turned grey.

On the wall, Chang Geng was the first to be caught up in the midst. The meager Light Armor that temporarily hung on his body could not withstand the force surging down. He could feel a strong knock against his chest. His eyes darkened, and he coughed up a mouthful of blood, instantly losing consciousness.

The little soldier who had just given orders in his stead shouted and rushed over in an attempt to protect him with his own body.

  The wall finally collapsed completely.




Chang Geng did not know how long he was out for; it had taken him a long time to gradually be able to regain consciousness. He found that his leg was stuck between two broken gears, but the young soldier who protected him just now only had a pair of arms left, severed at the shoulders. His body was gone, becoming a cloak of blood on Chang Geng.

Chang Geng gritted his teeth, feeling that the ache all over him was still tolerable. It was far less painful than an attack of the Bone of Impurity.

Perhaps his ears were already injured; voices far and near could not be heard clearly, very chaotic, very blurred.

Chang Geng thought, "When Zi Xi doesn't take medicine, do his surroundings also become like this? It is quite peaceful."

The wall already collapsed, did the city break down?

Is Li Feng still alive?

Yes, and Gu Yun...

When Chang Geng thought of Gu Yun, he dared not go on any further, for fear that those two words could take away all his courage. He cut off this thought neatly, curled up his body, fumbled at the joint of the armor on his legs, pried off the eight locks one by one, and dragged himself out.

There was still one iron arrow behind him. The longbow had not yet been crushed, he could kill one more man.

As long as this breath remained...

Just before Chang Geng pulled his leg out and managed to stand up, a sudden shadow flashed in front of him.

Chang Geng dodged, subconsciously leaned back and instinctively moved the bow in his hand.

A small wooden bird fell down in front of him, split in two by the iron bow, a mass of sea grain paper fell out of its belly.

Chang Geng was stunned.

After, the ever so calm Yan Bei Wang suddenly trembled all over. The light paper was laying on the ground, but even after raising his hand twice, he could not manage to pick it up. His five fingers were trembling so much that it was almost impossible to close them. Only then did he realize the iron guards on his arms had already fallen off, the joints of two fingers were dislocated and no longer listened to his command.

He could vaguely hear someone shouting, 'the reinforcements are here', this should have been the good news everyone had been looking forward to for a long time.

However, Chang Geng's heart did not have time to brew much joy. After the shock had passed, there was the rise of an indescribable fear.

Because only when he was determined to die could he temporarily set aside the fact that Gu Yun might have already been incarnated as molten iron.

The path to the afterlife already planned out was suddenly full of obstacles, separating him on this side. Chang Geng was momentarily in a state of being stunned.

"Big brother!" He vaguely heard a call, and the next moment, a Light Cavalry flew to him. It was Ge Chen, whom he had not seen for a long time.

Ge Chen dismounted, supporting the incredibly miserable Chang Geng, explaining in a stutter: "Brother, when, when - when I received your letter, I happened to be with General Shen, but it was in the Southern Frontier at that time..."

Chang Geng did not listen to even half of his words, interrupting him in madness: "Where is Zi Xi?"

His voice was so faint that Ge Chen momentarily could not catch it: "What?"

Chang Geng forcefully pushed him aside, struggling to stand up, heading towards the outside of the city without care. There was no telling what had injured his back, there was a large stain of blood, running along his clothing and dripping down, but he himself seemed to not be aware of it at all.

Ge Chen: "Big - big brother? Your Highness!"

Chang Geng turned deaf ears, Ge Chen could see a stray arrow coming towards Chang Geng, yet the man did not dodge. He quickly rushed up in a panic and pulled him out of the way. However, after two steps, Chang Geng's eyes were dyed red as if they could bleed.

Ge Chen shuddered, thinking to himself: "Not good, did something happen to the Marquis?"

  Ge Chen had always been decisive since he was young. Using his hand, he struck Chang Geng in the neck and knocked him unconscious.




On this day, the ever-stable imperial city experienced the bloodiest battle in history. The Son of Heaven used himself as a flag, the general died in the flames. All of them had reached their limits. At last, when the wall collapsed, the reinforcements arrived.

The experience and composition of these support forces were very complicated. Shen Yi, the governor of the Southwest, was in command. General Zhong, who had been retired for many years, came forward to fight in his stead. There was also a handful of the Jiangnan Navy mixed in — the remnants that Yao Chong Ze gathered after the defeat at the Eastern Sea.

Recognizing that their opportunity had been lost, the Western Army was forced to retreat.

Nearly 40 percent of the imperial officers were buried under the collapsed wall. Li Feng's Red Kite had completely lost control. Shen Yi had no Eagle in his hands, he had to warily shoot steel ropes onto the railings with Baihong arrows. Mobilizing a dozen Heavy Armors, working their best until midnight, only then did they manage to safely pull Emperor Long An who was suspended in mid-air to land.

Almost all of the Northern Camp, together with its commander, had perished in this battle.

Gu Yun was dug out from the bottom of a Western chariot, several of his ribs were broken. At first, no one dared to move him, for as soon as they did, blood would start gushing out.

At last, General Zhong came to see him personally and dropped a sentence, "He is not going to die so easily. If he does, I'll pay for it." Only then did he send several military doctors to fix him onto a wooden stretcher and carry him away.

The whole palace gathered several thousand year old ginsengs, intermittently sustaining his life for three days. He had almost reunited with the old marquis several times. At last, Chen Qing Xu had come back from numerous mountains and rivers from outside the border.

She ran several horses to death, and after arriving in the capital, she did not sleep or rest for an entire day. At last, she was able to recover the Marquis of Order from the hands of the Hell King.

Gu Yun woke up at dusk for the first time. His eyelids could only vaguely feel the light coming through the window lattice. He had not yet been able to open his eyes, yet sharp pain had already come.

He was not dead, but Gu Yun was not very happy. First, he was startled: Has the capital been lost? Where am I now?

As he struggled wildly in confusion, someone grasped his hand.

The person seemed to know of his worries, he leaned in his ear and said: "The reinforcements arrived. It's alright... the capital is alright.”

  The familiar scent of tranquilizers wrapped around him, Gu Yun's consciousness could only be sustained for a moment, he then fell into unconsciousness again.




It took Gu Yun several days to fully wake up. The effect of the medicine was long gone, he was once again a blind and deaf who could not see nor hear clearly.

Gu Yun struggled to blink, seeing a blurred figure beside the bed. He could tell it was Chang Geng by the scent.

His mind was full of turmoil, and a lot of questions poured in one after another without care: How many people were left in the Northern Camp? Where did the reinforcements come from? Whose forces were they? Where did the Western Army retreat to? What happened to the Emperor?

Chang Geng carefully dipped a little water to feed him. Gu Yun instinctively raised his hand to search around. There was no telling which wound he had moved, his entire body hurt enough to the point of almost causing him to faint.

"Alright, alright," Chang Geng said in his ear, "General Shen is back, Teacher is keeping guard. You should worry less, have some rest.”

Gu Yun: "..."

He took a deep breath and calmed down, feeling pain in all organs.

Before, with nothing to do, the Marquis of Order would love to pity himself with Shen Yi, how three generations of Gu family were not fated to have a long life. He always felt that his 'ill and sick body' was destined for 'a tragic end for beauties'. It turned out that not only was his goddamn life not ‘thin’, but it was also as tough as a cockroach, still alive even after being ruined to this point.

Gu Yun opened his mouth, wanting to call 'Chang Geng'. Unexpectedly, after suffering severe injuries and being unconscious for several days, his throat could not make a sound.

Suddenly, his face was touched by something. Gu Yun felt a hand holding his chin, a finger with a layer of callous gently swept over his lips. There was an indescribable feeling of affection that lingered.

Chang Geng was sitting beside the bed. If Gu Yun could see it clearly, he would find that right now, Chang Geng had only half his clothes draped carelessly on his body, his hair was scattered, his shoulders, neck, arms and even his head were covered with needles, turning him into a gentle hedgehog.

He sat stiffly like a log at the bedside, even turning his head took great effort. All emotions on his face were sealed by needles. He could not cry and could not laugh, and with no other choice, he remained expressionless, becoming a handsome full-sized wooden statue.

Despite this, he still had red in his eyes.

Over the past few days, Chang Geng's Bone of Impurity had attacked several times. Chen Qing Xu had to apply needles to forcibly seal off the toxins and had made him into a straw doll.

The doll whispered in a soft tone that Gu Yun's half-deaf ears could not hear, "If this happens once more, I will truly turn mad, Zi Xi."

Gu Yun: "..."

Although he did not hear what Chang Geng said, the touch on his lips reminded him of what happened on the city wall. For a moment, Gu Yun just wanted to howl — who would have thought that he would be able to stay alive to face this matter?

  Thus, from his neck down, General Gu stiffened into a tall and upright rod.

It was easy to be impulsive. What came after being impulsive was the problem.

If there was no such catastrophe in the capital, Chang Geng would never have done such a bold thing. Before the war, he did not even harbor any unrealistic hope for Gu Yun, otherwise he would have not hidden for four or five years.

Gu Yun was his life-long consolation, but according to the normal development, perhaps it would only end there. He had already expressed his mind to this point. Gu Yun had also used the most gentle and flexible way to respond. With Chang Geng's self-esteem, he would never linger on it any further.

What he did and what path he took for Gu Yun, these were his own decisions.

He had a lot of motives, but he did not want to use this against Gu Yun - for it was too cheap.

The two of them would treat this feeling as a kind of an embarrassing secret, continuing for a long time, waiting for Chang Geng to hone himself little by little, until he could joke about this matter, or after a long time, that heartless Gu Yun would forget the matter on his own.

Chang Geng had been used to restraint since childhood. As long as he had not turned completely mad, he would restrain himself until he died.

Desire, especially unrealistic desire, was a very painful thing. Whether it was desire for money, power, or anything else, it was shackles on the body. The deeper one was trapped, the tighter one would be bound. This truth was too clear in Chang Geng's mind, thus he dared not indulge for even a moment.

Unfortunately, even if he understood it any clearer, it was useless - it was too late to say anything now.

One wrong thought under the city wall had let him take this step forward, coupled with an absence of response from Gu Yun...

Not mentioning whether Chang Geng could still let go as happily as before when he never had any hope, could Gu Yun's heart continue on as if nothing had happened?

As for General Gu, who was both injured and sick, his head was being stretched twice as much.

He believed that in this matter, his responsibility was greater. He truly felt guilty, because under normal circumstances, Chang Geng would never touch him unless he acquiesced to it.

And even if he had not yet managed to steady himself in the midst of chaos, even if it was an 'accident', his reaction afterwards shouldn't have been to simply let it slide.

In fact, Gu Yun himself could not tell what he had thought at that time. Perhaps there was no time to think about anything. When he closed his eyes, it was as if he could still see Chang Geng's deep gaze on him in the midst of the sound of artillery fire coming down the city, as if in this heaven and earth, those eyes could only contain him.

Nobody, especially men, could be indifferent towards that kind of look.

Gu Yun had one nose and two eyes, he was no more special than the others. He also had passions and desires.

He couldn't simply regard Chang Geng as a close descendant as he had before, but raising him like a son for so many years, he momentarily could not become accustomed to it.

At this time, Chang Geng slowly bent down, reaching out to cover Gu Yun's ineffective eyes, not letting him see his current appearance.

There was not a single part on Gu Yun's body that listened to his command. He could not hear, see, nor speak, and for the first time in his life, he was powerless to someone's disrespectful actions. Dumbfounded, he thought to himself: Would he dare bully the wounded? Where is justice!

Then he felt a soft breath sweep by his face, and the scent of another person approaching was so close he could hardly ignore it.

Gu Yun: "..."

Mother, this kid truly dares to!

Gu Yun's throat moved involuntarily, but Chang Geng did not do anything. He seemed to stay still for a long time, then kissed the corner of Gu Yun's lips gently.

Gu Yun's eyes were covered - he involuntarily unfolded his rich and sentimental imagination along with the delicate touch. He felt that the boy resembled a small pitiful animal, jumping into his arms after surviving a life-threatening situation, giving him a wet lick.

At that time, his heart instantly softened. Although he had no time to ask about the casualties in the army, Gu Yun could already come to a general conclusion. After a moment's thought, he could not help but feel grief.

But even so, Chang Geng could still sit by his bed safe and sound at this moment. To him, this was much like finding something again after assuming it had been lost. Gu Yun suddenly did not want to worry too much, wanting to reach out and embrace Chang Geng. But unfortunately, he could not even lift his hand.

Gu Yun's pity and unspeakable concerns soon inextricably mingled with each other. He could not bear to reprimand Chang Geng. He only wished he could go back to the moment when the city was besieged and slap his past self - look what you've done!

"Zi Xi." Chang Geng cried in his ear; Gu Yun's eyelashes grazed his palm. At this time, it seemed that only by hugging the other, crying and laughing aloud to his heart's content, could he vent this continuous panic and fear. Unfortunately, he was also powerless to do so at this moment.

In order to avoid intense emotions from breaking out, Miss Chen had restricted him to the state of having facial paralysis, he could not squeeze out a smile with all his strength, thus he had to make a small opening in his mind, letting his feelings flow out like a stream of water.

Gu Yun was badly wounded, he didn't have enough energy. Even after trying his best to support himself, he soon fell into unconsciousness in the midst of his complex emotions.

Chang Geng quietly pulled the quilt up for him, reluctantly watching Gu Yun for a while. It was not until the stiff joints of his body could not endure the torment and made a crisp sound did he slowly stand up holding the bedpost, dragging his corpse-like pair of legs to leave.

As soon as he pushed open the door, Chang Geng saw Chen Qing Xu who had been waiting outside for a long time. She strolled back and forth at Gu Yun's door, the surrounding green grass had all been stamped on.

Chang Geng pretended not to see dead grass everywhere and greeted her earnestly. However, due to his wooden look, he seemed all the more sincere and grave: "I have troubled Miss Chen, I don't know what I would do if you hadn't risked danger to come at this time."

Chen Qing Xu absently waved her hand: "It is what I should do. Ah yes, well, Your Highness, wait for me for a moment, I'll perform acupuncture for you... That, that is..."

The tongue of the Chen family woman who was used to every kind of shocking affair stuttered, her forever dignified sculpted face let out a rare little hesitation.

The attack of Chang Geng's Bone of Impurity was not known to people. To outsiders, she could only use the excuse that he was seriously wounded and had not yet recovered.

Regarding the matter of using needles to suppress his poison, Chen Qing Xu would not dare to let anyone else do it. Thus, she was forced to listen to all of his sleep talking by herself, unluckily putting together a terrifying truth. It had troubled her all night to the point where wrinkles were about to show on her face.

Chang Geng meant to nod to her, but his neck could not be bent. He could only bow, making himself appear more courteous: "No, I can manage it myself. I will have to go to the palace later on, I will not bother Miss Chen."

The capital had one of its walls collapse. Although the siege was temporarily relieved, what followed after was still a complete mess. Excluding those who could not get up like Marshal Gu, other people dared not relax, their breaths suspended in the middle.

Chen Qing Xu listened and nodded, swallowing back what she intended to ask.

Who knew that at this moment, Chang Geng would suddenly say, "But if you want to ask..."

He paused slightly and looked sideways at Gu Yun's closed door. Chen Qing Xu became nervous.

Then His Royal Highness used an immovable coffin face and admitted frankly, "I truly harbor improper thoughts for my yifu."

Chen Qing Xu: "..."

This sentence... to say it aloud in such a frank and calm tone, it was quite magical.

"He also knows of it, Miss Chen please..."

Chen Qing Xu responded unconsciously: "I will not tell anyone!"

Chang Geng put his hands together, his clothes floating lightly over his body. In a graceful manner, he brushed past Chen Qing Xu like a wind fairy stepping into the sky... no one could tell that there was a hedgehog wrapped in it.

If there ever was a moment where Gu Yun would be grateful to Li Feng in this life, it was the next day when he heard that Li Feng had kept Chang Geng in the palace.

There was no greater relief to him. He wished he could write a request to the Emperor to open a single room next to the Warm Pavilion for the prince, for him to stay there for good and never come out.

On the battlefield, injuries were common, Gu Yun had long been accustomed to them. Being able to wake up meant it already passed the most dangerous stage. After another day in bed, he already had enough strength to speak and greet guests.

The first guest he met with was Shen Yi.

Due to Chen Qing Xu refusing to let Gu Yun take the medicine, he could only wear his liuli glass in a deaf and blind state, beginning the conversation with this Shen by shouting and sign language.

The two had been separated for more than half a year. When seeing the other off, they were still in high spirits. When they reunited, one of them was lying on the bed, covered in bandages resembling a mummy, could breathe in but could not breathe out. The other straying, wasting away for a few months, withered like an old turnip planted in the countryside.

Old turnip Shen Yi loudly expressed his sentiments towards Gu Yun: "We all thought we would have to come collect your body. We did not expect to see a Marquis of Order who could still breathe! Marshal, you did not die even at the face of great catastrophe, this truly is a sign of future blessing!"

Gu Yun's face was full of saliva from his 'expressing', and his anger immediately arose. He could not see where his 'future blessing' was. Regret already piled up to a basketful, he said angrily: "You still have the face to mention that? Goddamnit, those foreigners landed in Da Gu Port for more than a month, burning the palace in the western suburb like a stove. Where did your good-for-nothing self disappear to? Even a pile of shit had already cooled!"

Shen Yi: "..."

Gu Yun: "Get away, stay away from me. Is your mouth broken? Spraying all over my face!"

"I didn't want to mention this to you, for fear of causing you to be irritated." Shen Yi sighed, rolled up his sleeves and sat down beside Gu Yun without care. "At that time, I did not see any one from the Ministry of War coming to withdraw the Drumming Order, perhaps they were already intercepted as soon as they set foot outside the capital. Those numerous small countries in the Southern Sea resembling pieces of goat's feces took this opportunity for their own gain, there was no telling how they managed to discover the secret passages left behind by the bandits, they fell right out of the sky during the night. I was caught off guard, letting them explode the supply storage."

Without the Drumming Order, Shen Yi, the newcomer commander, could not mobilize the garrison in the Southern Frontier at all.

"I completely had my hands full on that side, suppressing one problem, another one came up. Coincidentally, Xiao Ge also came to find me and brought along a letter from His Highness. At that time, as soon as I read it, I already knew it was bad, unfortunately, I could not clone myself."

Shen Yi shook his head. "Later, the wooden bird sent the Black Tiger Emblem and the Feng Huo Order issued by yourself personally. Although I did not expect that the capital city would be besieged to this point, I still managed to divide half of the men and Ziliujin in stock and personally led the troops back."

The rest of the words, he did not need to elaborate, Gu Yun also understood after hearing this, the problem was Ziliujin.

The Northwest was entangled by tigers and wolves, the Black Iron Camp and the Northern Defense Army did not dare to move, otherwise not mentioning whether they could defend the country or not, if they were to be slightly careless, they would easily be surrounded and pursued. At that time, the capital would truly face the Western Navy in the South, and the iron armors of the Wolf Tribes in the North.

The trouble from Shen Yi's Southwestern side could be easily resolved. The true problem was Ziliujin, the stocks of the garrison in the Southern Frontier were already very limited, the remaining amount was not enough to support long-term raids.

"I had to go North first to find General Cai for food," Shen Yi sighed, "Who would have expected that on the way there, I would be hindered repeatedly? Do you know who is holding the Central Plains Garrison back?"

Gu Yun's expression turned grave.

"An insurgent army of refugees." Shen Yi said, "Old Cai's troops were divided more than half by the Black Iron Camp and the Northern Defense Army, only a small number of troops stayed behind in the Central Plains, struggling back and forth with them every day. They are only commoners who were forced into a dead end, not beating them would be no good, but directly beating them would not be alright either. Old Cai was so distressed that half of his hair has gone grey."

Gu Yun leaned against the bedhead: "How could it be so chaotic?"

"The problem concerning the riot of unemployed refugees from the area of the Central Plains to the south of Sichuan has always been there, just that before now, it had not reached a higher scale." Shen Yi said. "This time, someone had taken advantage of the situation and persuaded these refugees to form a few forces. Seeing that the country would soon fall into chaos, even the Black Iron Camp can be lost by half overnight, their courage had also become considerably bigger.

"In fact, you know, Zi Xi, over the years, I have always felt that it is not quite a good thing for the Black Iron Camp to be too renowned and vigorous. The one above being cautious is one thing. On the other hand, there are too many folk tales. In previous years, it could be used to deter some people with ulterior motives. But once the Black Iron Camp has an accident, even if it is only a gust of wind, it is too easy to shake the hearts of the army and the people."

The two men were relatively silent for a moment, then Gu Yun said: "Don't talk about this useless insipidity, how is the situation now? How many brothers of the Northern Camp are left?"

Shen Yi's face changed, momentarily not responding.

As Gu Yun saw his expression, his heart turned colder by half: "Where's Old Tan?"

Shen Yi put his hand on his chest to untie a Wind Slasher under the Light Armor and put it silently beside Gu Yun's pillow.

Gu Yun was stunned for a moment, caught off guard. He accidentally touched a wound, gritting his teeth silently, he huddled over in pain.

Shen Yi reached out to hold him. "No, Zi Xi... Zi Xi!"

Gu Yun waved his hand and said in a hoarse voice: "Where did the Westerners retreat to?"

Shen Yi looked at his face carefully: "After the Westerners broke through the Southern Sea Navy, their troops were divided into two routes. One branch was personally led by the pope, pressing from Da Gu Port to the capital. The other was mainly composed of suicidal Dong Ying men they hired by money. They drove their armored chariots up north along the canal and across the two provinces of Zhili and Shandong. Local garrisons had never met with a battle before, they instantly suffered defeat. We had also clashed with them on the way, they truly were hard to deal with. Later, General Zhong appeared in Jiangnan and helped Yao Chong Ze to reorganize the ruined Naval Army and go North to help us. That group of people finally made way and retreated back to Shandong Province.

"As of right now, the Western Army from the two routes have combined into one, returned to the sea, settling down in the areas of the Dong Ying Islands. I'm afraid it is not over yet."

Gu Yun's eyebrows tightly frowned, making an 'Mm' sound in response.

Shen Yi had been shouting incessantly to the point of his mouth turning dry, he poured himself a cup of cool herbal tea, chucking it down and sighing, "Don't think too much, what you should do right now is rest and heal up completely, nothing can be done without you."

Gu Yun half closed his eyes and said nothing.

In order to ease the atmosphere, Shen Yi shifted the topic and said: "Your little Highness has changed so much. Before, he had hidden his talents ever so tightly, but in the face of a national disaster, he single-handedly stepped up to bear heavy responsibilities. I could hardly recognize him anymore.

"Did you know that the Emperor has taken the word 'Bei' from his title 'Yan Bei Wang?'"

  Yan Bei Wang to Yan Wang - although it was a difference of only one word, it was moving from being a Jun Wang to a Qin Wang.


Gu Yun returned to reality and muttered tiredly: "What good would it do... getting promoted now."

In order to cheer him up, Shen Yi directly got to the main sensitive topic: "Just now I saw him coming out of the palace with Chong Ze, they are on the way, perhaps he will soon come back."

Gu Yun: "..."

Shen Yi saw his expression as bleak as the bottom of a pot, he asked, "What happened?"

Gu Yun's body was sore all over from lying in bed for too long. He wanted to change his posture, but it was inconvenient to move. That old maid Shen had sharp vision, but as he saw him struggling hard at the head of the bed, he did not even come up to help but continued the incessant chatter: "In the first few days, when you were playing chess with old man Hell King, His Royal Highness had watched over you all day and night without resting, regardless of his injuries. His body was covered in needles, even his neck couldn't bend, we all could not bear to look. I'm telling you Zi Xi, ah, he is even better than blood-related..."

Gu Yun had no patience left, grumpily interrupting: "Blood-related my ass, where do you find so much bullshit? Get out of here!"

Instead of being frightened, Shen Yi even approached with his face held high and pressed on: "Why, what unfortunate deed did you commit to offend the other? I'm telling you, Zi Xi, His Highness is not the child you can bend and mold however you please anymore, you're almost..."

Gu Yun whispered: "Brother Ji Ping, please consider how I nearly sacrificed myself for the country and go away."

Shen Yi keenly caught the words 'a difficult to express ordeal' written on his face.

General Shen had been bullied by Gu Yun for many years, he could not win against him, nor could he talk against him, and a long history of hatred had built up. It was difficult to finally be able to laugh at him, there was no chance he would let go of it easily, his curiosity was about to explode. "Hurry, you see, right now everywhere in the court is bleak and gloomy, let's talk about your misfortune for some fun."

Gu Yun: "..."

Thus, there was no more sound in the room, the two people who were just shouting at each other started exchanging words through sign language.

After an incense period, Shen Yi carried an expression as if he had been struck by lightning, rigidly flying out of Gu Yun's room.

Speaking of the devil, His Highness Yan Wang had also returned, meeting with Shen Yi face to face.

Chang Geng greeted him: "General Shen has come, how is my yifu doing?"

Shen Yi: "..."

  In the face of Chang Geng, General Shen, the governor of the Southwest, changed through several expressions. At last, not even a fart could be let out. As if he had seen the devil, he hugged the wall and disappeared.

Note:

A reminder of the statuses from chapter 17: a title of one character was called Qin Wang (Prince). For example, the Second Prince was granted the title of "Wei Wang". A title made of two characters was called Jun Wang - they were slightly lower in status compared to the former, usually separated from the members of the royal family by a grade.