In the ninth year of Long An, Jia Lai Ying Huo died. The Crown Prince succeeded the throne and officially announced their surrender on behalf of the Eighteen Tribes. The new Wolf King relinquished his royal title, knelt on his knees and kowtowed to the Emperor's decree. All Eighteen Tribes with small populations and sparse land were incorporated into the northernmost province of Shuobei of Great Liang. All the surrendered nobles were controlled by the governor of Shuobei.
At this time, the Eighteen Tribes no longer paid tribute to the imperial court and were integrated into the general tax revenue. The vast Ziliujin fields would be mined and transported by the special institution established by the imperial court.
The whole country of Great Liang celebrated.
Shen Yi stayed for the time being to hand over the duties, while Gu Yun had to return to the capital for his report. Cao Niangzi joined him. Chen Qing Xu had just made a copy of the complete secret art of the goddess, but she still had not digested it yet, so she also bid farewell to return to the Chen family.
Before leaving, Gu Yun called her to one side. At first, he wanted to ask if there was a certain possibility that there would be an antidote. Later, he thought it was an unnecessary question. Chen Qing Xu, a responsible person, would never confirm it beforehand. At most, she would say ‘I will try my best’. In this way, there was nothing else to say. In the end, he thanked Chen Qing Xu very solemnly and added: "Everything depends on Miss Chen."
Chen Qing Xu did not dare to accept the courtesy, breaking the norm and explaining to Gu Yun: "In these two days, Xiao Cao had helped me translate a lot. There is no division between sorcery and poisons in the secret arts of the goddess. Many strange and unimaginable practices are only rituals, which ones are really meaningful and which are nonsense, it is difficult for me to say for certain right now. Marshal, please give me some time."
Gu Yun hurriedly said no trouble.
Chen Qing Xu took out a sealed envelope again and advised: "These are all nourishing prescriptions. It is not effective if taken only once or twice but needs to rely on time to slowly nourish. Marshal's body has lost too much, it is still better than nothing. The drug you normally use must be controlled no matter what."
Gu Yun nodded and put it away. Looking up, he caught a glimpse of Shen Yi over the other side with longing eyes.
Shen Yi glared at him. Gu Yun had known him for so many years. For the first time, he found out that Shen Ji Ping's eyes could be expressive enough to scold people, he clearly saw from those eyes the anger of ‘Where do you two find so many words to say?’.
Gu Yun took a look at him and thought to himself, You are doing this to yourself. Are you expecting the woman who was naturally born quiet to initiate a conversation with you? There is waste every year, but there is especially a lot this year.
The two men fought for a moment with their eyes across the air. Finally, Shen Yi could not help but come over. First, he said to Gu Yun unhappily, "It's time to go, Marshal. Don't be late."
Then he turned to Chen Qing Xu.
Gu Yun didn't want to look at his dumb appearance anymore. He tapped Shen Yi's back lightly with his whip and rode away.
When Gu Yun returned to the capital for his report, the common people had heard about it first, passing the words by mouth. On that day, the streets and alleys were packed with people, waiting for a glimpse of the general of the Black Iron Camp. Unexpectedly, after waiting for a long time, there was nothing — coming from the post station and the Northern Camp, there were only a few civil officers who had been sent on behalf of the imperial court, accompanied by the Northern Frontier garrison and a general unknown to many from the Black Iron Camp.
Gu Yun had found himself an inconspicuous small carriage to return in and directly went to the palace for an audience with the Emperor the next day.
He used to love trotting across the markets, with a cartful of fruits tossed, numbing his lids from winking at all the ladies with neat faces on the side of the road. But now, he no longer liked such things. Firstly, Jiangnan had yet to be recovered, there was no face. Second, he gradually began to dislike such pomp and bustle, he could not tell why, perhaps he was already tired, perhaps he had already grown old.
At this time, Chang Geng was on the way up north, not knowing what was keeping him, he had yet to return. Chang Geng was not at home, Gu Yun had nothing to do but listen to the bird's scolding.
He dared not relax to eat and sleep for three or five days to cultivate his vitality — that was the way of a young person. He no longer had the luxury for such a thing, if he really relaxed the strings of his mind, he feared that what awaited him was not high spirits, but serious illness.
Thus he came to Li Feng for a quick attendance then went to Jiangbei.
Before Gu Yun left, Master Feng Han visited him.
Master Feng Han didn't even have time to drink tea after sitting down, hurriedly taking Gu Yun away: "Marshal, Your Highness Yan Wang wrote to me and asked me to show you something before you go."
Gu Yun said with a smile, "Why, did Master Feng Han make a sea monster?"
Zhang Feng Han laughed and did not reply, acting mysterious. In the past few years, he always bore the face of having no one to take care of his funeral. Turned out, it was due to having nothing to do. In these years, he lived in Ling Shu Institute all day long. Instead, he was like an old tree that bloomed, there were colors on his face, as if he had met a beautiful old lady.
Gu Yun had to get on this old man's carriage and took on the job of serving tea, pouring water automatically, not letting Zhang Feng Han become dehydrated from talking too much: "Master Feng Han becomes stronger with age, truly makes people feel envious."
Zhang Feng han hurriedly said ‘I dare not’ and received the tea cup. His white beard was raised as he smiled: "Only when the imperial court had use of this old man did my life have any joy. Everyone is disgusted by dirty engines and steel armors. But I have loved this line of work since I was a child. Not only do I love it, but also love it to fruition. Isn't it a beautiful thing?"
Gu Yun thought about it for a moment, and felt that it was very true, but unfortunately this logic couldn't be applied to himself — it was normal for people to love fire engines and steel armour, and it was just like human beings for people serving as officers to love high ranks and wealth, but when it came to him, if he were to say that he loved fighting wars, loved killing people… it was not a sensible thing.
But it was he who chose this road.
Gu Yun could not tell for a moment. All he remembered was that he hated ‘going to the frontier’ when he was a child, because it meant being separated from his playmates, seeing his terrible father every day, and not being able to eat well or sleep well.
When he was in his teens, he was put on the battlefield by his father's old subordinates. Before his young passion could rise up, he already made a neither too big nor too small mistake in his first battle — later, he gradually became accustomed to the days of eating sand in the border areas, he also had several years of being young and frivolous.
When he heard the truth of the Black Iron Camp's incident from Jia Lai, his original intention of opening up territories was completely extinguished. Every day, he seemed to only try to fulfill his duties.
While the whole country was immersed in the joy of victory in the north and the recovery of Jiangnan that would soon come, the commander of the four sides was sitting with an old man on a rickety carriage, questioning his own choices, and could not understand it.
He recalled the life he had lived, realizing that whether it was his wide open career path, walking through the city and gathering every beauty's heart, or unparalleled valiant, charging on the iron steed, standing high above and looking down on the world… they were all very faded now.
Now, all he was able to remember were the moments when he wanted to give up his duty.
Just as his mind wandered, Zhang Feng Han said, "Marshal, we're here."
Gu Yun had gathered up all old memories covered in dust, put on an expectant expression to make the old man happy: "You still have not told me what the Ling Shu Institute has created?"
As his voice dropped, he suddenly felt the ground rumble strangely, as if there was something huge moving past, and there were sounds of exclamations coming from outside the carriage.
Gu Yun jumped out of the carriage and froze.
He saw a huge thing lying in front of his eyes. He said: "This is... the steam rail car? "
As if the drawings he looked at in the post station on a cold night had come to life. On the front of the car, there were carvings of hundreds of galloping horses. A horse's head at the front with its mane flowing, appeared like it was tilting its head back to let out a long whine. Behind it, there were sections that seemed like they could hold many things very well. The complicated devices on the wheels were exposed, which made people dazzled. A layman such as Gu Yun totally could not tell which parts were actually useful and which were purely decorative.
"The track is under construction. This section is just for trial runs and is not very long." Zhang Feng Han's nose was sweating from excitement. "Ge Chen! Where is Ge Chen?"
A small round face appeared in the window behind the horse head: "Ah, Master! Marquis! "
Zhang Feng Han: "Show Marshal what our train looks like running!"
Ge Chen stretched his neck and howled, "Roger!"
After that, he withdrew to the front of the train. A monkey-like young Ling Shu held two flags and swirled them in front for a bit. The steam rail car then slowly fired up. The fragrance of Ziliujin that only Gu Yun could detect floated out of the steam on the roof. Then, the long cry of a horn came. The series of tails behind the body did not affect the movement of the head. It ran steadily, faster and faster, faster and faster ——
Finally disappearing from Gu Yun's sight.
A group of crazy Ling Shu's around began to cheer again. Zhang Feng Han could only maintain order with his voice: "What about the rule! The rule! In front of the Marquis of Order, can you save some dignity for me?"
Nobody listened to him.
Zhang Feng Han had to turn to Gu Yun and said awkwardly: "Marshal, how embarrassing, They have been doing this for the past two days, shouting each time the train runs, it's useless no matter who comes over — Alas, to tell you the truth, it was thanks to Master Du who bought the drawing at a high price using his connections overseas. However, whether the foreigners helped or not to invade our Dynasty, they were very treacherous. They hid several techniques, starting from the land collection along the canal up to now, countless refined pieces of iron and dark iron have been discarded. If it wasn't for the help of His Highness Yan Wang behind the scenes, this project would have been abandoned by the people above...it was not easy for these children, please don't mind them."
Gu Yun stood on the spot with his hands behind his back, still looking in the direction that the railway steam car had disappeared. Truth be told, he also wanted to scream with the Ling Shu bunch nearby, but afraid of frightening others, he had to force out a stable shell, but his heart was already far away with the long train driven by Ziliujin.
An artery-like rail was laid down along the canal, from now on the land of Liangjiang would no longer be far away from the Emperor.
Gu Yun couldn't help but think of the vision that Chang Geng once said to him: "All the machines running on the ground will be in the fields, that the flying Kites in the sky will be filled with ordinary travelers who take their families home to visit their relatives..."
Gu Yun turned to Zhang Feng Han and said with a sincere smile, "How fortunate that I haven't given up on my duty throughout so many years. Otherwise, where could I find an opportunity to witness this godly thing so early?"
Master Feng Han was completely unable to understand his feelings, "Hahaha, Marshal you jest," he said.
Gu Yun didn't know what name he would be given in history books after hundreds of years from now. Either way, he was there in the Western Regions fighting the rebellion two times, he was there when the capital was about to break down. He was there in the Northern Frontier when they surrendered. When the first steam railcar roared away, he was also there…
In this way, his confusion that had clung to him all the way was undone easily. He found a little amusement in thinking ‘I am everywhere’.
At the beginning of May, Gu Yun left for the South and inquired that Yan Wang was on the official road. He simply gave up the Eagle and rode along the official road with a team of Light Cavalry. As expected, in Zhili, which was not far from the capital, his scheme of 'meeting Yan Wang by chance' that he had been brewing for a long time came true.
Chang Geng didn't mean to delay his trip. But he 'sharpened his sword and did not miss the chance to cut the wood*'. He met with every kind of person he needed to meet one by one on his way to the capital so that as soon as he arrived, he would be ready to immediately set off a storm, not leaving room for anyone to make their move.
*basically means “More preparation may quicken the speed in doing work”
It was a road full of schemes. He didn't expect to meet Gu Yun, who was nowhere to be found. At first, when he heard his underling report about this, he almost bounced out of the carriage.
In front of outsiders, the two pretended to have a thorough understanding of etiquette. As soon as they arrived at the post station inn where they were temporarily resting, he closed the door and sent away all irrelevant people. Chang Geng wished he could glue himself on Gu Yun, touching him up and down for a time: "Why did you ride on the official road? Don't you feel tired? Were you wounded in the north? Give me your wrist… What's your diet like these days? Did Chen Qing Xu say anything?"
Gu Yun leaned aside, listened to him bringing the usual long-winded words from his letters out again, but this time orally. Without hurry, he smiled and asked: "Which one do you want me to report first?"
Chang Geng laughed for a while, but also found that he was too excited: "How come yiu didn't use Eagles for such a long trip?"
Gu Yun: "I changed out at the front post station."
Chang Geng was stunned. Suddenly, he realized Gu Yun's implication and raised his head in amazement: "You are...because..."
"Isn't it? I have been waiting for a long time on the way to rob His Royal Highness Yan Wang." Gu Yun reached out and propped himself up on both sides of Chang Geng's head, resting his chin on Chang Geng's shoulder, and said lazily, "If you want to pass by here, leave your money."
Chang Geng's throat moved a little, he thought of the palm that was sent through thousands of miles: "Robbing my possessions or robbing my body? As for possessions, there is a royal mansion, an isolated courtyard, a shop specializing in selling rare things, and... "
Gu Yun pretended to be surprised and said: "So rich? Meeting this kind of fat sheep my first time robbing, how lucky... Then I'll have to rob your body! "
Chang Geng laughed and pulled him down suddenly, lying on his stomach and saying in Gu Yun's ear, "Yifu, you must have seen the steam train. What about the thing you promised me?"
Gu Yun immediately changed his mind: "You see my mouth. I was wrong just now. I'll say it again — kid, you'd better take out your money."
Chang Geng 'pitifully' acted spoiled and said next to his ear: "No money, my money has all been taken by my man to drink and play, can I not sell myself instead?"
He stayed in Liangjiang camp for several months, almost taking on their accent. He did not know where he learned such a soft voice. The words 'my man' dragged long into Gu Yun's ear, making Gu Yun's back feel numb. There was no method to deal with this kind of 'darling' other than to give him whatever he wished for, letting him do as he pleased.
Unfortunately, the two only had one quick night of intimate warmth. The next day they would have to sort out their luggage and brush by each other, one up north and one down south, like they were changing shifts.
Yan Wang officially returned to the court and took charge of the Grand Council.
Fang Qin silently prepared two essays. If Yan Wang failed to deal with the Feng Huo tickets, he would accuse Yan Wang of being a disaster to the country and the people. In those days, he was so short-sighted that he promoted the Feng Huo tickets that had caused the current chaos. Maybe he could abolish the several official governance reforms of Yan Wang and restore the imperial court to its original state.
If those tycoons who did not respect the Ministry of Household succeeded in dealing the Feng Huo tickets after the appearance of Yan Wang, there would be plenty of places to criticize. Did Yan Wang not always flaunt himself as an independent and upright man, with no party and factions? Fang Qin knew that he and Du Wan Quan and their group soon had their scheme, but he was not able to grasp his weak spot. This time, he would come out and say—— As a Prince, you had everything possible to transfer the national financial power to this group of ambitious businessmen who went to sea several times and even had connections with the Westerners, what are you planning?
Fang Qin was fully prepared and never planned to let Yan Wang move. When he and Yan Wang passed by and nodded to each other at the Great Court Meeting, Fang Qin felt that Yan Wang was not going to let him go either.
In the period that Yan Wang was absent, the contradiction between the new officials and the aristocratic forces in the dynasty became more acute. One group tried to preserve their nobility and righteousness, while the other raised up with the wind. Sometimes, the gap between those from the social classes and those from all walks of life was no less than that between the Barbarians of the Eighteen Tribes and the Great Liang people.
The aristocratic families had been handed down from generation to generation. Almost every family owned a large area of land. Since the price of grain kept falling in the year of Yuan He, for the sake of their income in the future, aristocratic families had dipped their hands in doing business, changing from carrying it out in secret when under Emperor Wu’s ruling to a well-spread trend. On one hand, it gave the merchants who used to be the lowest rank in society a chance to step up, on the other hand, it also had a bad effect on private merchants.
Since Emperor Tai Zu's generation, there had been laws and regulations in Great Liang — any renowned individuals, or anyone with the status of princes and nobles, and the like, were not allowed to compete with the people for profits, because once the word ‘official’ was involved in business, it would no longer be purely business. Even if they did not actively bully others, there would be villains who would ride on their coat tails.
The feud between the old aristocratic families and the new officials had a long history and was not a matter of one generation or dynasty.
At this time, the new nobles came to power, just like a salted fish turning over*. Whether it be the east wind prevailing over the west wind or the west wind prevailing over the east wind, of course, the old aristocratic families would spare no effort to suppress it. New hatred and old hatred stacked together. They could hold their noses and work together when the country was in a mess. At this time, the Barbarians had already bowed down and Jiangnan could free up their hands again. The war situation was not so urgent, their conflict immediately broke out once more.
*idiom for ‘reversal of fortune’/’underdog achieves success’
Yan Wang did not even have time to ease things up when he returned to the court, what was waiting for him was the noisy fighting in the Grand Court Meeting.
Their arguments went from whether to abolish the Feng Huo tickets to the malpractices of the new administration of officials, then at last, attacking the Canal Office. Then, from imperial power to civil rights, from civil and commercial order to the patriarchal clan system, finally the argument has somehow even moved to the army. From the current expenditure of the garrisons on all four borders, breaking out like a wild horse and going straight to the question of whether Jiangnan should continue to fight or not — the Fang Qin party had grasped the root of Yan Wang. If not for the huge war expenditure in recent years, the Treasury crying out in poverty, Yan Wang would not be able to seize the opportunity to make money the priority, plunging the court into chaos like this.
A certain noble family member came out to pick a fight: "Your Majesty, the Eighteen Tribes have surrendered, from now on we will have rich Ziliujin sources. The vitality of the country is slowly recovering, it is really not suitable to fight again within three to five years. I think the peace talks presented by the Westerners recently are very sincere. They can withdraw from Changjiang, give up the occupied land, we can allow them to open up western ports along the East Sea and disperse the garrison to ports along the coast, which can not only provide peace for the people, but also serve as a transit place for our maritime trade in the future. Marshal Gu, regardless of reason, is always provocative. Continuing to add more conditions, it is quite heartless. "
Naturally, someone from Yan Wang's Party retaliated: "Why should we give up the fertile land along the East Sea to a group of Western monkeys? Can't we open ports ourselves? Don't we have our own merchant caravan? The lands that the ancestors passed down, you’ll just give them up to the Westerners just like that. Looking at the entire court, there is no one more generous than you!"
Fang Qin went to the battle in person, casting the ‘betraying the country’ topic aside and said without hesitation, "The Westerners came from a long distance, most of their resources needed to be supplied from thousands of miles away. The soldiers they brought were only tired people far away from their home country. In my opinion, we do not have to overreact like facing off a formidable opponent. We can pretend to negotiate with them. In eight or ten years, it would be difficult for them to continue. Marshal Gu devoted himself to Great Liang, these years he has been continuously injured, and has never had a few comfortable and reassuring days. For the sake of the hundred thousand soldiers bathed in blood on the front line, I also agree it's time to stop fighting and rest — this matter can be discussed later, I don't know if Your Highness Yan Wang has any...plan for the Feng Huo tickets?"
Yan Wang, who had been listening on from the start was dragged out by him at this time, he looked up at Fang Qin and said, "There's no need to discuss it again later, after all, Feng Huo tickets have ‘Feng Huo’* as their name, they are closely related to the war. Since you gentlemen want to cut off the land to feed the wolves and tigers, the third batch of Feng Huo tickets have no reason to be issued. The court can always repay the debt with the tax revenue of the next five years as guarantee.”
*reminder that feng huo literally means 'fire beacon', which was a fire lit to give warning to local people of the approach of an enemy
Fang Qin shook his head and said with a smile, "Yan Wang has spoken from temper. Can a truce be called 'feeding the wolves and tigers'? The Westerners have been losing day by day, this is a defeated enemy seeking surrender! When they arrive at sea, they are nothing but a group of rootless duckweeds, not adequate enough to cause any serious trouble."
Chang Geng also smiled and said: "It's really impressive that Master Fang knows everything in the world without leaving home. He knows that the Westerners are rootless duckweeds from thousands of miles away. Such far-sighted ability, people truly cannot catch up to your shadow."
Seeing that the two people were getting acrimonious in the tone of greeting each other, Li Feng had to come forward and say, "Matters of the army, there are soldiers in the army to decide, I called you all here to discuss the urgent matter of the Feng Huo tickets. Why are you arguing about the Liangjiang battle? Can't calculate a few meager account books, but brought up so much trouble instead —— A Min, you should also talk less."
An assistant minister of the Ministry of Revenue came out at the right time and continued the Emperor's words: "Your Highness Yan Wang has just returned from Jiangbei. I'm afraid you haven't figured out the reason why the third batch of Feng Huo tickets are delayed.
“As you know, although the salaries of the civil and military officials in our dynasty are rich compared with those in the previous dynasty, everyone has their families to take care of, this little salary is just enough to maintain a little face, how dare anyone be rich and powerful when the country is in trouble? How many people have gone bankrupt since the subscription of Feng Huo tickets was included in the official inspection? At present, we can't get any more money. Your Highness has always had intimate relations with the merchant alliance tycoons and Du Wan Quan. Do you think you can come out to ask them for their donation once more?"
Of course, Chang Geng refused to fall into this trap with a hidden meaning, he said: "On the way back to the capital, I visited Master Du and the others. Now, factories have been built all over the country. As a righteous businessman, sometimes he also has to take care of refugees, which costs a lot of money. Now, most of the resources had been poured into the Canal Office, even if they are willing to go bankrupt to help the country, could they also abandon the refugees that had taken a lot of effort to settle? To tell you the truth, Master Du's original words to me were that right now, he cannot find another coin."
Fang Qin refused to let him go. "Why didn't Your Highness think of leaving a way out back when you pushed forward the Feng Huo ticket?"
Chang Geng looked at him coolly: "Master Fang, I said clearly at the beginning that the money should be borrowed first. When it is due two years later, when the Treasury is no longer in a tight spot, there will be a solution, if not, we can use the third batch of Feng Huo tickets to solve the urgent problem — at the time of counting the income, Master Fang had already taken charge of the Ministry of Revenue, you yourself didn't raise any objection. Now, you come and ask me. On the contrary, I would like to ask you, where did the money flowing in and out of the Ministry of Revenue in the past two years go? Why are we lacking so much?"
Fang Qin finally couldn't help but say angrily: "The account books are all there. If Yan Wang has doubts about this official, you can go to check them!"
Chang Geng gave an unamused laugh: "True, how can the masters in the Ministry of Revenue not be able to calculate a few account books, it must mean that during that year, Master Fang had lost his mind, making a miscalculation?"
Li Feng: "Enough!"
Fang Qin hurriedly apologized while Chang Geng bowed slightly and stood on the side stubbornly. He was very silent most of the time in the court meetings, even if there was something needed to be said, it was always done by his underling, he seldom went head to head with others. Fang Qin couldn't help looking at him and had a feeling that something was wrong.
Yan Wang must have prepared a solution for the situation of the Feng Huo ticket. Why would he rather fight in front of the Emperor than say it properly to ease the crowd? What was he planning?
The Grand Court Meeting was dismissed in displeasure. Yan Wang was kept behind, walking silently with Li Feng. Although Li Feng's broken leg had recovered, it was all along an incompletely cured illness. If he walked a bit too fast, he would appear a little unbalanced.
"Take a walk in the garden with me." Li Feng said.
It happened that the Crown Prince had just finished studying and was playing with the Third Prince in the garden. As he saw his father and young uncle, he hurriedly came to greet them. The Crown Prince grew different each year, he already had the appearance of a young teen. The Third Prince was only five years old and was still changing his teeth, his words were a little leaky when talking.
When Li Feng met the Crown Prince, of course, he would want to display his father's prestige. First, he scolded the Crown Prince out of nothing, then interrogated him about his studies.
The Crown Prince replied well at first, but continuously glanced at his younger brother near the end. Li Feng followed his gaze, suddenly not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
The toothless Third Prince was not old enough to be interrogated by his father. He was standing on one side silently at first then was waved away by Yan Wang. He took him to sit on the ground with great carelessness, grabbed several grass stems and weaved them into a grasshopper. When had the children in the Forbidden Palace ever seen this kind of countryside plaything? The Third Prince's eyes were wide open, watching dumbly. Soon, the little child had a grass grasshopper in his left hand and a grass cricket in his right hand. He was so happy that he didn't care to cover up his missing front tooth.
Li Feng scolded: "...Losing ambition from playing too much, where is dignity!"
He stared at Chang Geng with a straight face, then sent away the two children reluctant to leave. Li Feng saw the Third Prince tiptoeing to place the grasshopper into the Crown Prince's hand, the Crown Prince then held his little brother's empty hand. The eldest child led the younger child, looking like a pair of little brothers from an ordinary family.
The Crown Prince was gentle, like his grandfather.
Li Feng rarely felt moved. When he turned to Chang Geng, his face also softened a lot. He asked, "After such a long time, you still do not want to get married?"
Chang Geng's smile faded immediately.
Li Feng saw that he didn't like to mention this matter, he sighed, "Or big brother can be an initiator, choosing a child from within the family for you to adopt. When you become older in the future, there must be someone to care for you."
Chang Geng paused and twisted his hands together, as if there was still moisture from the grass left on his fingers. He looked in the direction of the Third Prince's departure, his face seemed quite moved. But after a while, he still did not nod.
Chang Geng: "Thank you very much, Royal Brother, There is no need."
"The child that follows you can inherit a royal title, in the future, even if he does not have any merit, he will at least be a Jun Wang with a promising future. There are many people willing to leave their child in your care." Li Feng said, "You don't have to worry about feeling guilty of robbing people's children."
Chang Geng suddenly bowed, "Your Majesty, Your Subject is willing to follow the footsteps of Lord Shang*. I do not want to drag down descendants."
Li Feng's eyes twitched a little, he turned to look at him in silence.
Chang Geng bent over and refused to straighten up. He seemed young and powerful at first glance, but he was lonely and bleak.
Willing to follow the example of Lord Shang — to reform by any means, to be hated and despised by the world, to be split open in the market, become the cinders that burn themselves for the era.
*Lord Shang — Shang Yang was an ancient Chinese philosopher, politician and a prominent legalist scholar. He pushed for a lot of reforms that affected the nobility. Due to this, when a new king was appointed, he was punished along with all of his family and relatives, the highest form of punishment for a capital offense in ancient China.
On that day, all the eunuchs and palace attendants were dismissed far away. No one knew what the Li brothers had said in the garden. From noon until dark, when Yan Wang finally left the palace by himself.
There were only a few blades of grass that had been pulled out and made into insects, laying bare.
The next day, Jiang Chong received an instruction from Yan Wang — don't let the Marquis of Order go back to the capital. We might not fight this battle, but he must stay in Liangjiang.
The heavy rain in Jiangnan was cruel. A few days ago, it was still too hot for people to sleep. Suddenly, a strong wind and rain changed the sky, the humidity could penetrate into people's bones.
Master Ja wiped away the moisture from his face and walked up quickly. He climbed to the top along the iron steps protruding from the ugly and terrifying shell of the Western sea monster. An old man with dazzling white hair was leaning on something with his back facing him. His waist was like a piece of bamboo bent from being burnt.
Master Ja gave a slight cough: "Your Majesty, it's already late, why are you not resting?"
"When you get old, you will be abandoned by sleep," the Pope said, waving his hand. "Come here, look at this."
There was a ‘Qian Li Yan’ on the top of the sea monster, this was not a small gadget that could be clipped on the bridge of the nose. It was three feet long, made of copper, with circles on the surface like the trace on a bamboo joint, firmly fixed on the ground with a triangular leg. There was a circle of complicated carvings on the long copper cylinder, written in all Western characters.
This was the true ‘Qian Li Yan’*, which could see a thousand miles.
*reminder than Qian Li Yan is literally ‘thousand-mile eye’
Through this long tube, they could see the territory of the other side of Great Liang from the sea monster floating in the East Sea.
In just a few years, the quiet fertile land from a thousand miles away on the opposite side began to burn under the night. The brightest and most concentrated light was the watchtower of the garrison, then much softer in the area behind. Those were the lights of many new factories working and keeping watch at night. It was not very bright, but it was distributed everywhere, like a handful of tiny stars.
"What is Your Majesty looking at?" Master Ja asked curiously "Has the enemy moved? "
"The enemy has always been moving," the Pope murmured. "Those people in the Holy Land first succumbed to their greed, then put their unrealistic expectations on the peace talks. We have lost our best chance, making retreat after retreat. Now the ship has to move back to the sea. After a while, the Great Liang people are likely to send troops to cut off the supply line we have contact with. When it comes to that, there is no telling how it will end."
Master Ja: "Didn't we make a careful calculation as to why we retreated to the coast? By now, the Dong Ying islands can be used as a special supply channel. We can move on the open sea. Although the Great Liang people imitated our fast-moving tiger shark Jiaos, the overall fleet design is not suitable for the open sea operations."
"The Dong Ying people are like a pack of wild dogs. When you have an advantage, they will not hesitate to come for a piece of rotten meat. Once you lose power, don't expect to get their loyalty." The Pope sighed in a low voice, "Besides, is the conclusion that the Great Liang navy can't adapt to the operation in the high seas certain? A few years ago they didn't even have a decent Navy — how can we base our victory percentage on the assumption that the enemy is weak? "
Master Ja was silent for a moment: "But Your Majesty, the messenger..."
"That's why I've come to you," said the Pope, drawing a letter from his arms, his hands shaking like autumn leaves, but his expression was cold and hard, with no sign of his usual gentleness. "Letter from home, read it."
Master Ja quickly picked it up, then his face paled: "Is...Is this true? "
The pope said in a low voice: "The Holy Land is changing.”
The Conservative Party detested the Liberal Party, making them sit in office without any real power, hence they had decided to borrow tens of thousands of people from affiliated countries, attacking the Holy Land in the name of protest, creating riots, deposing the king, executing more than thirty old nobles, including the first successor in line, and pushing a pitiful child from very distant relatives onto the throne.
A few days later, the Royalists fought back, the new king was forced to step down after only wearing the crown for seven days.
Now the political arena of the Holy Land was very unclear. Anything could happen. The holy messenger who was loyal to the old king had, of course, lost his power. However, the Royalists were trying their best to appease the Holy See that had been neglected by the old king for half a lifetime. They would not be a hindrance to them for now.
Master Ja's thinking was very sharp, he had figured out all the key points in a moment.
The Pope suddenly turned around and stared at him like a falcon. "This is an opportunity, do you understand?"
Master Ja lowered his voice excitedly: "Then the messenger..."
"He is no longer the messenger," said the Pope, with a slight nod of his head, his attitude was both docile and cold.
Master Ja took a deep breath and clenched his fist under the complicated cuff: "I'm going to prepare now."
"Jacques," said the Pope, with his old hands folded in his sleeves and standing in the night wind, "If we lose this chance, we may never be able to set foot on this land again. It has awoken."
Mr. Ja looked back at the distant shore, recalled the lights he had just seen. His heart shaken, he left in a hurry.
While the Great Liang people were unaware, there was a violent ‘rebellion’ in the Western army.
From the time when the messenger received the news from the Holy Land to when he decided to flee, it was less than an incense time. It was not that he was indecisive. Unfortunately, he did not know that the news sent for him had been intercepted by others.
From his escape to his secret arrest by the Pope's elite guards standing by in wait, it was also less than an incense time.
The messenger and his underlings were killed on the spot by Master Ja. A ship was then set up, pretending as if the messenger had departed after finishing his business, hiding the information about the internal chaos in the Holy Land. In the peaceful Western military port, ordinary soldiers were still making routine inspections. They only knew that the messenger was called back to the Holy Land, from now on, they would return to having only one leader.
The Pope did not change his soft attitude towards the peace talks with the Great Liang people. On the surface, he continued to retreat little by little until the autumn equinox of the ninth year of Long An.
*Starting from September 22nd to September 24th
A batch of Western supplies arrived at the Western military port by sea. A large number of military supplies and Ziliujin were like a dark mass of a group of demons, landing on the coast of Jiangnan.
For the entire nine years of Long An, Great Liang was engulfed in the scent of gunpowder.
At the end of May, the royal court, represented by Yan Wang, met with the original thirteen tycoons who bought the Feng Huo tickets and announced that the first batch of Feng Huo tickets were due. At the same time, the ‘Bank of Long An’ approved by Li Feng himself was also set up, with the headquarters in the capital city and branches set up everywhere else in the country. Before the completion of the branches, the local government was responsible for collecting and cashing the expired Feng Huo tickets.
The next day, the Bank of Long An disclosed several alternative cashing methods — with real money, or opening an account at the Bank of Long An, changing the tickets into deposits, then changing them into Long An tickets that could be used nationally. If the amount reached a certain standard, if one wanted to, they could also exchange it for a share of the official factory held by the Canal Office. All the prices were listed, which were enough to fill a thick account book. Fang Qin and others gnashed their teeth — for this was yet another thing Yan Wang had perhaps thought of for a long time.
In the past, there were also various kinds of banks in Great Liang, including private banks by common people, banks of royal merchants, and government banks for official foreign trade and exchange. The Bank of Long An forced all the banks of government officials into one, and the gentle image of Yan Wang from before was changed. After his return, as if he was possessed, he turned more and more insane day after day.
Although royal merchants had the word ‘royal’, most of them had lords of various families as their backing. When they want to bully others, they remembered the word ‘royal’ on their heads. When they wanted to enrich their own pockets, there was only one word ‘merchant’ left. They were already used to having no division between private and public. The account books were a mess of mud and water, the interests inside could not be made clear even after listing them out for three days. They had long regarded the official industry as their own family business. Who would think that everything would change overnight, having their ‘family business’ robbed from them as such?
From May to August, every day in the court, there were chickens flying and dogs dancing.
A high ranking manager in an official's bank stepped out, acting as the first bird to resist death and was immediately found guilty of fraud and corruption and sent to prison; he was to be investigated and dealt with. His wife was originally pregnant, because of this, she had been running around for many days, combined with her naturally poor health, as a result, she had a miscarriage — one corpse, two lives.
The mother-in-law was an old woman. On her 70th birthday, even the former emperor had personally written her the words ‘God of Longevity’. Having only one daughter at an old age, she had given her utmost love and care — how could she stand this? She held onto the former emperor's plaque, insisting on hanging herself.
For a time, all the nobles in the capital wished they could skin Yan Wang.
But Fang Qin skillfully avoided Yan Wang, who had the status of a nobleman, and pointed the spear at the Grand Council, contacting the people on his side within the six ministries, and joined together to write a letter denouncing sixteen crimes of the Grand Council. The group passionately asked the Emperor to dismiss the Grand Council that was a ‘temporary wartime institution’.
The person behind the Grand Council, of course, was not someone who was in the position only in name. Of course, he would fight back. All the dirty things that had been going on for a long generation were laid out on the table for all to see. The court was full of open guns and hidden arrows, every side was fighting to the death. Even if it was someone who had never been involved, they would still eat one or two stray arrows just passing by.
Near the Mid-Autumn Festival, it was almost white hot. Even Jiang Chong who was such a cautious person was also involved in a case and had his duties suspended to wait for investigation.
Everyone knew in their hearts that even though the Emperor seemed to be fair, he was actually protecting Yan Wang, otherwise, how could he still be so quiet and still in the midst of this storm?
It was noisy until the mid-autumn night.
According to common practice, Li Feng was going to have a family dinner in the back palace. On the way, he met the Third Prince. Even the strictest people were tolerant of the youngest child. Li Feng expressed a rare display of gentleness, calling him over and leading him by the hand. The Third Prince, like his brothers, was also afraid of his father and did not dare to say a word. He tried hard to reach his father's hand and trotted along with him, his face soon turning red from running.
The servant had to remind him, only then did Li Feng look down to see his little son trembling. For some reason, he remembered that day when Yan Wang sat on the grass and made grass insects for the little boy.
Li Feng: "Go call Yan Wang into the palace to have a family dinner."
The servant hurriedly complied, but after a long run, he didn't manage to bring the person back.
"Your Majesty, your servant was not able to find His Royal Highness Yan Wang."
Li Feng frowned. "Is he not at the Grand Council?"
The servant said cautiously: "Isn't there something wrong with Master Jiang recently? Someone is making a fuss about wanting to shut down the Grand Council. His Highness said that in order to avoid more conflict, he had stopped his daily affairs. Isn't his apology letter still on your desk?"
Li Feng rubbed his eyebrows and remembered this matter: "Didn't you go to find him at home? The Prince’s manor? And even the Marquis' Manor…"
"Yes, I did" the servant whispered, "The family servants said that Yan Wang had left for Hu Guo Temple. These past two days, he was in Master Liao Ran's Zen Room."
Li Feng: "..."
On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, thousands of families were reunited, yet Yan Wang, who was under one person but above ten thousand, was all alone under a poor monk's lantern of Buddha.
...There were also a number of people trying to pull him off his horse.
Li Feng suddenly felt irritated.
Although he felt moved that Chang Geng in the imperial garden was determined to follow the footsteps of Lord Shang, he did have a headache from the troubles Yan Wang's excessive means in this period of time had caused. This time, he punished Jiang Chong to remind him it was already enough, they should appropriately be restrained.
At this time, the bad feeling gradually changed in Li Feng's mind. No matter how Yan Wang was, he was still one of the Li's — what he did in this period of time, even if he was too hasty, was also to close the holes in the imperial court. Besides, there was no place in this country that did not belong to the ruler. He himself as the Emperor didn't say anything, yet these ministers of the royal family were competing in throwing a tantrum. It was quite disrespectful to the royal family.
That year, Li Feng clearly knew that Wang Guo had a problem. He still angrily guarded his uncle in the palace when Tan Hong Fei came for questioning. It was because Li Feng was born to eat soft but not hard. It was one thing that he was willing to keep his balance. But this time, it was another thing for all the families to join hands to deal with Yan Wang.
These people are overstepping the line, Li Feng thought.
However, before the seed in the Emperor's heart had the chance to sprout, a great event happened thousands of miles away that night——
The Western Navy, which had retreated to the coastal port, was still pretending to send congratulations on the festival to the Jiangbei garrison the day before. The dew on the flowers that had been sent had not even dried yet, but they turned their faces the next day, using their full strength as if they had been planning this for a long time.
Launching a large-scale invasion on the Liangjiang garrison.
Since Gu Yun was stationed in Liangjiang, the patrol requirements of the local garrison was basically increased to the standard of the Black Iron Camp. Although the imperial court had been burning for a long time, the Jiaos, Eagles and Light and Heavy Armor in Jiangbei were all in a state of loose outside but tight inside, ready for combat at any moment.
At night, the watchtower that was closely monitoring the enemy's movements in the southeast first found the movement of the Western Navy. It turned on the alarm light. The bright white light was like a rainbow that was shot through the dark water. It was not necessary to wait for the commander's order. The short jiaos on the forefront would gather near the water surface on the ground and quickly set up the iron fence for wartime defense. At the same time, the soldier keeping watch and reporting the news flew straight from the watchtower to the Marshal tent.
On the main ship of the Western army, Master Ja rushed in breathlessly: "Your Majesty, they have been closely monitoring our army, we have been discovered."
"That's normal," the Pope didn't raise his eyes. "Last time, their commander just died, the new and old leaders had not handed over their duties, we got lucky once with our surprise attack. Now, Gu Yun is stationed here. Don't dream about unrealistic luck anymore. Go. Since the other side has noticed, let's say hello to our old enemy."
As soon as his words were finished, the herald had gone quickly to deliver the order.
Master Ja frowned: "Your Majesty, I think that… - Did we choose an inappropriate time? Why can't we wait a little longer? The interior of Great Liang also faces the same problem of changing powers as the Holy Land. Maybe after a period of time, there will be opportunities for us to... "
He didn't get to finish, a loud noise came from outside — the fast moving vanguard warship opened fire!
There was no turning back once it had been fired, explosions rang out one after another. Master Ja shivered and realized that he had to focus on the war situation. After all, he had suffered a great loss under Gu Yun before.
The Pope briefly moved his eyes away from the Qian Li Yan and turned to Master Ja: "I have a hunch that this is the best time — move forward at full speed!"
The sea monster, like a black shadow, had been standing dormant and salivating for a long time. Once again, it waved its ferocious claws and rushed to the border of Great Liang.
However, this time, the weak Great Liang Navy was no longer the same.
In Liangjiang's garrison, the sentry just took over the position of his dead comrades-in-arms. For the first time, he acted as the commander's ears and eyes in response to this critical moment. When he heard the sound of gunfire behind him, he thought that he had delayed the military business. He made a fierce dive with the Eagle armor. When he landed, he ran dozens of steps and couldn't stop staggering, he was quickly caught by the cavalry comrade patrolling around the Marshal tent.
"Urgent military situation, I want to see Marshal..." The sentry was in a panic, the hand that had been holding him suddenly raised up and patted his head.
The sentry was startled. He looked up and found that the person he thought was someone in charge of guard duty was actually Gu Yun himself.
"Just a defeated enemy, don't be afraid," Gu Yun patted him on the back of the neck and smiled at the young sentry. "Let's go and meet them."
In these two words, the Cavalry and Light Cavalry of the whole camp had been completely assembled. Countless Eagle Armors lit up a purple fire in the dark night. Gu Yun made a long whistle, and the flying eagle soared to the sky.
"Long Jiaos and short Jiaos, 3-5 formation, set out of the harbor!"
"Eagles set up the Baihong over the iron fence!"
"What else is there?" Gu Yun put the Wind Slasher on his back like a decorative ornament and rubbed his chin. "Oh, also, ready the 'dimsum' that has just been sent by Ling Shu Institute. After growing tired from fighting, we will give our old friends who have come from afar something to chew on."
The Western troops came suddenly, but the Liangjiang garrison was not hasty in their response.
On one side was the Pope who rallied and came all the way across the sea from the Holy Land, and the other side was Gu Yun, the godly Marquis of Order from legends. Finally, the two faced each other head-on in a situation of equal power and no disturbance.
Gu Yun was not a young man who dared to go to battle with only hot blood like Chang Geng. He methodically opened the battle line on the coast and on the water, slowly but orderly, testing the situation.
Unfortunately, his opponent was also one of equal ability, the person commanding the battle this time was not the cowardly Master Ja either. Old ginger is very spicy*. Gu Yun teased him several times. A team of short jiaos that attacked by surprise almost sent the enemy's right wing flying by several times, but the main ship of the enemy's army always responded quickly and immediately closed up.
*referring to the idiom 姜还是老的辣 “ginger gets spicier as it gets older” which means “the older, the wiser”
The Western sea monster seemed to be bulky. In fact, it was not only highly defensive, but also full of thorns. When the ugly iron plates on the surface were lifted, there were countless muzzles connected. The sea monster could be installed with an unimaginable amount of Ziliujin and ammunition.
With this, their flying Eagles could land and resupply at will, able to suppress their opponents in the air wherever they went. At the same time, its control of the surrounding sea jiaos was irreplaceable. Like a queen bee or a queen ant, it could perfectly gather a group of brainless and low level subordinates around.
Gu Yun said to Yao Zhen, "Do you see it? The autonomy of the left and right wings has been replaced by the big guy in the middle. It seems that the Pope has finally packed the stick that stirred shit up among them and threw him into the sea. "
Yao Chong Ze looked worried: "Marshal, it's also them who have been trying to negotiate. what's the purpose of turning over suddenly now?"
Gu Yun licked his lips: "I guess it's because there were political changes within them. Someone gave them a tube of chicken blood. I know a little bit about the fighting style of that old man. At the beginning, he liked to bomb heavily and open his way. It also served as a test. If it didn't work out, it would be adjusted immediately. But today, he's entirely different. If it wasn't for the abundant supplies, he wouldn't be so confident. Their supplies would have come from Dong Ying in the open sea. Our forces there are quite thin."
Yao Zhen's mind was very clear, immediately saying: "Marshal, if that is the case, trying to fight hard is not the way to go. At present, the railway track hasn't been completed. Even if we request supplies now, we still won't have enough time for transportation. What can we do?"
The Western army's gunfire fiercely covered the river and the sea. For a time, the water surface was no different than the flame of hell. The Ziliujin was poured into the heart of all the iron monsters with no hesitation, burning everything to ash, becoming a thin stream of white fog, rolling up the sky with impurities and the gunpowder smoke of the artillery. It soon covered the bright and starry night sky with a layer of haze, and the water gathered into a cloud. They were on a gridlock until midnight, and it unexpectedly began to rain.
At this time, a messenger trotted over: "Marshal, the Sea Cuttles are ready!"
"Gather the jiaos on water, launch the main ship, all Eagles move on board." Gu Yun strode to the deck of the main ship and said to Yao Zhen next to him, "Brother Chong Ze should stay on the bank. Don't follow me."
Yao Zhen said with a smile, "Although I have always been greedy for life and afraid of death, what am I afraid of when following Marshal?"
However, it was not long before Yao Zhen regretted his words. Unfortunately, he was seasick —— The power system of the main ship was refitted by Ling Shu Institute according to Gu Yun's idea, it really resembled a white stripe in the waves, as fast as the small jiao soaring in the wind.
Normally, the main fleet would not be rocking too much, but unfortunately, the one giving orders was Gu Yun, even if it flew up, countless small and large Jiaos around would still be in his hands.
The Western army dared not neglect and immediately began to chase and intercept on a large scale.
In this way, the unbreakable and solid formation of the Western army immediately became a constraint. Gu Yun had a strong sense of rhythm. When the fire was concentrated, the fleets would be broken up immediately. After a while, they would gather again into a murderous fleet, like a quick knife that was always pressed on the side of the opponent's neck, forcing people to follow his rhythm.
Gradually, the word ‘steady’ would be added at the end of every order in the Western sea monster.
However, the situation was not so steady.
Gu Yun quickly found out the weakest place of the Western fleets, and the Great Liang Navy immediately gathered together to stab it. The Western sea monsters who couldn't get rid of their tails couldn't react. The Pope had to risk it: "Open the main ship's shell, increase the heavy guns, anyone blocking the path, get out of the way—"
At this time, Gu Yun said to Yao Zhen with a smile: "The idea of the Western sea monster is actually worth learning, but the reason why it has not been decided with Ling Shu Institute is that although their ideas are correct, their technology is not up to standard — maybe we can make a better one within one or two decades..."
Before he finished speaking, he saw that the Western sea Jiaos, which had been tightly stuck around the sea monster, were suddenly scattered in disorder.
Gu Yun: "The point for breakthrough has appeared, Cuttles, don't be stunned!"
Yao Zhen: "Don't worry about it Marshal! Watch out!"
They saw the Western sea monster suddenly lift its black back cover, revealing a row of thick muzzles below.
Gu Yun: "Full speed ahead in the southwest and detonate, these small boats won't be able to withstand us!"
There were two loud sounds, one before and one after, almost at the same time. The first was the short cannon of the Great Liang fleet, blowing over a group of Western short Jiaos that had just fled as they broke into the enemy's position without resistance.
The second was the long cannon of the Western main ship that came right after and almost grazed them. The main ship trembled greatly, Yao Zhen grabbed a post with all his limbs, Gu Yun staggered and strongly collided with the side of the ship.
Yao Zhen was frightened by the sound and said, "Marshal!"
Gu Yun shook his head and got up unconcerned. His eyes were frighteningly bright, "Here comes the snack."
The water surface which was bombarded by big and small guns fluctuated violently. No one was able to see several strange-looking ‘Jiaos’ hidden underneath the water — it was a batch of ‘Sea Cuttles’ recently sent by Ling Shu Institute. They were the Death Squadron in the Sea Jiao's team, they could dive secretly from under the water. After the driver locked in the direction, they could jump straight to the sea and abandon the ship. There would be ropes on the warship that released the Sea Cuttles to retrieve them, but even with no one inside, the Cuttle could keep its original speed and continue to move forward until it hit something at the bottom of the sea. The impact force could detonate the Cuttle.
This was specially made to serve the types of very large ships with their bodies deeply submerged in the water.
The Western people's solid front was smashed and scattered by Gu Yun's consecutive explosions. Suddenly, the water seemed like a flower as it exploded tens of feet high in the middle of the sea. There was a flash of fire, and before the western people could understand what it was, they saw the main ship twitching violently, catching another Sea Cuttle.
It seemed that the shell of copper and iron walls was not entirely invulnerable. The whole sea monster's main ship tilted hard to one side. The Western soldiers who had been giving orders by lighting were not able to make a sound as they fell off the sea monster, there was no telling whether they were dead or alive.
The enemy line instantly became disordered. Gu Yun would, of course, never give them time to breathe. The Eagles that had originally boarded the ship immediately chased the long and short Jiao's that had fallen down with absolute suppression in speed.
This startling naval battle was fought from dark to dawn. The rich supplies of the Westerners were not exhausted yet their formation had been broken apart by seventy or eighty percent. The Pope, after learning a lesson about Gu Yun's cunning and changeability in battle, suppressed his anger and could only retreat temporarily to wait for a chance to come again.
Gu Yun suddenly relaxed, saying in a hoarse voice: "Just feint to chase, do not be eager to fight."
If the Westerners didn't withdraw, a large number of short Jiao's would soon lose their power and have no time to return to the shore for supplies. Even with Gu Yun present, they would be very passive then. Master Ja's thinking was correct, the Great Liang Navy still lacked the ability to fight on the open sea far from the coast.
"The enemy commander is old in age, he is cautious and careful. It will not be easy to fool him, but his cautious nature is also his downfall. If our opponent today was that animal He Rong Hui of our Black Iron Camp, even if the main ship blew up completely, he would still rob a boat to come fight me. It would not be easy to deal with then." Gu Yun murmured and kneaded his eyes subconsciously with his hand. His vision was blurred. Just now he was too tense to notice. At this time, he realized that it was time to drink medicine. He smiled at Yao Zhen, whose soul still had not returned. He ordered, "Sail back!"
Back in the Marshal tent, Gu Yun didn't dare to rest. He wanted to make up an emergency war report to send to the imperial court, he also had to deploy the war preparations to avoid such a situation of lacking here and there just now.
He had to ask someone to boil a bowl of medicine for him first. While waiting for its effect, he was whetting the ink and studying how to hold the Western army for some time in the future. Suddenly, a sharp stabbing pain at his nape and back from when he collided with the ship just now arose, creating a large area of bruising. Gu Yun’s hand trembled, the whetstone unexpectedly slipped out of his hand and fell down.
He gritted his teeth, reached for the table, and waited for the pain to pass.
But this time, the pain was unusually severe. Tormenting him for half an hour, until his back was soaked with cold sweat, it gradually became numb and faded.
At this time, Gu Yun found a very serious problem.
His hearing and eyesight that should have become clear again, still had not recovered.