Dianxia Qingcheng - Chapter 147
Chapter 147: Greetings to Your Highness the Ninth Prince
February 21, 2023Merchie
The foreign soldiers were advancing toward them, gradually forming a thick wall around them.
Everyone’s swords were already coated in blood.
Pei Zheng hugged the small man against his chest with one arm, and felt his soft breaths tickling his neck. The small man was very obedient and didn’t make a sound. Who knew what he was thinking about, he merely remained nestled in Pei Zheng’s embrace.
The quieter he was, the more panicked Pei Zheng felt.
While the two sides were still locked in a stalemate, the neighing of horses sounded from not far away. The clopping of hooves grew louder and louder, until the foreign soldiers were completely surrounded.
Zhao Litang was riding a hose, his red cape billowing behind him. Under everyone’s eyes, a patch of blood red flashed past, followed by an orderly battalion of Celestial Dynasty soldiers, all dressed in red and black battle robes.
The foreign soldiers were heavily outnumbered, and they were almost immediately subdued; they were all pushed into a kneeling position and pinned against the ground.
Zhao Litang stopped in front of Pei Zheng and jumped off his horse.
The one his eyes were pinned on wasn’t Pei Zheng, but the small man peeking out from within his robe.
His eyes were red, and his fingers were trembling, but he could only quash the feelings rising up from the depths of his heart.
He took a few steps forward, before he knelt onto the ground.
“Your Highness, this subordinate… came late.”
But no one answered him.
“General Zhao, please rise.”
Zhao Litang stood up, his eyes flaring as he glared at Pei Zheng.
Pei Zheng had known for a long time, he had known since the very beginning. Had everyone else known about it too, was he the only one left in the dark?
“Someone, help His Highness into the carriage.”
Yue Nu and another servant ran over and tried to take the small man out of Pei Zheng’s embrace.
But the small man didn’t move at all. He didn’t even lift his head.
In the end, Pei Zheng had to bring him into the carriage himself, lifting him up and placing him inside the warm compartment.
“Go back with them first. Once I’m done here, I’ll come for you.”
The small man leaned against the inside of the compartment, his eyes slightly downcast; he hardly showed any reaction to Pei Zheng’s words.
Yue Nu also boarded the same carriage. Shen Huan climbed into the other carriage, and the two carriages raced off.
After the carriages disappeared from view, the other Celestial Dynasty soldiers slowly began to retreat, dragging the tied-up foreign soldiers with them.
Cheng Feng and the shadow guards followed them back to the Celestial Dynasty’s barracks as well. They had all been injured, so they needed treatment too.
In an instant, Zhao Litang and Pei Zheng were the only ones left in front of this forest.
The cold wind rustled through the trees. The two stood there, motionless, not a word exchanged between them.
“You don’t have anything to explain to me?”
Pei Zheng twisted his sleeve over his arm, bandaging up the mess of cuts on his skin.
Zhao Litang immediately raised his fist. He drew it back and punched Pei Zheng in the mouth.
Unexpectedly, Pei Zheng didn’t dodge, and took this rather heavy punch.
Zhao Litang was also a bit shocked that he didn’t dodge, so he hadn’t held back at all. He retracted his bloody fist.
A wound had appeared on the corner of Pei Zheng’s mouth, and a thin line of blood flowed out.
But he raised the corners of his lips, stretching his fingertips up and wiping the bloodstains away.
“Have you calmed down?”
Zhao Litang said, “You think that all of those things will be resolved after just one punch, you’re being a bit too simplistic!”
“Then, would you like to punch me again?”
Zhao Litang yelled in rage, “Pei Zheng! Do you think that you can just make up for everything you’ve done? What’s the difference between one punch or two? Can all of those things that already happened just disappear?! Can the scars that have already formed be filled back in again?”
Pei Zheng’s smile disappeared, and his gaze recovered their air of coldness.
“General Zhao, let’s make one thing clear, I don’t owe you anything. Even if I had to make up for something, it’s not in your place to tell me that.”
Zhao Litang clenched his fists. This man really knew how to anger people to death with just a few words.
“You don’t owe me, but why didn’t you tell me? You already knew Changyi wasn’t dead, you knew he came back, why didn’t you tell me? Was I the only one trapped inside a drum1?!”
Pei Zheng merely chuckled.
“Then why didn’t you notice?”
Zhao Litang’s clenched hands suddenly loosened.
That’s right, who was he blaming?
He had been in contact with the small man before. He had so many chances to discover the truth. He had already felt that there was something different about it, so why didn’t he notice, why didn’t he continue to investigate?
Pei Zheng didn’t continue arguing with Zhao Litang; he had more important things to do.
Beside them was Zhao Litang’s horse. Pei Zheng flipped onto its back.
“General Zhao, I’ll be borrowing your horse.”
With those words, he flicked the reins and left, kicking up a cloud of dust in his wake.
Pei Zheng travelled all the way back to the foreign capital. Currently, the foreign capital was swarming with the Celestial Dynasty’s soldiers; they had used this opportunity to occupy an important area in the foreign tribe’s territory.
The small man in the carriage was so quiet, it was as though he wasn’t even alive. From the time Pei Zheng had placed him onto the carriage, he had remained in the same position and hadn’t moved; even his blinks had become incredibly slow.
Yue Nu gripped his hand; it was ice-cold, completely unlike the warm palm from the past.
His face was really quite beautiful; it was the first time Yue Nu had seen him without a mask on.
“Shi, Shi,” Yue Nu called in a soft voice, but the small man didn’t seem to hear him, and didn’t show any reaction.
“Shi, why are you ignoring me? I’m A-Yue, look at me, talk with me.”
Yue Nu’s eyes were already full of tears, “Shi, why don’t you know who I am anymore? How… how could you forget about me?”
Yue Nu was blaming himself; had he been able to bring General Zhao to save him earlier, perhaps Xiao Shi wouldn’t have been reduced to this state.
The carriage swayed as it drove toward the Celestial Dynasty’s troops at the borderlands. The gate of the barracks opened; Wu Quan led a large number of soldiers out and knelt in front of the carriage.
The carriage door opened. Yue Nu climbed off first, before helped the small man out of the carriage.
When that little figure dressed in plain white exited the carriage, three thousand soldiers all yelled in unison, “Greetings to Your Highness the Ninth Prince.”
Their collective voices resounded through the sky, hovering over the crowd for a long while without dissipating.
Shen Huan also happened to climb out of her carriage at this moment; it was the first time she had witnessed such a grand scene.
The people in front of them were all dressed in golden helmets and iron armor, gripping sharp swords and long lances. But now, they were all kneeling on the ground with the utmost respect.
The small man lifted his eyes and scanned his surroundings. But his gaze didn’t fall on any of the soldiers in front of him; it seemed like he was staring out at the barracks, before his delicate brow creased tightly, and he clenched his fingers till his knuckles turned white.
Shen Huan noticed that something was wrong, and said to Wu Quan, who was kneeling at the front of the army, “Lieutenant Wu, please have them leave for now.”
Wu Quan nodded and dismissed the other soldiers, before he hurriedly led them into a room to rest.
“Master Shen,” Wu Quan asked Shen Huan, “Why didn’t the general return with you? Did something else happen in the foreign tribe?”
Shen Huan said, “Everything’s fine. I think he and Lord Pei had something to settle between the two of them, so he was delayed a bit. He should be back soon.”
Indeed, not long after, Zhao Litang returned.
Shen Huan hurriedly exited the tent, and anxiously glanced behind Zhao Litang, but she didn’t see the person she was looking for.
“General Zhao, where’s Lord Pei?”
Zhao Litang snorted coldly, “Who knows, off to act like a madman.”
Shen Huan asked, “A madman? If Lord Pei doesn’t come back soon, I’m going to become a madman! The blood donor, did he contact a suitable blood donor?! When the hell is he coming?! I can’t wait any longer right now! We don’t have much time!”
As she spoke, Yue Nu shouted from inside the room.
Shen Huan and Zhao Litang hurried inside, and saw that Yue Nu was gently rubbing the small man’s back, while the small man’s lips were covered in blood.
“Damn it!” Shen Huan hurried over and took his pulse, but was scalded the moment she touched him.
An unnatural flush had covered the small man’s cheeks. His lips were burning bright red. Now that they were coated in the blood he had just spat out, they were a bewitching scarlet.
“His temperature’s gone up again, and his infected wound has gotten even worse! Hurry, go decoct the medicine, and make some external ointment too!”
Shen Huan gave Wu Quan the recipe, and Wu Quan sprinted out.
Yue Nu was so anxious that his tears were flowing out again. He noticed that Zhao Litang seemed to be looking at him, so he hurriedly lowered his head and wiped his tears.
After he finished wiping his tears, Yue Nu bowed his head, and slowly began to walk out. He looked back as he walked; he really couldn’t let go of his concern for Shi.
Just as Yue Nu was about to step out of the room, someone suddenly grabbed his arm and pulled him back inside.
“Take good care of him.”
Zhao Litang spoke these words in a rushed manner, before pulled the curtain open and left the room.
Yue nu blinked in disbelief, before he finally composed himself, “Yes sir!”
Although he had drank the medicine, and had been covered in a thick layer of ointment, the small man’s wound didn’t look any better, and his fever hadn’t subsided.
This went on until night had fallen. The sounds of hooves echoed from outside the barracks.
It was Pei Zheng, who had just returned from foreign territory.
He found the former chief of the foreign tribe, and had a formal meeting with him as the Prime Minister of the Celestial Dynasty. They had also discussed the new relationship that could be forged between the Celestial Dynasty and the foreign tribe.
Pei Zheng would help the old chief to return to his position and regain control of the greatest power that could be held within the foreign tribe. But the price would be that the foreign tribe would have to surrender to the Celestial Dynasty and bow down to its government. They would also have to distance themselves from the barbarians and allow the Celestial Dynasty’s soldiers to enter foreign borders.
When Pei Zheng returned with the new peace treaty, the Celestial Dynasty’s soldiers couldn’t help but cheer and applaud. They had another way to counter the barbarian tribe now; the odds were looking a little better.
Zhao Litang heard the commotion and came out to see what was going on. Those cheering soldiers instantly quieted down, and went off to do their own things.
Pei Zheng walked over and tossed that peace treaty at Zhao Litang.
He had always been like this; no matter what kind of life-or-death matter he took care of, he always had this nonchalance about him.
It seemed like even if the sky fell down, he would be able to push it back up.
Pei Zheng walked straight into the tent the small man was in. It just so happened that the small man, who had been unconscious for the entire day, had just woken up.
Thanks for reading~
1.蒙在鼓里 (méng zài gǔ lǐ): ‘trapped in a drum’, in the dark. There is quite an interesting story behind this; it originated during the Three Kingdoms period. Guan Yu was killed because a guy named Liu Feng (Liu Bei’s adopted son) and some other guy didn’t come to help him in time. Liu Bei was sad, and his subordinate, Zhang Fei, was enraged. He tricked Liu Feng, saying that he had an argument with Liu Bei, and wanted to kill him, which would allow Liu Feng to become King of Hanzhong. To do this, he would put Liu Feng into an 8 chi (unit of length based on the length of the forearm) by 8 chi drum, and carry it back, pretending to seek forgiveness. Then, Liu Feng would jump out and stab Liu Bei. But later, once Liu Feng was in the drum, Zhang Fei and his soldiers brought him to the top of a tall mountain, stabbed the drum full of blades, and rolled it down, which promptly turned him into meat mash.