Book 55 Chapter 13 – The Battle That Changed the Sky
Kou Zhong disembarked at the pier outside Liangdu City, got on his warhorse, and accompanied by Xu Xingzhi and Xuan Yong, one civil, one military, two of his employees, great general – quietly entered the city. Translated by foxs
After inquiring about the situation after they parted, Xuan Yong said, “Chenliu has had intermittent snow for three consecutive days. The road between Chenliu and Kaifeng is blocked by the wind and the snow, only the waterway remained open. The enemy and us, two sides close the city and hold fast, neither one can do anything to the other side.”
Xu Xingzhi said, “Fazhu transferred the main force of the army to Donghai [East (China) Sea] and Zhongli, and assembled the navy in the two cities, in preparation to go down south to wipe out Li Zitong, Shen Faxing, and the likes. According to the development of the current situation, victory will be ours.”
Kou Zhong asked, “About Changlin’s revenge grand plan, how’s the progress?”
Xuan Yong replied, “Everything was carried out in accordance with Shaoshuai’s instructions. Changlin personally went to Jiangnan to carry out the plan to split apart and drive wedge among Shen Faxing’s men. Our navy is concentrated in Gaoyou, only waiting for Shaoshuai‘s order, and that very day we can launch a large-scale attack to the south.”
Kou Zhong nodded and said, “We must make good use of this three-month time.”
Xu Xingzhi wanted to say something but then hesitated, in the end he did not speak. Amidst the sound of the soldiers saluting, escorted by the Flying Cloud Guards, the three men urged their horses to enter the city. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Naturally Kou Zhong understood the words that were on the side of Xu Xingzhi’s mouth but he didn’t say. He sighed and said, “Things have changed. I did not go to Chang’an, I will explain to you guys later after I meet with Fazhu.”
Lowering his voice, Xuan Yong said, “Shi Feixuan of Ci Hang Jing Zhai came to see Fazhu this morning. No one knows what she said, but after she left, Fazhu stayed in the inner hall, he only summoned Song Lu. Things seem to be a bit off.”
Kou Zhong was severely shaken; his countenance changed, he said, “Unexpectedly Feixuan came here to see Fazhu.”
Xuan Yong and Xu Xingzhi did not expect that Kou Zhong, who had always been Mount Tai collapsing in front of his eyes his countenance did not change, would show such a big reaction, they were both stunned and looked at each other.
A thousand layers of huge waves surged up in Kou Zhong’s heart.
Shi Feixuan finally made her move! Moreover, it was targeted at Song Que. He only hated it that even if he knew this, he still couldn’t guess what medicine Shi Feixuan was selling in her gourd. According to reason, even though Shi Feixuan’s tongue was resplendent with lotus flowers [idiom: eloquent], knowing whatever virtuous cause of the different peoples, she would still be unable to persuade the ‘apart from the saber, there is no other thing’, whose wisdom was as deep as a sea – Song Que.
While he was still deep in thought, the men and horses entered the Shao Shuai Mansion, everybody flew off their horses, and walked to the door of the main hall.
Kou Zhong spoke heavily, “I want to see Fazhu immediately.” Translated by foxs
Stepping onto the long stairs, someone threw himself out of the main hall and knelt down on the platform on top of the stairs; tears and mucus flowing profusely, he said with bitter cry, “Shaoshuai, please give Xuanshu justice.”
Seeing Wang Xuanshu welcoming him like this, Kou Zhong was shocked. He hurriedly helped him up and asked, “Don’t cry? What happened? Could it be that Xiaomei …”
Xuan Yong leaned to his ears, focused his voice into a thread and sent it in, saying, “Xiaomei is all right, she slipped to the outskirts of the city to release Wuming. Ay! We received news this morning, Wang Shichong, on his way to Chang’an, one family big and small, more than a hundred people, were all killed. The two hundred Tang soldiers responsible for escorting them also suffered disastrous casualties. The incident caused a sensation in Chang’an, Li Yuan was furious and ordered a thorough investigation.”
Kou Zhong was shaken, “Who did it?” he asked.
On his other side, Xu Xingzhi lowered his voice and said, “Shuxia heard a more credible information, the three ships escorting Wang Shichong were ambushed before entering the Pass; first, they took advantage of the dark of the night to burn the ships using fire arrows, and then they thoroughly murdered those who fell into the river. The next day, the river was filled with floating corpses.”
Furious, Kou Zhong said, “This matter must be masterminded by Yang Yuyan, with Yang WenGan doing the deeds. Xuanshu must turn grief and indignation into strength, I, Kou Zhong vowed to seek justice for you.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
After Xuan Yong and the Flying Cloud Guards helped Wang Xuanshu away, Kou Zhong entered the main hall, he stopped and asked, “In the case of offering a reward for finding Yin Xianhe’s sister, is there any progress?”
Xu Xingzhi said “Following Shaoshuai’s instruction, we posted bounty notices on conspicuous places in all the cities within our territory, but there is still no positive news about Yin Xiaoji.”
Smiling wryly, Xuan Yong said, “But fake news is coming continuously, in an endless stream, every day someone is coming to get the rewards, but they are all unable to stand verification.”
Knitting his brows, Kou Zhong said, “It really doesn’t make sense. At least the girls who fled Jiangdu with Yin Xiaoji at the time should stand up and speak.”
Xu Xingzhi said, “The number of cities belonging to us is not that many, when the information spreads to all parts of the country, perhaps we will have a clue.”
The sound of flapping wings arose, Wuming flitted across the room of the main hall, and landed on Kou Zhong’s extended hand. Human and animal showed affection to each other. Translated by foxs
In high spirits, like a gust of wind Xiao He’er ran to Kou Zhong, she said in great delight, “Didn’t Dage say you don’t have any spare time to come back? Seeing Dage, Xiao He’er is very happy!”
Kou Zhong spoke cheerfully, “Seeing my Xiao He’er, Dage is happier still.” And then he asked in astonishment, “Xiaomei does not know about Xuanzhu?”
Xiao He’er was puzzled, “What happened?” she asked.
On the side, Xuan Yong and Xu Xingzhi repeatedly signaled Kou Zhong with their eyes.
Xiao He’er’s countenance changed, she said, “What happened to him? Oh! No wonder he was so depressed today, I asked him to play but he always said that he does not have time. Tell me quickly!”
Kou Zhong understood. Wang Xuanshu did not want Xiao He’er to feel sad for him, so he kept the tragic event from her. He hurriedly changed the subject and said, “Do we want to increase the amount of reward to make this matter more sensational?”
Astonished, Xiao He’er asked, “What reward?”
Stunned, Kou Zhong said, “The reward notices are plastered all over the great streets and small alleys, unexpectedly Xiao He’er didn’t know about it?”
Xiao He’er’s pretty face blushed, she haughtily said, “I don’t know how to read! How am I supposed to understand those ghost things on the wall?” But then she quickly added, “I’ll talk to Dage later, I’ll have to talk to Shu Ge [older brother] now!” And then with another gust of wind, she was gone. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Kou Zhong sighed and said, “This could be the problem, there are not many people who are literate. Only when the news spreads through the mouths of many people will we have a chance to get definite information about Yin Xiaoji.” He sighed and said, “Let’s talk some more after I am seeing Fazhu.”
Meiyan Furen revealed a sweet and brilliant smile; holding her hands behind her back, she made her silky breasts even more erect. With smoky eyes and charming steps she moved to within reach with Xu Ziling, and spoke with a smile, “The Five-Colored Stone is not in nujia’s possession, nor did I bring it to the Central Plains. If Xu Gongzi don’t believe me, you can thoroughly search nujia’s body, nujia is not going to protest!”
Xu Ziling was not bewitched by her seductive appearance at all, the divine light in his pair of eyes gleaming, he smiled and said, “Furen should know where did I, Xu Ziling come from. Talking about acting shamelessly and being naughty, Kou Zhong and I are the founders of such matters.”
Meiyan Furen’s pretty eyebrows lightly knitted, “Aiyo!” she exclaimed, and said, “Who wants to act shamelessly and being naughty with you, Xu Gongzi, Xu Daxia [great hero]? I am telling you the truth; tell me what to say so that you are twice as good?”
Xu Ziling spoke indifferently, “I will cripple your pair of open-wide-while-telling-lies eyeballs first!” He suddenly stretched out his hand, two fingers extended out to poke her eyes. Translated by foxs
Meiyan Furen’s flower countenance lost its color, she flew back. One after another the four warriors drew out their swords and charged toward Xu Ziling.
Song Que sat in a corner of the inner hall, the Heavenly Sword, which name shook the world, was lying down on the small table by his side, he did not seem to be the least bit surprised that Kou Zhong appeared in front of him.
After Kou Zhong sat down across the small table, Song Que spoke indifferently, “Shaoshuai is back at the right time, I have something to tell you.”
Smiling bitterly, Kou Zhong said, “Fazhu already knew I lost Bashu, I presumed?”
As if nothing had happened, Song Que said, “In the world, there is not one thing that stays the same, gains and losses are a matter of leisure, no need to take it to heart, the most important thing is to win the final battle.”
Shaken, Kou Zhong said, “Fazhu has not been persuaded by Shi Feixuan, have you?”
Song Que rose up to his full height and walked to the center of the hall; throwing his head back in laughter, he said, “Whatever I, Song Que, decided, who can change me? Unifying the world are circumstances that require action [idiom: absolutely necessary]. Kou Zhong, you have to persevere to the end, don’t make Song Que lose hope.”
Kou Zhong’s scalp went numb he said, “Fazhu has a strange expression, what exactly did Shi Feixuan say to Fazhu?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Song Que did not answer him. He looked up at the roof beams, shook his head and said, “It’s not the time yet.”
Kou Zhong sprang up, went straight behind Song Que, and asked, “What’s not the time?”
Muttering to himself, Song Que said, “If this matter happened at any moment before I left Lingnan, it would be something that I seek even in my dream, but this moment, when the unification is showing some hope, it makes me unable to advance or retreat. Ning Daoqi! You really know how to pick the time.”
Severely shaken, Kou Zhong blurted out, “Ning Daoqi?”
Song Que turned his imposing body around like a whirlwind, his pair of eyes burst out a terrifying refined light, which Kou Zhong had never seen before, he spoke in heavy voice, “Shi Feixuan came with a specific purpose in mind to pass on the message on behalf of Ning Daoqi, challenging Ol’ Song for a battle. You think Ning Daoqi really know how to pick the time? At the moment when I don’t want to fight with him the most, he wants to engage me in a life-and-death decisive battle that Song Que has been waiting painstakingly for forty years without being able to accomplish.”
The color of blood drained completely from Kou Zhong’s face, he understood.
This was another unique move that Shi Feixuan was using against him. No wonder that when she thought about it she showed such a pained and sad look, because no one could predict the outcome of the decisive battle between these two very top figures in the Central Earth. However, in order to prevent Kou Zhong from striving for the final victory, unexpectedly Shi Feixuan resorted to such a ruthless trick.
Unstoppable rage surged in Kou Zhong’s heart. Translated by foxs
Song Que’s fierce and severe gaze turned into tender and cherishing expression, he smiled and said, “Shaoshuai must, by all means, not get angry for this reason. War is just like this, each side uses unusual scheme, striking the opponent by fair means or foul, in order to obtain the final victory, not missing any possibility to gain victory. I want to leave immediately to meet Ning Daoqi head-on, to see whether his ‘San Shou Ba Pu’s’ [scattered hand eight attacks] name is really not in vain. If I win, naturally everything will proceed according to plan. If I meet any mishap, Shaoshuai must persevere until the world is unified. Apart from you, your Lu Shu [Uncle] is the only one who knows about my decisive battle with Ning Daoqi.”
Emotionally moved, Kou Zhong said, “Let me accompany Fazhu.”
Song Que laughed aloud and said, “You don’t believe that I have the ability to deal with Ning Daoqi? But words must be said that way. You quietly wait for me here for three days, if you don’t see me coming back, the heavy responsibility of unifying the world will fall on your shoulders. Do you understand?”
After a burst of long laughter brimming with delight and joy, he went to the small table to pick up the Heavenly Saber, and cautiously hung it on his back again. Laughing involuntarily, he said, “Apart from the saber, there is no other thing. Fortunately, you came back in time, making me more able to put everything aside, to go to Ning Daoqi, who can make my heart moves and my spirit gallops; I hope he won’t disappoint me.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Finished speaking, he calmly left.