“Smells so good!”
Editor(s): Amelea, juurensha
The sound of battle cries from outside was drawing closer and closer, so Chen Xing could only hurry back to his room.
Fireballs flooded the sky that whooshed as they flew into the city. It seemed that the Qin army really had broken into the city; once the city’s defenses break down, the army would engage in a large-scale massacre of the entire city. Chen Xing had witnessed such scenes of chaotic turmoil before. He had to think of a way to escape as soon as possible.
Chen Xing went in and shook his newly appointed Protector Xiang Shu who could neither move nor speak. Xiang Shu had woken up a long time ago and merely stared at Chen Xing.
Chen Xing, “I’ll think of a way to take you out of the city first. Wait here.”
But those were superfluous words anyway, since Xiang Shu couldn’t move and could only be wrapped in a blanket. Chen Xing thought that he couldn’t escape with Xiang Shu on his back. He was about to leave to find a horse when he considered that marauders may rush in to rob the place and hack him to death. He carried Xiang Shu off the bed, along with the blanket that he was wrapped up in, and stuffed him underneath the bed so that he wouldn’t be discovered.
“Don’t worry.” Chen Xing explained, “Iuppiter is part of my fate. Up until now, no matter what I encounter, I’m able to avert disaster.” He then went out to search for a horse.
Chen Xing left the backyard. The stables were empty -- all the warhorses had been taken, so he had to go outside to look for one.
The streets were full of civilians who had been scorched. Horses and soldiers wreaked havoc everywhere; the Jin and Qin armies were completely absorbed in their fight against each other. Oil vats were constantly thrown into the city from the outside, igniting everything they hit into flames.
“Smells so good!” Chen Xing’s stomach actually began to grumble when he smelled the burnt meat.
He couldn’t find a horse, yet he managed to find a wheelbarrow. If it’s a wheelbarrow then so be it ba. Chen Xing propped the wheelbarrow up in the backyard, but wasn’t able to push it through, so he had to piggyback Xiang Shu out first. He ran back to the room and dragged Xiang Shu out from under the bed. Suddenly, he heard the door to the governor’s manor get kicked open with a loud bang, followed by Qin troops rushing in!
Inspiration struck Chen Xing. He immediately stuffed Xiang Shu back under the bed, overturned the shelves in the room, and threw the pillows and clothes haphazardly across the floor. Then he pulled the curtain down, threw it onto the beam and tied a knot. He dragged a chair over to stand on it, extended both arms through the noose, allowing it to cut into his underarms, and kicked the chair away.
As soon as the chair fell onto the floor, two Qin troops rushed in.
Chen Xing was suspended from the beam, his eyes wide open as he stared at the soldiers unblinkingly. It was pitch dark, so the soldiers weren’t able to discern where the rope was tied to; they were only able to perceive that someone had hung himself. They cursed their bad luck, looked all around them and surmised that this place had already been looted, then kicked the table over and left.
Once the Qin troops left, Chen Xing hurried down and dragged Xiang Shu out. However, just halfway through dragging him away, another group of Qin soldiers rushed in from the backyard again. So Chen Xing could only hang himself in a hurry again. The second group of soldiers rushed in, looked around them, then left as well.
Xiang Shu, “……”
Chen Xing hung himself for approximately the time taken to drink a cup of tea, confirmed that no one else was coming again, then quickly untied the knot and came down. He carried Xiang Shu on his shoulder and ran towards the backyard as he gasped for breath.
The wheelbarrow was gone, but a warhorse had appeared out of nowhere. It looked like a Qin horse, and there was even the corpse of a Qin soldier impaled by an arrow hanging from the stirrup.
“This is great!” Chen Xing put Xiang Shu on the horse and said, “We’ll definitely be able to escape now!”
However, Chen Xing forgot one thing -- he was lucky, but Xiang Shu’s luck was just average.
After Chen Xing got on the horse, he rushed all the way out of an alley with Xiang Shu, who was still wrapped in a blanket. When he reached a side street, he saw flaming arrows and fire grenades everywhere, as if Heaven had overturned a basin of fire. Xiangyang City had instantly transformed into a fiery purgatory.
As the warhorse neighed, it jolted violently while galloping. As he jerked back and forth on the horse, Chen Xing turned around to say something to Xiang Shu when he suddenly realised that he was gone!
“Yu! Yu!” Chen Xing immediately reined in the horse and said, “Crap! He fell on the way!”
Chen Xing turned the horse around and hurried back along the road to find him. At the junction where an alley and the main street intersected, Xiang Shu was laying flat on the ground. Half the blanket had come loose when he fell. Fortunately, he was found. Chen Xing decided he had to tie him onto the horse. He found a rope that just so happened to be in the saddle! Qin soldier saddles were well equipped with necessities.
Chen Xing wrapped Xiang Shu up properly with a blanket on the main street, then tied him up with a rope. He struggled to put him back on the horse and secured him rigidly in place with the rope. When he tied Xiang Shu onto the horse, a group of Jin shoulders rushed over while urging their horses and shouted, “What are you doing! Abducting a civilian woman?”
“He’s a man!’ Chen Xing said quickly, “My father has been half-paralysed for many years!” Then he quickly grabbed and pulled Xiang Shu’s hair up for them to see. The Jin soldiers were about to nock their bows and shoot him, but laid down their arrows when they saw that it was a man. He shouted, “Run to the southeast side! Don’t head north! The governor’s manor has been seized! The north side is overrun with Qin soldiers!”
Chen Xing said, “Be careful!”
The Jin soldiers left. Chen Xing was worried that Xiang Shu would fall down again, so he tied him up very tightly with the rope. He looped two rounds around the horse with the rope and tied a dead knot. Now he was certain that Xiang Shu wouldn’t fall off again. He wiped his sweat off, and was about to mount the horse when ——
—— a stray arrow flew horizontally across from nowhere and lodged itself into the horse’s butt.
The warhorse instantaneously let out a prolonged whinny, its four legs kicked off the ground madly as it rushed back to the north side.
“Ai! Ai! Come back!” Chen Xing quickly gave chase, but the warhorse galloped with Xiang Shu on its back and instantly vanished into the sea of fire without leaving a trace.
Chen Xing, “…………………………”
Chen Xing looked all around him. The Jin troops incessantly rushed toward the north of the city, advancing in full strength as they engaged in a fierce battle with the Qin army. Everyone was driven mad with bloodlust by all the killing they had done. However, they were fortunate that Chen Xing had briefly tormented them earlier at dusk; although they had dispersed separately, they all still remained awake afterward. Otherwise, those in the city wouldn’t have responded so quickly when the Qin army attacked the city.
No matter if one was a soldier or a civilian, young or old, they all knew that once Xiangyang fell, the city would be met with a massacre. There would be no survivors then, so each and every one of them now fought with everything they had and tenaciously resisted the siege.
Chen Xin ran almost an entire mile along the main road. Conflagrations raged everywhere, houses on both sides of the road were all burning, and corpses littered the side of the streets.
“Where’s the horse?!” Chen Xing shouted angrily, “Where did it go? Get back here!”
Dawn was starting to break; it was an overcast day today. Once the city started burning, black smoke blotted out the sky. Chen Xing choked so much that he couldn’t stop coughing and shedding tears. He dashed across the cheval de frise on a long street and had already reached the front line of the war between the Qin and Jin troops. He was immediately discovered by a cavalryman, who rushed swiftly towards Chen Xing on horseback, and swung his ** down.
Chen Xing immediately shouted and crouched down while covering his head. The cavalryman missed, and just as he looked back in doubt, his horse continued to gallop forward and rammed him into a clothesline that was strung up high outside a house at high speed. The cavalryman was immediately dragged down, landing head-first as he hit the ground. Blood started streaming out of his seven orifices, and his body convulsed uncontrollably.
That’s great! Chen Xing thought. He ran over and was just about to take that person’s weapon when the sound of hooves striking the ground travelled from behind them. Chen Xing promptly lay down on the spot and squeezed under the dead cavalryman.
After the Qin cavalry entered, they fought over the stronghold in Xiangyang City and were prepared to start a battle on the streets with the Jin troops under Liangzhou’s governor, Zhu Xu. No one noticed Chen Xing.
Another wave of Qin troops passed by. Chen Xing knew that if he went around searching for Xiang Shu with his current appearance, he would just be offering his head to the enemy. He dragged the cavalryman’s corpse into a house and stripped him of his armour and underclothes to change into. At that time, the north side was experiencing the War of the Eight Princes. After the remnants of the Jin court fled south, Liu Cong’s Han, Shi Le’s Zhao, Xianbei Murong’s Yan, and even Ran Min’s Wei, and now Fu Jian’s Qin all took turns taking the stage after the previous performer’s departure. They each founded their own countries one after another, and the blood of the Hu and Han people mixed, which led to the inclusion of many Han people amongst the numbers of the Qin army. Chen Xing didn’t seem particularly conspicuous after changing into a set of Qin soldier armour, except for how the helmet and armour appeared a little oversized.
Chen Xing hastily tied the band of his helmet and ran towards the north in complete exhaustion. While he ran, he searched for abandoned warhorses and kept an eye out for Xiang Shu’s whereabouts. As he darted across the Zhaoming platform in the center of the city, he was suddenly stopped by a commander of the Qin army.
“Wei!” The commander of the Qin army shouted, “Which group are you from?!”
“Me?” Chen Xing asked, “Are you talking to me?”
Chen Xing spoke in Ya officialese, so the commander thought he was a guard who was directly under the command of Chang’an. He shouted, “What are you being all flustered for?! Head northwest!”
“I was about to head over!” Chen Xing said, “Give me a horse!”
“There’s none!” The commander shoved a shield into Chen Xing’s hands, so Chen Xing had to hold it. The commander pushed him one more time and shouted, “After you pass by Zhaoming platform, head west and escort the canister chariot! The entire Jin army has been dispatched! Push the chariot to the drum tower! Be careful!”
So Chen Xing had to quickly catch up with a huge chariot in front of him. Two horses bucked restlessly in their positions and neighed with fear, while two Qin soldiers were trying to pacify the horses. The commander pushed from behind and shouted, “Hurry and go! Hurry!”
A whistle sounded high up in the distance. Tens of millions of flaming arrows shot out of the governor’s manor in the center of the city and rained down upon everyone’s heads in a fiery downpour!
Chen Xing wanted to pull a horse away. He held his shield forward as he ran over, and the commander shouted, “Get in the chariot! Get in the chariot—— ! Don’t mind me!”
Chen Xing jumped onto the chariot. Flaming arrows that blotted out the sky cascaded down like raindrops. The commander was struck, his whole body instantly set ablaze. He cried out in pain, “Help! Help!”
So Chen Xing had to look back. He had almost extinguished the fire on the commander’s body when the commander pulled the chariot down. Canisters, all of which were filled with oil, started slipping backwards and spilled onto his body, igniting him with a loud rumble. He instantly let out a blood curdling screech from within the flames. Two soldiers saw that things had gone south, so they quickly turned back to save him, but Chen Xing shouted in a hurry, “He can’t be saved anymore! Don’t go!”
Fire broke out everywhere. Chen Xing quickly got on the chariot -- he had to drag this chariot with fire canisters away. However, as soon as he sat on the driver’s seat, flames started burning along the open-topped containers behind him. The two horses that were pulling the chariot were spooked and no longer listened to anyone’s instructions. They dragged the chariot with fiercely burning fire canisters forward, and it rushed forth along with Chen Xing, who was driving it!
Chen Xing shouted, “North side!”
Chen Xing yanked on the reins and tried his best to control the direction that the galloping horses dragging the cart were going in; he switched from west to north and instantly rushed through the front line of the battle between the Qin and Jin armies. With a fiery blaze that burned brilliantly, he stormed into the rear camp of the Qin army.
“Where’s Xiang Shu?!” Chen Xing looked back and glimpsed disaster: the scene was truly spectacular with fire canisters spitting flames one after another. People had been scarce along the way. He had just passed through a wall of fire when a small group of cavalrymen shouted in panic, “What are you doing?! Where did you come from? Stop! Stop!!!”
“I want to stop too!” Chen Xing looked back and shouted, “But they’re not listening to me!”
Chen Xing looked for his lost horse everywhere, but he didn’t expect this flaming chariot to rush onto the main street. All the cavalrymen on patrol had their souls scattered in an instant, and everyone started chasing Chen Xing. Yet no matter how desperately the cavalrymen’s warhorses were urged, their speed was ultimately limited. On the other hand, the horses dragging Chen Xing’s chariot had their butts scorched by fire, so when they galloped, they were doing it at a speed that surpassed their innate potential as horses. It really was true that when one coachman burns the horse, ten thousand cavalrymen would not be able to catch up; they crushed everything below their feet as they rushed through the long street like streaks of lightning as they headed back to the governor’s manor in the north.
Six hours ago, after the Qin army breached the inner part of Xiangyang City, they had taken the governor's manor as their first temporary stronghold. They used it as their command post to transport oil vats and arrows, gather troops, and start street battles. As long as the line of defense advanced in an orderly manner, it would be a cinch to seize Xiangyang City within three days. At that time, a large number of generals and military counsellors of the Qin army were discussing operational logistics within the manor.
“We haven’t found the whereabouts of Shulü Kong yet?”
“……must be in this Xiangyang City……”
“The camp is under attack! The camp is under attack!”
However, this group of commanders ought to suffer the bad luck of eight lifetimes. Among them were the prince of Changle, Fu Pi, the great general Murong Chui, and General Shi Yue of Zhonglang. The three of them were studying a map on the desk. A group of counsellors proposed to either burn Xiangyang or defeat the enemy by capturing their leader, and were embroiled in a heated debate. It was too late to set up the cheval de frise - the battlefront had already been pushed to the front of Zhaoming platform in the center of the city. Most of the guards who guarded the rear were no different from rabid dogs. They all rushed to the south of the city to fight over obtaining the most number of human heads in order to render meritorious deeds. Who could have imagined that they would get attacked by the enemy at this kind of timing?
Fu Pi shouted furiously and raised his sword as he prepared to meet the enemy head-on! The three main commanders, including Murong Chui and Shi Yue, were all powerful generals who could go up against a hundred enemies by themselves. Individual assassins were nothing in their eyes; who dares attack their camp? What an absolute fool!
Murong Chui said, “Where has the enemy gone?”
“At the entrance!” The messenger cried.
He had just spoken when Chen Xing interjected, “Get out of the way! The oil is coming AHHHHHH!”
In the next moment, the flaming chariot made a grand entrance as it rushed into the manor. Murong Chui had just rushed out of the door when he was met face-to-face with Chen Xing. He thought to himself that a disaster was imminent, and quickly turned around to flee for his life. Chen Xing couldn’t care less about who he was going to knock into anymore; he lunged out while he was in the courtyard and jumped into a pond, breaking through the thin layer of ice and hiding in the water.
Before he could directly confront the enemy, Fu Pi was knocked down by the chariot. The wheels tripped over the doorsill, and all the burning oil vats on the chariot flew into the hall.
Chen Xing scrambled to escape and didn’t dare look back behind him. He turned around in the midst of the explosions and stumbled out. Within an instant, the entire manor burst into flames that reached as high as ten meters with a loud blast; panicked shouts travelled out from the interior as some people started running out. The roof collapsed from the explosions, and the entire cavalry retreated in order to come and rescue people.
“The Qin army’s camp got burned!”
The Jin army saw the distant scene from the front of Zhaoming platform, and their morale immediately soared. Zhu Xu gathered the remaining 8,000 people and killed their way through the main street. Chen Xing took off his helmet and was significantly at a loss as he looked at the scene before him. The Qin army’s troops had suddenly suffered a landslide defeat and were all retreating step by step. The place they had lost control over -- Zhaoming platform, the main street, Lutai road at the south of the city, and all the streets and alleys -- were being recaptured by the fierce Jin army who were unafraid of death.
“Where is he?!” Chen Xing was becoming impatient. He threw his helmet onto the ground and looked around in a daze.
Black smoke billowed and blotted out the sky, and his face had turned filthy black from the smoke. Chen Xing suddenly thought of something; he closed his eyes and stood quietly. All of a sudden, it turned deathly silent. The cries of battle became distant without warning, and there seemed to be a flash of light in the darkness.
Within the tranquility, Chen Xing suddenly turned around, stepped on the ground drenched in blood, and quickly turned into an alley. He passed through a residence’s backyard and found his warhorse! At that moment, the horse was stuck at the door of the courtyard with Xiang Shu, who had been tied to the horse very tightly, on its back. Xiang Shu lay horizontal and constantly bumped into the walls on either side with two heavy thuds as the horse kept trying to get in.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.