Tang Hong said, without changing his tone, “I am the token. Are the martial skills and the military strategies of the Tang family not enough to be tokens of proof?”
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Li Qingcheng finished going through one set of forms, before then moving on to practicing his footwork. After one shichen, he was drenched in sweat, but he felt very comfortable. The breath that he let out was much lighter and quicker. Zhang Mu bowed as he offered a cloth towel; he had already gone inside and changed his clothes, and now he went to the front hall to check on the food.
Tang Hong’s face was covered with blood, looking very timid, and Li Qingcheng smiled. “You’re alright ba.”
Tang Hong took the cloth and wiped his face. Li Qingcheng, still with a smile on his face, picked up a handful of snow and pressed it against his nose bridge; seeing that this brat had a pale skin and was about the same height as him, and yet had been born with an extraordinary amount of strength, Li Qingcheng was left temporarily speechless. He asked, “You’re really the son of General Tang?”
Tang Hong said, “How could that be false.”
Li Qingcheng was thinking about if he should tell the truth to Administrative Assistant Wang, even as he asked, “Do you have any identifying tokens?”
Tang Hong said, without changing his tone, “I am the token. Are the martial skills and the military strategies of the Tang family not enough to be tokens of proof?”
Li Qingcheng’s heart jolted. Tang Hong was from a martial family, and he must know about Zhang Mu’s origins. At this time, Zhang Mu was not there, so it was a perfect chance for him to ask about it, and he said easily, “Where did we speak to just now.”
Tang Hong shot Li Qingcheng a look. “You…”
Li Qingcheng, “?”
Tang Hong replied, “You’ve gained a great bargain, and though I’m not sure about this person’s origins, the forms that he’s passed to you are all unique to his family. It uses external techniques to induce internal flow, and after going through this set of forms, one can dissipate the foul qi within themselves. Practicing like this three times every day would turn foul into clear and correct the internal flow of energy.”
Li Qingcheng, “It’s this godly?”
Tang Hong responded, “Of course. I used to be the assistant minister selected for the crown prince on the basis of my martial skills....”
In that instant Li Qingcheng was stunned, and it seemed like he dimly remembered something. He asked again, “You’ve accompanied the crown prince in practicing his martial arts?”
Tang Hong perfunctorily en-ed, before adding on a moment later, “I guess it counts. Before I could even enter the palace that thing happened, so in reality, I hadn’t yet seen him in person… ah well.”
Li Qingcheng smiled as he pulled him up, the two of them going together to the front hall.
Zhang Mu was already waiting outside the hall, while the servants in the administrative assistant’s manor set the table. There were a few bowls of plain congee and a few plates of salted vegetables. After Li Qingcheng made his greetings, he took his seat. Tang Hong went up to take a seat as well, but Zhang Mu grabbed his collar with one hand, lifted him up, and put him to one side.
“Everyone sit,” Administrative Assistant Wang said. “This old man also used to be a household servant of the general, back in the day…”
Li Qingcheng understood the meaning in Administrative Assistant Wang’s words. He indicated that Zhang Mu ought to sit, but Zhang Mu merely waved his hand, refusing to do so, and he didn’t let Tang Hong sit either.
Li Qingcheng searched his thoughts for a while, but he didn’t know how to begin. Administrative Assistant Wang, on the other hand, sighed first, and said, “Nephew.”
Li Qingcheng hurried to say, “Uncle shouldn’t be bothered too much, this little nephew’s matters are not urgent as of this moment.”
Administrative Assistant Wang nodded. As Li Qingcheng picked up a few vegetables, he asked, “How is the situation in Beijiang?”
Administrative Assistant Wang replied, “I was just about to ask this as well. Did General Tang ever bring up the movements of Beijiang? One month ago, Lord Fang Qingyu led thirty thousand cavalry out of the capital, passing through the sea of grass, where his troops split into two, passing through Western Plains to the Hutiao Canyon on Mt. Feng, before making camp to the north of Mt. Feng.”
Li Qingcheng’s brows furrowed faintly. “General Fang hasn’t combined troops with the administrative assistant?”
Administrative Assistant Wang shook his head. “Twelve days earlier, an imperial messenger arrived with a missive, telling me to keep my troops where they were, and that everything was under the command of General Fang Qingyu. But General Fang never sent any message, so does nephew know of any changes?”
Li Qingcheng put down his chopsticks and thought for a moment, before Tang Hong behind him suddenly opened his mouth. “Fath… General Tang, as early as the eighth month last year, had already surveyed the battle situation in Beijiang. The Xiongnu had been dormant for a long time, and after Arius united the sixteen groups in Mt. Selci, compared with their own internal strife three years ago, has become an opponent that cannot be ignored. The Xiongnu possess good timing and location, and if they were to start a war, then my Great Yu must temporarily use guerilla tactics; the rest of the troops must retreat back to Feng Pass, to hold the line until spring comes and a counterattack can be launched.”
“It is exactly like that,” Li Qingcheng said.
Administrative Assistant Wang didn’t respond. He only sat there silently, deep in thought.
Tang Hong continued, “Has the Lord Administrative Assistant already recalled the troops in Saiwai?”
Administrative Assistant Wang nodded. “Yes. This old man followed the first set of orders that came, recalling the three garrisons of troops, for a total of seven thousand members, stationed in Saiwai back to Langhuan, and the citizens were evacuated towards Mt. Feng…”
Tang Hong said, “Then Langhuan should have also been left behind a long time ago. It would have been better to burn the city before leaving, and wait instead at Feng Pass for my General Fang to arrive. When spring comes, then we’ll slaughter our way through Saiwai and completely cripple the Xiongnu forces, before taking back the two cities of Hejian and Langhuan.”
Administrative Assistant Wang shook his head. “Impossible. The imperial court had no orders to do so, so how could I just retreat when I so choose?”
Tang Hong furrowed his brow. “The fires of war are burning your eyebrows, and as a general far from the capital, the orders of the lord might not always be appropriate. Lord Administrative Assistant has the lives of thousands of troops and citizens on his shoulders, so acting expediently would be the best course of action.”
Administrative Assistant Wang said, “What a farce! If there was actually danger then that would be a different issue, but today Langhuan is as peaceful as Mt. Tai, so how could I just leave the city behind? Protecting a city is easy, regaining one is hard; how many lives would be lost to reconquer Langhuan in the coming spring?”
Tang Hong said, “If you don’t understand changes…”
Li Qingcheng used his gaze to warn him, but Tang Hong ignored it. But as soon as Zhang Mu lifted his hand, Tang Hong immediately fell silent.
Administrative Assistant Wang stroked his beard. “Besides, General Fang’s first letter had me defending Langhuan instead of randomly sending out troops, but no explanation was given for why.”
Li Qingcheng nodded his head and took the lead. “Feng City is too far, and it’s where the citizens are taking refuge, so it’s not a good place to do battle in. After receiving orders from the imperial court, it would make sense for Fang Qingyu to send a letter here.”
Tang Hong watched Li Qingcheng as he spoke. “That would be the normal solution, but Hejian City has already… Young master?”
Li Qingcheng gazed off into empty space, and the expression in his pupils changed as he suddenly recalled a scene he had seen before… A city that had been burned, blackened military barracks, wasn’t that exactly Hejian City which Fang Qingyu had sent troops to go guard?!
At this moment Administrative Assistant Wang hadn’t yet received the news of Hejian falling into enemy hands, what was going on there? Did the Xiongnu troops circle around Langhuan, directly invading Hejian instead?
Li Qingcheng and Zhang Mu came to the realization that this was not a small matter at the same time. If this fact was spread around and the Langhuan guards knew that they had become a lone city in the midst of enemy territory, it would definitely shake the troops’ morale. Should they tell Administrative Assistant Wang what they saw on their journey here? But what if it was only one stage of Fang Qingyu’s battle strategy? And if Administrative Assistant Wang sent out troops, would they once again fall prey to the Xiongnu troops’ consecutive ambushes?
Li Qingcheng licked his icy and slightly cracked lips. All three of them didn’t dare to say even a word. Administrative Assistant Wang was ignorant of their plight, and he said slowly, “The most important thing now is to restore communications with General Fang Qingyu, so I’ll send some people to Hejian City…”
Li Qingcheng hurried to stop him. “Lord Administrative Assistant, please listen to me. Hejian City has already been sacked, most likely it was ambushed by the Xiongnu.”
Administrative Assistant Wang was greatly shocked. “How could that be? Thirty thousand troops just disappeared?!”
Li Qingcheng said, “Or there were internal struggles that we were unaware of. When we passed Hejian, there was not a scene with tens of thousands of corpses on the ground, so most likely the Yu Country troops regrouped and headed out as one to chase after the Xiongnu. More investigation is needed.”
“I’ll go,” Tang Hong said suddenly. “I’ve always felt that there was something strange with these matters. Give me twenty men…”
Administrative Assistant Wang just stroked his beard without saying anything. Li Qingcheng made eye contact with Tang Hong, and he opened his mouth and said, “We’ll go.”
Administrative Assistant Wang hurried to put up his hand. “You mustn't!”
Li Qingcheng said, “I’ll lead a small group of troops, borrowing the tree cover at the foot of Mt. Feng for protection. When we see the main Xiongnu army we’ll hide away, and when smaller detachments come we’ll ambush them. There won’t be any danger.”
Administrative Assistant Wang tried to talk him out of him, but Li Qingcheng merely smiled. “Does the Lord Administrative Assistant not trust in the martial skills and military strategies my father taught me?”
Administrative Assistant Wang said, “It’s not that I don’t trust you, but you’ve never led troops before…”
Li Qingcheng, “My servant has commanded troops before, and when the time comes they definitely won’t let me blindly lead the men about. If there are any situations out of the ordinary then I’ll listen to their advice.”
Administrative Assistant Wang could only let him, but there was still doubt in his gaze. “Since you put it like that, then I will give you a hundred experienced cavalry. Make sure to clearly investigate the current status of Hejian City, and after restoring communications with General Fang you should return at once. If there are changes to the battle situation, do not force yourselves to play the hero…”
Li Qingcheng kept nodding his head, and Administrative Assistant Wang continued, “Langhuan City and Beijiang are both filled with troops that this old man has personally led. These brave men carry the need to repay the kindness of their country in their hearts, having come thousands of li to defend the northern borders in the icy cold. Nephew, no matter what, you must not disregard their desire; every soldier would sacrifice their life to keep you safe, so you must not treat their lives as a joke.”
Li Qingcheng said solemnly, “I will not. Unless I have no hope of escape, I will never leave behind any soldier that follows me.”
Administrative Assistant Wang nodded and said, “That sentence was just a reminder. If your life is really in danger and you are forced to take that course of action, then the choice that falls upon you then can be summarized in four words -- judge the situation and choose the right time to act. This is the first lesson that any person who is to be a commander learns upon setting foot on the battlefield proper.”
Li Qingcheng repeatedly agreed, before taking that wooden token and heading towards the eastern barracks to summon his men for roll call.
One hundred soldiers, when they came under Li Qingcheng’s command, each of them had an expression of wariness written on their faces; clearly these were old veterans who had been guarding Beijiang for many years now. Li Qingcheng knew that these soldiers would probably be his to command in the future as well, with the prerequisite that he bring them back alive.
As the north wind blew, Li Qingcheng cleared his throat, but just as he was about to speak, someone already beat him to it:
“What are we going to do? Tell us first clearly. Where did the command tally come from?”
Zhang Mu hopped off his horse and walked up, grabbing that man and lifting him up.
“Wait, wait!” Li Qingcheng said hurriedly. “Ying-ge!”
Tang Hong had his arms in his sleeves as he watched with glee, taking joy from others’ misfortune. From outside the barracks came a violent shout, and the crowd stirred as they all circled up around Zhang Mu to fight, only to see Zhang Mu grab and throw, or use his palm or his hand hooked into the shape of a claw. In the blink of an eye, a bunch of people lay groaning in the mud.
Only ten of them fell, but that stunned the entire troop.
Just as Li Qingcheng was thinking about what to say, Tang Hong said, “Get on your horses, we’re going.”
Zhang Mu didn’t care how many people followed behind him as he set off at the head, a lone rider heading out of the gates of Langhuan City, bearing the air of someone who would pass through tens of thousands of people to achieve his goal. That silhouette was reflected in Li Qingcheng’s eyes, and in his heart an indescribable feeling arose. He hurried to chivvy his warhorse into motion, riding shoulder to shoulder with him.
Tang Hong said expressionlessly, “After this, you all are Young Master Tang’s troops, so follow along.”
The sky was filled with flying snowflakes, and the hundred and so troops followed Li Qingcheng and Zhang Mu out of Langhuan.
This was truly the first time Li Qingcheng was commanding troops. In his missing memories, he couldn’t find any scattered, blurry recollections about troops, but as for military books, he did remember reading some before. But reading about troops didn’t count, and as he observed Zhang Mu on their way, he confirmed what he knew with how Zhang Mu dealt with them.
They traveled along the Xiaogu River towards the south, and with their quick horses and moving troops, they were already some sixty plus li away from Langhuan.
The sky grew dark. Li Qingcheng purposefully slowed his horse, falling into the midst of the group of soldiers.
“What are you called?” Li Qingcheng lightly waved the horse whip, which let out a clear, crisp pa as it cracked in the empty air.
The person who had spoken earlier came back to himself, and neither humbly nor arrogantly he said, “This one is called Li Hu, commander of a hundred.”
Li Qingcheng nodded and commanded, “Go to the front and report to Ying-ge about this troop’s previous battle record. He doesn’t like to respond, so you can just speak on your own.”
Li Hu didn’t say anything more as he spurred his horse to catch up with Zhang Mu.
Li Qingcheng moved along towards the back of the group, taking roll as he went. “What is your name? How about you? You, over there? Also you…”
The soldiers all reported their own surnames, and Li Qingcheng went along the line one by one. The warhorses never stopped, and Tang Hong turned his horse’s head, shouting, “Do your duty well! We cannot do it without you!”
The soldiers all perfunctorily assented.
They were one li from Hejian City, and the sky had already grown dark. As Li Hu followed behind Zhang Mu, he had already sketched out the troop’s battle records in general, and it was then that Li Qingcheng learned that the troops that the Administrative Assistant had given him was a loose group of wandering soldiers that had been rid of their command.
One summer evening a year ago, the Xiongnu had suddenly ambushed a sentry post on the upper banks of the Xiaogu River, where seven hundred men had been stationed. Many of them were slaughtered, and it was only this troop carting supplies from Mt. Feng that had survived the disaster. Afterwards, they returned to Langhuan to guard the city, but their style did not mesh well with the Langhuan troops’ way of fighting steadily and habitually, so it was difficult for them to blend in well. They were just placed within the barracks and never called upon.
Li Qingcheng dimly understood the Administrative Assistant’s intent -- this troop wanted to get revenge for their fellow soldiers. No wonder each and every one of them was so bloodthirsty, as if they were just itching for a good fight.
This would be a very difficult group to direct.
Zhang Mu turned his head and took a look. His eagle eyes shone with light, as if they were anticipating something, but also like they were comforting Li Qingcheng.
“Ying-ge, Tang San…” Li Qingcheng gave his orders.
“That’s not my name,” Tang Hong said unhappily.
Zhang Mu lifted a hand to give a slap to Tang Hong’s head. Sensing it, Tang Hong didn’t dare to make another sound.
Li Qingcheng said, “Ying-ge, take fifty people and go into the city to search, see if there are any lucky survivors. Tang San, come over here, and the remaining fifty come over here as well.”
Zhang Mu looked at him in worry for a while, and Li Qingcheng sensed this. “It’s okay, you just go.”
Zhang Mu turned and entered the city to go search, while Li Qingcheng issued commands for the troops to start a fire, before asking Tang Hong, “The situation that day, tell me again in detail.”
The squad leaders surrounded the bonfire as they listened to Tang Hong recall that battle.
Tang Hong responded, “That day, the thirty thousand troops from the capital came along the military road from Western Plains, passing by Mt. Feng, before we stopped outside Hejian City to await orders.”
One squad leader said, “Hejian couldn’t support this many troops settling in.”
Tang Hong nodded. “General Fang Qingyu saw that Hejian City was small, so he sent five hundred people ahead to the disused military barracks to clean them up. He had originally planned to split his troops in half three days later. Of the troops that were to be sent over, I was one of them.”
Li Qingcheng narrowed his eyes slightly. “And afterwards you were ambushed?”
Tang Hong said, “That night a messenger came with a report, saying that Hejian had been ambushed and that most of the troops weren’t there. The report wanted us to immediately pull the troops back to support, but we only had five hundred people… and in the night the Xiongnu riders blocked our path forward, while in the distance we saw that a great fire had risen in Hejian City. I knew then that it had already fallen, so in the dead of night we could only fight as we retreated, heading towards the direction of Langhuan. We fought until the twilight of the next day, and what happened after, you all know.”
Li Qingcheng lifted up a piece of dry firewood, sketching out the topography of the area. The two locations were not that distant. He asked, “What kind of a person is Fang Qingyu?”
Tang Hong said, “Fang Qingyu is from the empress dowager’s mother’s family. Rumor has it that his martial skills were very strong from a young age, and that he’s the number one martial artist of Yu Country. He’s even more familiar with military strategies, except that he hasn’t led troops before, and afterwards he took on the role of the crown prince’s bodyguard…”
Li Qingcheng thought for a moment, before saying, “Since he is familiar with military strategies, then he shouldn’t fall for such a trick. See how even though Hejian City was scorched like this, there aren’t many bodies in the city. Instead of an ambush, it looks more like the invaders came in when the defenders were scarce, and finally they met their doom.”
Tang Hong also couldn’t puzzle it out. Li Qingcheng continued to reason, “My guess is that they made their move first, sending eighty percent of their troops out of the city, leaving the rest of the troops to lure in the Xiongnu in a “luring the tiger away from the mountain” strategy. This group of troops might not have all fallen to the Xiongnu, they could have only run off to lure the Xiongnu people away.”
Li Qingcheng tossed down the branch. “Here, if we can’t find a trace of them, then we’ll go to Feng City to take a look. If both places don’t have any traces, then it basically confirms my thoughts.”
Tang Hong continued, “But no matter what, Fang Qingyu would never fall for this kind of…”
Li Qingcheng suddenly turned his head around, only to see Zhang Mu respectfully standing to one side.
“And what was the result?” Li Qingcheng asked.
Zhang Mu handed over an item, and Li Qingcheng stilled for a moment.
It was a small brass fish that had been blackened by fire. Li Qingcheng used his sleeve to clean off that brass fish, before pulling out the one he carried on him. Comparing them, one in each hand, it was clear that they were a pair.
“Brass fish crafted by an artisan in the capital,” Tang Hong said. “Where did it come from?”
Zhang Mu pointed towards the direction of the city, and the hundred-man commander Li Hu came forward, saying, “We found many dead people in the city guard manor.”
Li Qingcheng hurried to have his men pick up torches, and they headed into the city.
After taking a few steps, he once again found that he had forgotten something. Li Qingcheng reined in his horse and turned around, only to find that Zhang Mu had sat down in front of the bonfire, watching the flames in a daze.
“Ying-ge, you’re not coming?”
Zhang Mu didn't respond. He grabbed a handful of snow and brought it in front of him, wiping clean his handsome face that had been dirtied, before untying his outer robe and using the icy snow to wipe down his hands and arms.
“Ying-ge?” Li Qingcheng said.
Zhang Mu lifted his head and distantly shot Li Qingcheng a look. The crimson burn scar directly faced him, and Li Qingcheng said mildly, “Since you’re tired, then you can rest here.”
Zhang Mu stayed as silent as always, and Li Qingcheng didn’t dare to say anything more. He led Tang Hong and the ten plus soldiers to further investigate the tunnels within the city.
“Chi Hui, Wang Yuanchang, Zhao Qi, you few,” Li Qingcheng commanded easily. Just now, when he had taken roll call on his horse, clearly he had seen their faces once and not forgotten their names. “Stand guard outside. Tang… San, you take ten people and come inside with me to take a look.”
Tang Hong lit up a torch and walked towards the depths of the darkened room. Below the passageway was the Hejian City’s Administrative Assistant manor’s basement, inside of which were multiple headless bodies. There were also Xiongnu corpses, all of which had leather shoulder protectors made with three sets of feathers on them. The blood on the floor had already frozen over into ice.
“Just now the brass fish was found on the ground here,” a soldier bowed and reported.
Li Qingcheng hummed noncommittally as he frowned for a moment. This was Fang Qingyu? No matter how he looked, it didn’t look quite right.
“Call up ten people and have these corpses sent back to Langhuan, so that the Administrative Assistant can identify the bodies… We’ll rest within the city for a night, and tomorrow we’ll set out for Feng City,” Li Qingcheng commanded.
That night Zhang Mu brought them to rest within a dilapidated house. The snow had stopped, and outside of the shabby house, the clear night sky appeared.
Zhang Mu personally cleaned off the bed, and Li Qingcheng lay down in that dilapidated house. He opened his mouth and said, “Ying-ge.”
Zhang Mu was hunched over in the outer room, starting a fire in the brazier, but at that call his movements stopped.
“Are there many of these brass fishes in the capital?” Li Qingcheng held the brass fish in one hand.
Zhang Mu didn’t respond.
Li Qingcheng then asked, “Before I fell ill, did I know General Fang Qingyu?”
Zhang Mu finally opened his mouth.
“You didn’t know him.” Zhang Mu finished this sentence and turned to leave. Li Qingcheng got up and asked, “Where are you going?”
It was rare that Zhang Mu wouldn’t stand guard by Li Qingcheng’s side. He passed through the courtyard and made his bunk in the front hall.
Li Qingcheng let out a sigh and lay down. Not long after, a human shadow was silhouetted on the window screen.
“What,” Li Qingcheng asked.
“Shh…” Tang Hong said from outside. “I was patrolling just now and saw a pair of footprints heading towards the city guard manor. Did you send someone else to go check?”
Li Qingcheng immediately sat up as Tang Hong’s words flashed through his brain.
There was a line of footprints? It was still snowing at twilight, which had wiped away their footsteps coming in and out, but now the snow had stopped. This meant someone else had gone in.
Li Qingcheng hadn’t commanded anyone to go investigate further. Even if he had, if he were to have people go back in, he wouldn’t send only one person.
Was it someone he had brought who entered the city guard manor, or was it someone from somewhere else? Or perhaps there were still people living within the city itself, who hadn’t been discovered yet by them? Impossible. Hejian City had already been abandoned for a long time, and with this cold weather and frozen ground, no one could survive here. If it was someone that Li Qingcheng had brought, then they should be connected somehow with how the city of Hejian fell. Even if they weren’t a spy they would still be a troublesome personage.
But that was impossible… Most of the men under his command were scattered troops who were left to idle in Langhuan City, and they wouldn’t have any connection with the imperial troops.
In that brief moment, he came up with many conjectures and discarded a bunch more, and his final hypothesis was that there was someone who came from the outside.
Li Qingcheng put on his outer robe as he said, “Has he come out yet?”
Tang Hong said quietly, “Not yet. Should we have people surround the area around the manor? Where’s that mute bodyguard of yours?”
Li Qingcheng waved his hand. “He’s asleep in the hall. You didn’t see him?”
Tang Hong, “I came from the backyard. What should we do, you have to decide quickly, any later and he’ll leave…”
Li Qingcheng said, “Let’s go take a look, the two of us.”
Tang Hong got a torch but didn’t light it, lifting his seven chi long spears onto his back. Li Qingcheng held a sword in his hand, and after they went out of the backyard they circled around the city guard post. There was a clear track of footprints under the moonlight heading directly for the depths of the manor.
“It might be one of our own, thinking to make away with something in the night,” Tang Hong said.
Li Qingcheng said, “It won’t be. Military rules are like a mountain, and if anyone wants to steal something, there has to be a lookout too. There’s just one line of footprints, so most likely it’s someone from the outside.”
Though Tang Hong didn’t want to admit it, he had to admit that Li Qingcheng was even more cautious than himself.
They passed through the front yard in front of the guard post, and at the same time they stopped in front of the wall.
Li Qingcheng stuck his head out only to see a man hunched over, flipping through something inside of the side courtyard. He was dressed in ragged animal pelts, face covered with stubble, his hair in wild disarray and bound with a ripped strip of cloth. His feet were wrapped heavily in cotton boots to keep out the cold.
He was digging through a pile of rubble in the corner, and an instant later he turned his face and his ear moved a little.
With that head turn, Tang Hong and Li Qingcheng saw that man’s side profile under the moonlight at the same time.
“Not there…” the man mumbled. “Did I hear wrong? Who’s behind that wall? Come out.”
Tang Hong slowly raised his hand, tightening his grip around the spear on his back, but Li Qingcheng indicated that he was not to move, and as he rose he asked, “Who are you?”
The man heard this voice and instantly his head shot up like he had been electrocuted. His expression was thunderstruck as he met Li Qingcheng’s gaze head on .
His skin was fair, and though his sloppy outfit made him look like a vagrant, his eyes had a layer of spiritual qi running through them, and his pupils shone with light like water.
“How are you here?!” The man straightened up.
Li Qingcheng, “Don’t come over. What is this brother’s surname?”
The man’s expression turned extremely strange in an instant, as if he wanted to smile but also cry. He looked Li Qingcheng up and down from head to toe multiple times, before Li Qingcheng had a flash of realization and he pulled out that small brass fish, asking, “Are you looking for this?”
The man’s eyebrows moved a little, as he said, “Yes… I came to Feng City, originally I wanted to keep traveling along to Western Plains, but I found that I forgot to bring the thing, so I came back to search…”
Li Qingcheng took a step forward, but Tang Hong said quietly, “Don’t go over. I know who he is.”
Li Qingcheng’s eyes held a trace of amusement. “I also know. You are Fang Qingyu.”
The man seemed to have heard a great joke, and as he stood in the snow he began to laugh until he bent over and couldn’t straighten up properly. Li Qingcheng raised an eyebrow. “What are you laughing about? Where are the imperial troops? You were supposed to bring thirty thousand troops out, where did you take the troops to?! General Fang Qingyu! You became a deserter?!”
Fang Qingyu couldn’t laugh anymore. He looked askance at Li Qingcheng, before asking after a long while, “Did you fall severely ill, or did you hit your head?”
Hearing this, Li Qingcheng’s heart felt cold. “Did I know you before?”
Fang Qingyu took a step forward, his eyes filled with a difficult emotion, as if he was imploring, but also as if he was apologizing.
In less than the time it took to read this sentence, a grey shadow leapt over the wall. Zhang Mu gave a loud shout, and he pulled out his long saber as he brought it down on this man’s head!
moon: look it’s qing-ge!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.