A Step into the Past Chapter 17

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Book 2 Chap 4 – Regaining what was lost

That night the Wu’s castle was decorated festively, everyone was in a celebratory mood, making merry with songs and dances.

The only dejected person is Wu Hei. After Master Wu gave him a thorough scolding, he chased him out of the house. All his men will be transferred to Tao Fang who gained great merit by recommending Xiang Shaolong.

In the mansion, Master Wu’s wife and his favored concubines, 17 sons and their families all attended the celebratory feast. On top of that there were his 20 odd daughters and their husband’s families, together with other relatives, there were over a thousand people gathered in the hall, the atmosphere festive.

The ecstatic Wu Tingfang dragged her husband and after seeing her Mother, she dragged and introduced him to relatives and friends, causing Xiang Shaolong much confusion and headache. Like what Tao Fang said, besides Wu Yingyuan, the rest are unable to account to much accomplishment, only interested in merry-making.

Amidst the talking and laughter, Tao Fang came over to call him aside. They came to a small study at the back courtyard. Master Wu and Wu Yingyuan are already waiting there.

The four of them sat down on the mat facing one another.

Master Wu clapped his shoulder and said, “Yingyuan told me what happened. Shaolong, not only are your sword skill unparalleled, but you’re wittier than others, or else the situation now will be totally opposite.”

Xiang Shaolong heard that his tone is warm, apparently he is already regarding him as his grandson-in-law, so he hurriedly expressed his grat.i.tude.

A fog came over Master Wu’s expression and he said somberly, “Yingyuan told me that you have the blood of Qin in you. If it was in the past, I will certainly be very unhappy, but today I feel exceptionally close to you.”

He continued emotionally, “No matter how much effort I have put in for Zhao, the Zhaos will still treat me with suspicion. What happened to Lian Jin this time is proof of that.”

He took a glance at everyone and sighed, “To think that years ago before Wei’s Shang Yang went to Qin, the Qins have not discarded vulgarity. Fathers, sons, brothers and aunts, daughters all slept in the same room. It’s all due to Shang Yang’s reforms that made Qin leap into one of the strongest states. But look how a foreigner like him ended up. Once King Xiao pa.s.sed away, his successor immediately had him killed by having 5 ox dismember his body. Hai! Now I am starting to believe what Yingyuan has said, sooner or later we will face the same fate.”

Tao Fang added, “Luckily Shaolong is now up and coming, and can dispel this disadvantageous position of ours for the time being.”

Wu Yingyuan replied, “I’m afraid Zhao Mu will come up with another plan now that this one has failed. He will surely find a way to harm Shaolong, and we must not let our guards down against Prince Shaoyuan as well.

Master Wu gave a cold snort, “What they want is the Wu family’s riches and women. Humph! I am not one who will offer my neck to be chopped. Now that the Zhaos have revealed that they are going to deal with me, and with that Guo Zhong at the side fanning the fire, we must now plan for a rainy day so that we will not be caught off guard when the time comes.”

Wu Yingyuan replied, “Father do not worry! With Shaolong, it’s like adding a tiger to our strength, the Zhaos will not dare to make any hasty moves. Besides for the past 10 years, I have always used the advantage of being able to travel outside to plan for our future. Now that I have some headway, I will be able to present to you the whole plan very soon for your consideration.”

After Master Wu complimented his son, he turned towards Shaolong and said, “Today is your big day, we’ll find a good date within these few days and let you and Fang’er marry immediately. You can put your mind at ease and relax and enjoy yourself, the other matters can be put aside first.”

He added with a smile, “Now Tao Fang will take you to see someone, that is the reward you deserve.”

Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic and hurriedly thanked him.

Tao Fang walked with him towards the courtyard behind the castle and said emotionally, “If I have not met you, the one being chased away today would not have been Wu Hei, but me, Tao Fang.”

Xiang Shaolong replied, “Is Master Tao really a Zhao, why would the Wu father and son trust you so much?”

Tao Fang replied, “Actually I’m not really sure who I am as well. If not for the previous generation’s master who took me in, I’m afraid I would have starved to death on the streets. Therefore even if I have to lay down my life for the Wu family, I will not have a word of complaint.”

Xiang Shaolong was astounded.

By now the two of them has reached a bungalow built with its back to the hills, and they could see lights inside.

Tao Fang said, “From tonight onwards, this house would be your home. After Grand Young Miss become yours, she will move here as well.”

Xiang Shaolong saw that this house is surrounded by woods, and is very happy with it.

Tao Fang pushed him towards the front courtyard and laughed, “Enjoy yourself! But if Grand Young Miss comes looking for you, even Master would not be able to hold her back.” He left after saying these words.

Xiang Shaolong stepped on the gravel and he has not even reached the main door when Chunying, Xiaying, Qiuying and Dongying, the 4 pretty maids came out together and knelt at the 2 sides, saying together, “We pay our respects to Master.”

Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic and he reached out his hands and pinched each of their faces, but suddenly he thought of the ill-fated Shu’er and Su Nu.

Now that Lian Jin has died under his sword, only that Prince Shaoyuan and Zhao Mu remains.

The 4 maids were understanding, and on seeing his distraught expression, they wept together with him as well.

Xiang Shaolong forced himself to look happy and cajoled the 4 maids. Once he stepped into the house, he saw that the decorations were exquisite, warm and comfortable.

Xiaying is the most pet.i.te among them, about 16 to 17 years old, and she’s the prettiest as well. She came up to him and whispered in his ear, “There’s someone waiting for Master in the room.”

Xiang Shaolong felt heat rising up his heart, reached out his hand and grabbed her bosom before walking towards the room.

He had just pushed the door open when a fiery ball ran into his arms, the dainty body trembling, with tears of joy flowing down. Who else can it be but the long gone Ting Fangshi.

The old flame of desire started burning high.

Words were replaced but hot and wet kisses. This couple who had missed each other for so long caressed each other madly, removing the obstacles of clothing who has no place being there for each other.

Under the light of the burning lamp, they used the most vigorous movements to express the love they felt for each other, joined together as one in the most intimate way possible between a man and a woman.

In this moment, every inch of their skin belongs to the other, there is no holding back at all.

The s.e.xy and alluring Ting Fangshi totally opened up her beautiful body, accepting her lover’s most violent and intoxicating attacks.

The joy took her soul to the peak of happiness, her soul was besotted, she screamed madly, using her body and mind to make this man, who has caused her endless tears for the last 6 months, happy.

She has now received her reward.

While at the peak of her joy, this mature and voluptuous beauty’s convulsed, and uncontrollably twined herself around Xiang Shaolong’s perfect male body like an octopus, using all the strength in her limbs to hold on to him tightly.

Xiang Shaolong lied comfortably on her body, licking the tears on her face and asked, “Where have you been all these time?”

With her face still blushing, Ting Fangshi panted, “Right here, but not in this pretty house.”

Xiang Shaolong asked in surprise, “Didn’t Tao Fang said you’ve been given away?”

As long as Ting Fangshi can hug him, she can forget about what happened in the past. She said, “Do not blame Master Tao, he has been protecting me all along. Ever since we thought the horse thieves killed you, Master made me into a dance courtesan. But because of Master Tao, I’ve always received special treatment and I do not have to accompany guests. Then you came back alive, and even defeated the bad person, I was so excited I could die.”

Xiang Shaolong laughed, “This I know too well.”

Ting Fangshi wriggled coquettishly.

Xiang Shaolong felt his desire burning again, and was about to launch another attack when Qiuying’s voice could be heard calling from outside, “Master! Grand Young Miss is here.”

Xiang Shaolong kissed Ting Fangshi and said, “Have some sleep first, I’ll be right back.”

Ting Fangshi nodded her head like a little lamb. Xiang Shaolong can’t help but grope her a little more before walking out of the room satisfied, and b.u.mped right into Wu Tingfang who was walking over.

Wu Tingfang hugged him and stretched her head to look into the naked splendor in the room and laughed, “Have you just done your naughty deed?”

Xiang Shaolong laughed, “That’s right! But it’s not the end yet.” He bent over and carried her up and went back into the room.

Ting Fangshi was so startled she hurriedly knelt down and paid her respects.

Wu Tingfang’s slender hands twined around Xiang Shaolong’s neck and she looked at the naked Ting Fangshi and half sighed, “Dispense with courtesy. Our husband is the rudest person in this world, so we can forget about any semblance of courtesy.”

It was followed by joyous mating, endless loving.

The next day, before the sun rose, Tao Fang came and woke him up to go to the Palace immediately to see the King of Zhao and accept his new appointment.

Although Wu Tingfang and Ting Fangshi woke up with him, but after last night, their bodies doesn’t seem to obey their wishes and they couldn’t get out of bed.

Xiang Shaolong was secretly cursing that even in this era with no alarm clocks, he still has to suffer the pain of waking up early. The 4 maids hurriedly helped him freshen up and change before he went on his way with Tao Fang.

Ever since they reached Handan, this is the first time he woke up so early. It turns out that there’s a lot of people who wakes up even earlier than them. Besides the farmers and herdsmen heading towards the market, they also saw troops of Zhao soldiers on their morning exercise, walking briskly and neatly past them as they shouted commands. All these activities added some excitement to this morning city.

Tao Fang rode in with him, his eyes tired and said, “I had a little too much to drink last night, and had some fun with 2 dance courtesans. I’m still having a bit of a headache now. I have to admit old age even if I didn’t want to, in the past I can have 7 girls in a row and I won’t feel anything.”

Xiang Shaolong exclaimed hoa.r.s.ely, “7?” and thought to himself that either his memory is failing him, or he’s boasting. He only had 2 girls last night and now his back still feels a little stiff. If it’s 7 women, he might even have problem getting up the horse now.

When men talks about such matters, none will want to belittle themselves. Tao Fang said quietly, “If you don’t believe me you can ask Eldest Young Master, he was in the room next to mine that night and said that he could hear their moans all night. Hai! If only there’s a pill to return one to one’s youth.”

Xiang Shaolong secretly thought, do I really have to ask my Father-in-law, is it true that on a certain date on a certain night, Master Tao was in a room next to you doing it with 7 women and making them scream the whole night? He can’t help but smile at this thought.

By now the two of them has pa.s.sed through Lady Ya’s enormous residence and turned into the main road in Handan, going towards the Palace. The sky is slowly getting brighter.

Tao Fang saw Lady Ya’s residence and said, “I thought Zhao Ya would come and look for you last night, but I didn’t expect my guess to be wrong.”

Xiang Shaolong also felt a little lost. Because he thought as well that Zhao Ya will not let him off last night, then he will be able to humiliate her so as to appease his anger at her for obeying Zhao Mu. But things did not happen to his expectations and now he is past his anger. He thought of how she opposed without concern about herself, Zhao Mu’s suggestion last night about having no restrictions in the duel. Obviously she loves him more than Zhao Mu, and he can’t help but miss her a little.

When they went past the city gates, all the guards saluted Xiang Shaolong, making him feel what his status is like now, and at the same time he thought that if he has to start work so early everyday in future, he would have to give up all merry-making at night.

When the two of them came to the plaza outside Chaoyang Hall where the King of Zhao meets his officials, they saw the steps outside the hall was filled with officials and generals in their official robes, chatting amongst themselves in small groups. The atmosphere was serious with an underlying ease.

Zhao Mu was talking to a few generals when he saw the two of them walking over. After greeting one another, Zhao Mu looked as if nothing has happened and said warmly, “Master Tao please return, you can hand Shaolong over to me, I will settle everything for him.”

After Tao Fang cast a look at Xiang Shaolong, he left helplessly.

Xiang Shaolong wished that he could cut him up into pieces immediately, but he has to pretend to smile and look respectful.

Zhao Mu said with a smile, “It’s the first time Shaolong is reporting here, you’re surely not used to the rules in the Palace. But now that you’re one of us, I will look after you.”

Xiang Shaolong secretly cursed him for being a wily old fox. He placed his bet on the wrong person earlier so now he’s trying to get into his good books. He has no choice but to pretend and reply gratefully, “Thank you Marquis for thinking so highly of me, I am indeed very grateful to you. If not for Marquis’ suggestion, how else will the Wu family agree to marry their daughter to me.”

Although it felt as if an arrow was struck through his heart, Zhao Mu doesn’t know that in fact Xiang Shaolong has heard about his evil intentions towards Wu Tingfang in the carriage that night. He thought that he was genuinely grateful and hurriedly replied, “You’re welcome.”

By then the bell was sounded and the officials hurriedly walked into the hall.

Zhao Mu asked warmly, “Does Shaolong has anything special on tonight?”

Xiang Shaolong secretly sighed to himself, knowing that there’s no way he can reject, but also because of the strategy he had discussed with the Wu family last night, he can only reply, “Marquis please give your instructions, I can cast everything else aside.”

Zhao Mu was very satisfied, thinking to himself, you threw your lot with the Wu Family with the intention of only getting power and beauty. As long as I devise a ploy and let you know who is the real master, you’ll come and work for me obediently. He laughed and said, “I’ll send someone at dusk to Wu’s residence to escort you to my residence for dinner. You don’t have to be dressed formally, just take it that you’re just going home.”

Amidst the loud laughter, he accompanied Xiang Shaolong into the hall.

This Zhao Mu is a strong handed and ambitious man, so he has the intention of pulling a rare talent man like Xiang Shaolong to his side. He also wants to cast a blow to the Wu family, so he put aside his private grudges for the time being and changed to soft tactics to deal with Xiang Shaolong. But he did not expect Xiang Shaolong will be one who place relationships and loyalty above everything else.

Shu’er’s death has made the enmity between them unbreakable, only blood will be able to wash it clean.

The officials in the hall took their places on the left and right rows according to their status. Xiang Shaolong stood outside at the door of the hall, until the King of Zhao took his seat on the imperial throne and settled a few court affairs before he broke tradition and summoned him to court to officially appoint him. Only then did he order the internal official to bring him to the imperial palace’s uniform department to take his measurements for his official robes and for professionals to teach him about his duties and court etiquette.

That internal official is called Ji Guang, and panders to him extremely, taking the effort to explain everything in detail. Only now did Xiang Shaolong realize that the imperial guard is one of the 10 a.s.sistants under the command of the Brocade Commander, their only duty is to ensure his Majesty’s safety. They have to be on duty in the Palace for 5 days every month, sticking close to the King to protect him. He was secretly lamenting that in the past he was frequently tasked with protecting politically important people, and now that he’s in this world 2000 years earlier, he’s still doing the same job.

The short and fat Ji Guang smiled and said, “You don’t know how much his Majesty likes you. He gave you 3 days’ leave, by then your official robes will be ready. You’ll surely look suave in your army uniform, no one will look better than you.”

Xiang Shaolong looked at his flat and round face that looks so funny and said, “Can I leave now?”

A look of alarm flashed past Ji Guang’s face, and he said with a smile, “There’s still one more place to go, please come with me.”

They turned this way and that in the Palace, pa.s.sing through corridors and gardens, and in the end reached an exquisite little house in the back palace. He said mysteriously, “Please go in, I will wait here.”

Xiang Shaolong was baffled, but looking at his expression, he knows that there’s no use asking him, so he might as well walked towards that building.

He had just stepped into the hall when a beauty who was standing next to the window turned around. It is Lady Ya, whom he was just thinking of this morning.

She has totally recovered her glowing appearance and poise, dressed all in white, proud and confident. She came towards him smiling, her rosy lips muttering quietly, “Xiang Shaolong! Xiang Shaolong!”

Xiang Shaolong saw her smiling so prettily, and was unable to utter even a word of reprimand. He can only walk past her coldly, going towards where she stood earlier, looking at the woods outside the window with a small stream with a bridge over it. The scenery was enchanting.

Lady Ya swayed her way next to him and said gently, “Xiang Shaolong! Shall we make a deal?”

This strange move threw Xiang Shaolong off guard, and he looked at her in shock.

Lady Ya covered her mouth and laughed. She lowered her head and said slowly, “Firstly, Zhao Ya seeks your forgiveness for falling into that villain Zhao Mu’s plot and almost caused harm to you. And also caused harm to myself.”

Xiang Shaolong knows that she must have thought back about the matter and knows that he did not take that aphrodisiac, so she told him the truth first to show that she dare not hide anything from him.

Lady Ya lifted her head, her rosy lips saying quietly, “Zhao Ya wants to thank you as well. If you have not appeared, I may never be able to leave Zhao Mu’s control, but ever since last night, the thought of him makes me sick. From now on, I will not allow him to touch even a finger of mine.” She added, “And I won’t let any man touch me. Of course, the only exception is Xiang Shaolong, he can touch any way he wants.”

Xiang Shaolong felt a lurch in his heart and almost pulled this woman whose beauty is comparable to Wu Tingfang’s into his arms and let his hands enjoy themselves. However he gritted his teeth and held himself back, saying calmly, “Lady has not disclosed the terms of your deal.”

The sunlight and the shadow from the trees fell on her snow-white clothes from outside the window, which made her look as if she is wearing a robe of crisp morning ray. Her heaving bosom, her delicate and well defined shoulders, her tiny waist, her long and beautiful legs, she is so alluring that Xiang Shaolong is unable to put her together with the word ‘s.lut’. But she was once a s.lut. Such strange oxymoron, made her especially enchanting.

Naturally Lady Ya knows this point, so she’s quite confident that Xiang Shaolong will accept her surrender. He raised her dainty brows slightly and said quietly, “I know you’re deliberately trying to scare me. In actual fact you’re no longer angry with me, but just pretending to.”

Xiang Shaolong couldn’t do anything to her so he sighed, reached out his hand to grab her waist and pull her in. His face 2 inches away from hers, he asked, “You really will not touch any other men in future?”

Lady Ya threw a glance at him, “of course it’s true, if you don’t believe me you can take my heart out for a look!”

Xiang Shaolong is flirtatious by nature, the more wanton the woman, the more exciting it is for him. Therefore how can he ever resist the temptress Lady Ya’s attacks. He sighed and said, “Although I had a crazy night with Wu Tingfang last night, but you’ve still managed to set me aflame, and I only wish to see the most exciting part of your deal.”

Lady Ya smiled coquettishly, “That part belongs to you long ago, now Zhao Ya is only asking that you accept it from the kindness of your heart. What I am giving is Lady Ya’s effective ears, to be your spy and scout.”

Xiang Shaolong was astounded, “Are you trying to hint to me that I will be in great danger?”

Lady Ya used all her strength to hug him, gave him s short, gentle kiss and sighed, “How can one mountain contain 2 tigers, this is such a simple logic. One day you will ultimately clash face to face with Zhao Mu. With such a useful soldier like Zhao Ya around, how can Shaolong not accept it with a smile.”

Xiang Shaolong exclaimed hoa.r.s.ely, “So once Zhao Ya escapes from Zhao Mu’s grasp, she can become so formidable. I shall decide to make do with it and accept this main deal of yours.”

Lady Ya was ecstatic, “Remember it’s main and not side, once we leave Handan I want to become one of your main wives.”

Xiang Shaolong asked in surprise, “Leave Handan?”

Lady Ya left him, looked out the window sadly and nodded her head, “That is the only way out for us, or else in less than a year, you and everyone in the Wu family will die.”

Xiang Shaolong was shaken and grabbed her shoulders, pulling her close into his arms and asked gently, “Zhao Ya can you be more precise about this?” He was finally moved by Zhao Ya, because she would even betray the Kingdom of Zhao and her family for him, her love for him is boundless. So he changed his way of addressing her as well.

Lady Ya spoke with love, “As long as you will love me for the rest of your live, Ya’er will listen to anything you say.”

Xiang Shaolong looked at her heaving bosom as she spoke, and knows that her heart is now burning with desire. He sighed and said, “Ya’er’s bosom looks so beautiful when you’re breathing.”

Once Lady Ya heard her lover complimenting her in her chest, she turned around happily, “Continue with your compliments! Ya’er loves being pampered by Xiang Lang.”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly thinking that she’s formidable, and really wanted tohave fun with her immediately, but this is definitely not the right place. He pulled her and ask, “Your place or mine?”

Lady Ya hugged him tightly and sighed, “Hai! Ya’er wants it even more than you! But important matters are at hand, you and the Wu family are in a life and death situation.”

It was as if cold water was poured over his head, Xiang Shaolong’s desire evaporated completely and he looked at her seriously.

Lady Ya fell into his arms and whispered into his ears, “When Zhao Mu took me back to his residence yesterday to have fun with, I took the chance while he was sleeping to steal a look at his secret doc.u.ments which he kept locked up. I found a name list, and they’re all from the Wu family. The doc.u.ment listed when those people on the list accepted pay, and when they provided information and details like those. I have memorized and written these people’s name earlier, and I’ve put it inside your clothes now.”

Xiang Shaolong was stunned, “You know how to open locks?”

Lady Ya replied, “I’ve received training on theft and spying since I was young, and because of my status and my body, Ya’er has frequently been sent overseas to gather information. Besides my Imperial Brother and Zhao Mu, no one knows about this. Now that I’ve told you everything, you should know how my heart feels!”

Xiang Shaolong kissed her and said, “I, Xiang Shaolong’s words are as good as gold, I will not let you down.” Only now did he understand why the King of Zhao favors her so much, and he also thought of another question, “Now that everyone knows that you have fallen in love with me, won’t they be suspicious of you?”

Lady Ya replied, “Don’t worry! They’re so sure that I will not be infatuated with any man for long, and that I’m a born s.lut. Besides, my family name is Zhao as well, why would I help an outsider deal with my own blood family?”

Xiang Shaolong can’t help but ask, “Can you really harden your heart to deal with your family?”

Lady Ya replied sadly, “I have totally lost hope in the Zhao family. Not only are they biased against anyone who is not from Zhao, they are also biased against those Zhaos with other family names. This is the reason the totally incapable Zhao Gua can replace the great general Lian Po, which resulted in the great tragedy of Changping, causing the state of Zhao to weaken. Now I only wish to go far away with you, and not end up being the slave of a country doomed to end, and end up being a cheap prost.i.tute.”

Xiang Shaolong nodded his head in understanding, finally knowing why ever since her husband Zhao Gua died, she spent her life in such a intoxicated mess. It’s because she has given up hope on the future, so she’s numbing herself with her wanton lifestyle.

Lady Ya’s voice turned quiet and she said quickly and impatiently, “Wu Yingyuan’s activities overseas, my Imperial Brother has heard about it long ago and he even suspects that he is in touch with the Qins. It’s just that Master Wu controls almost half of our state’s livestock and is very reputable in Zhao, with an army of thousands of warriors, my Imperial Brother dare not make any rash moves, afraid that he will rock the stability and invite other states to take the opportunity to attack!”

Xiang Shaolong felt his skin go numb, so it turns out that the King of Zhao really intends to get rid of the Wu family.

Lady Ya said, “Last night after you defeated Lian Jin, Imperial Brother and Zhao Mu held a secret discussion and they decided to pull you to their side and make use of you to deal with the Wu family. Later Imperial Brother summoned me and wants me to use my beauty to charm you so that you cannot pull yourself away. But Ya’er knows about my own feelings, the one who got charmed instead is Ya’er!”

Xiang Shaolong remembered his appointment with Zhao Mu tonight and felt a cold shiver. He did not expect that the King of Zhao would be involved in the background as well.

Lady Ya said, “You can still drag for time now, because Zhao Mu’s men will go to Mulberry Village these 2 days to find out your background. Only when they’re sure you have no problem will they use you.”

Xiang Shaolong really felt his whole body turn cold. If they capture Mei Canniang, that’ll be terrible.

Lady Ya kissed him gently as she said, “Ya’er knows that not only is your swordplay unparalleled, but your wits is even greater. Now that I have given my life to you, we will share wealth and woes together, you must not abandon Ya’er!”

Xiang Shaolong hugged her tightly and said quietly, “Now let us put on a show, pretend that we’ve just had some fun, understand?”

Lady Ya’s pretty face blushed and nodded her head in agreement.

Xiang Shaolong moved immediately, using his hands and mouth and messed up her clothes and hair before leaving in a hurry.