Book 9 Chapter 02 – Faking injury
While the Tian sisters and Shan Rou were frantically dressing the wounds on Xiang Shaolong, he had a brainwave. To Wu Guo he inquired: “If there any where to make me look even worse? I want to give others the impression that I am so badly injured that I cannot even get up! ” Scratching his head for a while, the impatient Shan Rou cut in: “Let me disguise you like a corpse and scare the he11 out of everyone who sees you.”
Tian Zhen and Tian Feng could not hold their giggles.
Xiang Shaolong explored: “That is not enough. It is best to make me bleed non-stop or even a high fever all over my body.”
Tian Feng chuckled: “Leave this to us sisters. Just hide heat pads under the blanket.”
Shan Rou and Wu Guo looked at each other before they both turned to him. They cannot comprehend what tricks is he up to?
Xiang Shaolong commanded Wu Guo: “At dawn, send someone out of the city and invite Big Brother and Little Jun back with half of our forces. At the same time, bring someone to see me immediately. ”
He then taught him how to liaise with Pu Bu.
Knowing that Xiang Shaolong is going into action, Wu Guo left happily. The Tian sisters started working on the heat pad. Shan Rou sat by the bed and personally applied a layer of white powder on his mask. Frowning, she whined: “Aren’t you going to tell me what you are up to?” Instead, Xiang Shaolong’s mind is on another subject. Shaking his head, he protested: “This 5ucks. If someone touches my face, their hands will be stained by the powder and everyone will know that I am faking my injuries. ”
Paying no heed to his words, Shan Rou left the room and came back shortly with a full haversack. In a cold and negative manner, she demanded: “This is not my problem. Quickly tell me your plans. Otherwise, I will not display my best skill and help you to fake your injuries.”
Xiang Shaolong bitterly laughed: “Work on the injuries first. If delayed and I have visitors, the scheme will fall apart.”
Pouting, Shan Rou held her obvious anger and produced several bottles of different sizes from her haversack. She poured liquids from them and started to mix them in a separate basin.
Xiang Shaolong reached out his hand and caressed her elastic and smooth legs. Shan Rou exclaimed: “I want to kill a man! But I cannot disclose who he is yet!” Shan Rou’s slender body trembled slightly and gazed towards him.
The sky has yet to brighten when King Xiaocheng descended upon his residence with his entourage. Seeing his corpse-like look and with a temperature running, King Xiaocheng was terrified. He cried: “Subject Dong! They had said your injuries are not serious. This won’t do! I must summon the Imperial Physician to attend to you.”
Now, it is Xiang Shaolong’s turn to be shocked. In a hoa.r.s.e voice, he frantically replied: “I am deeply grateful for Your Majesty’s benevolence. I caught a bad chill when I fell into the river and lost a lot of blood to end up in this state. I will need only a few days rest to get back to my feet. Moreover, I have subordinates who are well-versed in medicine and I am used to their prescriptions. If we change the medication, I am afraid of side effects. Ai!”
He pretended to cry out and even showed his blood-stained blanket and his open wound on the shoulder.
King Xiaocheng was amazed that he was more severely injured than Lord Longyang. Thinking for a while, his eyes turned ferocious and interrogated: “Did you catch a glimpse of Xiang Shaolong?” Swerving around and patting his head, he added: “I was not thinking clearly and have forgotten that you have never seen this traitor.”
Xiang Shaolong was tickled.
After a moment a silence, he praised: “On this fateful trip, it is all thanks to Subject Dong protection of Lord Longyang or he will surely lose his life. If he died, how am I to account for it to King Anli? And the hope of an alliance treaty will also go up in smoke.”
Xiang Shaolong could only smile sourly.
He originally came to Handan to kill but under the unique circ.u.mstances, he saved the lives of Zhao Mu and Lord Longyang. Right now, even he does not believe that he is Xiang Shaolong, much less others.
He purposely investigates: “Your Majesty has probably visited Lord Longyang; did he say that he saw Xiang Shaolong?” King Xiaocheng shook his head and replied: “Lord Longyang is almost as badly injured as you. His spirits are very low and he refuses to say anything. But except for Xiang Shaolong, no one is that powerful. And only he can access information in Handan from spies. Now that he is the ba5tard of Qin, he would naturally fight against the five other states.” Sensing his tone, Xiang Shaolong recognized that King Xiaocheng does not consider the State of Yan to be an ally or an equal. He deduced that Zhao King has not succ.u.mbed to the pressures of Li Yuan and Tian Dan.
King Xiaocheng can see that Xiang Shaolong has difficulties opening his eyes. Patting his feverish shoulder, he promised: “Subject Dong please rest well. I will send some rare medicine for external injuries.”
Standing up, he continued: “Your abilities are not limited to horse-breeding. I will give you more responsibilities in the future.”
After King Xiaocheng left, Xiang Shaolong could not hold back his exhaustion and truly fell into deep slumber. In his sleep, he can sense human activity and visitors to his bedside. Wu Guo is always present and naturally described his injuries in detail and exaggerating some facts. Actually, he needs not say anything. The heavy smell of medication and the “bleeding” open wound is sufficient to paint a bleak picture.
At the appointed time, Pu Bu arrived.
Xiang Shaolong was in high spirits and they had a good talk. The attendant reported that Zhao Ya is here to visit him and Pu Bu hurriedly left from the back door.
Zhao Ya moved to his bedside and put her hand on his steaming forehead. Startled, she withdrew her hand and exclaimed: “You are sick!”
Opening his eyes by half, Xiang Shaolong replied: “It’s ok! I will be fine after two days of sleep!”
Scrutinising his complexion, she sighed: “Luckily, there is still energy in your eyes. Otherwise, it would be disastrous.”
Xiang Shaolong was shaken, knowing that Zhao Ya had seen the only loophole. Fortunately, she had yet to raise any suspicions. He was puzzled at her calmness over the “Xiang Shaolong reappearance” and tested: “Seems like Xiang Shaolong came to Handan earlier; or else your old man (himself) would have caught him.” Zhao Ya c.o.c.ked her head and softly a.n.a.lyzed: “The a.s.sa.s.sination of Lord Longyang can be masterminded by Tian Dan, Li Yuan, Zhao Mu or even Prince Xinling but it will never be Xiang Shaolong. I know him too well. Unless it is his sworn enemy, he will never kill. Lord Longyang did not have any enmity with him and he will not raise the alarm with such a meaningless act.”
Xiang Shaolong is astonished at Zhao Ya’s attention to such minute details. Feelings started to swell up again in him. Knowing that he is a good man, why did she still conspire with King Xiaocheng and Zhao Mu to harm him?
Xiang Shaolong has suspected it was Prince Xinling’s a.s.sa.s.sination plot but after Zhao Ya’s explanation, he started to waver on his earlier conclusions.
Zhao Mu is definitely out of the picture. Li Yuan and Tian Dan are the main suspects as they have a strong motive. The power struggle in Wei is the Wei King and Lord Longyang versus Prince Xinling. In addition, Lord Longyang is the heir to Anli (Wei King). If anything befalls him, Anli will lay the blame on Prince Xinling and fight him to death.
When Wei descends into chaos, the main beneficiaries are Qi and Chu who are opposed to the three-state ally.
Now that Qin is disunited and are not preparing any offensive campaigns, this is the best time for the rest of the states to display their strengths.
Remembering the Lu Gong secret manual, he derided: “Xiang Shaolong may be working with Prince Xinling to deal with Lord Longyang.” Zhao Ya factually countered: “Prince Xinling could not wait to tear Xiang Shaolong apart and drink his fresh blood. Xiang Shaolong is also someone who will not bow to his command. How can there be such a possibility?”
Xiang Shaolong pretended to be surprised and asked: “What event has caused this enmity?” Craftily, Zhao Ya whispered: “This is a secret. Mister has yet to fulfil his obligation. Once you succeed, I will tell you everything I know.”
Xiang Shaolong was hopping mad but was touched by her appreciation. He closed his eye and sighed: “I am getting tired. Thank you Princess for your care and concern.”
Zhao Ya did not want to leave after such a short visit. She stood up reluctantly but leaned forward towards Xiang Shaolong. She lowered her pet.i.te head and kissed him fully on his lips, her tongue snaking out.
Xiang Shaolong is afraid she may detect his scent. He changed his style and attacked her flexible tongue roughly. He used a lot of force and grabbed her b.r.e.a.s.t.s wildly.
Unexpectedly, Zhao Ya did not mind his uncouth manners and lie down and begin tussling with him l.u.s.tfully.
As things are getting out of hand, Zhao Ya aggressively retreated. Red-faced, she shrieked: “No! You cannot lose control now.” Giving him a look, promised: “Once you are well, I will let you do whatever you want to me!”
Old feelings swelled up in Xiang Shaolong, making him horni. Sighing lightly, he apologised: “Please forgive subject for being unable to send Princess out.”
Curling her eyelashes in a smile, she sashayed off. Just as she stepped out, Ji Yanran’s entourage arrived. Seeing his devastated condition, hot tears poured out from her eyes. When the truth is revealed, her sadness turned into glee.
Sitting on his bed hugging his sweet-smelling belle, he enquired: “Have you seen Lord Longyang?” Ji Yanran happily commented: “You are really farsighted. Nothing can escape your eyes. Hai! Though I am your wife, I am the last to know about your injuries. I was terribly anxious but still have to force myself to visit that cross-dressing fellow first to avoid suspicion. There is more to come. When I come to visit my husband, I have to be interrogated by that wild b.1.t.c.h who is masquerading as your wife. My hubby! You must decide for me and give me the justice I deserved.” Xiang Shaolong could feel his headache expanding. He slipped both his hands into the clothes and started to fondle, hoping to distract her. Changing the topic, he disclosed: “Before the attack, Lord Longyang confided in me. He told me to give up on you for the person Talented Lady Ji has fallen for is not Dong Kuang, nor Li Yuan, but the number one enemy of the six states Xiang Shaolong.”
Under his daring fondling, Ji Yanran moaned: “Number one enemy of the Six States, Shaolong’s words are indeed fresh and creative. Oh! No wonder Lord Longyang is focusing all his attention on me. Ai! Shaolong! Are you trying to kill me? Ah! If this goes on, I am going to want you right now.”
Xiang Shaolong frightfully withdrew his hands; he has to be “ready” for potential visitors.
Ji Yanran lied on his body with her face red like embers. She groaned: “Has Shaolong concluded who is the mastermind behind the a.s.sa.s.sination?” Xiang Shaolong stroked her fair back and replied: “I wish to seek the wisdom of Talented Lady.”
Biting his ear in return, she answered: “The biggest suspect would be Prince Xinling. He will definitely send people to retrieve the Lu Gong Secret Manual stolen by you. As a matter of fact, everyone here would love to lay their hands on the manual.”
Stressed, Xiang Shaolong suggested: “If the manual is with Guo Zhong, then Li Yuan would have proposed marriage to Guo Xiu’er.”
Straightening her beautiful posture, Ji Yanran proudly proclaimed: “If I make Li Yuan give up hope, he will marry her straight away”
It finally dawned on Xiang Shaolong. For a top quality beauty like Guo Xiu’er, there would be no lack of suitors. The only issue is the status in society.
Guo Zhong will never let his daughter marry down and even much less of becoming a concubine.
Ji Yanran holds a more prestigious status than Guo Xiu’er. If Li Yuan won her heart, she would be his official wife. If Li Yuan sealed his marriage with Guo Xiu’er, Ji Yanran will never marry him. This is precisely his present dilemma.
Recalling earlier events, she suspiciously judged: “I think hubby is better than Lu Gong. Even Lu Ban may not be able to design the first cla.s.s climbing tools you possess.”
Xiang Shaolong felt guilty and shared a pa.s.sionate kiss with Ji Yanran. Using an excuse to visit the injured Xiang Shaolong, Wu Zhuo arrived with a huge force.
After Ji Yanran left in the most reluctant manner, Wu Zhuo, Jing Jun, Wu Guo and Shan Rou gathered in a secret room for a discussion.Zhao Zhi also came early and entered the room with the rest.
After they are settled in their seats, Xiang Shaolong jested: “If Le Cheng lost his head to a band of masked fighters tonight, who will the public will speculate the killers to be?” Everyone shook with excitement and stared at him with bewilderment.
His actions are beyond comprehension.
Shan Rou and Zhao Zhi cried: “Ah!”
Zhao Zhi reached out and grabbed Shan Rou’s hands tightly, her eyes reddened with emotion.
Jing Jun was puzzled: “Does two sister-in-laws have an enmity with Le Cheng?” Xiang Shaolong sighed to himself. Le Cheng is Zhao Mu’s right hand man. How can he not play a part in Zhao Mu’s devious schemes?
Zhao Zhi heard this kid addressing him as sister-in-law sincerely and was pleased. She took a quick glance and him before lowering her embarra.s.sed face.
Shan Rou put on a satisfied look with her “sister in law” t.i.tle. Her eyes flashed and recalled: “The person who came to arrest my family is indeed Le Cheng, he even… Ai!” She sadly lowered her head and announced: “I wish to stop bringing up the past!” Suddenly, she raised her head. Gritting her teeth, she swore: “I must cut down his head personally.” Wu Zhuo seriously questioned: “Does third brother really has confidence? Le Cheng is a crafty and cowardly character. He is heavily protected by able fighters at all times. Now that the city is in a state of alert, it will make the task much harder.”
Full of confidence, Xiang Shaolong said: “If you can do what others cannot, life is more interesting. a.s.sa.s.sination is based on strategy, not numbers. If we can accurately understand his movement, we can devise a brilliant operation that will enable us to make a silent attack and retreat.”
Wu Zhuo is still hesitant and added: “Would this raise the alarm and reveal out whereabouts in Handan City?” “Coward!” Shan Rou despising scolded.
Wu Zhuo’s face darkened. He is a proud warrior and cannot tolerate such words at him, moreover the person who said it was a female. Zhao Zhi was horrified and tugged at Shan Rou’s shoulders with blame.
Upset, Xiang Shaolong roared: “I respect Big Brother Wu the most! You crossed your line of authority, apologise now!”
Shan Rou knew she was too much but she gave a meek laugh and corrected: “I am not talking about Big Brother Wu. I saw Little Jun trembling and scolded him for being a coward, causing the misunderstanding.”
Jing Jun eyes widened and was about to protest that he was wronged. Catching Zhao Zhi’s wink, he could only keep quiet and took the blame for Shan Rou.
How can Wu Zhuo hold it against her? For Shan Rou case, this is as good as an apology. Shaking his head, he could only clarify: “I am never one to shy from danger. I only wish to emphasize on the important issues and make sure that we do not be penny wise and pound foolish.”
Jing Jun place a lot of importance in family relations. He helped to speak up for Shan Rou: “I am truly the coward. Big Brother Wu is courageous and majestic. He is fearless in the most fearful situation.”
Everyone is amused by his exaggeration and the atmosphere lightened up.
Xiang Shaolong a.n.a.lyzed: “Le Cheng is a dangerous man. If he acts, we can be annihilated. The big question is where his loyalty lies. Is he still loyal to Zhao Mu or has he been bought over by King Xiaocheng? Most likely he is only true to himself. Like the gra.s.s on the wall, it will bend towards whichever strong wind that it blowing.”
While waiting for them to digest his words, he continued: “If Zhao Mu wants to rebel tomorrow, he will expose our relationship with him to Le Cheng to increase his confidence. This will make it easier to deploy his men but it will be very dangerous at the same time. Do you understand my meaning?” Shan Rou, Zhao Zhi, Wu Guo and Jing Jun frowned deeply, not being able to catch the underlying meaning. Only Wu Zhuo let out a lasting sigh and agreed: “Yes! I understand why Le Cheng has to be killed first. If he happens to be King Xiaocheng’s spy in Zhao Mu camp, he will pa.s.s on the secret to King Xiaocheng and we will die without even knowing why.”
Shan Rou was. .h.i.t with realization.
Xiang Shaolong smilingly added: “Killing Le Cheng brings us another benefit.”
Even Wu Zhuo cannot see where the benefit lays.
Xiang Shaolong explained plainly: “We will make the a.s.sa.s.sination as ambiguous as possible. We will create a scenario whereby it seems to be done by Xiang Shaolong but after careful thinking, it may not be done by him. Based on Le Cheng’s wavering allegiance, this will stir up suspicions between Zhao Mu and King Xiaocheng. Both will suspect each other of killing Le Cheng in Xiang Shaolong’s name. What will be the end result?” Everyone was blown away by the brilliance in this plan and admired his throughout a.n.a.lysis.
Jing Jun deduced: “Both men are suspicious by nature. They will start arming themselves for a head on confrontation.”
Nodding, Wu Zhuo visualised: “It would be best if King Xiaocheng summoned Lian Po or Li Mu back for his protection and a.s.sistance. This will provoke Zhao Mu into immediate rebellion. We can then take this opportunity to fish Zhao Mu this big fish in troubled waters.”
Shan Rou frowned: “Then the biggest challenge is how to cut off Le Cheng’s head?” Xiang Shaolong was ticked and was about to answer when an attendant reported that Tian Dan is here to visit him.
Xiang Shaolong was alarmed.
Within Handan City, the man whom he has the most misgivings is Tian Dan.