Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang Vol02 Ch48
Apart from Gui Le, there was still another army eyeing the armies of Yun Chang and Dong Lin.
After Ze Yin had resigned, retiring to a secluded residence, Ruohan succeeded the position of Bei Mo’s Main General. He had accompanied Ze Yin for many years through civil wars and military exploits as well as the necessary characteristics, so his promotion was expected by all.
Ruohan led the Bei Mo army, waiting not far away from Yun Chang’s borders. Bei Mo was almost destroyed by Chu Beijie in the last battle, so all of Bei Mo’s generals viewed him as a grim reaper. If they could slip between the gaps between Yun Chang and Dong Lin, adding their own two cents in killing Chu Beijie, then naturally it would give great benefits to Bei Mo.
“The battle has ended.”
“Not ended, more like they didn’t start at all.”
“What’s going on?”
Inside the advisory tent, Ruohan settled the army reports in his hands down onto the table. He then held his hands behind his back as he raised his head to look at the round ceiling of the tent.
“Bai Pingting…” Ruohan seemed to be trying to remember it all, returning to Kanbu City back then. “Miss Bai, what on earth did you write in you letter to stop a battle? Ruohan has no idea whether to feel disappointment or admiration towards you.” A wry smile appeared on his face.
Even now, he could still deeply remember that qin sound. The Kanbu city walls had been crumbling, a devastating condition, when Chu Beijie appeared with several thousands of elite soldiers outside the city. Then, at that very moment, he heard the most melodious music.
Bai Pingting positioned herself on a high palanquin. Her long sleeves directed the wind, flying lightly.
She saved Kanbu, saved Bei Mo. Or it could also be said that Ruohan promotion as Main General was all thanks to the plans she had set out in those days.
Yet, where was the woman who caused all of Bei Mo’s generals to willingly lower their heads today?
“Main General, the army of Dong Lin has already withdrawn. What shall we do?”
“The deciding war has not started, therefore the core of the Dong Lin army is not hurt. We mustn’t be stupid to take the initiative in attacking. Since this opportunity is no more, get all divisions to withdraw too.” Ruohan resolutely ordered, “Pass on this Order, rest tonight and return early morning tomorrow.”
The various generals returned their positions. Sen Rong, the Commander of the Right Wing, was the last to leave and he stopped at the door of the tent. He thought for a while before walking back to ask, “General, is there any news about Miss Bai?”
“I heard that she has left Yun Chang. Her whereabouts are unknown.” Ruohan sighed.
Sen Rong frowned. “She is hated by the King of Dong Lin for murdering his sons. Yun Chang’s He Xia wants to imprison her, and it seems that she can’t return to Gui Le either. General, do you think she’ll…”
“I think so too.” Ruohan nodded. “When we leave tomorrow, you can choose thirty of your most competent subordinates to stay and to patrol near the borders. If they can meet her, then we’ve at least helped a little.”
Sen Rong quickly nodded at this. “Yes, I was thinking that too. Sigh, it leaves quite a bitter taste in my mouth, but that’s all we can do.” He looked at Ruohan before opening his mouth again. The words were however got in his throat, and he couldn’t pull them back out again. In the end, he refrained.
Ruohan could see he had stopped his words. There were only the two of them in the tent. They were brothers who had fought for many years together on the battlefield. There was no way one didn’t understand what the other was thinking. He lowered his voice, “You don’t need to say any more, I totally understand. Ever since General Ze Yin left, the King’s thoughts has become more and more unpredictable. No one would’ve thought that the King would ally with He Xia to form an army of three hundred thousand to pressure Dong Lin’s borders, forcing the King of Dong Lin to hand over Miss Bai. It seemed that the bad deed did not get punished. Even if people despised the idea, the King’s Order is not to be breached. Sen Rong, I have led troops for many years, but I had never felt so guilty when leading them until that moment.”
The two had thought the same. Sen Rong heavily stomped once, replying in a gruff voice, “Don’t say any more. This really ruins the mood. If General Ze Yin was still around, he would’ve definitely convinced the King to not ally with that bastard He Xia. If only…sigh…” He sighed loudly as he lifted the door flap and strode away.
Ruohan was left in the room, thinking about many things.
Although the decisive battle between Yun Chang and Dong Lin did not start, the situation of the four countries had become much more subtle. Everyone was gathering their strength in the darkness, waiting for the storm that would suddenly break the current silence. It seemed the real battle between the four countries would break out within three years. Was Bei Mo’s military power enough to withstand the catastrophe at that time?
He slowly paced up and down in the tent, deciding what clearly needed to be changed in the army. He turned to sit down, spreaded out some paper and began to write a report to the King of Bei Mo.
After an army report of several hundreds of words, Ruohan blew the ink on it that had yet to dry. Thinking that he had to summon the messenger to take the letter on a fast horse back to the capital, he raised his head and suddenly began to shake.
There was a blurry figure in front of him. He had no idea how long it had been standing before him, quietly.
“I’ll make a bet with General. Before General can call for help, I will have already sliced General’s throat.”
The man wore black. From the black mask on his face, only a pair of piercing eyes were revealed. His right hand was pressing down on his sword. The sword had yet to come out of its scabbard, yet it already exuded a murderous intent.
Ruohan had experienced hundreds of battles and a great many were near-death experiences. However, as his calm and collected expression touched this man, it completely froze.
So imposing, so brave, who was this man?
“So what if you kill me, there is no chance of you leaving alive anyway.” Ruohan stared into those eyes, lowering his voice.
The intruder laughed. “Then let me make another bet with General. After killing you, not only can I get out as freely as I did coming in, I can even leisurely get rid of a few generals of Bei Mo. Yun Chang and Dong Lin’s battle didn’t happen in the end, so all the soldiers are relaxed thinking they will not be involved in the war. You ordered all troops to return tomorrow morning. It is currently late at night, so all the soldiers are taking this opportunity to get some rest of course. All are likely to be sleeping soundly.”
Although this wasn’t in a battle and the guards would indeed be more relaxed, this man had silently sneaked into the heart of the army camp without raising any alarms. His skill was beyond measure.
Ruohan stared at him.
The skin on his hand revealed a tan from the sun, while the tanned skin appeared solid like steel that had been smelted. A master had then elaborately carved into it, so that it could not be broken with just a hit.
Ruohan stared at him for a long time before softly gasping, “Chu Beijie?”
“As expected of Ze Yin, at least you can guess quite a bit.” Chu Beijie chuckled, taking off the cloth mask. His handsome, angular face popped out.
This was the first time Ruohan had been so close or clearly see the greatest enemy of Bei Mo.
No wonder he was so imposing and courageous. No wonder he had entered the Bei Mo army camp like a game. This man was Dong Lin’s Duke of Zhen-Bei after all, the world famous Chu Beijie.
And the man that Bai Pingting deeply loved.
“The reason why the Duke of Zhen-Bei snuck into this army camp is to kill me?”
“I don’t want to take your life right now.” Chu Beijie answered, “I have come here because I want you to pass on a message to the King of Bei Mo.”
“He dared to send troops to study my Dong Lin’s army, thinking that he could add his own two cents. He must bear the consequences.” Chu Beijie lowered his head as he studied the precious sword in his hands. “My hands are very itchy since the battle against Yun Chang never began. From now on, I will kill all of Bei Mo’s generals, one by one starting from the highest ranking general, until the King of Bei Mo no longer has any generals avaliable. That way he can watch how his troops slowly disintegrate over time. Isn’t that very interesting?”
Ruohan was surprised for a moment before he sneered back, “In other words, the Duke of Zhen-Bei is still here to be an assassin.” He thought his death was imminent, but was not afraid of it. He suddenly stood up, unsheathing his sword. He shouted, “My Bei Mo’s army camp will not allow you to leave as freely as you came. Even if I am to give up my life today, I must kill you for the King. Someone come!” He shouted and waited for a bit, but no one rushed in.
Ruohan was surprised again.
Chu Beijie disdainly replied, “If you want to shout, you should do better than that. All of your personal guards have had their heads looped off, and the nearest tent is five feet away. It’s all thanks to the irrational rules in your Bei Mo army, saying that the advisory tent had to have some distance away from the rest of the army tents.
Ruohan’s heart slightly froze at this. All of the guards outside the tent were close confidants, all talented in their own way yet had been quietly eliminatd by Chu Beijie. Taking advantage of the rising anger, he screamed, “Someone come! There’s an assassin!” He raised his own sword and dashed forwards to attack.
Chu Beijie coldly observed the enemy thrusting his sword towards him. His pupils sharnk slightly as his sword was finally pulled out of its scabbard. The cold flash began to wave, followed by the clashing sound of the two swords colliding into the other. Ruohan felt a wave of great power as he sliced into the air. His shoulders stiffened, and he abruptly came back to his senses to see the figure of Chu Beijie flashing in the candlelight had disappeared. Ruohan was secretly alarmed by this and quickly swung left and right. He took two steps back before suddenly feeling an immense pain. He cried out miserably once, a cut already on his waist.
Ruohan endured the immense pain and brought his sword up to stab again but his hand happened to be brought towards Chu Beijie. Chu Beijie tapped on it before slamming at Ruohan’s sore wound, causing his sword to clatter to the ground. It knocked over the candle stand which rolled twice on the ground. All of the candles went out, plunging the advisory tent into silent darkness.
Ruohan could only see black, yet he felt a chill on his neck. He knew that Chu Beijie had already placed his precious sword on his neck.
This man, in three moves, killed Ze Yin’s best subordinate, Mengchu, in Kanbu back then. As expected of his fame, he was indeed a skilled man.
Ruohan knew he had come to a dead end, but he refused to beg for mercy. He heard faint, frantic footsteps outside and clenched his teeth. “You can kill me if you want, but you will definitely not be able to escape.”
Chu Beijie remained very confident and sneered, “Of course if I want to kill. I start from the Main General, but as I said before, I don’t want to take your life right now. When you see your King, make sure to remember to tell him not to mess with my Dong Lin.”
Ruohan had yet to open his mouth before he felt a throb in his head and fainted.
The Songsen Mountains were covered by ice and snow. When the sun shone on the snow, a red light was reflected. A petite figure stepped through the snow some deep, some shallow as she hurried on her way.
The snow was very deep, sometimes to her knee. Every step taken resulted in a lot of energy spent.
Zuiju’s breathing was heavy. The light that reflected in the snow dazzled her eyes. Her eyes began to darken. She struggled to see the road ahead. Sometimes, she couldn’t help but lean against a tree to catch her breath, but when she did stop, her heart began to be harshly clawed by guilt.
Pingting was exhausted and waiting for her at the rocky area.
Pingting and the child in her belly were waiting for her.
Pingting was struggling, and Zuiju knew this best. She was a doctor, so there was no way she didn’t know about Pingting’s situation. However, there was no chance of survival if the two journeyed together. Pingting was right. Going ahead alone to see Yangfeng and getting help soon after was their only chance of survival.
Dear God, why must it be like this?
In one shot, plum blossoms at the secluded residence that yet to open, its fragrance yet to float in the wind and in the next, became a dead end.
Why did the most intelligent woman who loved the most heroic man had to have such a fate?
The luminous jade hairpin Yangfeng gave to Pingting was securely pinned in Zuiju’s hair. That hairpin seemingly weighed a ton, pressing down on Zuiju like how Pingting and her child’s lives did.
She took out the map and studied it carefully.
“Lost again?” Zuiju worriedly frowned. The white Songsen Mountains had often caused disorientation to the people on it. She knew she was very close to Yangfeng’s place, as she had desperately hurried onwards without rest.
Her destination was one of the mountains near Bei Mo on the Songsen Mountains.
It was nearby, it had to be nearby.
“Kyaa!” Her foot slipped and Zuiju fell on the snow once more.
It doesn’t matter, I’ve already fallen several hundred, several thousand times already. Teacher, Teacher, I bet you didn’t think that little Zuiju would be so brave one day.
The air is very cold, but my heart has a fire that is almost burning me whole.
She gritted her teeth and climbed out of the snow. She suddenly jumped back in alarm as she saw a man’s figure pop into her eyes. She had been journeying through the Songsen Mountains for the longest time but never see anyone except for Pingting.
The man was dressed in mountaineering clothing. His hands were lightly clutching to a crossbow and seemingly blocked Zuiju from proceeding.
Zuiju looked at his cold expression and began to feel wary.
She slowly straightened.
Fanlu silently assessed her before finally raising the corners of his lips to spit out three syllables. “Bai Pingting?”
“Who are you?”
“So you’re Bai Pingting.” His gaze rested on Zuiju’s hair as he praised, “Such a exquisite hairpin.”
Zuiju began to tremble and felt a foreboding feeling hitting at her heart.
She stared at Fanlu, slowly stepping backwards.
Fanlu’s crossbow rose slowly. The sharp arrow tip gleamed in the forest as it pointed towards her chest.
Zuiju felt she had died at that very moment. Her body went cold and every hair trembled. The hairpin above was much too heavy and drilled her into the ground.
No, I mustn’t die.
She thought of Pingting.
The Pingting who had leisurely read a book on a couch, the Pingting who had played qin in the snow and the Pingting who had plucked plum blossoms. She remembered the Pingting that had slumped to the ground as the moon passed half the sky, crying in utter pain and desolation.
I mustn’t die here. Zuiju fiercely glared at Fanlu. She had no energy left to fight back, not to mention Fanlu held a lightweight crossbow, but she fiercely glared at him anyway.
Fanlu was almost confused by her eyes. He never knew that a woman could face death without fear.
As he hesitated, Zuiju madly turned around to run.
No, I mustn’t die!
She borrowed strength from the skies, causing her to crazily escape to the forests.
The slight sound of wind breaking came into her ear as an arrow whisked slightly passed her face, lodging itself into a tree beside her. Zuiju was shocked and her footsteps became even more chaotic.
The slight sound of wind breaking came near her ear again. One after the other, the arrows flew into the trees and bushes. Zuiju dodged them one by one in panic.
Dear God, are you trying to help me?
Please help me to the end. Please let me see Yangfeng and let her know Miss Bai is waiting for her help.
And her child, the blood and flesh of the Duke, one of the Dong Lin Royal House.
She was desperate to escape. All she could see was white. Her foot had stepped into the nothingness.
“Ah!” Zuiju cried out in panic, involuntarily falling through the air.
She fell heavily into a pile of deep snow. Her right leg happened to hit a protruding rock.
A terrible pain began to come up her legs. It was so painful, it almost shut off the rest of her body.
“Ah…” Zuiju groaned, barely propping her upper body to sit up. She hoped to have a proper look at her leg.
It was definitely broken. Her entire body shook from the pain from the bone.
What to do? She still had to hurry and pass on the message. She definitely could not stop here. Herbs, as long as some herbs were boiled, then enduring it was fine.
Yet where were the herbs?
She turned around, searching her surroundings as well as she could. It was completely white with dead trees and a few rocks that came out of the snow, but what else?
She looked at the east and hesitated, as if unable to believe what she saw. She hurriedly raised her hands to rub her eyes.
“Ah, it’s there!” Zuiju felt a mixture of surprise and pain. Her eyes began to feel moist.
I see it, I see it! The mountain where Yangfeng’s secluded residence lies is finally before my eyes. I have reached the foot of the mountain and reached to this place.
Zuiju can finally burst into tears of joy, for it has been found. Miss Bai, we’re saved.
“Miss Bai, wait for me. I can already see it.”
The pain jolted as Zuiju tried to climb up. She was almost half up when she suddenly felt no support and helplessly fell back onto the earth.
“It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.” She quietly told herself. “I can climb over there. I can climb up the mountain.”
A light flashed in her eyes, like a pearl flashing in the deep sea. After the longest and most refined gestation period, it was finally ready to shine.
Zuiju dragged her body forwards through the snow. Why was the way there was still so far? She gritted her teeth to no end as she struggled forwards. She felt she was near the end of the world, yet the vast whiteness remained before her.
Her bright red blood whirled on the snow, leaving a gorgeous panting.
She heard footsteps approach from afar. She raised her head. The claws of despair raked into her until it coldly strangled her heart.
Fanlu was standing somewhere above, observing her coldly.
Zuiju angrily glared back at him.
I am already here, you can take away our final thread to survival so easily.
Just one step away, only one step.
Fanlu’s hands did not move. His right hand held the crossbow, while his left held an arrow. He had already retrieved every single arrow he had shot earlier. Twenty seven altogether, none missing.
Zuiju stared at him and stared at his arrows.
No, I mustn’t die.
Pingting is still waiting for me in the snow and wind. There is a limit of three days, for both her and her child.
Chu Beijie had broken the promise of the sixth, ruining her happiness. I can’t make another mistake and ruin her life.
The snowy ground and the mountains were cold and heartless. It brought a strong feeling of death, enough to saturate one’s heart, but it did very little to hide its ability to give heartbreaking despair.
Zuiju raised her head, shouting in grief. “Yangfeng! Yangfeng! Are you there? Help me!”
“Yangfeng! Man General’s wife, Yangfeng, can you hear me?”
“Anyone is fine, Chu Beijie, Duke of Zhen-Bei, He Xia, please save Bai Pingting! Have all of you forgotten Bai Pingting?”
“Chu Beijie, you coward, have you forgotten Bai Pingting?”
She is your wife, with your flesh and blood. She is not supposed to go to the end of the world, nor be buried in the Songsen Mountains.
“How could you not appear? How could you…” Zuiju helpless cried on, “Do you still remember Bai Pingting? Do you still remember the words you said? How could you forget…”
The echos bounced through the forest, yet a miracle did not occur.
It was unfair, very unfair.
She raised her head, her face stained with tears when she saw a smile in Fanlu’s lips.
“Can you smell the scent of snow?” Pingting had asked her this, on their very first meeting.
She had accompanied her Teacher to attend all sorts of rich families and the Royal House, seen many different people and incidents, yet she had never seen such deep love before.
Bai Pingting and the Duke of Zhen-Bei.
It was superior love, yet it was so mournful, so desolate, so heartbreaking.
Dear heavens, you are far too heartless.
Why do you not pity such deep love?
The small little Zuiju is willing to pay her life, yet still cannot change this into a happy ending.
“Yangfeng! Yangfeng! Hurry and come out! I beg you to come out!”
The mountain continued to echo back the cries of Zuiju. Fanlu quietly sat above, watching her unstatisfied struggle.
He did not raise his crossbow, because there was no need.
Zuiju shouted until her voice was hoarse, as if a fire had engulfed her throat. Once she had ran out of energy to cry, she quietened. The scent of snow began to float into her nose and with it, the metallic smell of blood.
Blood that gurgled out of her leg.
Zuiju seemed to notice something. She propped up her upper body with great effort, nervously looking in all directions.
In the falling night, she saw flickering green lights that had quietly crept from the forests.
She finally understood what the coldness in Fanlu’s smile meant.