Chapter 60.2: Capable

Fu Rou visited Concubine Xi on the Empress’ orders. Because of Prince Zhao’s rebellion, the Emperor was furious and Concubine Xi had been implicated and was under house arrest. Concubine Xi was resolved as well. Her son was at fault and she no longer wanted to live. She had starved herself for several days. 

Yang Bo had been taking care of Concubine Xi. Although Chief Cao instructed that no one was allowed to visit Concubine Xi, he still let Fu Rou in.

Cold wind blew through the windows and the floor was cold. In the past, her palace had been bright. Now, it was solemn and dark. Fu Rou walked around a Hundred Flower Screen as she recalled Concubine Xi instructing her to embroider one of the orchid branches with great detail. She guessed that Concubine Xi liked orchids the most. However, in the palace, the Empress had to be the most outstanding and Concubine Yan was favoured by the Emperor. There was no place for Concubine Xi to show off. 

Meanwhile, Concubine Xi was kneeling, her hair uncombed and her clothes were simple. She was like a high-spirited noble lady that had lost her husband and son, about to topple at any time. She appeared pitiful as she trembled in fear. There was nothing she could do. Unfortunately, it seemed like she was not going to live until she was old. 

“Your Highness.” Fu Rou looked at the untouched food on the table. “You should eat something.”

Concubine Xi did not look at Fu Rou. “I only have one son. You’er was adorable when he was young. He had a soft pink face and was smart and loveable. I remember the first time he rode a horse. I was so afraid that he would fall down from the horse. When he sat on the horse, my heart kept pounding until his both feet finally touched the ground again. Now, the Emperor has sent out troops to kill him. He can no longer return to Chang’an and see me. In the future, we can only meet in dreams.” 

“I don’t know how Prince Zhao will take responsibility for his actions after this battle or how the Emperor will punish him, however, I know that Your Highness still has a chance of meeting Prince Zhao. If Your Highness continues to starve yourself and faints before Prince Zhao reaches Chang’an, who are you going to meet?”

Concubine Xi suddenly raised her head. “You are saying...that he can return to Chang’an alive?”

“Yes.” Fu Rou was certain. “I heard the Empress emphasise to Prince Han to be careful not to hurt Prince Zhao when he attacks Qi City. She said to make sure that he is alive.”

“Are you speaking the truth?” Concubine Xi’s face lit up before worry washed over her once again. “Troops are fierce and the battleground is dangerous. You’er is very stubborn. Even if the Empress has asked Prince Han to spare him, Prince Han may not be able to do it. After all, a sword has no eyes.”

“Prince Han can definitely do it.” Fu Rou was certain.

“How are you so sure?” Concubine Xi needed two doses of confirmation.

“Because there is someone capable by Prince Han’s side.” She had boundless confidence in Sheng Chumu.

 

The “capable” Sheng Chumu was about to cause Prince Han’s head to crack open.

Although this was Prince Han’s first time as a main commander, it might very well be his last. He was not going to die by his battle plans but he was going to die as a sacrificial victim because of Sheng Chumu’s lack of fear of death. If he were to carry his younger brother-in-law’s ashes back to Chang’an, Consort Han was definitely going to kill him. It was true that Prince Han did not know how to go to battle and could even read the sand table wrongly, but he had read a lot of books. He had glanced through several battle plans before but he had never seen someone go to battle like Sheng Chumu.

Sheng Chumu had taken a hundred men to scout and bumped into Prince Zhao’s army of over a few thousand men. Good lad. Not only did he not run, he even attacked directly, using some Long Snake Formation. He managed to obtain victory even though he had been outnumbered. Yet, he continued to chase the remainder of the reinforcement army all the way to Qi City. That group, along with Sheng Chumu, were covered in blood when they returned to camp. Prince Han’s soul almost left his body in fright when he saw them. 

Today, they were attacking Qi City.

Sheng Chumu had a hundred different tricks up his sleeves. The first was to fire a huge arrow to cunning people that instigated Prince Zhao to kill Qian Wenjing. This threw Prince Zhao into a frenzy and he threw all caution to the wind as he shot eight rounds of arrows, using up the entire stash of arrows in the army’s storage. He did not know that Sheng Chumu had already calculated the trajectory and none of his arrows would hit. Using the second huge arrow, he sent a letter to Prince Zhao to warn him that his troops were amongst the reinforcement army that had escaped into Qi City. He also informed Prince Zhao that another despicable official of his had resold the grain in Prince Zhao’s stockpile for a profit. Very soon, the people in his city would starve. However, he promised to treat anyone who surrendered with respect and not hurt them. Sheng Chumu surmised that Prince Zhao was obstinate yet timid. With Prince Zhao’s personality of not using his brains, Sheng Chumu could sweet talk him. In addition to that, Sheng Chumu would drive a wedge amongst the people in Qi City, stirring up chaos. Amongst the chaos, there were actually people who came out of the city to surrender and helped to open the city gates. Sheng Chumu did not suffer a single casualty on his side. 

Meanwhile, Lu Qi was attacking the West Gate. He did not have so many tricks and had just attacked directly. Guarding a city was easy but attacking one was difficult. He fought until sweat mixed with blood and had just reached the entrance of the West Gate when he was surrounded by Prince Zhao’s troops.

Fu Tao had followed Lu Qi to attack. Although his person was in camp, his heart was somewhere else. He had one ear on the West Gate and one ear on the East Gate. He felt as if the shouting was all coming from their side. He had witnessed Sheng Chumu’s abilities before and was wondering what smart idea his teacher had this time. He hated that he could not enjoy himself with Sheng Chumu.

Fu Tao was distracted and his opponents were putting their lives on the line. His sword was knocked out of his hand and his enemy was about to pierce the sword through his heart when his enemy’s chest got pierced through instead. He never would have thought Lu Qi would be the person that would rescue him. 

Lu Qi handed Fu Tao’s sword back to him. “On a battlefield, your weapon is your life. Don’t lose it again.”

Lu Qi turned to continue fighting. Fu Tao’s feelings were complicated as he stared at Lu Qi’s back. His grip tightened on his sword. With just a single stroke, he could immediately get his revenge.

He bellowed, “Attack!”

Lu Qi was slightly startled as he turned and saw Fu Tao charging towards him with his sword stretched out. His murderous aura filled the air and his sword was filled with energy. Without waiting for him to blink, the sword gleamed as it brushed past his body. It pierced through the enemy that had snuck up behind. He had just saved Fu Tao and Fu Tao had now saved him.

Lu Qi smiled. “Thanks, Bro.”

All of a sudden, the enemy’s horn blared and the enemy troops retreated. Lu Qi and Fu Tao found it strange. A messenger came to report that the city gates were open.

Lu Qi looked at the West Gate which was still tightly shut. “No, it is still closed.”

The messenger soldier was excited. “Not the West Gate! The East Gate! The East Gate has opened!” A fire burned in Lu Qi’s heart. “Sheng Chumu attacked faster than me?”

“General Sheng did not mobilise the troops to attack. Someone in the city betrayed them and opened the city gates to let him in.”

Lu Qi fumed, “Ridiculous! We are fighting for our lives here to control Prince Zhao’s main army yet he has it so easy.” He did not think that he was the one that actually had it easy.

Fu Tao sighed internally. As expected of his teacher’s ability to use troops like magic.

Lu Qi lowered his voice, “Xi Tao, once we entered Prince Zhao’s Residence, go search Prince Zhao’s study room and bedroom. If you see any letters written by the Crown Prince to Prince Zhao, take them all and pass them to me.”

Fu Tao could only lower his head and listen obediently to orders.

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Coca's Thoughts

I always find Prince Han so funny. lol