Book 1 Chapter 11 – The Affections of a Beauty
When Xiang Shaolong returned to the guesthouse, Tao Fang is already waiting for him.
After Chunying and the rest of the maids carried in their breakfast, they left.
Tao Fang sniggered and asked, “Is that flirtatious horse exciting?”
Xiang Shaolong replied from the bottom of his heart, “Extremely exciting.”
Tao Fang stopped smiling and said seriously, “Master brought up the issue of your duel with Lian Jin to his Majesty, his Majesty was very happy and chose the duel to be at dusk the day after tomorrow. I think it’s best that you do not tangle with women for these few days, conserve your energy. You must win this duel.”
Xiang Shaolong replied with some embarrassment, “Don’t worry! I’m the kind that of person that, with more women I have, the more energetic I am. If there are no women, I’m more lethargic instead.” When he saw that he looked doubtful, he added, “Don’t forget that on the night we dealt with the horse thieves, Ting Fangshi was sleeping with me.”
Of course Tao Fang does not know that he did not copulate with Ting Fangshi that night, and after looking at him with admiration, said, “Now you’ve become the center of attraction in Handan, and on the same par as Master, even Guo Zong, who made his fortune from ironworks, was asking about you.”
Xiang Shaolong exclaimed in surprise, “What? There’s actually someone else who is equally wealthy as our Master?”
Tao Fang replied, “There is only one such person in the state of Zhao. If we were to measure the number of Master’s livestock using valleys, then the weapons that Guo Zong made from iron can be measured using ships. Not only did he supply weapons for the whole of Zhao, but also to all the other friendly states, earning a large sum of money.” He lowered his voice and continued, “Because of this, his Majesty is more fond of Guo Zong than our Master, because Master’s Father is a half-Qin, that’s why he has such a strange name.”
Xiang Shaolong’s heart lurched, as if he has a hazy idea, but is unable to describe it clearly.
Tao Fang added on, “I received confidential news last night, that rascal Wu Tingwei is very displeased with you, and very much wanted to have your Yan nobility, Shu’er. That’s why he has decided to disregard Master’s orders and will kill you before your duel with Lian Jin. It seems like I will have to bring you along to pay a call to Young Master, so that that rascal will not dare to make any rash moves.”
Xiang Shaolong was still thinking about the matter regarding Master Wu having Qin blood in him. No wonder he wanted so much for a Zhao to win Lian Jin, but maybe that’s not what he truly felt, but did this to show the Zhao Emperor that he is totally on their side. That’s why he refused to speak up for the Yans, and instead gave a beauty like Shu’er to him because of this thinking of his.
In the warring states period there is nothing more important that bloodline, so from this it can be seen what a difficult task it would be to unite the people from so many different countries. When he heard what Tao Fang said, he asked, “Will Lian Jin be helping that rascal deal with me?”
Tao Fang is really open with him now, and did not try to hide anything, saying “Even if you put a sword to Lian Jin’s neck now, he would not dare to start the fight first. That scoundrel went around picking fights because he wanted to get his Majesty’s attention. However his Majesty has always ignored him, and even told the people around him that he’s not happy that our Master have found a foreigner to make our own swordsmen look bad. Not that he’s got this chance, he would not want to spoil it.”
Xiang Shaolong thought that this King Zhao is so narrow minded, how can he every accomplish anything great. He said with a laugh, “Without Lian Jin, I’m not afraid of that rascal, he can’t possibly find a few hundred people to attack me, right?”
Tao Fang was extremely impressed with his humor and chortled, “Of course not, and besides, he has to do this secretly. But it’s still better to pay a call to Eldest Young Master. Among Master’s 17 sons, Eldest Young Master is the most capable and is in charge of all business with other states. And he has a beautiful daughter Wu Tingfang who may have the opportunity of becoming the empress, but his Majesty is still hesitating about accepting Young Grand Missy because of Master having Qin blood in him. The nobility in the royal family are all objecting to this.”
Xiang Shaolong is getting all confused from all these. Things that look very simple on the surface, is actually extremely complicated, so he nodded his head and replied, “All right! I’ll pay a call to Eldest Young Master once I have the chance.”
Tao Fang replied, “What chance or no chance, I’ll take you to see Eldest Young Master immediately. We need to gain the upper hand and not let Wu Tingwei strike first.”
Xiang Shaolong furrowed his brows and said, “At least let me change my clothes first!”
Tao Fang laughed, “Hurry up! I’ll wait here for you.”
Xiang Shaolong slipped back into his room hurriedly.
Shu’er and the 4 maids were rushing to make his warrior clothes so that he can wear it to see the King of Zhao. Xiang Shaolong’s mood turned for the better, and his hands started roaming over the 5 ladies and enjoying their careful ministrations at the same time, making his one mistress and 4 maids all blush to their ears before he left with Tao Fang on horses to the Wu residence.
They came to the bustling martial arts practice field, went around the large mansion where they say Master Wu the other day, walked past a garden to another grand courtyard.
The two of them were invited to wait in the large hall.
After a while, a warrior walked out and invited Tao Fang in, leaving Xiang Shaolong alone, who wondered why that Eldest Young Master did not see them both?
At this point in time that warrior walked out again and told Xiang Shaolong, “Would Master Xiang please follow me!”
Xiang Shaolong followed him and went into another side hall first before abruptly turning left into a garden.
Xiang Shaolong was suspicious, and that warrior’s steps quickened suddenly. Right at this time, there was a flash of sword, and 2 long swords shot out from the bushes on either side, aiming straight at his left and right side.
Luckily he has an intuition long ago, and without advancing or retreating, just stood on the spot and drew out his sword. “Clang clang”, not only did he force his enemy to retreat, but he also injured one of them.
30 odd warriors came out from the bushes and behind the tress, and one of them is Wu Tingwei, and he was heavily surrounded.
Xiang Shaolong stood there holding his sword, obviously not afraid at all.
Wu Tingwei hid behind the warriors and called out arrogantly, “Dog slave, let’s see where you can escape this time.”
Xiang Shaolong smiled suavely and replied, “This time? I don’t think I was the one who escaped the last time, right?”
Wu Tingwei had thought that he would beg for mercy, and did not expect him to be so merciless with his words. He was furious and roared, “Kill him for me.”
Xiang Shaolong is such an experienced fighter, and he understands the logic of striking the enemy first, especially since he is outnumbered now. Wu Tingwei has just opened his mouth but he has already turned into the crowd of warriors with his sword, slashing and kicking, like a tiger in a herd of sheep, seriously injuring a handful of them, thus interfering with their movements.
The warriors have never fought in such a way that is totally without rules but seeks only efficiency, besides they are afraid of this action that will clearly defy their Master’s orders, and on seeing his bravery, most of them just stood there for show.
Xiang Shaolong was furious with Wu Tingwei for molesting Shu’er yesterday, so he was totally ruthless in his attacks, executing the Mozi swordplay to perfection. His movements were mysterious, ever-changing, broad movements yet his techniques were exquisite, suddenly attacking and retreating, with a flying kick once in a while. In short time, his opponents were all staggering in chaos.
Under the orders of Wu Tingwei, the warriors had no choice but to charge, and they fell one by one, either stuck by the sword or a kick. None of the attacks are fatal, but just enough to make them lose the ability to fight back.
In the blink of an eye, only the 10 warriors standing in front of Wu Tingwei protecting him were left.
Xiang Shaolong gave a cold snort, his pair of cold and aggressive eyes staring icily at Wu Tingwei, his sword pointing forward, walking strongly and steadily step by step towards Wu Tingwei and that 10 warriors.
Wu Tingwei did not expect him to be so brave and sharp, felling 10 odd men and yet he’s not even panting. He felt a shiver, and while ordering his men to attack, he retreated towards the back instead.
Xiang Shaolong will certainly not let him off, so he dashed forward, his sword slashing. One of the warriors raised his sword to block him, there was a ‘clang’, and that warrior actually fell and rolled to the ground with the impact. Obviously the strength of his arm is extremely frightening.
All the warriors were startled, afraid that he will injure Wu Tingwei, and they all converged with their swords ready to attack.
But this time Xiang Shaolong did not press on his attack, instead he executed a series of movements to defend himself.
Two of the warriors thought that he is now exhausted and were about to take the opportunity to attack but they suddenly realized that their opponent’s defense was so tight that they have no way of attacking. Even more alarming is that his defense secretly allows him to attack at will as well, holding them at bay, giving them a feeling that they can no longer retreat.
That is the essence of the Mozi swordplay, hiding an attack while defending. When Xiang Shaolong was fighting with the last Juzi of Mohism, Yuan Zong, he was unable to execute any offensive moves at all. The 2 men now is far worse than he was in the past, so naturally their attacks are negligible.
The 2 of them panicked and were about to retreat when there was a flash of sword and the two warriors fell back bleeding.
Xiang Shaolong took this opportunity when everyone else was in a frenzy to dash past his enemy’s protective barrier and go straight towards Wu Tingwei.
Wu Tingwei hardened himself to stand still and defend with his sword.
But who would have expected Xiang Shaolong to rapidly retreat again, right into the midst of the advancing warriors.
After felling 4 warriors, he leapt towards the retreating Wu Tingwei.
A series of 7 sword attacks, Wu Tingwei was forced into the woods by him and the remaining warriors collapsed on the ground.
Wu Tingwei’s sword flew out of his hands, his back knocked onto a large tree. His face paled and he yelled, “What a bold slave, how dare you be rude.”
Xiang Shaolong’s eyes shot out an icy cold stare and said frostily, “If you have the guts, call me slave again.” The tip of his sword pointed at this conceited young man’s throat.
Xiang Shaolong is not at all concerned that others may come here, because this is something dishonorable, so Wu Tingwei must have made arrangements to send the nearby servants away.
Wu Tingwei was frightened by his forcefulness that even his body started shaking and asked hoarsely, “Do you dare to hurt me?” but he still do not have the guts to take the risk of calling him slave.
Xiang Shaolong’s face was expressionless and asked quietly, “Where is Master Tao?”
Wu Tingwei was almost crying when he said, “I only sent some people to hold him back!”
Xiang Shaolong secretly thought to himself that he wouldn’t dare to go overboard anyway, so he smiled and asked, “Grand Young Master, you don’t believe that I’ll hurt you? All the more I want to blind you in one eye, let’s see if you’ll believe me.”
Wu Tingwei saw that his smile was cold and heartless, and is even more chilling than if he was fierce and furious. He finally broke down and exclaimed, “No!”
Xiang Shaolong’s long sword continued towards its goal.
At the same time Wu Tingwei was screaming, a dainty gasp was heard from behind Xiang Shaolong.
Wu Tingwei thought that his eye will be lost, his whole body weakened and at the same moment that he peed in fright, the long sword slanted a little, brushed past his face and pierced into the tree trunk, the difference of only a few millimeters.
Xiang Shaolong’s right leg kicked his thigh.
Wu Tingwei flew to one side, Xiang Shaolong turned around with his sword and blocked the sword of the beauty Wu Tingfang.
Xiang Shaolong looked at her coldly and asked quietly, “So is Grand Young Missy involved as well?”
Wu Tingfang was so furious that her face reddened, and she gritted her teeth and uttered, “I’m going to kill you.” Her sword came attacking like the Changjiang River, her swordplay far better than her elder brother’s, just that she lacks the strength and experience.
Xiang Shaolong had an idea, and he retreated as he fought, and in short time he lured her deep into the isolated woods.
Wu Tingfang saw that she could not defeat him even with her ferocious attacks and the more upset and impatient she was, the more distracted she became. She was panting, and after slashing 2 more times, her sword flew out of her hands with a ‘dang’.
Xiang Shaolong returned his sword to his scabbard, took a step forward and hugged her. He carried her up and pressed her to a tree, looking at her sweet and dainty face with his head tilted to one side.
Wu Tingfang was totally exhausted, so she only made a show of trying to struggle before collapsing in his arms, asking in fear and anger, “What do you want?”
Xiang Shaolong replied gently, “Compensation of course.”
Wu Tingfang was startled and tried to struggle again with her remaining strength, but Xiao Shaolong took the opportunity to use his chest and legs to rub against her sensitive, prohibited spots, and her struggle soon became a strong reaction to his movements.
Since she was born, this is the first time she has been teased so rudely by a man this way.
Lian Jin has hugged her before as well, but she pushed him away immediately. This is the first time something like this has happened.
She was angry, but her body started feeling waves of strange pleasure.
She did not take part in Wu Tingwei’s plan at all, but she saw the whole process when she went after him after finding out that there’s something amiss. She saw Xiang Shaolong’s heroism, frighteningly accurate strategies and swordsmanship that is comparable to Lian Jin’s. And there’s something that even Lian Jin cannot compare, this person seems to have endless stamina. When he is cold he makes one shiver, when he is gentle and smiling he looks suave, and even now when she is being molested by him, she finds it difficult to really hate him.
When the pleasure in her body became stronger, she moaned, and her lips were locked with his.
Wu Tingfang was shocked and embarrassed, his tongue attacked through her locked teeth. She moaned and was lost in her first kiss with a man, the thought of Lian Jin disappearing far from her mind immediately.
Sounds of people walking could be heard from outside the woods.
Xiang Shaolong left her lips, nibbled on her earlobes and said, “To be able to kiss Grand Young Missy’s sweet lips, even death would be worth it.” He let her go and walked out with large strides.
Wu Tingfang’s body weakened and she slid down the truck, collapsing on the ground, all her hatred disappearing without a trace. Her body still felt that shameless excitement and pleasure.
When Xiang Shaolong walked back to the path outside the woods where he was attacked, a large burly man with a gold belt and huge eyes were reprimanding the kneeling warriors and Wu Tingwei.
Tao Fang stood at the side with his head lowered, and when he saw him coming, signaled him with his eyes.
Xiang Shaolong made way for a seriously injured warrior who was being carried away before he walked towards the burly man, knelt down and paid his respects.
He was careful when he struck with his sword, only making the other party lose the ability to fight, but his first few blows were a bit harder since he was trying to scare them.
That burley man turned his head around and asked coldly, “Where is Tingfang?”
Before Xiang Shaolong could reply, Wu Tingfang’s voice could be heard from behind, “Tingfang is here. His swordsmanship is really good, I was unable to hurt him.”
The burly man’s expression cleared a little, and he turned to Wu Tingwei and his men first and bellowed, “All of you scram!”
Wu Tingwei dare not even take a look at Xiang Shaolong, and scuttled off with his warriors like a defeated cock.
The man turned towards Xiang Shaolong and said, “Get up!”
Xiang Shaolong stood up respectfully, and realized that Wu Tingfang was standing next to him, and glancing at him.
Tao Fang was totally perplexed and kept looking at the two of them.
That man looked at his daughter for a moment before turning towards Xiang Shaolong and said, “Excellent! Injuring 30 odd men and yet none of the attacks are fatal. This is the first time I’ve seem such swordsmanship. I, Wu Yingyuan will bet on you winning the duel with Lian Jin.”
Xiang Shaolong was quietly laughing that no one in this era will understand human anatomy better than him as he uttered self-effacing words.
Wu Yingyuan sized him up again and said with a smile, “There are very few Zhaos who are as tall and large as you, but for Qins it’s not a very rare trait.”
Xiang Shaolong had a strange intuition, and felt that this Wu Yingyuan seems to take pride that he has Qin blood in him. Maybe he has this thinking because he has traveled much, thus more open-minded and knows how great the Qins are.
Wu Yingyuan seemed quite impressed with him and said, “I’m going to inspect the large farm 20 miles north of here, Shaolong come with me then!”
Wu Tingfang called out, “Father! I want to go too.”
Everyone was surprised and looked at her.
Wu Tingfang lowered her pretty face, her fingers twiddling with the corner of her clothes, looking exceptionally adorable.