Book 1 Chapter 4 – Surrounded by Danger
They walked for less than 2 hours when it started raining heavily.
The 100 odd warriors wore their straw raincoats, escorting 12 horse carriages and almost 200 fine horses and moved forward with much aplomb.
Xiang Shaolong thought about Mei Canniang, thought about her tears as she parted, and felt an indescribable sadness. He almost had the urge to turn back and look for her but he remembered he had taken 200 coppers from Tao Fang and stopped himself. He is not someone who will go back on his words. He must at least work for a few months as a bodyguard.
The rain only stopped at dusk and the entourage stopped and pitched tents. 60 odd young girls came out of the horse carriages, all of them young and beautiful. A few among them were exceptionally pretty, comparable to Mei Canniang.
Although they all looked tired, but they were all in high spirits, not like slaves who have just been bought at all. They even helped to cook and talk and laugh with the warriors, which baffled Xiang Shaolong.
The girls realized that now there’s another handsome man, Xiang Shaolong, so they all made eyes at him. A pity that he has lost the mood to flirt because he missed Mei Canniang and instead he went for a walk outside the camp.
The wilderness after the rain was crisply green, the air refreshing.
Xiang Shaolong can’t help but feel sentimental.
No matter how pretty nature is, how alluring the world in front of him is, but surrounding him was undeveloped land, endless forests. It’s only the beginning of man’s destruction towards nature. But by the 21st century, they have reached the end of this path of no return, and humankind had to suffer the consequences.
If he has the power to change all these, would history be re-written?
Xiang Shaolong was startled.
Amidst the rustling leaves, a Baiyi girl wearing a sleeveless top and short skirt, which revealed her rounded thighs, jumped out. It turned out to be the prettiest Baiyi girl he met the other day at the market.
She went to him excitedly and looked up to him, saying, “I’ve been following you for 2 days and nights.” She pulled him and said nervously, “Escape quickly!”
Xiang Shaolong pulled her into his arms instead and holding her tightly by her waist, kissed her lips.
The Baiyi lady reacted fierily, even hugging his strong neck, not at all shy.
Xiang Shaolong is believing more and more that women of this era, once they meet a man they like, are more direct then women from the 21st century, and felt his spirits lifting.
The Baiyi girl left his mouth, her pretty face blushed an endearing red and said hurriedly, “My name is Xiu Yi, come back with me to Mount Baiyi! If you follow those Zhao people to Handan, you’ll certainly be killed by Hui Hu and his group of horse thieves.”
Xiang Shaolong listened to her melodious voice, enjoying her voluptuous body, and his desire was just rising when he was suddenly shocked and asked, “What did you say?” In reality he only understood about 30 to 40 percent of her words.
The Baiyi girl Xiu Yi slowed down and said each word clearly, “A few days ago, our tribesmen received news, Hui Hu and his 800 horse thieves were preparing to lay an ambush for the Zhao people at Dashi Valley to steal their women and horses. If you go with them, you’ll surely be killed. They’re a lot more formidable than Jiao Du and his men.”
Xiang Shaolong finally understood, his two ill-mannered hands continuously caressing her chest and buttocks and laughed, “Don’t worry! I have a way to deal with them.”
Xiu Yi smiled coquettishly, using her chest to press against him and her arms to rub against him, asked with a smile, “I know you will not abandon your friends to save your own life, I shall not force you. But I’ve given you such useful information, how are you going to thank me?”
Xiang Shaolong smiled bitterly, “Besides copper coins, you can have anything else.”
Xiu Yi disentangled herself from his arms and turned a circle in front of him, saying with a flirtatious smile, “Everyone says that I’m pretty, do you agree? I still do not know your name!”
Xiang Shaolong stared at her, all his worries gone and replied, “I’m Xiang Shaolong!”
Xiu Yi repeated it a few times, and suddenly loosened her clothes, revealing a fair body that can make any man dizzy. She said with a smile, “Would this be prettier? The men in the tribe all love to look at my body.”
This is the first time Xiang Shaolong has seen a girl like that, he breathed in deeply and ordered, “Come here!”
Xiu Yi threw herself into his arms, and as she took off his clothes, she moaned, “It’s always men who have begged me, but this time I’m begging you. Come! Lover! I have not gone home for 2 days, if you did not come out I’d have gone into the camp to look for you.”
Xiang Shaolong returned to camp all relaxed and looked for Tao Fang. He pulled him to a corner and told him everything that just happened.
Tao Fang’s expression became very somber and after a while, reached out and placed his hand on his shoulder and said, “You have saved my life this time. The problem now is not those horse thieves, but there’s a spy among my people.”
Xiang Shaolong nodded, “Master Tao must have kept the route you’re taking to Handan very secret, not many will know about it. So if Hui Hu knows that you will be passing by Dashi Valley, there must be a spy who supplied him with this news.”
Tao Fang was extremely surprised at his quick wit and complimented him, “I was right about you. Not only are you good looking, but intelligent and brave as well. Good! As long as I am still in power, I will not treat you badly.”
Xiang Shaolong laughed to himself, it’ll be more like it if Emperor Qin said these words to him.
Tao Fang hesitated for a moment before saying, “The spy must be Dou Liang. There’s two reason why I’m so sure it’s him. Firstly he excused himself from the group for two days, so he must have met up with Hui Hu. Secondly, out of the few who knows our route, he’s the only one from Wei, and people from Wei cannot be trusted.”
Xiang Shaolong was perplexed, “Since the Weis cannot be trusted, then why did you employ him?”
Tao Fang replied, “Shaolong, you have been living in the mountains, naturally you’re not familiar with the situation in central plains.”
Xiang Shaolong replied earnestly, “I really want to know!”
Tao Fang explained, “We have to start the story from the partitioning of Jin into 3 states, that was the beginning of the division of the whole era. It was said that the powerless King of Zhou isolated the states and after the split, Wei, Han and our Zhao kingdoms were forged and no one paid any heed to Zhou. If the past can be described as a peaceful stream, now it’s a torrential river. The change within the last ten years almost equals the change that has happened over the last 100 years. Those who are incapable will be ousted.” And he can’t help but sigh as he spoke.
Xiang Shaolong cannot imagine that a horse trader like him would be so knowledgeable, and felt the urge to tell him that no matter how they struggle or fight, Emperor Qin would be the one who unite the world in future. But of course he can’t say it out loud, and even if he did, no one would believe him. So he tried to get some information, “Is Qin the strongest and biggest state now?”
Tao Fang looked at him in surprise and said slowly, “Ever since Qin used the reformative policies suggested by Gongsun Yang*, from the Wei ruling family, they’ve indeed become stronger and wealthier. They even destroyed Zhou 5 years ago but also incurred the wrath of the everyone else. Therefore after our state’s great general Le Cheng, Yan She defeated Qin’s army badly and 3 years ago Wei invaded and captured Tao Ju, Qin’s most important city in the east, their strength was greatly diminished.” He was obviously still concerned about the matter of the spy and was not in the mood for further discussion so he said, “Shaolong! I want you to kill that spy Dou Liang for me.”
Xiang Shaolong patted his chest and said, “Leave this to me, but if the wrong person was killed, won’t the enemy be even happier.”
Tao Fang smiled coldly, “You’re new here, Dou Liang have not figured out your background. You could test him with words, I’m sure he’ll fall into the trap.”
Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that he’s smart, and nodded his head in agreement.
Tao Fang’s attitude to him changed totally and said, “Anyone from Wei can be killed. It’s only recently that I found out that he’s from Wei, and have decided to stop using him after the completion of this task, but I did not expect him to strike first.” He took out an exquisite sheathed dagger and handed it to Xiang Shaolong, saying, “Make it a clean job, after this I’ll tell others that I sent him somewhere else on a mission. This dagger is made by a famed blacksmith specializing in making swords in Yue, and can easily cut a strand of flying hair. I’ll give this to you, let it drink it’s fill of that Wei thief’s blood.”
Xiang Shaolong saw that he spoke of murder like an everyday affair and was secretly startled. However, all the training he received taught him how to kill, so as long as it’s the bad guys he’s killing, he won’t feel too sad about it.
Tao Fang was suddenly in the mood to chat again and said, “The Weis occupied our capital Handan for 2 years, and thankfully the State of Qi helped us force the Weis to retreat. But a lot of Weis were still left in Handan, and they became traitors and spies. That is what Dou Liang is, so you must not have any sympathy when you strike.”
Xiang Shaolong went back to camp. All the other warriors were respectful towards him and now that the sun is setting, the land started getting darker.
From a corner of the camp sounds of girls laughing could be heard. In any case, Xiang Shaolong had to find Dou Liang, so he might as well walk over and take a look, and was immediately stunned. It turns out that the small river was filled with naked girls, all bathing and having fun in the water.
My god! Why are ancient women even bolder than the western ladies in Caen or Miami Beach?
A few warriors were at the side of the river enjoying this marvelous scenery, and one of them was Li Shan. He walked forward with a smile and said, “The quality of this batch of girls is very good, does Brother Xiang want to ask Master Tao for two to have some fun? He seems very impressed with you?”
Xiang Shaolong asked in bewilderment, “Where did you find so many pretty women? Don’t they feel that it’s very sad to be traded like goods?”
Li Shan asked curiously, “Isn’t Brother Xiang from the mountains? If women aren’t goods then what are they? If they were sold to some poor village or isolated place, they would have to serve the whole family of 10 odd men alone, isn’t that worse? Now they can go to the city, and if they’re lucky, they may capture the eyes of someone from a wealthy family. They’ll be able to wear jewelry, how much more proud can they be!”
Xiang Shaolong may be lecherous, but he’s always respected women so he finds it difficult to accept such an attitude. Therefore he can only stop talking about this subject and instead asked, “Where is Dou Liang?”
Li Shan smiled evilly, “Just because he’s the head here, he chose the prettiest girl and went into the tent, what do you think he’s going to do?” Xiang Shaolong was secretly furious and after finding out where his tent is, walked towards it.
Before he reached the tent, he could hear a man panting and a woman moaning.
Xiang Shaolong guessed that he will certainly emerge for dinner so he waited at the side. Indeed, after a while, the girl came out first with her clothes in disarray, followed by Dou Liang.
Xiang Shaolong walked towards him and as he walked past, said quietly, “Come alone with me if you have the guts.”
Dou Liang laughed sinisterly and followed him out of the camp.
They came to a dense forest and Xiang Shaolong turned around, taking the opportunity to hide the dagger behind his back and said respectfully, “Brother Dou, I am sent here by Hui Hu to help you.”
Dou Liang’s hand was already on his sword but once he heard that, he looked at him in extreme shock.
Xiang Shaolong was laughing secretly to himself and said, “There’s been a change in plans, Hui Hu has decided not to strike at Dashi Valley, and told me to inform Brother Dou.”
Once Dou Liang heard him mention the name Dashi Valley, he was finally hooked and said furiously, “What the heck is Hui Hu trying to do. What other better locations can there be other than Dashi Valley?”
Xiang Shaolong took the opportunity to step forward and said, “It’s at…”
Dou Liang shouted, “Stand there and talk!”
Xiang Shaolong drew out his long sword and threw it aside, saying with a bitter smile, “Brother Dou is too overly suspicious.”
When Dou Liang saw him drawing his sword, he drew his in retaliation as well but when he saw him throwing it aside, he was relieved and replaced his sword back into the sheath. His expression calmed a little and he said, “That old fox Tao Fang is quite formidable, how can I not be careful.”
Xiang Shaolong suddenly stared at a spot behind him, his expression full of fear.
Naturally Dou Liang would turn his head back for a look and when he saw no one, he knows he has fallen for the trap. He felt a coldness on the side of his neck, stabbed by Xiang Shaolong’s dagger, fresh blood flowing out from the vein and he died on the spot.
Xiang Shaolong walked over to his body and sighed, “When it comes to killing, who can be better than me, who is from the Special Task Force and well versed in anatomy?”
Xiang Shaolong returned to camp and other than the warriors on patrol, everyone else were gathered at the open area in the middle of the camp. There were 20 over tables, the girls taking 10 tables, and there was a campfire banquet. There was a wide array of food, and maybe because of this, the women were willing to become goods.
He walked towards Tao Fang, sat next to him and lifted 2 fingers in a sign of victory, to indicate he has taken care of Dou Liang.
Naturally Tao Fang did not understand his signal, but looking at his spirited expression, he knows that he has succeeded. He was secretly complimenting him, thinking that this lad has killed a man and yet there’s no change in his expression, he’s indeed a first rate assassin and killer. He said, “Shaolong, go and take a look at the ladies’ table, if there’s anyone to your liking, just take a few into the tent for fun, no need to be shy.”
Xiang Shaolong secretly thought to himself, now why would he be shy. It’s just that my body is not made of iron after all, after dealing with that insatiable Baiyi wanton, he has no more energy to enjoy another woman, much less a few. He spoke into Tao Fang’s ear, “Is Master Tao interested in making a night journey, so that the enemy’s spy will suddenly realize tomorrow morning that he’s lost our whole camp?”
That night Tao Fang ordered his men to cover the horses hooves and the wheels of the carriages with soft cloth. Leaving behind a few empty tents and some straw men, they journeyed in the dark of the night until dawn before they pitched camp and rested hidden away in a small valley.
Xiang Shaolong slept soundly in his private tent, now he has become the head of the bodyguards.
When he woke up he realized that there’s a pretty lady in his tent.
The beauty knelt on the floor, her forehead touching the ground and said respectfully, “I am Ting Fangshi, and have been ordered by Master Tao to serve Master Xiang on this journey.”
Xiang Shaolong was secretly commending Tao Fang for his kind thoughts. He might as well enjoy the feeling of being a master, so he said, “Sit up!”
Ting Fangshi sat up straight, her voluptuous bosom straining to escape from her clothes.
Xiang Shaolong took a while to shift his gaze back upwards, and immediately recognized her as the beauty Dou Liang took into his tent yesterday. He remembered her tender moans and immediately felt desire, secretly hating Dou Liang for being able to pick a fine specimen. He sat up with a smile, reached out and pinched her face and said gently, “Who can bear to sell you?”
Ting Fangshi lowered her head and said quietly, “It’s my husband!”
Xiang Shaolong exclaimed hoarsely, “What? How can there be such a man who does not know how to treasure a woman?”
Ting Fangshi guffawed, covered her little mouth and said, “Master Xiang talks so funnily, you’re different from the others.”
Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, of course it’s different, we’re from a different time period! However he asked, “Is he inept?”
Ting Fangshi asked in alarm, “What is ‘inept’?”
Xiang Shaolong explained patiently, “It means a man who is incapable of copulating with a woman.”
Ting Fangshi finally understood and she shook her head, “That’s not the problem, but because he already had over 10 wives, and all of them snubbed me and backstabbed me, saying that I was flirting with other men with my eyes. So he sold me.”
Xiang Shaolong was suddenly enlightened, and felt that beauties truly have a hard life. Because her beauty has incurred the jealousy of the other evil wives. So he asked nonchalantly, “So did you flirt with other men?”
Ting Fangshi gritted her teeth and said, “Not initially, but I did later. Because I had hoped that a stronger man than him will come and save me. As long as I can get him and his wives out of my sight, I am willing to make any sacrifice.”
She then chuckled and said, “Master Xiang is different from other men. They can’t wait to take off their clothes and jump onto me once they see me, only Master Xiang will talk to me like this. I am very grateful.”
Xiang Shaolong felt a sense of pity, the women of this era really have hard lives, like a rootless duckweed, their fate totally controlled by men. His enthusiasm was dampened, the fire of desire he felt early disappeared totally. He stood up and said, “I think there’s a clear stream towards the east, I’d like to go there for a cold bath.”
Ting Fangshi did not really understand what he said, so after he explained again, she hurriedly stood up and said, “Let me serve Master Xiang with your bath.” She then added quietly, “That would be my greatest honor.”
The two of them stood naked in the waist high stream, with Fang Tingshi helping to scrub him. Xiang Shaolong was so comfortable he almost wanted to sigh.
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Suddenly he heard Tao Fang’s voice on the shore, “If Shaolong is satisfied with this woman, then let her follow you in future.”
Ting Fangshi exclaimed, “Ah!”, her expression overjoyed. If she can become this man’s mistress or maid, she’d be willing even if it means death.
Xiang Shaolong obviously knows that this is Tao Fang’s way of bribing him, so after thanking him, asked, “Have the scout returned with any news?”
Tao Fang’s eyes settled on Ting Fangshi’s peaks, which was trembling slightly. When he bought this woman, he inspected her body personally so he knows how smooth and supple her skin is, so now he felt something. He swallowed his saliva and said, “Shaolong has guessed correctly, there’s 3 thieves running after us but they’ve been killed. We have lost Hui Hu for the time being but we must not let our guard down. The horse thieves are good at tracking, and added with our slow speed, they will catch up sooner or later.”
During his life in the army, Xiang Shaolong has long become accustomed to bathing together with his teammates, so he’s not uncomfortable at all that Tao Fang is seeing him. However, for Ting Fangshi to be admired by him thus, he felt a little taken advantaged of, so he said “We’ll leave immediately after the meal and see how far we can travel. Give me 10 odd men, I will hide the tracks of the horses and carriages.” Tao Fang is getting more and more confident of him, so he nodded and said, “We’ll depend on you, enjoy yourself!” and left.
Ting Fangshi turned towards him and said while hugging him, “Master Xiang! I will be yours in future.”