A Step into the Past

Volume 2 Chapter 5

Book 2 Chap 5 – Scheming Snake

The name list was on the table. Master Wu, Wu Yingyuan and Tao Fang all looked somber. Surprising there was also Lian Jin, Li Shan and Wu Hei’s names on it as well. Besides Tao Fang, Li Shan is the closest to Xiang Shaolong among all the warriors, but who would have expected that he is the King of Zhao’s spy.

No wonder Prince Shaoyuan came asking for Su Nu at such a perfect timing, because it’s all a plot. Xiang Shaolong feels the pain of betrayal by a good friend.

Master Wu said quietly, “Although Zhao Ya is highly trustworthy, but we must still try various methods to check if this name list is authentic. Yingyuan will be in charge of this.”

He then told Tao Fang, “You’ll send men to rush to Mulberry Village immediately and move Mei Canniang to a secret location. Then you’ll bribe the people there heavily and ask them to lie for Shaolong, to cover this secret that Shaolong is a descendant of a Qin.”

Only Shaolong knows his own problem, because no one there knows him at all. Therefore he can only force himself to say, “I’ve always hunted and stayed in the mountains, and only went to Mulberry Village recently. I’ve always stayed at an isolated valley…”

Tao Fang patted his own chest and said, “That’s no problem, I’ll get some people to disguise themselves as villagers. I guarantee that no one will know.” Xiang Shaolong felt assured.

Master Wu sighed, “It’s all thanks to Shaolong this time that we find out how dire our circumstances are now. If not for Shaolong’s victory last night, if Lian Jin marries Fang’er then it’ll be terrible. From now on, I will not look upon myself as a Zhao. Luckily we have connections with the rich and powerful in various other states, we’ll have people accepting us no matter where we run to. The problem is how can we avoid the Zhaos coming after us?” Xiang Shaolong was feeling perplexed, why is it that Master Wu seems very confident of moving the entire clan out of the city?

Master Wu showed his calmness in the face of danger and said coldly, “It’s now time to settle the accounts for autumn. I’ll take the opportunity to arrange everything when the herdsmen in charge from the various places comes and prepare to react to the situation. Since he’s unkind to me, I shall not show him any mercy either. Since King Xiaocheng wants to deal with me, I’ll drag him down at the same time.”

Wu Yingyuan added, “Keeping soldiers for a thousand days, so that they can be used for a time. Now it seems like an critical time for Zhao Wuzhuo and the death warriors he trained.” Master Wu agreed heartily. This King of Livestock who has always been loyal to the state of Zhao is really furious now.

Tao Fang explained to Xiang Shaolong, “Zhao Wuzhuo is Master’s godson, and he goes around especially to adopt orphans and give then rigorous training to become our main force. We have a few thousand people and they’re usually scattered around the pastures near Handan. Only the few of us know about this matter.”

Wu Yingyuan said, “With them helping Shaolong, it’ll be even better. Even if the King of Zhao send his troops to attack our Wu’s castle, we can still defend ourselves for about half a month.”

Master Wu said, “We’ll postpone Shaolong and Fang’er’s wedding to a month later, then on the pretext that we’re preparing for the wedding, we can cover up a lot of our movements.” Tao Fang added, “I can use the excuse that I’m reorganizing Wu Hei’s men to make changes to the troops and transfer most of the spies out of here so that the Zhaos will not be suspicious.”

Master Wu said with determination, “We’ll do it that way then.” He turned towards Xiang Shaolong and said, “Shaolong has to pretend to be attracted by benefits and lust, and accept Zhao Mu’s bribes. You must also pretend to be enamored with Zhao Ya’s beauty so that the Zhao people will not get suspicious. I will give you some information to leak to Zhao Mu so that they will trust you even more.” Xiang Shaolong agreed sincerely.

Master Wu reached out and grabbed his shoulders and said with a smile, “Go and see Fang’er! She came over just now asking for you.” Xiang Shaolong wanted to smile back, but he has lost the mood for it.

In the 21st century, when he leave his home everyday, he seldom thought of whether he can return home alive. But in this warring states period, not only does he have to worry about not coming home, he has to worry about disasters falling from the sky and affecting the whole clan. For survival, everyone must make himself become the stronger one, or rely on the stronger ones to survive.

Xiang Shaolong found Wu Tingfang who was practicing her horse riding and archery skills at the training field. After practicing with her a round of archery, he returned to his peaceful home and saw that there is a wooden sign hung outside the door that says “Hidden Dragon Abode”. It turns out to be Wu Tingfang’s work.

Ting Fangshi and the 4 maids were happily pruning the bushes and flowers, humming a song and on seeing his return, she was ecstatic. She hugged him and Wu Tingfang and took them into the house. Before they could sit down properly, a huge group of servants carrying a hundred odd large and small chests came over. Xiang Shaolong was dumbfounded while Wu Tingfang said with a laugh, “What’s so strange, Tingfang already belongs to you. Father and Mother has no objections, so naturally I’m moving in to stay with you.”

Xiang Shaolong did not imagine that in this era, there would actually be cohabitation. He suddenly understood, to the Wu family talk about loyalty and piety are all unreliable words. The most reliable would be to use the Wu family’s most alluring beauty to bind his body and heart.

But he is indeed extremely fond and infatuated with Wu Tingfang, so he said with a laugh, “I have the power and the responsibility to ask you for bed tax every night before you’re allowed to sleep.”

Wu Tingfang’s pretty face blushed and she stared at him charmingly before instructing the servants how she wants her things to be placed and how she wants the 2 rooms and side hall, which has been set aside for her at the East Chamber, decorated. Ting Fangshi came to his side and said with a laugh, “Grand Young Miss said that there’re 8 rooms in the West Chamber, the first room is mine, the rest will be for the women you marry in future. If it’s not enough, we can ask someone to build another extension.” Xiang Shaolong put his arms around her waist and asked, “Happy?” Ting Fangshi nodded her head shyly, her expression overjoyed.

To be able to make the woman he loves happy, is a man’s greatest achievement. He thought of a matter and asked, “The beauties that came with you to Handan, do you know where they’ve gone?”

Ting Fangshi shook her head sadly, and said, “I heard that some of them were sent away to become camp prostitutes. Besides me, none of them are in Wu residence.”Only now was Xiang Shaolong’s question answered. No wonder they have to look for so many beauties in the villages, so it’s to comfort the army who have left their hometown and are now stationed overseas. He can’t help but feel pity for them.

Only by unifying the various states and establishing a new law and regime, will this problem of belittling women’s rights be solved. Hai! Even if the world is unified, they still have about 2000 odd years to go before there can be some hope of civilization. This is such a far and difficult journey.

After lunch, he hugged Ting Fangshi as he took an afternoon nap and only woke up a little after 3pm. Wu Tingfang is still happily decorating her room at this time. After Xiang Shaolong freshened up, he went to her room and looked on with interest as Chunying and the other maids worked under her instructions.

Although it’s called a room, but the size is even bigger than the modern man’s living room. The most eye-catching item is the huge bed which took up a quarter of the room, and it can sleep 7 to 8 people very comfortably. The bed itself is like a room. The 4 corners of the bed were 4 round wooden pillars carved with flowers, with wooden beams cementing it to the roof and hung on it were huge curtains.

Once he thought of this beauty waiting obediently every night on this bed that has layers of thick blankets, with pillows all over the bed, waiting for his love, his heart began burning.

There’s even a copper mirror, huge wardrobe and chests, and soft carpet on the ground. On the table in the corner of the room there’s a copper incense burner, burning an intoxicating fragrance. This is the first time Xiang Shaolong tasted such an atmosphere. In this romantic room with the fragrance wafting around, he really does not want to think about the devious world outside.

Hai! If only he does not have to go and see Zhao Mu tonight. With Wu Tingfang around, the 4 maids were more serious and dared not flirt and joke with him as usual. Wu Tingfang came to him sweating sweetly and holding his hand, asked him, “Is Fang’er’s room decorated comfortably?” Xiang Shaolong replied with a smile, “I appreciate the huge bed the most.” Wu Tingfang took a look at him and smiled charmingly, “After you return from your feast tonight, remember to climb up the bed! I’ll stay awake and wait for you.” Xiang Shaolong chortled and pulled her as he walked out and said with a laugh, “Come! Let me serve you while you bath.” Wu Tingfang felt her neck burning and although she said no, but her dainty little feet still went after him obediently.

That evening, Zhao Mu sent a carriage to pick him up and send him to his residence at the north of the city. Surprisingly the place was not decorated, nor were there a welcoming party. Zhao Mu received him at an elegant porch in the back garden. On one side there’s a huge window, and looking out the window with the drawn blinds is a breathtaking scenary. The two of them leaned on the soft cushion and sat on the carpet, separated by a huge table in between which was filled with wine and dishes. The atmosphere was nice and after the servants retreated, only the 2 of them were left.

As Zhao Mu encouraged him to drink, he also off handedly asked about his background. Xiang Shaolong hurriedly told him the story he had already made up, and spoke about how he met Tao Fang. Once he thought of the spy Li Shan, he spoke the truth as well, not hiding a single thing from him. Naturally Zhao Mu knows that he is not lying and was very satisfied and said, “Shaolong’s sword skills were obviously imparted by a good teacher, I wonder who your teacher is?”

Xiang Shaolong wanted to say that he learnt it from a recluse staying deep in the mountains but their eyes met and he could feel the anticipation in the other person’s eyes. He had a change of mind and thought that by using a wooden sword to fight his enemy, he may already have revealed his connection with Mozi Sect.

Yuan Zong once said that Handan is Zhao Mo’s base and if Zhao Mo’s leader Yan Ping wants fame and fortune, naturally he will have to throw in his lot with the King of Zhao. So maybe Zhao Mu has already guessed his relation with Yuan Zong, so he hurriedly changed his tack and told him selectively about how he ended up being down and out in Wu An and how he met Yuan Zong. He stressed that because he is in pursuit of fame and riches, he refused to join Yuan Zong’s organization. His relationship with Yuan Zong is purely friendship. Zhao Mu smiled when he heard this, and with a ‘dang’ he sounded the bell next to him, which will summon the servants. Xiang Shaolong thought to himself that it’s a close shave and although he knows what is happening, he pretended to look at him in bewilderment.

Indeed, a tall and thin man wearing hemp clothes walked in barefooted. Xiang Shaolong saw that this person’s bearing is serious, his face sinister, his eyes sharp like an eagle and he has the air of a highly skilled pugilist, and looks imposing. He secretly thought to himself that no wonder even a highly skilled pugilist like Yuan Zong has to run for his life. That person came up to the both of them and paid his respects before sitting down on the carpet. Although his back was rim rod straight, it doesn’t seem that he feels awkward in any way.

Zhao Mu said with a smile, “This is Mr Yan Ping, who is the Juzi of the Mozi Sect in Handan, and also a guest of his Majesty. He was sitting next door earlier, and has heard everything that Shaolong said earlier.” Yan Ping looked at Shaolong coldly and said, “Imperial Protector was able to defeat Lian Jin, obviously you have been taught by the traitor of our Mozi Sect, Yuan Zong. I wonder if he has handed you his Juzi token as well?” Xiang Shaolong felt a stab in his heart and knows that Yuan Zong has been killed by them. They could not find the Juzi Token after searching his body, that’s why they asked him. He pretended not to understand and asked, “What Juzi Token?”

Yan Ping sized him up for a moment before saying to Zhao Mu calmly, “I believe that Yuan Zong will not hand the Juzi token to an outsider. But as to why he would impart his sword skills to Imperial Protector, that is something I still cannot understand.” Zhao Mu asked in astonishment, “How do you know that Shaolong is not the holder of the Juzi token?” Yan Ping replied slowly, “Us Mozi follows the way of being frugal and hard-working. Our abode are simple thatched huts, we use eathern bowls, drink think soup, eat coarse grains of rice and wear hemp and deer skin. If Yuan Zong is willing to hand him the Juzi token, it will be because he has become a Mohist. But Imperial Protector is not keeping himself away from women and good food, obviously he is not a Mohist.” Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Mu were equally surprised.

Zhao Mu no longer harbors any suspicions towards Xiang Shaolong and he said happily, “I admire Shaolong’s honesty and selfless attitude very much.” He added with a lowered voice, “If Shaolong had been lying earlier, I’m afraid your blood would have been spilled by now.” Xiang Shaolong pretended to be terrified and said, “Thank you Marquis for your trust.” But in his heart he was secretly cursing his ancestors. Yan Ping stood up quietly.

Xiang Shaolong said politely, “I am indebted to Mr Yuan Zong for teaching me his skills, I wonder where is he now? That time he suddenly urged me to leave Wu An, and yet he refused to travel with me. I felt that something is not quite right but at that time I was not yet aware that he is related to Mohism.”

Yan Ping said icily, “It’s best that you are unaware, and it’s best that Imperial Protector do not ask about the affairs of us Mohists in future.” He bid his farewell to Zhao Mu after he finished his words, and left. After he left, Zhao Mu said with a laugh, “Juzi is well respected, and has 300 death warriors under him, each of them highly skilled, and each one of them can fight against a hundred people. Juzi himself is the best among the highly skilled. Even when he sees his Majesty, he need not pay his respects, so he’s already being quite polite to Shaolong.” Of course Xiang Shaolong had to show that he did not mind, but in his heart he was thinking how he can avenge his benefactor Yuan Zong.

Zhao Mu smiled slightly, and the scar on his face twitched slightly, making his smile look especially cold and heartless. A flash of brilliant light flashed past his eyes and he said nonchalantly, “I am very pleased with Shaolong’s performance, so I shall be frank and tell Shaolong what I feel.” Xiang Shaolong knows that the act is coming, so he pretended to be all ears. But undeniably, Zhao Mu has a certain charm about him, no wonder Zhao Ya was infatuated with him for so many years.

Zhao Mu stared at him and said, “To me, everyone in the world is either a friend or an enemy. If you’re my man, I can guarantee you endless wealth, beauties, power and status. But if you become my enemy, I will use all means to destroy you.” Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, how tyrannical can you be, but he said respectfully instead, “Shaolong understands!” Zhao Mu said, “Shaolong, don’t blame me for my bad choice in choosing Lian Jin, that’s why I dealt with you. However I underestimated you. Until now I still do not understand why is it that even after you’ve been given strong aphrodisiac, you’re still in control of your senses and was able to emerge the victor instead of the loser?”

Of course Xiang Shaolong cannot tell him that he overheard his nefarious plot, so he pretended to be embarrassed and replied, “I’m lecherous by nature, and added to the fact that I am very popular with women, so sometimes I cannot handle them all and have to use aphrodisiacs. Initially just one or two pills will be enough to take effect, but once I’ve used them too much, I have to take them in large quantities before any effect can be seen. Therefore I’m not really afraid of such things.” Zhao Mu slapped the table and chortled, “So that’s the case. But your body is indeed a gift from heaven, you still have very good stamina after such strenuous activities.” His bright eyes roamed his body. Xiang Shaolong was secretly feeling worried, if this homosexual takes a liking to him, it’ll be terrible.

Luckily Zhao Mu very quickly retracted his stare, and said seriously, “In the past Shaolong belongs to the Wu family, there’s no debate about that. But now that you’ve become his Majesty’s personal protector, you need to be impartial and put Great Zhao in front of all other things. Do Shaolong understand my meaning?”

Shaolong replied seriously. “Naturally Shaolong knows who is the one I should be loyal to, Marquis please put your mind at ease.” Zhao Mu said with relief, “I will test you on a few matters, once I’ve confirmed your loyalty, I will naturally promote you heavily to his Majesty, and I promise that your future will be bright. It won’t be too far fetched thinking for you to be appointed as duke or marquis.” Xiang Shaolong pretended to be overjoyed, got up and kow towed his thanks. But in his heart he was secretly lamenting, what if he wants to borrow Wu Tingfang and have fun for a few nights, what shall he do then? Zhao Mu chuckled, “Get up quickly, talk about work will end here, now it’s time for us to enjoy.”

“Dang! Dang!” This time Xiang Shaolong opened his eyes wide to see who will be coming in. Zhao Mu is the second most important person in the state of Zhao, so the things he show off to others won’t be too bad. Zhao Mu looked at his expression and thought to himself that this person is willing to work for Tao Fang for just 50 copper coins, and is lecherous as well, so with his lure of fame and beauty, there’s no way he won’t work for him. The sound of bangles jingling was heard and a pair of beauties walked into the porch carrying a long satin pouch.

Xiang Shaolong looked more thoroughly and his eyes immediately shone. It turns out that not only are the girls dressed similarly, with their hair piled high up, wearing a thin gauze as sheer as the wings of a fly, hiding and revealing their snowy skin at the same time. The tight inner layer bounded the voluptuous body that is waiting to burst out of its bindings, the pretty features on their faces are identical, it turns out that they are twins. Their eyes were bright and clear, only a think layer of make up on their pretty face, but their glowing jade skin is even more eye catching than anyone else with make up. Beneath their long and slim eyebrows, their bright eyes looked lively, with 2 bewitching dimples on their cheeks, enough to charm anyone before they even smiled. Their beauty is divine, their body enticing. Their looks are prettier than Shu’er, and only lose a little to Wu Tingfang and Zhao Ya.

The 2 girls dragged the long satin pouch together, and walked daintily towards them and knelt down. They lowered their head and said at the same time, “Ladies from the State of Yue, Tian Zhen and Tian Feng pay their respects to Imperial Protector Xiang.” Only now did Xiang Shaolong regain his senses, and when he saw Zhao Mu staring at him, he smiled embarrassingly. Zhao Mu took over the long satin pouch and leaving the 2 of them to continue kneeling, he loosened the pouch and took out an ancient sword. He said with a laugh, “When it comes to making swords, no one can surpass the sword smiths from the State of Yue, they were the ones who made the first metal sword. The swords that they made through fire is so much more effective that the previous era’s copper swords. This Yue sword in my hand is named Flying Rainbow. I see that your wooden sword is extremely heavy and not convenient to carry around, and as the saying goes, a precious sword can only match a hero, so I will give you this sword tonight.”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly exclaiming how formidable. It seems that this Zhao Mu really knows how to bribe. If not for the fact that he came from the 21st century, with his own principles and attitude towards gratitude and hatred, he may really have been bought over by him. He pretended to be thankful and took over the long sword respectfully. The sword may be heavy, but it’s a lot lighter compared to the wooden sword. The 2 girls were still kneeling, their snowy white necks, their tightened waists, their puffed up bosoms, is enough to make anyone have other thoughts. Their submissiveness, makes one feel that they can be tortured at will, which adds on to one’s fantasy. Zhao Mu saw him holding the sword and looking at the 2 girls morosely and joked, “Precious sword and beauties, I think Shaolong prefers the latter. But why don’t you take a look at the sword first!”

Xiang Shaolong hurriedly pulled the sword out from the sheath. A cold air and a bright reflection came out together with the sword, like the moon breaking out from behind the clouds. Flying Rainbow was five feet long, and there seems to be a intricate design on its body, the pommel was designed to look like 7 phoenix eyes inlaid with gold with blue colored glaze. The sword was straight and flat, good for slashing or chopping, the tip of the sword long and pointed, and extremely sharp. Even for someone like Xiang Shaolong who’s not really an expert, he can tell that what he’s holding in his hand is a treasure.

He was still concentrating and looking at the sword when he suddenly heard Zhao Mu ask, “Will Shaolong be choosing the elder or younger sister?” Xiang Shaolong was stunned for a moment and asked, “There’s isn’t any difference, right!” He secretly sighed, since he proclaimed himself a lecher, naturally he’ll have to put on a convincing act, but luckily this is not a difficult task.

Zhao Mu’s eyes settled on the dainty bodies of this pair of sisters from Yue and said with a lecherous smile, “Usually there’s no difference at all, but when it comes to the bed, you’ll see the difference.” He commanded with a low voice, “Stand up and take off your clothes.” The pair of Yue twin sisters stood up on hearing the command, and blushing a little, obediently removed the outer layer of gauze and their innerwear, revealing their snowy white naked body. Their skin was as soft and shiny as white jade, glowing under the light reflected from the lamp. Especially the welcoming and come-hither expression on their faces, any man who sees that will feel blood rushing through their bodies and their hearts pumping in excitement.

The 2 girls were stealing looks at the handsome and muscular Xiang Shaolong, this is the first time they’ve seen such a fine man. Xiang Shaolong felt as if he’s now in the world’s most elegant and upper class brothel, enjoying how he’s being treated like an emperor. He’s seen many women, but it’s the first time he’s seen a pair of perfect, identical beauties. No wonder Zhao Mu ignored Lady Ya, because he has too many choices, and he has to deal with the King of Zhao as well.

Precisely because of this, he started having sadistic tendencies, and tortured and killed his beloved Shu’er. Now he’s trying to bribe him with beauties to make use of him to destroy the Wu family. Zhao Mu’s gaze roamed around the 2 women’s body and said with an appreciative sigh, “Look, only Yue women’s bodies are like theirs, like a tender grass bending as the wind blows. Our Zhao women are a little plumber, only Wu Tingfang and Zhao Ya are rare exceptions.”

Xiang Shaolong heard the way he mention Wu Tingfang and Zhao Ya under such circumstances and was furious. But he can only remain silent. Zhao Mu sighed again and was about to speak, when Xiang Shaolong, who’s afraid he is going to bring up his request about Wu Tingfang, suddenly stood up and said, “Heh! Marquis, I would like to relieve myself for a moment. I’ve had too much to drink.” Besides the excuse that he needs the toilet, he really cannot think of any other excuses.

Zhao Mu smiled and said, “The elder sister will accompany Shaolong!” Tian Zhen agreed and walked Shaolong in.

Xiang Shaolong followed this naked beauty, looking at her alluring body, and feel embarrassed and hilarious at the same time, secretly thinking that in the past others have been saying that he’s stubborn and outrageous. But compared to these royalty in ancient times, he’s a small fry compared to them. But then only women in this era would be willing to serve men like that. In the 21st century, if you ask a newly acquainted lady to help you to the toilet, it’ll be strange if she doesn’t give you a slap first. If he can return to the 21st century, once he reveals a bit of what happens here, he’s sure that the queue of men wanting to take the time travel machine will be long enough to go round the world a few times.

Once they went behind the screen, the alluring Yue beauty knelt down and held up the chamber pot, which was placed behind the screen and waited for him to pee. Looking at her blushing face, Xiang Shaolong does not know whether to laugh or cry, and thought to himself, how can he pee like that? He could hear from beyond the screen moans and pants, and he knows without even looking that Zhao Mu is now molesting that pretty sister.

Tian Zhen’s face blushed redder and stole a glance at him, chewing her lips. Obviously she is aroused once she heard those sounds. Xiang Shaolong had no intention of peeing at all, it was just an excuse to avoid talking with Zhao Mu, so he said quietly, “Put it down!” Tian Zhen was stunned but still put the chamber pot down obediently.

Xiang Shaolong pulled her up and thought to himself that it’s better to do it with her here than in front of that bisexual Zhao Mu. It would be such a pity to let such a beauty off. Besides, that would make Zhao Mu more suspicious of him, so without hesitation, he pulled her into his arms and started helping himself to her. For a moment, the alluring sounds of women moaning can be heard from inside and outside the screen.

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