Book 2 Chap 6 – The death of the King of Qin
When Xiang Shaolong was in the carriage going back to the Wu residence, he was still reliving his experience earlier.
Either deliberately or not, separated by a screen, they were having a competition on sexual stamina with the pair of Yue beauties. In the end Xiang Shaolong deliberately lost to him and ended his act earlier. As expected when he carried the limp elder sister Tian Zhen out, Zhao Mu and Tian Feng were almost half-dead, so naturally he could not ask him for Wu Tingfang now.
By now Xiang Shaolong is aware that although Zhao Mu’s swordsmanship is excellent, but his stamina cannot be compared to a warrior like him. He hurriedly bid his farewell.
Tian Zhen can’t bear to let him go, and the look in her eyes shows that she wants to swallow him whole.
Zhao Mu is smart, naturally he knows that Xiang Shaolong gave in to him deliberately. He was secretly complimenting Xiang Shaolong for his consideration and knowing what to do, so he ordered his men to send him back to the Wu residence in his carriage to show how much he admires him.
The grand looking carriage drove out of the Marquis residence, traveling lonsomely in the quiet and dark streets.
4 warriors walked in front holding lanterns to lead the way for the horse carriage, another 4 warriors walked behind the carriage for protection.
Xiang Shaolong was troubled, thinking of endless people and things. Now he is totally immersed in this era, if there is a choice, he would not want to go back to his own era.
Just as he was day dreaming, he was suddenly jolted awake but the hurried sounds of hooves beat.
Xiang Shaolong became alert and looked towards the back of the carriage.
The 4 warriors were just turning their heads to look back.
The darkened street, a lone steed was running near, and by the time they could take a good look, they saw that it’s a warrior dressed in black, with a black cloth covering the head and face as well, in his hand a long sword, galloping towards them with murderous intent. One look and he knows that it’s nothing good.
The 4 warriors roared in unison and drew their swords, pulling their horses back to receive the enemy.
The assassin increased his speed and came towards them like a hurricane. He lifted his hand and took out something black from the saddlebag of the horse and flew towards the sky. When he leapt over their heads, it became a huge net with sharp hooks, covering the head and faces of the 4 warriors.
The 4 warriors may be highly skilled, but their opponent came prepared, and he uses ingenious methods so that they are caught unawares and in a short moment the 4 of them were trapped.
As they yelled in surprise, they struggled to get out from the net but the sharp hooks in the net tore into their skins. Amidst their screams, the 4 of them tumbled down their horses in a heap.
When the assassin came to the side of the carriage, there was a flash from his blade and the bamboo window shattered, scaring Xiang Shaolong into scrambling to a corner. Right at this time that person throw a long thing into the carriage and when it landed on the floor of the carriage, it moved and wriggled towards Xiang Shaolong.
Xiang Shaolong took a clearer look and secretly exclaimed. He turned a somersault and fell onto the streets outside through the window. It turned out that thing thrown towards him is a poisonous snake with its head raised. If he did not have extremely quick reflexes, he’ll definitely be bitten by that poisonous snake.
While Xiang Shaolong was still rolling on the ground, that assassin slashed at the fallen warriors and shot 4 arrows at the other 4 warriors rushing towards him. In their rush, the 4 warriors did not see what was happening and were hit by the arrows and fell.
The assassin turned his horse back and ran towards Xiang Shaolong who was still on the ground.
This is the first time Xiang Shaolong encountered someone so formidable, and just as he was about to spring up, that assassin shot an arrow at him, fierce and accurate.
Xiang Shaolong has no choice but to tumble away, and avoided his opponent’s 3 concessive arrows before he had a chance to jump up.
Maybe the assassin used up his arrows, so he switched to a long sword and attacked.
Xiang Shaolong did not have a chance to draw his sword and had to tumble away to avoid him again. But this time he tumbled towards the back of his opponent’s horse. His opponent only managed to turn the horse around after he jumped up again and drew the Flying Rainbow sword Zhao Mu gave him.
The two of them met directly face to face.
The assassin was stunned and shouted, “You’re not Zhao Mu?”
Xiang Shaolong heard the high-pitched voice, it’s actually a lady, and was startled.
The masked lady shouted and dashed forward on her horse, and when she was about 5 steps away, the glare from her sword blossomed like a flower, attacking towards him like a storm.
Xiang Shaolong saw that the person she wanted to kill is his own enemy Zhao Mu, so he was not willing to hurt her. But he saw that her swordplay is extremely exquisite, and his hands began to itch and he executed the Mozi swordplay, trying to flick his opponent’s swrod with a diagonal slash. He was about to strike his opponent’s sword but unexpectedly the tip of the sword touched empty air, it turned out his aim was out and his opponent’s sword has already taken the opportunity to invade directly.
Xiang Shaolong did not expect her to be so formidable and he had to move diagonally down suddenly to avoid her.
The girl did not return for him but rode away in her horse, cursing icily, “Working for the devil.” The sound of hooves beat grow further and further, into the darkened streets.
The 8 warriors were all dead, obviously the arrows and hooks were dipped in extremely poisonous substances, and even strong men like them could not hold on for long.
The streets were soon filled with Zhao soldiers looking for the whereabouts of the assassin.
Zhao Mu’s expression was serious as he said, “The poisonous snake that person threw into the carriage is called ‘Golden Throat Seal’, its movements are swift as lightning, and extremely venomous. Once bitten the throat will become constricted immediately. Shaolong is really lucky that you were able to jump out the carriage in time.”
Xiang Shaolong heaved a sigh of cold air. He was relying on his reflexes from his many years of training. The poisonous snake was going to bite his leg and he was able to retract his legs in time and somersaulted out the window, which was indeed a very dangerous situation.
Zhao Mu patted his shoulder and said, “Luckily you helped me block off this bad luck. If it was me, she might have gotten what she wanted.” He added with a cold snort, “I’ll like to see where she can run to.”
Right at this time a rider rushed over and after getting off his horse, he came to Zhao Mu and spoke a few words in his ears.
Zhao Mu was ecstatic on hearing the news and told Xiang Shaolong, “I have something important to speak to his Majesty about immediately, I will discuss with you about the assassin later.” He went up his horse and left, with a hundred odd warriors hurrying after him.
Xiang Shaolong was secretly alarmed, what news did Zhao Mu receive that made him so excited?
But since it’s no use pondering over it, Xiang Shaolong went up the horse and returned to the Wu residence with the accompaniment of 12 guards.
He had just stepped past the main door when the guard stationed at the door took him to the study room immediately. Wu Yingyuan and Tao Fang were both there, their expressions grave. Obviously something serious has happened.
After Xiang Shaolong sat down, Master Wu said, “The King of Qin is dead!”
Xiang Shaolong looked at him blankly, thinking that the King of Qin is not your father, so what if he’s dead.
Tao Fang knows that he does not understand the critical point in this matter and said, “The successor is King Xiaowen and during the bereavement period, the state of Qin will not engage their army for some time. Therefore all the other states will make use of this time to engage the plans they set aside earlier due to their fear of Qin attacking, and this includes expanding and conquering other smaller states.”
Xiang Shaolong finally understood and said, “So we have to be worried that the King of Zhao will step up on his efforts to deal with us.”
Wu Yingyuan sighed, “This is not our biggest worry. But because I’m always in contact with Qin’s Lu Buwei. This person is wealthy and scheming, and was our greatest back up, but the newly crowned King Xiaowen may seem respectful to him for saving his son, he’s still wary of him as he’s a Han. Ever since Lu Buwei went to Qin, he’s only a very wealthy guest and has no power at all, and everyone knows Xiaowen was behind all these. Now that he has ascended the throne, Lu Buwei may lose his standing and this will break off all our relations with Qin.
Xiang Shaolong thought of something and asked quietly, “Is Lu Buwei trying to get Ying Zheng back to Xianyang through us?”
The 3 of them looked immediately stunned and stared at him speechlessly, as if it’s the first time they knew him.
After the 3 of them exchanged looks, Master Wu’s fat body trembled for a moment before he took a deep breath and said, “Shaolong is indeed more astute that others, and your words strike close to the heart. But you must not leak any of this out, or else not a single piece of tile will be left intact in the Wu family’s castle.”
Xiang Shaolong laughed to himself, “I even know that Ying Zheng is actually the son of Lu Buwei borne by Zhao Ji, and Lu Buwei gave Zhao Ji to the King of Qin and she was already pregnant at that time. So the King is only Ying Zheng’s father in name. But some historians later pointed out that Emperor Qin was cruel towards Lu Buwei, so it doesn’t really seem like Lu Buwei is his birth father. Such a messy affair, no one is really clear about it.
Anyway it’s a fact that Lu Buwei wants to get Yingzheng back to Xianyang. Wu Yingyuan said, “Amongst the 4 great princes, Prince Pingyuan of Zhao has passed away, Huang Xie, who is Prince Chunshen of Chu is useless, and we can ignore him. Prince Mengchang of Qi is always sickly which leaves us with Wei’s Prince Xinling, Wuji. This person is well versed in the art of war and has numerous capable men under him. He took care of Zhao because Prince Pingyuan’s wife is his sister but now that Prince Pingyuan is dead, I’m afraid change is inevitable.”
Master Wu nodded his head and said, “The death of the king of Qin, has really further complicated matters which are already complicated, but for us there’s only advantages and no disadvantages. Because Zhao will certainly take the opportunity while the strong Qin is ceasing war to expand, so they’ll have no time to deal with us. We even have time to take a breather and plan at leisure. Heaven is indeed helping us.”
Tao Fang laughed, “The Yans are going to be in trouble!”
Wu Yingyuan shook his head and sighed, “That is called getting what they deserve. The King of Zhao will certainly take the opportunity to carve them up so that he can expand his territory. But I hear that Prince Dan of Yan is a talent, so it’s best that they can drag Zhao along for a few years, then we’ll have a lot of time.”
They continued their discussion a little longer and decided not to contact Lu Buwei for the time being, and not touch Ying Zheng, who is a prisoner of war, for the moment. They will sit and watch what happens before making a decision and after the discussion, each went their own ways.”
Xiang Shaolong went back to his Hidden Dragon Abode, and of the 4 maids only Dongying, who was the most fair and voluptuous amongst them were struggling to stay awake and wait for him. The rest of the ladies were already in dreamland.
Dongying helped him shower and change but shen Xiang Shaolong saw that her clothes were all drenched, he served her instead and helped her remove her wet clothing and dry her body.
Dongying was embarrassed, ecstatic and stunned but of course she will not push him away. She could only let him wipe her body with the towel and as her body started heating up, she heard Xiang Shaolong asking her, “How long have all of you been in the Wu family?”
Dongying replied quietly, “The 3 of us were sold into the Wu family since young.” She continued in a whisper, “Now we only ask that Master does not think too badly of us, and let us serve you for the rest of our lives. That would be our greatest reward. We’ve never seen someone as easygoing as Master.”
Xiang Shaolong secretly exclaimed to himself that no one else in this era respects women as much as him. Pity rose up in him and he hugged her, kissing and caressing, but still controlling himself, not daring to arouse her too much. He has been going from women to women these few days and has enjoyed this ancient era’s life of merrymaking, wine and beauties. Never has he been so uncontrolled. He just had fun with the Yue lady earlier, so no matter what delectable beauty is in front of him now, he can only let got of the opportunity for now.
He whispered into her ears, “Tell the other 3 sisters of yours, I’ll find a night to try all of you together, and let you have a taste of a man.” He secretly thought that if Tao Fang can have 7 women in one go, he should not have any problems handling 4.
Dongying was ecstatic and although she can’t bear to leave, she went back to her room.
Xiang Shaolong went to take a look at Ting Fangshi first and covered her up with the blanket before going into Wu Tingfang’s room and climbed onto the bed.
That lass is actually naked, but luckily girls of her age are usually sleepyheads. Xiang Shaolong was secretly thanking his lucky stars and as he hugged her, he thought of other things. When he thought of that formidable female assassin, he was so tired he fell asleep right until morning.
The 3 maids could have heard about the ‘good news’ from Dongying so their attitude towards Xiang Shaoong now is even more bashful. If Ting Fangshi and Wu Tingfang is not with him having breakfast now, he might not be able to constrain himself and start feasting now that his energy is recharged.
At Hidden Dragon Abode, Xiang Shaolong felt like he’s in a land of beauties and he almost forgot he’s from the 21st century. He took the opportunity to touch the 4 maids while they were serving him tea and food and the 4 maids naturally bashfully allowed his rude behavior. Wu Tingfang grew up in a wealthy family and is used to seeing such things happening, so to her it’s a normal situation. She did not mind at all and was even smiling. With him by her side, Ting Fangshi is already very satisfied. Besides, she’s used to obeying men so she will never have the intention of interfering.
Xiang Shaolong was purely enjoying himself, thinking that he will not be sick of a lifetime of such a holiday. Just as he was lamenting that men of this era is really fortunate, he was summoned by the King of Zhao into the palace.
The ladies all grumbled while Xiang Shaolong was secretly cursing the king’s ancestors. But since it’s an order from the big boss, he can only pack up his lecherous thoughts and hurried to the Palace.
The King of Zhao received him in a small hall adjacent to the main hall. Naturally Zhao Mu is his guest as well, but there’s Lady Ya and Guo Zhong as well, something which is out of his expectations. There were 2 other people, and after some introductions, one of them turned out to be the famous great general and premier who had just fought with the Yans and had hurried back from the front line, Lian Po.
He’s not very tall, but quite stout and his manner is imposing. He’s about 50 years old, with a wide face which looks extremely well traveled. Although he looked tired, his deep set eyes was still bright. He looks commanding but not cruel, making one feel that he’s an elder worthy of respect.
The other person is General Li Mu, who is tall and thin, only 2 inches shorter than Xiang Shaolong, but for that era he’s considered quite tall. He is not older than 40, his looks are stern, carrying the solidity and grace of a soldier.
Lian Po and Li Mu were both sizing him up very carefully.
The King of Zhao told him to dispense with ceremony and offered him a seat.
Zhao Mu said with a straight face, “Shaolong you don’t know how lucky you are. You have not officially started on your job yet and now there’s an important task for you to take charge of.”
Xiang Shaolong was secretly cursing as he voiced out his thanks.
The King of Zhao said with a smile, “There’s no one else more suitable than you, because not only must this person be highly skilled and brave, he must also be intelligent and alert, to handle anything that may happen unexpectedly. If you can accomplish this mission, not only will you be greatly rewarded on your return, but you’ll be promoted to General as well.”
Xiang Shaolong hurriedly replied, “Please give your orders, your Majesty, I will brave through fire and water and will not decline.”
All 6 pairs of eyes were pinned on him.
The King of Zhao asked Lian Po respectfully, “Does Premier thinks that this person can be used?”
Lian Po’s intelligent eyes shone as he said, “Shaolong is only an Imperial Protector, but he still maintained a calm composure when he saw us, obviously he is someone who is bold and smart. His movements reveals that he’s a skilled martial artists, and it’s extremely rare that there’s no flaws in him at all. But what I admire most is that although he knows that the mission is not going to be easy, he did not reveal any fear at all, nor did he show any joy on hearing the rewards. It’s indeed the great fortune of Zhao to have such a talent.”
Lady Ya was ecstatic on hearing this well respected Lian Po complimenting her lover and she stole a glance at Zhao Mu, only to see a flash of murderous intent in his eyes. Apparently he is now harboring thoughts of killing Xiang Shaolong.
Xiang Shaolong was thinking that this Lian Po indeed has formidable insight, no wonder he could become a famed general in Zhao and he immediately said his humble thanks.
Guo Zhong however was thinking that even Zhao Mu and Lian Jin could not topple you, so who else could be more suitable than him for this mission in Zhao.
The King of Zhao laughed heartily and said, “Heaven is helping my country, heaven is helping my country.” He turned towards Zhao Mu and said, “Would Marquis Julu please explain this mission to Shaolong.”
Zhao Mu faked a smile and said warmly, “The mission this time may seem simple on the surface, which is to let Shaolong lead 500 riders and escort Lady Pingyuan, her son and Lady Ya to the state of Wei to visit their relatives and to engage in friendly exchanges. Of course, there’s something else to it as well, why don’t I let Mr Guo say it personally.”
Xiang Shaolong shuddered, isn’t Prince Shaoyuan the son of Lady Pingyuan? Both of them are like fire and water, why do they want him to escort them? And why does Lady Ya need to go to Wei?
Guo Zhong lowered his voice and said, “Prince Xinling of Wei recently received a book, which documents the best carpenter in the state of Lu, Gongshu Ban’s* detailed descriptions of the making of various weapons. In all there are 108 machineries of various sizes. One of the pages were leaked and ended up in my hands, and it describes the method of making the cloud ladder that can be used to besiege cities and this ladder is far better then any cloud ladders in use now by all the other states. If we can get this ‘Secret Manual of Lu Gong’, Great Zhao will definitely become the greatest, and the state of Wei will not be able to use this book and strengthen themselves.”
Li Mu, who has been quiet all these time, spoke up, “I’ve heard of this matter, and know that one of the pages describes the making of weapons, and using a new formula and pure fire, it can make metal become even harder. If we can get this secret manual, we will be able to have the best weapons.”
The King of Zhao said a little worriedly, “Prince Xinling is sharp and he has a lot of men under him. Luckily Imperial Sister once had a relation with him, so he kept writing to beg Imperial Sister to visit him in Wei. That’s why we can have such a good excuse to send you to escort Imperial Sister there.”
Xiang Shaolong thought to himself, so that’s the case. He looked over at Lady Ya in surprise, and remembered that she’s an expert in stealing information.
Lady Ya is afraid that he would be unhappy to know that she once had an affair with Prince Xinling as well and she lowered her head.
Lian Po and Li Mu exchanged glances, both knowing what this is all about.
A look of hatred and jealousy flashed past Zhao Mu’s face again. For such a possessive man like him, even if he is the one who has given up on the woman, he still does not want her heart and body to be taken by another man.
Lian Po said offhandedly, “Marquis Julu has recommended many people but I objected to all of them. Because Prince Xinling knows their background too well, it’ll be difficult for them to accomplish much. It was Lady Ya who recommended Shaolong, so Shaolong should show your gratitude to her for allowing you a chance to excel.”
Once Xiang Shaolong heard this, he was overjoyed. He knew immediately that Lian Po and Zhao Mu are not on good relationship, that’s why he rebutted him publicly. He dared not look at Zhao Mu and asked instead, “When do we leave?”
The King of Zhao replied, “I’ve sent men to inform Prince Xinling swiftly, you should be able to leave within the next 5 days. General Li will send scouts ahead first to help you settle all the formalities needed to leave the country along the way.”
Zhao Mu interrupted, “Shaolong cannot return to the Wu residence for these 5 days, you have to stay in the palace until it’s time to leave. I’ll send someone to inform the Wu family, and they can send people here with things for you or to visit you, understand?”
Xiang Shaolong secretly lamented and after agreeing helplessly, he said, “I have a few gadgets in mind that will be helpful for this mission, I wonder if I can get the craftsmen to make it for me.”
Everyone was stunned, and Guo Zhong said with a laugh, “That’s easy, I’ll send experts to serve you. No matter how difficult it is, they must finish it for you within these 5 days.”
Xiang Shaolong was ecstatic and thought to himself that he’ll just have to make some light tools that he used to use in the special task force, and they’re sure to be far better that Lu Ban’s so called exquisite weapons. However he’ll split up the components and ask Guo Zhong’s men to make it and he will reassemble them himself in Wei. In that way the other party will not be able to learn the advanced techniques that is 2000 years ahead of them.
After the King of Zhao dismissed all of them, only Lian Po was left behind to discuss matters regarding Yan.
After they left the hall Zhao Ya happily pulled Xiang Shaolong towards the back palace and said with a smile, “Don’t pull such a long face because you cannot get to see your Wu family’s beauty! Ya’er is here to accompany you?”
Xiang Shaolong said with a bitter smile, “Actually which are the powerful men who do not have any relationship with you? Can you tell me a few?”
Lady Ya said quietly, “I’ve begged for your forgiveness long ago. Hei! You’re jealous.” And she cast a flirtatious look at him.
Xiang Shaolong knows that he cannot be too calculative over this so he changed the subject, “Is Lady Pingyuan and Prince Shaoyuan simply just going to Wei to visit relatives?”
Lady Ya waited until they were far away from 2 palace maids who were paying their respects to them before whispering in his ears, “They will not return once they go.”
Xiang Shaolong exclaimed hoarsely, “What?”
Lady Ya sighed sadly, “It’s all because of the battle of Changping. Our population has always been lower than other states, and now that 400,000 of our strong young men has died, we have been encouraging our people to give birth for these past 9 years. It’s been ruled that for girls who have reached 20 years of age and are still unmarried, the local magistrates will decide for them and anyone who refuses will be sent to the army camps as prostitutes. But unless we have another 10 years, it’ll be difficult to regain the population we have lost. That’s why everyone thinks lowly of us, or else the King of Yan would not have dared to attack Handan.”
Xiang Shaolong exclaimed, “But we’re the winner now!”
Lady Ya brought him to a huge, beautiful garden and hidden amongst the trees, was another exquisite palace building.
She reach out her hands to hold his muscular arms and said helplessly, “What’s the use of a short victory. Besides Yan, everyone else is also eyeing our location with our east facing Yan, west facing Qin, north facing Han and Wei and south joining Humo. Others can afford to lose, but for us every single loss will weaken us more, and who knows when we will fall again. Imperial brother is useless, to place so much trust on that useless and conniving Zhao Mu.” As she spoke, she gritted her teeth, ever so hateful of Zhao Mu who have cheated and discarded her.
Xiang Shaolong finally experienced the feeling of how one will only care for themselves in the face of danger. Isn’t Wu Yingyuan having thoughts of betrayal because of this as well?
The Qin General Bai Qi is the most famous killer devil during the warring states period. Before the battle of Changping where he killed 400,000 Zhao soldiers, he had also executed almost 400,000 soldiers in the Wei army. This move is indeed very vicious, but extremely effective as well.
The 2 of them walked up the steps and the pretty palace maids knelt down in welcome. When they saw Shaolong, their eyes shone.
Lady Ya took him directly to the bedroom and said with a smile, “This is Ya’er’s palace in here, the maids all belong to me. If Shaolong takes a liking to any of them, just instruct them to serve you. For you! No woman would do it unwillingly.”
After Lady Ya instructed the palace maids to close the door, she started helping him remove his clothes and later removed her own as well, until they stood naked looking at one another. They hugged and collapsed onto the bed and she sighed, “38 years ago, ever since Wan Xian from Han and these 2 important blacksmith fell into the hands of the Qin, their weaponry gradually became better than the other states. That’s why Imperial Brother places so much importance on this ‘Lu Gong’s Secret Manual’ this time.”
She continued softly, “Shaolong, in order to obtain the secret manual, Ya’er may have to sacrifice her body, will you allow me to do that?”
Xiang Shaolong said with a bitter smile, “Without my permission, would things be any different? Your weapon is your beautiful body, if you don’t use your beauty is there anything else you can use instead?”
Lady Ya sighed, “If the price to pay is losing you, I’d rather not be able to take the secret manual. Ya’er is already extremely sick of wars. I only want to find a quite place to stay with Shaolong, and stay away from this environment where everyone is fighting and killing. We’ll just spend the rest of our lives in the forest.”
Shaolong replied, “We’ll talk later about whether you need to sleep with others. That’s right! Why have I never heard you mention your own children?”
Lady Ya’s expression darkened and she said, “I’m barren, if I have a child, maybe my life would not have been so promiscuous. Shaolong! Will you not love me because of this flaw?”
Xiang Shaolong replied immediately with action. This time Lady Ya was even more heated and compliant than the last time, which Xiang Shaolong thoroughly enjoyed. He understood why for someone like Prince Xinling who can have any beauty with a wave of his hands, he simply couldn’t forget this excellent specimen.
After that they slept hugging each other for a while when the craftsmen Guo Zhong sent arrived. Xiang Shaolong spent more than 4 hours before they understood what they’re supposed to make.
Looking at the sketch Xiang Shaolong drew, that craftsman looks totally lost.
Lady Ya saw him talking sensibly as he was explaining the drawings but when she asked him, Xiang Shaolong only smiled and did not reply.
He did not want to make formidable modern weapons, but only hope that he can have a few equipment and tools that would be helpful for espionage and escape.
He still have to spend the next few days in the palace practicing his horsemanship, as that is his weakest point.
To be able to survive in this area and protect loved ones, the only way is to become stronger than others, and more vicious. There is no other way.