Young Zhuiyue (Part 1)
My original plan for Baimu and the predicament I was in didn’t have the slightest correlation. My plan was to have Uncle Martial Paragon join me and ask him to have Baimu’s ruler lend us a hand. I didn’t expect my plan to flop right away, their state’s status quo to be so complicated and their ruler’s chest to be so soft.
Sorry, forget the third one.
I deemed it wise to tackle Ah Neath’s Princess Consort before dealing with Uncle Martial Paragon’s younger brother or what’s his face. If possible, I’d have liked to interrogate her to find out why she had to pick a bone with peace and why she had to take a page out of Pan Jinlian’s book instead of Liang Hongyu. The reason I couldn’t have my way was because Emperor Yuansheng would definitely demand an audience with Ah Neath if she offered military assistance. As such, I couldn’t reveal too much, lest Emperor Yuansheng learn of my secrets. Thus, I had to accept prison life.
… Okay, shut up. I know I’m in here for molestation, but the ignorant are innocent! I’m not that desperate!
Seriously, though, it was the reason I didn’t put up any resistance. I didn’t physically knock the soldiers in the palace out; I used a poison-like strategy. Although His Majesty shouldn’t have paid too much attention to it, if I had to fight to help Ah Neath, then I couldn’t fake it. As such, I needed a reason to capture Ah Neath’s Princess Consort. Else, people would think I tried to frame her because I couldn’t violate Ah Neath.
The warriors in black stared at me for ages before one finally asked, “Can you at least acknowledge us? Show some respect when we’re going to kill you, will you?”
“Shush. I’m busy thinking!”
The leader: “Remember what you just said. I w-”
“And what if I don’t? Don’t you find yourself annoying? I’m not talking to you. I’m busy thinking!”
One of them finally lost his temper and charged at me.
The prison guard cowered behind his arms as he ran to take cover in a corner: “Don’t kill me! I don’t know anything about Princess Consort and Guya Baimu colluding with each other! I’m just an ordinary prison guard! I never collected the complaints of officials or heard where evidence of Guya Baimu’s crimes is placed! I don’t know where the remaining poison the shaman doctor used to kill the last King was, either! There’s no point killing me! I have a wife and a k-… I’m not dead?”
By the time he looked up, the assassins were scattered on their backs and bellies. “Why… are they frothing at the mouth? Wh-what are you doing?!”
I ambled up to the prison guard and patted him on the shoulders: “Nice, bro. Mind repeating everything you just said?”
Based on knowledge accumulated from the prison guard’s ten years in employment, Baimu and Ah Neath’s Princess Consort were said to be culpable for Baimu’s previous King’s death; however, everyone who suspected them were killed by the same afternoon via poisoning, butchering or execution. A shaman doctor kept a bag of the remains of the poison the former King consumed, only to be executed after he passed it on to an official. The official was executed right after he passed it on to his friend. The process kept repeating until those remains’ whereabouts were now a mystery. That explained how Ah Neath’s true gender remained a secret for so long.
“I know where the remains are: they’re hidden in the hole of a rock amongst the rockery underneath a pond’s bridge. It’s supposedly stored inside an iron container, so bugs and the like shouldn’t be able to tamper with it. By the way… where are we going?”
Continuing upstairs with the prison guard, I replied, “Picking up a relative. He’s right upstairs.”
“Isn’t it your first time here? How do you seem to know the dungeon better than I do? Your relative is in here?”
I was going to need to get physical to end the conspiracy in Baimu, yet I couldn’t do it myself. Therefore, I needed a helper. The people Ah Neath’s Princess Consort would want assassinated should’ve been Uncle Martial Paragon, me as well as someone who arrived before me – and was locked in the same dungeon.
The absence of guards on the second floor could only be attributed to them being called away or, more likely, assassins since I heard another fifteen people come up to this floor. Surprise, surprise, there were fifteen assassins geared up in black armour strewn across the front of a particular cell.
Just like I remembered him, he had his signature black wooden scabbard at his belt and a jade sword hilt that stood out as much as his white attire that didn’t have a speck of dust on them. He still liked being clean, preferred peace, was disciplined, hardworking and affable just like my grandmaster.
“Who’d imagine we meet again in another country’s prison of all places after all these years. Life sure is fascinating, huh, Sixth?”
The youth opened his eyes and smiled from ear to ear: “First Brother!”
Seeing the youth effortlessly get out of his cell in five steps, the prison guard commented, “Are our cells made of paper or something? How do you people just go in and out as you please?”
I took one step forward. Sixth stepped forward. I grounded myself and took a small step back, whipping my robe next. Sixth spun a full circle and then genuflected onto his left knee. He held his hands in a hold-fist salute and bowed his head: “Your junior, Lian Zhuiyue, offers his humble greetings, First Brother!”
I cast my eyes to the ceiling. Told you Sixth was a good boy!
Liang Hongyu – Her real name is lost to history. Hongyu was the name given to her in folk legends, novels and so forth after her death in battle. She’s comparable to Hua Mulan in terms of fame, albeit being an actual person unlike Hua Mulan. If you want to know more about her, read up on Jin-Song wars.