Chapter 56: Highly Intelligent
The Emperor had rushed over thousands of miles from Mu Country to Shao Country silently. Ling Xiao vaguely knew that he had a purpose for doing so.
And that purpose wasn’t to bring him back.
Otherwise, he could have taken him away that night…
Thinking to this point, Ling Xiao felt extremely complicated. He didn’t know if he should be more happy or more sad.
The Emperor aside, now that Fu Yujun was in a crisis, he couldn’t just ignore it either.
Firstly, Ling Xiao wouldn’t be able to just sit and observe from the side, letting Fu Yujun die. Secondly, if it is the First Prince, who would come knocking on the door after beating Fu Yujun, would his own ending be a good one once he fell in his hands?
And even if he assumes that Hong Ye really did protect him and he manages to avoid being dealt with by the First Prince, he would still end up in the Emperor’s hands…
And if such thing really happened, then the conclusion for him would be…
Ling Xiao suddenly trembled from the chill… he quickly shook his head to stop himself from thinking any further down that line.
This won’t do! Whether it was for himself or for some other reason, he can’t let Fu Yujun even accidently lose!
However, trying to save Fu Yujun was easier said than done.
Seeing how there were fifty thousand troops and horses heading off to battle against a three hundred thousand army, Ling Xiao doesn’t know if he should praise Fu Yujun for his great courage or scold him for being stupid.
There was no doubt he was just going to throw his life away. The only things that could save him right now were modern weapons, like guns or gunpowder…
Thinking to that point, Ling Xiao looked around and his gaze landed on the charcoal in the corner of the room. He knew that the stone walls contained some kind of saltpeter and he guessed that the substance used to ward bugs off, which was spread around in his surrounding, had sulfur in it. A flash passed in his eyes as a plan formed in his mind. Finally, his eyes fell onto Xiao Feng.
He needed support for his plan to work.
With those thoughts, Ling Xiao walked and sat down next to Xiao Feng. He looked at the wounds on his body and asked in a friendly manner, “Imperial guard Xiao, how are your injuries?”
“I am fine, they’re just some flesh wounds. Young Master does not need to worry, this subordinate will protect you.” Xiao Feng loyally replied, but his eyes has a glint of deceit, trying to see what Ling Xiao was thinking.
Ling Xiao sneered. Reaching up to the present situation, what use was there to probe him?
Although he didn’t know Xiao Feng that well, he had still heard about him. His everyday conduct is smooth, yet cagey and vague. His martial arts, however, were not so good. Even so, he has strategies upon strategies and is very valued by Fu Yujun. When Fu Yujun traveled to Mu Country, he brought Xiao Feng along and now he entrusted Ling Xiao to him.
Xiao Feng also did not fail to live up to Fu Yujun’s generous treatment. In the moment of crisis, he still did his best to help Fu Yujun.
He was a loyal and reliable person.
Thinking so, Ling Xiao went nearer to him and asked in a hush voice, “Imperial Guard Xiao, are you worried about the Second Prince?”
Hearing the question, Xiao Feng went silent and stared blankly. It was clear to Ling Xiao that this silence meant that Xiao Feng was worried.
Assuming that, Ling Xiao seized the opportunity and tried to feel out Xiao Feng’s wish.
“If we were to go out and save him…”
“No!” Xiao Feng immediately frowned and interrupted Ling Xiao, “With just these few men, not to mention how we would be unable to save His Highness, if we rashly went out, we would only be throwing away our lives. What’s more, His Highness told this subordinate to make sure the Young Master is completely safe. If something were to happen to the Young Master, then how would this subordinate explain it to His Highness?”
Ling Xiao incited him after he heard that, “If he were to die, what explaining would you need to do?”
“!” Xiao Feng suddenly shook at those words, having an intense bad reaction toward it. He stared at Ling Xiao, his eyes full of discontent.
Facing Xiao Feng’s sight, Ling Xiao’s eyes were calm.
Xiao Feng looked at the other man, whose eyes were mysterious and his face calm. This kind of steady beauty, although Ling Xiao’s body wasn’t sturdy nor big, it still gave him a sense of security and calmed him down.
He slightly frowned, but in his mind, he still accepted what Ling Xiao said.
He went silent for a long time before a trace of cunning flitted through his eyes as he asked, “The way Young Master is asking, does it mean Young Master already has a plan?”
Ling Xiao raised an eyebrow in surprise. No wonder Xiao Feng was worthy of being someone important to Fu Yujun. In such a short time, he had already saw through his attempt and realized what is words meant.
Ling Xiao lightly smiled. Not planning to keep beating around the bush, he plainly stated, “I do have a way to save him, however, I will need to ask you a question first.”
“Is everyone here willing to follow me out? They might not return alive.”
Xiao Feng solemnly purse his brows at the question. Looking at Ling Xiao, he hesitantly said, “Young Master, would it be possible for you to share that way with this subordinate, so this one can take the men and go do it? There is no need for the Young Master to go out and the Young Master can just stay behind. After all, if something were to happen to you…”
Cutting off Xiao Feng’s apprehensions, Ling Xiao sneered, “Just think about it; if you guys were all to die, would staying here make my ending better? Might as well just take me along and work with everyone. Besides, I don’t think we will lose.”
Seeing Ling Xiao so sure of the outcome, Xiao Feng curiously asked, “Young Master, just what do you have in mind?”
Hearing this, Ling Xiao thought a bit, then raised his eyebrow and stated, “I know how to make something that will allow His Highness to turn the tide and utterly defeat the army of the First Prince.”
Xiao Feng was alarmed, “You must be kidding, right?”
Xiao Feng pursed his lips and went silent at Ling Xiao’s nod. He knew that the Second Prince was in deep trouble. If the Prince fails to stop the enemy, it wouldn’t be safe for them either.
If there really was something that could allow the Second Prince to turn the tide, then it really would be better than them staying here in hiding.
Thinking along those lines, Xiao Feng appeared as if he had made an important decision, clenching his teeth as he got up and knelt on his knees before Ling Xiao, “If what the Young Master says is true, then this subordinate will follow Young Master’s plans and obey.”
The rest of the men all rose and knelt before Ling Xiao when they saw Xiao Feng do so, “We subordinates will also follow the Young Master’s plans and obey.”
This was not the first time many men knelt before Ling Xiao. In the past, when he was by the Emperor’s side, he had been injured and all the people present had knelt in his direction due to the Emperor’s actions. Ling Xiao knew they were doing so because of the Emperor’s dragon prestige.
However, right now, the people before him are all bowing to him. Since men aspires to travel far and leave one’s name and mark behind, this scene fired Ling Xiao up and his heart started to pound. He stood speechless from excitement as he overlooked the group before him.
From everyone else’s point of view, a rather imposing manner arose from Ling Xiao’s small body. Furthermore, his calm and collected appearance as he faced their obedience, neither servile nor overbearing, unconsciously made everyone have a bit more confidence, so they lowered their heads even more respectfully.
Seeing this, Xiao Feng raised his head, “Young Master, if you are really able to save the Prince, then you would be Shao Country’s benefactor. All of Shao Country would be deeply grateful to you.”
Ling Xiao was roused by Xiao Feng’s words and he slightly calmed his excited heart. Supporting him up, he softly said, “Stand up. If you truly think this way, then put your trust in me .”
Although he said it with confidence, Ling Xiao was still nervous within his heart.
According to his memories, He knew that there were materials here that could be used to produce gunpowder.
Everything was here.
Although Ling Xiao had once sneakily made gunpowder in Jinhua University’s laboratory out of curiosity in modern times and even succeed, he had never tried making gunpowder in this world.
In addition, in the modern laboratory, all the materials he had used were ready-made. In case he mixes the materials he now has in hand and they contained some unknown substances, if something goes wrong…
Ling Xiao sighed. Although he knew it was dangerous, there was no leeway for him to hesitate now. He could only try and see how effective the golden finger that he had gotten through his rebirth is.
With those thoughts, Ling Xiao got up and directed everyone to move the materials he needed to the fireplace.
Hong Ye observed everything and silently looked down. Her acupuncture point has already been unblocked and the ropes were nothing against her. She was completely capable of capturing Ling Xiao and bringing him to the Emperor’s side right now.
Hong Ye gloomily hide her gaze. The Emperor pampered on Ling Xiao so much, yet this man never appreciated the kindness. This really made Hong Ye angry and resentful.
She wanted to give Ling Xiao a good lesson, but with how much the Emperor cherished him, if she personally did something to him, she would definitely be punished by the Emperor…
This was the reason why Hong Ye did not dare to openly dislike Ling Xiao.
But now, Ling Xiao was courting death himself and it doesn’t seem like her interference is needed anymore.
She was ‘tied’, ‘restricted’, and ‘completely powerless’.
Hong Ye lowered her head, hiding the trace of scheming on her face.
Fire could be seen everywhere with endless smoke. Three hundred thousand soldiers have already pressed forward to the imperial palace while Fu Yujun had already defended against them with fifty thousand, for an entire afternoon.
The fifty thousand troops and horses had killed numerous enemies while receiving only a little bit of damage. Fu Yujun had used his intelligence and set traps after traps, causing the other army to fall into them one after another, killing the whole way.
Like that, an afternoon of slaughtering countless troops and horses had passed…
However, looking out from the high Imperial Palace, the number of troops and horses that stood outside waiting were only more and not less.
Fu Shangjun, that great Imperial Brother of his, somehow obtained more troops and horses from other places!
Did someone surrender?
No, perhaps that great Imperial Brother of his had been urged by another country to make some kind of transaction in the dark.
Fu Yujun’s face darken. If that Imperial Brother of his only wanted to be the Sovereign King, it was not impossible for Fu Yujun to let him. But he understands that Imperial Brother of his too well. As one who has no aspiration and only knows how to eat and play, how could his Imperial Brother suddenly plot a rebellion? There must be someone instigating it from behind.
And this person was very likely to be someone from another country…
The figure of the Mu Country’s Emperor flashed through Fu Yujun’s mind, making him clench his fist.
Shao Country cannot fall into another country’s hands! This time, even if they have to fight to death, he still has to defend the Imperial Palace!
Fu Yujun gritted his teeth. Turning around, he could only see his soldiers, completely fatigued, lying all over the place. Their physical strength was clearly drained…
Meanwhile, the people outside the palace were all in great spirits, their morale completely high.
With the situation as it is, how could they fight back?
Despair suddenly rose in his heart. Was he really going to lose like this?!
Suddenly, a loud ‘boom!’ sounded, startling Fu Yujun, who looked back.
What he saw outside the palace was thick smoke rising from a hole, which was blasted into the ground.
Fallen soldiers littered the earth, either injured from the explosion, or perhaps overtaken by some evil force that had caused them to faint haphazardly by the crater.
Terrified of what they just witnessed, which was unexpected and smashed a part of Fu Shangjun’s army, the soldiers distanced themselves from the hole in the ground.
Fu Yujun was astounded and stared closely at the scene below.
Not long after, a horse carriage could be seen arriving from the distance. The horse carriage took advantage of the retreating soldiers who did not dare go near the carter, rushing in straight to the Imperial Palace.
Placed within the horse carriage were numerous bamboo pipes while sword carrying guards were circled around it. The guards, who held torches,had shrouds on their faces.
The two who were sitting in the front, one guiding the carriage while the other just sat by his side, were also wearing shrouds.
Fu Yujun felt the figures were quite familiar. However, as he was too far away, he wasn’t able to clearly see just who these people were.
The only thing he could see was how these people were rudely and impetuously smashing through Fu Shangjun’s army, rushing straight for the Imperial Palace without regards for anything else.
Choosing the area, which was just blasted, they kept galloping on. That was a wise decision on their part since the soldiers did not dare to randomly go near the area. However, as the ground wasn’t really leveled either, it posted a great hindrance for the carriage to move forward.
Once the soldiers came to their senses, they commenced their attack on the people sitting on the carriage.
Fu Yujun was covered with cold sweat as he watched the carriage gallop with much difficulty under the enemy soldiers’ attack. The two on the carriage were most likely not a part of Fu Shangjun’s army, otherwise they would not be assaulted.
The ones who would however, be only those on his side. Their purpose for approaching was quite clear; to cross the enemy army over and arrive at the imperial palace.
Does it mean they wanted to rely on the horse carriage to rush into the palace?
It’s too willful!
Fu Yujun unconsciously gripped the railing, holding so tightly his hands were white. A few deep traces of fingerprints were on the armrest.
As he saw the soldiers in the area completely surround the men on the carriage, Fu Yujun’s heart jumped to his throat.
Ling Xiao sat next to Xiao Feng who was driving the horse carriage. Seeing the movements of the soldiers, he suddenly gave an order to the guards surrounding them to each grab a bamboo tube and ignite the fuse on it. Then they threw it in the directions of the soldiers, who were closing in on them.
A few loud sounds like the one from before echoed as they smashed onto the ground and caused smoke to rise. The smoke and dust surged, causing Fu Yujun, who was at the top of the wall, to be unable to see the situation below for the moment.
When the dust cleared, what Fu Yujun was able to see were the soldiers who stood below, ruined beyond recognition. Pieces of soldiers were scattered in the surrounding, lying motionless. It was unknown whether they were dead or alive.
And as for the people within the carriage; not a single hair was harmed as they firmly headed to the palace.
Fu Yujun had a face of amazement. This carriage was truly amazing, rather, it should be said that those things the guards on the carriage had threw out were amazing.
Fu Yujun cleared up his face and then stared at the two seating in the driver position.
One was concentrating on driving the carriage while the other man would turn around to yell something once in a while. He appeared to be constantly observing his surroundings, so it was clear he was the commander of this group.
This man was dressed in cyan embroidered clothes. He was tranquil and calm facing this situation and the army in front of him. His calm and unhurried orders made one feel admiration for him from the bottom of their hearts.
Fu Yujun couldn’t help but look at him a few more times, and he felt that the general appearance and figure of his looks somewhat familiar…
It looks like…
His eyes widen in shock as a faint figure flashed through his mind.
Wasn’t this person… the man he had Xiao Feng protect, Ling Xiao?!
Fu Yujun had frighten himself with that thought and cold sweat filled him. Then he saw the man take off the shroud, revealing under it a delicate and pretty face, it was the face of the man he considered his.
Fu Yujun clenched his teeth. Anger was clearly on his face as he stomped down the stairs and quickly opened the palace door. Bringing his men with him to surround the carriage.
Ling Xiao understood that Fu Yujun was sending people to assist them when he saw that and he heaved a breath. His legs had gone so weak that he wasn’t able to get off the carriage. He had only just placed a feet on the ground when he was suddenly pulled to the side by an external force.
As such, his face knocked against a sturdy meat wall, a thick manly body odor filled his nose.
Ling Xiao wrinkled his brows and abruptly pushed away the other man, only to see a sorry-faced Fu Yujun.
Fu Yujun’s face and clothes were covered with dust and stained with blood. Ling Xiao didn’t know if all of it was other people’s or his own blood.
Right now, he was looking at Ling Xiao with an expression that seemed to be anger while also carrying surprise with a bit of incredulous.
“Why have you come here?!” Fu Yujun berated, his face carrying great distress.
Ling Xiao was shaken by his expression, and lowered his head a bit uncomfortable, “Aren’t we here to save you…”
“Alright, let’s defeat these guys first and talk later.” Ling Xiao interrupted Fu Yujun, as he looked at the army that was approaching.
The remaining thirty thousand troops all came out to fight, surrounding Ling Xiao and Fu Yujun to protect them. While outside, the shady Fu Shangjun’s army remained.
Based on the number of men, Fu Shangjun obviously had the advantage. Fu Yujun had already calculated the worst possible outcome, trying to think how he should protect Ling Xiao.
But Ling Xiao suddenly climbed back onto the carriage, startling Fu Yujun. He hurried pulled him and asked, “What are you doing? The archers on that side will make you a target if you stand on the carriage.”
“It’s fine!” Ling Xiao shook him off, ”There is risk in everything. All you need to do is make sure those people don’t come near me. The rest will count on the secret weapon!”
Fu Yujun was doubtful. Xiao Feng approached him seeing his disbelief and reported, “Your Highness, it’s something called ‘gunpowder’. Young Master made it and it has a tremendous power. That thing can allow one person to defeat a hundred.”
Xiao Feng pointed at the bamboo tubes in the carriage, directing Fu Yujun’s sight to them, which were not impressive looking at all. Was it really as extraordinary as Xiao Feng said? Fu Yujun was really suspicious so Xiao Feng explained, “Your Highness, don’t look down on these things. Even though they look so ordinary, the loud sounds you heard came from lighting them.”
Fu Yujun was astounded as he watched Ling Xiao direct the people he brought with him, standing on top of the carriage. The surrounding men all lifted their shields while the people within all ignited their bamboo tubes and threw them at the places Ling Xiao indicated far away…
With every bamboo tube thrown, a loud sound could immediately be heard. Next, the enemy’s anguished wailing as well as the sound of soldiers collapsing resounded in the area.
This thing really has formidable power! This was made by the little servant?
To think that this little servant was this amazing!
Fu Yujun looked at Ling Xiao and saw him standing on the carriage majestically, directing everyone in combat at full mettle.
The little servant’s face was calm and his actions were composed. It was as if this battle’s victory was already in his grasp, which undoubtedly boosted the morale of the soldiers.
It made people display their faith in him with everything they have and from the bottom of their hearts.
Fu Yujun watched, his heart throbbing as obsession gradually appeared in his eyes.
Sigh, this was the little servant he liked~
So different from the masses.
He obviously feared death, yet at a crucial moment, he did not leave, abandoning anyone.
He was obviously extremely timid, yet at a crucial moment, was able to be so majestic and high-spirited.
He was obviously extremely talented, yet always hid himself within a crowd.
He was so quiet and understated…
Luckily Fu Yujun had found him, the him who was so different from the masses.
For not missing Ling Xiao, Fu Yujun felt happy for himself and rejoiced at the fact that he was captivated by him.
He thought that in this lifetime, there will probably be no other who can move his heart.
Ling Xiao was accurately directing the men at his side, while the men on Fu Yujun’s side were blocking the enemy from advancing. Finally, someone has noticed that is was Ling Xiao who was commending.
They had made Ling Xiao their primary target as the archers aimed their bows at him, who was the one standing on the carriage while giving orders.
With Fu Shangjun’s order, a hidden archer shot an arrow toward Ling Xiao.
Fu Yujun had keen eyes and saw the arrow, pulling Ling Xiao out of the way of the sneak attack, his expression gloomy in that moment.
Ling Xiao blankly widen his eyes, leaning against Fu Yujun fearfully, his legs somewhat weak.
He almost… went to see his Maker…
Seeing that, Fu Yujun’s heart pained. He comfortingly patted Ling Xiao’s head, gazing at the distant fire and smoke. Fu Yujun made a crucial decision in his heart.
He took a deep breath and touchingly laid a kiss on Ling Xiao’s face. Then he whispered into his ear, “If I am unable to win and perish here, then I will leave Shao Country in your hands.”
Saying those words, Fu Yujun took out a bundle from somewhere and squeezed it into Ling Xiao’s arms quickly. He reached out and seized Xiao Feng’s sword, pushing Ling Xiao in front of him, warning him again, “Protect him with your life, understood?”
As he saw Fu Yujun’s solemn and obligated expression, Xiao Feng caught Ling Xiao, pushing down his confusion. He complied, “Understood.”
“Wait, what are you trying to do?” Ling Xiao returned to his senses after being frighten and restlessly asked Fu Yujun.
Fu yujun smiled at him, showing his pure white teeth. It looked just like the unrestrained smile he had back when he first met him in Mu Country.
“To catch the thief, first capture the king.” With those words, he turned and leaped, his sword rushing out.
To catch the thief, first capture the King?
He is going after Fu Shangjun’s life???
Ling Xiao was surprised and hurriedly ran forward two steps, trying to stop him, “Wait, come back, Fu Yujun! The gunpowder was mixed with knockout drugs! You will lose consciousness if you go over there!”
Fu Yujun heard his words and turned to look at him. His eyes expressed many things, but it was also made clear to Ling Xiao; Fu Yujun would not turn back.
He had already made his determination. Fortunately he had heard him and at least knew about the knockout drugs, so he could at least avoid it.
Ling Xiao was lucky to catch the heavy bundle he was now holding. He lowered his head to look at it and unexpectedly found that it was the Shao Country’s Jade Ruler Seal along with the posthumous edict from the previous Emperor…
Such an important thing!
Ling Xiao suddenly felt as if his hands were burning and almost threw out the thing he held. But in the end, he still silently took it.
This Fu Yujun was too unreliable, to think he threw such an important thing to him!
He can’t take care of it!
He gritted his teeth and climbed back on the carriage. He stared at the figure, which was leaping far away. Gripping his hand, he directed everyone where to throw the gunpowder again. He was going to help Fu Yujun by making him a way through!
Fu Yujun’s way of handling it was undoubtedly not the best way!
The Emperor sat up high, silently watching everything that happened below. His sight finally fixed itself onto Ling Xiao who stood on the carriage, his lips pursed tightly.
This little eunuch really gave him a whole new level of respect for him.
With such talent, he could understand why he kept trying to escape the palace.
Staying in that small harem was really doing him wrong.
As expected, he needed to treat him more specially.
The Emperor contemplated and then got up.
His expression was unsettled, causing the guards by his side to believe he was angry. They promptly crouched on the floor and beg for forgiveness, “Your Majesty, please calm down. General Lan will be here at once, the Shao Country’s Second Prince will not be able to run away.”
The Emperor gave a light glance at what the imperial guards behind him said. The chamberlain became aware that he should not randomly guess what the Emperor was thinking and he was frightened into cold sweat. After a while, the Emperor gave a soft hmph as he turned around, “Let’s go and take a look down below.”
“Yes.” The chamberlain let out a breath of relief, accepting the order.
It looks like the Emperor did not get angry, rather, his mood was still pretty good. Otherwise, the Emperor would not let the guard off so easily for already counting General Lan’s arrival as a victory. If he made a mistake, the Emperor would have his head.
From the Thirty-Six Stratagems (the art of war); meaning to be able to destroy an army, you first must capture its head, as an army without its leader will fall apart.