Chapter 26: Rescue
Nightfall. An ordinary looking carriage quietly traveled out of Wutian county towards Yue city. Inside, a clothed in white Ye Yin was frowning, his brows tightly knit, his expression weary.
“Young master, why are we rushing so much. Was it necessary to travel at night?”
“Time is pressing. His highness plans to ascend the throne in to become the emperor of East Zhi in two days.”
“Really?” Qiu Xing was delighted. “That’s so quick. His highness sure is capable, able to control East Zhi within a few months.”
Dong Chen was displeased. “That’s nothing. His highness already said he had half of it under his control then. With so many soldiers and resources, controlling the rest of East Zhi was only a matter of time. But without a single soldier, our young master has already obtained a city and two counties!”
“Enough, stop trying to flatter me. We are traveling at night because time is pressing. The West Zhi emperor has already sensed the movements in East Zhi, so he has already reinforced the defense near An city. During the day, road patrol checks are relatively severe. In two days, his highness will ascend the throne, which means that the guards in West Zhi will double perhaps in order to make sure this news does not come in. But in order to travel to Yue city, we need to pass through Xihua county, which is under An city’s jurisdiction, so unless we travel day and night, we won’t be able to arrive there on the sixth day of the sixth month. Today is the twenty sixth day of the fifth month, so we only have ten days. If we gain ground now, if we are stopped and delayed at Xihua county, we can still make it in time.”
“Young master, what are you going to Yue city for?” Qiu Xing asked curiously.
“You’ll know once we arrive.” Discerning that Ye Yin was weary from the tone of his voice, Qiu Xing said hastily, “Young master, you should sleep for a bit. When we arrive at an inn, I will call you.”
“Mm,” Ye Yin murmured, closing his eyes, but how could he sleep?
Hua Jianli had already taken control of Yue city and was currently combining multiple volunteer armies. Once the time was ripe, they could take over West Zhi in one move. But volunteer armies were not as strong as regular troops. If the volunteer army was to be victorious, the regular army must lose their leadership so that they would become disorderly. What he needed to do was turn the Lequan county lord and Jiangyou county lord to turn against and kill each other, then take advantage of the internal strife to take control, a power vacuum. But… Massaging his temples, Ye Yin felt this problem he had to face was quite a headache.
Jiangyou county lord Chu Feiye, the elder brother of the West Zhi emperor’s pampered concubine, Chu Linxiang, was forty or so years old. He was naturally cynical and mistrustful, but talented at commanding troops with outstanding military achievements and accomplished much to help the emperor ascend the throne. Because this person was rather ambitious, the emperor intentionally did not grant him a high position, assigning Chu Feiye the office of Jiangyou county lord. In total, Chu Feiye had fifty thousand soldiers. In order to prevent possible mutiny, the emperor purposefully assigned the Lequan country lord fifty thousand soldiers also. The Lequan county lord was the emperor’s nephew, Qi Chengfeng.
Qi Chengfeng, twenty five years old, domineering. Although not skilled in strategizing, he was spirited and bold enough to charge and break through enemy lines, admired by his subordinates.
Inside the carriage, Ye Yin turned to rest against a soft cushion, eyes yet to open. He thought back to the report she had read during the day and a cold smile surfaced. Ye Yin humphed in his heart. According to the report, both Chu Feiye and Qi Chengfeng were both not the virtuous type. The emperor had assigned their positions not just to curb each other, but most likely to also see if they had talent as officials.
It had been three years since the West Zhi emperor had ascended the throne. This year, he was more than fifty years old, but had no children and unlikely to ever. Thus, who would succeed him was a sensitive subject. It was not just Chu Feiye and Qi Chengfeng who wanted to become emperor. If the emperor were to die, West Zhi would be chaotic for a while again! But now, that chance did not exist any more!
As a regent, the West Zhi emperor was indeed skilled at maintaining checks and balances and understood people’s hearts. But what a pity; although he was better than the cowardly puppet emperor of East Zhi, he was still shortsighted, only knowing to be content with what he had and how to enjoy life, but never thinking of how to develop Zhi nation or prevent the four surrounding nations from attacking in the future. Furthermore, he was a tyrant. This was how many volunteer armies had arisen. Although these volunteer armies were not very powerful individually, together, their power was not to be disdainful of. His job was to utilize the volunteer armies and take advantage of the lords’ rivalries to capture West Zhi in the palm of his hand.
Rubbing his temples again, Ye Yin sighed, thinking to himself, now is not the time to think of these things. His present top priority was to manipulate Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye into killing each other. On the surface, these two were gentlemen, but in reality, both were lechers. After thinking about it, a honey trap was the only way to go. Only, he wasn’t sure if it would play out like the “Lubu Diaochan” drama. A ruminating smile appeared on Ye Yin’s lips.
The carriage suddenly stopped. Ye Yin was surprised. “Did something happen?”
“Young master, someone is lying on the road!”
Ye Yin frowned, muttering to himself. He lifted the carriage curtain, then set it down. “Go around them!”
The carriage slowly started again, but Ye Yin’s heart was still unsettled. Finally, Ye Yin couldn’t hold it any longer. He gritted his teeth. “Stop! Dong Chen, go see if they are dead or now.”
Dong Chen nodded and descended the carriage to look. In a moment, she said, “Young master, he seems to have suffered a serious wound, but he is still breathing.”
Ye Yin frowned again. He got off the carriage.
The person lying on the road was dressed completely black, as dark as the night. If the person had not been lying on the road and Ye Yin had not been coincidentally passing through, perhaps no one would have seen and saved him!
He had an average appearance, someone who would not stand out in a crowd, but he reeked of blood. Whether it was his own blood or someone else’s could not be discerned. Ye Yin bent over and examined the wound carefully. “Although this person is heavily injured, all the wounds are superficial and none have touched vitals or muscle and bone. He was either skilled in dodging or the perpetrator was extremely meticulous in letting him live.”
“Young master, perhaps this person is…”
“Not likely. Currently, I am a nobody. No one would be concerned with me. Moreover, using this kind of method to approach me is too excessive! Furthermore… Bring him into the carriage. Ahead of us is the garrison closest to Xihua county. We will first go there before deciding anything.”
After treating the mysterious stranger’s wounds, Ye Yin washed his hands. “You two should first go rest. Tomorrow, I still need you to be able to work!”
“What about yourself, young master?”
“Me?” Ye Yin sat down and took a sip of tea. “I will wait for him to wake up.
“Young master, you should first rest. We will wait for him to wake up instead.”
Ye Yin waved offhandedly. “No need. I said I would wait, now go rest! I have many things planned for you two to do!”
After shooing away Qiu Xing and Dong Chen, Ye Yin’s gaze once again rested on the person in black. Who exactly was he? Inside his body was a powerful drug that stopped his inner energy from condensing. Although the drug was potent, it had a major flaw: only oral intake would have the desired effect. He had either been tricked by an acquaintance or it had been forcefully fed. Using this kind of medicine meant that the man in black was extremely skilled in martial arts and his internal force profound. If he had been forcefully fed, that meant his opponent was already more powerful than him, so there was no need. It could only be an acquaintance. Did one of his friends or relatives want his life? His entire body was covered in wounds, all of them deep, but none piercing muscle or bone. It seems the perpetrator had started off leniently. But if they had taken such trouble to subdue him, why were they lenient?
Ye Yin sat with his eyes closed, contemplating. Just as he started to ponder, he felt a gaze locked on him. Thus, he opened his eyes slowly. “You’re awake. How do you feel?”
The man in black did not reply, only staring fixedly at Ye Yin, as if Ye Yin was about to disappear the next second. His gaze was penetrating and grim. This person had an average appearance, but quite piercing eyes, a martial artist after all!
“Why did you save me? What do you want?” His voice was hoarse and husky.
“Do I need a reason to save someone?” Ye Yin smiled and shook his head. “You look down on humanity too much! Have you never heard saving a life is more meritorious than building a seven floor pagoda?”
The man in black stared at Ye Yin silently, his gaze icy. Ye Yin knew the man did not believe him and shrugged. “Alright! I’ll admit I am not that kind hearted, but I was not expecting you to repay me either. I saved you simply because we crossed paths by luck. You fainted on the road from too much blood loss. If it weren’t for me rushing to Yue city day and night, I would not have run into you, yet as fate was have it, I did, so I saved you in passing.”
“You don’t believe me? Believe what you want. I am a business person and have never made any decisions that are losses, yet you are one loss.”
Ye Yin stood up, preparing to leave, but the man spoke again. “Why did you save me.”
The same question, the voice still hoarse, yet a little cold this time. It was as if he had made a vow and could not break it. Ye Yin laughed and stopped in his steps. “Do I need a reason to save someone? Do you think I am good person?” The man continued to stare with ice cold eyes. Ye Yin promptly raised his hands in surrender. “Alright, alright, I’ll tell you the reason. You don’t need to glare at me so fiercely, like I owe you something.”
“Saving someone sure is…” Ye Yin muttered quietly, then straightened his expression. “Hear me out. I don’t know who you are or what you do. Of course I don’t know who you’ve offended either. I merely saved you by chance. Don’t count on me being a good person. Although your wounds are not serious, you still need to recuperate for some time, whereas I need to leave immediately for business so I am not going to wait here to take care of your wounds. I am not going to take you with me because first, we are total strangers, second, I don’t like trouble.”
Ye Yin noticed a glimmer of surprise in the man’s eyes. “If my guess is correct, you must have been wounded by an acquaintance, so once I’m gone, you should be careful. You will recover in about half a month. I was kind enough to pay the rent, food, and medicinal expenses in advance. You can just rest here at ease until you’ve recovered. You can also leave immediately if you have somewhere you can go.”
“Who are you?”
“Who am I? This is your second question. If I don’t reply, you’re going to continue glaring daggers, I expect. All in all, I am the person who saved you, not an enemy.” Spotting a flicker of embarrassment in the man’s eyes, Ye Yin laughed. “Strangers who have met once departed are still strangers. There is no point in asking.”
Outside the window, the sky was brightening. The man in black watched the sky turn bright without a word. Ye Yin turned around and left. Without looking back, he said, “Take of yourself and goodbye.”
Returning to his own room, Ye Yin slept after instructing the girls what to do. He had been very tired the past few days and many matters still had not been addressed. It seems he would have to have a good rest before he could think of a way to deal with all affairs.