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Lao Qianbei, Chua, Jaya, you are welcome. Xiaohu, Xu Xiong, thanks. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to 'sleep tight' on the plane, plus I doubt that FAA would grant certification if they found any bedbugs in it.

Book 18 Chapter 4 - Harm Born of Grace

A dash of color started to appear on Wang Shichong's face, and then he slowly opened his eyes, and swept his gaze around at Xu Ziling, Wang Xuanying, Wang Xuanshu, Ouyang Xiyi, Lang Feng, Song Mengqiu, Yang Gongqing, Linglong Jiao, and the others. Sighing, he said, "I am not dead yet."

Sitting up on the bed, he leaned his body slightly back, and asked Kou Zhong, whose palm was pressed against his back, "How's the situation now?"

"The situation is really good!" Kou Zhong replied in low voice.

Wang Xuanying blurted out, "Die is seriously hurt like this, and you said the situation is really good?"

This time, even Ouyang Xiyi thought that Kou Zhong's remark was excessively ironic.

Who would have thought that after letting out dry cough twice, Wang Shichong nodded and said, "Fortunately we have your Long-Life qi that reverses the inauspicious to luck. As long as I have half a month, I will be completely recovered. Ha! If with my injury we can obtain Li Mi's realm, this is worth it."

Hearing Wang Shichong's comment, even Wang Xuanying's unsightly countenance eased up considerably.

Wang Shichong suddenly asked, "Is the plan in place?"

Kou Zhong replied indifferently, "As soon as we have the hole in the wall, Wanggong can start receiving the visitors!"

Other than his good brother, everybody looked at each other in astonishment.

※ ※ ※

Chen Changlin came over to Xu Ziling and whispered, "It's done!"

The rear hall became a restricted area; not only all doors and windows were closed, they were also guarded by Wang Shichong's trusted aides.

Xu Ziling already regulated his mind and spirit. He sat cross-legged on a high stool facing the wall, his right hand extended through a small hole, which was barely big enough for his arm to go through, on the wall, and again through a small hole on the back of a chair, and pressed his palm on Wang Shichong's back, who was sitting in the chair leaning against the wall, and slowly transferring his true qi, acting as the bridge to help this most powerful man in Luoyang connecting his meridians, which were blocked out due to his injury, to enable him to have enough strength to deal with the imminent crisis.

Chen Changlin and Linglong Jiao stood guard outside the screen enclosing Xu Ziling, acting as his protectors.

This was part of Xu Xingzhi's meticulous brilliant scheme to cross the sea by a trick [idiom: to achieve one's aim by underhanded means].

In the front hall, Wang Shichong's breathing started to be low and sharp, but slowly he straightened his back, and his thin and weak breathing became long and even.

A short moment later the sound of footsteps approaching, more than thirty people appeared in the front lobby; these were all high-ranking military officers under Wang Shichong's command, who were stationed in the Eastern Capital.

The sound of people kneeling and paying their respect continued.

Lang Feng's loud and clear voice was heard next, "Gentlemen, please rise!"

Amidst the rustling noise, one after another they all rose.

Wang Shichong cleared his throat and said, "Today this officer summoned gentlemen to come here, there is indeed a very good news to report: victory is in sight. As for the details of the situation, Great General Yang will explain it to you."

Immediately Yang Gongqing's voice rose, "The scheme to lure the enemy was highly successful. Currently Li Mi believes Shangshu Daren was ambushed and is suffering serious injury, and that his life is in danger. The fact is that the injured one was someone else. Tonight Shangshu Daren is going to go to Yanshi to oversee the situation and take up the challenge, so that Li Mi may be able to come, but he won't be able to leave."

Wang Shichong laughed aloud and said, "General Lang Feng will be in charge here, with General Song Mengqiu, Wang Xuanying and Wang Xuanshu, three men as his deputies. All of you must maintain strict military order, don't slack off. When in the future this officer return in triumph, after putting down the rebellion and punishing the traitors, I will evaluate everybody's merit and bestow rewards accordingly."

All the generals roared in agreement; they were all in high spirit.

By this time Xu Ziling could not keep up already, fortunately after Song Mengqiu ordered the generals to keep Wang Shichong's condition of injury a secret, the generals withdrew immediately.

Xu Ziling quickly withdraw his right hand, and Kou Zhong, who was standing by Wang Shichong's side, took his place in transmitting his qi to help maintaining Wang Shichong's spirit.

He heard Ouyang Xiyi's voice, "Shichong Xiong, how do you feel? After seeing the next group of people, Shichong Xiong may retreat to the rear hall to rest!"

This moment sound of footsteps was heard again. Xu Ziling took a deep breath, and then stretched out his arm through the hole on the wall, through the hole on the chair, and pressed his palm on Wang Shichong's back again.

※ ※ ※

Inside a side room, Xu Ziling sat cross-legged on the bed, breathing in and out deeply. Kou Zhong pushed the door and entered, his face looked extremely tired. Disregarding everything, he just sprawled on the floor, stretching out his limbs and moaned, "Do you know what is the most difficult thing to deal with in the world? It's people, always fighting and scheming against each other, all the time, everywhere; harming others for their personal benefit. Whenever there are people, bad things will happen."

Xu Ziling did not respond. A short while later Kou Zhong was fast asleep.

The heavy rain has stopped half a sichen ago, but dark clouds were still racing in the sky, giving the impression that the rain might show off its power and wreak havoc again any moment.

By the time Xu Xingzhi and Ouyang Xiyi came to look for them, Kou Zhong just woke up, sitting up and staring blankly.

"Why did you sleep on the floor?" Ouyang Xiyi asked in surprise.

Kou Zhong stretched out his limbs and said, "This is called absorbing the earth's qi."

He sprang up and asked, "How's the situation outside?"

Ouyang Xiyi sat down and said, "Yang Dong launched two counterattacks in succession to test our troops' morale. Both ended in damaged-troops, broken-generals, and had to retreat. In my opinion, unless they have outside help, their situation is hopeless and could only sit and wait for death."

Kou Zhong and Xu Xingzhi sat down on his left and right, respectively. The former laughed and said, "This is called being enmeshed in a trap of one's own devising [orig. spinning a cocoon around oneself]. Even if Wanggong left, the only one who would come will be Li Mi. I really don't understand what is Dugu Feng thinking?"

Xu Ziling opened his eyes. He greeted Ouyang Xiyi first, and then said, "It should be called 'unexpected' instead. Originally they wanted to draw support from Li Mi's forces, taking advantage while Wanggong is at Yanshi, they seize control over Luoyang. Would have expected that the confidential matter is not so confidential anymore, plus Wanggong returned promptly, hence their troop disposition is thrown into chaos, and Li Mi entered by exploiting a weak spot."

Although what he said was an understatement, he obviously wanted Kou Zhong to know clearly the Song Clan's position.

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