Forty more books to go … whohoo …
This kind of bitter battlefield situation being told by a pair of cherry lips of such a delicate beauty, naturally the feeling was different. Yet just by listening to how clear she was narrating the battle of Qianshuiyuan, it was obvious that she was worthy to become the 'Heavenly Saber' Song Que's daughter.
The two knew that she has not finished yet, hence they did not interrupt.
Song Yuhua continued, "And then Li Shimin personally led a two-thousand strong elite cavalry to rush toward Zheshu city, where Xue RenGao was holding his troops. Later on the Tang Army units also rushed over via various routes to surround Zheshu city so that not one drop can trickle through. At nightfall, under cover of the dark, the soldiers defending the city scrambled down the city wall to surrender. Xue RenGao was trapped beyond any hope of rescue, he had no choice but to take his troops out to surrender, so that Li Shimin gained ten thousand elite troops. Other than Xue RenGao, who was beheaded, the rest were pardoned."
Zheng Shuming turned to Xu Ziling and said, "It was after Qie received this news that I made up my mind; I no longer wish to be drawn and swept into the struggle over the world."
Song Yuhua said, "Now that Guanzhong is stable, Li Gui is just like a little clown jumping over the beam. Even if he breaks the agreement, it will definitely not cause any disaster. Plus there is Ci Hang Jingzhai supporting the Li Family, the world is watching at the scenery as one after another the regional powers, from Zhanglong in Pingliang [prefecture, Gansu], Xiaozhao in Henei, as well as Fufeng [county, Shaanxi] and Hayang [county, Hubei], are attaching themselves to the Li Family. As for our Bashu's position, it is going to be decided within the next few days. Miss Feixuan's immortal self already came in person, nobody dares to disregard her."
Xu Ziling sighed inwardly. Li Shimin's prestige is rising would mean Kou Zhong's prestige is falling.
Li Shimin finally proved by using the facts that he was able to strike and defeat another ambitious and ruthless character. Combined with Shi Feixuan's support, it was fair and reasonable to say that he had the power and influence as the ruler overlooking the world, while Kou Zhong was still struggling just to survive. The difference between them did not stop at a hundred or perhaps a thousand li.
Under this kind of circumstances, Kou Zhong was caught in the low tide of nasty juncture, which made it even harder for Xu Ziling to abandon Kou Zhong and leave. How would they end up in the future?
The Yuelai Inn was located in a comparatively secluded street. Because the crowds were concentrated on the main streets, all around them was extremely quiet. The carriage was parked by the side of the street, it neither blocked the passageway nor attracted any attention.
Under Song Yuhua's clear and bright, limpid eyes, which carried a beseeching tone, Xu Ziling smiled ruefully and said, "What is it that Madame Xie wanted to say to Zaixia?"
Acting as if it was hard for her to say it, Song Yuhua hung her cicada head down and spoke softly, "Yuhua is very scared."
This time, even Zheng Shuming could not help asking, "Hua Mei, what are you afraid of?"
Up to this moment, Xu Ziling was still unclear about the relationship between the two women, but since they were calling each other Jie and Mei [older and younger sister, respectively], they must have had a very close relationship.
Suddenly he also thought about An Long, and was wondering if he had returned to Chengdu. But he was not sure if inquiring about this matter to Song Yuhua at this moment would be appropriate.
Distressed, Song Yuhua replied, "I am scared of Die's situation; he has never liked barbarians, but he dislikes Li Yuan even more. It's just that we in the south do not have enough aspiration to improve the situation, our Song Family resides in the secluded Lingnan, it is hard to go up north to strive; otherwise he might already be drawn into this power struggle."
Xu Ziling helplessly said, "Is this the reason Madame is looking for Zaixia?"
Recovering her calm and composed manner, Song Yuhua nodded and said, "Currently, no matter how you count it, the number of people in the world who can resist Li Shimin is very few, and Xu Gongzi and Kou Gongxi are two of those few, plus you have close relationship with our Song Family, Kou Zhong is even in love with San Mei [third (younger) sister]. Ay! What should Yuhua do?"
Zheng Shuming sighed and said, "Kou Zhong is the kind of person who would keep on fighting in spite of all setbacks, a heroic character with unsurpassed unswerving determination. No matter how nasty the situation is, he can still turn defeat into victory. If Hua Mei wanted to beseech Xu Xiong to persuade Kou Zhong to cup his hands in obeisance and acknowledge his allegiance to the Song Family, you would save a lot of trouble of speaking to him yourself."
Song Yuhua's pleading eyes looked deep into Xu Ziling's eyes; she shook her head and said, "I know that based on Yuhua, a married woman's words, it will be difficult to persuade such an extraordinary character like Kou Gongzi, but I do have a tiny request that I hope Xu Gongzi would be able to uphold justice and lend a hand; Yuhua will be extremely grateful."
With Song Yuhua's gentle, beseeching words, Xu Ziling felt he was almost melting. He was about to answer when they suddenly heard hoof beats, from afar at first, but quickly coming near.
Zheng Shuming stuck her head out to look; immediately a happy expression appeared on her face. Turning toward the two, she said, "Please continue your chat! Shuming must excuse myself for a moment."
Xu Ziling politely pushed the door open and got off. After Zheng Shuming got down to meet the incoming rider, he climbed back into the carriage and sat down again.
Song Yuhua appeared to be in difficulty again; hanging her cicada head low and biting her lower lip, it looked like she was about to say something, but hesitated.
Xu Ziling's heart was moved; focusing his power onto his ears, right away he was able to hear the exchange between Zheng Shuming and her two men.
He heard Zheng Shuming angrily said, "You sure that is really Cao Yinglong?"
Her subordinate replied, "We are about eighty-, ninety-percent sure. Although he is wearing a mask, we recognized his build and his particular walking gait. Even if he turned into ashes I would still recognize him."
The other man said, "This fellow is really crafty; unexpectedly he took advantage of Mid-Autumn Festival to enter the city and mingle among the crowd. At first we were deceived by him as well; fortunately he went to the house next to Chenji Teashop at Dadong Street and stayed there for a while, hence he did not escape our eyes and ears."
This moment Song Yuhua seemed to suddenly make up her mind; raising her head to look at Xu Ziling, she spoke with determination, "Yuhua only ask Xu Gongzi to do me a favor: you must not, by all means, let Kou Zhong see my humble father."
Immediately Xu Ziling's mind was divided. No longer able to hear Zheng Shuming and her subordinates' conversation, he blurted out, "What?"
Song Yuhua spoke slowly, "Because if you let Die see Kou Zhong, they will be like bees seeing honey; we won't be able to separate them. And only you can do it for Yuhua. Ay! Yuhua also understand that this request is too excessive, Xu Gongzi must not take offense."
Zheng Shuming's voice was heard from outside the carriage; she spoke apologetically, "Shuming has something important that I must leave immediately, Xu Gongzi and Hua Mei, please forgive me."
Finished speaking, she hurriedly left without any explanation.
Xu Ziling was distraught with anxiety [orig. heart distracted, thoughts in turmoil]; while admittedly even death cannot wipe out Cao Yinglong's crimes, on one hand, his life would end soon, and on the other hand, this trip was to comfort his soon to be orphan and widow. Not to let him accomplish his last wish would be extremely cruel.
What should he do?
Noticing that he was muttering to himself irresolutely without saying anything, Song Yuhua anxiously said, "Does Xu Gongzi think that Yuhua's request is too unreasonable?"
Smiling wryly, Xu Ziling replied, "I can only promise that I will do my best. It's just that more often than not, things of the world do not happen as we expected, it is nothing that we can control."
Delighted, Song Yuhua said, "I know that Xu Gongzi's promise worth one thousand catties of gold; Yuhua is relieved."
Xu Ziling's heart was already flying someplace else. Hurriedly taking his leave, he got off the carriage and rushed toward the main street. After asking for direction to the Dadong Street, he leaped onto the roof, and then flying from roof to roof, leaping high and fleeing low, he rushed toward the target.
Chengdu's main streets were as bright as daytime; the milling crowds, the unending sound of firecrackers, the fireworks illuminating the horizon, the entire city was boiling with the blazing atmosphere under the full moon above. But he felt like he was living in another world, a lonely world, separate from the land of the living. This time he was trying to save an utterly vicious, extremely evil, big thief chief who, because for a period of time he was on the rampage, killing people like scything flax, everybody wanted to hunt and put him to death. Come to think about it, all these things seemed to be really strange.
Right this moment, he saw shadows flashing in front of him, heading straight toward him.
Xu Ziling hastily dodged into a side alley, right in time to see something that looked like a big ball flitted across overhead like a shooting star. Surprisingly, it was one of the Eight Major Martial Art Masters of the Demonic Way, An Long, carrying someone under his armpit.
Behind him, more than a dozen shadows were running after him, one of them being Zheng Shuming.
Recovering from shock, Xu Ziling hastily ran after them.