Luo Ming Hai gave ZiChuan Xiu a peculiar look, as if he could guess what ZiChuan Xiu was thinking. He carefully positioned himself outside the five meter radius from him, which was exactly ZiChuan Xiu’s most effective attack range.
“Who is in charge of the City Gates?” He nonchalantly asked the Central Army Officers cowering at the side. Even though Luo Ming Hai was only a Civil Servant (Not a part of the Military Branch), his unique aloof demeanor earned him many respect from the other Officers, or more accurately, they were afraid of him.
A Red Banner Master came forward, shaking slightly: “I… I’m in charge of the defences around the City Gate…”
“Open the Gate!”
That startled the Red Banner Master:” But… that would be going against my direct order…”
“Grr!” Luo Ming Hai’s involuntary grumbling exuded with rage.
“Err. Yes, of course. As you wish, Sir. I will have it open in no time…” The Red Banner Master immediately made for the exit, stumbling along the way, completely ignoring the House Arrest Order ZiChuan Xiu gave moment earlier. It was obvious; none of the Officers wish to challenge Luo Ming Hai’s authority.
But that had ZiChuan Xiu confused: “What is Luo Ming Hai up to? Is he opening the gate for Di Lin’s Army? Didn’t Yang Ming Hua give Di Lin the order to chase after Ge Ying Xing? Surely he knows it's Di Lin’s army waiting outside the gates! Could Yang Ming Hua have another army waiting outside?"
In a time like this, ZiChuan Xiu tried to recall what Di Lin said about Luo Ming Hai: “Unpredictable!”
Luo Ming Hai began walking towards ZiChuan Xiu with one hand into his pocket.
Alarmed by his sudden approach, ZiChuan Xiu found himself in a pickle.
Luo Ming Hai pulled his hand out from his pocket, but it wasn’t a weapon, instead, it was only a letter, and he handed it to ZiChuan Xiu.
ZiChuan Xiu reluctantly took it from his hand. Just in case, he took a few steps back and opened it. “For the Greater Good of the House, the holder of this parchment, Sir Luo Ming Hai, is acting on my behalf, doing what I asked him to do. It is every member of House ZiChuan’s duty to act accordingly. –Headmaster, ZiChuan Shen Xing, Imperial Calendar, Year 773.”
It was a letter hand written by ZiChuan Shen Xing himself, and stamped with Headmaster’s Seal.
Imperial Calendar, Year 773, it was the year after ZiChuan Xiu defeated House Liu Feng at the Capital, also the year ZiChuan Shen Xing first became the Headmaster, and three years prior to Di Lin became an undercover agent. In other words, ZiChuan Shen Xing had planted a mole near Yang Ming Hua the moment he became the Headmaster!
It was sad really. Yang Ming Hua always thought he was clever. Six years, and he didn’t notice a thing. Both his strategist and his favourite general were in fact ZiChuan Shen Xing’s agents.
ZiChuan Xiu shook uncontrollably from the sudden chill running down his spine; ZiChuan Shen Xing’s subtlety and cunning was out of this world! In the end, ZiChuan Shen Xing only trusted Luo Ming Hai. Everyone else, he himself, Stirling and even Di Lin were but pieces on his chessboard.
Meanwhile, in Di Lin’s Far Eastern Army Encampment outside the City.
“Sir, the Gate has opened!”
“Sir, we have spotted four red lamps on top of the City Gates!”
Guard Captain – Cobra seemed worried: “Sir, that is not the signal we agreed upon. I remember correctly, it should be three lamps… Can it be a trap?”
Di Lin cracked a smile, showing his perfect set of white teeth: “Other than ZiChuan Xiu, who else in the world is stupid enough to forget his own signal?”
Cobra gave the signal for the soldiers to advance: “Brothers of the Far Eastern Army. Under Headmaster’s secret order, Commander Di Lin has led the crusade against Yang Ming Hua’s rebels! It is time to make your mark in the book of history! Fame, wealth, all will be within your grasp upon the success of this battle…”
Di Lin didn’t let Cobra finish his speech. Throwing aside his hat, his elegant face screamed murderous intent. The order he gave was loud and clear: “Listen up, you see anyone on the street, kill them! You fight well, I promise you a future! If you kill all the rebels, their woman, their riches will all be yours!”
“Now shout, shout like you have never shouted before. Show the fools in the capital the lions of the Far East!”
Di Lin’s incitement had filled the soldiers with bloodlust. Everywhere in the camp, Far Eastern Army’s warcry sounded loudly: “Long live the King!” Hooves thundered forward like a tidal wave, crashing into the magnificent, but defenceless City of Di Du…
It was Imperial Calendar, Year 779, March 26th, Twenty past eleven, PM.
What ever happened next would soon find its way into the Book of Records, forever become a part of the History itself.