Chapter 156: Long Live Freedom (Part 2)
Hello readers! New update! Hope you all have had an amazing 2018 so far!! I decided to churn out this update before I returned to university this weekend. Please enjoy!! 😀
If you didn't read the post "", I would kindly ask that you do so because it really is important. Thanks!!
Again, thank you all for waiting patiently for this update. I really appreciate it!! ❤
*****IMPORTANT: Original novel is set in some made-up dynasties in ancient China. However, I think China probably has some sort of rule where production teams can't historical dramas being set in non-existent dynasties (because it does not accurately represent Chinese history or something like that), so the production team changed it and adapted everything into the Wei/Liang dynastic era. The surname of Yuan was the actual last name of Wei rulers, and Yuwen was also the surname of a minister family during that time.
Please use the following as a key (some of these places have not yet shown up in my translations, but will soon show up):
Wei = Xia (for those who know Chinese history, this Xia is does not seem to be the same Xia as the one in Chinese dynastic order)
Yanbei = Yanbei
Liang = Bian Tang
Yuan = Zhao (so instead of Yuan Chun/Yuan Song/Yuan Che it is now Zhao Chun/Zhao Song/Zhao Che)
Yuwen = Zhuge (so instead of Yuwen Yue it's Zhuge Yue)
Xiao Ce = Li Ce (Li Ce is the ruler of Bian Tang)
Qing Hai = new place in the book created by Zhuge Yue and later ruled together by Zhuge Yue and Chu Qiao
Huai Song = place in book, not in drama
*****FOOTNOTES at the bottom may be helpful for your understanding!! And remember, "Master" will always be referring to Chu Qiao.
The fighting came without warning. In regards to Chu Qiao and her army's arrival, troops from all areas of Yanbei had maintained a state of transparency. Chu Qiao had naively fantasized that Yan Xun did not have the heart to go against her, and that he would eventually let her go. However, as soon as she saw the civilians with their baggage and their children and family outside of Long Ling border, her heart suddenly dropped into a freezing pool of water, completely in despair.
In the morning light, a dense stream of people queued into a line as long as a dragon. Some people were pushing carts filled with large and small boxes. Pots and pans made rattingling sounds while other people waved their whips, driving their herd of flocks. Women held crying children in their arms, sitting on the rocks and baring half of their chests as they fed their children in the cold wind. Others carried shoulder poles with buckets of sweet potato and corn on each end, and eating some every time they paused in their walk.
Tired, toilsome, rushed. A variety of different expressions continuously appeared on the people's faces. But when they saw the banner of the Xiu Li Army, everyone unanimously cheered. The people flocked forward and shouted at the army: “Master has arrived! Master is here?"
An elderly man with a whiff of gray hair pushed to the front with his grandson, his little face red from the cold. They exclaimed at Chu Qiao: “Master, where are we going?”
"Yeah Master, where are we going?"
"No matter where we go, I am definitely following Master. Can't have Master leaving all by herself."
"Master, how come you are leaving without giving any notice first. I have not even harvested my crops yet. Luckily I left quickly, or else I would not have been able to catch up."
The Xiu Li soldiers stood quietly in the open field and not one person spoke. They all invariably turned and looked towards Chu Qiao, a young woman dressed in a blue-green cloak, sitting on horseback, her stature tall and straight like a sharp javelin. Her expression is was very solemn, and not the slightest shock and panic could be seen on her face. Thus, the soldiers also became calm, thinking: do not worry, Master must have already planned ahead.
"Master." He Xiao quietly called out next to her ear as he rode his horse to her side.
Chu Qiao slowly turned her head. He Xiao was so close to her, so close that he was could see a moment of trance and confusion in her eyes. A streak of sadness suddenly rose in his heart. After many years of working together, he no longer persistently and blindingly trusted the ability of the young women in front of him. After the past two years, he saw a lot of things. He saw her depression, saw her cry, saw her weaknesses and the times when she was confused. She wasn't the invincible youth that many stories had spread her to be. More often, she was only a young woman, a stubbornly and stupidly carrying too much responsibility and pressure. Even when she wanted to cry, she had to hide in a corner where no one could see. But none of this affected his loyalty to her. But rather, it created a more complex feeling he had towards her. They were like family and relatives, like brothers, like leader and subordinate, but also like close confidants.
He stretched out his hand, lightly placed it on her shoulder, and solemnly said: "Master, He Xiao is here."
True, He Xiao was still here, Xiu Li Army was still here. She was not alone or isolated.
But very quickly, a heavy rise of smoke arose in the direction of the Long Ling border. A scout quickly rushed back to them, and hurriedly reported: "Master, about twenty miles in front, Zhao Yang is personally commanding a hundred-thousand troops, and are speedingly rushing towards us. If we leave Long Ling border, we will for sure be ambushed."
In this moment, Chu Qiao almost wanted to laugh out loud.
Yan Xun, Yan Xun, what a smart move you've made!
Opening the path for her without wasting a single bit of his military resources, and then using the civilians to delay her thus destroyed the high-speed advantage of her calvary. By using Xia state, he had blocked her path forward. Even if Xia state had been suspicious about the news, they still would not allow such a big Yanbei military leader like Chu Qiao to freely bring the Xiu Li Army into Xia territory. Even if they knew Yan Xun had another purpose, this battle was still inevitable.
He understood precisely the hearts of the people of Shangshen and Huihui, he knew exactly what Chu Qiao thought, and knew even more precisely what Zhao Yang thought.
Maybe on a small battlefield, she could win a couple battles over him through her tactics and wise command. However, when it came to playing and understanding people's hearts, and cleverly using different ways and strengths, she was far from his deep level of scheming.
The civilians also started to notice the rising smoke, and a low panic started to spread among the crowds. Even though everyone was still telling themselves with confidence that "Master is here, no need to be afraid," they unconsciously were still wary and unsure, especially after remembering Xia state's large armies and comparing their numbers to the barely five-thousand troops of the Xiu Li Army.
He Xiao had already returned to the edge of Ling Long border, and a soldier loudly yelled: "Troops on the city ramparts, please open the city gates and let the civilians enter!"
Only after yelling three consecutive times did someone up in the ramparts slowly say: "His Majesty has decreed, if anyone wants to enter the city, then the soldiers of Xiu Li Army must first enter the city."
"Xia state's military troops are coming in a flash, please let the civilians enter the city first!"
"His Majesty has decreed, if anyone wants to enter the city, then the soldiers of Xiu Li Army must first enter the city!”
A monotonous echo sounded again and again, the wind suddenly blew stronger, raising dust and bits of grass everywhere. Chu Qiao looked up, watching the the Black Hawk  battle flag flutter on top of the Ling Long border, and tightly clenched her fist.
"Master?" Some soldiers next to her lowly called out.
"Master!" the voices grew louder and louder as more and more people started surrounding her.
"Master, what do we do?"
Some people began to panic make noises, the children were affected by the cold and gloom and started to cry, while countless voices noisily sounded by her ears and asked:
"Master, what do we do?"
"Master, the enemy is coming."
"Master, why don't we go into the city? Avoiding it for a while is a good idea."
"Master, why don't you go back and apologize to His Majesty? He will forgive you."
"Master, we swear to fight till we die. We await your command!"
"Master, Master, Master……"
Yan Xun, is this what you wanted?
Chu Qiao faced the sky and coldly laughed. The final streak of softness at the bottom of her heart had been crushed into pieces by reality.
What did you wish to see? To see me alone and isolated? To see me utterly besieged on all four sides? To see me become a dog who had lost its family, and helplessly flee back to Yanbei, wagging my tail and begging you to take pity on me?
Yan Xun, you underestimate me too much.
"Warriors, you have all seen the incidents that have occurred these past few days." Chu Qiao sat atop her horse, stretched out her hand, and made a gesture to quiet down the crowds, and in a deep voice, slowly continued:
“Our king, the emperor of Yanbei, abandoned his oath that he had once promised, abandoned the promise that we had made in front of the vast land of Yanbei and the snowy mountains of Huihui. The corpse of the people of Changqing city have not yet frozen, and yet the butcher knife only loyal to the emperor was raised on top of the necks of Da Tong. Mr. Wu died, Miss Yu died, Princess Huan Huan died, General Xiao He died, General Bian Cang, General Xi Rui, General A'Du, each and every one of them died in the hands of ambitious people of the great empire. Now, the blade is hovering above our heads. Warriors, in front of you, is Xia state's large army with hundred-thousand men. They are fierce and agile and are gearing up, waiting for us to arrive right in front of their doors. To the back of us, is the great army of Yanbei that has already changed its nature. They are standing in posture, preparing their saliva, and waiting to spit on top of our heads, and then to laugh at us for being useless cowards. Around us, are family and friends who have been cheated and deceived by their country. Warriors, where should we go, what shall we do?
A piercing-cold echo quietly echoed across the wilderness. No one said anything. Everyone had their heads raised, their burning gaze directed at Chu Qiao.
Chu Qiao suddenly jumped off the back of her horse, and pointed at the soldiers with a loud, fierce, and penetrating voice, like that of a war eagle: "To turn back and become a lackey of a dictator, to become a traitor and be laughed at for betraying your oath? Or to abandon our families and run for your own life? Or to rush forward towards an enemy with numbers twenty times that of ours, and win the dignity and glory of a soldier?"
Chu Qiao raised her head and loudly shouted: "Warriors! Do you want to live?"
Whether soldiers or civilians, all roared loudly, their voices piercing through the clouds, startling the birds that were circling the sky.
"Do you want to be traitors?"
"Between death and being a traitor, you must choose one. What would you all choose?"
Everyone shouted loudly: "Vow not to betray Da Tong!"
Chu Qiao stood in the wind, loudly shouting: "Warriors, folks, follow me, obey me, follow my orders. If we must die, then let us use our fresh blood to mark Da Tong's final time of glory! Heads can broken, blood can be spilled, but our beliefs can never be extinguished! Long live Yanbei! Long live Da Tong! Long live our freedom!"
Voices echoed across the mountains and seas and thousands of pairs of hands raised up in the air: "Long live Master!"
 Black Hawk battle flag is the battle flag for Yan Xun / Yanbei troops.
 Here it says “想" which directly translates into (we) want (to) but I just put “Yes!” instead since it meshes better with the vibe in English than putting three words.
 Here it says “不想” which directly translates into (we don’t) want (to) but I just put “No!” since like , it meshes better with the vibe in English instead of putting four words.
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