Chapter 4: The Xialan Flower…The Years That Were Filled with Plum-Colored Petals

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On August 1, 2015, Posted by , In Gong Hua, By ,, , With 3 Comments

I’m not Left Eye. I am Cas! Cas! I am Left… Cas!
Time took away the shock of losing my family. Time took away the grief of my brother’s tragic death. Time took away my hatred. Time took away everything… Then time can go to hell!
I am Cas! Cas! Cas!
Gong Hua, wait for me! I will definitely find you. I will hate you. I will make you suffer. I will destroy you, because Cas hates you to the bone, and I am Cas!

―Cas

The moment they arrived at the venue where the auction was being held, Yin Qie Zi immediately felt an urge to turn the carriage around and escape. He even started to resent Owen and Mila a bit for meddling in his business. He simply could not afford to keep a Leaf by his side. Whether it was the things he had done in the past or the things he was going to do in the future, he couldn’t let the Leaves know about them!

Even though he wanted to leave, he found that he couldn’t do it.

The venue was packed. Although there was a huge square in front of the auction house, every inch of it was filled with people. The streets were also lined with the carriages of the nobility. The numerous carriages followed closely on the heel of one another and were forced to stay in place due to the heavy traffic.

Yin Qie Zi had never seen this many people gathered at the auction house before. With that said, he previously did make an effort to avoid the days when the venue was packed. It allowed him to avoid the irritation of having to deal with a crowd. In any case, the things he bid on were never what other people wanted. He didn’t need to fight with others for them.

Yin Qie Zi glanced out the carriage window. It seemed they had a while to wait before getting out. There were simply too many carriages waiting in line before them. Some of the nobles were already becoming restless and irritated, cursing left and right. Some had even kicked their servants out of the carriage. The servants wore aggrieved expressions on their faces as they walked to the front of the line to check out the situation.

Yin Qie Zi then glanced at the two nobles in their carriage, one sitting adjacent from him and the other sitting beside him. Due to their titles, Owen and Mila were the most privileged out of all the nobles gathered here and thus were most entitled to cut through the line. If they ordered Fenny to go and inform the auction house, they could probably enter the venue immediately.

Mila appeared extremely excited. Her eyes widened as she glanced out the window at the long line of carriages. She exclaimed, “There’s so many people!”

Owen then followed suit and also looked out the window. When he heard the cursing outside, he let out a “Ha” and remarked, “This voice definitely belongs to this War-Glaive or that Warrior.” In high spirits, Owen began to eavesdrop on the various nobles as they cursed. Occasionally, he would click his tongue and comment on how he didn’t know they were this well-versed in profanities and such.

In any case, it seemed Owen and Mila had no plans of taking advantage of their titles to enter the auction house sooner. Yin Qie Zi sighed in relief. At least now, he had some time to think of how he would face the Leaf later on.

Owen suddenly exclaimed in shock and turned around to face them. “I just saw Edward’s carriage.”

“Really?” Mila asked in surprise. “Didn’t he say he couldn’t come when you invited him?”

Owen shrugged and replied, “Yes, he said he wouldn’t have time since he was responsible for entertaining the emissaries from Danya. Who knew he’d actually sneak out and come here?”

Mila was doubtful of her brother’s words. She said in slight disbelief, “I don’t thinks so. His Highness is never lazy when it comes to his responsibilities.”

Fenny put down her yarn and asked tentatively, “Could it be that the emissaries wanted to come to the auction and His Highness brought them here in his carriage?”

At her suggestion, Owen and Mila finally stopped speculating. There was a very high possibility that Fenny’s suggestion was true.

Mila nodded and added, “They are auctioning off a Leaf today. Most likely, the Danyas have come to bid on the Leaf.”

Yin Qie Zi froze in shock and asked puzzledly, “Do the Danyas like the Leaves?”

Owen nodded in response. “Yes, that’s why our peace offerings mostly consist of Leaves. We’ve already been gifting Leaves to them for several years. They also have merchants who bring Leaves to Xia Sha for them. Judging from that, I can say they’ve bought most of the Leaves in Xi Zong. I’ve heard they have at least two thousand Leaves living in their country.”

Two thousand Leaves? Yin Qie Zi was shocked. He asked in disbelief, “Why do they like the Leaves so much?”

When he heard this question, Owen was reminded of Yin Qie Zi’s true identity. He replied a bit uneasily, “Even if you ask me, I wouldn’t know. I’ve only heard they like Leaves and that they’ve spent a great amount of effort amassing all the Leaves from Xi Zong. Other than that, I’m not very sure.”

Seeing Owen’s frantic expression, Yin Qie Zi understood that he shouldn’t pursue the question. He merely nodded and gazed quietly at the chaos outside. Occasionally, he would glance at the prince’s carriage, thinking that the Danya with gold-streaked hair might be sitting inside. What did the Danya call himself again? Right, his name was Jin Qi Er. Maybe he knew Indigo?

“Ah?” Mila leaned forward and pulled on Owen’s sleeve. “Owen, look at that carriage over there. Doesn’t it belong to Commander Chris? It has Zhan Yan’s coat of arms and the Xialan Spiritmancer Regiment’s insignia on it. It should be Commander Chris’ carriage right?”

“It really is! What’s up with everyone today?” Owen shouted in fright, “What is Teacher doing at an auction? I never knew he came to these kinds of places.”

Mila quickly assured him, “Maybe it’s not him. Other members of his family could have borrowed his carriage to come, like his wife perhaps.”

Owen’s furrowed brow relaxed. If not for Mila’s suggestion, he’d have thought that his teacher only showed up because all the other nobles in Zhan Yan seemed to be gathering at the auction.

“If we continue waiting like this, we probably won’t reach the venue even after the auction has started.” Fenny directed her question at Mila, “Why don’t I go and arrange for them to let us in?”

Mila nodded in assent.

Fenny is leaving? Yin Qie Zi was alarmed at the sudden turn of events. His heart began to pound rapidly.

If Fenny were to leave, then only Owen, Mila, and he would be left on the carriage. His injured shoulder would slow his attacking speed, but Owen wasn’t prepared to guard against him at all. If he attacked suddenly, he could probably kill Owen with one hit.

After he killed Owen, then all Mila could do would be to wait for her own death.

Should he make a move?

Fenny poked her head out and spoke a few words to the coachman. She then turned around and smiled. “It’s already done. I’ve asked the coachman to talk to His Highness and ask him to bring us along with him.”

“Oh, Edward truly has his uses,” Owen said and laughed loudly.

Yin Qie Zi hid his right hand behind his back. He clenched his fist tightly and glanced out the window. He maintained a cool expression on his face and slowly felt himself calming down. He’d never expected to have the chance to make a move at this moment, so it wasn’t considered a failure for him. He had only returned to his original plan.

Not long after, the carriage finally moved from its spot. The nobles around them stuck their heads out one after another. Irritation could be seen on their faces, but when they saw that the moving carriage belonged to the royal family, they quickly disguised their anger. They had also noticed that the carriage following behind Prince Edward’s didn’t belong to the royal family, but upon the sight of the Paladin family crest, they didn’t dare show even a hint of their irritation.

Many of the nobles glanced curiously at Yin Qie Zi. For the most part, they only stared at his hair and then curiously speculated on his identity.

Yin Qie Zi quickly noticed that many people were staring at him. He immediately drew the curtains across the window and turned to face the inside of the carriage. Coincidentally, his eyes met Mila’s.

Slightly worried, she asked, “Do you dislike crowded places? Do you want to go home first? We can let Owen go in by himself to buy the Leaf. We’ll return home first, is that alright?”

Yin Qie Zi was silent for a moment. He then quietly explained, “We don’t need to go back. I had acted purely on instinct just now. In the past, I was afraid people would see through me and notice that I was different, that I wasn’t human. I avoided crowded places because of that. But there’s nothing to worry about now. I should look like any other human, right?”

He looked at Mila and then at Owen. The two quickly nodded their heads, their movements exactly the same. Only now did they look like a pair of twins. Yin Qie Zi looked at the two’s same expression and couldn’t resist laughing.

“You laughed! You actually laughed! How rare!” Owen started yelling, making big deal out of it.

Yin Qie Zi immediately stopped laughing and started glaring fiercely at Owen. After hesitating a moment, he pulled the curtains aside and glanced out again. It was simply too dark inside the carriage with the curtains drawn.

Unexpectedly, when he opened the curtains, he found they had already arrived at the door of the auction house. Over a dozen guards stood in two rows, currently welcoming the guests on the royal carriage. The first to step out was Prince Edward.

As Fenny had surmised, the guests accompanying the prince were the Danya emissaries. The minute the Danyas stepped out, Yin Qie Zi could hear a round of gasps in the crowd. The Danyas were simply too eye-catching.

As their average height was around two meters, they stood over the rest of the crowd by at least a head. Their bodies were slim and fit. Most of them had a head of luscious, long hair. Their most striking and unique feature, however, was their hair color. On top of the white base, their hair was streaked with large amounts of gold, with small amounts of blue, red, and black mixed in.

There were four Danyas in total, but only one of them had hair with purely gold streaks. He walked ahead of everyone else, appearing to be the leader of the small group. It was Jin Qi Er, the Danya Yin Qie Zi had seen on the night of the attack at the palace.

“Owen!”

Owen was the first one to step down from the carriage. Yin Qie Zi followed after him and gave a strange look at Fenny, who was still sitting inside. She seemed to have no plans to help Mila disembark from the carriage. She simply sat with a girlish smile on her face, appearing like a weak and powerless girl once again.

Yin Qie Zi felt a bit helpless and tried to explain, “There’s a lot of people here. It probably won’t be appropriate for me to lift Mila out.”

From his understanding of human culture, it was extremely inappropriate for a man to hold an unwed girl in his arms in front of a crowd, especially when the prince, a regiment commander, and foreign diplomats were there as witnesses. He might end up being dragged away by the guards if he dared to do such a thing!

Fenny merely blinked innocently at his words. “But I’m not strong enough to lift the young mistress from the carriage.”

Why did she appear so natural while lying? It was as if she believed in her lie. Yin Qie Zi suddenly felt very tired and helpless.

“Fenny, stop fooling around.” With a red face, Mila said quietly, “Yin Qie Zi is right. There are too many people here. It would be extremely inappropriate for him to help me down.”

“Miss, why are you saying that too? I’m truly not strong enough to lift you.” Once she finished speaking, Fenny quickly slipped out of the carriage. She turned around and said, “I will go prepare your wheelchair.”

“Fenny!” Mila exclaimed in shock, but her maid had already walked to the back of the carriage.

The wheelchair is probably heavier than Mila, Yin Qie Zi thought. He sighed lightly and asked, “Mila, is it okay for me to lift you down?”

“So-sorry!” Mila quickly replied, the shame apparent on her face. “You can just leave me here. I just don’t believe that Fenny and Owen will leave me here alone and go in by themselves!”

Yin Qie Zi gazed at Mila silently. He didn’t know if she was telling the truth or if she was merely making an excuse. If he really did as she asked, she might be angry with him instead. He had come across several people in the past who would make excuses but weren’t truly rejecting his help.

Mila, however, repeated in a firm voice, “Really, you can just leave me here! Don’t worry. It’s all because of Owen and Fenny. They’ve gone too far this time.”

Yin Qie Zi closely examined Mila’s expression. Not a bit of hesitation could be seen on her face, only determination. He could see she wasn’t making an excuse to let him leave. He smiled and said, “If Prince Edward ever blames me for this, you’ll have to help me out and say it’s all Owen’s fault.”

“Eh?”

Mila stared at him in shock and felt herself being lifted in one swift motion. Startled, she cried out in alarm at the sudden movement. She quickly grabbed hold of the nearest thing to stabilize herself. When she noticed she had grabbed onto Yin Qie Zi’s head, she cried out again. She quickly released her hold and quietly apologized in a sheepish voice, “So-sorry.”

Yin Qie Zi merely grunted in response. Although he was trying his best to maintain his calm, he couldn’t restrain the blush that rose up on his cheeks. Mila had just grabbed onto his head. When they’d left for the auction, he hadn’t bothered coating his hair with the powder of grazing beasts. His hair had been touched directly, without any protection at all. He felt…something he couldn’t bear to describe.

“Yin Qie Zi, Yin Qie Zi, you can put me down.”

When he felt his chest being patted, Yin Qie Zi finally regained his senses. He was still holding onto Mila. Fenny, who stood at the side with the wheelchair, was secretly laughing to herself. The crowd around them was quiet, so quiet that it was abnormal. He couldn’t resist glancing at the people around them. He saw that every single person had their eyes on him and Mila. The prince, the Danya emissaries, various nobles, and even the guards were all quietly staring at them with wide eyes.

Owen was so shocked that his jaw was hanging almost all the way down to his chest.

When he saw they were the center of attention, Yin Qie Zi was so embarrassed that he didn’t dare to look around anymore. He quickly withdrew his eyes and lowered his head to avoid other people’s gazes. With his head lowered, however, he immediately noticed that Mila’s face was flushed red. Even the tips of her ears were red due to her embarrassment. Her head was lowered so much that her face couldn’t be seen.

“…”

In one breath, Yin Qie Zi placed Mila onto her wheelchair and quickly pushed her into the auction house without looking back. Fenny pulled up her skirts and ran after them, barely managing to keep up.

After they entered the auction house, Yin Qie Zi pushed Mila toward the great hall without pausing. Only once they were inside the hall did he finally stop to breathe. At that moment, the crowd outside suddenly burst into thunderous laughter. Even though they were quite a distance away from the entrance, they could still hear the laughter loud and clear.

Yin Qie Zi had an urge to bash his head against a wall and die.

“Don’t worry Yin Qie Zi. Y-you didn’t actually do anything. You were just staring in a daze for a little.”

Yin Qie Zi lifted his head and looked at her. Mila’s face was still as red as an apple, but she was trying her best to reassure him.

Seeing this, he made an effort to pull himself together. He looked straight into Mila’s eyes and apologized, “I’m sorry. I’ve embarrassed you just now.”

Faced with Yin Qie Zi’s gaze, Mila lowered her head. She mumbled, “Actually, I didn’t feel all that embarrassed.”

As Mila had her head bowed, Yin Qie Zi could only see her golden hair from where he was standing. This was the best, however, as their faces were so red that it seemed they were about to spew out blood from embarrassment. If they held each other’s gazes for any longer, Yin Qie Zi would probably truly turn around and escape.

“Sir, may I ask if you need me to take you to your seats?”

Pretending to be unperturbed, Yin Qie Zi turned to look at the person who had spoken. It was a young man, dressed in servant’s garb with a smile on his face. Yin Qie Zi hadn’t quite caught what he had said and asked, “What did you just say?”

The attendant respectfully repeated his question, “Would you like me to lead you to your seats? If I could have your admission tickets, if you please.”

Yin Qie Zi frowned at his words. Seeing this, the attendant dared not probe the matter further. Judging from Yin Qie Zi’s luxurious outfit, he knew the latter wasn’t someone to provoke. Even if Yin Qie Zi didn’t have an admission ticket, the most he could do was respectfully ask him to purchase them right now.

“I have the admission tickets here.”

Out of nowhere, Fenny came up and handed several tickets to the waiting young man. He accepted them and immediately praised himself for his foresight. The tickets were for the box seats reserved especially for distinguished guests. Only the highest ranked nobility were able to afford these tickets. From the first impression, he’d thought the young master with silvery-purple hair had an extraordinary air about him. He definitely came from an old and distinguished family.

The young man gave a ninety-degree bow and said reverently, “Please follow me.”

Yin Qie Zi hesitated for a moment, but willingly went forward to push Mila’s wheelchair. Mila lowered her head shyly in response. Fenny laughed to herself all the while by the side. Even though Yin Qie Zi continuously gave her pointed stares, it didn’t stop her laughter.

The young man led the three of them to their box seats, which had an excellent view of the stage as it was situated just to the right of it. The angle the box was built in also blocked curious glances from other attendees. They were seats that offered privacy and a good view.

After they were seated, the attendant busied about serving them fruits and drinks. Yin Qie Zi picked up his drink and took a forceful gulp. Fenny merely sat in her seat peeling a fruit for Mila to eat. All three of them were silent, feeling awkward… Rather, only two of them felt awkward. Fenny wasn’t the slightest bit awkward. Instead she smiled, appearing to be in a good mood. Her good mood, however, made it harder for the other two to restrain the blushes that were spreading over their faces.

Not long after, Owen came into the box, followed by a man who looked around forty years old. The man was dressed in an outfit that resembled a military uniform. His face was angular and his eyebrows also slanted upwards in sharp angles. His whole person exuded energy and an air of capability.

Yin Qie Zi immediately recognized the man. The other hadn’t changed much from the past. There were more wrinkles around his eyes and between his brows. His body also wasn’t as robust as before. However, compared to how West’s appearance had changed, he truly didn’t change much. Yin Qie Zi knew who he was at first glance…

He was the commander of the Xialan Spiritmancer Regiment―Zhan ∙ Chris ∙ Wollier

Although Chris was one of the people who were aware of Gong Hua’s existence, Yin Qie Zi wasn’t especially worried. Even West hadn’t recognized him, not to mention Chris, who had known him for a much shorter time.

Thinking about the past, they never truly cared about his appearance. All that was important to them was that he wielded a formidable power.

***

The entire Racing Flames regiment had been beaten miserably.

Chakou had fallen into the enemy’s hands. Alfven Xi Jiang’s whereabouts were currently unknown. The zong jiang of the Right Division was missing. In the end, it was a zong xiao who took charge of the remaining troops and ordered a retreat. With the Danyas hot on their tails, the battered army crossed the Eastern Zhan River and successfully rendezvoused with the Xialan Regiment that was coming for their assistance.

The Racing Flames originally consisted of ninety-thousand soldiers. After the battles at the Zangxia Gates and Chakou, however, only thirty-thousand soldiers remained. This news came as a shock to the king and the nobility residing in Qifeng, finally awakening them to the reality of the war.

For his meritorious conduct of saving thirty-thousand soldiers, West Zong Xiao was to be directly promoted to zong jiang and the temporary commander of the Racing Flames Regiment.

***

, the city lord’s residence.

“I am Zhan ∙ Chris ∙ Wollier. The zong jiang of the Xialan Regiment’s Central Division.”

A robust figure walked in and introduced himself before saying anything else.

West was drinking a glass of water. When he heard the other’s rank, he immediately stood up and saluted. He then introduced himself, “Zong Jiang, I am Zhan ∙ West ∙ Paladin, the zong xiao of the Racing Flames Regiment’s Left Division.”

“You won’t stay as zong xiao for long.” Chris stated concisely, “Fifty-thousand additional soldiers will be assigned to the Racing Flames. The Racing Flames will then join the Xialan Regiment in holding back the Danya army. The xi jiang of the Xialan Regiment has already reported to the higher officials. He wants you to lead the Racing Flames.”

Chris did not mention the xi jiang’s name, but most of the public knew the xi jiang also had the surname Wollier. He was Chris’ father. The majority of people assumed that the only reason Chris could be promoted to the position of zong jiang in such a short time was because of his familial ties with the commander. After meeting the man though, West did not think that was the case.

Chris’ back was straight and powerful. He spoke in a concise manner and always had on a strict and self-restrained expression, but his eyes were full of spirit. His whole person exuded a feeling of a sword that could be swiftly drawn at any given moment. He was a model soldier from head to toe.

Noticing West was looking him over, Chris relaxed his expression a bit and gestured for West to sit. He sat down first and poured himself a glass of water. When West was seated, he finally opened his mouth and started chatting as if they were having a normal conversation. “It must have been difficult to protect and lead thirty-thousand soldiers in that kind of situation. I deeply admire you for it.”

West’s heart gave a lurch and he quickly said, “You are being too kind. What happened in the past is not important, what is important at this moment, is how we will push back the Danyas. They are powerful, much more powerful than we’ve expected. They are not the simple barbarians we have made them out to be. They are strong opponents. Even their most basic one-handed swords are larger than our own. They will not be easy to defeat.”

“That is significant information.” Chris asked in detail, “How many of our soldiers would it take to hold back one Danya?”

West calmly analyzed and spoke, “We had been caught unprepared in Chakou. Due to our continuous losses, our soldiers are afraid to go into battle. Adding on the Danya’s high morale, I’m afraid even four or five of our soldiers won’t be able to hold back one of them. However, in normal circumstances, I think around three or even two of our soldiers should be able to stop one of them.”

“Do they have siege weapons?”

Feeling a bit embarrassed, West replied, “I know they have siege-engines. As for other weapons… since we had been caught unprepared, I didn’t see much of anything else.” He paused there, unable to continue. The battle at Chakou had been so shameful that he’d rather have died in the city.

Although he was unable to obtain any further information, Chris did not look disappointed. He only nodded and said, “No matter what, His Majesty the King has already given his order: We must not allow the Danyas to cross the Eastern Zhan River!”

West’s expression changed when he heard those words. The length of the Eastern Zhan River was twice that of the Cha River. Even if they disregarded the northern section that wound around an impassable mountain range, a large section of the river still remained. To guard such a long distance and prevent the Danyas from breaking in was one word: impossible.

Chris had an ugly expression on his face. He knew pulling off such a task would be difficult. Despite that, they were soldiers. If the king commanded them to guard the river, then they could only obey.

Seeing Chris’ expression, West decided to not linger on the topic. The two of them continued chatting about the upcoming battle. They sighed and felt troubled by the king’s impossible command, but didn’t complain any further. Was there truly a battle they couldn’t afford to lose? West himself had said they couldn’t afford to lose Chakou, but what about now?

“What are Yi Shuang, Dashi, and Linlan’s views on this situation? The Danyas have already penetrated into Xi Zong. Do they still plan to observe without lifting a finger?”

Chris replied unenthusiastically, “Dashi has agreed to send troops to help defend Zu Gang. We still don’t know about the other two countries.”

Anger rose up in West the minute he heard Chris’ response. “Zu Gang is a port we’ve lent to Dashi for their personal use. What do they mean by sending out troops to ‘help’ defend it? They should do so in any case!”

Chris shook his head and said, “Calm down. Our own country only started taking this war seriously after the Racing Flames had been defeated. How would it be different for countries that haven’t suffered any losses at all?”

West was taken aback by the other’s words. Chris was younger than him by several years, yet he remained calm throughout the conversation. Unexpectedly, it was an old man like him who felt agitated about the whole affair.

“Well, why don’t we stop here? West Zong Xiao, you should turn in early today. Perhaps tomorrow you will be known as West Zong Jiang. We still have many things to do in the following days. Everything is for the people of Zhan Yan. We fight for them!”

Finished speaking, Chris turned around and left. Looking at Chris’ resolute back, West felt a bit ashamed of himself. The other man was still young, yet he was already a good soldier who thought only of his people and his country. In contrast, an old man like him was hiding something important from his own countrymen. It was perhaps the secret weapon that could guard the Eastern Zhan River against the Danyas.

“Please wait!”

“…What is it?”

***

Owen was sitting in front of a tent. The tent was located in a remote corner of the barracks, so few people passed by him, but the ones who did frowned at his unkempt appearance. Even if those soldiers frowned at him, they did not have the energy to care about other people’s business. Owen had no plans to change locations or tidy up his appearance either, he merely sat, dejected, on the ground.

“Owen.”

Hearing his name, Owen finally came back to himself. He saw West walking towards him. His cousin looked left and right before saying quietly, “We’ll go in and talk.”

“We can’t, Gong Hua is taking a bath inside.” Owen sighed deeply and said, “Her whole body is covered with blood. She hasn’t had time to bathe ever since we’ve escaped from Chakou. Why don’t you just say what you want here?”

West was quiet for a moment. He then said, “The war is going to start again. New soldiers have been assigned to the Racing Flames. We will assist the Xialan Regiment in the task of guarding the whole Eastern Zhan River.”

Owen jumped up when he heard the last sentence. An “Impossible” leapt out of his mouth. Then he yelled in disbelief, “Guard the whole river? Don’t you know how long the Eastern Zhan River is? How is it possible for us to guard the entire river?”

Of course West understood how ridiculous the whole ordeal was. He helplessly said, “The higher officials said that it is currently harvest season on the Old Zhan Plains. If we let the Danyas break in and plunder our land, we’ll certainly suffer a famine the coming year. We definitely can’t allow the Danyas to cross the Eastern Zhan River.”

Owen roared furiously, “They would’ve already crossed it if not for Gong Hua. If she weren’t there at the time, the Danyas would’ve already taken Zhandong City. There wouldn’t even be an Eastern Zhan River for us to guard!”

West was fell silent for a second and then replied, “That’s why we need her.”

Owen was startled. He understood what West was implying.

“You want to turn Gong Hua into a weapon?”

West furrowed his brows, but still nodded in the end.

“She’s only a girl!” Owen yelled.

West didn’t have the same opinion as Owen. In his mind, the strength and power Gong Hua possessed was far from what a girl should have.

“I definitely won’t agree to this!” Owen grabbed a fistful of West’s clothes, completely disregarding that West was his older cousin. He only yelled exasperatedly, “When we escaped from Chakou, do you know how many Danyas Gong Hua killed for us? If it weren’t for her, we would’ve died in that city! If she hadn’t stayed at the back of the army and prevented the Danyas from chasing us, do you really think thirty-thousand soldiers could have escaped all the way to Zhandong? Did you forget all she has done for us? I’ll look past it if you simply don’t know how to be thankful, but now you want her to kill more people?”

West grabbed Owen’s hands and glared fiercely at him. He widened his eyes and gritted out, “If we don’t protect Zhandong, then girls younger than her will die by the Danyas’ hands! Even if they survive by some chance, they’ll die on the road due to shortage of food! Don’t you understand this?”

Owen was taken aback.

“Zhan Yan is my country. It’s also yours. Not to mention girls, I would even use infants as weapons to protect my country! Do you still call yourself a soldier? Owen!”

Owen was rendered speechless by his cousin’s reprimand. Since long ago, he had already stopped considering himself as a soldier. Would a soldier shield a murderer? Would a soldier escape with a murderer? Would a soldier k-ki…kill his own teammate?

He did not intend to argue with West on those points. He merely stated in a cold voice, “Gong Hua won’t obediently listen to you and kill people. She doesn’t like killing. It’s useless to reason with her, as she doesn’t understand what reason is at all.”

West frowned and said, “She’s already killed that many Danyas. I don’t see how she’s unwilling.”

“That’s because the Danyas were chasing after us!” Distraught, Owen said, “Whenever I am in danger, Gong Hua would lose her senses. She would go into a frenzy and kill everything that tries to come near me!”

A thoughtful expression appeared on West’s face when he heard Owen’s explanation. Owen gazed at him suspiciously, already regretting that he hadn’t listen to Gong Hua’s words, or rather Mila’s words. Mila had wanted Gong Hua to leave Zhan Yan. Thinking about it now, that was probably what they should’ve done in the beginning.

But Owen wasn’t capable of abandoning everything and escaping to a foreign country. Especially when Zhan Yan was experiencing a calamity, he definitely couldn’t leave during the war!

West smiled and said lightly, “That’s simple. The battlefields are full of dangerous places. As a soldier, going into the battlefield is your duty.”

Owen was stunned, but quickly understood what West was planning. West was going to send him into the battlefield, not for fighting… but to force Gong Hua to kill!

Owen paled at this revelation, but West disregarded him, he had already made up his mind. If Gong Hua only killed when Owen was in danger, then he would send Owen into battle!

Publicly, West was being this harsh because they needed to protect the Eastern Zhan River at all costs. Otherwise, the streets of this city would be turned into rivers of blood. Privately, it was because the Danyas had already killed many of his brothers-in-arms. Even Yehv’s whereabouts were unknown. He didn’t even know if Yehv had died in Chakou. How could he not hate the Danyas?

I’ll make these monsters fight to the death amongst themselves!

“West, is your conversation finished? I still have many things to do. I can’t afford to wait too long.”

Owen was so frightened at the stranger’s voice that he almost jumped up. How long had the man been listening to their conversation?

“Don’t be agitated. This is Zhan ∙ Chris ∙ Wollier, the zong jiang of the Xialan Regiment’s Central Division.”

Owen stared in surprise as the man in question approached them. Chris was dressed in a military uniform and looked around to be his age, but the medal hanging from his uniform indeed identified him as a zong jiang.

Owen had heard of Chris, as he was one the most famous soldiers among Zhan Yan’s army. His father was a xi jiang, plus his own promotions were the fastest ever recorded. Both praises and criticisms surrounded his character. Some claimed he was a model soldier, while others claimed his promotions had been due to his father’s connections.

It didn’t matter what Chris’ true character was, what exactly was West trying to accomplish by bringing him here? It had only been a few days when they had decided to conceal Gong Hua’s existence as much as possible to prevent needless trouble. After all, Owen and Gong Hua were still wanted criminals.

“Owen…”

Owen turned around and saw Gong Hua standing timidly in the tent’s opening, only exposing one side of her body. She was already dressed, but as she had not sponged off the water on her body before dressing, half of her clothes were wet.

“A woman?” Chris frowned and asked severely, “Why is there a woman in the barracks? This is an action that can put you on trial for violating army decree. Did you bring her here knowing that?”

West quickly explained, “Her name is Gong Hua. She’s the secret weapon I was telling you about. It was due to her that the thirty-thousand soldiers of the Racing Flames managed to survive.”

Due to her? Chris furrowed his brows and looked over Gong Hua. Her appearance and height indicated that she was a woman, but the expression in her eyes made her seem like an underage girl instead. A carpet of wet black hair draped over her body, some stray strands sticking to her cheeks. There were holes in her sleeves and skirt. A normal girl definitely would not allow herself to be seen in such a state. It didn’t take much observation to see that she was filled with fear. How was a frightened girl such as her able to protect thirty-thousand soldiers?

Chris glanced doubtfully at West, the furrow between his brows deepening to three lines.

At the same time, West also felt a bit awkward. He didn’t know how to prove his words. Even if he told Gong Hua to demonstrate her power, she probably wouldn’t even listen. Would she do it if Owen were to ask instead?

He turned to look at Owen, suddenly stumbling upon an idea. He pulled out his sword and pointed it at Owen, even brandishing it a few times for good measure.

Seeing this, Gong Hua ran out of the tent and wedged herself between him and Owen. Countless vines exploded out of the ground, moving like snakes and dancing wildly in the air.

Chris, who had remained quiet this whole time, widened his eyes at the display.

“Gong Hua, stop!” Frightened, Owen immediately grabbed Gong Hua and repeatedly shouted at her to stop. With great difficulty, he managed to control Gong Hua’s instinct to kill. Finally feeling it was safe enough to look away, he turned to West and roared, “Why did you do such a stupid thing? Don’t you know Gong Hua could’ve killed you just now?”

West was taken aback, suddenly realizing how stupid he’d been. He had seen the vines’ attack many times now. If Gong Hua had acted a second faster or if Owen had reacted a second slower, he would’ve been sent flying or pierced by the vines. At that thought, cold sweat streamed down his back.

Standing at the side, Chris couldn’t resist and walked up to get a closer look at the vines. Gong Hua immediately turned her head and stared at him with her blood-red eyes. If he dared to pull out his sword, then he’d be speared by the vines faster than West would have been.

As a soldier, Chris knew how to suppress his fear in front of enemies. The enemy in front of him at the moment was different from all the others he had encountered before. She looked pure, yet dangerous. She stood with spread arms in front of Owen, her pair of blood-red eyes staring straight at West and Chris. Her entire attitude seemed to send out a message―If you don’t want to die, then don’t you dare raise a hand against Owen.

There was no room for negotiation with an enemy like this. The only way to survive was to refrain from harming her object of protection. Chris felt his whole body go rigid, his hands heavy like stones.

West misunderstood the reason for his silence and quickly explained, “The vines aren’t only this size. I’ve seen ones that were five meters in diameter and perhaps even that isn’t her limit. The killing power of these vines is also astonishing. Even if they are just moving on the ground, they can crush people underneath them. If we make these vines crawl over the battlefield a few times, we can completely destroy the Danyas’ morale.”

Let vines that go up to five meters in diameter crawl over the battlefield? Chris didn’t know how to respond to that idea. In a hoarse voice, he asked, “What did you say her name was?”

“Gong Hua.”

 

Next: Chapter 5: To Send Out…Weapons or Medicine?
Previous: Chapter 3: Left Eye…The Royal Assassin
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Nannyn
Proofreaders: PiKairi, Dinoj

战东城, Eastern Zhan City

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3 Comments so far:

  1. Irid says:

    Found a few small mistakes (or what I think are mistakes…):

    In any case, it seemed Owen and Mila had no plans on taking advantage of their titles to enter the auction house quicker. -> In any case, it seemed Owen and Mila had no plans on taking advantage of their titles to enter the auction house more quickly/sooner.

    This news came as a shock to the king and the nobility residing in Qi Feng, finally awaking them to the reality of the war. -> This news came as a shock to the king and the nobility residing in Qi Feng, finally awakening them to the reality of the war.

    What’s Yi Shuang, Dashi, and Linlan’s views on this situation? -> What are Yi Shuang, Dashi, and Linlan’s views on this situation?

    Owen had no plans to change locations or tidy up his appearance either, he merely sat dejected on the ground. -> Owen had no plans to change locations or tidy up his appearance either, he merely sat, dejected, on the ground.

    If Gong Hua only killed when Owen was in danger, than he would send Owen into battle! -> If Gong Hua only killed when Owen was in danger, then he would send Owen into battle!

  2. xena says:

    i missed cas and gong hua moment and thank you for update

  3. Mika says:

    It’s depressing how Gong Hua is seen as nothing but a weapon, to be used or to be feared. It’s sad and heartbreaking. I really hope there’s happiness in Gong Hua’s future. (Part of me really hopes s/he get revenge on all those who’d hurt him/her.)

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