There was a reason for the long preparation time. The caravan of each country was particularly long, with many people and many things. Indeed, as Emperor Qingyuan said, all countries had brought their female relatives over.
At this moment, the caravan from the Western Regions was passing by, and the sound of the hoofs of the barbarian horses was getting closer. Fu Zhiyu glanced down, just in time to see King Xidan riding in the middle.
Fu Zhiyu had seen King Xidan in his previous life. After all, he had been on the battlefield during the Qianyuan Battle. King Xidan’s full name was very long. “Xidan” was just the last part of his name. According to the rules of the barbarians, it had become a concise title, and the outside world called him King Xidan.
He was a vicious person, a fighting madman and an infantile maniac to boot. In the original, he was the number one boss. Unlike Fu Zhiyu, who left the scene after one-fifth of the plot, King Xidan was considered the last hurdle in Xie Ke’s unification of the continent. The ending wasn’t bad. Afterwards, King Xidan bowed his head to Xie Ke in defeat and became one of Xie Ke’s subjects.
However, now that the Qianyuan Battle had been brought forward, the ending of the battle was very different from the previous life. It was no longer that Jilin won by a small margin. King Xidan was beaten to the ground by Xie Ke and almost had no power to fight back, nearly losing his life. The plot of the original book, where they had been in a stalemate for a long time, probably wouldn’t exist anymore.
Who knows if it was a coincidence but when Fu Zhiyu looked down from the window, King Xidan, who was looking around, suddenly raised his head and glanced in his direction. The eyes of the two happened to meet. Fu Zhiyu frowned and quickly looked away.
King Xidan’s appearance was as evil as his character. He had a pair of narrow and long phoenix eyes, and there was a red mole under his right eye. It wasn’t big, like a drop of blood, or like a cluster of flames, and it made him look even more vicious.
Although Fu Zhiyu quickly looked away and pulled back, and it was impossible for King Xidan, who was riding a horse on the street below, to see him from this angle, he kept looking up, staring at the window intently until the horse procession walked around the corner. Only when the window of the Fengyue House was no longer visible did he withdraw his gaze.
King Xidan was followed by his confidant, Qiu Liang, the commander of the barbarian cavalry. He also noticed that King Xidan’s movements were somewhat strange, so he asked, “What is the king looking at?”
“I saw a man,” the corner of King Xidan’s mouth curled into a meaningful smile. “I have seen him before. What I saw at Xie Ke’s place was a very small portrait, just the size of a palm. I don’t know what material it was made of but it was extremely realistic. Just now, I saw him and he was even more beautiful in person. If it were me, I’m afraid I’d be thinking about him too.”
Qiu Liang frowned. He had a shadow left by Xie Ke, and he didn’t know how to answer the above words for a while.
“Isn’t it very interesting? That small portrait was placed by Xie Ke in his most intimate clothes. He had sewed a pocket on the chest of his shirt and put it close to his heart.” King Xidan didn’t care about Qiu Liang and spoke to himself in a curious tone, “Some soldiers do this. It’s usually their parents and children, or more often their beloved, and the Young General Xie, who is fearless and omnipotent, put a portrait of a man there. It turns out that he also has weaknesses.”
“The king wants to…?”
Xidan knew when he looked at Qiu Liang’s eyes that he was thinking too much, shook his head and said, “This is someone else’s territory. We can’t even defeat Xie Ke in our own place. Do you dare to touch his reverse scale here(1)? I’d like to go back in one piece. You have to be self-aware to survive. I’m not that reckless.”
“However,” he changed his tune after that, “I’m just curious to join the fun, isn’t that okay?”
After the envoys of the four countries stayed in their respective residences, they rested for a while, and Emperor Qingyuan set up a banquet in the palace the next night.
It was on this occasion that Fu Zhiyu met King Xidan for the second time. When the master of ceremonies introduced him as Wang Zhao, Fu Zhiyu saw a very obvious change in Xidan’s eyes.
“I have heard so much about Wang Zhao for a long time, I am honoured.” Xidan deliberately came forward and clinked his glass with Fu Zhiyu, “I thought I had a glimpse of an extremely graceful nobleman in the Fengyue House, but it turned out to be the famous Wang Zhao.”
Fu Zhiyu frowned: “Do you know me?”
“Wang Zhao is a great talent in poetry and painting. In the barbarian palace there is still a painting of snow plums you painted. How could I not know you?” King Xidan had a shallow smile on his face and stepped forward again, “I see today that you’re really different from us rough people. I wonder if Wang Zhao can give this king some face and have a few drinks with me?”
Fu Zhiyu didn’t expect this man to pester him. What kind of poetry and paintings did King Xidan, a fighting madman, know? It was just an excuse, what did he plan to do?
Fu Zhiyu opened his mouth, but before he could refuse, a voice came from behind.
“Wang Zhao is not strong enough to drink, why don’t you let this general drink with you for him?”
It was Xie Ke. He held a wine glass in his hand and walked up to Fu Zhiyu’s side. The warning in his eyes staring at King Xidan was extremely obvious.
I haven’t done anything yet, but he is already anxious…
The smile on King Xidan’s face remained unchanged, but the thoughts in his heart turned around several times. However, he also had a sense of proportion, knowing that Xie Ke was someone he couldn’t go head-to-head with. After saluting, he walked away and was taken by the master of ceremonies to deal with other people.
“Baby, you have to be careful with him. King Xidan is looking for you for some reason, he must have an agenda.” Xie Ke was still uneasy after seeing Xidan leave; he turned around and repeatedly told Fu Zhiyu, “If he really wants to do something, just bring me in. He won’t dare to touch you.”
Fu Zhiyu took a big step back, distancing himself from Xie Ke. Although the occasion was big and chaotic, it was nighttime and there were many lanterns hanging up. If someone had a wish to watch, this scene could be noticed.
“General Zhenyuan should also be more careful with his words.” Fu Zhiyu said, “I have never had any dealings with you, General, and I have only just met King Xidan, so please be careful what you say.”
“Zhiyu…” Xie Ke was helpless and tried to stop him again, but Fu Zhiyu quickly avoided him.
“It is late at night and the dew is heavy. This wang is not feeling well. I have already sent someone to inform Father Emperor, so I’ll retire now.” Fu Zhiyu estimated that it was about time and he wouldn’t be too abrupt to leave. “Young General Xie, have fun.”
“I’ll see you off,” Xie Ke followed him closely. “Recently, there have been many foreign envoys, and even some merchants followed them. It is very chaotic outside. Zhiyu, I will send you to the residence without disturbing you, okay?”
Fu Zhiyu shook his head: “No way.”
But Xie Ke didn’t listen either. He followed Fu Zhiyu’s carriage on a horse. After seeing him enter the residence, he stood in front of the gate for a long time before leaving.
“Why do I think he is much bolder than before?” Although Yuan Mingdao hated Xie Ke, he was not really a child and didn’t let his momentary emotions affect his thinking, “Because of the power he has now?”
When Xie Ke was still an imperial guard in the palace, he would never dare to do such a thing in front of others, but now he didn’t care about anything anymore. Let alone the emperor, even the common folk knew that General Zhenyuan had the best relationship with Wang Zhao.
Rumours were it was because of the rescue of Wang Zhao back then that Xie Ke started rising step by step. The emperor didn’t say anything either. He originally wanted Fu Zhiyu to marry the woman of the Xie family, but since he couldn’t marry her, it was also fine to have a good relationship with Xie Ke.
After listening to Yuan Mingdao’s words, Fu Zhiyu didn’t shake his head or nod. He didn’t stay at the banquet for nothing. Except for the overly active King Xidan, the rest of the people also had their own thoughts, and he saw them all.
Although the Xue family’s previous plans with the ancient countries of the Western Regions had failed and Fu Zhiyu didn’t know how the intermediary cavalry general negotiated this business, the two should have solved the past problems. The girl Fu Rongye was said to be marrying was also the daughter of the cavalry general, and the trend of cooperation between the two families had been set, even including the Lin family.
The Lin family was blind before and chose King Xidan, who didn’t play cards according to common sense. King Xidan went to toast cheerfully as if nothing had happened, but General Lin dared not drink this glass of wine.
The Xue and Lin families were uniting all the forces that could be united. The emperor saw it but didn’t panic. The net was spread and he was waiting to catch them all. These families had always refused to obey. Emperor Qingyuan was looking for an opportunity to truly grasp the ultimate power, beyond anyone’s reach.
So what if they united with the Western Regions? Their strength was not as good as that of the barbarians. If the barbarians could be defeated, the Western Regions were not a problem. Emperor Qingyuan wanted more than that. He looked at everything in front of him without a trace of panic, feeling that the winning ticket was in his hand.
The Xie family was his greatest asset. The whole banquet seemed to be another celebration of the Xie family.
It was not surprising that everyone went to Xie Ke to toast. The country of Chen, which Xie Ke had helped, naturally did the same, but Fu Zhiyu caught a glimpse of the Lord of Chen pulling Xie Ke aside and talking about something for a long time. The expression on his face was so kind as if Xie Ke was his own son.
This reminded Fu Zhiyu of something else.
Xie Ke and the Lord of Chen really had a relationship, a real blood relationship. In his previous life, Fu Zhiyu always wanted the piece of jade that Xie Ke was carrying. It was left to him by his dead mother and was a token of love for his future wife. Xie Ke had never given it to him, and even Miss Xue, who later married him, didn’t get it.
It wasn’t until Fu Zhiyu had finished reading the whole book that he knew that Xie Ke’s mother who died early was a plot twist. She was the daughter of the Lord of Chen who had been stranded by accident. That jade was the proof; Xie Ke was actually his grandson.
Taking into account the blood ties, coupled with the grace of relieving the siege on the battlefield, it went without saying that the Lord of Chen’s favorability of Xie Ke was very high. Although Chen was nominally a vassal state of Jilin, nominal was nominal and factual was factual. It was not that simple to completely turn the entire Chen country into Jilin’s territory. With this relationship, a few years after Xie Ke ascended the throne of Jilin, the Lord of Chen saw that he had already gained a firm foothold, so he followed the trend and Chen gradually became Xie Ke’s possession, a part of one empire in the Central Plains. Jing didn’t last long under this scenario. Xie Ke unified the three states of the Central Plains without losing a single soldier. His ability to rule the world was excellent, and the people’s lives became more peaceful and prosperous, so there were no complaints.
In the previous life, it was when Xie Ke led his troops to support Chen in the Qianyuan Battle that the jade pendant played its role. Now, Fu Zhiyu looked at the expression of the Lord of Chen and guessed that this matter had been moved forward together with the war.
Emperor Qingyuan only saw the Lin and Xue families fighting like two trapped beasts. He thought that Xie Ke was still young and manageable, but he didn’t see that the ostensibly loyal subject was the one who was harbouring the greatest evil intentions.
- According to legends, the scale on the neck of the dragon that will make the dragon very angry if touched; figuratively, a sensitive spot