Edited and Proofread by KitKat
An Chang Qing said those strong words with gnashing teeth but his red eyes and nose simply did not match his words. He reminded Xiao Zhige of a little silver fox that he had encountered while hunting. After being cornered, the small animal was also trying to seem brave by bearing its teeth this way.
Xiao Zhige smiled unconsciously. He patted his back gently as though smoothing out the ruffled fur of the frightened silver fox. He softly reassured him, “En, this will not happen again.”
An Chang Qing’s strained body gradually relaxed under Xiao Zhige’s consolation. He rested his head on his shoulder and said in a muffled voice, “I understand that certain military affairs cannot be disclosed even to family members but you cannot hide the severity of the matter from me.”
“I will not hide anything from you again. In the future, whatever you want to know, I will tell you everything.”
Thinking back, Xiao Zhige was truly regretful that he did not let An Chang Qing know. Initially, it was to keep him from worrying but what if he had returned a few days later and Yanzhou’s defense was broken? With An Chang Qing’s stubbornness, he would not have abandoned Yanzhou and fled.
Xiao Zhige knew that the person in his arms may seem delicate but his claws were actually quite sharp.
An Chang Qing let Xiao Zhige hug him a little longer before leaving his embrace to resume combing his hair.
As his fingers swept past, Xiao Zhige suddenly grabbed his wrist. He looked at the blisters on his hand and frowned, “What happened?”
On the tender pair of hands were patches of blisters. Some of which had already popped, leaving a layer of dried skin and some new ones which had just begun to form. The fair-skinned hands had turned rugged with uneven patches of marred skin.
Seeing An Chang Qing pulling back his hand, Xiao Zhige did not ask further and said, “The bubbles have to be pricked before we can apply medicine.”
“Pricking the bubbles is painful. And applying medicine is inconvenient when I have to use my hands. Plus, it’s nothing serious.”
Xiao Zhige’s face turned black and An Chang Qing knew he was losing the fight. He said reluctantly, “I’ll do it later.”
“I’ll help you.”
Since An Chang Qing’s hand was injured, Xiao Zhige did not have the heart to let him continue to comb his hair either. He called Chen Su to help him dress and they both went to see Hu Shi Fei.
When they returned from Hu Shi Fei’s place, they saw Qi Wei and Tie Hu talking to Chen Su in the courtyard.
Once the war was over, Qi Wei was quite jubilant. Knowing that Xiao Zhige was wounded, he quickly brought Tie Hu to visit.
“What are you doing here?” Xiao Zhige narrowed his eyes and looked at them unpleasantly.
“We heard that you were injured so we came to visit,” Qi Wei was oblivious to the hostility in Xiao Zhige’s tone and babbled on with ignorance. He also did not forget to speak up for his good brother, “Xie Ling said that he had something urgent to do and could not come. I say, the war is over, what’s there that’s so urgent?”
Xiao Zhige smiled, “Xie Ling is right.”
Eh? Qi Wei was baffled.
Xiao Zhige slowly explained, “It seems that you can afford to be idle. Don’t you know that the soldiers have begun to work on the fields? Since you have nothing to do, go help them out.”
Qi Wei, “Ha?”
Xiao Zhige continued, “Whoever else is free is required to go.”
Qi Wei, “…”
Qi Wei continued to stare dumbfounded at Xiao Zhige and An Chang Qing’s back as they entered the house. He turned to ask Tie Hu, “Did we do anything to offend the General?”
Tie Hu scratched his head and answered, “I don’t think so.”
Qi Wei gritted his teeth and said angrily, “It must be Xie Ling’s fault. He did this to us!”
Tie Hu frankly stated, “Xie Ling clearly told us not to come. You’re the one who insisted on coming.” You even dragged me along!
Qi Wei was stumped and couldn’t retort his words. He glared at Tie Hu and said, “We can’t fight among ourselves. We’re brothers who stick together during difficult times! If we have to do farmwork, we can’t single out Xie Ling!”
Listening to the two making noise outside the door, An Chang Qing looked at Xiao Zhige questioningly, “Why did you send Qi Wei and Tie Hu to do farmwork?”
“It’s already a lenient punishment,” Xiao Zhige replied, “As a Vice Commander, despite not being able to hold back the Beidi army like he promised, he went on to believe the enemies’ words and couldn’t even stabilize the soldiers’ morale, causing you, as a Wangfei, to have to do his job for him and be exposed to danger. Tell me, shouldn’t he be punished?”
An Chang Qing contemplated his words and, although he felt it was indeed reasonable, he couldn’t help but think that there was something else. However, since it was not his problem, he simply cast the matter aside.
After the failed attempt on conquering Yanzhou, Hu Yan Xun and his brothers returned to the Beidi Imperial City. Upon arrival, Hu Yan Xun immediately turned on Hu Yan Ah Te and Hu Yan Zhi. Hu Yan Xun was a powerful warrior who was supported by the people. After the Emperor’s death, it was expected that he would take over the throne and cast his nephews out.
Hu Yan Ah Te and Hu Yan Zhi refused to be ruled by Hu Yan Xun and left the city with their troops. The Beidi army since then was divided by half, crippling their military strength, drastically lowering the probability of attacking Da Ye.
When this news reached Yanzhou, three days had passed.
Xiao Zhige‘s wound had also begun to heal gradually. Although he was still not permitted to do strenuous activities, he could still deal with the post-war problems as a tactitian.
The soldiers who had died in the war would have to have their bodies identified. Those with relatives in Yanzhou could let them claim their bodies while those without could only be cremated. Their families from afar would be informed of their deaths, supplemented with their pensions.
In addition to clearing up the battlefield, there was also the farmwork.
The winter this year was particularly long and on top of the delay caused by the war, they had missed the window for planting wheat. To minimize the losses, they could only try to sow the land on time to plant corn and other available crops.
With this arrangement, another five days had passed.
Because An Chang Qing had injured his hands, Xiao Zhige refused to let him do anything while he kept himself busy with work as though he did not have any injuries of his own.
An Chang Qing argued, “My wounds are a lot lighter than yours.”
Xiao Zhige frowned and disagreed, “My skin is tougher than yours, this small wound is nothing.”
“Then mine is nothing as well!” An Chang Qing refuted, feeling as though he was a handicap for not being able to do anything.
Xiao Zhige tried to coax him, “Bear with it for just a few more days.”
Seeing his gentle and caring disposition, An Chang Qing was won over and continued to stay indoors to recuperate.
Qi Wei, who had just come back from the fields, looked towards the General’s Manor and realized something. He exclaimed, “I finally know why the General made us do farmwork!”
Tie Hu went along and asked, “Why?”
Qi Wei answered with a miserable look, “It must be because we did not stop Wangfei from going to the battlefield! The General is clearly abusing his position to get revenge!”
Xie Ling looked at him as though he was looking at an idiot and said, “You only realized this now after we’ve been breaking our backs in the fields for four days?”
Qi Wei, “…” That’s right, so what now?
After another few days, An Chang Qing’s hands were completely healed and he had regained his freedom.
He was about to work on his jade crafting when Tie Hu came to deliver a message, stating that someone from Liangzhou had come to visit.
Behind Tie Hu stood a gentleman of slender build. Standing next to Tie Hu, he simply resembled a weak scholar.
Xiao Zhige was currently busy in the study. An Chang Qing did not know the visitor nor the reason for his arrival and could only direct them to Xiao Zhige, “Wangye is in the study. Please take the guest to him.”
The man observed An Chang Qing briefly before coming forward and greeted, “Is this Sire Wangfei? Liangzhou’s General, Chang Zai Chang, greets Wangfei.”
Hm? Hearing his tone of familiarity, An Chang Qing was puzzled, “General Chang knows of me?”
Chang Zai Chang smiled, “I’ve only heard of you from a long time ago but we’ve never actually met. Wangye often spoke about you…”
“Chang Zai Chang!”
Xiao Zhige had just come from the study when he heard Chang Zai Chang spewing such a sentence. He quickly called out to stop him.
Chang Zai Chang gave An Chang Qing a confounded look and immediately stopped talking. He turned to greet Xiao Zhige instead.
“What are you doing here?” Xiao Zhige took a quick glance at An Chang Qing before speaking to Chang Zai Chang, “A General absent from his post without permission. Careful not to get reported to the Imperial Court.”
Chang Zai Chang’s face turned bitter, “It’s all because of the letter you wrote to me in regards to the jade mine that I have to come here personally.”
With the manner in which they were conversing, it seemed they were quite close. An Chang Qing wanted to ask Chang Zai Chang about his previous words but hearing about the jade mine, An Chang Qing decided to leave it for another time.
Xiao Zhige was also taken aback at the mention of the jade mine. He had sent the letter before the covert siege against the Beidi court and had not received a response from Liangzhou. Since then, the matter had been put off.
“After receiving your letter, I sent people out to secretly scout the area. As it happens, there was a landslide some time ago, causing a large chunk of earth to break off from the mountain. The jade pieces that the locals collect are probably from the fragments that fell during the landslide.”
The inhabitants nearby did not know the value of the jade; thinking that since it was available abundantly, it must not have been of worth.
“I wanted to bring in troops to occupy the mountains first but somehow, the regent of Xi Wei got wind of this news and had Shang Que mobilize his troops to the border. I couldn’t reply to you sooner because I was occupied with confronting Shang Que.”
The Xi Wei Empire claimed that since the mine is closer to Xi Wei, it should be theirs. But such a lucrative find, there was no way Chang Zai Chang was going to back down since they were the ones to discover it first.
As such, the two armies were currently at loggerheads and the situation was turning critical.
Chang Zai Chang dared not act rashly and came to Yanzhou to discuss countermeasures with Xiao Zhige.
Hey there, thank you for reading.
Just something really random here.
I happened to read a super hilarious Manhwa the other day and wanted to share it with you guys: The Return of the Crazy Demon
Sorry it’s not BL but there are quite a few ikemen to drool over including MC who would actually say “Am I that surprisingly handsome?”. It’s a martial arts manhwa so expect cute guys with long hair! 😍😍😍
I especially love the MC’s personality and how it stays true to the title: he is batshit crazy and incredibly unpredictable. Plotwise, imho, it’s quite good if you’re not bored with the reincarnation and OP MC trope. Actually, this is only my second martial arts manhwa so I’m not sure how it compares to others but I’m quite sure it’ll be able to force a few chuckles out of you. If you like the eccentricities of Gintama, you’ll definitely love this one. Check it out if you’re interested and if you like it, please support the author/artist any way you can.