The previous general who had turned into a the Minister of the Left of a country, all the people now addressed Chu Fei Yang differently due to this transformation, but one thing that only remained unchanged, was Chu Fei Yang’s position and status in their hearts. For more than ten years of being together, the brotherly love for each other fighting hand-to-hand in the battlefield, how could it be easily replaced because Emperor Yu Qian had assigned a new leader for them?
And Chu Fei Yang didn’t even open his mouth to speak a word, he just slightly lifted up his own right hand, then he could see the soldiers kneeling down behind General Hu Wei immediately stood up in an orderly madder, afterwards, with invigorated spirit, they climbed up onto the horsebacks, the solemn expression in their eyes was entirely different from earlier, as if they were two entirely different troops.
Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi watched Chu Fei Yang like this. Although their hearts were astonished yet they also knew that Chu Fei Yang’s life in the army camp for more than ten years was not something that could be joked about.
For all the soldiers to still obey him like their own leader after leaving them for so many years, they could not help but say that Chu Fei Yang was an extremely intractable opponent. Even Qi Jing Yuan who was standing in the corner could not help but slightly squinted his both eyes, concentrating his attention towards the situation here.
And during this time, the person with the ugliest face was General Hu Wei. It seemed to him that, Chu Fei Yang was negatively affecting his reputation, in this way how will he able to lead the troops, and how will they be able to fight against the troops of Northern Qi cowering in the borderland?
Since Chu Fei Yang had done this, he naturally expected all the consequences, he was even more aware that the things that happened today will reach Emperor Yu Qian’s ears.
This General Hu Wei, Chu Fei Yang was not intimidated by him. He only wanted to use this pretext to inform Emperor Yu Qian that he was not a foolishly loyal person, it will be unlikely for him to remain silent after being suppressed by the others.
And this kind of action, furthermore told the people of Northern Qi that, they should not vainly attempt to create chaos at anytime and any place. Even if he, Chu Fei Yang, was not around in the borderland, but this high-ranking military officers were not cowards, they were united as one. They certainly would not lower down their capability to fight because of the dismissal of one military officer!
“Chu Xiang, what do you mean by this? Don’t you forget, Xiang Ye, that at this very moment, I am the military officer leading these garrison troops in the borderland! With Chu Xiang’s actions, don’t tell me that you are not afraid of being punished by His Majesty?” In the end, General Hu Wei was not able to restrain himself, in the presence of everyone he started to interrogate Chu Fei Yang, he was already tightly gripping on the sword that was hanging on his waist. If it wasnot because he might hinder the people of Northern Qi, perhaps he had already brandished his sword waging war against Chu Fei Yang.
For those who practised martial arts, they always had an air of arrogance refusing to admit defeat.
Although his family wasn’t as dazzling as Chu Wang Fu, yet he wasn’t someone who will get trampled on by the others! Moreover, he was also being assigned by the emperor to come to the borderland, during normal days he was extremely well coordinated with these officers and soldiers under his command, who would have thought that with Chu Fei Yang’s appearance, everything had changed. How will this mighty General Hu Wei endure all this? No wonder the emperor had issued an imperial decree to let him come here, because if everything behaved just like what they had in the past, will the garrison troops in the borderland area became privately-owned by Chu family?
“I had remained silent ever since the beginning, in what way did I offend you, General?” Looking at General Hu Wei who was close to his fifties, Chu Fei Yang was being reminded instantly of his big and small military campaigns throughout his life. The expression in his eyes expression was calm as water, making people unable to point out even the slightest bit of difference.
“Chu Xiang, were you embarrassing me in front of my people?” Even for a cool-headed man like him, being tricked by another person like this, perhaps the fury in his heart will also rush forth. General Hu Wei was on his expedition all year round in the outer regions. Though he admired the fighting style and strategy of Chu Fei Yang and the others, but he had never really crossed swords with Chu Fei Yang before, how could he really appreciate fighting battle of words with Chu Fei Yang?
“General, don’t you forget you still have a more important mission to complete today! If you delayed the matter concerning the two countries, even if His Majesty had favored you, the major officials of the imperial court will not simply leave the matter! Besides, this incident will also be recorded in the books by the historian. If the time was delayed due to the General’s unwillingness, when that time comes, you might become a person condemned by history of Western Chu!” Facing the anger vented out by General Hu Wei, Chu Fei Yang just ignored it, his eyes gradually shifted towards General Piao Ji and the others who were similarly suppressed by Qi Jing Yuan, the corner of his mouth hooked up a grin as he spoke.
Having heard what was said, aside from General Hu Wei, even General Piao Ji’s body suddenly trembled a bit, with knitted brows he lifted up his both eyes then shot a glance at Chu Fei Yang, his eyes contained the strong anger.
“Since the two countries had already signed their treaty, the Crown Prince and Princess He Shun will soon get married, please hand over to us our Rui Wang!” Seeing the situation, Chen Wang spoke with a slightly cold voice, his both eyes were closely staring at Qi Jing Yuan, watching how they will hand over Rui Wang to them.
On their journey towards the borderland, it seemed calm, yet it appeared to be strange, although the troops on both sides did not have any conflicts, but both privately contained some uninterrupted small movements.
Qi Jing Yuan and the others had secretly assigned people to investigate on the whereabouts of General Wei Wu, on the other hand, Chu Fei Yang, Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi had also separately scouted out Rui Wang’s hiding place. Despite their sly and treacherous skills, both sides were not able to find the respective persons that they were looking for.
“Chen Wang, rest assured, since we have already signed the treaty with your country, obviously we would comply with every word that was written on it. But, where will be our General Wei Wu’s hiding place? If we’re not able to see him, how can we hand over Rui Wang to you?” Qi Jing Yuan was also a crafty person, he wouldn’t easily hand over the person because of only a few words from Jiang Mu Chen.
“Since that is the case, then I’m having no other choice but to doubt the Crown Prince’s sincerity! Now that Princess He Shun was already set to marry into the far away country of Northern Qi, don’t tell me that the crown prince still wanted to delay the time? Don’t tell me that the crown prince wasn’t afraid that other countries might mock Northern Qi for not being able to abide by rules on the treaty, with the lack of integrity?” Seeing Qi Jing Yuan using all sorts of excuses refusing to hand over Rui Wang, Jiang Mu Chen’s face suddenly went cold. His voice was increasingly chilly, the anger unconsciously exposed from his body, being born in the family of the royalty, such was the antisocial behavior he acquired from his childhood, no matter how hard he was trying to conceal it, during such critical situation it would still unconsciously show up.
“There’s no need to get angry, Wang Ye. I knew Wang Ye’s eagerness to save your brother! But since the treaty had been signed, there’s no way that only me alone will hand over the hostage, in other words, Western Chu is also not fulfilling its promise! Since that is the case, it would be better for both sides to bring out the hostages at the same time, after careful examinations then we shall proceed to the exchange! Do you have any suggestions, Chu Xiang and Hai Jun Wang?” Qi Jing Yuan sneered as he spoke, his eyes quickly glanced at Chu Fei Yang and Hai Chen Xi, seeing both of them slightly nodded their heads, he inclined sideways whispering a few words to the guard behind him, that guard immediately urged the horse to rush towards the army camps of Northern Qi in the borderland area.
And at this same time, Chu Fei Yang also nodded his head towards the guard behind him, that guard had also rushed towards the direction of the army camp of the borderland area of Western Chu.
“Apparently, Chu Xiang and I have the same thought!” Watching the guards from both sides taking their necessary actions, Qi Jing Yuan remarked coldly, looking at Chu Fei Yang taking even more precautions.
And Chu Fei Yang just simply smiled, being very cautious and solemn towards Qi Jing Yuan’s actions.
Soon, the two guards brought along with them Rui Wang and General Wei Wu, respectively, as they rushed towards their own group of people.
“Big brother, may I trouble you to go ahead and exchange the hostages” Qi Jing Yuan told Qi Jing Xuan at this moment.
Having heard what was said, Qi Jing Xuan and General Piao Ji suddenly shot a glance at Qi Jing Yuan, both were unable to comprehend what Qi Jing Yuan had actually requested his own brother in public place with the presence of numerous people.
And besides, Qi Jing Xuan is a prince of Northern Qi, how could anybody allow him to undertake such dangerous task?
“Crown Prince, what do you mean by this? The eldest prince has an honorable position, how can you allow him to task risks? If any accident happens, aren’t you afraid that His Majesty will put the blame on you, Crown Prince?” General Piao Ji was infuriated, his eyes glared at Qi Jing Yuan with pure anger.
“Sending out the prince, will be able to show that Northern Qi people like us valued the marriage as peace treaty and displayed our good faith!” Qi Jing Yuan just naturally spoke this statement.
“Since that is the case, then why don’t you go there yourself, Crown Prince? In this way it will be more likely for Western Chu to feel the sincerity of Northern Qi!” With both eyes smiling treacherously, the murderous spirit on Qi Jing Xuan’s body rushed towards Qi Jing Yuan unrestrained, this time the great number of people in the troops of the borderland were the trusted people of Qi Jing Xuan’s uncle, Qi Jing Yuan would not have the guts to threaten him!
“You are being silly, brother! Being the Crown Prince, I am also Northern Qi’s apparent heir to the throne, the root of a country! When did you ever see an heir who would go ahead and exchange hostage with another country? Furthermore, it is easy to dodge an open spear thrust, but difficult to guard against an arrow in the dark. We can’t say for sure but someone might have already assigned some archers hidden in the secret spots, waiting to kill me right on the spot once I go there alone! I still need time to share my contributions with our Father the emperor, how can I allow myself to be easily victimized by other people?” With cold eyes he glared at his maternal uncle who was evidently angered, Qi Jing Yuan laughed carefreely, not in a very least bit of being intimidated by the troops of Northern Qi which were lined up in front of him, bearing his arrogance while speaking loudly in his clear voice, with every statement he was warning Qi Jing Xuan and General Piao Ji, with every word he was pressuring the two persons in front of him with ashen faces.
“Humph! The tenth prince is also present here! Why not send the tenth prince over there? Don’t tell me it’s because the eldest prince and Crown Prince aren’t from the same mother, as a result you are just using this situation to eliminate the outsider!” That General Piao Ji who used to participate in the war between different factions of the princes, he evidently knew what sort of words he would use to counterattack Qi Jing Yuan.
And besides, now that the current Emperor Ling Xiao is in his prime, being very healthy, if something like murdering one’s own blood to seize the throne happened between all the princes, even the Crown Prince to whom Emperor Ling Xiao usually favored, he will be very likely to be punished, when that time came perhaps even the Empress will get involved in it.
If the political party of the crown prince was to be defeated, based on the eldest prince’s glorious achievements in the imperial court, as well as being the oldest among all the princes, sooner or later the crown prince position will be given to him.
With this analysis, General Piao Ji immediately changed his plan of attacking. His slightly droopy lids concealed the astonished brightness in his eyes. He quickly exchanged a look with Qi Jing Xuan, he was planning to send a hint to the deputy general behind him, yet unexpectedly Qi Jing Yuan had actually spoken during this moment.
“Brother and General Piao Ji, are you two planning to stage a trick to injure yourself to gain our enemy’s confidence? Such out of date dramatic tricks, don’t the two of you feel tired about it? It will be for me to shot that arrow, in this way it will look more believable!” Qi Jing Yuan’s both eyes were staring at that deputy general, while he slowly spoke, his tone of voice was mocking and foretelling, causing Qi Jing Xuan’s heart to tense up, and General Piao Ji’s eyes to flicker with the intention to kill.
“Since I can shoot out an arrow, then that naturally means that I will be able to justify myself in front of Father and the hundred officials! I would say that today’s situation was a mess, and I wanted to rescue my brother then I shot the arrow towards the enemy, yet unexpectedly brother refused to come back, then it led to his injury as a consequence! If this happens, do you both think that the people will believe me or both of you who had committed crimes?” Qi Jing Yuan was riding on the horseback as he gradually approached both of them, using a voice that only the three of them could hear as he slowly spoke out his own plan, the sarcastic smile in the corner of his mouth was even colder, such kind of insight made people tremble with fear, yet beyond their capabilities to fight back.
“Of course, it is also possible for me to go over there! But, if I am dead, Brother will naturally take the responsibility, when the time comes if brother became a sacrifice for the others, then will you be willing to do it?” Seeing both of them turned speechless, Qi Jing Yuan continued to speak.
Emperor Ling Xiao had numerous sons, there were more than twenty princes, he and Qi Jing Xuan were included among these, both were two most powerful factions, if both of them collapsed, then the others will be glad!
Qi Jing Yuan believed that with Qi Jing Xuan’s intelligence and narrow-minded heart, he would never do stupid thing like becoming a sacrifice for the others.
“If I were to go there, what will you do?” Qi Jing Xuan was always shrewd, how could he agree to put himself in the disadvantageous position?
“Humph! Of course I will wait for brother to bring General Wei Wu back! As long as General Wei Wu will be able to weigh the severity of the case, I will absolutely not do anything against you, brother!” Qi Jing Yuan glanced at the rigorous troops of Western Chu in the opposite side. Particularly when the soldiers immediately displayed their mighty state after Chu Fei Yang showed up, causing them to be unhappy and at the same time having no other choice but to be on high alert, then he spoke in a cold voice “If Northern Qi is having its internal conflict, and Western Chu working together as one united country, what happens next during this time, I presume you know it better than anybody else, Brother!”
Along with Qi Jing Yuan’s words they looked ahead, seeing the armed forces of Western Chu with great loftiness, the entire army was in high spirits, every high ranking military officer with eyes bright and full of expression, people might get intimidated by them at first glance, it seemed that if the internal conflict between them will break out at this time, perhaps if Qi Jing Yuan and Qi Jing Han will be killed today, afterwhich Chu Fei Yang and others of the opposing party will not easily let Qi Jing Xuan get away with it.
“Alright! Then I will trust you this time!” As compared to killing Qi Jing Yuan causing himself to be in a dangerous situation, Qi Jing Xuan had chosen to compromise for the time being.
“Eldest prince, how could you believe……” Seeing Qi Jing Xuan had agreed to Qi Jing Yuan’s suggestion, General Piao Ji had his thoughts in a whirl, arguing noisily facing Qi Jing Xuan.
“Uncle, you just need to assign a bodyguard in a secret place to protect the prince! For other concerns, we shall discuss them after we settle the matter!” Qi Jing Xuan did not give General Hu Wei a chance to speak, watching Qi Jing Yuan continuously sneering at him. Qi Jing Xuan knew by heart, that this person is someone who would not allow any mistake when dealing with his opponent, if during this time General Piao Ji would say a word to offend Qi Jing Yuan again, perhaps he will lose an arm when he returned back to the palace.
After speaking, Qi Jing Xuan took Rui Wang from a bodyguard who was riding on the horseback, putting him in his own horseback, placing him in front of his body, taking Rui Wang along with him as they proceeded towards the borderland of the two countries.
“Wang Ye and Jun Wang, please stay here and wait, I shall go ahead to exchange for Rui Wang!” Seeing the opposing party sent out Qi Jing Xuan, Chu Fei Yang pulled up the tall and sturdy body of General Wei Wu, placing him on the horseback, as they rode on top of the warhorse rushing towards the direction of Qi Jing Xuan.
Seeing Chu Fei Yang taking his own initiative to go ahead, Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi simultaneously furrowed their brows as they angrily glared at Chu Fei Yang’s rear view, and that General Wei Wu exposed a vicious gaze in his eyes.
“Didn’t expect that the eldest prince will personally come here!” Looking at the ashen face of Qi Jing Xuan, Chu Fei Yang spoke in a simple smile, but his both perspicacious eyes were carefully observing Rui Wang in front of him, as he spoke slowly “It must be tough for you, Wang Ye!”
Rui Wang was not very old, yet he was also someone with integrity, this time being held captive in Northern Qi making him discouraged to face other people. This time seeing Chu Fei Yang approach, he felt even more shameful, hearing Chu Fei Yang greet him, he just coldly glanced at Chu Fei Yang, refusing to communicate with him.
“Apparently, Chu Xiang really isn’t a perfect man! In this world, there’s still someone who hated Chu Xiang!” Seeing Chu Fei Yang getting snagged in front of Rui Wang, Qi Jing Xuan coldly sneered at him. His cold eyes glanced at General Wei Wu who was sitting in front of Chu Fei Yang, seeing the usually well-regarded General Wei Wu still straightened his waist looking solemn, Qi Jiang Xuan suddenly laughed and said “How are you these days, General? The Third Princess is quite worried about what had happened to you!”
General Wei Wu is actually the Third Princess’ father-in-law, but after all, the Third Princess was Emperor Ling Xiao beloved daughter. Although she was his daughter-in-law, but there were still differences between the ruler and his ministers, now that he heard Qi Jing Xuan talk about it, General Wei Wu’s face looked ashamed, and he could only apologize “Once I return back to the imperial palace, I will certainly beg for His Majesty’s forgiveness! Thanks for your concern, Eldest Prince!”
Hearing General Wei Wu said this, Qi Jing Yuan sneered. Probably Qi Jing Yuan had left out a person like General Wei Wu in his schemes before, but now he just needed to show off being concerned about the him, and in addition with him risking his life today to exchange hostages, even if he was not on good terms with the Third Princess, General Wei Wu would not clash with him in a hurry.
Little could he imaging thate Qi Jing Yuan was watching intently with mocking eyes.
The Crown Prince of one country being willing to sacrifice his own imperial wife for the sake of a General, as compared to Qi Jing Xuan’s small kindness, this decision seemed to be more meaningful. He could also make General Wei Wu be devoted to him.
“Since you’ve already confirmed that he is the right one, then we shall now begin!” Seeing the both sides had verified the hostages were not fake, Chu Fei Yang’s both eyes glanced towards Qi Jing Xuan, so as to avoid the opposing party to put on their secret tricks.
And Qi Jing Xuan just slightly nodded his head. The men on both sides dismounted from their horses, each handler had one had tightly gripping the bounds hands behind their hostage’s back, and the other hand reaching out for the person their countryman. Behind the back of the hostages, both troops focused their attention while staring at each and every move of the hostages, for the fear that there might be any unexpected mishap halfway through.
During this time the wind and snow suddenly went violent, yet all the people seemed as if they were not able to feel the chilliness of the cold wind. All the people’s attention were focused on the four persons in the distant place, feeling the palm of their hands were drenched in cold sweat, their faces seemed nervous similar to being in the battlefield for the very first time.
The two generals on both sides had already allowed their archers to make necessary preparation, the long bows were pulled reaching the limit and aimed at the opposite sides, if there wass anything wrong up ahead they will immediately set off the arrows!
But while the troops of Northern Qi under the command of General Piao Ji aimed their arrows at only two persons, Chu Fei Yang and Rui Wang, the trusted aide of Western Chu’s General Hu Wei was aiming their arrows towards all four!
Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi were able to see General Hu Wei’s intention, yet they kept their silence. They wanted to see how Chu Fei Yang would keep his life in this situation.
Yet unexpectedly, the armed troops of ten thousand people had already received a hint from Chu Fei Yang earlier. A division of troops holding the shields immediately surrounded the ten thousand armed troops, protecting all the archers in the middle, yet they did not block the archers’ view on both Qi Jing Xuan and the other one, yet coincidentally it also blocked off their aim towards both Chu Fei Yang and the other man, suddenly causing all the people to be dissatisfied. But again this was a secret order from General Hu Wei, all the people could only hold their resentment to themselves without saying a word. They had no choice but to hold on to their original disposition not daring to have any negligence, or else it will only give rise to the chaotic warfare between two countries. Perhaps when Emperor Yu Qian got angered, even General Hu Wei will not easily get away from his crimes.
General Hu Wei absolutely did not anticipate that there’s someone who had the audacity to disobey his order, without permission that person had dispatched other soldiers to provide assistance to Chu Fei Yang. He was greatly angered, before he could manage to utter words to berate them, yet he discovered that Chu Fei Yang and Qi Jing Xuan’s hands were already touching their own people’s sleeves at the same time, both sides had already exerted their efforts to pull back both persons to their respective sides.
Chu Fei Yang cast a glance at Rui Wang who remained silent, afterwards he placed Rui Wang between him and the horse, and Qi Jing Xuan had also similarly placed General Wei Wu between both, people on both sides glanced at each other once again, then without speaking they climbed up to their respective warhorses, using the fastest speed to return to their respective camps.
Being different from that General Wei Wu who immediately took his action to kneel down on one knee upon seeing Qi Jing Yuan, after Rui Wang returned to a safe place his face turned even more uglier, those thin and pale cheeks had proven the psychological stress that he had went through today, after he saw Hai Chen Xi’s delighted face, anger rushed up from the bottom of Rui Wang’s heart, particularly when he learned that Hai Chen Xi knew that he had been held captive then being rescued by Chu Fei Yang in exchange for another hostage, which caused Rui Wang’s facial complexion to turn extremely ugly.
“Wang Ye is already tired, bring Wang Ye down to take some rest!” Seeing Rui Wang still harbored hard feelings towards Hai Chen Xi, Chu Fei Yang allowed his subordinates to bring Rui Wang to the army camps to take some rest, as he still needed to deal with the enemy troops behind him which was in its disposition as if preparing for a battle.
The wind and snow swirled up in the air, making everyone’s line of sight to become more fuzzy, yet it caused people’s heart to become clearer and brighter, Hai Chen Xi looked at Rui Wang who had suffered yet still did not learn from experience, a bit of sarcastic smile streak across his heart, yet he also paid no attention to the Wang Ye who only had his arrogance and not being open-minded, he only focused all his attention on the enemies up ahead.
“Now that the matter has been completely settled, may we request the Crown Prince to hand over the treaty to Emperor Ling Xiao, as the gesture of friendship between the two countries!” Although Qi Jing Xuan and General Piao Ji were both glaring at the people like the tiger watching its prey, but Chu Fei Yang believed that with Qi Jing Yuan’s intelligence, it will be improbable for him to deal with the internal conflict and directly cross swords with the enemy troops, or else the one who will get the worst of the situation, will perhaps be Qi Jing Yuan himself!
“Of course I will!” Passing through the wind and snow, Qi Jing Yuan saw Chu Fei Yang and the two others riding on the horsebacks, their body posture were tall and straight, behind them the indestructible officers and soldiers protected the three persons, then he replied with this statement, afterwards he changed the direction of the horse, leading Qi Jing Han and the others as they took the initiative to leave the borderland.
“Chu Xiang you are truly brave, during that intense moment earlier, Chu Xiang actually didn’t discuss the matter with both of us as you proceed ahead alone. If something happened earlier, wouldn’t His Majesty put all the blame on both of us?” Watching the armed forces of the Northern Qi borderland instantly leaving the area, Jiang Mu Chen remarked coldly. His eyes seemed to be criticizing Chu Fei Yang “Chu Xiang, even if you wanted to take the credit for your achievement, you shouldn’t do it this way!”
“Wang Ye, why do you say such thing? His Majesty had dispatched me and Wang Ye, Jun Wang, three of us to come and exchange the hostage, such kind of meritorious service, of course it wasn’t only for me alone! But I didn’t expect that Wang Ye, being in a high position, had actually cared for such kind of meritorious service, that is quite surprising!” After speaking, Chu Fei Yang’s eyes simply glanced towards General Hu Wei who was standing aside, earlier he had haggled himself between life and death situation earlier, so he could clearly see who were the trusted men of General Hu Wei at this moment.
General Hu Wei wanted to intidimate him all along, yet he did not expect that based on this psychological effect, seeking victory in the midst of danger, enabled him to explore the hidden strength of the opponent!
And General Hu Wei also did not expect that Chu Fei Yang had already made necessary preparations for all these. Furthermore they even hid General Wei Wu of Northern Qi inside the army camps, and after a very long time, surprisingly he himself was not even aware of it. A cold feeling rushed to the bottom of his heart, as he looked at Chu Fei Yang bearing an untraceable fear in his eyes.
Jiang Mu Chen was riding on the horseback as he directly proceeded ahead to the army camp. Hai Chen Xi glanced at General Wei Wu who remained silent, then slowly spoke “What happened today must be tough for you! But General, since you’ve already made necessary arrangements for almost half day, yet it was not able to put into good use, that was truly pitiful!”
Earlier Hai Chen Xi and Jiang Mu Chen were able to see through General Wei Wu’s intention, although they did not speak to stop it, but quite unexpectedly Chu Fei Yang had a higher skill, he had suppressed General Wei Wu, also making the two of them who coldly observed sitting in the corner like clowns jumping up and down the beams, being treated by Chu Fei Yang like a joke, how could this not make Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi became angry, then they relentlessly put all the blame on General Wei Wu.