The matter that Zhao Shi Cheng took the army out of the capital to eliminate bandits late at night was kept in secret. No one was told unless they were a key figure in the government. Moreover, the time and route she took to return to the general’s residence were also confidential. Why was it that these people seemed to have them at their fingertips and could even take control of the vicinity beforehand?
Tang Wan suddenly sensed the feeling of conspiracy. It was just she didn’t know whether this conspiracy was targeted at her or Zhao Shi Cheng.
“Woman, do you know you’re dead because you’re too clever?” The one-eyed man said.
[note] In this case, elder brother doesn’t really mean they aren’t blood related brothers, at least I don’t need think they are. [/note],
Don’t be so long-winded with her. A long delay means trouble. Let’s complete this task quickly and leave!” The eyebrows of the burly man, in the front, knitted slightly and the look he gave her was a little cautious.
Hence, in a few breaths’ time, all the guards and sedan chair bearers were already knocked down on the ground by the hefty fellows. All of them were unconscious. Only Tang Wan and Xiao Chun remained standing in perfectly good conditions.
“Now, it’s your turn.” The man leading lifted his sword and walked towards them. Under the moonlight, the sword leaked out a penetrating light.
Tang Wan’s expression darkened. She didn’t reveal a single trace of terror, but she was extremely puzzled. “You even need to kill me? I thought you guys wanted to kidnap me and threaten my husband.”
“Who told you that? Hmph, that small army of Zhao Shi Cheng’s isn’t worth worrying about. He wants to suppress the Iron Gate fort. He’s already in danger! As for you, I guess you’re the brain behind that mediocre official. Zhao Shi Cheng, so you must die!”
The one-eyed man was obviously a rather talkative character among them. In any case, he already regarded her as a dead person. So, there was no harm in talking a bit more and let her die to know everything.
But the burly man leading didn’t think this way. His thick eyebrows wrinkled, and he yelled, “What are you being long-winded for? Quickly kill her!”
“Tch, such a beautiful woman. It’s really a shame to kill her…” Although the one-eyed man said this, but his hand already raised the dazzling sword high above the air and was about to strike it towards her.
Upon seeing this, Xiao Chun allowed her voice freed rein and screamed in a frenzy. She rushed forward urgently to help young Madam block the sword. Unexpectedly, her eyes blurred, and young Madam suddenly disappeared before her eyes. After that, Xiao Chun simply couldn’t dare to believe what she saw because one by one, the burly men flew out upside down.
Meanwhile, young Madam seemed to have met no resistance. Raising her hand, lifting her leg, her posture was extremely beautiful. Yet every movement either caused the men’s iron head to hit the walls of the peasant’s residence or their arms and legs were twisted into a strange angle.
In only a few wink’s time, the several hefty fellows that were still arrogant and abominable just now, already seemed to turn into a pile of mud. Lying on the ground disorderly and those malicious threats also became into peals of wailing.
“Young Madam…” Xiao Chun stared tongue-tied. “Y-you’re actually so amazing!”
“It’s only a small matter.” Tang Wan took out a handkerchief and cleaned her hands quickly. She felt like these group of people dirtied her jade hands!
“Then…what should we do next?” Xiao Chun swallowed her saliva. She was already at loss at what to do. “Do we go back to the yamen and tell private advisor Cao to bring people here and arrest them?
“No!” Tang Wan already heard some inkling from this group of people’s mouths. “There’s definitely something fishy about the yamen, or else how will we be blocked head-on? We’re not going back.”
“Then…” Xiao Chun glanced at young Madam in confusion. At this time, she suddenly thought the young Madam with a delicate appearance was simply even more dependable and strong compared to Wang Qiang, that tall person. Maybe even Wang Qiang was not a match for young Madam.
Tang Wan put on a stern expression and said determinedly with a low voice, “Husband is surely in trouble. We’re going back to the general’s residence to borrow the soldiers. I need to help my husband!
Before the time daylight appears was exactly the time people’s wariness was most relaxed. Zhao Shi Cheng already found out about the scope of the Iron Gate fort the day before. Sure enough, it was precisely as what private advisor Cao investigated to be. The population shouldn’t exceed two hundred. Furthermore, the defense outside the fort was lax. This shows that this fort has occupied the hilltop asking for so long that they already ran amuck to the point where they forgot who they were. They were so arrogant even under the feet of the emperor.
Zhao Shi Cheng’s army has as much as a hundred more people compared to the bandits. Moreover, they were all picked troops and more than enough if they want to seize the mountain fort. Hence, he also had the confidence and gave out the secret signal. The soldiers and magistracy officers besieging the fort uttered a long, loud cry and charged forward while holding a sword.
He should be looking at a scene full of pandemonium and wails. The bandits inside the fort should also be forced to come out and stop them, fighting them in dire straits. However, the soldiers and magistracy officers seemed to have entered a ghost town. When they charged straight inside the heart of the Iron Gate fort. Even Zhao Shi Cheng, who was in the rear end, followed the army inside the fort. Instead, the guards surrounding him became the least and shaped a solitary group.
Just when a thought flashed through his mind. He felt that something went wrong and shouted, ‘Retreat!’ Loudly. It was already too late. One by one, torches suddenly lit up inside the Iron Gate fort, casting light upon the dim night just like daylight. After that, the sounds of footsteps resounded. The power of the loud footsteps was as if thousands upon thousands of men and horses ran wildly down here. Enclosing all the soldiers, who were attacking at dawn inside the fort with a plan to block the enemy’s retreat and then kill them.
Zhao Shi Cheng’s heart shivered with fear. He had clearly fallen for the enemy’s plan of letting him take a dose of his own medicine. Furthermore, the bandits surrounding them on all sides had roughly more than a thousand men. It was more than triple the number of soldiers. The leader of the bandit had an even more commanding presence and smiled insolently. Even if he was usually calm and collected, at this time, his expression also cannot but have a radical change.
Nevertheless, he was the commanding general. Although he was the one who had the lowest military strength, he still couldn’t be cowardly and cause the morale to sink. Therefore, he asked in a low voice, “Are you the chief of Iron Gate Fort? Are you putting forth such a spectacle to welcome this official?”
“This chief never hides his name no matter what. I am the leader of the Iron Gate fort, Ying Long! Zhao Shi Cheng, if you want to say this spectacle was for the sake of welcoming you, it isn’t wrong. This chief has already been waiting for you for a long time.” Ying Long grinned hideously.
His implication was they already knew the government soldier’s activity? Zhao Shi Cheng had difficulty concealing his alarm. The assemblance and dispatch of the soldiers were all extremely secretive. Why was it that these group of bandits heard the news so fast or was it that they already had some precautions? Could it be…
He spared no effort on masking his uneasiness and insisted on being calm. “According to what this official knows, Iron Gate fort shouldn’t have this many people.”
“If there’re not enough people, couldn’t this chief borrow any troops?” In more than twenty mountain forts near the capital, the forts that can be called by a name are all here right now. It’s a pity that you can see it, but you can’t eat it. If you can’t obtain a single merit for eliminating us, you can only go back lying down. Zhao Shi Cheng, this time, you’ll die without a doubt. But maybe I can’t let you receive a posthumous title of Marquis Zhong Yi.
“Are you targeting this official? This official didn’t assume office for long and has never offended Iron Gate fort. Why do you want this official’s life?” Zhao Shi Cheng spotted something, and anger flashed through his eyes. “Is even the murder of the capital’s scribe and Eunuch Lou all deliberately caused by you? It is also a conspiracy targeting this official?”
“Who knew you were actually a smart person? So, what if this chief is targeting you?” Ying Long didn’t care. “It’s only two people who died and that already made you stomp your feet in anxiety. Don’t you think it’s very interesting?”
“This official doesn’t have any grievances nor rancor against you, but you targeted this official in this way. It seems like there’s an instigator behind you. Plus, the situation today. Someone in the capital’s tipping you off, right?” Zhao Shi Cheng quickly deduced, “Ying Long, can you tell this official who is incited you? Even if I die, I want to die knowing everything.”
Even if Ying Long believed Zhao Shi Cheng and the others were going to die, but he wasn’t dumb enough to tell him everything. He said with an arrogant attitude, “Do you think this chief will tell you? Anyway, it’s the end of your time serving as an official today. Comrades come with me and kill them!”
Once the order was given, the bandits rushed up in a crowd. Although it was a mob assembled by mountain forts far and near, but many people possessed great hatred towards the government soldiers and naturally, they went all out. Even if they couldn’t take down so much soldier at once, but their aura was quite astonishing. All of a sudden, Zhao Shi Cheng’s protective circle weakened a great deal.
Right when they were in a desperate situation, a delicate shout resounded particularly clearly inside the war zone, amidst the noise of battle.
“Who dares to kill my husband!”
They haven’t even figured out who was the one yelling and the soldiers protecting Zhao Shi Cheng suddenly felt that the pressure around them lightened. The people who killed while surrounding them unexpectedly fell to the ground one by one for some strange reason. After that, a gentle and demure female figure appeared. The woman grasped a broadsword and knocked down everyone blocking her path. Her sword skills were elegant and pretty and her bearing was like a fairy who descended from heaven. She nearly made the guards forget to kill the enemies and continue to look at her blankly.
The woman who killed her way into the enemy base was naturally Tang Wan, who was torn with anxiety. She was incomparably valiant, carrying a sword and created a road single handedly, leading straight towards Zhao Shi Cheng who was in great danger.
Zhao Shi Cheng could hardly believe it. She was like a war goddess with her heroic bearing and outstanding military skills. It was also because she did such for him that he was deeply moved. His stare never shifted the slightest away until she arrived before him.
The two stared at each other as if they experienced millions upon millions of years of longing until they finally met. The affection and yearning in their gazes covered up the earth-shattering battle cries. It was unknown who took the first step forward and they finally touched each other. The ten fingers stick closely before the chest. The strong emotions between the married couple seemed to amaze those bandits and unexpectedly, no one disturbed their reunion. It seemed like in the next instant they will kiss each other passionately.
“Husband!” Tang Wan called him affectionately.
“Wan er!” Zhao Shi Cheng’s voice also had difficulty concealed how moved he was when he saw her save him bravely.
“Husband…” Her eyes were brimming with tears, like it contained thousands and thousands of words. But her next words were sure enough, remarkably original—
“What are you looking at? You’re still not running?! Do you really think I can fight against a hundred people by myself?” After she had said this, she didn’t wait until he recovered from shock and pulled him along as she ran outside the encirclement.
Although her military strength was astonishing, but the original owner’s delicate body gave her limitations and she could also feel tired. Not to mention, she can’t kill people and could only knock the enemies out to avoid being unable to return to heaven in the future. Hence, her hand was already incredibly tired after using the back of the sword blade to hit people all throughout the journey.
Zhao Shi Cheng was pulled out of the war zone slow-witted by her. At last, they ran to a safe place. He looked her run as she panted. Her face was slightly red, but she still looked around like she was worried someone would plot against him. He was moved under her regard and embraced her again.
Update: Chapter 22 is edited.