Sha Po Lang

Chapter 118: Old Enemy

Gu Yun found a very serious problem.


For the entire nine years of Long An, Great Liang was engulfed in the scent of gunpowder.

At the end of May, the royal court, represented by Yan Wang, met with the original thirteen tycoons who bought the Feng Huo tickets and announced that the first batch of Feng Huo tickets were due. At the same time, the ‘Bank of Long An’ approved by Li Feng himself was also set up, with the headquarters in the capital city and branches set up everywhere else in the country. Before the completion of the branches, the local government was responsible for collecting and cashing the expired Feng Huo tickets.

The next day, the Bank of Long An disclosed several alternative cashing methods — with real money, or opening an account at the Bank of Long An, change the tickets into deposit, then change into Long An tickets that could be used nationally. If the share reaches a certain standard, if one wanted to, they could also exchange the share from the official factory held by the Canal Office. All the prices were listed, which was enough to fill a thick account book. Fang Qin and others gnashed their teeth — for this was yet another thing Yan Wang had perhaps thought of for a long time.

In the past, there were also various kinds of banks in Great Liang, including private banks by common people, banks of royal merchants, and government’s banks for official foreign trade and exchange. The Bank of Long An forced all the banks of government officials into one, the gentle image of Yan Wang before was changed. After his return, as if he was possessed, he turned more and more insane day after day.

Although royal merchants had the word ‘royal’, most of them had lords of various families as their backing. When they want to bully others, they remembered the word ‘royal’ on their head. When they want to enrich their own pockets, there was only one word ‘merchant’ left. They were already used to having no division between private and public. The account books were a mess of mud and water, the interests inside could not be made clear even after listing them out for three days. They have long regarded the official industry as their own family business. Who would think that everything would change overnight, having their ‘family business’ robbed from them as such?

From May to August, every day in the court, there were chickens flying and dogs dancing.

A high ranking manager in an official’s bank stepped out, acting as the first bird to resist death and was immediately found guilty of fraud and corruption and sent to prison; he was to be investigated and dealt with. His wife was originally pregnant, because of this, she had been running around for many days, combined with her naturally poor health, as a result, she had a miscarriage — one corpse, two lives.

The mother-in-law was an old woman. At the 70th birthday of that year, even the former emperor had personally written her the words ‘God of Longevity’. Having only one daughter at an old age, she had given her utmost love and care — how could she stand this? She held onto the former emperor’s plaque, insisting on hanging herself.

For a time, all the nobles in the capital wished they could skin Yan Wang.

But Fang Qin skillfully avoided Yan Wang, who had the status of a nobleman, and pointed the spear at the Grand Council, contacting the people on his side within the six ministries, and joined together to write a letter denouncing sixteen crimes of the Grand Council. The group passionately asked the Emperor to dismiss the Grand Council that was a ‘temporary wartime institution’.

The person behind the Grand Council, of course, was not someone who was in the position only in name. Of course, he would fight back. All the dirty things that have been going on for a long generation ago were laid out on the table for all to see. The court was full of open guns and hidden arrows, every side was fighting to the death. Even if it was someone who had never been involved, they would still eat one or two stray arrows just passing by.

Near the Mid-Autumn Festival, it was almost white hot. Even Jiang Chong who was such a cautious person was also involved in a case and had his duties suspended to wait for investigation.

Everyone knew in their hearts that even though the Emperor seemed to be fair, he was actually protecting Yan Wang, otherwise, how could he still be so quiet and still in the midst of this storm?

It was noisy until the mid-autumn night.

According to the common practice, Li Feng was going to have a family dinner in the back palace. On the way, he met the Third Prince. Even the strictest people were tolerant of the youngest child. Li Feng expressed a rare display of gentleness, calling him over and leading him by the hand. The Third Prince, like his brothers, was also afraid of his father and did not dare to say a word. He tried hard to reach his father’s hand and trotted along with him, his face soon turned red from running.

The servant had to remind him, only now did Li Feng looked down and saw his little son trembling. For some reason, he remembered that day when Yan Wang sat on the grass and made grass insects for the little boy.

Li Feng: “Go call Yan Wang into the palace to have a family dinner.”

The servant hurriedly complied, but after a long run, he didn’t manage to bring the person back.

“Your Majesty, your servant was not able to find His Royal Highness Yan Wang.”

Li Feng frowned. “Is he not at the Grand Council?”

The servant said cautiously: “Isn’t there something wrong with Master Jiang recently? Someone is making a fuss about wanting to shut down the Grand Council. His Highness said that in order to avoid more conflict, he had stopped his daily affairs. Isn’t his apology letter still on your desk?”

Li Feng rubbed his eyebrows and remembered this matter: “Didn’t you go to find him at home? The Prince’s manor? And even the Marquis manor…”

“Yes, I did” the servant whispered, “The family servants said that Yan Wang had left for Hu Guo Temple. These two days, he was in Master Liao Ran’s Zen Room.”

Li Feng: “…”

On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, thousands of families were reunited, yet Yan Wang, who was under one person but above ten thousand, was all alone under a poor monk’s lantern of Buddha.

…There were also a number of people trying to pull him off his horse.

Li Feng suddenly felt irritated.

Although he felt moved that Chang Geng in the imperial garden was determined to follow the footsteps of Lord Shang, he did have a headache about the troubles Yan Wang’s excessive means in this period of time had caused. This time, he punished Jiang Chong to remind him it was already enough, they should appropriately be restrained.

At this time, the bad feeling gradually changed in Li Feng’s mind. No matter how Yan Wang was, he was still one of the Li’s — what he did in this period of time, even if he was too hasty, was also to close the holes in the imperial court. Besides, there was no place in this country that did not belong to the ruler. He himself as the Emperor didn’t say anything, yet these ministers of the royal family were competing in throwing a tantrum. It was quite disrespectful to the royal family.

That year, Li Feng clearly knew that Wang Guo had a problem. He still angrily guarded his uncle in the palace when Tan Hong Fei came for questioning. It was because Li Feng was born to eat soft but not hard. It’s one thing that he was willing to keep his balance. But this time, it’s another thing for all the families to join hands to deal with Yan Wang.

“These people are overstepping the line,” Li Feng thought.

However, before the seed in the Emperor’s heart had the chance to sprout, a great event happened thousands of miles away that night——

The Western Navy, which had retreated to the coastal port, was still pretending to send congratulations on the festival to the Jiangbei garrison the day before. The dew on the flowers that had been sent had not even dried yet, they turned their faces the next day, using their full strength as if they had been planning this for a long time.

Launching a large scale invasion on the Liangjiang garrison.

Since Gu Yun was stationed in Liangjiang, the patrol requirements of the local garrison was basically increased to the standard of the Black Iron Camp. Although the imperial court had been burning for a long time, the Jiaos, Eagles and Light and Heavy Armor in Jiangbei were all in a state of loose outside but tight inside, ready for combat at any moment.

At night, the watchtower that was closely monitoring the enemy’s movements in the southeast first found the movement of the Western Navy. It turned on the alarm light. The bright white light was like a rainbow that was shot through the dark water. It was not necessary to wait for the commander’s order. The short Jiaos on the forefront would gather near the water surface on the ground quickly set up the iron fence for wartime defense. At the same time, the soldier keeping watch and reported the news flew straight from the watchtower to the Marshal tent.

On the main ship of the Western army, Master Ja rushed in breathlessly: “Your Majesty, they have been closely monitoring our army, we have been discovered.”

“That’s normal,” the Pope didn’t raise his eyes. “Last time, their commander just died, the new and old leaders have not handed over their duties, we got lucky once with our surprise attack. Now, Gu Yun is stationed here. Don’t dream about unrealistic luck anymore. Go. Since the other side has noticed, let’s say hello to our old enemy.”

As soon as his words were finished, the herald had gone quickly to deliver the order.

Master Ja frowned: “Your Majesty, I think that… – Did we choose an inappropriate time? Why can’t we wait a little longer? The interior of Great Liang also faces the same problem of changing powers as the Holy Land. Maybe after a period of time, there will be opportunities for us to… ”

He didn’t get to finish, a loud noise came from outside — the fast moving vanguard warship opened fire!

There was no turning back once it had been fired, explosions rang out one after another. Master Ja shivered and realized that he had to focus on the war situation. After all, he had suffered a great loss under Gu Yun before.

The Pope briefly moved his eyes away from the Qian Li Yan and turned to Master Ja: “I have a hunch that this is the best time — move forward at full speed!”

The sea monsters, like a black shadow, have been standing dormant and salivating for a long time. Once again, it waved its ferocious claws and rushed to the border of Great Liang.

However, this time, the weak Great Liang Navy was no longer the same.

In Liangjiang’s garrison, the sentry just took over the position of his dead comrades-in-arms. For the first time, he acted as the commander’s ear and eye in response to this critical moment. When he heard the sound of gunfire behind him, he thought that he had delayed the military business. He made a fierce dive with the Eagle armor. When he landed, he ran for dozens of steps and couldn’t stop staggering, he was quickly caught by the cavalry comrade patrolling around the Marshal tent.

“Urgent military situation, I want to see Marshal…” The sentry was in a panic, the hand that had been holding him suddenly raised up and pat his head.

The sentry was startled. He looked up and found that the person he thought was someone in charge of guard duty was actually Gu Yun himself.

“Just a defeated enemy, don’t be afraid,” Gu Yun patted him on the back of the neck and smiled at the young sentry. “Let’s go and meet them.”

In these two words, the Cavalry and Light Cavalry of the whole camp have been completely assembled. Countless Eagle Armors lit up a purple fire in the dark night. Gu Yun made a long whistle, the flying eagle soars to the sky.

“Long Jiaos and short Jiaos, 3-5 formation, set out of the harbor!”

“Eagles set up the Baihong over the iron fence!”

“What else is there?” Gu Yun put the Wind Slasher on his back like a decorative ornament and rubbed his chin. “Oh, also, ready the ‘dimsum’ that had just been sent by Ling Shu Institute. After growing tired from fighting, we will give our old friends who have come from afar something to chew on.”

The Western troops came suddenly, but the Liangjiang garrison was not hasty in their response.

On one side was the Pope who rallied and came all the way across the sea from the Holy Land, and the other side was Gu Yun, the godly Marquis of Order in legend. Finally, the two faced each other head-on in a situation of equal power and no disturbance.

Gu Yun was not a young man who dared to go to battle with only hot blood like Chang Geng. He methodically opened the battle line on the coast and on the water, slowly but orderly, testing the situation.

Unfortunately, his opponent was also one of equal ability, the person commanding the battle this time was not the cowardly Master Ja either. Old ginger is very spicy*. Gu Yun teased him several times. A team of short jiaos that attacked by surprise almost sent the enemy’s right wing flying by several times, but the main ship of the enemy’s army always responded quickly and immediately closed up.

*referring to the idiom 姜还是老的辣 “ginger gets spicier as it gets older” which means “the older, the wiser”

The Western sea monster seemed to be bulky. In fact, it was not only highly defensive, but also full of thorns. When the ugly iron plates on the surface was lifted, there were countless muzzles connected. The sea monster could be installed with unimaginable amount of Ziliujin and ammunition.

With this, their flying Eagles could land down and resupply at will, able to suppress their opponents in the air wherever they go. At the same time, its control of the surrounding sea Jiaos was irreplaceable. Like a queen bee or a queen ant, it could perfectly gather a group of brainless and low level subordinates around.

Gu Yun said to Yao Zhen, “Do you see it? The autonomy of the left and right wings had been replaced by the big guy in the middle. It seems that the Pope has finally packed the stick that stirred shit up among them and threw him into the sea. ”

Yao Chong Ze looked worried: “Marshal, it’s also them who have been trying to negotiate. What’s the purpose of turning over suddenly now?”

Gu Yun licked his lips: “I guess it’s because there were political changes within them. Someone gave them a tube of chicken blood. I know a little bit about the fighting style of that old man. At the beginning, he liked to bomb heavily and open his way. It also serves as a test. If it didn’t work out, it would be adjusted immediately. But today, he’s entirely different. If it wasn’t for the abundant supplies, he wouldn’t be so confident. Their supplies would have come from the Dong Ying in the open sea. Our forces there are quite thin.”

Yao Zhen’s mind was very clear, immediately saying: “Marshal, if that is the case, trying to fight hard is not the way to go. At present, the railway track hasn’t been completed. Even if we request supplies now, we still won’t have enough time for transportation. What can we do?”

The Western army’s gunfire fiercely covered the river and the sea. For a time, the water surface was no different than the flame of hell. The Ziliujin was poured into the heart of all the iron monsters with no hesitation, burning everything to ash, becoming a thin stream of white fog, rolling up the sky with impurities and the gunpowder smoke of the artillery. It soon covered the bright and starry night sky with a layer of haze, and the water gathered into a cloud. They were on a gridlock until midnight, it unexpectedly began to rain.

At this time, a messenger trotted over: “Marshal, the sea cuttles are ready!”

“Gather the jiaos on water, launching the main ship, all Eagles move on board.” Gu Yun strode to the deck of the main ship and said to Yao Zhen next to him, “Brother Chong Ze should stay on the bank. Don’t follow me.”

Yao Zhen said with a smile, “Although I have always been greedy for life and afraid of death, what am I afraid of when following Marshal?”

However, it was not long before Yao Zhen regretted his words. Unfortunately, he was seasick —— The power system of the main ship was refitted by Ling Shu Institute according to Gu Yun’s idea, it really resembled a white stripe in the waves, as fast as the small jiao soaring in the wind.

Normally, the main fleet would not be rocking too much, but unfortunately, the one giving orders was Gu Yun, even if it flew up, countless small and large Jiaos around would still be in his hands.

The Western army dared not neglect and immediately began to chase and intercept on a large scale.

In this way, the unbreakable and solid formation of the Western army immediately became a constraint. Gu Yun had a strong sense of rhythm. When the fire was concentrated, the fleets would be broken up immediately. After a while, they would gather again into a murderous fleet, like a quick knife always pressed on the side of the opponent’s neck, forcing people to follow his rhythm.

Gradually, the word ‘steady’ would be added at the end of every order in the Western sea monster.

However, the situation was not so steady.

Gu Yun quickly found out the weakest place of the Western fleets, the Great Liang Navy immediately gathered together to stab it. The Western sea monsters who couldn’t get rid of their tails couldn’t react. The Pope had to risk it: “Open the main ship’s shell, increase the heavy guns, anyone blocking the path, get out of the way—”

At this time, Gu Yun said to Yao Zhen with a smile: “The idea of the Western sea monster is actually worth learning, but the reason why it has not been decided with Ling Shu Institute is that although their ideas are correct, their technology is not up to standard — maybe we can make a better one in one or two decades later…”

Before he finished speaking, he saw that the Western sea Jiaos, which had been tightly stuck around the sea monster, were suddenly scattered in disorder.

Gu Yun: “The point for breakthrough had appeared, cuttles, don’t be stunned!”

Yao Zhen: “Don’t worry about it Marshal! Watch out! ”

They saw the Western sea monster suddenly lift the black back cover, revealing a row of thick muzzles below.

Gu Yun: “Full speed ahead in the southwest and detonate, these small boats won’t be able to withstand us!”

There were two loud sounds, one before and one after, almost at the same time. The first was the short cannon of the Great Liang fleet, blowing over a group of Western short Jiaos that had just fled as they broke into the enemy’s position without resistant.

The second was the long cannon of the Western main ship that came right after and almost grazed them. The main ship trembled greatly, Yao Zhen grabbed a post with all his limbs, Gu Yun staggered and strongly collided with the side of the ship.

Yao Zhen was frightened by the sound and said, “Marshal!”

Gu Yun shook his head and got up unconcerned. His eyes were frighteningly bright, “Here comes the snack.”

The water surface which was bombarded by big and small guns fluctuated violently. No one was able to see several strange looking ‘Jiaos’ hidden underneath the water — it was a batch of ‘sea cuttles’ recently sent by Ling Shu Institute. They were the Death Squadron in the sea Jiaos team, they could dive secretly from under the water. After the driver locked in the direction, they could jump straight to the sea and abandon ship. There would be ropes on the warship that released the sea cuttles to retrieve them, but even with no one inside, the cuttle could keep its original speed and continue to move forward until it hits something at the bottom of the sea. The impact force could detonate the cuttle.

This was especially made to serve the type of very large ships with its body deeply submerged in the water.

The Western people’s solid front was smashed and scattered by Gu Yun’s consecutive explosions. Suddenly, the water seemed like a flower as it exploded tens of feet high in the middle of the sea. There was a flash of fire, and before the western people could understand what it was, they saw the main ship twitching violently, catching another sea cuttle.

It seemed that the shell of copper and iron wall was not entirely invulnerable. The whole sea monster’s main ship tilted hard to one side. The Western soldiers who had been giving orders by lighting were not able to make a sound as they fell off the sea monster, there was no telling whether they were dead or alive.

The enemy line instantly became disordered. Gu Yun would of course, never give them time to breathe. The Eagles that had originally boarded the ship immediately chased the long and short Jiaos that had fallen down with absolute suppression in speed.

This startling naval battle was fought from dark to dawn. The rich supplies of the Westerners were not exhausted yet their formation had been broken apart seventy or eighty percent. The Pope, after learning a lesson about Gu Yun’s cunning and changeability in battle, suppressed his anger and could only retreat temporarily to wait for a chance to come again.

Gu Yun suddenly relaxed, saying in a hoarse voice: “Just feint to chase, do not be eager to fight.”

If the Westerners didn’t withdraw, a large number of short Jiaos would soon lose their power and have no time to return to the shore for supplies. Even with Gu Yun present, they would be very passive then. Master Ja’s thinking was correct, the Great Liang Navy still lacked the ability to fight on the open sea far from the coast.

“The enemy commander is old in age, he is cautious and careful. It will not be easy to fool him, but his cautious nature is also his downfall. If our opponent today is that animal He Rong Hui of our Black Iron Camp, even if the main ship blew up completely, he will still rob a boat to come fight me. It will not be easy to deal with then.” Gu Yun murmured and kneaded his eyes subconsciously with his hand. His vision was blurred. Just now he was too tense to notice. At this time, he realized that it was time to drink medicine. He smiled at Yao Zhen, whose soul still had not returned. He ordered, “Sail back!”

Back in the Marshal tent, Gu Yun didn’t dare to rest. He wanted to make up an emergency war report to the imperial court, he also had to deploy the war preparations to avoid such a situation of lacking here and there just now.

He had to ask someone to boil a bowl of medicine for him first. While waiting for the effect, he was whetting the ink and studying how to hold the Western army for some time in the future. Suddenly, a sharp stabbing pain at his nape and back from when he collided with the ship just now arose, creating a large area of bruise. Gu Yun’s hand trembled, the whetstone unexpectedly slipped off his hand and fell down.

He gritted his teeth, reached for the table and waited for the pain to pass.

But this time, the pain was unusually severe. Tormenting him for half an hour, until his back was soaked with cold sweat, it gradually became numb and faded.

At this time, Gu Yun found a very serious problem.

His hearing and eyesight that should have become clear again, they still have not recovered.

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