Sha Po Lang

Chapter 119: Lovesick

Volume 4 Chapter 119


Have not seen you in a long time, missing you very much.


Gu Yun’s heart suddenly sank. A moment later, he realized something and looked down at the blurry medicine bowl in front of his eyes.

He did not panic, for he knew this day would come, but momentarily, he still found it difficult to fully accept. Much like how everyone knew they would die sooner or later, but when closing their eyes, most people would not be so willing.

In front of the noisy Liangjiang camp, the coming enemy has retreated, but the warning of the attack has not been lifted. The sharp whistle still rang all around, but in Gu Yun’s ear, the sound was like a distant line of sobs.

His world was fuzzy and quiet, the black ink and white paper on the table, in his eyes, were only two mass of blurry colors.

Gu Yun sat motionless at the table for a moment, then unconsciously grasped the string of beads left to him by the former emperor — it was quite strange, Gu Yun had been on the border for a long time and often traveled around, collision in daily life was unavoidable. The thread had been broken several times, but every time without fail, he was able to recover it without exception. Up to now, the thread had been changed three times, but not one bead had gone missing, quietly gathering a cool layer of water vapor, wrapping around his wrist bone.

… As if the man who loved him and harmed him truly always watched over him.

Gu Yun was touched by the wooden beads and finally returned to his mind.

He did not make a fuss, taking out the emergency liuli glass from his chest and put it on, then bent his fingers and knocked gently on the medicine bowl, breaking it. Gu Yun gathered the broken fragments and swept them into the corner of the wall. He turned around and sat down, writing a report and an order with his face unchanging then sent someone to deliver the letters.

Yao Zhen followed the messenger inside just in time. As he raised his eyes and saw the lens on Gu Yun’s face, he wondered, “Why, has Marshal not taken the medicine yet?”

Gu Yun was very fluent with lip-reading now, as if nothing happened, he replied: “I was careless and dropped the bowl — forget it, no need to boil another. Don’t worry, even if I’m completely blind, I can still clean up these foreigners.”

Yao Zhen glanced at the broken porcelain pieces in the corner of the wall. He kept having the feeling that something might have happened, but even after thinking for a long while, he was still unable to figure it out, he said to Gu Yun instead, “We have an accident here, I’m afraid the capital will undergo changes again.”

Gu Yun made an ‘Mm’ sound in response and said: “I’d like to ask brother Chong Ze to send an urgent call to Jiangbei and ask Shen Ji Ping to come here. I need to adjust the deployment of the four regions, and Chen…”

As he said the word ‘Chen’, he suddenly went quiet. Yao Zhen asked curiously, “who?”

“No one.” Gu Yun shook his head. “Go.”

Chang Geng’s Bone of Impurity was still relying on Chen Qing Xu. He did not wish to disturb her.

In the evening of the same day, the emergency war report arrived in the capital. Li Feng sent people to the Hu Guo Temple overnight to retrieve Chang Geng. Once again, the whole Western Warm Pavilion was full of important officials of the court.

Chang Geng’s eyelids were twitching continuously. On his way back to the palace, he always felt something had gone wrong. His heart was in a state of anxiety. When others handed him the battle report of the front line, Chang Geng held his breath, reading the short war report over and over seven or eight times. Confirming that Gu Yun had written it himself. It was concise and clear, the handwriting was orderly and powerful. At least when he wrote this report, the man was still healthy.

Only now did Chang Geng let out a sigh of relief. He settled his mind, closed his eyes slightly and said to himself, “I almost scared myself to death.”

He calmed down, his heart also relaxed — this time, the battle in Liangjiang that was initiated by the enemy was a good thing for him.

As soon as the war situation would tense, if Fang Qin and his people dared to clamor to abolish the Grand Council, not only Li Feng, but the garrison of the four regions of Great Liang would also disagree. At that time, they would have more room.

In the end, it was the enemy who helped him accomplish his goal.

Fang Qin was feeling immensely bothered and impatient. In the past half a year, he has been struggling to sleep at night, working hard to gather the ministers from the aristocratic families who were completely scattered. It could be said that he has done everything to the best of his ability. At last, he has won a bit of a periodic victory. The call for the dismissal of the Grand Council was getting louder and louder. Seeing that Yan Wang could not even take care of himself, his right and left arms are all involved in affairs, and he was only a little short of the effort to kick the dog down the water —— yet suddenly, the Westerners would move at this time!

If it was Great Liang who took the initiative to attack, they could accuse the Marquis of Order of being ‘eager for battle’, but this night’s attack was the enemy’s move.

“Abolish the Grand Council,” Li Feng took over a dozen reports from the internal servant, “Cut military expenditure, strictly investigate the occupation of land by non-governmental merchants…”

There was no sound in the Western Warm Pavilion.

Li Feng suddenly threw those dozen reports on the ground: “The Westerners have not retreated yet. You people are already retracting the firewood from under the pot!”

Fang Qin gritted his teeth and swallowed all his words. He wanted to strike first, but Li Feng already blocked his mouth.

At this time, if anyone nearsighted dare to open their mouth, they could easily be assigned to the crime of betraying the country and colluding with the enemy.

Li Feng’s eyes then fell on Chang Geng: “And you, do you think you are very aggrieved? Other people had only said a few words, yet you already abandoned official duties, playing sulking and running back home with me. You are already a grown-up, do you have any other trick? The entire Grand Council does not have even one ghost all day long, there are only two sweepers at the door — Li Min, I’m telling you, either get back to the Grand Council tomorrow in an instant! Or you will no longer have to come back at all!”

All key members of the Grand Council knelt down with Yan Wang to apologize humbly.

Li Feng did not answer them, letting them kneel down and turned to Da Li Temple officials with a twist of his face. “Jiang Han Shi was originally from Da Li Temple, he could still be considered to be your former boss. Assigning you the small task of investigating his old case, do you not have the heart to do it? Are you going to put it off until the new year?”

In the sudden disaster, the Da Li Temple minister did not dare to say a word, kneeling down like their neighbors, the Grand Council.

One by one, Li Feng dragged out all the most important officials for a scolding. Fang Qin was one of the few who had nothing to do with it and was let go by the emperor with only a couple of words. Compared with Yan Wang who was not allowed to stand up, Li Feng’s attitude towards him was almost pleasant. He only said, “Subject Fang, the Western army came with ill intent, we can’t let the logistic cause us to fall into passive. You are in charge of the Ministry of Revenue, you should pay more attention.”

Fang Qin had no choice but to bow his head and answer ‘yes’, as if he had been doused with cold water from head to toe — he realized that his long-term scheme was to be destroyed in one day.

The deserted Grand Council was busy once again, starting to pull all-nighters day after day.

After his return to the Grand Council, the first thing Yan Wang did was instructing everyone: “Recently, the border is in a tight situation. Please take the state affairs as priority. Sometimes you will have to suffer grievances, being too thick will lead to being broken, after suffering enough grievances, it will all naturally pay off in the end. Remember these words of mine. About brother Han Shi, the gentlemen needn’t worry. Since the emperor has spoken today, he will be safe in a few days.”

The crowd looked at him in silence.

Chang Geng continued: “The trick of the Feng Huo ticket can’t be played any more. Think about how to make use of the Long An Bank. I said before that I want three things from those people — the money in their hands, the land under their feet, and the people of the world. The first one is already secure. If the second one is shaken, they will fight back. If you have a steady footing, then the third one… and even everything in the future will come naturally.”

At this time, someone asked, “Your Highness, the black curtain of the collusion between the big and small merchants and the local officials and businessmen, do you still want to find out?”

“Prioritize the war, national economy, and the people’s livelihood, but if there are villains who are determined to block the way, there’s no need to endure them. Do your best at what you should do. As for others matters… if the sky falls, I will shoulder it for the gentlemen.” Chang Geng waved his hand, “Get to work. Give me a report tomorrow.”

As he finished, like a resolute guarantee, the whole Grand Council, Ling Shu Institute, Canal Office, all the tycoons who held a lot of wealth, all the new officials that occupied half of the dynasty, they all rotated around this backbone in an orderly manner and performed their respective duties.

Five days later, Jiang Chong finished his case and returned to his original position. The Liangjiang garrisons issued a call to arms: ‘Crusade against the foreign invaders, recover the homeland!”. Within five days, they exchanged fire with the Western troops three times and did not relent for even one step.

At the same time, Gu Yun ordered to adjust the structure of the garrison. Within a day, he issued seven arrow banners of command in a row, all of which were to be recorded in the Grand Council, making the officials running errands in the Grand Council have a chance to truly ‘run errands’, creating a slight breeze whenever they passed by.

At the fourth night watch period, Chang Geng laid down on the desk and had a moment of shut-eye. It was not a deep sleep. Because of the Bone of Impurity, even if he wanted to have a clear nightmare now, he had to gather together ‘the favorable time and place’, otherwise, all dreams were an entangled mess, even the slightly loud sound of flipping a book next door could wake him up.

Wu Er Gu was the name of the evil god. In most cases, when he had just woken up, his heart would be full of restlessness and rage. However, on this day, when the footsteps outside the door woke Chang Geng up, he lifted his face from his arms and instantly sat up straight, but his heart was beating in disorder and confusion. Instead of the usual rage, he was both confused and sad, his sleeves were still stained with tears.

At this time, someone said at the door: “Your Highness, there is a letter from Jiangnan.”

Chang Geng took a deep breath quietly: “Bring it in.”

It was still about Gu Yun’s big move — he was planning to increase his troops in the southwest, without saying why, he only explained the garrison position, commander-in-chief, the coordination of military services and the way of ration transportation in detail. Chang Geng hurriedly read it, not quite understanding the strategic layout, he was not able to find what was the reason either after reading. He put it aside for record-keeping as per usual.

Then he discovered that under it, there was a private letter from Gu Yun to him.

The private letter was in fact only a piece of paper, a line was written without beginning or end: “Have not seen you in a long time, missing you very much.”

Gu Yun’s letter was either romantic, or obscene, teasing in secret, or in the open. He seldom said ‘I miss you’ in a serious and proper manner. Chang Geng instantly sobered up, his drowsiness was all gone. He felt that the words on the paper seemed to turn into an arrow passing through his chest, stabbing through him without any resistance.

He wished he could retract all the heroic words he had said before, pushing all the Grand Council and national businesses aside and go to see Gu Yun regardless of reason.

But that was impossible.

Chang Geng suddenly held the note in his hand, then rolled it up carefully a moment later, stored it in his pouch, trying to calm down and read the regulations of the Bank of Long An drawn up by the Grand Council carefully. However, those neat handwriting appeared in front of him, but none of them fell into his eyes. After an incense time, he almost fidgeted, unable to sit still.

Chang Geng no longer hesitated. He grabbed his cloak and said, “Men, prepare my horse!”

When people saw that he was in a hurry, thinking he had something urgent to do, they immediately prepared a horse and made way for him.

He went to the Zen Room of the Hu Guo Temple, where the mountain and temple was silent, the doors were closed, the autumn wind swept up the dried leaves. There was only a lantern standing in silence at the door. The glow of the fire was a little disordered, a dark lingering scent of sandalwood was everywhere.

Master Liao Ran was already sleeping when Chang Geng rushed in, the scriptures on the table were scattered by the wind. The master was shocked, staring at Yan Wang wrapped in the cold wind with wide eyes.

Chang Geng, with a little red mark at the bottom of his eyes, sat down and asked, “Tea, do you have any?”

Liao Ran put on his monk robe, bringing out from the old wooden cabinet a pack of Kuding tea in a paper bag, and boiled the water.

Although there was a leak in the broken house and a hole in the cup and bowl, the monk prepared the tea with movements that were neither fast nor slow, gentle and quiet, without making any eye contact with him. The dense white steam rose up, reminding one of the roaring fire engines of the steel armors. It quickly condensed into water beads on the low roof, slowly sliding to the tail along the special beams and columns on the roof, falling into the hanging small bowl, making a ticking sound

Chang Geng’s eyes followed the process from the steam to water drop, starting from the old pottery pot, and finally fell on the small bowl in the corner of the monk’s house roof. Chang Geng breathed out gently, his restless heart that resembled boiling water slowly settled.

Master Liao Ran made a cup of Kuding tea with boiling water and placed it in front of Chang Geng.

It was bitter from the scent alone.

“Thank you.” Chang Geng received it. His fingers that were cold from riding in the night wind had regained some sensation. He took a sip. It was both bitter and hot, numbing the tip of his tongue. He smiled bitterly and said, “I was so busy these days, having a bit of a temper, I was not able to suppress the Bone of Impurity. How embarrassing.”

Liao Ran looks at him and signed: “The Westerners are good at taking advantage of the situation, but this time they have chosen a very bad time, which shows that although they seem to be fierce, in fact they are at their last leg. Marshal Gu was more than adequate even when handling all four sides, let alone just one Liangjiang battlefield? Once the train track is completed, a large number of people and things can travel back and forth the capital and Jiangbei in one day. With the current reserved Ziliujin of our army, if we are lucky, perhaps we can completely recover the lost land in a year or two. Your Highness needn’t be worried.”

The logic was all correct. Even Chang Geng himself knew it, yet he still had an incomprehensible feeling of discomfort inside.

“Is Xiao Cao at Master Du’s?” Chang Geng whispered, “It should not be far from Liangjiang. Go see him for me… Or I’ll write a letter later and let Xiao Cao take a position in the army. His unpredictable method of disguise is useless when staying beside Master Du. It’s better to be on the frontline. “

Liao Ran nodded and said: “Your Highness did not want to let Marshal Gu go back to the capital. Isn’t this an opportunity?”

Gu Yun was the weakness of Yan Wang, but this weak point has never been attacked before. Due to the war, no one could touch Gu Yun at present. Although Li Feng was mediocre, he was not blind to the point of destroying the city wall himself for the second time and be surrounded by the enemy.

This bloody battlefield was not necessarily a kind of protection for Gu Yun.

Chang Geng frowned and drank up the cup of Kuding tea, murmuring: “Everyone depends on him, but who will care about his whole body of illness and injury? Sometimes when I think about it, it’s really…”

When he said this, he inadvertently met the mute monk’s compassionate and pitiful eyes, he immediately bowed his head with restraint and smiled, “I have said too much, I should mix more tranquilizer.”

Liao Ran saw that he only wanted a moment of quiet, so he stopped talking, taking out the wooden fish knocker under the table, closed his eyes slightly, and knocked it from time to time. In the small monk’s house, there was only the sound of wooden fish knocker and water drops. In this sound, Chang Geng sat on the side of the small couch, closing his eyes to rest, only until dawn did he take his leave.

When he was about to go, Liao Ran suddenly tapped on the wooden table, attracted Chang Geng’s eyes, and said to him: “Your Highness, when you met Master Du, I was lucky enough to listen, but there was something I was not able to figure out.”

Chang Geng’s eyes with slightly darkened circles trembled, he raised one eyebrow.

Liao Ran said: “Your Highness said that the interests in the world add up to a big cake, everyone wants to occupy a piece. There is no difference between good and evil, but some people want to occupy more by following the trend. They can push the cake to become bigger while expanding their influence. This kind of person can lay the foundation for a country. Some people do it against the trend. The place he occupies has already been rotten, but he still wants other places to suffer the same fate. This kind of person can only bring disaster. Now most of the cakes fall on the hand of the old nobles. What we want is to break this situation and scrape away the rot on the nation bit by bit-“

Chang Geng asked, “What’s the matter, master? Is there something wrong with this?”

“No,” Liao Ran said, shaking his head, the broad sleeve of his robe made a rustling sound with his gestures. “I just thought that under the heaven, everywhere is the ruler’s land. The old Drumming Order and Rong Jin Law are still there. Your Highness has worked hard to manage all these things, but perhaps they will all be completely changed with only one law, everything you have done, will become nothing but a fleeting dream.”

Chang Geng’s fingers on the small table tapped a few times, there was no movement on his face. It seemed that he had soon considered what Liao Ran spoke of.

“The master is very correct.” He lowered his handsome eyes, and laughed softly.

His side profile truly resembled a totem of the evil god.

Liao Ran’s heart beat wildly twice. For a moment, his mouth was dry. Suddenly, he understood — although Yan Wang seemed to be fighting for the Emperor’s favor with the forces of the old aristocratic family, in fact, is his real intention behind it really like this?

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