“Stop chasing him! We need to quickly get Master Sun Qian treated!” The 1000-men commander’s deputy general reminded his general that he while chasing the enemy was important, Sun Qian’s life was even more so. If Sun Qian were to die, even Hu Che Er would not be able to protect them. Besides, they had been skimping on their jobs. They only patrolled a bit before going back to take a rest. They believed that as long as they guard the gates, the enemies would appear from within. If this matter was investigated, they would not be able to escape. That was why all of them were so afraid.
Sun Qian had lost consciousness from blood loss. The deputy general quickly checked for Sun Qian’s breath and shouted. “He is still breathing!” This was huge a relief to him. If Sun Qian dies, so would they. If Sun Qian lived, they still had a chance to survive.
“Be careful!” The man said as he ordered his soldiers to carefully carry the pale Sun Qian onto the carriage.
“Where is Mi Zhu?” Jian Yong’s few remaining men asked. Their jobs were to escort Mi Zhu but now Mi Zhu was missing. Sun Qian was also unconscious. These people no longer knew what to do.
“Mi Zhu?” The 1000-men commander turned pale. Mi Zhu was also here? Just Sun Qian alone would have killed them. Now there was also Mi Zhu whose family had just received three t.i.tles. It could be said that his position in the Liu Bei’s Army was extremely high. If two important ministers were to die, how could these soldiers still be allowed to live?
“This is none of your business!” Jian Yong’s subordinates knew that they had spoken too much. Although Mi Zhu had been arrested and was going to be executed. This was to be done quietly, away from public eyes. That was why Mi Zhu was still an important minister favored by Liu Bei to others.
“You!” The 1000-men commander became angry. Even if this man was one of Sun Qian’s personal guard, he had no right to speak to him like this. However, two of Jian Yong’s other subordinates took out a token, causing the 1000-men commander to shut up in fear. He had never seen this token before but he had heard of it. This token was given by Jian Yong and Liu Bei which signifies the importance of certain matters. Those who know too much would disappear and then reappear as a corpse on the battlefield. He then shook his head to dispel his fear and diverted his attention to Sun Qian. “Are you guys all dead? Quickly bring the best doctors here!”
“General! What if they refuse to come?” One subordinate asked. The soldiers all gave face to doctors as they knew that doctors were the only ones that could help if they fall ill or get seriously injured.
“Are you an idiot? Give them a huge amount of money! If they still refuse to come then drag them here forcefully!” The 1000-men commander shouted. He did not care if he ended up offending the doctor. If Sun Qian were to die, so would he. Why would a dead man need a doctor?
“Yes!” The subordinate quickly left on his horse.
“What should we do now?” Jian Yong’s men discussed with each other. Mi Zhu has disappeared and Sun Qian had received severe injuries. Both are very big incidents.
“The two of you! Quickly go and report this to Master Jian Yong and the Lord! The rest of us will stay with Master Sun Qian in case the enemy attacks again!” One of the leaders ordered.
“Understood!” The soldiers nodded. This incident cannot be hidden and had to be reported with haste.
Turning back time a little, after Mi Zhu had been dragged away and Sun Qian had left, Liu Bei and Jian Yong remained at the governor’s residence.
After a long period of silence, Liu Bei asked. “Xianhe. Do you think Mi Zhu had betrayed me?” Liu Bei felt a bit of regret. Liu Bei was no longer young like in the past so the moment he thought about he realized that although he was disgusted and humiliated by Mi Zhu bringing up the Mi Family’s contributions, it was also a fact that the Mi Family had helped him a lot. If it was not for the Mi Family, he would have already been annihilated a long time ago. Killing Mi Zhu might be too cruel.
“Milord. Mi Zhu has guilt.” Jian Yong replied. He did not tell Liu Bei that he was right or wrong. Being blunt had always resulted in a bad ending. Wei Zheng was a good example. Li Shimin called him loyal but because Wei Zheng was too blunt, he still ended up being lashed to death.
On the other hand, Jian Yong also did not want to be those useless ministers that only flattered their Lord. The kind of people that would say that their Lord was right regardless of their Lord’s actions. So he could only tell Liu Bei that he was wrong in a roundabout way.
“Mi Zhu is guilty?”
“Yes Milord. Mi Zhu is guilty for being too arrogant. The Mi Family has indeed funded your cause but you have already given them three t.i.tles. Mi Zhu is just an insignificant merchant. It is the wish of many others like him to even be able to change their position in life. But he does not admit it!” Jian Yong said this to make Liu Bei feel like he was innocent. After all, the thing that Liu Bei hated was Mi Zhu claiming credit for the money. He did not mention a single thing about Mi Zhu’s betrayal.
“However, I do not believe that Mi Zhu betrayed Milord!”
“Oh?” As a result of Jian Yong’s earlier statement, Liu Bei felt a sense of approval and was willing to keep listening to Jian Yong.
“If Mi Zhu betrayed Milord, what could the enemy obtain from him?” Jian Yong asked. Although Jian Yong was knowledgeable, he could not be compared to Liu Mang who came from the future. Jian Yong was unable to see the worth of merchants. On the other hand, Liu Mang considered Mi Zhu an individual as worthy as Liu Ye and Xu Shu.
Liu Bei and Jian Yong had no good impression of merchants. A merchant cannot do business unless they were treacherous. On top of that, there were plenty of things to be done in Yangzhou. Why would they need a merchant?
“What can Mi Zhu obtain by betraying you?” Jian Yong asked again. Mi Zhu wanted n.o.ble t.i.tles. While Liu Mang could give those t.i.tles, Liu Bei had already given the t.i.tles. Why would Mi Zhu go to Liu Mang’s side when his objective had already been achieved?
“What about his siblings? Aren’t they all by Liu Mang’s side?” Liu Bei asked.
“Milord. Do you think he would care about such things?” Jian Yong asked back. Liu Bei himself was such a person. He would abandon his family for his own life.
“If Mi Zhu was such a person, he would have already came forward to question you Milord. He would not be dragged here by Sun Qian.” Jian Yong explained. Mi Zhu was a true merchant. A merchant only cared about benefits.
“So Mi Zhu is innocent?” Liu Bei frowned. Jian Yong remained silent. He did not criticize Liu Bei directly and instead, he helped Liu Bei to a.n.a.lyze and reach his own conclusion.
“If Mi Zhu is innocent then what about Sun Qian?” Liu Bei narrowed his eyes. Mi Zhu said that Sun Qian was a traitor when he begged for forgiveness. If Mi Zhu was innocent, then Sun Qian was suspicious. This is because Sun Qian was the one that caught Mi Zhu and even found Liu Mang’s letter.
“Xianhe. Go and investigate if there were any strangers approaching Gongyou recently. See if there is anything abnormal.”
“Understood.” Jian Yong nodded. He had quite a good relationship with Sun Qian. However, if Sun Qian had really betrayed Liu Bei, he would not show mercy.
Just as Jian Yong was about to leave, two soldiers covered in bloodstains barged into the hall. This person had Liu Bei and Jian Yong’s token so he was able to enter unhindered. “Milord! Something bad happened!”
“Hm?” Liu Bei frowned when he saw those soldiers. The blood was fresh and they looked like they just came out from a battlefield. However, these two were a.s.sa.s.sins. They would not fight on the battlefield. So how did they end up so b.l.o.o.d.y?
“What happened? Why are you so fl.u.s.tered?” Jian Yong stepped forward and asked. These two were his subordinates.
“Master Jian Yong!” The two soldiers saluted.
“Milord. Master Jian Yong. We were escorting Mi Zhu when… When…”
“Speak slowly. No need to feel anxious.” Liu Bei and Jian Yong shared a glance when they heard about Mi Zhu. They thought that Sun Qian had betrayed them. What else could it be?
“Master Sun Qian was severely injured by skilled men in black clothing. We were unable to protect him!”
“Skilled enemies in black clothing?” Liu Bei and Jian Yong initially thought that Sun Qian was the cause. Where did these men in black clothing come from?
“The enemy was too strong. We were unable to hold them off! Master Sun Qian was stabbed in the chest. We do not know if he would survive. Mi Zhu was taken away by these men!”
“What? What did you say happened to Sun Qian and Mi Zhu?” Liu Bei and Jian Yong both asked with their voice raised.
“Master Sun Qian is severely injured and Mi Zhu was kidnapped by the men in black!” The two soldiers repeated.
“Xianhe?” Liu Bei gave Jian Yong a questioning gaze. Jian Yong was the one that said that Sun Qian was suspicious was Mi Zhu was innocent.
“How could this be?” Jian Yong could not believe it but the bloodstain on his subordinates was real. If Sun Qian was the traitor, why would he be severely injured? If Mi Zhu was innocent, why would he be taken away?
“Where is Sun Qian now?” Liu Bei asked after he saw Jian Yong’s panicked expression.
“We sent Sun Qian back to his residence while a 1000-men commander went to find a doctor. At that time, Sun Qian was unconscious and blood was flowing on the ground!” The two soldiers did not dare to hide anything from Liu Bei.
“Men! Prepare the horses!” Liu Bei became worried after hearing this. Sun Qian had been with him for so long. Liu Bei was willing to just kill Mi Zhu as the man was just a merchant. However, Sun Qian was a talented and intelligent individual. Although Liu Bei already had a top cla.s.s strategist like Pang Tong, he still needed a second grade strategist to manage other things. How could Pang Tong do everything on his own?
It was not only provisions that Liu Bei lacked. He also lacked talented individuals. The price for losing Sun Qian would be too heavy.
“Doctor! Bring all the doctors to Sun Qian’s residence! Gongyou must be saved!” Liu Bei ordered. His eyes were a little red.
“Jian Yong! Follow me!” Liu Bei did not use Jian Yong’s courtesy name as he was unhappy that Jian Yong made him suspect Sun Qian.
“Impose martial law immediately! n.o.body is allowed out of the city!” Jian Yong did not forget to impose martial law. It might be possible that Mi Zhu had not yet been brought out of the city. They needed to find and question Mi Zhu.
Meanwhile, Mi Zhu who was quickly forgotten was in a room somewhere in the Wancheng district of Nanyang.
“Is Master Mi Zhu well?” Mi Zhu who was untied looked at Wei Yan, the robust and reddish looking soldier that cupped his fists towards him.
“Who are you?” Mi Zhu asked carefully. He saw these men cut down Sun Qian and Jian Yong’s subordinates so easily, showing their skill. He also saw Sun Qian got stabbed which frightened him.
“Master Mi Zhu. Do you really not know who we are?” The Wei Yan asked as he drew his sword that was still covered in blood.
“You are soldiers sent by the False King Liu Mang!” Mi Zhu replied. His words immediately angered the other men in black clothing to the extent that they wanted to kill Mi Zhu. Fortunately, Wei Yan stopped them.
“Master Mi Zhu. Do not think that we won’t kill you just because we just saved you! If you try saying anything unnecessary, we will kill you on the spot!” Wei Yan warned with a murderous intent. This feeling made Mi Zhu shudder.
“I knew it! I knew that Sun Qian had betrayed Milord!” Mi Zhu laughed. “Kill me if you want! I have no hope of surviving anyway! Just make it quick!” Mi Zhu said. He had already lost all of his money and his siblings had already been declared dead. So Mi Zhu could not even be used to threaten Liu Bei. Mi Zhu was now completely worthless.
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“Haha! Master Mi Zhu. You want to die? It is not so easy!” Wei Yan said the same thing as Sun Qian.
“This one is Wei Yan. Courtesy name is Wenzhang.” Wei Yan replied respectfully. He could be disrespectful earlier since Mi Zhu have not yet joined Liu Mang. Now that Mi Zhu was one of Liu Mang’s subordinates, he was an ally. Wei Yan was not so stupid to offend an ally. Besides that, it was obvious that Liu Mang valued Mi Zhu so it was more beneficial to be friends with Mi Zhu. Even though Wei Yan had a rough temperament, he was also quite a slippery individual.
“Can I call you Wenzhang?” Mi Zhu also tried to be intimate. It was as though Wei Yan did not try to kill Mi Zhu a few moments before this.
“Wenzhang. Milord gave me the position of Chief of Commerce but what kind of position is that?” Mi Zhu had changed completely. It is said that merchants are evil because they treat profits like their own mothers. Just now he seemed so loyal and dependable but once he changed his liege he immediately thought of Liu Bei as ‘Big Eared Liu’ while treating Liu Mang as his Lord.
“I also do not know.” Wei Yan shook his head.
Mi Zhu became a little bit disappointed when he saw Wei Yan shook his head. He now thought that it might not actually be a very important position. Fortunately there was still his t.i.tle as Marquis of Guangzhou. Yet he still thought to himself. Why did Liu Mang go through all the trouble just to force a merchant like himself to work for him? He then wondered if his little sister was the reason. Even if his little sister had already been married off, Liu Mang could have been like Cao Cao with weird fetishes. If this was the case, it would not be too bad to be the King of Shu’s brother-in-law.
“Master Mi Zhu.”
“Please. Zizhong is fine.” Mi Zhu replied modestly.
“Zizhong. I do not know what Chief of Commerce is but I know that Milord wants you to stand alongside the three advisors!” Wei Yan said.
“What?” This was good news for Mi Zhu. These three advisors were Xu Shu, Liu Ye and Jia Xu. Xu Shu was entirely deserving of his t.i.tle. Liu Ye was not as good as Xu Shu but was also skilled in mechanics which is why he is in charge of the industrial zone. The last one was Jia Xu. He was crafty but he was at third place as he was a new addition. Liu Mang had one more advisor which was Yang Hong. However, Yang Hong’s existence was more like a housekeeper instead of an advisor.
Mi Zhu could only imagine how high his position would be if he was placed after them. His position would be as high as Sun Qian. With such a position and also the n.o.ble t.i.tle, he could tell how sincere Liu Mang was being.
Knowing this, Mi Zhu seriously replied. “This Mi Zhu will not betray His Highness the King of Shu’s trust.”
Although benevolence was hard to come by during troubled times, it was still important. Mi Zhu had never felt valued by others. Even if Liu Bei once valued him, it was when he was still rich. In other words, Liu Bei valued Mi Zhu’s money but not the individual Mi Zhu.
But now, the penniless Mi Zhu was given so much by Liu Mang. How could Mi Zhu not feel moved?
“Zizhong. Save these words for the Lord.” As a general, Wei Yan did not like these corny speeches. “How about we leave the city first before we continue?”
“We have not left the city? Where are we?” Mi Zhu initially thought that they had already left the city.
Wei Yan wanted to leave but it was hard to get pa.s.s the gates because of Yang Jie’s incident. It would have been hard to escape with Mi Zhu inside the carriage so Wei Yan decided not to leave immediately.
“We are currently in Sun Qian Sun Gongyou’s residence!” Wei Yan smiled.
“Sun Qian? Huh?” Mi Zhu was confused. He initially believed that Sun Qian had betrayed Liu Bei because of what the messenger told him. Then Wei Yan stabbed Sun Qian with a sword which already made him confused once. He was now unable to tell whether Sun Qian had really betrayed Liu Bei or was simply used and then silenced by Liu Mang.
“Haha! Who told you that Sun Qian is dead? Don’t worry. Sun Qian won’t die!” Wei Yan gave a strange laugh. Rather than kill Sun Qian, Wei Yan was more likely to protect Sun Qian. This is because Sun Qian was Wei Yan’s lucky star. As long as Sun Qian is still alive, Wei Yan could obtain more merits!
“But…!” Can someone who was stabbed by a sword still survive?
“How is he? How is Gongyou?” The frontyard of Sun Qian’s residence were bustling with noise while Wei Yan and the others were hiding in the backyard. Soldiers were all standing outside while plenty of doctors holding boxes were lining up. Inside was the pale looking owner of the residence, Sun Qian Sun Gongyou.
Liu Bei immediately asked when the doctor left the room. He had the model expression of a ruler deeply concerned about his people. n.o.body would have suspected that Liu Bei harbored doubts of Sun Qian just a little while ago.
“Left General. Military Advisor Sun Qian has good luck. Although his injuries seemed fatal, it was actually a light injury. None of his internal organs were harmed. All he needs is some rest!” The old doctor replied. He could be considered the best doctor in Wancheng.
“Doctor. Is this a mistake? The blade went deep into his chest!” Jian Yong asked in disbelief.
Anyone would be unhappy when someone asked this question. It was like they did not believe in them and their occupation. However, the doctor still replied respectfully when he saw the fierce looking guards. “Although the blade went deep into the chest, it was only a superficial wound. It missed the heart and even the bones!”
The doctor himself was also impressed by Sun Qian’s luck. To be stabbed with a sword and barely suffered any harm.
“He is so lucky?” Jian Yong frowned. This was too coincidental.
On the other hand, Liu Bei breathed a sigh of relief. “He is okay? That is great!”
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