A Step into the Past

Huang Yi

Volume 25 Epilogue

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Book 4 Chapter 7 – Escape from Daliang

5 days later, Xiang Shaolong was able to get off the bed and walk. Besides the wound under his armpit, which still gave him some pain, he has regained all his strength.

The relationship between him and Zhao Qian has grown to a point that they cannot bear to be apart from each other. Although they are in hiding in the room all day long, they don’t find the confinement difficult at all.

Ever since that day, Ji Yanran had not returned and according to Zou Yan, Prince Xinling has always been suspecting her so he’s keeping a very close eye on her.

Xiang Shaolong believes that Daliang’s security will ultimately loosen up, because that is human nature, there’s no way they can carry on with this forever. Besides, even after such a thorough search revealed nothing about their whereabouts, anyone would have thought that they have escaped.

That night just as they were embroiled intimately, Ji Yanran arrived and upon seeing the blushing Zhao Qian, her own face reddened as well, which made her look even more alluring and beautiful.

Xiang Shaolong’s body was all heated up but he dare not get into the real act with Zhao Qian and on seeing this lady whose beauty is more than Zhao Qian arriving, he was secretly overjoyed. Just as he was about to start flirting with her, Zou Yan came up.

Xiang Shaolong had no choice but to let go of Ji Yanran whom he was half forcing into a hug and let her sit on the rug.

Ji Yanran stared at him daintily for a moment, blaming him for behaving more and more rudely with her before she said, “10 days ago I sent some people out of the city and ordered them to dress up as both of you, even carrying a fake wooden sword with the purpose of letting others discover them. Now the plan is indeed working. Yesterday Prince Xinling personally led the troops and went towards the border of Chu in pursuit. The security at the gates of Daliang is more relaxed now, so it’s time for you to leave.”

Xiang Shaolong and Zou Yan both cheered, they did not expect Ji Yanran to have such a splendid plan. What is even more rare is that she only talked about it after the plan is a success, which shows how much self control she has.

Ji Yanran looked at Xiang Shaolong with sadness and unhappiness, her pretty face revealing how she cannot bear to part with him.

Xiang Shaolong was stunned and he asked, “You’re not leaving with us?”

Ji Yanran shook her head, “I really wish to, but if I leave, everyone will know that I am connected with you and I will put many others in jeopardy, maybe even Mister Zou included. That day Prince Xinling came to search this observatory precisely because Yanran kept finding excuses to come here and look at the stars, and that aroused his suspicions.”

Xiang Shaolong knows this to be the truth so he sighed and asked, “Then when can we meet again?”

Ji Yanran smiled prettily, “Don’t worry! Yanran’s greatest wish in life is to be able to a.s.sist the new saint in unifying the world so that the people need not have to suffer wars any more, so I will not let you off from now on.”

Xiang Shaolong shook his head with a bitter smile, “I don’t believe that I’m really the new saint. Even if I can return to Zhao, the way will be fraught with dangers. If you want to find the true new saint, you’d better be more patient in your search in case you find the wrong person and regret it in future.” His words were filled with jealousy, naturally because the reason Ji Yanran fell for him is all because he is that new saint.

A strange look flashed past Ji Yanran’s face and she lowered her head, not speaking.

Zou Yan said seriously, “What you’ve said further affirmed that you’re the new saint, because the especially bright star that represents you is now being chased by other stars. According to the heavens, you’ll need at least 20 years before you can unify the world and before that you’ll naturally face countless dangers.”

Xiang Shaolong’s body trembled as he heard all this and looked at Zou Yan dumbfounded and for the first time he dare not belittle this ancient astrologer because it is indeed about 20 years later that Emperor Qin unified the warring states and became the first emperor in history.

Ji Yanran suddenly said, “Mister Zou, Princess Qian, Yanran would like to ask you to wait outside the hall for a while. There’s something I have to speak with Xiang Shaolong about.”

Zou Yan and Zhao Qian understood her meaning so they went out the room and even closed the door.

Ji Yanran’s head was still lowered as she said quietly, “Xiang Shaolong, I want you to know clearly that Ji Yanran likes you as a person, and it has got nothing to do with whether you’re going to be the new saint or not.”

Xiang Shaolong knows that his words earlier have hurt her and was feeling extremely apologetic so he reached out to hug her.

Ji Yanran exclaimed angrily, “Don’t touch me!”

Xiang Shaolong is an expert in the field of love and knows that she finds it a loss of face if she accedes so he ignored her warning and jumped over, pressing her down on the rug and kissed her hard on her lips.

Ji Yanran gave a token struggle before her stronger reaction took over and she can’t help but want to join with him immediately.

After their lips parted, Ji Yanran said sadly, “Tomorrow morning, Mister Han Fei will escort the grains he borrowed back to Han. Yanran has made arrangements with him, one of the carriages carrying the grains will have a secret compartment in it and it will certainly be able to bring you out of Daliang safely. Xiang Lang! Alive, Yanran will belong to your Xiang family and no matter what I will look for you. Don’t forget about me!”

Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian hugged each other as they lay in the secret compartment under the carriage and left Daliang without much trouble towards the ca.n.a.l. When they reach that place they will change into traveling by boat and follow the river up west to the Han border.

Late snow was falling outside and the carriages moved slowly. With thick blankets lining the bottom of the secret compartment, the 2 of them don’t feel too uncomfortable at all. In fact they felt as if this is a warm and sweet little heaven.

The 2 of them behaved intimately for a while before they suppressed their desire so that they will not lose self-control and engage in the real act.

Zhao Qian looked at the top of the secret compartment and said sincerely, “I’ve never seen a girl more beautiful and intelligent than Sister Yanran. Just a little trick from her and she can escort us out of Daliang comfortably.”

Xiang Shaolong looked at her beautiful profile but his mind was on another matter as he asked with a smile, “Would you mind not being a Princess!”

Zhao Qian turned around, leaned her face in her hands, her pretty eyes shining as she looked at him with love and said, “Qian’er will only mind one thing, and that is not becoming Xiang Shaolong’s woman. I don’t care about anything else.”

Xiang Shaolong kissed her lips lovingly and said with a low sigh, “That will make things easier. I’ll find a way to hide you, then report that you’ve been killed by Xiao Weimou so you need not return to the palace and become a pitiful princess.”

Zhao Qian was ecstatic, “Will you really do that for Qian’er? You’re not afraid Imperial Father will punish you?”

Xiang Shaolong boasted, “I am the new saint, how can I possibly be so easily dealt with.” He continued with a chuckle, “Actually I’m doing this for myself, it’s been to torturous suppressing myself.”

Zhao Qian blushed brightly as she buried her head in his arms, saying quietly with a mixture of shyness and happiness, “Whenever Xiang Lang wants Qian’er, I’ll give myself to you.” 

Xiang Shaolong was touched and hugged her tightly.

Zhao Qian said gently, “Didn’t Qian’er ask Xiang Lang to kill Zhao Mu for me as revenge? I’ve now changed my mind, and only hope I can flee far away with Xiang Lang. I don’t care about anything else.”

Xiang Shaolong secretly sighed, what about avenging Shu’er? Zhao Mu and him, there can only be one.

The carriage stopped, it has reached the pier at the ca.n.a.l.

3 ships from the state of Han with twin masts returned to Han with the 10,000 stone of grains.

Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian, with Han Fei’s cover, came out and hid inside a small cabin.

Although all the soldiers on the ship are Han, Han Fei is still cautious in case news gets leaked out.

The 2 of them were happily ensconced with each other especially now that they have unlocked the restriction of not being to join as one and both knows what will soon happen. Nothing much needs to be said about the flirtatious Xiang Shaolong, but even the usually gentle princess is starting to become bolder.

Han Fei sent his trusted aide to send them their dinner and the both of them sat shoulder to shoulder on the rug, enjoying the meal.

Xiang Shaolong wanted to drink some wine but Zhao Qian forcefully took his wine cup away and said coquettishly, “No! Zhao Qian will not allow you to drink, I want to yo be fully aware of what you’re doing.”

Xiang Shaolong looked at her pretty face and said while shaking and bobbing his head, “Even if wine will not intoxicate, the person will still feel intoxicated. Later when I see Princess’s beautiful body lying on the bed, I will definitely be thoroughly intoxicated, how can I still stay sober!”

Zhao Qian fed him a piece of meat as she exclaimed happily, “So well said, and making me so happy on hearing it. I’ll reward you with a piece of meat.”

Xiang Shaolong took the piece of meat in his mouth and leapt over hugging her and extending his hands to loosen her clothing, saying with a smile, “Let me take a look at Princess’s tender meat.”

Zhao Qian was greatly embarra.s.sed and tried to use her hands to fend him off but the ultimate winner is naturally Xiang Shaolong and his hands reached into her clothes through the sleeves and started having fun with the tender flesh inside.

The pretty princess’s body totally softened as she curled into his arms as she accepted her beloved’s attack with a mixture bashfulness and joy, saying gently at the same time, “It’s snowing outside!”

Xiang Shaolong’s hands were enjoying themselves so how can he possibly be bothered if it’s snowing outside. He went close to her face as he continued his caress and said, “Is what I am doing now considered stealing what I’m supposed to guard?”

Zhao Qian guffawed and stroked his face a few times with her finger to signify that he should be feeling ashamed.

Xiang Shaolong’s felt warmth in his heart.

Ancient beauties are even better than 21st century beauties. Because in this society where men are the center, their entire life is dependant on men, so they are more caring, more giving, not keeping away any part of themselves at all.

Zhao Qian suddenly thought of Ji Yanran and said, “Do you know that Sister Yanran is not a Wei, but the descendant of Yue royalty. That’s why she’s so beautiful and her martial arts so good.”

Xiang Shaolong asked in puzzlement, “How do you know?

Zhao Qian replied, “Of course I know it, when you were unconscious, we talked a lot.” She paused and continued with a smile, “Make a guess why the state of Han sent Master Han Fei who is not eloquent at all to come here and borrow rations? It turns out that the King of Wei is frustrated with him trying to urge him to change policies all the time, so he deliberately gave him an impossible mission so as to humiliate him.”

Xiang Shaolong shook his head and sighed, “The state of Han is weak enough, and now there’s such a muddleheaded King who use such a serious matter of borrowing grains to vent his temper.”

Zhao Qian replied, “But the King of Wei made a wrong guess. Because Master Han Fei has Sister Yanran to help him persuade the King of Wei, who finally agreed to lend them rations. But of course the loan will have to be repaid.”

Xiang Shaolong was stunned, “Something is not quite right. It seems that Wei will really attack Zhao, or else there’s no need for them to be so nice to Han.”

Zhao Qian pouted, “Let’s not talk about such dampening matters, all right?”

Xiang Shaolong hurriedly apologized and laughed, “Come! Let me take a look at Princess’s pretty legs!” and he reached out his hands to remove her robes.

Zhao Qian screamed and leapt out from his arms.

Xiang Shaolong sat up and moved to her side before stretching his body lazily and groaned in comfort before yelling out incoherently, “Come! Let us do something great that will be unforgettable for the rest of our lives!”

3 days later, the ships entered the border of Han.

Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian bid their farewells to Han Fei and Han Fei ordered his man to bring them a handsome and extremely excellent horse that is totally black in color, saying, “Brother Xiang! This is Miss Ji’s most beloved horse, and she especially told me to bring it along for you to use on your journey.”

Zhao Qian exclaimed with an ‘Ah!’, recognizing it to be the handsome horse that Ji Yanran rode that night while saving them and happily caressed its head.

Xiang Shaolong saw how the beauty has once again helped them and can’t help but miss her, heaving a great sigh.

Naturally Han Fei understands his feelings and as he shook his hand in farewell, he said, “The trip to Wei this time, my biggest gain is getting to know a confidante like Yanran and a great hero with ambitions like Brother Xiang. This horse is named Jifeng (Gust of Wind). Take care!” 

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Xiang Shaolong recollected his emotions and bounded up Jifeng with Zhao Qian, speeding away like lightning and from far away they could still see Han Fei waving at them.

Before Shaolong could reply, hoof beats were heard.

Their feelings still unsettled, they turned around to take a look, only to see a person on top of a horse coming towards them. A huge burly man was seated on the horse and behind the horse he carried a pair of hunted wild deer.

That person is about 25 or 26 years old, his arms stouter than an average person’s, his eyes gleaming, his face rough and gallant with a great aura about him. He saw them from afar and called out in greeting, “Friends, where are you from!” and added, “Teng Yi is back!”

Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian exchanged a look, both feeling sad for this returning man.

The burly man called Teng Yi slowed down his horse’s progress, a strange look came over his eyes as he looked at the houses with no family coming out to welcome him, obviously feeling that something is not quite right.

Xiang Shaolong went forward first to block him and said earnestly, “Friend, please listen to me first.”

Teng Yi jumped off his horse nimbly and asked him coldly, “Who are you people?”

Xiang Shaolong replied, “We’re just pa.s.sing by, inside…” 

Teng Yi pushed him away as he shouted, “Move aside!”

With Xiang Shaolong’s weight and steady stance, to be pushed aside like that, and although he was caught unawares, it can be seen that this Teng Yi has amazing arm strength.

Teng Yi dashed into the house like the wind, followed by an earth shattering and heart rending cry. Men truly do not cry easily, unless they are really heart broken!

Zhao Qian felt her nose stifling and leaned onto Xiang Shaolong’s shoulders and wept as well.

There was a wild roar and Teng Yi rushed out with bloodshot eyes and his sword in his hand, pointing at Xiang Shaolong and asked, “Did you do this.”

Xiang Shaolong and Zhao Qian looked at each other in shock.

Obviously extreme grief and fury has made Teng Yi lose his normal senses and he slashed towards his head with the sword.

Xiang Shaolong is already well prepared and pulled out his wooden sword and forcefully blocked this blow while pushing Zhao Qian away with his other hand.

Xiang Shaolong felt his arm go numb from blocking that blow and just as he was secretly thinking that this person’s arm strength is comparable to Xiao Weimou, Teng Yi has made another attack like a crazed tiger. His swordplay was wide and extremely intricate and excellent.

Xiang Shaolong never expected to meet such a frightening swordsman in this wild snowy forest and dared not even split his concentration to try to explain. He followed the Mozi swordplay and only defended, not attacking and retreating as he fought. After blocking off his opponent’s 100 odd attacks, Teng Yu suddenly cried out piteously and knelt down on the ground, holding his head and sobbing bitterly.

Zhao Qian ran over in fear and hid behind Xiang Shaolong as she called out, “Big man! We didn’t kill those people inside.”

Teng Yi nodded his head as he cried, “I know! You’re using a wooden sword and there are no bloodstains on you. It’s just that fury got to my head.” He then continued crying in the snow.

Teng Yi knelt in front of the newly erected tombstones, his expression wooden.

Right below, buried were his parents, brothers, wife and children.

A self-sufficing happy life is no longer something he has.

He doesn’t even know who his enemy is, so he can only use all his effort and life to find them.

Hatred was gnawing at his bleeding heart.

Zhao Qian cried along with him.

Xiang Shaolong came up to Teng Yi’s side and asked solemnly, “Does Brother Teng want to take revenge!”

Teng Yi suddenly lifted his head, a look of resolution shot out from his eyes as he said, “If Brother Xiang can allow me to avenge this hatred, I will give you my life.”

Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this person’s sword skill is excellent and his martial arts outstanding as well. If he has his help, it’ll be even better. He nodded his head, “Did Brother Teng think why the thieves would gather everyone into one house?”

Teng Yi was stunned as he replied, “They’re thinking of keeping the other 6 houses for use.”

Xiang Shaolong was extremely impressed with his quick thinking and said, “So they will definitely come back, and it will be before dusk.”

A strong look of hatred came over Teng Yi’s eyes and he leaned forward to kiss the know before coming towards Xiang Shaolong and grabbing his shoulders, said with grat.i.tude, “Thank you! You’d better be on your way! Or else it’ll be even more dangerous if you b.u.mp into them.”

Xiang Shaolong smiled, “If you want to kill all your enemies, then you should not ask me to leave.”

Teng Yi looked at Zhao Qian and shook his head, “Your little wife is both pretty and kind hearted, I do not wish harm to befall her. Although my 3 brothers are not as good as me, but they’re not easily trifled with as well so obviously the enemy is a big group and highly skilled. We might not be able to fight and win them.”

Xiang Shaolong said with confidence, “If it’s a head on attack, naturally we’re not their match but now that we’re planning something against the unguarded, it’s another story altogether. There’s still some time left, we need to start preparing immediately.”

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