Chapter 16

On the day of his promised meeting with Yang Qing Yi, Xiao Wangye prepared some small gifts then took Xiao Dong to Liu Family's Shop at Yinxing Street.

 

Shopkeeper Zhao welcomed him and showed him to the back room, but there was only Yang Qing Yin inside and Yan Zi Xing was nowhere to be seen.

 

"Where is Zi Xing?"

 

Yang Qing Yi's expression was grim, he said, "He's going out."

 

"Going out? Hadn't we made an appointment?"

 

Xiao Wangye felt it was a little weird. He heard this Liu Family Shop was opened by Yang Qing Yi's teacher; him entering the Grand Medical Hospital was also with his teacher's recommendation. Yan Zi Xing had also explained that he and Yang Qing Yi's teacher could be considered relatives, so he was allowed to stay here. Every time Xiao Wangye wanted to find him, Yan Zi Xing would be here waiting, but now he was going out?

 

Yang Qing Yi said, "I quarreled with him and he went out in a fit of anger."

 

"You quarreled with him? Because of what?" Xiao Wangye felt it was even weirder. Wasn't those two's relationship good?

 

Yang Qing Yi wryly smiled and said, "It was nothing. Zi Xing is still a child, a few quarrels are inevitable. He was unhappy with a few things that I said."

 

Xiao Wangye saw he didn't want to talk about it, so he didn't ask. Anyway, he and Yang Qing Yi's friendship was not very close; they became friends only because they shared a journey together to Yaojing. Only because Yang Qing Yi had given him an effective prescription for Beitang Yao Yue, Xiao Wangye specifically prepared a gift to thank him.

 

So this time, with Yan Zi Xing's absence, Xiao Wangye and Yang Qing Yi did not have many things to talk about, and he didn't intend to stay long. He chatted with him a little then took his leave. Yang Qing Yi looked like he had so many things in his mind, and did not keep Xiao Wangye from leaving.

 

Xiao Wangye and Xiao Dong left the pharmacy shop and walked along the Yinxing street, when he was about to turn into Zhuque street, suddenly he heard someone calling from behind him.

 

"Why you go already?" Yan Zi Xing, who'd been running all the way from afar, pulled Xiao Wangye's hand and complained.

 

Xiao Wangye rolled his eyes, "It's because you didn't come, I've waited for half a day."

 

Yan Zi Xing smiled sheepishly and said, "I had an argument with someone and was in a bad mood, I was just about to leave but then remembered that I'd made an appointment with you. Fortunately I came back, or I would've broken a promise. Let's go have a few drink."

 

Xiao Wangye scratched his head, "I can't, I'm not a good drinker and can't drink too much."

 

Yan Zi Xing said, "Sissy! You're too stingy! If you're a man you can't refuse, it's only a few cup of wine."

 

Xiao Wangye was immediately provoked by those words, he said, "It's only some wine, who said I can't drink! Let's go, today let's drink to our heart's content!"

 

The two then went to Zuifu House and bought several pot of wine.

 

Yan Zi Xing called the old server, reprimanding him for fooling them with new wine, and for not allowing them to drink the wine older than nine years. Those kind of wine, of course were not cheap, but Yan Zi Xing generously threw a large pile of gold on the counter, making the server's eyes widened.

 

Xiao Wangye sent Xiao Dong to far, far away, then together with Yan Zi Xing ran into one his relatives' house to find more drinks. When Yan Zi Xing carried Xiao Wangye to jump onto the roof, he asked with some surprised, "What happened to your internal forces?"

 

Odd.

 

Xiao Wangye chuckled and said, "How in the world would I have internal force? Do I look like I'm from a family of martial artists?"

 

Yan Zi Xing cast him a glance and smiled, "Maybe I saw wrong."

 

Then he said nothing more, he lifted the wine jug and poured directly into his mouth. Xiao Wangye was impressed by his straightforward manner; head burning he followed Yan Zi Xing's lead and raised his jug and drank.

 

---

 

Huhuhu... his head was hurt, felt like it was going to explode...

 

"Water.. hu.. I want some water..." Xiao Wangye whimpered.

 

Someone turned him over, then gently supported him with one hand and fed him a cup of hangover soup.

 

"Hu... more..." Xiao Wangye couldn't open his eyes and shivered all over.

 

The man got him another cup, but this time he was not so gentle; he directly poured the soup into Xiao Wangye's mouth.

 

"Cough cough..." Xiao Wangye was awakened. Disoriented, he opened his eyes, paused for a long time before confusedly asked, "Yao Yue, you're not in the study room?"

 

"It's already late at night, why would I be in the study." Beitang Yao Yue said matter-of-factly.

 

"Huh?" Xiao Wangye looked around him and then looked to the outside of the window... it was dark. Feeling dizzy, he lowered his head.

 

Xiao Wangye knocked on his head and tried to remember. Right, he was out in the afternoon drinking with Yan Zi Xing, seemed like he drank too much.

 

But how did he return to the Wangfu?

 

Dongfang Hao Ye thought hard, but he couldn't recall. The last thing he remembered was that he'd drunk too much, Yan Zi Xing supported him as they drunkenly swaggered along the streets, Xiao Dong had wanted to drag him home but he refused.

 

"Yao Yue..." Xiao Wangye guiltily glanced at Beitang Yao Yue and pulled his sleeves, but he was unceremoniously pushed away, "Don't touch me, you stink!"

 

"I.. I, I'll go take a bath..."

 

Beitang Yao Yue cooly said, "You can't. You shouldn't take a bath when you are still hangover, the alcohol effect has not yet passed. When you returned you you threw up all over the place, scaring Hong Ju and Xiao Dongzi, I let them go to rest after they changed the bed sheets. I always have only a few people here in Hanqing Hall, so now there's none out there you can call to help you."

 

Dongfang Hao Ye was so ashamed, he opened one corner of the quilt and looked up at Yao Yue, "That, then..."

 

Beitang Yao Yue stood up and withdrew the hand which was supporting Hao Ye, "Tonight I'll go sleep at Qingyun side room, I can't stand the smell of alcohol on you. There are some snack and porridge on the table, if you're hungry then help yourself, no one is able to attend to you tonight."

 

Xiao Wangye didn't dare say anything, he only watched Beitang Yao Yue's back as he walked out of the room.

 

Huhu... Yao Yue, I was wrong...

 

Xiao Wangye went back to bed with saddened heart, his head was pounding as if several small people were fighting inside it, but he didn't dare call for anyone.

 

Missing Beitang Yao Yue's warmth, Dongfang Hao Ye rolled around on the bed but could not sleep. Finally when a half-night'd passed, the effect of the wine receded and he could sleep again. But some time afterward, he was awakened by a noise outside the window.

 

Dongfang Hao Ye lifted his head in a daze and felt the bed. He was about to call someone when goose-bumps broke all over his body; pausing his breathing he became awake in an instant.

 

There was someone in the room!

 

Alerted, Dongfang Hao Ye watched intently at one dark corner and shouted, "Who?"

 

Feeling a gaze full of intention to murder, Xiao Wangye didn't even think, he shot a bunch silver needles.

 

Ding, ding, ding!

 

The silver needles were blocked. A black shadow swept past, and Xiao Wangye instinctively knew he was not the shadow's opponent. With a flick of his left hand he threw the quilt to cover the night-sky light, then he jumped out of the bed to grab the sword on the side of the bed. Then there was a blast of wind, the shadow had come behind him.

 

Dongfang Hao Ye ducked and was about to turn when he felt a burning heat rushed towards him and his whole body became numb. His acupuncture point was hit.

 

The man then picked Dongfang Hao Ye up, opened the window then leaped out.

 

Outside the room, they were hit by a rush of cold wind, and Dongfang Hao Ye whose strength had deserted him, instantly shivered from his head to his toes.

 

"Assassin! Help! Assassin..."

 

Beitang Wangfu was on fire; because the buildings were dry, added with the whistling north wind, the fire quickly spread.

 

From a distance, the were sounds of sword-fights; Beitang Wangfu's shadow guards fought with a group of assassin with all their might.

 

When Dongfang Hao Ye saw that the assassin was not alone, he couldn't help but be panicked and turned his head to Hanqing Hall. Beitang Yao Yue was brandishing a sword, with a swept of his robe he rushed out from inside to his direction.

 

Don't come!

 

Dongfang Hao Ye shouted anxiously, but he was unable to speak as his acupuncture was sealed; he could only watch as two assassins hiding just outside the hall came out and intercepted Yao Yue; they immediately engaged in a fight.

 

Obviously these people came well-prepared; since the attack started in the main room of Hanqing Hall, their original goal must definitely be Beitang Yao Yue. But they never would have expected that Beitang Yao Yue was not in the main bedroom tonight and had moved to the Qingyun side room.

 

At this kind of situation, Yao Yue actually ran out and send himself through the door?

 

Dongfang Hao Ye was powerlessness, suddenly with a dizzying speed the assassin carrying him had already leaped over and stood on the wall. Dongfang Hao Ye could no longer see how Yao Yue was faring.

 

Several shadow guards rushed to rescue him, but the assassins had strong martial arts and strange styles; they repeatedly tried to force the shadow guards to retreat.

 

Dongfang Hao Ye was swung left and right as the assassin carrying him was attacking and dodging, inwardly he cursed; kidnapping and sealing his acupuncture point, wasn't this torture?

 

"Wangye!" Xiao Dong suddenly charged out; holding a dagger he climbed the wall, intended to attack the assassin. However, he was also afraid of hurting Xiao Wangye and didn't dare recklessly attack.

 

"Wangye! Are you okay? How are you?" Seeing Xiao Wangye didn't respond, Xiao Dong''s shoutings got even more urgent with anxiety.

 

Moron! My acupuncture point is sealed, can't you see?

 

Dongfang Hao Ye was slumped over the assassin's shoulder, and could not see Xiao Dong's expression, but his voice sounded like he was in a mess.

 

"Let go of him!" As soon as Dongfang Hao Ye heard Beitang Yao Yue's voice, he was greeted with a flash of silver light from Yao Yue's sword, Yu Ze.

 

Yao Yue... Xiao Dong calm down a little, don't let anything happen to my beloved wife!

 

Dongfang Hao Ye tried to concentrate but then he saw in the corner of his eye, the Wangfu's Chief Manager, Ling Qingyi rushing with a flying speed into the fighting ring. A few other assassins came to him quickly and joining in the fight.

 

Xiao Wangye was taking it all in when he suddenly felt the assassin carrying him moved; the hand that was originally circling his waist was probing his other hand as if searching to something.

 

Xiao Wangye had a bad feeling. When the man took out something from his sleeve, Dongfang Hao Ye had a glimpse; there was a flash of light and something crossed his mind. His expression changed. In desperation and anger he forced his power and abruptly broke his restricted acupuncture points.

 

"Yao Yue, watch out..." He'd exhausted all his strength; his chest tightened and he spat out a mouthful of blood. Xiao Wangye watched as several Baoyu Silver Needles shot pass and Xiao Dong swiftly moved to pull Beitang Yao Yue away.

 

Yao Yue... Xiao Wangye cried in anxiety, then his sight blacked-out and he fell into endless darkness. His last thought was, 'Damn! Good thing this little bastard didn't use poison...'

 

---

 

So dark...

 

Pain burst in his chest while a thick taste of blood filled his mouth. He slowly opened his eyes and looked, but there was nothing except black. Dongfang Hao Ye stilled in fear for a moment, was he paralyzed?

 

However, he soon found out that he'd been thrown into a long, big box; and that it was swaying as if he was on a carriage.

 

How was Yao Yue right now? Recalling how Yao Yue's deathly-pale as he looked at him with trepidation, Dongfang Hao Ye felt his chest tightened.

 

Yao Yue, you do regard me with importance!

 

Yao Yue. Yao Yue. Yao Yue...

 

Feeling a surge of power, Dongfang Hao Ye gradually calmed himself down and started to ponder.

 

He never expected that man had a Baoyu Lihua needles [baoyu : rainstorm, lihua : pear flower]. Those needles' was very unique, that was why they left such a deep impression though Dongfang Hao Ye had only seen them once. And this time he only saw them from the corner of his eyes, but he immediately recognized it. Xiao Dong had been smart enough to quickly rushed to protect Yao Yue, but he was still not sure whether or not Yao Yue was injured.

 

With anxious heart, Xiao Wangye tried to move but found himself all trussed up; and probably because he'd been tied for too long, his whole body felt stiff and his fingers numb. He could not bend himself, but his acupuncture point was loose; they probably feared he would injure himself trying to break the seal. But still, he could not stand this jolts and bumps!

 

He will try to move! He was going to move! He moved!

 

Xiao Wangye struggled to move but he was stiff, and the best he could to was to make a slight twist. A piercing pain cut through his chest and his breathing became weak and feeble. He took a moment to rest and calmed down his breathing, trying to reorganize his internal energy.

 

In a matter of days he could recover back his internal force which had been blocked while he healed his internal injuries; although he could only recovered thirty to fifty percent of it, but he should have no problem to heal his own wounds.

 

After Xiao Wangye rested a bit he was about to try to move again, but then hearing some people talked outside, he stopped to listen.

 

A rough voice said in a low voice, "How is he?"

 

Another voice answered, "His internal injuries are not light but I have fed him Bining Dan, so now there's no problem."

 

"His Highness wants him alive, you could've given him some refreshments, we can't destroy His Highness's goods."

 

"You're talking too much! His Highness has put me in charge so of course I carry it seriously, that person was still angry, so I only gave him two drops of it."

 

Pei! Pei! Pei! Benwang is blessed and mighty, I don't need what you wanted to give! Even if you give me, I don't want it! Xiao Wangye cursed.

 

The rough voice said, "We've created such a big disturbance at Beitang Wangfu, now Yaojing must be in chaos."

 

"But the Beitang Wangfu is not to be underestimated, we actually lost many of our brothers this time."

 

"Damn them!"

 

"... Was Beitang Wang really not in the Wangfu?"

 

"We were so loud, and if Beitang Wang was there, would he just watch as his younger brother was injured and his brother in-law kidnapped? Originally we wanted to do it quietly and put a fire on the backyard as sort of distraction, but who knew the Wangfu's guard were very alert and immediately found us. Later we were forced to fight, but fortunately His Highness captured a hostage so Wangfu's guards could not attack recklessly. His Highness' martial art is so powerful, he even used Baoyu Lihua needles. Thanks to him we could safely retreat."

 

The other person said nothing.

 

The rough voice stopped talking for a moment, then continued, "Why do you think His Highness changed his mind? We were originally going to assassinate Beitang Wang, but then knowing Wen Country's Xiao Wangye was there, His Highness wanted to kidnap him instead. I still think Beitang Wangfu's Third Master is more valuable."

 

"Idiot! What do you know? That Beitang Wangfu's Third Master wasn't married to the Wen Country's Emperor, but this Xiao Wangye is the younger brother birthed by the same mother. Which one do you think is more important?"

 

Dongfang Hao Ye couldn't quite catch what their last conversation was, he thought he vaguely heard 'the younger brother hurt' and he turned that sentence inside his head.

 

Who was hurt? Was Yao Yue injured? How come? He clearly saw Xiao Dong rushed to protect him. Chief Manager Ling was also good at martial art, he would not let anyone or anything hurt Yao Yue.

 

But then there was so many assassins, Baoyu Lihai needles were very dangerous, and Yao Yue's body was not as keen as before, could it be...

 

Bang!

 

The people outside immediately quieted.

 

Xiao Wangye knocked against the box again, and a moment later the lid was slowly opened.

 

Inside the carriage was dim, Xiao Wangye strained his eyes to look at the two expressionless people in front of him, and with angry voice he said, "Wu wuu wuu wu wu..."

 

Belatedly, Xiao Wangye remembered that his mouth was tightly covered; all the words he shouted out, came out incomprehensible.

 

"Jing Wangye, you woke up?"

 

Bullshit!

 

The Clear Voice had a bright and clear appearance; he helped Dongfang Hao Ye to sit up, and Dongfang Hao Ye could see clearly that he was lying in a coffin.

 

The man said, "Wangye, you'd injured yourself trying to break the sealed acupuncture point, so now we have to tie you. Please forgive us."

 

Dongfang Hao Ye could not speak, so he only stared at the man. The man understood what Xiao Wangye meant and uncovered his mouth.

 

"I'm hungry!" Dongfang Hao Ye's voice had gone hoarse after long disuse, "Go and get some food for Benwang! Benwang wants to eat bird's nest porridge!"

 

The man paused, then gestured to the thick-set big man beside him. The giant man responded with a glare, then disgruntedly turned, lifted the curtain and went out.

 

"Jing Wangye, do you need help untie the rope?"

 

"Forget it, I can't run, anyway." Dongfang Hao Ye leaned back against the coffin's side. He'd been tied for so long he was now used to it.

 

Then the curtain was lifted and a person stepped into the carriage. Xiao Wangye couldn't see the person's face yet, but could see that he was quite tall. The new person said to Clear Voice, "Untie Jing Wangye."

 

"Yes."

 

"Jing Wangye, we have gone far away from Yaojing, so I advise you not act rashly." The man slowly said as he sat down beside Xiao Wangye.

 

"Who are you? What do you want?" Dongfang Hao Ye could now see the man's face; his facial features were deep and sharp, he was not people of Central Plains. Though his clothing looked simple, his whole demeanor broadcast a noble air; it was clear that this man was the other two's leader.

 

The man smiled lightly, "My name is Tuoba Zhen. Pleasure to meet you, Jing Wangye."

 

Dongfang Hao Ye had his guess based on the other two people's conversation, but seeing this person who had personally entered Beitang Wangfu to kidnap him was the Second Prince of Xijue; he was still shocked by the man's boldness.

 

The man's move was either too stupid or too smart, but in short he had reached his goal. People of Xijue's bravery could only be imagined by people of Central Plains.

 

---

 

As he ate, Dongfang Hao Ye pondered; it'd been three days since he was kidnapped from Beitang Wangfu. And if he was not mistaken, the direction they were now driving should be where Li Can placed his army under the banner of Qin Wang, and Beiyu Wang's owned land-- Lingzhou.

 

Lingzhou was located in the northwest part of Ming Country; its land was vast and spanned out to Wen River; it was easy to defend but difficult to attack. Lingzhou was originally Ming's natural barrier and richest land; but who would've imagined that it was now a bone in the flesh, a thorn in the nail; could not be pulled out but if kept, it invited calamity.

 

The people from Xijue that Si Jian colluded with, was actually the Second Prince, Tuoba Zhen. Although Tuoba Zhen was born from a concubine, but Xijue people did not attach importance to bloodlines and only valued individual's ability.

 

Tuoba Zhen was brave and decisive, highly skilled in martial arts, and resourceful. In a short period of three years he had unified the Juezu in northwest, expanding Xijue's territories to more than twice its size. His strength should never be underestimated.

 

Dongfang Hao Ye remembered he and Third Elder Brother had made a light joke; that it was fortunate Wen Country's neighbor in the north was not Juezu, otherwise it would've be unpleasant to be greeted by this Tuoba Zhen.

 

When he woke up [in the coffin] that time, he heard that Tuoba Zhen was originally going to assassinate Beitang Yao Ri.

 

Beitang Yao Ri's shining reputation had reached an unimaginable level; he was a power-house, resourceful and clever in planning strategies. Had he been successfully assassinated, then Si Jian would rise to one-step away from the Ming Country's throne.

 

But now Tuoba Zhen put aside Beitang Yao Ri, and kidnapped Dongfang Hao Ye instead; probably their plan was not so simple.

 

Since Dongfang Hao Ye did not know what Tuoba Zhen's plan was, he would not sweat over it; he'd better planned how to escape instead.

 

Tuoba Zhen and his men, disguised as Northern Businessmen, avoided Ming's patrol guards, and marched a brisk speed. Ten days or so later, despite Dongfang Hao Ye's reluctance, they entered Lingzhou.

 

"Jing Wangye, are you satisfied with the arrangements that I've prepared?"

 

Dongfang Hao Ye carelessly said, "Your Higness is too polite."

 

"This long journey must've exhausted Jing Wangye, so I'll compensate." Tuoba Zhen clapped his hands, then a pair of beautiful boys walked in and stood before Tuoba Zhen.

 

"These are two of the most beautiful boys in our Xijue, I especially brought them to serve Wangye."

 

Dongfang Hao Ye looked at the two boys and frowned, "Why not beautiful girls?"

 

Tuoba Zhen looked startled, "Does Wangye think that they are not beautiful enough?"

 

Dongfang Hao Ye looked at him doubtfully, "They are beautiful, but Benwang prefers women."

 

Bathing and changing clothes, serving while he have his meals; these tasks he'd let beautiful palace maids and servants help him with. These two boys doing those tasks for him, Xiao Wangye was naturally not happy.

 

Tuoba Zhen hesitated, "Doesn't Jing Wangye like men? Do you think they're not as beautiful as your wife?"

 

When Dongfang Hao Ye heard it, he thought Tuoba Zhen had marked him as 'generally gay'.  

 

I do like man, but the man I like is my dear, beloved wife! If you give me any men, would I be happy? It would be better to just give me servant maids!'

 

Unhappily, he said, "I don't want them, give me two clever servant girls."

 

Tuboa Zhen awkwardly said, "I didn't bring any woman from Xijue this time. These two boys are inexperienced, but you'd have to use them first. If you're still not satisfied, I'll think of other ways." Then he glanced at the two boys.

 

The boys simultaneously knelt and said in trembling voice, "These servants wish to serve Wangye, please Wangye accept us."

 

Dongfang Hao Ye had no other choice but waved his hands and accepted the boys.

 

Ugh, as the prisoner of other's, what else he could do?

 

---

 

It was already half a month since Tuoba Zhen brought him to Lingzhou, added with the days on the journey, it had been about a month since he left Yaojing.

 

Yao Yue...

 

Dongfang Hao Ye was standing on a canyon looking eastward; the two servant boys stood behind him.

 

This canyon was named Zhang Qian [Long Chasm]. As the name implied, the canyon was about a hundred miles long and very, very deep. It was originally the natural fortress of Lingzhou, now it was the place where Ming Army and Beiyu Army met.

 

Dongfang Hao Ye was under prohibition to venture too far. His internal injuries were not light, but Tuoba Zhen was not stingy and really gave him a good and effective medicine. Plus he secretly and slowly exercise his internal power; he'd restored about three or four levels.

 

These past half-month, he had no other thing to do. Tuoba Zhen didn't allow him to go and leave at random, at most he could only come to the west side of this tower.

 

"Jing Wangye." Tuoba Zhen climbed up to the tower and called for him.

 

Dongfang Hao Ye glanced at him, looked like Tuoba Zhen had just come from the training field; he was still wearing his Xijue's style full-body armor.

 

"What is Wangye looking at?" Tuoba Zhen looked down to the direction of Dongfang Hao Ye's sight; in the distance were camps of the Lingzhou troops, and also Xijue's, "Do you think it's strange, that we, Xijue people practice together with General Li's army?"

 

Dongfang Hao Ye nodded and said, "But for me it's even more strange that General Li could get so close with Xijue people."

 

"Jing Wangye doesn't know? Beiyu Wang, Si Jian's mother is my Gugu." Tuoba Zhen laughed.

 

[Gugu : paternal aunt.]

 

Dongfang Hao Ye suddenly remembered that Si Jian's mother was actually a noble daughter from Xijue. Ming Country's political view was liberal and its territory was vast. It was because the former Beitang Wang, Beitang Ao proudly conquered the surrounding small countries and implemented a national integration policy, allowing all ethnic groups and races to marry each other and encouraging the imperial family to accept foreigners.

 

Li Can only had one son and one daughter. The only son, Li Yue was a second-ranked teacher in the capital, but it was unknown what he had committed, the previous year he was executed by Beitang Yao Ri. That left Li Can with only one daughter. This daughter was Si Jian's Second Wangfei; the mother of Si Jian's one legitimate son.

 

With this revelation, many things became clear.

 

Si Jian had a half-Xijue descent. If he wanted to overthrow the Emperor and ascend to the throne, naturally he would seek help from his maternal family's cavalries and his father-in-law's hundred thousand soldiers.

 

Li Can had enmities with Beitang Wang in the first place, when Beitang Wang promoted his second brother, Beitang Yao Hui to the throne, he must have doubted its legitimacy, so he took this chance to raise his Qin Wang's banner and openly attacked the capital city.

 

Moreover, Si Jian was his son-in-law, in Li Can's heart it would be profitable for him if his son-in-law were to sit on the throne.

 

Now Dongfang Hao Ye could understand many things.

 

"I'd never have expected that Second Prince and Beiyu Wang are actually in-laws, no wonder people are so friendly."

 

Tuoba Zhen laughed and said, "We invited Jing Wangye here to join this friendship."

 

"Oh? How so?" Dongfang Hao Ye blinked.

 

Tuoba Zhen smiled and turned to point at the Zhang Qian canyon, "Wangye, you see, this canyon is what separates us from Ming's army."

 

"En."

 

"Lingzhou is Ming's richest land; every year Lingzhou produces one-third of entire Ming's food grains and is Ming's highest tax-payer. It is actually a big fatty meat."

 

"Hehe, you're making sense." What blunt description.

 

Dongfang Hao Ye thought again about Tuoba Zhen's purpose to 'invite' him to Lingzhou.

 

If Tuoba Zhen kidnapped him in order to threatened Ming Country, threatened Beitang Wang, it was almost impossible; he was only someone who married someone from Ming. For that purpose, they could've kidnapped Yao Yue instead.

 

But if their purpose was to negotiate with Wen Country...

 

"Jing Wangye had seen Lingzhou's strength? If you add our Xijue's fifty thousand troops, how good is Qin Wang's chance to win?"

 

Dongfang Hao Ye looked at him, "Maybe five to five." In fact, he thought maybe it was three to seven against Li Can.

 

Tuoba Zhen smiled and said, "If you add Wen Country's a hundred thousand troops from the south?"

 

Dongfang Hao Ye's heart missed a beat, staring at Tuoba Zhen he said, "What do you mean?"

 

"What I mean is simple." Tuoba Zhen stared back at him, "What if Wen Country and My Xijue share Ming Country?"

 

"Share. Ming. Country?" Dongfang Hao Ye repeated, his expression changed and he said with cold voice, "Second Prince has great appetite."

 

"Is Jing Wangye not interested?"

 

"I'm afraid I can't swallow it and will only choke myself."

 

"Haha, Jing Wangye's still not interested, despite that?"

 

It was not that Dongfang Hao Ye didn't understand Tuoba Zhen's ambition. Tuoba Zhen was so polite to him these days, so he had speculated Tuoba Zhen wanted to 'borrow' Wen Country's soldiers to seize Ming. However, he didn't expect Tuoba Zhen's ambition would be this high.

 

"Benwang is but an idle prince, not the one to think over imperial court matters. I'm afraid Second Prince asked the wrong person."

 

Tuoba Zhen chuckled, "Jing Wangye is modest. Jing Wangye is in charge of East Heavenly Gate, is courageous and powerful. You helped Wen Emperor extinguished Fu Wang's civil rebellion at the end of last year, in Wen Emperor's ears your words weigh more than the others'. Wen and Ming currently are friendly, but friendship does not last forever. Now that the peace had gone for twenty years, Wen Country had taken rest and recuperated, its national strength has become stronger. Now there is a chance, why not take it?"

 

Dongfang Hao Ye pursed one corner of his lips, "Second Prince, now in Beiyu Wang's territory, you talk to me about sharing Ming Country. Do you not consider Beiyu Wang?"

 

"Haha, Jing Wangye, it's not good to be so naive."

 

Dongfang Hao Ye said nothing.