Chapter 202: A Battle of Wits and Courage
“Alright.” She hadn’t thought that they would enact the plan so quickly. Normally, they’d have waited another day or so, but Bai Xiangxiu had covered all the contingencies, so everyone began to prepare. They stayed busy until late into the night. Ah Quan managed to grab some time to roast the chicken, and divided it amongst everyone. Although it wasn’t entirely filling, it still imparted some strength to them. Bai Xiangxiu was in charge of tying the kerosene soaked rags while Yu Kuang changed into his night suit. He almost seemed to disappear into the night when clad in all black. If he stood unmoving in the shadows, it was impossible to detect him.
Bai Xiangxiu was stunned by what she saw. She was finally reminded that Yu Kuang really was someone in the wulin. His particular demeanor was something that Long Heng and Song Jiaoyue would never be able to emulate. If she had to describe Yu Kuang’s current aura into a metaphor, he was an assassin in a game, always ready to conceal himself after killing someone.
It was very late at night by the time they’d finished preparations, but their taut nerves suppressed any tiredness they felt. On the other hand, the enemy camp had started to show signs of disorder, but not the large reaction one would expect. Song Jiaoyue remarked, “They’re hiding what happened to the strategist because they’re afraid of affecting morale.”
“Then let’s let them know. Can we shoot an arrow into the stables? It’d be best if we burned the feed.”
“…we can’t.” Song Jiaoyue said with a heavy heart, he knew he was letting down Bai Xiangxiu.
Indeed, she sighed, “Then just shoot into the outskirts of the camp.”
Song Jiaoyue nodded and decided to shoot as far as he could. The saying that work wasn’t tiring when men and women worked together was quite true. Song Jiaoyue’s archery skill reached another level with the woman he liked by his side, and he somehow ended up sending the arrow near the feed. Although he didn't hit his target, the fire swiftly spread in that direction.
Bai Xiangxiu clapped his shoulder happily. “Amazing! You were too humble just now.”
Song Jiaoyue smiled ruefully, “We’ll be discovered here soon, be prepared to escape.
“Understood.” Bai Xiangxiu didn’t remain idle either. She picked up another bow and arrows. Although she couldn’t shoot far, every extra effort was something. This would make the enemy think that there were many archers. Song Jiaoyue shot three arrows with each pull, and Bai Xiangxiu split her time between shooting and setting his arrows on fire. The two of them worked together well and shot out a dozen arrows in a quick blink of an eye.
Because the enemy was putting the fire out as quickly as they could, it didn’t burn that hotly. But they soon had other priorities when Ah Quan made his move as well. He could see the clouds of smoke as he ran around dragging a branch, but from the enemy camp, the tiny dust cloud looked like an ambush on the way.
Whether it was an ambush or an open attack, the enemy had no choice but to ready themselves. They were however, still able to send a small contingent over to kill the archers. Song Jiaoyue hurriedly took Bai Xiangxiu away with him before they discovered the two. They ended up huddling together in the cramped quarters of a hiding spot they’d previously picked out.
As for Ah Quan, he had his own methods of escaping since he was so familiar with the terrain. It was difficult for the enemy to catch him even if they wanted to. The most important is Yu Kuang. I hope he makes it into the city. Bai Xiangxiu’s thoughts finally returned to this after going in circles, and discovered she was curled up in Song Jiaoyue’s embrace. “My… my apologies.”
“That’s… that’s fine. It’s more cramped here.” She really smells so good, there’s a milky scent to her that’s completely different from all other women. There seems to be a sort of magic to this fragrance that makes me want to get closer to her.
The two wanted to hide for a bit before escaping, but the enemy kept sending people to search the forest when they realized that they had fallen into a trap. A spear even came close stabbing them once! Song Jiaoyue kept holding and comforting her. This made Bai Xiangxiu feel very conflicted. She wanted to turn away, but she was frightened, yet she knew that she couldn’t depend on him like this. She started struggling a bit, but the other only tightened his grasp. “Don’t run from me, it’s just today, just today.”
“…” Bai Xiangxiu actually had no way to avoid him. She felt that something frightening would happen if she tried too hard to evade him. Her instincts were correct. Song Jiaoyue was currently too worked up. If she had really pushed him too far, he didn’t himself know what he would do. But since she wasn’t moving, the two quickly calmed down.
Song Jiaoyue felt that he had been purified by her dependence. He gently released her away when he’d calmed down, “I haven’t heard anything from outside for a while. Let’s go!”
Bai Xiangxiu nodded and shifted her body to clamber out. Song Jiaoyue laughed ruefully; it looked he would never be able to walk into her heart again.
“Let’s find Ah Quan first.”
“Mm.” However, they didn’t make it out far before being ambushed. Song Jiaoyue would’ve been able to handle it had it been just the army, but the attackers used a poison mist in their attack.
Plonk. Bai Xiangxiu took the lead in falling over. Song Jiaoyue’s internal force was strong enough to keep him from fainting immediately, but he didn’t have time to save the girl. As he saw the enemy close in, he knew that there would be no one to rescue Bai Xiangxiu if he was captured as well, so he fled the scene. He even suffered a few light injuries on his way out because of the effects from the poison mist.
Bai Xiangxiu was brought back to the enemy camp because she was dressed as a man, and hauled up to the commander-in-chief.
“Dump water over him.”
Whoosh! A pail of cold water was up-ended over Bai Xiangxiu’s head, and she slowly regained her senses. She raised her head blearily to discover that even if she disregarded the fact that she was tied up, it wouldn’t be easy to escape when she was surrounded on all sides. To think that I’d still be captured in the end! Although, Bai Xiangxiu wasn’t terribly concerned. It was just dying. She might even be able to make it back to the modern world that way. After comforting herself, she was no longer afraid. She sat up straight, her hair flung behind her while she put her clothes in order. She definitely wouldn’t kneel to these captors.
“A woman?” The general immediately saw through her identity. It was impossible to hide her figure after she’d been drenched in water.
“So what if I am?” The enemy would be able to tell what she was even if she didn’t admit to it, so why not just admit to things?
“To think that a woman would dare do something like this! Where are your companions hiding? Are you Long Heng’s people?”
“We’re but citizens of Shu County! We naturally need to stop you from trying to attack our homes! What does that have to do with Prince Li? Everyone is responsible in loving and protecting our country!”
“What lofty sentiments.” The general walked up to her and suddenly asked coldly, “Did you kill the strategist?”
“So what if I did... and what if I didn’t?” Bai Xiangxiu had thrown all caution to the wind as she looked up at the general. She wished that he would just kill her and get it over with! But the longer she looked at him, the more surprised she was. Why did he seem familiar?
She frowned; his face might be handsome, but she didn’t like it. At that moment, the general pulled out his blade and placed it on her neck, fury written across his face.
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