Chapter 429: Departing for Jiangzhou & A Longing for Reunion (III)
“Your Majesty, Your Highness, Shan Congyi and his men turned south, seemingly heading for Cangzhou. Mu Rongfeng entered Taizhou.”
Taizhou? Ling Zhang was baffled. “Why did he go to Taizhou?”
There were lofty mountains and high ranges between Taizhou and Jiangzhou. Was Mu Rongfeng planning to climb over all those mountains?
Yuwen Tong tapped the map and replied concisely, “The sea.”
Ling Zhang was astonished. The sea? That was the Beihai Sea. It was bordered by part of the Luohai Kingdom which had some naval forces. Ling Zhang was on the alert. “Are you saying that Mu Rongfeng wants to enter Jiangzhou by sea? But Jiangzhou is separated from the sea by Haizhou where a naval force of ours is stationed. How does Mu Rongfeng plan to get through all those checkpoints?”
Yuwen Tong made no immediate answer. Instead, he had someone bring him the annals of Haizhou and a more detailed map.
Ling Zhang on the side also began to study them.
“The defensive line formed by the navy stationed in Haizhou is not really unassailable. If Mu Rongfeng’s intention is merely to get to Jiangzhou, there would be a lot of methods he could use to get ashore in Haizhou, but if Mu Rongfeng plans to force his way ashore, then Haizhou would be in trouble. The reason why they waded into the matter of Jiangzhou was because they wanted to see our country descend into civil strife. If Haizhou also falls into Wang Xiangxin’s hands, then he would have not only an escape route but also an inexhaustible source of reinforcements and supplies,” observed Yuwen Tong.
Ling Zhang knitted his brows, having a sense of foreboding. Though he was unwilling to admit, if he were Mu Rongfeng, he would definitely go the whole hog, given that Mu Rongfeng had already interfered in the matter of Jiangzhou. In other words, Haizhou was in danger.
“But now that we’ve come to know about it beforehand, we may turn the danger facing Haizhou to our advantage,” added Yuwen Tong.
While saying this, Yuwen Tong drew a diagram on a piece of paper and quickly explained his plan with some lines and arrows. Ling Zhang’s eyes gradually widened as they watched. This tactic of Yuwen Tong’s was indeed a masterstroke.
If the Luohai Kingdom’s navy dared come, they would, without doubt, meet their ends in Haizhou.
Because of the magnitude of the matter, Yuwen Tong summoned some courtiers to confer with them about it. In fact Yuwen Tong had already come up with a counterplot. What he needed was for his subordinates to work in sync so that the successful execution of his plan concerning Haizhou would be guaranteed.
Only a limited few were privy to this plan, all of whom were high-ranking courtiers in Yuwen Tong’s confidence, including Old Master Ji, Chu Liangyan, Zhao Zheng and Yuwen Feng.
In the afternoon, Ling Zhang summoned Jiang Yu to the palace.
“I’m going to pay a visit to Jiangzhou. To my knowledge, your native place is Cangzhou, which is not far away from Jincang County of Jiangzhou. Is there anything you could tell me about that place?” inquired Ling Zhang.
Jiang Yu’s eyebrows contracted slightly. He first answered Ling Zhang’s question, telling him everything he knew about Cangzhou. Then he added, “I humbly petition you to allow me to go with you to Jiangzhou.”
Ling Zhang looked at him. “There’s no need for you to get involved in this matter. Just stay at home and focus on your preparation for the exam.”
Jiang Yu said, “My family’s got a lot of connections in Cangzhou, and I think they could be of some help, but considering your identity, if you ask any of them, they definitely wouldn’t disclose anything. You might as well take me with you. I’ll carry my books with me so that I’ll be able to prepare for the exam wherever I am.”
Ling Zhang gave it some thought and felt that Jiang Yu had a point. As the saying goes, “A mighty hero might not be able to overpower a scoundrel on the scoundrel’s turf.” Although those people would be quite deferential to him, he wouldn’t be able to worm any useful information out of them if they were unwilling to tell him, and he couldn’t just give all of them the third degree. Moreover, Jiang Yu was his adviser after all, and it was inappropriate for him to go to Jiangzhou without a single adviser accompanying him, but if he brought Jiang Yu with him and left Zhao Jiusi behind… Never mind. He was now the consort, not Ling Zhang, and it was inadvisable for him to see this matter from this kind of perspective.
“Go back and get your stuff ready. We depart tomorrow.”
“Yes, Your Highness,” Jiang Yu answered and then promptly left the palace.
Ling Zhang called Wang Dashan in and instructed, “Pay a visit to the Zhao family. Tell Zhao Jiusi I’m going to Jiangzhou, and disclose to him that Jiang Yu is going with me.”
“Yes, Your Highness,” Wang Dashan answered and then walked off.
Ling Zhang pondered for a while, wondering what Zhao Jiusi would do after being informed of this matter, hoping that Zhao Jiusi’s reaction wouldn’t disappoint him.
In the residence of the Zhao family.
Zhao Jiusi was indeed quite surprised to receive the message from the palace, but he soon collected his thoughts and said, “Please tell His Highness that I wish him a safe journey to Jiangzhou, that I’ll stay at home and do my best to get myself prepared for next year’s exam so that I may pass it.”
Wang Dashan repeated Zhao Jiusi’s words to Ling Zhang and also described Zhao Jiusi’s reaction to the message.
Ling Zhang smiled, “I knew he wouldn’t let me down.”
Zhao Jiusi had a great sense of perspective. It struck Ling Zhang that things couldn’t have been better.
Yuwen Tong came back at night. After dinner, he refused to go for an after-dinner walk with Ling Zhang and held him in his arms for quite some time.
Ling Zhang pivoted around and hugged him, resting his head on Yuwen Tong’s shoulder and gently rubbed his cheek against it. He was quite upset at this moment, reluctance to leave bubbling up inside him. At the thought that he and Yuwen Tong wouldn’t be seeing each other for quite some time, the journey to Jiangzhou struck him as exceptionally long, and he inexplicably felt a pang of fear, as though getting cold feet.
Yuwen Tong suddenly sighed, “How about I go with you?”
“What are you talking about? This city needs you,” said Ling Zhang, turning his head to bury his face in Yuwen Tong’s shoulder.
They both knew that they couldn’t run away from this, that there would be more moments of parting like this in the future, but at this time neither of them was in the mood for speaking.
The night before Ling Zhang’s departure, the two of them cuddled silently for a very long time. After a while, Yuwen Tong seemed to have suddenly thought of something and began to check the things Ling Zhang had packed one by one. None of those things struck him as satisfactory. He kept saying that Ling Zhang should’ve packed this or that.
This scene was uncannily familiar…
Ling Zhang didn’t want to ruin the moment, but he failed to keep from chuckling.
Yuwen Tong looked at him, an injured expression on his face. “What are you laughing at?”
“You remind me of my aunt.”
Yuwen Tong, “…”
Teeth clenched, he scooped Ling Zhang up and indignantly made towards the bedchamber. How dare Ling Zhang compare him to his aunt? This was intolerable!
While walking forward, he gave Ling Zhang a spank.
“Ouch!” Ling Zhang gasped in pain and said hotly, “Wait. Calm down. I have a long journey to make tomorrow. Be considerate!”
Yuwen Tong, “…”
What should he do? Right now he really wanted to make out with him vigorously, but he didn’t have the heart to do that. The very sight of Ling Zhang gave him an overwhelming urge to have sex with him with all his might!
Eventually, Yuwen Tong’s desire still got the better of him, but the two of them didn’t do it the usual way. They tried a new position. When they’d finished, Ling Zhang, who was drained of energy, gave Yuwen Tong a kick which sent him flying off the bed. In a feeble voice, he reprimanded, “Get out of my sight. You are not to sleep on my bed again!”Read latest chapters at Listnovel.com
Yuwen Tong pretended to have left, but after some time, when Ling Zhang was asleep, he returned to the bed and held Ling Zhang in his arms.
In the quiet of night, Ling Zhang was fast asleep. Yuwen Tong, who was still awake, let out a long sigh.
“This little devil is killing me.”
The little devil was unaware that the person holding him considered him almost all night and barely slept, stroking him so frequently that he could’ve driven himself crazy. Had Yuwen Tong not had enough senses left, he would go to Jiangzhou with Ling Zhang the next day.
In the morning they woke up. Yuwen Tong personally prepared the water and Ling Zhang’s towel and then clothed him, without any help from any of the servants.
“Remember to eat your meals on time. Don’t be picky about food. Always finish your vegetables. Don’t overeat. Make sure you dry your hair after washing it at night. You are not to wear anything that sets off your waist, and don’t kick the covers off your body when you sleep. The warm days have turned cool. You could easily catch cold if you’re not careful enough at night. Don’t ride for too long at a time. Get into a carriage to have some rest when you feel like it. After you get there, find yourself somewhere nice to live. Don’t stint yourself. Always disguise yourself before going out. Never show your undisguised face to any outsiders. It’s too obtrusive. There are many bad guys out there, so don’t get out of your bodyguards’ sight. In no circumstances should you act alone. When something angers you, keep your cool and don’t ever do anything rash. You must be very very cautious after you enter Jiangzhou. On no account should you take any risks. Do you understand? Alas, maybe you should just drop the idea and stay…”
Ling Zhang had just pivoted around when he caught sight of Yuwen Tong at his heels, transports of emotions welling up inside him. He had really never seen Yuwen Tong like this before. It was as though his departure would take Yuwen Tong’s heart away from him. His eyes stung from tears in spite of himself.
“What is wrong with you? Don’t be like this. I wouldn’t even be able to walk through the front gates of the Infinite Fortune Palace if you keep talking like this!”
Ling Zhang dissolved into chuckle at his words, torn between amusement and sorrow. Only two days ago, Yuwen Tong fixed his departure in a decisive and efficient fashion, but now he was revealing his true feelings.