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A Step into the Past Chapter 220

Volume 20 Chapter 1

Book 20 Chapter 1 – A Union Of Mutual Benefit

Under the escort of the 18 elite guards, Xiang Shaolong, together with his brothers Teng and Jing, and Tao Fang made their way towards the Palace. Suddenly they could hear hoof beats from the front and in the dark fog a lone rider was racing towards them, with another 10 odd riders chasing after him. It looked as if the long street has become a lane for races.

Teng Yi shouted, “Stop your horses.”

The rider in front has rode into the ring of light cast by the lanterns and they could see he was bleeding all over his body as he shouted, “Great General save me.”

Everyone took a closer look and was shocked to see that it was Guoxing.

Guoxing wanted to rein in his horse but obviously he could not hold up any longer as he fell sideways to the left of the horse.

Just before the warhorse skidded to a stop and Guoxing was about to crash onto the ground, the sound of the bowstring quivering was heard as an arrow was shot out from the hands of one of the riders at the back. It’s accuracy was so unbelievable as it entered the back of Guoxing’s neck and exited from the front of his neck. By the time Guoxing reached the ground, he is already a lifeless corpse.

Even though Xiang Shaolong’s reflexes had always been fast, the scene was enough to make his body go numb.

The 18 elite guards drew their bows in unison and swiftly cocked their arrows.

The group of riders rode up to where Guoxing had fallen and reined in their horses. The leader, Guan Zhongxie was hanging his bow back onto his horse’s back as he said loudly, “Commander Xiang have seen it for yourself, Guoxing tried to escape in guilt and your subordinate had no choice but to carry out orders and have him killed.”

Xiang Shaolong’s whole body went cold and at the same time a storm of fury went up in him. With a ‘clang!’, he drew out his Hundred Battles Sword and said with a cold snort, “Guan Zhongxie how dare you kill my Deputy Commander right in front of my face?”

Guan Zhongxie’s personal guards raised their shields and went in front of him, forming a wall of shields.

Guan Zhongxie replied with a composed smile, “Commander Xiang please do not be mistaken and listen to my explanation. I am under his Majesty’s order to arrest the killers who tried to assassinate his Majesty this morning and I found out that the killers were in cahoots with the owner of the Warrior School, Qiu Risheng, who brought them to Xianyang. Now Qiu Risheng and all the killers are arrested and Minister Lu questioned them personally. That Guoxing resisted arrest and ran away as Commander Xiang can very well see. If I have failed my duty in any way, you can always bring it up to his Majesty, Minister Lu and the Dowager.”

He then added in a shout, “Take away the body!”

For a moment Xiang Shaolong did not know how to react as well as he shouted, “No one’s allowed to touch him!”

Since Guan Zhongxie has gained the upper hand, he just laughed and said, “Commander Xiang has given his orders, would I dare to disobey? Let us leave!”

He slapped his horse and went away.

His men retreated on their horses for ten odd steps before shouting in unison as they turned their horses’ head around and ran after Guan Zhongxie.

Xiang Shaolong and the rest looked at one another, their eyes finally resting on Guoxing’s body, lying in a pool of blood with an arrow in his neck.

Tao Fang sighed, “In the end we still underestimated Lu Buwei. This move is indeed extremely vicious, not only destroying the Warrior School and at the same time cause us and Lao Ai a loss of face. He can also point the finger towards Lao Ai, or even Du Bi and Pu Hu now.”

Teng Yi said seriously, “Maybe Lu Buwei will make use of this opportunity to cause more trouble and deal with Lao Ai and his men.”

Xiang Shaolong shook his head, “He definitely will not be able to touch Lao Ai. Xiao Jun, send some men to help settle Guoxing’s funeral affair and at the same time protect his family. I will enter the Palace immediately to see his Majesty and discuss how we should handle this matter.”

He nudged his horse’s belly and rode forward, unable to take another look at Guoxing’s gruesome outcome.

All along, although Guan Zhongxie is his enemy, he still felt there are certain similarities between them and there’s an inkling of understanding.

But at this moment, he only wants to tear him in pieces and he won’t feel an ounce of pity at all.

When he reached the main road leading towards the Palace, it was jam packed with humans and carriages. The officials and royalty all behaved as if they had no idea of the bloody exchanges in Xianyang City and were all happily on their way to attend the feast.

When he reached the Palace gates, he met Lord Changwen, who came up to him with a grave expression and said, “His Majesty happens to be looking for Shaolong!”

Xiang Shaolong suddenly remembered something and instantly broke out in sweat as he told Teng Yi, “Xianyang City will definitely be heavily guarded tonight, Zhao Da and Dan Meimei…”

Teng Yi was hugely shaken as he replied, “I understand!” before turning back.

Xiang Shaolong hurriedly instructed Lord Wenchang to send a team of Imperial Guards to follow Teng Yi and protect him before he entered the Palace to attend to the summons.

He still can’t come to terms with Guoxing’s death.

Indeed his head has been clouded by victory, that he didn’t even think about how widely spread is Lu Buwei’s power in Xianyang City.

With his intelligence, how can he not come to the conclusion that with the assassination attempt on Xiao Pan’s life, Du Bi and Pu Hu will certainly become implicated.

Now that Lu Buwei has arrested Qiu Risheng, it’s obvious that he wants to deal with Lao Ai.

But he knows very well, or rather he knows from history that before Lao Ai public rebellion, there is nothing Lu Buwei can do to Lao Ai.

Once one makes an enemy out of Lu Buwei, one careless mistake can mean a huge loss.

Once he thought of how Guo Xing had just offered his allegiance and ended up being shot dead by Guan Zhongxie right in front of his eyes, the sense of fury and helplessness really made him feel the impulse to immediately rouse his Wu family’s elite warriors and kill their way into Lu’s residence.

At this point in time Xiao Pan is in the study talking with his trusted aides Lord Changping, Li Si, Wang Chi and Wang Ling, his expression strangely calm. When he saw him coming, he called out joyously, “Grand Tutor, dispense with ceremony.”

Xiang Shaolong forced himself to suppress his tumultuous emotions and sat down below Wang Chi, asking solemnly, “What’s the current situation?”

Wang Chi replied, “Guan Zhongxie sprung a surprise attack on the Warrior School earlier, Chang Jie and An Jinliang were killed immediately. Qiu Risheng’s right arm was shattered when they beat him with poles and the 200 odd warriors in the school were all arrested. On top of that, they questioned two of the injured assassins and obtained evidence. There’s no way Qiu Risheng can deny anything.”

Li Si who was sitting opposite added, “Those people have been sent to my place, including Qiu Risheng, who all insisted they were under the orders of Lao Ai. Because the re-opening of the Weinan Warrior School was all due to the support and protection of Lao Ai, it’ll be very difficult for Lao Ai to keep himself out of this matter.”

Xiao Pan said, “I was looking for Grand Tutor because I want everyone to have a discussion, should we make use of this matter to get rid of Lao Ai?”

Xiang Shaolong suddenly understood. Although Xiao Pan was forced to accept his marvelous plan of using Lao Ai to curb Lu Buwei, but in face his hatred for Lao Ai is overwhelming because Lao Ai has taken Zhu Ji’s attention away from him.

Xiao Pan would very much like to find a chance to seriously hurt Zhu Ji in order to satiate the anger in his heart. Now that the Black Dragon is born, he is no longer so afraid of Lu Buwei like in the past, that’s why he feels that this idea is extremely tempting.

Once he, Xiang Shaolong, nods his head a little, Xiao Pan will give the orders. And maybe the other person who hates Lao Ai more than Xiao Pan, Lu Buwei will immediately send his men to kill all of Lao Ai’s family and warriors, really castrate him and only hand him to Li Si, the Minister of Justice after beating him to submission.

Zhu Ji herself holds no real power and if Xiao Pan doesn’t stand on her side, Lu Buwei will be able to do whatever he likes.

Xiang Shaolong heaved a sigh, “Where is Lao Ai now?”

Lord Changwen answered, “He and a huge group of his trusted warriors have hidden themselves at Sweet Spring Palace. The Dowager sent her people here to summon his Majesty twice but was rejected subtly both times.”

Only now did Xiang Shaolong realize the danger of the situation. Things are happening too fast, Lu Buwei must have known long ago that Qiu Risheng is connected to this matter so he deliberately planned his attack before the start of the feast so that everyone will not be able to react in time.

Everyone’s gaze landed on him, they obviously know Xiao Pan’s intention and they dare not object, neither do they wish to object. So they’re waiting for him, the person who can influence the future Emperor Qin’s decision, to speak up.

In fact, Xiang Shaolong is hard pressed to find a strong reason why he should object.

He saw Xiao Pan’s bright eyes, staring unwaveringly at him, filled with yearning and anticipation.

Ultimately Xiao Pan still treats him different from the others. Even though his authority is growing day by day, in the end he will still steadfastly respect his opinions.

He gave a sigh before he told them that Guan Zhongxie was killed right in front of his eyes.

Everyone’s countenance changed. 

Wang Ling cried out with fury, “This is going overboard.”

Xiang Shaolong said calmly, “No one in here will give any sigh of regret over Lao Ai’s death but we must also consider the consequences.”

He then gave Li Si a look.

This can be considered a chance for Li Si to show if he is indeed a true friend.

Currently, besides Xiang Shaolong, the only other person Xiao Pan trusts the most is Li Si. The others fall way behind.

Li Si is an extremely smart person and knows what Xiang Shaolong is thinking of. He nodded his head slightly in affirmation and said, “If we get rid of Lao Ai now, the person most affected would of course be the Dowager. If this were to happen, the Dowager’s power will be shaken and it’ll be difficult for her to interfere in court affairs. Under such circumstances, if Lu Buwei join forces with the senior officials in court, maybe he will really be able to become the Regent. Then the current favorable situation we created with the Black Dragon will go down the drain.”

Wang Chi said solemnly, “We can always propose Shaolong become the Regent in his capacity as the Grand Tutor, especially since Shaolong has already proven his merit by saving his Majesty. Besides, with the birth of the Black Dragon, Wang Guan, Cai Ze and the rest knows who the true ruler is. Even if Lu Buwei wants to twist the situation, I’m afraid there’s nothing much he can do.”

Lord Changwen agreed, “There is no one else more suitable to become the Regent other than Shaolong.”

Xiang Shaolong smiled wryly, “Naturally I am very happy that his Majesty and all of you think so highly of me but since Lu Buwei chose to make things difficult for Lao Ai this time, it must be because he’s worried that we will remove Guan Zhongxie from his post and he may not be able to point the finger at the Dowager. Obviously he has something up his sleeves and his ultimate motive will be to deal with our precious dragon.”

Xiao Pan was silent for a moment before he nodded his head, “Even we know that Qiu Risheng is in cahoots with Du Bi and Pu Hu so there’s no reason for Lu Buwei not to know. But this time his only target is Lao Ai, with no mention of Du Bi and Pu Hu at all. There must be more to this.”

Li Si’s expression changed, “Could it be that Lu Buwei has already reached a secret agreement with Du Bi and Pu Hu to sacrifice Qiu Risheng in order to topple Lao Ai and the Dowager. Then next he’ll just have to… hei!”

Everyone’s expression changed immediately.

Lord Changwen exclaimed hoarsely, “This is definitely not without basis. Because when Pu Hu was on the way back from the religious rite, he was invited by Lu Buwei to share his carriage. Maybe they’ve reached an agreement in the carriage.”

This is politics.

No matter how impossible it seems, but under the sudden change of circumstances, enemies may become collaborators after weighing the pros and cons.

From Lu Buwei’s perspective, he is already on opposing ends with Lao Ai and Zhu Ji. The political corporation with Xiao Pan and Xiang Shaolong as the leader is all the more causing him hate. If he did not have the support of Meng Ao’s power, he would have lost his life long ago. But if he collaborates with Cheng Qiao, who cares only for gains, his situation will naturally be very different.

Xiao Pan said with a somber expression, “I had not considered this point.”

Wang Ling heaved out a cold breath, “Ever since Black Dragon was born, Lu Buwei and Du Bi were at a loss and in their effort to regain their authority, it’s not surprising that they will do this. The problem now is that all of us dislike Lao Ai, so should we take this opportunity to drag him down?”

Everyone’s gaze landed on Xiang Shaolong again.

Once again, Xiang Shaolong is beginning to feel that fate cannot be changed. Lao Ai is fated not to die so early, that’s why this thought suddenly sprouted in all their heads. 

To Lu Buwei, Cheng Qiao’s influence is so much lower than Xiao Pan’s, and Du Bi and Pu Hu will never be the match of Wang Chi, Li Si and the rest of their own people. So if Cheng Qiao replaces Xiao Pan as the ruler of Qin, he can only be a puppet ruler and will never be able to have a mind of his own.

From this it can be seen that he is now utterly disappointed in his ‘son’ Xiao Pan.

He smiled and said, “What is Lao Ai? Right now our biggest enemy is only Lu Buwei so for now the smartest thing to do is to keep Lao Ai to keep Lu Buwei in check and after that try to get rid of Cheng Qiao and the rest. By then we won’t have to worry what Lu Buwei will be capable of doing.”

Xiao Pan is still a little worried as he asked with a furrowed brow, “Then how should we deal with Cheng Qiao?”

Xiang Shaolong smiled, “That’s easy. Order him to lead an army to take down the state of Zhao, and his relationship with the Zhao will come to light.”

Everyone marveled at the brilliant suggestion.

This is the importance of information. If Xiang Shaolong is not aware of the relationship betweeb Pu Hu and General Peng Ai from Zhao, he won’t be able to think of such a marvelous plan.

Xiao Pan was stunned for a moment before he chortled out in laughter, “There’s no simpler and more direct way than this, but we must wait for the right time. The Black Dragon has just been born recently, I still need some time to consolidate my power.”

After Li Si became the Minister of Justice, his status has changed greatly. He is no longer trying to conceal his abilities as he announced, “Since that is the case, then we should let Lao Ai know very clearly that Lu Buwei wants to destroy him, then he’ll be at greater odds with Lu Buwei.”

Wang Ling said somberly, “But there’s pros and cons to this. We can imagine that after this incident, the Dowager will be clear that Lao Ai’s power is too little and in future will go all out to help him fight for more power.”

Wang Chi snorted, “No matter how hard she fights, he will never be able to become a Great General, so what good use can he be?”

Xiao Pan stood up and the rest hurriedly stood up and bowed.

Xiao Pan said energetically, “I will go and host the Spring Feast immediately. Grand Tutor Xiang can bring a team of Imperial Guards to escort the Dowager and that fake eunuch to the Palace to attend the feast. Just take it that his life is still not the end this time.”

He then gave a cold snort before leaving.

The rest hurried after him.

Once Xiang Shaolong thought of visiting Zhu Ji, he immediately felt a headache coming on.

Who would have expected that situations will suddenly arise. He’ll be grateful if his plan of taking a long ‘vacation’ is not disrupted because of this.

Xiang Shaolong led the 18 Guardsmen and a 50-strong team from Xiao Pan’s best Imperial guards and went grandly to the Sweet Spring Palace. A group of warriors dashed out from the side to block their paths.

Xiang Shaolong had already guessed that Guan Zhongxie would order his men to surround Sweet Spring Palace so he unsheathed his Hundred Battles Sword and shouted, “Who dares to stop me, Xiang Shaolong.”

The Guardsmen and Imperial guards roared as they brandished their shields, bows and spears and made a formation, protecting Xiang Shaolong right in the middle with their arrows and spears pointing outwards, ready to fly out at any moment.

None of those warriors dare to retaliate as they fled from all sides.

The drawbridge to Sweet Spring Palace was drawn and the gates shut tightly.

Xiang Shaolong and his men went to the little moat protecting the palace and reined in their horses.

Guan Zhongxie led Xu Shang and 50 to 60 warriors and went up to them, the former asking icily, “Haven’t Commander Xiang gone to join in the Spring Feast?”

Xiang Shaolong thought of Guoxing and wished he could kill him with a stab now. He waited until he came near and reined in his horse before saying with a smile, “If I were to throw my flying needles at Official Guan, I wonder how confident will you be at avoiding them?”

Guan Zhongxie and Xu Shang’s expression paled at the same time, their eyes on his right hand which he deliberately left hanging near the horse’s body. The former managed to force out a smile and say, “Commander Xiang must be joking, death will of course be my only outcome.”

Xiang Shaolong gave a nonchalant reply, “The both of you had better not move rashly, I am not joking. By surrounding Sweet Spring Palace like this, the both of you have already committed the offence of offending the Dowager. If I were to execute the both of you, who would dare to say that I’ve done wrong.”

Xu Shang’s reply was calm and steady, “Great General Xiang is mistaken, we are just under Lu Buwei’s orders to protect her Majesty!”

Xiang Shaolong pretended to be surprised and said, “So I see, in that case you can retreat immediately, just leave the task of protecting her to me.”

A flash of anger was seen on Guan Zhongxie’s features as he lowered his head, “As the Great General commands.”

He shouted, “Everyone, retreat!”

He turned his horse’s head and galloped away.

Sounds of hooves galloping rose.

In an instant all the warriors were gone.

Xiang Shaolong called out towards the gates of Sweet Spring Palace, “Lord Ai please lower the drawbridge.”

Sounds of machinery were heard as the drawbridge lowered.

Xiang Shaolong ordered his men to keep their weapons and led the way, marching grandly into the Palace.

He had just stepped past the gates when Lao Ai, Han Xie, Ling Qi, Lao Si came up to him, all dressed to fight.

Xiang Shaolong jumped off his horse and extended his hand to shake hands with Lao Ai as he said with a laugh, “Lord Lao, please forgive Shaolong for coming late. Is the Dawager alarmed?”

Lao Ai had a look of gratitude as he said quietly, “This matter…”

A Step into the Past

A Step into the Past

尋秦記, 寻秦记
Score 8.5
Status: Completed Type: Author: Native Language: Chinese
A lecherous army special task force soldier from 21st-century Hong Kong is selected to travel back in time, choosing to go to the Chinese Warring States Period. Unfortunately, the time machine runs into an error during the experiment. With no foreseeable way to return to the present, he must use his combat skills and knowledge of history to thrive in his new life in the year 251 BC.


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