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A Step into the Past Chapter 221

Volume 20 Chapter 2

Book 20 Chapter 2 – Failure Despite Preparations

After Zhu Ji instructed Xiang Shaolong to sit next to her, she stared at the night scene of Xianyang through the curtains of the carriage.

The main street was packed with joyous Qins who were our celebrating the Spring festivities and the birth of the Black Dragon.

Houses were decorated and sounds of firecrackers popped continuously, an especially sharp contrast to Zhu Ji’s empty and helpless state of mind.

Ever since King Zhuangxiang passed away, Zhu Ji has never truly been happy.

Her whole life was made possible because of Lu Buwei, but is also destroyed because of Lu Buwei.

Maybe even she herself cannot determine the grudges and gratitude she has with Lu Buwei.

Lao Ai may look like he is successful on the surface, but ultimately he’s just a pawn being made use of by the various factions.

What’s unexpected is that with Zhu Ji’s intellect and formidability, once she’s fixated with men, she’d actually become so muddleheaded.

Just as he was secretly lamenting, Zhu Ji’s fragrant lips gently asked, “Shaolong! What should I do in future?”

Suddenly, Xiang Shaolong felt as if he has once again stepped into the time machine and has gone back to the days in Handan when he first met Zhu Ji. He was stunned, “Your Majesty…”

Then he’s as a loss for words.

Zhu Ji turned her delicate body and stared at him as she said, “Sorry!”

Xiang Shaolong was taken aback, “Why do you say that?”

Zhu Ji lowered her head and replied piteously, “I myself have no idea what I’m doing. But sometimes, I really wish that someone would kill you.”

Xiang Shaolong knows she’s referring to her approval of the duel between him and Guan Zhongxie so he sighed and said, “I will never blame your Majesty, no matter what, I will never blame you.”

Zhu Ji’s delicate body shuddered as she lifted her head to look at him. After a long moment, she suddenly said, “Is that Black Dragon real or a fake, I beg you do not keep it from me.”

A sudden fury rose in Xiang Shaolong, knowing that Zhu Ji is still making plans for Lao Ai. He said icily, “Of course it’s real, can such a thing be faked?”

Zhu Ji stared at him morosely for a moment before she turned back to look out the window again, saying with a wry smile, “Shaolong, you’re angry. Sometimes I really wish that you’d hit me or scold me, then I’ll feel a little better.”

She paused and continued, “I know you too well. From the way you answered me just now, I know that is a fake dragon. Such a grand plan, you must be the one who thought of it because no one would be able to pull off such a trick better than you.”

Xiang Shaolong felt heated as a feeling so strange that even he cannot understand rose up in him. He went near to her tiny ear and said gently, “Right now I really feel like giving your Majesty a thorough beating!”

Zhu Ji’s delicate body trembled and with an “Ah!”, turned her body around, a mixed yet ecstatic look shot out from her eyes.

Just as Xiang Shaolong was about to seal her fragrant lips with a kiss, the carriage stopped suddenly. They have arrived at the Palace.

Xiang Shaolong secretly sighed.

There can never be even a slight change in Fate after all.

When Zhu Ji arrived at the feast, Xiao Pan, Lu Buwei and the other officials welcomed her warmly as usual, everyone behaved as if nothing has ever happened.

Pu Hu and Du Bi also attended the feast, their expression serene.

If Qiu Risheng were to have the chance to come here and take a look, he will surely feel that his sacrifice is not worth it at all.

However Xiang Shaolong was in a bad mood over Guoxing’s death and when he was seated at Li Si and Lord Changping’s table, he asked quietly, “Where is Guan Zhongxie?”

Both of them heard his menacing tome and was shocked. They asked in unison, “What does Shaolong plan to do?”

By now Xiang Shaolong has found Guan Zhongxie, who was seated about five tables below him along the line. He was talking to Lu Niangrong, Xu Shang and Lian Jiao.

Lord Changping tried to lighten the atmosphere and said with a laugh, “Those three talented ladies indeed live up to their reputation. Although their song has ended, it seems that the her alluring voice is still reverberating in my ears.”

Xiang Shaolong took a deep breath and said, “I want to kill Guan Zhongxie!”

The both of them were utterly shocked and left speechless for a moment. Li Si could only utter, “Shaolong please think it over.”

At this point in time Xiao Pan, Lu Buwei and a group of senior officials have just finished taking turns to offer a toast to Zhu Ji and were all seated in their respective places. The grand hall, which can seat a thousand odd people quiet down as they waited for Zhu Ji to speak.

Fury raged through Xiang Shaolong as he suddenly stood up.

Everyone’s eyes were immediately attracted to him as they concentrated on him.

Xiang Shaolong stood up with a grand aura and said loudly, “The last time I had a duel with Official Guan, the dual had to be stopped because Official Guan’s sword was broken. I see today that Official Guan is carrying another precious weapon and suddenly my hands are itching for a fight. I hope to have another duel again with Official Guan, to liven the atmosphere up. Would your Majesty and the Dowager please grant me this request.”

The great Hall was suddenly quiet, everyone was taken aback, obviously no one expected Xiang Shaolong would do something like that.

In fact, for the last two duels, Xiang Shaolong was forced into battle. Only this time, because of his anger over Guo Xing’s death, he volunteered for the duel.

Right at this moment, everyone knows that Xiang Shaolong is really furious at Guan Zhongxie and is determined to kill him.

Lu Buwei’s expression changed slightly. He gave a cold snort and hurriedly reply before Xiao Pan and Zhu Ji could say anything, “It’s a joyous occasion tonight, it’s not appropriate to flash weapons around. If Shaolong, because of personal grudges…”

There was a long laugh, which came from Lao Ai. He sniggered, “That’s a poor remark from Lord Lu. Was the last duel a day of great sadness for you? Then why were you wholly supporting that duel?”

Lu Buwei’s eyes shone brightly as he stared hard at Lao Ai for a moment. He was about to retort when Guan Zhongxie stood up and said, “Commander Xiang have very sharp eyes indeed to be able to tell that my new sword ‘Shooting Sun’ is a rare treasure from the state of Qi and not easily broken. That’s what aroused his interest and if your Majesties and Lord Lu allows, Zhongxie would be most happy to oblige.”

Xiao Pan laughed, “That’s what a good son of the Great Qin should be like, would the Dowager please grant this request.”

Zhu Ji looked intently at Xiang Shaolong for quite sometime before her pretty eyes revealed a look of gratitude as she nodded her head, “Our Great Qin has always protected our country with military finesse, and these two beloved officials have embraced the importance of our Great Qin’s military essence. I give my blessings.”

Xiang Shaolong knows that Zhu Ji has misunderstood him, thinking that he is venting his frustration on Guan Zhongxie because of the humiliation she had suffered. But he couldn’t be too bothered about this right now and after thanking her for her approval, he and Guan Zhongxie left their seats to walk towards the center of the hall.

Everyone could feel the atmosphere that is so heavy that it makes one unable to breath.

This is the third time the both of them are dueling.

Both times, Guan Zhongxie was disadvantaged; will he be able to turn the situation around this time?

On a certain level, Xiang Shaolong is indeed taking a risk this time. Or maybe it’s better to say that this risk is not worth taking.

The first time Guan Zhongxie could not defeat Xiang Shaolong is because he thought that there’s no point for him getting injured over a man whom he thinks won’t have long to live. The second time he lost because he was taken aback as he has absolutely no knowledge of the Hundred Battles Swordplay, and yet he could use the excuse of his broken sword to escape with his life with no injuries at all.

This time Guan Zhongxie already has the experience of dealing with the Hundred Battles Swordplay and he will certainly go all out in this death match to preserve his life. In such a situation, indeed no one knows what will be the outcome.

That’s why Li Si advised him to reconsider.

But the Xiang Shaolong at this point in time has totally forgotten about life, death, glory or fame. He could only feel that if he allows Guoxing’s murderer to continue roaming freely right in front of his eyes, he will be truly letting down this subordinate who had just pledged his loyalty to him.

In this instant, he has become a true warrior.

Other things are not taken into consideration at all.

Guan Zhongxie is not Lu Buwei. Not a single piece of history or movie has ever said if he will survive this night.

Lu Niangrong who was seated at her table has turned as white as a piece of paper.

No one knows better than her how Xiang Shaolong currently feels about his relentless urge to kill Guan Zhongxie.

Earlier on, Guan Zhongxie was discussing with Xu Shang and Liao Jiao the matter of killing Guoxing right in front of Xiang Shaolong’s eyes.

She was already feeling very unsettled then, knowing that Xiang Shaolong will not take this lying down but she did not expect Xiang Shaolong would so angrily challenge Guan Zhongxie into a duel the moment he stepped in.

There’s another factor Xiang Shaolong considered, which is Guan Zhongxie’s archery skills are too formidable. If there’s open warfare in future, once he takes out his strong bow, no one knows who in the opposing army will be able to stay alive. So if he can get rid of him earlier, it would mean saving his own, or even Teng Yi, Jing Jun or one of his men’s lives earlier.

This fear that was hidden deeply in his subconscious is enough to make him determined to kill Guan Zhongxie regardless of the price he’ll have to pay.

The two of them went together to pay their respects to Xiao Pan, and Lu Buwei and Zhu Ji, who were seated on either side. Then they split up and each holding their weapons, stood a few feet away from each other, facing off the other party coldly. Because of their special status, the two of them were able to carry their weapons although they’re in the Palace.

Right until now, no one has made a single noise.

The weapons have not left their sheaths, yet the whole hall became icy with a deadly aura because of everyone’s silence and the tense atmosphere before a storm. The pressure seems to increase around the nose and mouth area, making one unable to breathe smoothly.

Both of them looked as if they’re eyeing a prey and after staring at each other for some time, Guan Zhongxie bent his back slightly. The increased aura is enough to make one’s mood so tense that one cannot breath.

A cold look shot past Xiang Shaolong’s eyes, but unlike the last time, he did not hold on to his Hundred Battles Blade’s sheath, making others wonder why he did not make use of his sheath as well like he did the last time.

They saw him walk a step forward sharply.

Guan Zhongxie’s back was bent like a bow, like a ferocious beast who is about to charge. Compared to the last time he faced Xiang Shaolong, his confidence and aura is many times multiplied.

Xiang Shaolong seemed unfazed.

These past few days, he has been awake before dawn to practice his swordplay and felt that his condition has reached this highest peak that he has never achieved ever since he arrived through the time machine.

If he cannot win Guan Zhongxie tonight, he can forget about ever winning him in future.

Of course!

This is purely a feel on his part.

It doesn’t affect whether it’s truly the case or not.

Right at this time, Xiang Shaolong’s Hundred Battles Blade left its sheath, changing into a flash of lightning as it pierced through the air yet giving one a strange feeling of lightness and weightlessness. Compared to the last time, which seemed like a fierce thunderstorm, it is even more indescribable.

Guan Zhongxie was obviously very surprised but of course he can’t slowly appreciate its beauty like what the others are doing. He immediately dashed forward to attack, pulling his sword out speedily.

Both their movements were as fast as lightning, such that the audience can’t even have a good look.


Guan Zhongxie staggered back violently three steps.

But the martial arts experts like Han Xie, Xu Shang etc could all tell that it was a deliberate retreat by Guan Zhongxie, using his deft moves and battle skills to nullify and expand Xiang Shaolong’s shocking Hundred Battles Swordplay.

So although Guan Zhongxie retreated three steps, he did not reveal any look of defeat.

Xiang Shaolong did not expect Guan Zhongxie would make use of this strategy and can’t help but be stunned. He was about to continue with his attack when a fierce ray of light flashed past Guan Zhongxie’s eyes as his tongue unfurled in a roar and it was like a thunderclap appearing on the ground. He leaped forward as his Shooting Sun Sword counterattacked, first dipping down then flipping up again, aiming at Xiang Shaolong’s stomach, making Xiang Shaolong unable to counter this move with his chopping stance.

The thousand odd crowd who witnessed this silently, on seeing Guan Zhongxie’s sharp and precise attack, were so shocked that they cannot utter even a single sound.

Xiang Shaolong gave a cold snort as he moved to the side with his blade moving in waves to block the space where his chest and stomach was.

With a clash, both of them came together and separated, none gaining even an ounce of advantage.

Guan Zhongxie was secretly ecstatic, knowing that he has gained insight on how to counteract Xiang Shaolong’s shocking blade skills, which is to avoid head on attacks and instead use feather light and swift moves to deal with his solidity.

So with no hesitation at all, Shooting Sun Sword made use of the advantage of being the attacker to execute a delicate and intricate move, much like how a weaver girl will weave with her hands and attacked towards Xiang Shaolong like liquid mercury.

Xiang Shaolong looked solemn as he grounded himself, the pain of Guoxing’s death welled up in his heart as he forcefully slashed diagonally with his Hundred Battles Blade, forcing Guan Zhongxie to keep a distance from his moving blade.

For a moment the weapons cast shining reflections with strange and mystical moves, making one unable to fathom the movements.

Although Guan Zhongxie tried his best to avoid meeting head on with the blade, it’s quite impossible for the blade and sword to not clash.

Even though there are only two men fighting in the arena, the audience all felt as if they are watching a battle between thousands of soldiers and horses, to the extent that they can imagine the distressing image of bodies filling the battlefield and blood flowing like river.

At this point in time Xiang Shaolong only has one thought, which is to kill Guan Zhongxie in the shortest time possible. Everything else to him is unimportant, including his own life.

He does not know how involved is Guan Zhongxie in Lu Buwei’s nefarious plots but this person’s intellect is not below that of Mo Ao. Otherwise, just based on his bravery and strength, Lu Buwei will never allow Lu Niangrong to marry him.

As long as Guan Zhongxie remains alive, he can forget about living a carefree life. That’s why every move he made is to eradicate his enemy, disregarding his own life in order to kill.

The sounds of the weapons meeting resonated through the hall.

Below Xiao Pan, all of them were staring unwaveringly at the ferocious battle between the two great martial artists.


After an especially thunderous clash, Guan Zhongxie was finally forced to retreat by Xiang Shaolong’s attack.

Using the momentum from the attack and advancing when his enemy is retreating, Xiang Shaolong howled as he attacked with his blade. Waves of blade movements preceded his moving body, rolling towards Guan Zhongxie like tumbling waves.

For the first time, Guan Zhongxie feels at a loss.

Initially he was anxious to attack and very confident that he will be able to kill Xiang Shaolong. However, faced with his opponent’s strategy of fighting without care for his own life, which may be filled with loopholes but unless he is willing to forgo his own life together with Xiang Shaolong, there is no way he can make use of these loopholes to attack at all.

Others may not understand why Xiang Shaolong is not using his sheath but he is painfully aware that this is where Xiang Shaolong’s excellence lay. Because after his defeat the last time, he’ll definitely dissect what went wrong and study how he could deal with Xiagn Shaolong’s strange fighting method of using his blade on the right hand and the sheath on the left hand. And indeed he made some headway. Because it’s difficult to concentrate on the timing between using the blade and sheath to move back and forth, it will affect the dexterity in attacking and defending so it made him think of a way to counteract. But this time Xiang Shaolong is not using the sheath at all and this made his well thought out strategy come to a standstill.

But he’s also skillful, coming to an immediate decision to retreat first before attacking, to gain back the upper hand so that Xiang Shaolong will not have the chance to execute the frightening prowess of the Hundred Battles Blade. Unexpectedly, Xiang Shaolong has managed to gain ground of a three feet radius and with his ferocious and forceful attacks, countering his wave after wave of attacks.

Right until he is at the end of his intense attacks and finding it difficult to maintain his advantage, he was finally forced to retreat by Xiang Shaolong.

Exhausted, how could he resist against Xiang Shaolong’s Hundred Battles Blade which is coming to him like a frightening tsunami.

An icy, murderous aura followed Xiang Shaolong’s precious blade as it rumbled towards him.

That frightening feeling solidified the intense stress that seems to be locking Guan Zhongxie’s soul and body in place and for the first time he felt as if he is powerless to resist.

Suddenly, he realizes that Xiang Shaolong has reached the level of epitome of Grandmaster in his swordplay.

Everyone in the hall held their breath, so quiet that one can even hear a pin drop. The countless shadows made by the Hundred Battles Blade seem to merge into one as it slashed towards its enemy.

Guan Zhongxie, now extremely horrified, can no longer tell the changes in Xiang Shaolong’s moves.


The body and the shadow seemed to split up.

Just as Guan Zhongxie was scrambling back, Xiang Shaolong’s blade shone dangerously as it attacked again, not giving his opponent a sliver of opportunity to make a comeback.

Everyone on Lu Buwei’s side paled.

Lu Niangrong screamed, “Stop!” and she actually dashed out, ignoring the cries of the others to stop her and ran towards the both of them.

Everyone was utterly astounded.

“Thump, thump thump!”

Xiang Shaolong abruptly flew back.

Guan Zhongxie was almost killed, his long sword flew out from his hand as he staggered backwards and he happened to fall into the arms of Lu Niangrong and the both of them fell to the ground together.

Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting, for although this attack has caused Guan Zhongxie serious injury, it’s not enough to take his life. Because he was afraid of accidentally injuring Lu Niangrong, he deliberately made the fatal blow while his opponent still have some strength left in him and thus gave Guan Zhongxie a sliver of opportunity. He only missed taking his life by that little bit.

Blood was seen on both their bodies.

Guan Zhongxie’s bloodstain was near his left breast and even his armor was broken. Obviously he barely managed to avoid the blow aimed at his heart. However, he will need at least a few months to recover from his injuries.

Xiang Shaolong’s bloodstains were on his left arm and thigh.

Lu Niangrong screamed, “Zhongxie! How are you!”

Guang Zhongxie’s face was deathly pale yet he gritted his teeth and said to Xiang Shaolong, “Zhongxie will remember this lesson, and will never forget this blade blow.”

Lu Buwei jumped out and shouted, “Hurry up and tend to his injuries,”

A sudden fatigue fell over Xiang Shaolong. He did not expect that even when given such an advantageous situation, Lu Niangrong can still accidentally spoil his whole plan. He fear that such a splendid opportunity will be difficult to come by again.

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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