After Luo Wei alighted from the palanquin before the gates of the official’s residence, a man of medium build came up to them from behind.
“Who are you?” A guard immediately asked.
Wei Lan stood in front of Luo Wei.
“Third young master.” The man stopped far away and cupped his hands in respectful salute towards Luo Wei. “This humble one is paying a visit to the young master on orders from this humble one’s master.”
Luo Wei looked at the man and did not recognize him. “Who is the master of your house?”
The man held out a set of winter clothes and replied, “The master said that the young master would know who he is as long as he looks at these winter clothes.”
Luo Wei gestured at Qi Zi.
Qi Zi ran over and brought the clothes to Luo Wei.
“Young master.” Wei Lan saw Luo Wei reach out to touch these clothes and hurriedly blocked him.
Luo Wei withdrew his hand, looking at the clothes with concentration.
Wei Lan also looked at these clothes, finding them familiar.
Luo Wei identified them. These were the winter clothes he’d given to the third prince of Northern Yan, Sima Qingsha, in Yejia City. “It turned out to be a noble master.” After recognizing the clothes, Luo Wei smilingly spoke to the man, “Follow me into the residence.”
Fu Hua’s maid had already been waiting for Luo Wei at the gate for a long time. When she saw Luo Wei bringing a guest, she did not dare to come forward and speak with Luo Wei. Seeing Luo Wei bringing the guest in the direction of his own courtyard, the maid rushed off to report to Fu Hua.
Luo Wei and the man entered his study. Luo Wei only allowed Wei Lan to stand guard outside.
“This humble one Sun Li has met with the young master.” After entering the room, the man immediately knelt, paid his respects, and introduced himself. “This humble one is the commander of the imperial bodyguards within the Northern Yan Crown Prince’s residence.”
“Please rise,” Luo Wei smiled and gestured for Sun Li to sit. He then continued, “I didn’t expect Prince Qingsha, no, I should call him Crown Prince Qingsha now, to keep these clothes. Commander Sun, has Crown Prince Qingsha been well?”
Sun Li cupped his hands as he spoke: “My family’s master has been in good health, but it’s just that he heard in Northern Yan that the young master’s health is subpar. My family’s master is truly concerned.”
“My health is fine now,” Luo Wei clarified. “Many thanks for Crown Prince Qingsha’s concern. Then is Commander Sun visiting a patient on behalf of Crown Prince Qingsha?”
Sun Li rose and walked to Luo Wei’s front, handing him a letter. “This letter was personally handwritten by my family’s master. Young master, please read it.”
Suspicion rose in Luo Wei’s heart, but his expression was relaxed as he opened Sima Qingsha’s letter. He also didn’t forget to say to Sun Li, “Commander Sun, sit, you don’t have to stand.”
The strokes of Sima Qingsha’s writing were vigorous and powerful, but Luo Wei was not in the mood to appreciate calligraphy. The contents of the letter struck fear in his heart, and his expression turned serious.
Sun Li sat opposite Luo Wei. He had been in the capital for a few days, but when he came seeking Luo Wei, he was only told that Luo Wei was critically ill. This time, with great difficulty, he’d seen Luo Wei leaving the official’s residence. He’d followed him the entire way from the official’s residence to Ning Fei’s abode, then from Ning Fei’s back to the official’s residence. Only then did he have the opportunity to speak with Luo Wei. Sun Li was burning with anxiety, but he could only wait for Luo Wei to finish reading the letter and give a reply.
After reading Sima Qingsha’s letter, Luo Wei only then knew that in these two months Northern Yan was experiencing civil strife. The Vermilion Bird General Mo Huan Sang had rescued the deposed Crown Prince Sima Zhuxie from his imprisonment in the Cold Palace, rebelling against Northern Yan’s capital, Hefang City. Now the country of Northern Yan had lit fire beacons in all four directions, awash in the confusion of war. Mo Huan Sang’s Black Frost Cavalry galloped north by way of Black Frost City, heading straight for Hefang City. Sima Qingsha’s letter did not provide specifics on Northern Yan’s battlefield situation, but he had written an appeal for help. Borrowing troops from Greater Zhou–one could see how invincible Great General Mo’s Black Frost Cavalry was as it swept everything before it, carving a path north.
“Third young master,” Sun Li noticed Luo Wei’s lengthy silence and asked, “Do you have a reply for my family’s master?”
Luo Wei said, “Commander Sun, sit with me and talk. What is the current situation in Northern Yan country? Even if my Greater Zhou sends troops to help, is there still time?”
Sun Li truly thought for a while before realizing what Luo Wei was asking him. At once he stood up. “Don’t worry young master. My family’s master will definitely guard Hefang City to the death!”
“Sit,” Luo Wei lifted a hand. “Hearing Commander Sun’s meaning, General Mo Huan Sang’s army is already close to Hefang City?”
Sun Li immediately reacted. Luo Wei was parsing his words. Sun Li regretted that he did not think more thoroughly before speaking. He’d revealed the background to Luo Wei all at once. Before he left, Sima Qingsha had specially exhorted him to understand that, though Luo Wei was a young man, his thinking was profound and his conduct cunning. He’d cautioned Sun Li to be extremely cautious. Sun Li previously saw Luo Wei’s appearance as a sickly youth with gentle behaviors and so reasoned to himself that Sima Qingsha was overly careful. Now Luo Wei had excavated the truth from a single sentence, and Sun Li did not dare to underestimate Luo Wei.
“It’s difficult for Commander Sun to say, so it’s the truth?” Luo Wei did not wait for Sun Li’s reply, his countenance worried. “This is troublesome. How could Crown Prince Sima let Prince Zhuxie escape from Hefang City? This shouldn’t be the case.”
Sun Li carefully replied, “That day was my Imperial Majesty’s birthday. Mo Huan Sang took the celebratory opportunity to enter the palace and take away Zhuxie.”
“Only calling him Zhuxie? Mo Huan Sang already supports Zhuxie as the emperor?”
Sun Li didn’t expect that after taking more care, Luo Wei still caught on to a fault. His body shook with unease as he sat.
“Crown Prince Qingsha is too careful.” Luo Wei threw Sima Qingsha’s letter into the furnace at his feet. “I was the one who hurt Zhuxie’s two eyes. How could I allow him to become the emperor and take vengeance against me? Commander Sun can return. Please let Crown Prince Qingsha be at ease. The alliance between him and Luo Yun Qi in Yejia is one that I, Luo Yun Qi, have remembered.”
Sun Li’s frantically beating heart only then settled, and he hurriedly rose to thank Luo Wei.
“No need to be too polite.” Luo Wei waved a hand. “It’s just that Northern Yan has had such an important event, but unexpectedly our Greater Zhou hardly knows the facts. This is a bit difficult for me to understand.”
Sun Li explained, “Mo Huan Sang closed the four gates of Black Frost City. Northern Yan’s news cannot reach Greater Zhou.”
“Then how did you get out of the city?”
“This humble one expended great effort and trouble to leave Black Frost City, continually heading south.” Su Li did not want to speak further with Luo Wei about how he spent large sums of money to bribe the guards at the gate, and then lay with a rotting corpse in a coffin to muddle his way out of Black Frost City. “Young master, this morning I saw a messenger from Yun Guan galloping into the capital. Your elder brother must already know about Northern Yan’s civil strife.”
Luo Wei let out an “oh.” It seemed that this was why Emperor Xing Wu hurriedly called his father into the palace.
“This humble one would be so bold as to earnestly request for the young master to deal with this as soon as possible.”
“Where are you living now?”
Sun Li reported the name of his inn.
Luo Wei had no impression of the inn; it seemed not to be a well-known establishment. “Okay, I will enter the palace as soon as possible. You go to the inn and wait for my news,” he said to Sun Li. “Within two days, I will give you a reply.”
Sun Li hurriedly knelt down to thank Luo Wei.
“Do you have enough silver to use?” Luo Wei asked Sun Li again to show his concern.
Sun Li hastily took out ten banknotes from his body and placed them in front of Luo Wei. Each note represented ten thousand taels, totalling a hundred thousand taels of snowflake silver.
Luo Wei asked, “What is this?” He glanced at the seal on the banknotes. They were all banknotes from Greater Zhou private banks. Each note fell under a particular private bank. Sima Qingsha had expended quite some consideration to send him this wealth.
Sun Li said, “My master stated that as long as the young master helps him through this difficult situation, he will certainly thank him again.”
“Okay.” Luo Wei didn’t refuse, and smiled. “Commander Sun will wait for my good news at the inn.”
From the book summary, it seems ML #3 will soon appear?
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