Previously he had been constantly drawing plans for Black Frost City. However, when Luo Wei really stood below Black Frost City, he actually felt rather calm. Sun Li brought people to Luo Wei’s side, and they surrounded him in a tight circle, placing Luo Wei under their control.
“Young master, shall we enter the city?” Sun Li asked.
“Let’s enter,” Luo Wei replied. His tone was so carefree that, rather than entering Black Frost City, he seemed to be returning to his own house.
Sun Li let loose a whistling arrow into the sky with one hand.
In the downpour, Luo Wei saw the arrow fly towards the empty sky, unable to see the moon and stars. The arrow released a long, sharp, and severe sound, before blossoming like a firework in midair. Immediately afterwards it died out amid the rain without a trace.
Black Frost’s city gate let out a great “boom.” Before the stunned gazes of the Zhou soldiers, it opened wide with a loud bang.
Ning Fei brought the front line of the battalion to wait at the moat outside the city gate. Seeing the gate open and the bridge drop, Ning Fei only shouted one word to the troops under his command: “charge!” He took the lead to gallop towards Black Frost City.
The generals and troops behind him were all Yun Guan Cavalry’s elite. Seeing Ning Fei’s horse charging forward, they immediately reacted and swept forth like a tide towards Black Frost City.
Sun Li was so anxious that he almost pressed up against Luo Wei’s body.
“Let’s enter the city ba,” Luo Wei patted Sun Li’s shoulder, “no need to be nervous, aren’t I still here?”
At this time the Zhou army already lit torches. Sun Li saw Luo Wei’s face still full of smiles. “After you young master.” Sun Li’s voice seemed to tremble because of his excessive tension.
Luo Wei hit his horse to move forward. Before him in the distance, under the flames of lanterns, Long Xuan stood. Luo Wei had no way to stop his horse, and could only pass by Long Xuan’s side. Having ridden a fair distance, Luo Wei could not help but turn his head. Under those lanterns, any trace of Long Xuan had already disappeared. This person would take advantage of the chaos to enter Sima Zhuxie’s army. This undertaking was no less dangerous than his.
“What is the young master looking at?” Sun Li asked. His nerves were extremely taut right now. He stared and didn’t let go of each and every move of Luo Wei’s.
“It’s nothing.” Luo Wei straightened up on his horse. “Let’s not stop, and directly go through the city out the northern gate to where your master is.”
“We will listen to all the young master’s instructions.” Sun Li was eager to do this anyway, and hurriedly agreed.
Long Xuan and his own imperial bodyguards concealed themselves among the Yun Guan Cavalry. He saw Luo Wei riding past him on his horse. This person had never practiced martial arts, but as he rode on the horse, one could not detect his sickliness from his disposition. As a matter of fact, he seemed somewhat strong and healthy.
“Your Highness?” An imperial bodyguard called.
“Let’s go,” Long Xuan said. When he looked forward again, Luo Wei’s figure had already gone. This person will live to return, Long Xuan said to himself. I have not permitted him to die. How could he die?
At the city gate, many Northern Yan soldiers’ corpses lay on the ground and atop the city. The rain had scoured away the blood of people on the ground, spreading it into the moat. Though the water of the moat hadn’t been dyed red, streaks of dark crimson showed on the ground like streams of muddy water. One could tell that a bitter battle had occurred before the Zhou troops arrived.
Luo Wei urged his horse to a rapid pace, and could not take a closer look at the scenery of Black Frost City that swiftly flashed past him. He only saw that the homes that lined the street all had their doors and windows tightly shut. The people inside presumably were already startled out of their wits by this unforeseen misfortune, only daring to hole up in their homes and submitting to the will of the heavens. “How will you deal with Mo Huan Sang’s family?” Luo Wei almost reached the northern gate of Black Frost City and only then thought to ask Sun Li this question.
“The young master doesn’t know ah,” Sun Li sighed, “The Mo clan’s people this time have all been brought by Mo Huan Sang into his army.”
“He brought his clan members?” Luo Wei felt it was unheard of. “The old and children also were brought along?”
“Yes,” Sun Li confirmed. “Mo Huan Sang is determined to rebel. If he doesn’t succeed, he’s prepared to take his family members with him to the grave.”
“Place somebody on a field of death and he will fight to live,” Luo Wei wiped the rainwater on his face, “your great General Mo is an intense person.”
Sun Li spoke with hatred, “Young master don’t say this. This subordinate itches to kill this traitor with his own hands.”
“You’ll have an opportunity,” Luo Wei assured. “When the time comes General Sun’s riches and honor will be boundless. Don’t forget Greater Zhou, and the Luo family.”
Sun Li forced a smile, “The young master is joking again with this subordinate. This subordinate’s riches and honor aren’t worth comparing to the young master’s.”
“Wait until Crown Prince Qingsha sits upon the throne,” Luo Wei replied quietly, “you’re still afraid he would treat you unfairly?”
Sun Li also lowered his voice to reply, “Then this subordinate will first thank the young master for his good words.”
Two people spoke on the deserted main street, spurring on their horses to run wildly. Before long they exited the Black Frost northern gate.
Wei Lan and the Dragon guards followed behind. Seeing those in front had exited the gate, they urged their horses forward. Sun Li’s subordinates tactfully made space for them.
Wei Lan pointed at the city gate tower behind them and told Luo Wei, “Young master, eldest young master is on top.”
Luo Wei looked back from atop his horse, and saw Luo Qi standing on Black Frost City’s northern city tower. He waved his hand at Luo Qi.
Luo Qi occupied a crenel on the city wall. His mouth opened and closed; he was saying something in Luo Wei’s direction.
The rainfall was too loud. Black Frost’s city tower was also too tall. Luo Wei could not hear a single word from Luo Qi. He could only point at his own ears and shake his hand at Luo Qi.
“Be careful, big brother will wait for your return!” Luo Qi shouted louder from his perch atop the city tower.
Luo Wei could hear Luo Qi’s voice now, but still could not clearly discern what he was saying. Finally he could only wave goodbye, leaving Luo Qi with an unfettered smile, and then continue northward with Sun Li.
When Ning Fei walked to the top of the north city tower, Luo Wei and his party’s figures could no longer be seen in the distance. “Commander,” Ning Fei walked to Luo Qi’s side and said in a small voice, “His Second Highness and them also left the city.”
Only then did Luo Qi withdraw his gaze from the horizon. Outside the city, several horses also galloped north, but chose a different road from Luo Wei’s party.
“Should we close the city gates now?” Ning Fei asked.
“Wait a moment,” Luo Qi replied.
Not long after, some daring city residents saw that the Zhou soldiers only searched the alleys and streets for those belonging to the Black Frost Cavalry while turning a blind eye to ordinary people, and also noticed that the north city gate remained open. First, some single, unemployed, bare-chested men ran out. The Zhou soldiers saw but acted as if they did not. At that, more and more people ran towards the north of the city.
Luo Qi continued to watch from atop the city tower, counting approximately a thousand people had run out. He turned to Ning Fei, “Zi Zhou, close the city gates. If there are still those running out, chase them back in without exception.”
Ning Fei received his orders and left.
Luo Qi called the secretary of the main forces over. “Go write a notice to reassure the public. Tell the city’s residents we have come at Crown Prince Qingsha’s invitation to Northern Yan to help them eliminate this rebel state official Mo Huan Sang, that traitor. Do not let the city’s residents be anxious. Us Zhou soldiers won’t stay long. Black Frost City is still Northern Yan’s Black Frost City.”
“Commander?” The secretary’s face held astonishment. They still wanted this Black Frost City to return?
“Don’t ask too many questions. Write it how you want, but the meaning must be conveyed,” Luo Qi said with his back turned to the secretary.
“This student obeys,” the secretary also accepted his orders and left.
Luo Qi stood on the lofty Black Frost city tower, the north wind screaming and rainwater ice-cold, with his hands gripping black brick. Luo Qi didn’t think that he would one day stand atop Black Frost City’s tower. This was his childhood fantasy. Today it had come true, and even in a way as smooth-sailing as a beautiful dream.
Ning Fei came to the tower to debrief and saw Luo Qi beckoning him over. He hurried over to Luo Qi’s side, saying, “Commander has further instructions?”
“Zi Zhou,” Luo Qi softly said. “Today is the day that Black Frost City returned.”
Ning Fei unexpectedly also reached a hand out to feel a brick laid at the head of Black Frost City. He felt dampness along with a frigid cold that reached bone. He and Luo Qi both looked towards the distance. Continuing towards the north, past the horizon–the limit of what they could see–Tian Shui’s fountainhead should lay there. In that place, a violent battle still waited for them.