Sima Qingsha’s Northern Yan army traveled for fifteen days before meeting and merging with Yang Yuansu’s Eastern Shang army.
Yang Yuansu had just turned thirty-five. He was in the prime of his life, with a short beard, slightly dark skin, and thin facial features. He had an imposing, impressive appearance. Without getting angry, he still possessed a formidable aura. Eastern Shang’s little emperor was barely six years old. This Yang Yuansu was called a Prince Regent, but in practice he was Eastern Shang’s emperor.
After he finished discussing business with Sima Qingsha, Yang Yuansu specially looked towards Luo Wei to say, “You are Luo Wei, Luo Yun Qi?”
“This subordinate is precisely Luo Wei.” Luo Wei bowed and continued, “Luo Wei has seen the prince.”
(T/N: I’m always directly translating these modifiers which are used excessively in CN BL. Fully aware that it comes across as strange in English)
“Your name is well-known.” Yang Yuansu sized Luo Wei up and down. He did not think that someone who seemed like a delicate figurine could have the guts to dare to place himself in Northern Yan’s army.
(T/N: lit. Your name is like thunder piercing the ear.)
Luo Wei, neither servile nor overbearing, modestly denied this. He could make an approximate guess at Yang Yuansu’s thoughts. This was another person who wanted Mo Huan Sang dead. Otherwise, even if he controlled Chun Du Pass for a while, his Eastern Shang would not be able to guard it against the Black Frost Cavalry.
“This prince only worries that Mo Huan Sang won’t enter Tian Shui’s source.” Yang Yuansu saw that he would not be able to get Luo Wei to reveal any truths, so he diverted the discussion to battle.
Sima Qingsha said, “Right now, other than us following in close pursuit, there’s also Greater Zhou. We will see if Greater Zhou’s army can block Mo Huan Sang.”
Luo Wei could only smile. This was up to Long Xuan. Right now he and Long Xuan could not communicate. He also did not know about Long Xuan’s progress.
“Then what are we waiting for?” Yang Yuansu asked. “Let’s keep moving the troops.”
“This person has quite the temper.” Luo Wei saw Yang Yuansu kicking down a sergeant who stood in his way, and whispered to Sima Qingsha, “I’ve been suspecting all along, this person sooner or later will want to be emperor himself.”
“Shhh,” Sima Qingsha hurriedly shushed Luo Wei. “Don’t concern yourself with Eastern Shang’s matters.” He stealthily pointed at Yang Yuansu, who walked in front of them, “If he hears it won’t be good.”
Luo Wei stook out his tongue. “I won’t talk anymore.”
After interacting with Luo Wei these past few days, Sima Qingsha discovered that Luo Wei seemed staid but actually had the temperament of a youth. He could also be quite changeable. “You ah,” Sima Qingsha shook his head at Luo Wei, “what can I say about you?”
“I’m just speaking the truth with Your Highness only.” Luo Wei stared at Yang Yuansu, so he did not notice Sima Qingsha’s unconsciously doting expression when he said these words.
The army continued to move forward.
As Luo Wei rode on his horse, he suddenly heard the distant sound of thunder. He had just thought to say to Wei Lan–who was by his side–that it would rain again, when large drops of rain fell from the sky and pounded on his body.
“It’s raining again,” Wei Lan hastened to put rainwear on Luo Wei. Annoyed as could be with the rain, Wei Lan did not care that he was surrounded by Northern Yan citizens as he complained, “Why does it rain every day in this Northern Yan place?”
The Northern Yan soldiers truly wanted to say to Wei Lan that they hadn’t had this much rain in previous years. Marching in this rain, they were also suffering unspeakable misery.
The travelling formation of troops walked and walked, and then stopped.
An officer who had come over from Sima Zhuxie’s location ran to the front of Luo Wei’s horse. He said, “Young master. The bridge in front has collapsed. His Highness invites the young master to temporarily avoid the rain.”
(T/N: Did author mean to write Qingsha instead of Zhuxie?)
Luo Wei looked around. How was there any place for him to shelter from the rain?
Wei Lan helped Luo Wei down from his horse. Eleven opened an umbrella for Luo Wei.
“Just take care of yourselves.” Luo Wei had an umbrella in his own hand. He pulled Wei Lan beneath the umbrella, and said to Eleven, “I won’t get wet. Don’t let yourselves catch colds.”
“Young master, where do you intend to go?” Ten stood at the very back, looking at their horses.
“I need to empty my bladder,” Luo Wei replied simply and quite loudly, afraid that Ten wouldn’t be able to hear him from the back.
Some Northern Yan soldiers chuckled. Among top-ranked people, other than Third Young Master Luo, they had never encountered a second person who would directly yell out that they needed to pee.
“Let’s go la,” Wei Lan supported Luo Wei as they entered a forest on the side. “Is this a matter you want to shout about?”
“Long Xuan’s person has arrived.” After entering this small patch of woods, Luo Wei spoke quietly to Wei Lan, “Let’s walk further in a bit.”
Eleven and a few others guarded outside the woods.
Luo Wei stood under an old, bent-necked locust tree.
Wei Lan inspected the surroundings, and upon returning shook his head at Luo Wei.
At this, Luo Wei faced an underbrush half the height of a man. “Come out.”
From the underbrush, a man wearing the garb of a Northern Yan soldier walked out. He came towards Luo Wei and knelt on one knee. “This humble one greets the young master.”
“Rise,” Luo Wei adopted a humble approach and supported him up. He recognized this person. This was one of Long Xuan’s competent, trusted imperial bodyguards who stayed by his side. “What message does His Highness want you to give me?” Luo Wei asked the imperial bodyguard.
“In three days, His Highness and Mo Huan Sang’s army can reach Tian Shui’s fountainhead.”
“In order to march faster, Mo Huan Sang threw out the main force’s heavy armor.”
“Then when will His Highness make his move?” Right now, Luo Wei only cared about this.
“His Highness wanted this humble one to pass on to the young master,” the imperial bodyguard lowered his head and continued, “he can’t find an opportunity with Mo Huan Sang. Sima Zhuxie is already half insane. His Highness is preparing to take him away.”
“Sima Zhuxie is insane?” This news shocked Luo Wei.
“This humble one hasn’t seen Sima Zhxie,” the imperial bodyguard replied guilelessly.
“Continue.” Luo Wei also didn’t continue to ask. Whether Sima Zhuxie was crazy or not, this had nothing to do with him.
“His Highness asks the young master to prepare as well. When Mo Huan Sang chases him into Tian Shui’s fountainhead, the three armies will engage in a melee. His Highness says that would be the best opportunity for the young master to leave the Northern Yan army.”
“I understand. Be careful on your way back.” Luo Wei again gave some considerate words to this imperial bodyguard.
“This humble one will withdraw.” The imperial bodyguard walked into the depths of the woods.
“Young master, are we also entering Tian Shui’s fountainhead?” Wei Lan asked. He began to feel an inexplicable nervousness again.
“We still have to wait a few days.” Luo Wei raised his head and looked at the sky, not seeing any signs that the rainfall would stop. “If the rain continues like this, it’s uncertain whether anyone can stand on the grounds of Tian Shui’s fountainhead.”
Wei Lan said, “Leaving while there’s a melee is a good method. But what should be done if Sima Qingsha sends someone to watch the young master?”
“Then the only way is to kill someone.” Luo Wei walked out into the rain. “When the time comes we shall see. We’ve prepared the medicine to cope with the miasma. In case it doesn’t work, we can still go to the marshlands to escape for a while.”
“Young master isn’t scared?”
Luo Wei stopped his steps. He turned his head to Wei Lan. Wei Lan hadn’t concealed any of the fretfulness in his gaze, all of it pouring out. “When those events draw near, what use is there in being afraid?” Luo Wei hugged Wei Lan and said, “Though I’m afraid that Wei Lan will get injured. I’m not afraid of anything else.”
Wei Lan could only embrace Luo Wei. Three days ago, perhaps because of the several months of rainy days, Wei Lan’s old bone injuries hurt. His two knee joints swelled, making it inconvenient to walk. Wei Lan himself could bear this, but he feared that the illnesses he had would not alleviate if there continued to be no sunlight on the day they reached Tian Shu’s source. Then how would he protect Luo Wei on his way out of the Northern Yan barracks? In his mind, Wei Lan saw that small wooden box filled with medicine again. Wei Lan shut his eyes and held Luo Wei tighter in his arms. He forced himself not to think about those things; at the very least, he would not think of them now.