All along, in Wei Zhao’s mind, his number one enemy was not Helian Zhuo, but Li Kang.
After all, Helian Zhuo was originally his enemy, and it was unrealistic to expect your enemy to be merciful to you.
Even though Helian Zhuo’s tactics were unconscionable, Wei Zhao didn’t consider his actions to be wrong from his own standpoint.
If it were him, he would never show mercy to the enemy’s prince who had killed countless soldiers on his side.
Of course, if their positions were reversed, he would have no interest in Helian Zhuo either.
Li Kang was different.
He was the commander of the Great Yan, a great general appointed by Wei Su himself, and was ordered by the emperor to lead the troops against Fuyu.
But for his own selfish reasons, he tried to harm Wei Zhao without regard for the war situation.
To this day, every time Wei Zhao thought of the battle four years ago, he was terrified.
Wei Zhao was not afraid of death, but he was afraid that Li Kang would ruin the situation that the Great Yan had painstakingly managed to develop in the north-east for two generations.
At that time, Wei Zhao and his 3,000 elite cavalry were surrounded by enemy troops, while Li Kang’s reinforcements, which were supposed to appear according to the original plan, were long overdue.
Wei Zhao realised the situation was not good and tried to break through, but it was too late.
Tuoba Naigang and Dugu En had already completed the encirclement, and they were leading the most elite Golden Wolf Army in Fuyu, known as the “one against ten, never defeated”.
While trying to break through, Wei Zhao was still worried about Li Kang and what kind of magical powers Herong Ling had to hold off his 50,000 troops.
The more Wei Zhao thought about it, the more wrong he felt.
After a day and a night of bloodshed, not a single one of the 3,000 troops of the Great Yan had survived, and at least three times as many Golden Wolves had died at their hands.
If not for Helian Zhuo’s order to capture him alive, Wei Zhao would not have had a chance of survival.
After being captured, Wei Zhao confirmed his terrible conjecture that Li Kang was not incapable of breaking through Herong Ling’s line of defence, he just refused to rescue him.
As a soldier, when you go into battle you should be aware of the fact that you could return as “a body on the horse”, but dying in the hands of the enemy was completely different from dying in the hands of one’s own people.
In order to kill Wei Zhao, Li Kang went to the extent of burying his 3,000 cavalry with him, which, as far as Wei Zhao was concerned, was absolutely unforgivable.
What was even more ironic was that after his aim of eliminating Wei Zhao was achieved, Li Kang even took the banner of avenging Wang Qin.
With the Golden Wolf Army broken by Wei Zhao, Li Kang’s 50,000-strong army was unstoppable and it was only logical that he would retake Youzhou.
However, less than one-fifth of the 100,000 men who had originally gone to war returned alive, so it would not be an exaggeration to say that the victory was as bad as a defeat.
Wei Zhao wanted revenge against Li Kang, not only for himself, but also for those innocent soldiers.
Not only did he want Li Kang’s life, but he wanted to take away his heroic aura, because he didn’t deserve it.
But how could Wei Zhao accept the fact that Li Kang had died, not in disgrace as he deserved, but died in battle, for his country, with glory and honour, being mourned in infinite sorrow
Seeing that Wei Zhao was silent for a long time, Helian Zhuo grabbed his shoulders to make him face himself and asked with a smile, “Ah Zhao, why don’t you say anything Are you silly from happiness”
Realising that Helian Zhuo was calling out to him, Wei Zhao looked back at his seemingly serious expression and suddenly burst into laughter, laughing uncontrollably and desolately.
Helian Zhuo felt his heart itching from this laughter; he frowned and said, “Ah Zhao, what’s the matter with you” There was something wrong with Wei Zhao; his smile didn’t reach the bottom of his eyes at all.
Wei Zhao’s smile was curbed, and his long, narrow eyes shone coldly as he sneered, “I’m happy.
Shouldn’t I laugh when I’m happy Or do you want to see me crying with joy”
Helian Zhuo raised his eyebrow and smiled meaningfully, “Ah Zhao, haven’t I told you You look the most beautiful when you cry in bed, even better than when you smile…”
In bed, Helian Zhuo had always been cruel and devious.
He had a variety of tricks and cruel techniques, and he would not stop until he pushed Wei Zhao to the breaking point.
Wei Zhao’s expression suddenly changed, and he struggled to break free from Helian Zhuo’s hands that were holding him back.
Unfortunately, he failed, but instead, Helian Zhuo’s hands gripped tighter, bringing the two of them face to face.
Helian Zhuo lowered his head and leaned to Wei Zhao’s ear, whispering, “Ah Zhao, since I brought you good news, shouldn’t you give me a little thank-you gift”
“Helian Zhuo, are you really stupid or are you just pretending to be stupid What makes you think I will thank you for helping me kill Li Kang” Wei Zhao laughed back in anger, laughing so hard that tears were coming out of his eyes.
Wei Zhao’s rare vivid expression greatly pleased Helian Zhuo, and instead of getting angry in the face of his rebuke, Helian Zhuo inexplicably got excited, “Ah Zhao, you’re getting more and more cute, haha…”
Realising that he had lost control, Wei Zhao made no more sound, giving Helian Zhuo a sidelong glance as he slowly regained his calm and unruffled expression.
For a moment just now, he felt so empty inside that he felt he could find no reason to keep going.
Helian Zhuo didn’t care about Wei Zhao’s expression changing.
He hugged Wei Zhao and lay on the kang, continuing the previous conversation, “Speaking of thank-you gifts, what can you give me”
He had known for a long time that Wei Zhao would resent the death of Li Kang, but he himself was really happy.
At the beginning, Li Kang had taken Youzhou by force, causing Fuyu to suffer heavy losses and causing Helian Zhuo to lose face.
Now, although he had not taken back Youzhou in its entirety, the death of Li Kang at the hands of Herong Ling had really given Helian Zhuo a sense of relief.
Youzhou was formerly the homeland of the Donghu, home to a number of fishing and hunting tribes, including the Fuyu, and was first incorporated into the Central Plains territory only during the reign of Emperor Shenwu of the Shenchuan dynasty, a period of just over a hundred years ago.
From that time onwards, the Donghu tribes, who had been fishing and hunting for generations, learned to cultivate the land and gradually transitioned to a farming lifestyle, and the fertile soil of the Songhe Plain was effectively exploited.
After the great Emperor Shenwu, his descendents were unworthy and at the end of the imperial dynasty, its inherent territory had been broken up into pieces, not to mention the newly developed Youzhou, which was left to fend for itself.
In the 4th year of Tianyou, Wang Ming Zhu Chen forced Emperor Shenchuan Yu to abdicate and the Shenchuan dynasty was destroyed.
Since then, the Central Plains had been plunged into a century-long war, with princes and lords of vassal states fighting one battle after another; but no one had been able to end the chaos and unify the world.
Eventually, the Zengao people from the northern grasslands took advantage of the situation and occupied the beautiful Central Plains with their great rivers and mountains.
Zhengao were a typical nomadic people.
They had gained the world of the Han people but they didn’t want to follow the customs of the Han.
On the contrary, they couldn’t wait to convert their farmland into pastures, not to mention Youzhou, which originally had the Wusu Steppes.
During the Yuanzheng dynasty, there were many different ethnic groups living in Youzhou, nomadic, farming, fishing and hunting, so it was not clear who owned the place.
The bloody and barbaric rule of the Zhengao people lasted for more than a hundred years before they were overthrown by the various rebel armies, and the Fuyu people, who had the advantage in numbers, took the opportunity to declare their ownership of Youzhou.
It had been two hundred and seventy-four years since Emperor Taizu founded the state, and the Fuyu had flourished in Youzhou for generations, grazing on the Wusu Steppes, hunting in the Arslan Mountains and farming on the Songhe Plain…
The Great Yan used the banner of reclaiming its homeland, but this rich land had long since been empty of its former people, who were either slaughtered or expelled, and those who remained had been assimilated.
As a result, Youzhou was very difficult to govern and risky to defend, with Tiele across the vast grasslands.
At the beginning of the year, Tiele and Fuyu joined forces to attack Youzhou and got back the four northern counties without much effort.
Wei Zhao could imagine Wei Su’s anger.
In the days when Wang Changning and Hou Zhaoyang had been controlling the desert, the Great Yan’s army had never lost a battle.
But with Jun Lin dead, Ji Qing dead, Ji Yu dead, all that was over.
Helian Zhuo was equally angry.
Youzhou was unique to Fuyu; with its mountains, water, arable land, grasslands, majestic mountains and rivers, rich in food, it was a treasure trove for the Fuyu people.
But now, thanks to the cooperation with the Tiele people, they had taken the Wusu Steppes as a reward, and the Arslan Mountains were equally divided between the two families.
Every time Helian Zhuo thought about it, he wanted to vomit blood.
Wei Su was not reconciled with losing Youzhou again, nor did he want to leave the crime of losing the land in the history books.
Wei Su could not tolerate his own failure.
The first two emperors of the Great Yan dynasty who had lost the land, Emperor Yingzong Wei Yuan and Emperor Shenzong Wei Yun, had both issued edicts of guilt(1) – so he sent Li Kang, who had taken back Youzhou once, hoping that he could get Youzhou back again.
However, Wei Zhao’s role in that battle four years ago was instrumental, and the army burning with righteous indignation was bound to win and it was also the reason for the victory.
Now, all the conditions were not met, and Li Kang’s opponent had changed from simply Fuyu to both Tiele and Fuyu.
The defeat was inevitable.
Seeing that Helian Zhuo was still dwelling on the so-called thank-you gift, Wei Zhao looked displeased and asked, “What do you want” He didn’t think that there was anything that Helian Zhuo wanted that he could afford to give.
Helian Zhuo wrapped his arms around Wei Zhao and dropped a kiss on the corner of his lips, his warm breath puffing on Wei Zhao’s face as he slowly said, “I want you to give me another son.”
“Dream on!” Wei Zhao closed his eyes, not even looking at Helian Zhuo, spitting out two words coldly.
Yi Yin’s existence was already a mistake, and he would not allow himself to make another mistake, absolutely not.
Helian Zhuo, as if he hadn’t heard Wei Zhao’s words, smiled grimly and said, “Is it a dream You will know right away!” After saying this, he tore off Wei Zhao’s clothes, revealing his scarred skin.
Wei Zhao subconsciously tried to escape, but he had lost all his martial arts skills and he couldn’t push Helian Zhuo away, so he had to let him get what he wanted.
When the pain became too great, Wei Zhao bit his lower lip and clutched the bedding beneath him with both hands, not allowing himself to make a sound.
Yi Yin was outside in the courtyard, he couldn’t let him hear it, let alone let him know that he was in such a bad state.
In fact, the movement in the room was not so loud that the people in the yard could hear anything, but everyone knew what was happening, including Yi Yin.
The nanny carried Yi Yin back to his room and started to coax him to sleep, but he had slept too much the day before and with the things on his mind, he couldn’t sleep at all, rolling around on the bed.
Why was he still so young and couldn’t do anything to help Wei Zhao The more Yi Yin thought about it, the more uncomfortable he felt.
His Wei Zhao shouldn’t be treated like this.
Towards midnight, who knows what kind of tricks Helian Zhuo had used, but Wei Zhao suddenly let out a short moan, and although he quickly stifled his voice, Yi Yin still heard it.
He curled up under the covers, clenching his little fists and vowing that he would save Wei Zhao.
He couldn’t stand by and watch him repeat the tragedy of his previous life.
The imperial edict in which the monarch admits his mistakes and reproaches himself-