Home > urban > Sweet Beauty > CH 14

Sweet Beauty CH 14

Author:Shu Category:urban Update time:2022-12-07 13:56:39

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Chapter 14 Speculations

 

The sudden acquisition of the large number of Red Turbans brought the issue of resettlement.

Since Liu Xun had to stay behind to deal with this matter, he instructed Liu Ji and others to escort A’Shu back to the post station first, and then find a medical worker to take care of her.

Zhao You had already sent someone to the post station, hence Deng Wan was able to arrange everything for A’Shu in the posthouse.

As soon as she arrived, she was first cleaned up, then she was diagnosed by the medical worker.

Fortunately, she was only slightly startled.

Except for the skin injuries on her wrist and neck, she was not seriously wounded.

Deng Wan and Que-er looked after her.

They applied some medicine on her bruises, fed her some porridge, and tucked her into bed.

The house had been fumigated with incense.

After the incense burned out, the faint fragrance lingered, eliciting a quiet and peaceful ambience.

A’Shu was lying on the bed but she tossed and turned, unable to sleep.

While still in the company of others, she forgot her fear amidst the high tension.

Now that she was by herself, a burst of panic kicked in, and even her wounds began to ache.

Xu Guang’s ferocious face seemed to flash in her mind as soon as she closed her eyes.

Her body slightly trembled as thin layer of goosebumps broke out all over her skin.

Regardless, she knew that the full-scale drama of hostage-taking which ended up in surrender was not as simple as it seemed.

Back in the posthouse in Wucheng, Liu Xun looked self-assured and enigmatic.

When they were trapped in the Western Hills, he remarked that they would be released within five days.

Everything seemed to go exactly according to his plan.

How did he do it

They were sharing the same room every day back in the Western Hills, but terrified and hopeless, she had no time to evaluate.

Now that she was safe and by herself, she had the time to concentrate and assess carefully.

To start with, he seemed to have long ago foreseen the unexpected desertion of the soldiers in Wucheng.

But instead of meting severe punishment, he allowed them to go.

Even when Xie Jin repeatedly made sarcastic remarks about it, he did not react.

At that time, it looked as if Liu Xun’s popularity in the army was gradually declining.

Moreover, because of the sudden dispersion of his troops, he was targeted by the Red Turbans when they reached Shexian.

Wang Shu was also a native of Dongjun like Liu Xun.

Different from typical refugees and bandits, he was farsighted and had a great sense of righteousness.

From his actions today, it could be concluded that he must have been planning for the future of the Red Turbans.

The only problem was the lack of a good leader to surrender to.

Liu Xun not only had a good reputation with his elder brother, but he was also famed for his benevolence and righteousness.

Thinking of this, a light bulb flashed in A’Shu’s brain.

If a bandit like Wang Shu wanted to surrender, the most important thing to consider was the type of master he would submit to— whether he was willing to treat people with leniency regardless of past grievances.

And Liu Xun——

… let go of the deserters in Wucheng, which in turn won him a good reputation of being a lenient master!

Wang Shu’s people were born in a rough place and were used to living in poverty.

What they hated most were the the tyrannical children of arrogant and extravagant officials.

And Liu Xun——

… just brought books and letters with him, and even the food he carried was no different from an ordinary soldier’s!

On that day when the two were taken to the mountain as hostages, Liu Xun ordered Liu Ji to take his letter and go with Xie Jin to collect provisions.

When she came back just now, she had heard from her elder brother that the magistrate of Shexian was unwilling to give more than the allotted provision.

He and Liu Ji forced Xie Jin to hassle the county magistrate with both kindness and intimidation.

After several twists and turns, they could only get six hundred stones in five days.

Since Liu Xun used to travel around because of fighting in wars, he knew the available grains in official granaries of each prefecture and county.

Ordering them to transfer a thousand stones of provisions was supposed to stall for time and make Wang Shu and others lose patience.

Finally, when he could not bear it anymore, he took the initiative to find Liu Xun.

The latter then had the opportunity to persuade Wang Shu to join his troops…

It must be that from the day His Majesty sent Liu Xun to Hebei, he had already figured out the situation.

Even Wang Shu’s personality and the general condition of the Red Turbans were accurately predicted.

Before they left, he told her to leave the burdensome items and only to pack up his books and letters.

He had already made the first move in this chess game!

The more A’Shu thought about it, the more frightened she became.

Her shivering body could not help but shrink in the quilt.

It was only autumn but she felt cold on her back.

If she didn’t guess it wrong, Liu Xun took the initiative to be taken hostage that day so that he could go to the mountain to persuade Wang Shu.

Today, Xu Guang committed suicide.

He might also have taken advantage of the situation to get rid of this person.

Presumably, he could feel people’s inner thoughts so thoroughly since every step seemed to fall right into place.

With only a wave of his hand and a small talk, he could firmly control the situation.

She was more and more frightened.

Had he also predicted that she would be taken as hostage

……

Outside the city, Liu Xun ordered Guo Qu and others to distribute the six hundred stones of provision to the Red Turbans according to the usual practice of three-day ration for each person.

Afterwards, he met with Wang Shu and several Red Turbans captains to dicuss official business.

Because the ten thousand people of Red Turbans had to follow Liu Xun straight into Hebei in a few days, they had limited time to practice and prepare.

It was really impossible to catch up with the initial well-trained troops.

Liu Xun wanted to divide these ten thousand people according to the military system of the Han Dynasty.

Five people would form a squad.

Ten people would be assigned in a fireteam.

One hundred people would be sent to a garrison.

Five hundred people would be put under a regiment and a thousand people under a company.

He selected dozens of leaders from his own army to oversee the Red Turbans, explain military discipline, and assist in future trainings.

After explaining everything, he ordered Guo Qu to accompany Wang Shu and others to the mountains to count the number of the Red Turbans and register their names.

After such toss and turn, the matter had been settled.

Although Liu Xun’s eyes were clear, his face was tired.

The armor he was wearing had not been changed for several days since he entered the mountains.

It was already filthy.

He looked down and sniffed.

A peculiar smell entered his nose.

Although he was always in the army, he still wanted to be clean.

He looked up at the bright moon in the sky.

Out of nowhere, an image of Lady Zhao’s pitiful appearance leapt in front of his eyes.

Liu Ji happened to be by his side, so he asked, “How is the Princess Consort”

Liu Ji was ordered to escort A’Shu to the post station.

As soon as A’Shu entered the post station and he saw that she was alright, he threw himself back to the camp outside the city.

At this moment when Liu Xun asked him, he realized that he knew very little.

He was even more sheepish when he recalled her weak appearance.

“The Princess Consort should be fine.

But if the Prince is concerned, Your Highness should see it himself.”

Liu Xun thought it over and over again.

After carefully considering tomorrow’s matters, he nodded.

“Prepare the horse for me.

Tomorrow is a busy day, one must return early.

Three men will ride with me.”

Might as well go back to the post station and see her.

It was also about time to take a bath.

The surroundings were already shrouded in silence when the four horsemen rode to the post station.

A’Shu still had not fallen asleep.

As soon as she heard the noise outside the house, she was so shocked that she hurriedly dressed up to go wake up Que-er.

When Liu Xun entered the room, he found her standing barefoot, a cloak carelessly draped around her shoulders.

Her delicate and petite body was shaking hard, and her bright large eyes were full of fear.

His heart suddenly softened.

What happened to her in the past few days clearly traumatized her.

He reverted to his usual gentleness.

In a soft voice, he comforted, “Don’t be afraid.

It’s me.”

However, he was stunned.

Not only was she not relieved but the fear in her eyes intensified.

She was looking at him as if she was facing some evil spirit.

He looked down at his clothes.

Although his clothes were dirty and damaged, they were not bloodstained.

Could his appearance really make a person looked like they had lost their soul

He could not help but curbed his smile and tentatively called out, “Lady Zhao, it’s me.”

A’Shu came back to her senses.

She wasn’t expecting that he would return today.

Seeing him just now, she subconsciously thought of the things that she had been pondering in her mind.

She could not help the fear and panic that assailed her.

She turned her face away from his sight and tried to straighten her back.

The hand in her sleeve squeezed the corner of her clothes.

“This concubine doesn’t know that Your Highness would come back at this time.

This concubine will go prepare the bath now.”

Without waiting for his response, she darted back to the inner room to get dressed.

Liu Xun looked at her stiff back.

His brows creased more and more tightly.

He just wanted to say that he had rushed back because he was worried about her, but it looked like she didn’t need his concern at all.

He touched his nose, suppressed his displeasure, and ordered his servant to come in and change clothes for him.

After bathing, when he entered the inner room again, he saw her sitting on the side of the bed with her head bowed.

The dim yellow candlelight shone on her dark hair and white glossy skin.

Looking closely, a long and thin scratch about three inches long quietly ran across the left side of the exposed neck.

Although it had scabbed, it still looked shocking.

On her wrist were bruises left by squeezing and rubbing.

There were also some faint scars on the palm of her right hand which was covered with five tender fingers.

She presented a pitiful picture.

Liu Xun took two steps forward.

He grabbed her right hand while she was in a daze.

He tried to turn it over.

“How did this wound come about”

Startled, A’Shu subconsciously pulled her hand back and hid it behind her.

She looked at him in a panic, but the unhappy look in his eyes somewhat calmed her down.

She bit her lower lip and shrunk slightly.

She said timidly, “When Xu Guang came, I hid a jade hairpin for self-defense.

The hairpin was sharp and it punctured my when it was held tightly.”

Liu Xun glanced over and saw that the scars were small and deep.

Although the ointment was applied, it still looked stark on the white and soft palm.

The displeasure in his heart dissipated a little.

However, her subconscious refusal just now reminded him of her inexplicable fear of him in the past.

He had always been praised for his magnanimity.

How come it was completely different for her

Liu Xun could not bear it any longer.

He finally asked, “Why are you so afraid of me”

A’Shu’s body stiffened, her face flushing then paling.

Her thoughts rolled in her mind as she hesitated and panicked.

After a long silence, she finally took a deep breath as if gathering courage, then looked up at him.

“This concubine dare to ask, did Your Highness plan to take the Red Turbans as early as when he was in Chang’an

“Hiding one’s edge, releasing the deserters, and even risking one’s life later, were all of these carefully designed by Your Highness”

Liu Xun’s eyes flashed with extraordinary brilliance.

Never did he expect that she was so clever that she could understand his elaborate plans for many days.

Even Liu Ji, who had followed him for many years, was clueless.

In an instant, his face quickly turned frigid.

“So what Why, do you want to tell the Empress Dowager that I have a lot of schemes, and that I will end up in a disaster I advise you, it’s not necessary.

The Empress Dowager has long regarded me as a thorn in her side.

If I hadn’t been so useful, I’m afraid that I would have been executed like my Elder Brother.”

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