The three words “my adoptive father” sent a shiver down his spine. Huo Dan agonized in his heart, thinking, “What on earth is the young marquis doing? Why is he becoming more and more unreasonable as he grows older? Is he trying to bring the deceased general and princess back to life from the underworld?”

Long Geng chuckled secretly. Just as he was about to use a small knife to open the envelope, a wooden bird flew in. On the day Liu Zhong came to surrender, Long Geng hadn’t completely trusted him. He had sent two members of the Linyuan Pavilion, one openly posing as a servant of the Liu family to establish contact with Liu Zhong in the capital, and another secretly tailing the envoy to gather information on any suspicious activities and relay messages to the capital.

Long Geng hurriedly put Gu Yun’s private letter into his pocket and opened the wooden bird instead.

After a moment, he sneered. “Some people have really thought things through.”

Before a wooden bird could fly into the commander’s tent, it was caught by a guard. He toyed with the small object in his hands, flipping it over several times, but couldn’t figure out its purpose. Just as he was about to take it to the divine physician in the military for inspection, someone nearby whispered, “Give it to me.”

The guard looked up and saw Shen Yi entering from outside. He quickly handed over the wooden bird with both hands. Shen Yi took it and felt the stiff bird’s head. The guard was surprised and thought he heard General Shen sigh.

The wooden bird had been attracted by the magnet left by General Zhong Chancan. Shen Yi cautiously held it and walked into the tent. Inside the dimly lit tent, several military physicians quietly came and went. The pungent smell of medicine filled the air, mixed with a faint trace of indelible blood.

Yao Zhen stood on the side, turning to look at Shen Yi with a solemn expression.

During the naval battle that day, the flagship where Gu Yun was stationed was hit by the enemy, and the ship disintegrated on the spot. The golden box exploded into a dazzling display on the water’s surface. Fortunately, despite being deaf and blind, Gu Yun reacted quickly and immediately ordered his men to abandon the ship and jump into the sea.

Due to the timely jump, when the Eagle Armor pulled him out of the water, he was still alive and not cooked yet.

The Western military’s long-distance supply line had been cut off, and the upper reaches of the Inner River had long been controlled by Gu Yun’s reinforcements in the southwest. With both supply lines severed, they had no choice but to retreat to the East Edo Waters.

If it weren’t for the severe injuries to the commanding general, this battle would have undoubtedly been a perfect victory that would go down in history.

Gu Yun had prepared all the necessary props, such as battle reports and personal letters, in advance. The news was kept tightly concealed, even within the Two Rivers Camp. Except for a few high-ranking officers, guards, military physicians, and the few eagles who had retrieved him, no one else knew anything.

One can imagine the pressure that Shen Yi and Yao Zhen were under.

Shen Yi: “How is he?”

“It’s perfect timing. He’s awake,” Yao Zhen whispered. “Having you here at the orders of General Gu was truly foresighted. Brother Ji Ping, if it weren’t for you, I would probably feel like the sky was falling.”

Shen Yi smiled bitterly, “Not at all. Once bitten, twice shy… You rest first, I’ll have a few words with him.”

Yao Zhen nodded, waved his hand, and led the military physicians to withdraw. Shen Yi quietly approached and held Gu Yun’s limp hand by the bedside.

As the curtain fell, people continued to come and go in the command tent. Gu Yun was completely oblivious until now. As he felt the calloused palm in his hand, he realized that the visitor was Shen Yi.

There were few places on Gu Yun’s body that weren’t injured. He was covered in steel plates and immobilized, unable to turn his head. He drifted in and out of consciousness, awakened by pain only to fall back into a stupor. It was only when he opened his eyes that the cold sweat on his forehead began to trickle down. Even if his eyes were open, he couldn’t focus properly. The military physicians said that it was easy to damage one’s ears and eyes in such a violent shock. He had further aggravated his condition, and now his eyes could only perceive minimal light. Not to mention looking at a glass mirror, even if he had a thousand-mile telescope, it would probably be of no use.

“I wonder if it will ever get better,” Gu Yun silently pondered in his heart. “Will I truly go blind in the future?”

When Shen Yi saw his blank gaze, his nose felt sour. He wrote on Gu Yun’s palm, “There’s a report from Linyuan Pavilion.”

Gu Yun blinked.

Shen Yi opened the wooden bird and prepared to write a message for him. But as soon as he glanced at the contents of the note, his face tightened.

Gu Yun waited for a long time without hearing a response. He hesitantly tapped his finger on Shen Yi’s hand.

Shen Yi, a person with a good temperament, rarely lost his temper except when playfully roaring at Gu Yun. At this moment, he sat steadily on the edge of the bed, trembling as he held the wooden bird, his chest rising and falling violently. With a “crack,” he forcefully broke off the bird’s head.

“What is this?” he thought. “What is this! Who are we sacrificing our lives for? Who are we exhausting ourselves for? Is this fucking meaningful?”

Gu Yun felt his heart tighten, afraid of further complications. Unable to ignore his own blindness, he struggled to speak, “Wh… cough…”

He had a wound in his throat caused by shrapnel, narrowly missing a major artery. It almost overlapped with the previous scar. Although it wasn’t entirely obvious, speaking was extremely difficult, like a broken bellows.

The broken bellows asked, “Should we continue to persist in seeking peace within the court?”

Shen Yi’s eyes were bloodshot as he wrote on Gu Yun’s hand, “Linyuan Pavilion has sent someone to monitor the Foreign Affairs Delegation. They have discovered that someone among them is secretly communicating terms with the Western envoy, and a group of individuals with unknown identities have infiltrated the delegation.”

Gu Yun immediately breathed a sigh of relief and, unable to bear the discomfort of his neck, moved his neck that was pinned down. “What… cough… about the list of the Foreign Affairs Delegation? Wasn’t it already sent? There’s no reason for any sudden additions. If that’s the case, we can just intercept them outside their residence, it’s no big deal.”

Shen Yi: “Because of this battle, there was no reason for the Foreign Affairs Delegation to come to the frontlines. They were supposed to stay in Pengcheng and seek permission from the court. Li Feng said it wouldn’t be good for them to return empty-handed, so he ordered them to rest in Pengcheng for a while. Once the military supplies were allocated by the court, they were to be sent together to the frontlines of the Two Rivers as a…”

Gu Yun raised an eyebrow, and Shen Yi struggled to pause. He wrote in his palm stroke by stroke, “Military rewards.”

These two words were too sensitive for all the veterans of the Xuantie Battalion. Gu Yun visibly twitched, only to be forcefully restrained by the steel plates on his body, causing cold sweat to trickle down his temples.

Shen Yi hurriedly held him back, “Zi Xi!”

In the midst of the commotion, blood began to seep through the bandage on Gu Yun’s chest. The smell of blood permeated the heavy medicinal odor, spreading vividly in the air, making his complexion even more pale.

Shen Yi had the feeling that he was evaporating slowly.

And yet, he refused to faint.

He had to maintain a calm and composed facade both internally and externally.

What could one gain in vain after sacrificing oneself?

Even if one achieved great fame and left their mark in history, in the future, it would be nothing more than a tablet.

In later generations, when nobles and aristocrats thought of him, they would use a couple of idle anecdotes to embellish the story, perhaps intentionally belittling him to demonstrate their broad knowledge and uniqueness.

When commoners thought of him, they would likely create some unfounded rumors and scandals, intertwining him with countless mysterious women. They would describe him as having eloped hundreds of times, and his romantic fortunes would continue even after death.

Shen Yi: “I will immediately write a letter to Miss Chen. I… I… I’ll accompany you in resigning from your position and return home. We can take the Crown Prince with us. We can focus on recuperating and receiving treatment, regardless of the Li family or the Zhang family! I…”

Gu Yun sighed and gently held his hand.

Shen Yi’s breath became erratic, rendering him unable to speak. In a place Gu Yun couldn’t see, he made a facial expression as if he were preparing to burst into tears. However, he dared not tremble or sob too noticeably, silently inhaling through his mouth while his tears flowed onto his own steel armor.

Gu Yun could still sense it, but he didn’t expose it. He reached out and patted him lightly, whispering, “It’s not a big deal, no need to get worked up… Does Chang Geng have any news?”

“Yes,” Shen Yi trembled as he wrote, “His Highness said that you don’t need to worry about anything else. If anyone intends to cause trouble, let your temperament dictate whether to kill them. Even if the capital collapses, he will hold his ground.”

Gu Yun weakly smiled.

Loss of blood made one’s mind unclear. He had to exert several times more effort and focus to understand the situation: “No wonder… Why are they… trying to deal with me before the battle is over… cough… It seems that there will be a change in the capital. Some people are desperate and are trying to pull me, the general, off my horse. Does it seem worthwhile to you?”

Gu Yun, of course, couldn’t be completely free of resentment in his heart. Unfortunately, Shen Yi, this hair-trigger person, was by his side. Regardless of their original intentions, when they were together, one had to be responsible for triggering, while the other had to remain calm. Shen Yi preemptively took on the role of the former, leaving Gu Yun with no choice but to calmly assume the latter.

Gu Yun: “Is it worth it for you to spend five taels of silver buying that crappy rocking chair for Miss Chen? Aren’t you just being taken advantage of?”

Shen Yi: “When I’m being foolish for the woman I love, I should bear the consequences. I won’t lose face. Who will you play the fool for?”

Gu Yun replied slowly, “Indeed, a dutiful son doesn’t appear before an ill parent. You, an unfilial person, have learned how to curse.”

Shen Yi: “…”

In the half of his life spent on the battlefield, Gu Yun had contemplated leaving numerous times. Shen Yi, on the other hand, had thought of “no longer caring about this bastard” countless times. He let go of Gu Yun’s hand, turned around, and prepared to leave, thinking, “You can die if you want to.”

Gu Yun: “Ji Ping!”

His hand aimlessly reached out, grasping nothing but air. His fingers were bound tightly by bandages and medicinal ointments, almost deforming them. The pale skin was covered in scars, exposed from beneath the lifeless bandages. This grip made Shen Yi’s heart ache, and his attitude suddenly disappeared.

Shen Yi: “Don’t move!”

Gu Yun whispered, “In the past few days… there must be envoys from Dongying secretly contacting us. After all, Zhong Ze is a civil official. We have to rely on you…”

Shen Yi’s heart felt bitter, “Enough, don’t say anymore. I know.”

Interrupted by him, Gu Yun didn’t get angry. He suddenly smiled, gasping for breath as he laughed. After a moment, he chuckled and said, “Defending one’s family and country, becoming a renowned general for a lifetime, the common people will build temples and worship you for hundreds of years. It’s great to live off the incense.”

Shen Yi sarcastically replied, “Worship you? Well, we already have door gods. Should we appoint you as the window god? Or the bed god?”

“It’s all the same,” Gu Yun chuckled softly. “After all, no matter which temple they worship… it’s for promotion, wealth, good marriage… and children.”

Upon hearing this, Shen Yi realized that it was about scammers, matchmakers, and the Bodhisattva of Fertility.

He became even more resentful and didn’t want to be associated with such a person.

Gu Yun, in a weak tone, said, “Shen Daxian, give me the flute from the box by the bedside.”

Shen Yi sighed and took out a small box that he had treasured, containing a white jade flute with a restrained brilliance, a stack of thick paper with unknown patterns, and several wind-cutting blades inscribed with different names.

It seemed that this small box contained all of Gu Yun’s emotions and sense of duty.

“I won’t die,” Gu Yun firmly thought as he gripped the cold jade flute with his fingertips. “They didn’t blow me up on the spot, so I won’t die. Cheng Geng’s ulna bone hasn’t been removed yet, and there are still many people in the capital who want trouble for him. How can I…”

What can he do? Before he had a chance to think, he fell into an exhausted coma once again.

In the middle of the night, miles away, in Fang Manor.

Fang Qin sat in the room, his face heavy with water. After a long silence, he slowly looked up and asked, “Is it true? Did you hear it with your own ears?”

The servant kneeling in front of him trembled uncontrollably and nodded quickly.

The head of the Fang family in this generation suddenly laughed. After a moment, he covered his face with one hand, his shoulders shaking. It was unclear whether he was crying or laughing. Fang Qin had once set up Lu Chang to walk this path, and he had imagined that Yan Wang, ambitious as he was, might someday follow this path. However, he never expected that his own father would be the first to take the lead.

When every scholar first read the four lines from Master Hengqu, “Establish a heart for heaven and earth, give purpose to the people’s lives, continue the legacy of the ancient sages, and create everlasting peace for all generations,” their hearts were filled with ambition. They imagined themselves becoming unparalleled scholars, capable of shouldering the country’s destiny for eternity. However, this bit of ambition was gradually eroded by fame, wealth, wasted time, and an unpredictable world. Worn away bit by bit, their lives fell into the “norm”…

Throughout history, there have been countless talented individuals, but how many true virtuous scholars are there?

That night, Fang Qin sat alone in his study all night long. Early the next morning, he ordered the household servants to secretly send away his wife and children.

When the first crow of dawn sounded, Fang Qin thought he would rush out, pull Yan Wang up, and reveal the impending conspiracy. But after countless imaginings in his mind, he ultimately did not act.

It is difficult to balance loyalty and filial piety. He knew that he was destined to never become a virtuous scholar, so he had no choice but to be faithful until the end.

Five days later, a vague and ambiguous rumor flew into the capital and reached the ears of ambitious families — after the foreign delegation that was supposed to go to reward the troops arrived at the Northern Army Camp, the camp suddenly closed for unknown reasons.

The information received by the Fang family was even more detailed. Grand Academician Fang received a note from one of his students, which simply read, “Mission accomplished.”

At that moment, Grand Academician Fang let out a long sigh of relief. Clearly, he hadn’t expected it to go so smoothly. The Westerners, who had been eyeing him, had unexpectedly done him a great favor. His heart was filled with indescribable excitement because “half the empire” had been achieved, and his grand ambitions were now within reach.

At the same time, Li Feng’s birthday celebration proceeded as planned. The Ministry of Rites proposed it, and Fang Qin took the lead in supporting it. Even the Yan Wang faction didn’t dare to make any trouble on such an occasion. Everyone unanimously agreed to the grand celebration.

Emperor Yuanhe used to hold a ceremony to worship the heavens every year, gradually becoming more frugal during the Long’an period. Therefore, the procedures were already set. In order to ensure that flattery didn’t cross the line, the Ministry of Rites had been preparing secretly for a long time. Once the emperor approved, everything began to operate smoothly. On the designated day, envoys from the northwest came to pay their respects, fireworks filled the sky at the nine gates, the Imperial Guards were unstoppable, bells and drums rang out together, creating a lively scene.

The emperor was going to leave the palace to make offerings to the heavens, explaining that he hadn’t aged another year without reason and had some achievements to report. This time, he had learned his lesson and brought along only the Thirteen Forbidden Guards, without any unreliable civil and military officials. He was accompanied only by the crown prince, and under the altar, Yan Wang, leading the military affairs office, led the officials.

Jitian di, bai zuzong, yi dui shi jing jing you tiao, zai mei chu xian shen me yao e zi, Li Feng xinli zong suan shi song le kou qi, jiang shang yi ci liu xia de yin ying gai guo qu le, xia ling hui gong.

Huang Shang bu ni qi jia hui gong, huang cheng wai yu lin jun yu jin wei jiao, jiu zai zhe shi sheng le bian.

Bu zhi shi shei tu ran da hou yi sheng: “You ci ke!”

Hua yin wei luo, ji gen dong ying de hui xuan biao po kong er lai, jing zhi chuan guo bai guan ren qun, ca zhe yi wei han lin de xiu zi han guang lin lin de da le yi pai, na wei lao han lin yi sheng mei hang, liang yan yi fan jiu guo qu, nei wai liang dui hu wei jun tong shi fan ying guo lai, you ren heng “hu jia”, you ren heng “zhuo na ci ke”.

Shei zhi tu ran yi ge yu lin jun bao qi, yi dao zhan xiang tai zi, chang geng li tai zi zui jin, mo di shang qian yi bu, yi ba zhua qi tai zi de yao dai, xian xian de ba ren tuo hui lai.

Hun luan zhong you ren jiao dao: “Yu lin jun fan le!”

Zhi xing zhu hu wei ren wu de yu lin jun tong ling zheng zai mo ming qi miao, tuo kou dao: “Fang pi!”

Er zhe shi, you ren chuan zhuo jin wei de yi fu, cong huai zhong mo chu yi ge xiao nu lai, dui zhe li feng de bu niu jiu da le guo qu, na wei yu lin jun tong ling xin dao: “Jin wei mou fan, hai wang tu rang wo men bei hei guo, qi you ci li!”

“Man zhe! Jin wei jun zhong you san tu, ci sha huang shang, na xia!” Yu lin jun gai cheng liang bu bing xing hou, wei hu xiang xie, shuang fang ben jiu su wu gou tong, you ren mei you zai huang shang mian qian lu lian, xin li ru he neng fu?

Zhu hu wei ren wei jin wei jun zhong cang le ci ke, xie tong hu wei dui ren wei zhou, jin wei ren wei yu lin jun hua bian, zai you xin ren de ke yi tiao bo xia, san fang dun shi xian ru hun luan.

Er zhao zhong suo you na de qi jiang jun ji hu quan bei gu yun diao dao ge di zuo jun ji le, yan xia zui li yi pian ji, fang qin ceng juan hou, gu yun yi shou kong shi kan dao zhe bian, pa shi yi shi chong san le, nin xian zou, chen li kun qi chong xian shou.

Fang qin deng ren kan zhun shi ji, gu yi lang lang de chong dao li feng mian qian, yi yong er shang dao: “Ci di wei xian, qing huang shang su su li kai.”

Yi qun yan sheng de hu wei su zhi er lai, fang qin: “Huang shang qing xia bu ni! Chen deng shi si hu wei hu wei huang shang.”

Huang shang nu dao: “Chuan bei da ying! Wu fa wu tian de dong xi……”

Fang qin ying le, di yi shi jian zhi pai zi ji de ren zhuang mo zuo yang de pao chu qu “chuan ling”. Zhe ye shi ta men zao xiang hao de, bu neng rang jin wei fan ying guo lai, yao zao zao ba huang di ge li kai, qie duan ta he jin wei yu bei da ying de lian xi.

Fang qin lian hong bu hui de cui cuo zhe li feng, shen bian de ren dou huan shang jin wei de yi fu, ci shi yi yong er shang, li feng yi shi ye mei zhu yi, deng ta fan ying guo lai de shi hou, yi jing lai bu ji le.

Er zhe ge shi hou, qian xian ye fa sheng le yi dong.

Jiao huang jie dao hun ru wai shi tuan de ji fang nei jian xin xi, da liang fa sheng zheng bian, da liang di du pai wang zhu zai zhu di de kao jun shi tuan dai lai de qi shi shi an sha ren wu, ta men da si chuan xi nan xuan tie ying de na yi mu, gu yun zhong shang, shen zhi ke neng yi jing si le. Zhu jun zheng zai qiang xing feng su xiao xi, dan nei bu yi jing hun luan bu kan, zheng shi fan ji de hao ji hui.

Yao shi fang zai wang chang, jiao huang huo xu bu hui qing xin zhe zhong xin xin xi, zhi shao hui pai ren cong qi ta jiao du fan fu qiu zheng, ran er ta yi jing mei you zhe zhong yu di le.

Da liang shui jun qie duan le ta men he guo nei de liang tiao zhong yao lian luo xian, ke shi yi fang mian sheng di ge xian hao de xing luan re chao, ta men gen ben lao lao shi shi de zhi min di cong nan yang zhu dao kuo qi le yi chang fan luan re chao, ta men gen ben fen shen fa yu, xian zai zhi neng jing guo dong ying ren zou yuan dong xian.

Jiao huang cong gen ben shang bu xiang xin dong ying ren, zong jue de na xie chai gou sui shi neng fan yao yi kou, suo yi ji yu da po zi ji de jiang ju.

Mei you ren bi ta zai ming bai, xi yang shui jun zai shui shang de wei feng shi kuo feng de shi yong neng yuan zhi chi qi lai de, mei you da liang de zi liu jin zuo hou tang, na ben ben jiu shi yi tu fei tie.

Ya xian sheng jin luo mi mi de zuo le yan mi de zhan lue bu she, pai ren song wang dong ying mu fu, qing qiu pei he.

Dong ying ren dian tou ha yao di jie lai, ke ke qi qi di ba ren song qu, hui tou zhuan jin zi jia yuan zi, ba men yi guan.

Yi ge feng chen pu pu de dong ying wu shi bu zhi shen me shi hou cong hou men jin lai, na xia dou: “Wo jian dao Gu jun jiang le.”

“Na me Gu Yun mei you zhong shang, ye mei you si, dui bu?”