|Author: Cherish the World||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: raltzero||English Source: Re:Library|
Things were slowly entering the right track.
In reality, I simply didn’t need to deliberately do anything special to win over Fang Thirteen’s trust. So long as I helped her do the things she had on hand, she would gradually become inseparable from me. It’s like how someone who would normally chop down trees with a stone suddenly got an axe. In the beginning, there would be skepticism towards the tool, but the more the person used the axe, the more easily the person would find it to use and begin accepting using the axe.
It was exactly the case for Fang Thirteen when it came to me.
A tool, half a friend, this was the current status quo. In fact, I was very satisfied with this.
In the coming days, I never found any rifts between Fang Thirteen and Fang Lita.
To put it more simply, digging at the foot of a wall and not finding a place to continue digging.
I wasn’t that type of person to destroy what he couldn’t obtain, but if I continued to ignore Fang Thirteen’s actions, then she sooner or later would become a threat to West-Resisting City. Besides, I promised Fang Yuan that we would pull off a north-south pincer attack and swallow the 10 cities including Sky Star City. Therefore, regarding Fang Thirteen, even though I was unwilling to think about it, I occasionally couldn’t help but imagine the scene of me holding a knife as I stabbed it into her chest.
Another week passed by. Fang Thirteen invited me to participate in a military exercise and told me many things about military strategies and tactics.
I had some slight knowledge about the art of war, so it was quite a pleasant conversation we had.
Up until this moment, only then did I think that perhaps Fang Thirteen was restraining some discomfort, so when I began speaking, I incessantly spoke:
“Speaking of the most classic military campaign of using the weak to defeat the strong in the past 50 years, the best example belongs to the Battle of Qiao River. When the Overlord of Cangzhou’s majestic army of 800,000 headed eastwards, it was obstructed by the previous generation’s imperial scholar’s 20,000 men by an outlet. That night, the hand-to-hand fighting shook the heavens. Just when the Overlord of Cangzhou’s ambition was about to succeed, he unexpectedly captured the imperial scholar’s complete attention and at the time, the Grand Sword Hero Luo Lunshan rode the wind and burned a 700 li radius in the camp, causing the 800,000 people to fall into panic. The Overlord of Cangzhou personally led his army to kill the imperial scholar, but had his army broken up and the escape route cut off, the outcome resulting in a tie. In the early morning, the Overlord of Longku led an army southwards and surrounded the Overlord of Cangzhou. This big defeat smashed the Overlord of Cangzhou’s dream of becoming the king into pieces.”
When bringing up an entertaining anecdote about military affairs, Fang Thirteen was just like a child, sometimes laughing happily while sighing with regret other times.
I serenely said:
“There are no eternally victorious generals in this world. When the Overlord of Cangzhou raised up troops, he was like a farm fire starting a prairie fire. In less than 2 months, he tossed and turned, and wiped out 7 to 8 territories without even a single defeat. Ultimately, he lost to the previous generation’s imperial scholar. But could it be mentioned that the Battle of Qiao River was really beautiful? In my opinion, not necessarily. At that time, there were 3 Grand Sword Heroes in that generation, two of whom stood on the side of the royal family while the other was stationed at Lingwu. The Overlord of Cangzhou didn’t have any trump cards in his hand, so it’s no wonder that his camp was burned down 700 li.”
This time, I was the one helping her push her wheelchair. In the spacious and empty outskirts were soldiers in the middle of an arduous training drill while Fang Thirteen and I were roaming outside of the battle formation and chatting a little.
Fang Thirteen argued:
“The phrase ‘heroes under heaven come out of Cangzhou’ exists for a reason and the Overlord of Cangzhou himself was a military genius. But if you truly want to mention something, then I think we should mention that imperial scholar. It would be better to say that each generation’s imperial scholar is as strong as the previous. This generation’s imperial scholar has just entered the palace; I’m unable to make out what will come out of it.”
I recalled little princess Lan Na’s letter to me and felt like it briefly mentioned this matter.
The term imperial scholar might sound high-end and elegant, but if you carefully investigate it, it’s basically the so-called top scoring official in the palace examination. This world has no imperial examination system, but there also isn’t any monopoly when selecting government officials. In particular, the position of prime minister is selected very carefully and very cautiously, and there’s a specialized organization called the “White Clothed Sentinel” that selects them. This organization is considered to be the most mysterious under the royal family’s command in any generation. Their members are spread out all over the world and they’re superb in keeping their work confidential. Their sole mission is to select an abnormally strong all-rounder to act as the royal family’s prime minister. Because the overwhelming majority of the people selected come from a civilian background, that’s the reason why the position is called imperial scholar (white clothed noble minister).
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I chuckled and said:
“My position as Sky Scheming Mansion’s first deputy general seems to be quite troublesome and difficult to get. If in the future you have to fight against that imperial scholar, are you sure that you’ll win?”
Fang Thirteen simply returned:
“It’s hard to say before meeting the opponent.”
She consoled me:
“But, I will do my best to achieve victory.”
The two of us had a very long discussion and it was a very happy discourse. If I forgot my identity, then the current us resembled a pair of close friends with common interests. When talking about topics that both of us were interested in, the communication was full of cheer and laughter.
Then, after sending Fang Thirteen back, I looked towards the skyline.
It was dark with black clouds densely covering the sky, not allowing the slightly ray of moonlight through.
After waiting until everyone else went to sleep, I quietly felt my way into Fang Thirteen’s room.
She was lying on the bed with eyebrows faintly creased, seeming to still be worried about a thousand things even in her sleep. I quietly tiptoed my way over to her table and rummaged through the documents before finding a sheet of white paper with sketches all over. It could be seen that this was Fang Thirteen’s drawing because many lines weren’t linked up with one another, but the silhouette of an army composition was visible at a glance. I gave it a look, stored it in my mind, then restored everything back to its original state.
After I left the room, I found a silk cloth and drew the contents of Fang Thirteen’s picture onto it. Then, I stealthily jumped out of the City Lord’s mansion, went to a deserted area, and whistled. An ash-gray carrier pigeon landed on my shoulder and I stuffed the silk cloth into the small tube wrapped around its foot before I let it fly out in the dim light of the night.
The next day, I ate and drank as usual and acted as if nothing happened.
In the following days, I stealthily went over to Fang Thirteen’s place every few days and stole some information, then used a carrier pigeon to send the information over. Within the span of one week, Fang Thirteen’s brows became even more tightly locked. I looked into my heart and felt delight as the tip of my tongue, I mean, bah, sorrow in the depths of my heart. As a result, I tried even harder to help her do even more things and created a situation of ‘I will help you shoulder your worries and difficulties’ between me and Fang Thirteen.
For instance, there were many lawbreakers inside Sky Star City, but after I thwarted their uprisings one after another, everything seemed to return to tranquility. It was like I was simultaneously an angel and a devil; on one hand, I’m helping Fang Thirteen handle matters while on the other, I’m foiling her plans behind her back. Life every day was filled with joy for me.
But Fang Thirteen appeared increasingly more worried.
She was the type to always be industrious, rising early and going to sleep early with drawings always scattered on her table. But it’s exactly because of this that she sinks into deep sleep every time she falls asleep and makes my thievery even more easy.
The most important point is that I don’t steal every document; I merely copy one every few days.
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With this being the case, Fang Thirteen couldn’t even be entirely sure that there was a traitor by her side. During this period of time, she went to seek counsel with Fang Lita and the two of them appeared to have talked about something, but ultimately, Fang Thirteen returned still distressed.
Suddenly, Fang Thirteen invited me to a meal one evening.
When I was notified, I was scared and thought that I had been discovered. But after thinking about it again and again, I still decided to go over and take a look. I didn’t expect that after arriving at the dining hall, I would catch sight of Fang Thirteen’s flushed complexion as she spread herself out on the table, propping her cheek up with one hand and holding some unfinished wine in the other.
Hearing the sound of footsteps, Fang Thirteen exposed an exhausted smile and spoke with a soft voice:
“You’ve come. Can you……accompany me for a talk?”