After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 23

Chapter 23

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“What do you aim for?”

In an instant, Yuan Li recalled the horrific scene he had witnessed during the day—the war, the bloodshed, the cries of the people, and the eyes filled with despair. But Yuan Li quickly regained his composure. He wasted no more than a few seconds before transforming into an enraged expression and growling, “Chu Hechao, what do you mean by this?”

“I have no ill intentions. It’s just that we should be cautious when discussing such matters. That’s why I resorted to this plan and brought you here to hide,” the man chuckled silently, wet streaks marking his handsome face. “With your immense talent, if you have any ambitions, just speak up. I, Chu Hechao, will willingly go through fire and water for you. I won’t utter a single word of refusal.”

Do you think I believe you?

Yuan Li sneered coldly. “I have already said it once—I want to protect my home and defend my country! That is my greatest ambition! Chu Hechao, you are well aware of my aspirations. So why are you blocking me here and trying to persuade me? Even if you are the Great General of the North, the futureChu Wang, an influential figure among the feudal lords, you shouldn’t humiliate others like this!”

As he spoke, his tone grew louder, but he had to keep his voice low, his anger evident. Yuan Li was also getting carried away. The pent-up frustration from being repeatedly tested earlier was now vented towards Chu Hechao.

The man frowned, puzzled by his sudden outburst. “Sister-in-law, you’re being too harsh, I—”


Yuan Li interrupted him.

The usually amiable person hid his smiling face, and his tightly strained expression became emotionless. Even as a young man, he exuded a sense of daunting authority that made one feel uneasy. Yuan Li’s clothes clung to his wet body, accentuating his slight frame and youthful delicacy compared to Chu Hechao. However, his aura overwhelmed Chu Hechao.

His lips pressed tightly together, and his eyes burned with raging anger.

This serene and refreshing face suddenly became vivid and lively.

“Chu Hechao,” Yuan Li raised his gaze, even with water droplets clinging to his eyelashes, his eyes still sharp as he locked gazes with Chu Hechao. He spoke forcefully, “It was you who brought me to Youzhou, and it was you who asked me to stabilize the rear for you! Yet, while you seek my help, you continuously test me. Did I shoot the wrong arrow today?”

His expression darkened. “I saved many cavalrymen from death. Is that not enough for you? You claim we are family, but have you ever treated me as family? You want me to change Youzhou, yet you suspect me of having ulterior motives. Chu Hechao, ask yourself honestly, are your actions justified?”

Each of his questions was more piercing than the last.

Chu Hechao lowered his head, the shimmering water flowing on his back. In the darkness, Yuan Li couldn’t see his expression, but Chu Hechao remained silent.

Yuan Li pushed Chu Hechao away and coldly said, “I never expected that after accomplishing feats, I would be treated like this by the general. If you truly cannot trust me, you could have spoken directly, and I would have returned to Luoyang. But I request that the general refrain from using such methods to test me again. After all, while the general does not consider me family, I still regard the general as a younger brother.”

With that, he let out a disdainful snort and left, his spirit refreshed.

After a while, by the riverside.

Chu Hechao stood alone in front of the stone.

“Out of ten people who talk about protecting their home and country, it’s a good thing if even one person actually does it. The rest are merely using the excuse of protecting their home and country to seek personal gain,” Chu Hechao suddenly spoke in a low voice, as if explaining himself.

After a while, he murmured to himself, “Even Yang Zhongfa, who has been with me for eight years, I would still suspect him.”

He turned his head and calmly watched the direction Yuan Li had left.

Chu Hechao had always been a loner. He knew his temperament was not likable, not even his own parents liked him. He had grown accustomed to it.

He had grown up through hardships, experiencing numerous betrayals and deaths. The borders of the Northern Zhou Dynasty weighed heavily on his shoulders, with the ever-present threat of the Xiongnu and Xianbei beyond the borders.

Chu Hechao couldn’t let go of his suspicion towards anyone. At the slightest sign of trouble, he could instantly turn ruthless.

Chu Hechao then looked towards the distant torches and bonfires.

Undeniably, he admired Yuan Li, but he also deeply feared him.

This son of the County Magistrate of Ruyang suddenly emerged and took control of the Chu family overnight. His parents treated him exceptionally well, and his older brother placed great trust in him. However, Chu Mingfeng’s trust in Yuan Li did not automatically mean that Chu Hechao also fully trusted him.

Chu Hechao and Chu Mingfeng were not the same kind of people. Chu Mingfeng was a pure scholar, but Chu Hechao was not. While Chu Mingfeng dared to entrust the rear and the Chu household to Yuan Li, Chu Hechao couldn’t do the same.

Chu Wang and Madam Yang had their reasons for not liking the second son.

But a living person always had to carry a heavier burden. The responsibilities of the family, the country, and the lives of countless people weighed on his shoulders, requiring more careful consideration.

Chu Hechao withdrew his gaze and immersed himself in the water, repeatedly practicing the words Yuan Li had said. However, as he practiced, he suddenly stood up from the water with a splash, his face composed, and walked briskly onto the shore.

The convoy carrying military funds did not waste time in Beixincheng County. After taking the captives and surviving residents of Beixincheng County, they hastened their journey towards Jixian.

Ten days later, they finally arrived at their destination.

During these ten days, Yuan Li never glanced at Chu Hechao nor spoke a word to him. He would coldly ignore Chu Hechao, his face icy one moment and then laughing and chatting with others the next.

Chu Hechao initially thought that Yuan Li wouldn’t stay angry for long. He had publicly taken Yuan Li captive before, but in the end, he had begged Yuan Li for forgiveness, and Yuan Li had forgiven him. Surely his attempts to test Yuan Li couldn’t be more serious than kidnapping him.

At first, Chu Hechao didn’t rush to seek Yuan Li’s forgiveness. However, after being ignored by Yuan Li several times, Chu Hechao couldn’t help but focus more on him. His gaze swept over Yuan Li several times a day, and his frown deepened.

After being ignored for three days, Chu Hechao clenched his lips, forced himself to remain patient, and went to apologize to Yuan Li. However, Yuan Li refused to see him.

Until today, when they reached Jixian, Chu Hechao hadn’t received a single glance from Yuan Li.

Even Yang Zhongfa noticed that something was wrong. He looked at Chu Hechao, whose expression was devoid of emotion and whose aura was low, and then at Yuan Li, who was happily conversing with Liu Jixin, and cautiously approached, asking, “General, did you have a falling out with Young Master Yuan?”

Chu Hechao snorted, a smile that wasn’t really a smile. “Falling out?”

Yang Zhongfa shivered and turned his face away, covering his eyes. “General, please don’t smile like that. It scares me.”

Chu Hechao said, “Come closer.”

Yang Zhongfa approached and earnestly advised, “General, Young Master Yuan is such a good person. He won’t get angry easily. It’s quite impressive that you can make him angry. Just count it, it’s been five or six days since Young Master Yuan last paid attention to you, hasn’t it?”

Chu Hechao smirked, devoid of any amusement in his eyes. “Ten days.”

Yang Zhongfa gasped, “Ten days!”

His voice was slightly raised, and the surrounding commanders turned their heads to look at him.

Chu Hechao exuded a chilling aura and spoke in a low, deliberate tone, “Shut up.”

Yang Zhongfa cleared his throat and cursed at those around them, “Get lost, all of you, go away. The General and I have important matters to discuss!”

Once the others had moved away, Yang Zhongfa lowered his voice and continued to ask, “General, what on earth did you do to make things so tense between you and Young Master Yuan?!”

Chu Hechao looked at Yuan Li’s figure, his lips pressing into a frown, too indifferent to respond.

Unable to understand his thoughts, Yang Zhongfa thought for a moment and tentatively suggested, “What if I go fetch Young Master Yuan so that you can talk things out with him?”

Chu Hechao glanced at him from the corner of his eye.

Yang Zhongfa instantly understood and turned to shout at Yuan Li, “Young Master Yuan!”

Yuan Li heard the call, looked back, and saw Yang Zhongfa standing beside Chu Hechao with a beaming smile, beckoning to him with the riding whip in his hand.

Chu Hechao stared straight at Yuan Li with a direct gaze, his expression inscrutable.

Yuan Li calmly rode his horse over, ignoring Chu Hechao completely, and fixed his gaze on Yang Zhongfa, saying, “Mr. Yang, is there something you wish to discuss with me?”

Yang Zhongfa instinctively glanced at Chu Hechao and said, “Young Master Yuan… well, it’s like this.”

He rubbed his hands together and cleared his throat. “I have a matter that I wanted to discuss with you and the General.”

Yuan Li tilted his head slightly and looked at Chu Hechao’s hand holding the reins. “What is it?”

Yuan Li, dressed in plain clothes, sat upright on his horse. His hair was neatly tied up, one hand holding the reins, and his eyes half-lowered. Even Yang Zhongfa could sense the coldness in his words.

Yang Zhongfa looked at Chu Hechao and said, “Well… we have to ask the General about that.”

Finally, Yuan Li glanced at Chu Hechao.

That fleeting glance caused Chu Hechao to instinctively force a smile. He spoke slowly, “Sister-in-law…”

With just two words spoken, Yuan Li yanked the reins and turned his horse around, leaving behind a trail of dust for the two of them.

Chu Hechao’s face immediately turned cold.

Yang Zhongfa wished he could slap himself. He awkwardly distanced himself from Chu Hechao, afraid of being caught in Chu Hechao’s anger.

As they spoke, they had already entered Jixian. Apart from the people who peered at them from the sides of the road, the officials in Guangyang Commandery, who had received the news earlier, were already waiting respectfully at the city gate.

Jixian was the center of Youzhou, and the residence of Chu Wang in Youzhou was in Jixian.

Chu Wang’s residence had been uninhabited for many years, with no servants in the mansion. It was only when the officials in Jixian heard that people had arrived from Luoyang that they hurriedly sent their servants to clean Chu Wang’s residence.

The long procession of a thousand riders came to a halt in front of Chu Wang’s residence. Yuan Li’s three hundred attendants, well-trained, untied the ropes on the carriages and began unloading their cargo.

People were bustling around, busy with their tasks. Yuan Li stood in front of the mansion gate, instructing the attendants on where to place the items.

Before long, Han Jin hurriedly approached him. “Young Master Yuan, there is an important discussion taking place in the study. They are waiting for you.”

Yuan Li handed his weapons to Guo Lin and followed Han Jin quickly to the study.

Inside the study, various officials from Guangyang Commandery were seated, including the magistrate, Deputy magistrate, Commandant, and the Clerical Officer. In addition to them, there were also Yang Zhongfa and Yuan Congyun, two military commanders.

As soon as Yuan Li entered, Chu Hechao casually introduced him to the officials, “This is my elder sister-in-law.”

The officials of Guangyang Commandery stood up promptly, warmly greeting Yuan Li, who reciprocated the gesture with equal warmth. Finally, he sat down in the first seat on the left side, just below Chu Hechao.

Once he was settled, Chu Hechao got straight to the point and succinctly discussed how to suppress the rebel forces in Youzhou.

When the topic of quelling the rebel forces came up, the officials of Youzhou naturally agreed. Cai Ji, the magistrate in his fifties, bowed and said, “These two rebel forces are currently wreaking havoc in Shanggu and Liaoxi Commanderies. If the General plans to lead the troops to attack them, I wonder if the military funds will be transported from Guangyang Commandery or if they will be provided by the magistrates of these two commanderies. This year, due to these rebel forces, the harvests in various regions have been greatly affected. I see that the General has brought a considerable amount of military funds…”

Chu Hechao sneered a few times and turned to look at Yuan Li. “What do you think, sister-in-law?”

Yuan Li smiled faintly and changed the topic, “At the beginning of the year, the account books from Youzhou for the previous year were sent to Luoyang. As I looked through them, something seemed off, so I brought them all back. Since I will be staying in Youzhou from now on, it’s only natural for me to carefully examine these accounts. We wouldn’t want such a large Youzhou to be unable to provide rations for the 130,000 soldiers in the northern frontier, would we, magistrate?”

The faces of the officials suddenly changed, and they all lowered their heads. magistrate Cai Ji’s forehead broke out in a fine sweat, about to offer some words of defense when Yuan Li clapped his hands, and someone brought forward the account books.

The account books were wrapped in the traveling bag, and Yuan Li leisurely opened the traveling bag, revealing several thick ledgers.

No one expected that on his first day in Jixian, he would confront them on the spot, and in such a direct and incisive manner. Looking at Chu Hechao, who remained expressionless, the officials’ beads of sweat had already slid to their temples. They wiped their faces with their sleeves, their eyes fixed on the account books, filled with fear and regret.

The appointment and removal of Youzhou officials were under the control of Chu Wang’s residence, and Chu Hechao had a thousand troops stationed outside. With the combination of military force and power, they held sway in these chaotic times.

Previously, the officials dared to act recklessly in Youzhou simply because there were no Chu family members present, and they relied on their management to maintain control. But who could have imagined that this newly arrived Young Master Yuan from the Chu family would directly come to Youzhou to take charge!

And who could have anticipated the emergence of rebel forces causing turmoil everywhere in the world?!

In this chaotic era, with Chu Hechao commanding a 130,000-strong army, they could easily pacify Youzhou. However, if investigations were to be carried out, these officials knew that they would be faced with the prospect of death, with no means to resist.

Seeing their awkward state, Yuan Congyun and Yang Zhongfa sneered repeatedly, feeling a great sense of satisfaction.

When the 130,000-strong army ran out of food, they were the first to ask the magistrates of Youzhou for provisions. However, the amount of food they received was extremely insufficient, barely enough to sustain the army until they returned from Luoyang with supplies to the border.

Even so, although they were annoyed, they were also helpless. Without anyone stationed in the rear, they couldn’t easily deal with these officials, lest they completely sever ties and plunge Youzhou into chaos.

But they never expected that Young Master Yuan would be so courageous upon his arrival, directly embarrassing these people. They couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the sight of it.

Chu Hechao’s eyes also carried a hint of amusement. “I didn’t expect my sister-in-law to bring the account books. I wonder which part she found to be amiss?”

As soon as he spoke, the officials lowered their heads even further.

They were afraid.

Of course, they were afraid. When the cat is away, the mice will play, but now that Chu Wang has returned, how could they not tremble with fear?

Yuan Li knew what they were thinking, and that’s why he deliberately confronted them using the account books in front of Chu Hechao.

He picked up one of the ledgers from his traveling bag and rubbed it, glancing at each official, examining the expressions on their faces. Finally, his gaze settled on the magistrate, and he suddenly smiled tenderly. “The magistrate is related to Cai Yi, the Magistrate of Luoyang?”

Magistrate Cai Ji was an elderly man, physically frail and mentally exhausted. Startled by Yuan Li’s question, his eyes grew blurry. After hearing the familiar name, he hesitated for a moment before nodding repeatedly, “Yes, yes, the Magistrate of Luoyang and I are both from the Cai family.”

“Since my late husband had some acquaintance with the Magistrate of Luoyang, I also had a few cups of tea with him before leaving Luoyang,” Yuan Li smiled faintly, calmly fabricating a lie, “Since you are related to the Magistrate of Luoyang, it’s only natural to show some favor.”

After speaking, he motioned for Lintian to bring a brazier.

Lintian followed the order and placed the brazier in front of Yuan Li. Yuan Li smiled as he lifted the account books and held them above the brazier, gazing steadily at the officials. “Since I’ve just arrived in Youzhou, let’s not dwell on the past. These account books can be burned, it’s not a big deal. But after this, when the General pacifies the rebels, I believe you gentlemen will promptly provide the army with provisions without delay, correct?”

The officials gritted their teeth and immediately stood up, cupping their hands. “Young Master Yuan, rest assured, we will do our utmost.”

“Doing your utmost is not enough,” Yuan Li casually tossed one ledger into the brazier, then picked up another one and toyed with it in his hand. “Everyone must provide the exact and timely amount, without fail.”

The officials looked at each other, their eyes fixed on the remaining account books that had yet to be burned. Taking a deep breath, they all bent down, “We will not disappoint Young Master’s trust.”


Yuan Li praised and directly threw the remaining account books into the brazier, one by one. He then helped the officials up one by one. The magistrate took a breath and trembled as he bowed to Yuan Li in gratitude.

At this point, Cai Ji had already understood. Yuan Li must have planned to burn the account books in exchange for their promise to provide provisions for the army. By mentioning the Magistrate of Luoyang, he was just adding an unnecessary touch, taking the opportunity to openly claim a favor from Cai Ji.

In the end, Cai Ji was confused. He deeply regretted how, inexplicably, he ended up owing Yuan Li a favor.

Yuan Li understood that he had to repay this favor; otherwise, he would be considered ungrateful. If news of this spread, it would tarnish Cai Ji’s reputation, and he would have no place in society anymore.

After this incident, the officials did not dare to linger and hastily took their leave, bowing respectfully.

Yuan Li stood with his hands behind his back, watching their hurried figures. He pursed his lips, revealing a smile. Suddenly, a voice came from behind him, “Are you happy now?”

Yuan Li immediately wiped away his smile, his face turning serious as he walked out with large strides.

Chu Hechao: “…”

His expression changed, and in a moment of carelessness, he crushed the teacup in his hand.

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2 thoughts on “After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 23”

  1. Definitely the most interesting, well translated and well written novel I’ve read in a while. Thanks for the very enjoyanle chapters!


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