After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 57

Chapter 57

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Chu Hechao ran out of the estate as if there were predators chasing him. He dared not stop until he found himself by a frozen stream in the fields.

The cold weather turned his breath into white mist. Chu Hechao stood in place for a while, then squatted by the river, absentmindedly staring at the frozen surface.

His reflection appeared on the water, disheveled and terrified. But as the reflection shifted and transformed, it turned into another face with rosy lips and white teeth.

Chu Hechao was frightened, his face turning pale. He quickly reached out and shattered the image on the water’s surface.

The distorted figure swayed, and the broken pieces of ice dispersed, leaving no reflection behind.

However, Chu Hechao’s complexion did not improve. He glanced to the side and noticed that his hand was trembling uncontrollably.

How absurd it was that the hand of the Northern Zhou War God was trembling because of a young man.

As the sky gradually darkened, Chu Hechao remained motionless, as if his thighs were frozen in place. It seemed like he was thinking about many things, yet also as if he was thinking about nothing at all. His mind was blank, and cold sweat even formed on his forehead in the midst of winter.

Under the cover of the night, the river before him transformed. It no longer appeared as a river but became a chaotic abyss of incestuous darkness.

Familial ethics, righteousness, integrity, and honor—all of it morphed into monstrous entities that surrounded Chu Hechao and tormented him.

“You actually have feelings for your sister-in-law?”

“What are you thinking?”

“—He is your elder brother’s wife.”

“He was given to Chu Mingfeng by your parents!”

Chu Hechao couldn’t shake off the words that the Xiongnu Chanyu had tried to provoke him with. They echoed in his ears again and again.

Chu Hechao’s face remained expressionless, but his eyes were filled with turmoil.

Even if he wanted to deny it, he had come to accept the truth: he did have feelings for Yuan Li that went beyond being just relatives.

His heart pounded, and he had an intense desire to consume and possess Yuan Li. Foolish and restless thoughts emerged from deep within his bones. Both mentally and physically, Chu Hechao had crossed a line when it came to Yuan Li.

It wasn’t the kind of affection a brother-in-law should have for his sister-in-law; it was the burning desire of a man to play with and possess the person he desired.

Such impure thoughts were clearly taboo.

Moreover, Yuan Li and Chu Mingfeng seemed to share a deep connection.

Chu Hechao breathed heavily, revealing hints of pain. His vision blurred momentarily, as if he could see Chu Mingfeng’s cold gaze fixed on him.

Chu Mingfeng sneered coldly, taunting him, “Ciye, when I asked you to take care of my wife, did I mean for you to care for him in this way?”

Chu Hechao said, “Get lost.”

His voice vanished into thin air, and Chu Hechao closed his eyes.

After a few days, Yuan Li’s wind-chill illness completely recovered.

The physician was astonished by how quickly he had healed. Yuan Li believed it might have been because he soaked his feet in saltwater infused with Sichuan pepper every day. He shared this method with Liu Jixin and advised him to do the same. As a result, Liu Jixin’s condition also improved significantly.

Yuan Li found some time to visit Liu Jixin and the soldiers who had been injured while saving him from the fire.

Once Yuan Li left, Liu Jixin’s wife, Lady Zheng, carefully arranged and stored the medicinal herbs he had brought. She anxiously spoke to her husband, “The young master has sent many precious herbs. I’m afraid we won’t be able to use them all even after your illness improves. Shouldn’t we return some of them? Some of these herbs are truly valuable.”

Liu Jixin laid calmly on the bed, holding a handkerchief to his nose to wipe away his runny nose. “Don’t worry and keep them. Since the Lord has sent them, there’s no reason to return them.”

Seeing that his wife was still uneasy, Liu Jixin comforted her by patting her hand. “Rest assured, the Lord has always taken care of his own and treats his subordinates with respect. He is generous in his actions. Look at our lives since I joined his ranks, have we lacked for anything?”

Lady Zheng smiled and nodded in agreement.

Liu Jixin replied, “Besides, these medicinal herbs can still be put to use. I have written a letter to my good friend and your younger brother. I remember Zheng Rong is physically weak, so it would be a good opportunity to help him replenish his health.”

Lady Zheng asked in surprise, “Is my younger brother coming to Youzhou?”

Zheng Rong was Liu Jixin’s wife’s younger brother, and their family was engaged in trade, not of noble birth. However, this younger brother was intelligent, and Liu Jixin had met him a few times, knowing that he had ambitions.

Previously, Zheng Rong had been ambitious and had served as a retainer to many officials. However, due to the lack of opportunities to showcase his talents, he had been overlooked by the prominent families. Disheartened, he eventually returned home and resigned himself to a leisurely life, no longer aspiring to achieve great things.

“It depends on whether he decides to come,” Liu Jixin stroked his beard and smiled. “Zheng Rong is clever, and the Lord lacks talented individuals. If he has the intention to make a name for himself, he will naturally come.”

Lady Zheng didn’t share the same optimism. Her brother had always enjoyed a life of pleasure, so why would he come to Youzhou? She tactfully expressed her doubts, “But Youzhou is remote and far away, thousands of miles from the bustling city of Luoyang… I’m afraid this boy wouldn’t want to come.”

Liu Jixin smiled and remained silent. “Let’s wait and see, wife.”

After visiting everyone, Yuan Li went to see the piglets and potatoes.

The heating stove in the potato experimental field had been lit, and the buried potatoes had started to sprout. Green shoots emerged from the muddy soil, growing beautifully.

Yuan Li’s mood improved after seeing this. When he returned to the manor, he noticed a pile of wood in the courtyard.

These were some of the wood pieces from the Chu Mansion that had not been burnt but had been charred by the fire. They were no longer usable in the Chu Mansion, but the wood itself was still of good quality. Guo Lin remembered that the Lord had wanted to use the wood for something and decided to send it to the manor.

Upon seeing the wood, Yuan Li recalled his plans to build a vertical windmill and waterwheel. Since he had free time now, he fetched some tools and started working on a scaled-down version of the windmill and waterwheel according to the blueprints. He wanted to test the effectiveness of these two agricultural tools.

If the results were good, he would then hire a carpenter to build full-sized vertical windmills and waterwheels.

Yuan Li decided to start with the vertical windmill since it was simpler compared to the waterwheel. He found a suitable piece of wood, measured the dimensions, and began his work.

The process of carving the wood was akin to playing with building blocks, both enjoyable and a way to pass the time. Yuan Li quickly became engrossed in his work, losing track of time. Around the third day, he had made a prototype of the vertical windmill.

From the outside, the vertical windmill resembled a rotating gate, similar to the revolving doors of the future. It had eight sails that could catch wind from any direction, and the wind power would drive the axle. The axle, in turn, would drive either a millstone or a waterwheel, allowing for grinding grains or irrigation purposes.

The key components of the windmill were the spur gear, vertical shaft, and sails. The most challenging part was creating the perfect meshing between the spur gear and a small vertical gear, requiring precise woodwork.

Yuan Li had been struggling with the gears for a day or two, to the point where he had little appetite for meals. He would hastily continue his gear research without fully finishing his meal.

On this particular day, as he was grinding the gears, Chu Hechao walked in through the door.

Yuan Li hadn’t seen him for six or seven days and waved at him, “General?”

Chu Hechao paused for a moment, then calmly walked over, his gaze falling on Yuan Li sitting amidst the debris. “What are you doing?”

The young lad was covered in wood shavings, with a layer of snow-like dust on his hair, resembling a carpenter.

“It’s been a while since I last saw you,” Yuan Li looked up at the man curiously and asked, “Have you been busy lately?”

Chu Hechao gave a brief response.

Yuan Li nodded, feeling that he seemed a bit distant today, and inquired further, “General, when you captured those people for interrogation last time, did you get any useful information?”

“Some yielded information, while others didn’t. But their suspicious connections couldn’t be explained,” Chu Hechao spoke coldly. “To be safe, I’ve ordered all of them to be executed.”

These people had varying degrees of contact with Xiao Ce, and even though Xiao Ce was dead, they couldn’t be left.

Yuan Li had no objections to Chu Hechao’s decision. He nodded and continued working on the wood in his hands.

Chu Hechao intended to leave, but his feet wouldn’t move. He looked down for a moment, then casually asked, “What are you working on?”

“The vertical windmill,” Yuan Li replied. He handed the nearby blueprint to Chu Hechao and continued carefully grinding the gears while explaining the principle of the vertical windmill to him.

The principle of the vertical windmill wasn’t difficult to understand. After listening to Yuan Li and looking at the illustration, Chu Hechao understood what he was trying to build. He looked at it for a moment and said, “You’re doing it wrong.”

Yuan Li felt a headache coming on. “I always feel like something’s not right. The gears aren’t meshing properly.”

Suddenly, Chu Hechao reached out his hand. “Give it to me.”

Yuan Li hesitated but handed it over to him. “General, can you do it? If you can’t, please don’t mess it up.”

Chu Hechao sat down on the ground. “Do you think everyone is as foolish as you?”

“…” Yuan Li couldn’t help but chuckle, leaving the task to him and waiting for this “clever person” to make a fool of himself.

However, to his surprise, Chu Hechao seemed quite adept at it. He compared the gaps between the two gears, used a dagger to make modifications to the details on the spur gear, and appeared focused and serious. His jaw tightened, giving him a handsome look.

Before long, the sweat generated from his concentrated effort started to form beads, rolling down Chu Hechao’s chin, exuding a masculine aura.

But in Yuan Li’s eyes, the gears were more attractive than Chu Hechao’s appearance. As he looked at them, a sudden thought came to him. “General, He Lang asked me to propose to the eldest sister of the two Yu sisters. I’ve talked to the Yu sister, and she’s willing to leave with He Lang. When you have a chance, ask He Lang when he plans to bring her home.”

Chu Hechao paused his work and pondered for a moment before asking, “When is Wu Kai getting married?”

“On the 28th of the twelfth lunar month, two days before the New Year,” Yuan Li smiled. “It’s coming soon, just seven days from now.”

Unbeknownst to them, the lunar New Year was only nine days away.

The year had passed by quickly, but upon reflection, it had been particularly eventful.

Yuan Li sighed and began to consider whether he had everything he needed for the upcoming Lunar New Year.

Rice, grains, meat, and other food items, as well as new clothes and drinks, were all prepared and ready.

The New Year gifts for Chu Wang and wife in Luoyang, his own parents in Ruyang, and Ouyang Ting had been sent out months ago.

After going through the checklist in his mind and finding no mistakes, Yuan Li felt relieved.

Chu Hechao made a final decision. “Let He Lang come back in two days and have him pick up the person on the same day as Wu Kai.”

“Alright,” Yuan Li agreed.

“What about the other one?” Chu Hechao asked abruptly. “Do you want to keep taking care of her?”

“Her sister actually wants to take her away, but she feels content staying in the residence. She hopes to continue serving me and repay me for my kindness in the future,” Yuan Li explained.

“Serve you?” Chu Hechao savored those words, his lips curling into a smile, his meaning unclear.

After discussing this matter, Chu Hechao fell silent again. His unusual quietness made Yuan Li uncomfortable. “General, you’re unusually quiet today.”

Chu Hechao simply responded with a faint acknowledgment.

Not only was he quiet, but Chu Hechao seemed to be paying little attention to Yuan Li.

Yuan Li looked at Chu Hechao suspiciously, but Chu Hechao lazily said, “Don’t look at me, look at the thing in my hand.”

Yuan Li looked down and saw the gears in Chu Hechao’s hand becoming clearer. His attention was drawn to them, and he leaned in closer, wanting to get a closer look at the gears. Unintentionally, his hair brushed against Chu Hechao’s face, causing Chu Hechao’s hand to tremble, almost damaging the gears. In a critical moment, he quickly moved the dagger away, saving the delicate piece from being ruined.

Veins bulged on Chu Hechao’s hand, and his forehead throbbed as he became hypersensitive to Yuan Li’s every move. He whispered in a low voice, “Stay further away from me!”

Yuan Li turned his head in confusion and sniffed his own shoulder, asking, “Do I smell bad?”

Yuan Li’s scent, a mixture of soap and wood, wafted under Chu Hechao’s nose. It was nothing special, but it made Chu Hechao’s heart itch.

Taking a deep breath, Chu Hechao turned Yuan Li’s head to the side and continued to focus on the gears, impatiently saying, “You’re blocking me.”

Yuan Li obediently responded, “Oh.”

From then on, the two of them didn’t speak much. Yuan Li worked on other parts of the vertical windmill, while Chu Hechao felt relieved, he couldn’t help stealing glances at Yuan Li from the corner of his eye.

When he realized what he was doing, Chu Hechao quickly and expressionlessly averted his gaze.

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2 thoughts on “After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 57”

  1. “Is that what I meant when I asked you to take care of my wife?”

    Knowing him, probably yes? The entire family created a situation that forced the two to go through with marriage rites to each other. They are in a fully binding marriage if you erase the words “on his behalf”. It feels like the older brother knew something before making this plan. The entire family distancing themselves from their youngest and purposefully not leaving the capital also seems to be a deliberate way of not holding their son back. They are likely to die or become hostages within the capital if the family appears too unified.

    Tbh I heavily suspect that older bro has been trapped in a reincarnation loop or he is related to the MC’s system. Either way, I suspect he expects them to fall in love or is purposefully matchmaking them to tie the inevitably successful MC into their family as a road to survival. There is no way for him to survive this risky gamble of a plan and he definitely holds some resentment. The one who gets to drive the victory home is his healthy younger brother after all. Thus he does one last trick, a small stumbling block on bros way to getting and doing everything older bro would have preferred to resolve with his own hands.

    I’m actually not too sure about my own theory. It is ultimately presumptuous speculation based on too many assumptions. i.e. I’m pulling it out of my a**. I mean, I thought older bro might be a hidden prince who needs this identity to retire so that he can return to the palace legitimately without implicating his adoptive family. I was suspicious up until he died damn. Him asking to spend his last minutes alone even seemed to be a flag for a reversal. I overthought it. My only certainty is that he determined that the only way to resolve the extreme situation in the country was for him to die after arranging the rebellion. It’s much more likely that he knew what ripple effect his actions would cause so he could only die to cut his family off from any association with this matter. He did it and knew that it would make him a villain who is too controversial to head the plan himself anymore. So he chose his ‘heir’ and peacefully died.


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