General’s Gown Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Yaocheng’s crazy nightmare Part 2

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Yan Changqing looked at the red-clothed woman: “Does this lady recognize this person?” 

The red- clothed woman sobbed, “This person…this person is my cousin.”

The red-clothed woman explained while crying. It turned out that this mad woman who was tied into a zongzi was the daughter of a jade merchant in Yaocheng, named Xue Rubi. Hundred Cliff Stronghold was a bandit stronghold on Hundred Cliff Mountain on the edge of Yaocheng. In the past two years, the bandits in the stronghold have been harassing Yaocheng and it has become more and more intense. They relied on the emperor being far away and them located on the border to occupy the jade trade. Not to mention, these lustful people also set an unwritten rule that all the girls in Yaocheng must be escorted by the bridegroom on the day they get married to Hundred Cliff Stronghold for one night. They called it by the glorified name of sending blessings from the gods of Hundred Cliff Stronghold to newly married couples. But everyone knew that the minds of these bandits were on the bride’s first night.

In the past two years, it was not that no one has ever reported it to officials. However, the county government had long been bought out by the bandits. The officials and bandits were long in cahoots. When they saw an official, regardless of the consequences, they were dragged to the prison until they were honest. It was not that no one wanted to go to Hundred Cliff Stronghold to vent their anger. However, how could commoners fight with fierce bandits? One by one, they were thrown out half-dead back to their homes by the bandits, where the bandits would extort them.     

After a long time, no one dared to resist. It’s just that the girls in Yaocheng, who heard that they would go to the bandit’s den on the wedding night, were all frightened and at a loss. The bolder ones would secretly elope with their sweetheart, or secretly get together. The timid ones would vow to never leave the boudoir and be an old lady (one who doesn’t get married). And the girl Xue Rubi in front of them was the timid kind.     

“Then since she decided to be an old lady, why was she still sent to Hundred Cliff Stronghold?” Helian Rongchuan asked.     

“Hai, there are policies at the top and countermeasures at the bottom!” Without waiting for the woman in red to answer, the boss stole the conversation. She said: “Those group of bandits, seeing that the girls in Yaocheng were afraid to marry, thought of another trick. The trick was that whoever was willing to take the initiative to send a girl who had not left the boudoir to stay overnight, will be sent a stone vein for mining jade.”     

There were thousands of stone veins around this Yaocheng, all of which belonged to the people of Yaocheng. However, now they were robbed by Hundred Cliff Stronghold. If they wanted to redeem it, they would have to exchange their daughter’s innocence.

In the beginning, no one was willing to exchange stone veins for their daughters. However, after a long time, the people who were cut off from their money gradually began to have other thoughts. Married daughters were like spilt water that can never be retrieved. However, a stone vein was an important livelihood for the family. People successively changed their minds. They sent out their daughters, and took back the stone veins. Those who did not have daughters, saw silver sent into other people’s pockets, and their eyes turned red. 

Therefore, although Xue Rubi was not married, but because of her parents’ temporary financial obsessions, she was tied up by her hands and feet and sent off to the stronghold in a sedan chair.

However, one night passed, and another night went, but Xue Rubi was not sent back. Only the people who occasionally went up to the mountain to do small jobs for the bandits came back and said that they had seen Xue Rubi and the first few girls who were sent over, all dressed in gold and silver waiting on the bandits until they laughed with delight. So everyone in Yaocheng said that Xue Rubi was greedy for the glory and wealth of the Hundred Cliff Stronghold, and refused to come back. 

Seven or eight girls were sent by their parents in this way but never returned. 

“What about their parents? Are they not worried at all? They don’t want them?” Yan Changqing asked. 

The boss looked at Yan Changqing with an unbelievable look: “Why bother? She was a lady eating at home who wouldn’t have married, waiting to die. Now that she succeeded by a lucky stroke and found a new home and they redeemed stone veins as well, it’s the best of both worlds!” 

“…” 

The people around were silent for a while, but several people agreed with the boss and nodded. Only the woman in red cried more fiercely when she heard these words. While crying, she carefully wiped off the blood on Xue Rubi’s face with her sleeves, who was tied into a zongzi. 

Looking at it now, Yan Changqing noticed that this Xue Rubi was actually very pitiful and very beautiful. It’s a pity that now her eyes were dull and her behavior abnormal. He didn’t know what she had suffered or what evil she had been cursed with.    

Suddenly, Yan Changqing thought of something. He turned to Helian Rongchuan and asked, “How did you lead that Xue Rubi away? Did you make out something strange?”

Yan Changqing regretted his words. Helian Rongchuan seized the opportunity, raised his bloody right hand, which was still bleeding, and said, “Now you think of me? What a coincidence. In a little while later, my wound would have healed by itself.” 

Yan Changqing couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty. After all, Helian Rongchuan was the Prince of Dongyun. He was also injured in order to help him, but he ignored it, indeed being a bit neglectful. He quickly fetched the medicine box from the room, tore off a piece of white silk, and carefully bandaged Helian Rongchuan. 

He was rarely this close to Helian Rongchuan. His long eyelashes hung down, causing Yan Changqing’s profile to change from the indifference that was thousands of miles away in the past, to reveal a touch of gentleness. Helian Rongchuan looked at his profile, and suddenly felt that somewhere in his heart, he felt as if he was gently pressed against by a furry, cat-like soft palm. 

Helian Rongchuan said : “You must have noticed what this woman’s actions were similar to?” 

Yan Changqing was taken aback. The movement of the woman who had just risen from the ground appeared in his mind. That kind of stiff, one-joint-reflexive movement to get up was simply not something a normal person can do. 

It’s almost like… 

“The living dead?!” 

The moment Yan Changqing blurted it out, he suddenly thought of what he had seen and heard a long time ago when he was fighting Nanyao Kingdom.

He was only a teenager at that time. He had just completed the chase for seven hundred miles in the desert of Hu Hun soldier that gained his reputation. In order to chase the group of main enemy forces, he went deep into the deep mountains and old forests on the border of Nanyao. The deep forests cannot compare to deserts, swamps were everywhere, and there were countless poisonous insects, rats and ants. While the group of enemy troops to be chased didn’t take long to have their shadows disappear. When running left and right and finding no way out, not knowing what’s going on, suddenly, countless ragged, unkempt “living dead” burst out of the ground. Most of their muscles and bones were rotten, revealing their teeth and claws. Then, they pounced at them.

Whether it was a knife or a hand-to-hand fight, the group of living dead had no intuition at all They were like fearless dead men. Surrounded by layers of them, Yan Changqing and his men were riddled with scars. At the moment when he was about to become unconscious, a raging fire suddenly ignited from nowhere. A wave of golden and red fire swept across, and Yan Changqing lost consciousness. When he woke up again, they were still where they were, but there was no trace of the living dead around them. Everything seemed to be like a dream, there were too many unexplainable spots. In Nan Yao’s deep forest, there were indeed frequent rumors that stray people would have hallucinations. Yan Changqing had always wondered whether these “living dead” really existed or were they hallucinations caused by being lost in the deep forest.     

Yan Changqing still remembered the appearance of those living dead who got up after being knocked down. The twisting movements of those joints were so similar to this Xue Rubi!     

No wonder he felt the movement familiar at that moment.     

Helian Rongchuan watched Yan Changqing meditate in silence, watching his expression: “Surely you have guessed the girl’s action was quite strange. There was no self-consciousness, like the living dead.”     

“A perfectly fine person, how can they be suddenly controlled like that?” Someone in the crowd couldn’t help asking.     

“Using Gu.”     

Helian Rongchuan’s words caused the crowd to explode.     

“Using Gu? Aren’t these just rumors?”     

“This kind of thing really exist in the world? It’s too frightening!”     

Helian Rongchuan: “I have heard that these insects are all thirsty for blood. When I used blood to lure them earlier, sure enough, it worked. It must be Gu.”     

Yan Changqing was lost in thought. Nan Yao had people who were good at Gu techniques, but to can cast beans to become soldiers and use bones as his general, it’s not something that he had never heard of or doubted.     

Helian Rongchuan: “Dare to ask everyone, those people from Hundred Cliff Stronghold, did they come from Nan Yao?”

The onlookers looked at each other, but did not dare to answer. There was only a seven or eight-year-old boy, who had the courage to say: “I haven’t heard of any male Yao or female Yao (sounds like Nan Yao), but once I ran into someone from the Stronghold. I heard them say something about bringing back the money to something Landou.” 

Yan Changqing’s heart moved. Landou was the capital of Nanyao Kingdom. 

Helian Rongchuan said: “People all know that Nanyao believes in ghosts and gods, and worships them, but they don’t know that Nanyao also has many Gu techniques. It’s just that they were legends. In fact, although there are very few Gu masters, they do exist in Nanyao. When a person affected with Gu loses their self-consciousness, their limbs become stiff, and he only listens to the Gu master’s call.” 

The onlookers took a few steps back after hearing this, panicking. The boss was shocked and sweated: “Gu Master? You mean the person who planted the Gu? They could be here?” 

“Not necessarily.” Yan Changqing said: “If someone really was releasing Gu here, there would be the intent to have no one left to survive.” 

The boss touched her chest and asked: “Since no one is controlling her, how can this Miss Xue be crazy like this?” 

Yan Changqing thought while saying: “Presumably Gu is the same as other poisons. It would occur at a specified hour of time. Perhaps this Miss Xue who could not bear the torture of the Gu poison tried to escape, but she did not expect to have an attack halfway. As for why she would meet this man…” 

The boss patted her thigh and suddenly realized: “Hey It must be Miss Xue who ran away suddenly having her Gu flare up, then she happened to be picked up by this man! No wonder when I saw this woman being taken into the inn by this man, she was behaving a bit strangely. However, the man’s face was lecherous and was unable to wait. Such a dog… I have seen a lot of men and women like this, so I was too lazy to ask. Who would have thought that there would be such an understated Gu technique, I have never heard of it in books, really…” 

Yan Changqing looked at the man who was fainted to one side, covered in blood but not seriously injured. It was clear in his mind. If Xue Rubi were really controlled by Nanyao’s Gu technique, it would be the same as the living dead he encountered in the deep forest, with stiff limbs and no fear of cold and pain, just like a puppet. Even like a puppet, it feared fire. No wonder this Xue Rubi used a candlestick to hurt people. The man must have taken the candlestick by himself, but he didn’t expect that the bright candlelight above was what Xue Rubi feared the most. Thus, she made a move and hurt the person.

 As for why this Xue Rubi’s Gu became unbearable after it flaring up…


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