Rebirth of a Star General Chapter 109

Chapter 109: The Dungeon

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“The person wasn’t killed by me,” He Yan stood up and addressed them.

The new recruit who had first discovered He Yan pointed at her in fear and shouted, “If it wasn’t you, then who?”

“I went to the training ground to practice archery at night, and I saw someone riding a horse towards White Moon Mountain. The situation was critical, so I followed them up the mountain. I had a confrontation with that person, and he escaped, leaving this brother behind. When I rescued him, he was already dead.”

“You have a curved blade, where did it come from?” Shen Han asked sternly.

“It belonged to the other person; he threw it to me before he fled.”

“Is he insane? Handing over his weapon like that? Can’t you think before you lie?” Du Mao didn’t believe her.

“No, I think he’s quite clever,” He Yan calmly replied. “Now, with this blade in my possession, I’m the one who’s being suspected.”

With the weapon in her hands, it was as if she had a target on her back, and she was being accused of being the killer.

Shen Han stared at He Yan. “When you went up the mountain, did you bring any weapons?”

“I brought an iron rod,” He Yan said. “I dropped it on the road when I was rolling down the mountain with this brother just now. The head instructor can order someone to look for it; maybe they’ll find it.”

Shen Han instructed Liang Ping, “Take some men and search, be careful, and signal if you find anything.” 

Liang Ping nodded in agreement. 

He Yan felt somewhat tired and sat down on a rock. Her wounds were not yet fully healed, and after the events of the day, her old injury around her waist throbbed faintly. She really needed a moment to rest. 

After a while, Liang Ping returned with the new recruits and reported to Shen Han, “Commander, we couldn’t find the iron rod.” 

“I believe he’s lying,” Du Mao frowned, “He only had this curved blade with him when he came up the mountain.” 

He Yan inwardly sighed. Since the man had come after her, he wouldn’t leave any evidence behind. She assumed he had taken the iron rod while she was saving the new recruit earlier. 

However, she had kept an ace up her sleeve. 

“I suspect this person is Hu Yuanzhong,” He Yan said. “During our confrontation, I struck his right shoulder with the iron rod. We just need to return to the camp, check if he went out at night, and inspect his right shoulder for a wound.” 

“Are you trying to evade responsibility?” one of the new recruits looked at her skeptically.

He Yan shrugged. “Right now, I’m unarmed, and there are so many of you. Are you afraid that I, alone, will cause trouble? Being wronged is a minor matter, but letting the real murderer infiltrate the Liangzhou Garrison and possibly kill the next person might be a bigger issue.”

She spoke calmly, but her words were filled with a chilling undertone, causing the recruit who was questioning her to flinch and stop speaking.

Ma Damei looked at Shen Han and said, “Head Instructor, this…” To be fair, he rather liked He Yan. A young person of her age with such remarkable abilities in various aspects was quite rare. Her cheerful and unpretentious nature made her even more likable. But when it came to matters of life and death, they couldn’t afford to be careless. 

“Bring him back first to see if what he said is true,” Shen Han turned and said, “Follow my orders, let’s descend the mountain immediately.” 

He Yan secretly breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that Shen Han was a reasonable man and hadn’t struck her down with a rod. 

As they descended the mountain, the atmosphere had become somewhat somber, perhaps due to the loss of a comrade. He Yan asked Ma Damei, “Instructor Ma, why did you all come up the mountain?” 

Ma Damei, who had a friendly and patient demeanor, smiled at everyone and answered He Yan’s question with a kind tone. 

“One of the new recruits got up to use the restroom at night and saw someone riding up to White Moon Mountain. He reported it to the commander, who ordered us to come up and investigate. Before coming here, we had no idea that the person was you.” 

This process was identical to her pursuit of the masked man, and He Yan began to sense that something was not quite right but chose to remain silent. 

“Since you mentioned that you had a confrontation with the person,” Ma Damei asked, “how skilled was he?”

“He was quite skilled. If it weren’t for my injuries and a slight delay, I could have caught him. But this person is cunning and ruthless. He used the body of a comrade to lead me away and then escaped himself,” He Yan recounted, her anger rising. “Everything today was orchestrated by him.”

Ma Damei smiled and asked in a mysterious tone, “Young man, although I’ve always admired you, I have to ask: what’s so special about you that the other person would go to such lengths to frame and plot against you?”

What’s so special about her?

He Yan carefully thought it over. She had always been friendly, had no conflicts with the new recruits in the Liangzhou Garrison, and had only engaged in some playfulness with Hu Yuanzhong a few days ago.

Hu Yuanzhong should be the only person in the Liangzhou Garrison who held any animosity toward her.

But what had she done? She had never directly inquired about Hu Yuanzhong’s background; at most, she had asked him a few indirect questions. Even if she suspected him of being a Qiang, she had never displayed any suspicion openly. If this was his reason for setting her up, it seemed rather groundless.

As she pondered, they finally returned to the Liangzhou Garrison.

In the middle of the night, the Liangzhou Garrison became lively.

He Yan was surrounded by instructors from all sides. They first went to Hu Yuanzhong’s room. Everyone inside was asleep, and they were all puzzled when awakened. Xiao Mai mumbled, “Why is everyone up so early? It’s not even time yet.”

However, upon recognizing the newcomers, they were shocked to the point that they almost put on their shoes backward.

He Yan didn’t hesitate and looked toward the end of the room, where her heart sank.

Curled up on a cot was a person, sleeping soundly. He woke up in a daze, looking groggy and disoriented. It was none other than Hu Yuanzhong.

He had been in the room the whole time.

Shen Han asked the people in the room, “Did anyone see Hu Yuanzhong leave tonight?”

“N-No, we didn’t,” they stammered.

“Brother Hu has an injured leg, and he goes to bed earlier than us every day. We haven’t seen him leave.”

He Yan glanced at Hong Shan, who shook his head slightly.

He really hadn’t left the room?

Shen Han took a step forward and, with an expression that gave nothing away, said, “Undo your clothes.”

Hu Yuanzhong was utterly confused, but Shen Han’s silent seriousness made it somewhat terrifying. He hesitated before undoing his outer clothing. When he reached his arm, he revealed that there were no issues with his right shoulder apart from the minor scratches from the bushes.

It wasn’t him!

He Yan widened her eyes, but instead of feeling relieved, her face became even less pleasant. If Hu Yuanzhong was fine, it only meant one thing: he wasn’t acting alone.

There was a spy in the Liangzhou Garrison, a collaborator, for the performance to be planned so perfectly!

“Instructor Shen,” she said coldly, “That person is probably here in the Liangzhou Garrison right now. Hurry and investigate!”

“I think the one we should suspect the most is you,” one instructor stared at her and said, “You claimed that Hu Yuanzhong was the killer, and when we returned to check on him, you changed your mind. By delaying like this, what exactly is your motive?”

“I didn’t lie,” He Yan furrowed her brow, “Just investigate the entire Liangzhou Garrison, and you’ll see that I’m telling the truth.”

“Shut up!” Shen Han shouted.

The argument fell silent, and He Yan looked at Shen Han. “Instructor Shen, do you not believe what I said?”

“I only believe my own eyes,” Shen Han replied. “Take her to the dungeon!”

“You can lock me up, but you must investigate the truth as well! Otherwise, Liangzhou Garrison might be in great danger,” He Yan protested.

“Even cursing at this point?” one instructor angrily retorted. “Too audacious!”

He Yan was escorted away, leaving the others in the room puzzled. Xiao Mai and the others had stern expressions, while Hu Yuanzhong asked with confusion, “Instructor Shen, what’s happening? Did… someone die?”

Shen Han didn’t answer, just left the room, followed by several instructors with solemn faces. After a brief hesitation, Liang Ping asked Shen Han, “Head Instructor, how do you plan to handle He Yan?”

After all, they were his soldiers, and Liang Ping was also reluctant to believe that He Yan was a schemer. However, with both witness and physical evidence present, there was no justification to clear her of suspicion.

“This is a significant matter, and He Yan’s identity is extraordinary,” Shen Han said gravely. “For now, detain her. We’ll decide after the Commander returns.”


The Liangzhou Garrison’s dungeon wasn’t large, but it was dark and damp, made even colder by the winter. There were no beds, just straw on the ground, and the thin blankets had multiple holes, either from mouse bites or something else.

He Yan sat on the ground, looking around.

In this dungeon, apart from her, there were no other prisoners. The dungeon’s lock was specially designed and not as simple as the “一” shape on her door from the room she shared with Xiao Jue. At a glance, He Yan knew she couldn’t open it.

In her second life, she hadn’t had a chance to showcase her abilities yet, but she had already managed to get herself thrown into the dungeon. Normally, she might have reflected and lamented, but right now, He Yan had no mood for that.

She was now sure that there was a spy in the Liangzhou Garrison, and that spy had probably been keeping an eye on her, knowing that she visited the martial arts training ground every three days. This explained how they had arranged for someone to wait for her on the horse path, leading her to White Moon Mountain.

Going up the mountain at night or killing the new recruit was all to pin a “suspicious motive” on her. As for why Ma Damei had said they had gone to such great lengths to frame her, it was likely because He Yan had uncovered the identity of the Qiang people.

She had already suspected Hu Yuanzhong’s red rash and his inconsistent behavior, and when she encountered the masked person on White Moon Mountain, his use of the curved blade revealed his Qiang warrior background. She was already 80% certain.

Now He Yan was imprisoned, and there was someone with Qiang origins mingling in the Liangzhou Guard, which was utterly chilling. Without Xiao Jue in Liangzhou Guard and with tens of thousands of new recruits who had never seen real combat, encountering Qiang people at this moment, like her own experience in Moxian, would likely lead to a complete disaster. The other party was clearly plotting something significant. If the news about the Wuto causing havoc among the common people was fake, intended to lure Xiao Jue away, then Liangzhou Guard at this moment was like a fish on a cutting board, ripe for the taking. 

Xiao Jue had been away for twenty days already. According to his discovery of false intelligence when he reached Zhangtai and his subsequent hasty return, he wouldn’t arrive back in Liangzhou Guard for another ten days. This meant that the other side had less than ten days left to act, and now He Yan was locked in the dungeon, and nobody believed her words. 

When Shen Han ordered her to be taken to the dungeon, He Yan did consider directly confronting them and breaking free from their control. However, that would make her responsible for the deaths, which was not her intention. She didn’t want to survive while bearing the burden of a murder charge. Moreover, the new recruits of the Liangzhou Guard were her comrades, and they had been together every day. She didn’t want to survive alone and watch them die needlessly. 

This chess game had turned into a deadlock at some point. 

However, the Qiang rebellion had already been quelled by her, and the Qiang soldiers were gravely wounded in that battle. It would take them at least a decade to recover, so why would they dare to take such a risky move? 

He Yan couldn’t understand it either.

Just then, she heard a commotion outside. “Let me in! I just want to say a word inside! My father is deputy minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and if anything happens, I’ll take the blame!”

It was Song Taotao’s voice.

He Yan was taken aback. Song Taotao used to visit her and bring pastries and candies every once in a while, and she hadn’t expected that Song Taotao would know about her current situation.

The guards outside said something, but Song Taotao responded in an unreasonable manner, “Try stopping me again! If you do, when Second Young Master Xiao returns, I’ll tell him that you’ve mistreated me!”

There was a “clatter,” and the next moment, a pink dress flew in.

“Big Brother He!” Song Taotao called out.

“Miss Song,” He Yan smiled.

Song Taotao rushed forward and, through the bars, hurriedly handed two steamed buns to He Yan. “It’s late, so I brought you the leftovers from Dr. Shen’s dinner. I’ve heard from my father that people in jail don’t get food every day. I’m afraid I won’t be able to come every day, so I brought you two to keep you going.”

In the current situation, everyone in the Liangzhou Garrison saw her as a murderous demon, but this young girl wasn’t afraid of her at all. She was even concerned that He Yan might go hungry. He Yan felt a surge of gratitude. She spoke warmly, “Miss Song, you shouldn’t have come here.”

“Why shouldn’t I come? I heard they accused you of murder?”

“I didn’t kill anyone.”

Song Taotao agreed, “I figured as much. With your kind heart, always ready to help others in need, how could you commit murder? You must have been framed. Don’t worry; I will definitely get you out.”

He Yan chuckled, “Miss Song, you really shouldn’t get involved in this matter.”

The girl was quite stubborn. “You saved my life, and my father has always said that we should repay kindness like water flowing from a spring. Now, those instructors at Liangzhou Garrison are too stubborn to listen to me. When Second Young Master Xiao returns, I’ll talk to him and see if he can help.”

He Yan thought that it might be too late by the time Xiao Jue returned.

She looked at Song Taotao, who had a very serious expression on her face. He Yan felt like laughing, but when she thought about her current situation, she couldn’t muster a smile.

What would happen if the Qiang people really came and Song Taotao fell into their hands? He Yan shuddered at the thought.

“Miss Song,” after a while, He Yan said, “since you want to help me, there’s something I’d like to ask you to do right now.”

“What is it?” Song Taotao asked.

He Yan sighed softly, “It’s a desperate move, but we don’t have many options left.”

In Shen Han’s room, Cheng Lisu was confronting him.

“Young Master Cheng, please return. Without the Commander’s orders, I can’t release He Yan,” Shen Han said helplessly.

Cheng Lisu sat at his door, blocking his way out, and said, “Instructor Shen, trust me, Big Brother He could never be the murderer.”

Du Mao, who stood nearby, couldn’t help but interject, “Young Master Cheng, everyone knows you and He Yan are close. However, when we went up the mountain, there was both a witness and physical evidence. Even if the Commander were here, we would still need to follow the rules. Besides, we haven’t immediately declared He Yan guilty. We’ll wait for the Commander to return before making a decision.”

“But my uncle isn’t in Liangzhou Garrison right now!” Cheng Lisu shouted, “You say it so casually, but do you know how cold and dark it is in that dungeon? Do you know how scared Big Brother He must be in there, all alone?”

Du Mao: “. . .”

Cheng Lisu spoke as if he had personally experienced being in the dungeon himself. Moreover, to say that He Yan would be afraid, well, she probably wasn’t. Given He Yan’s personality, he likely didn’t even care about his current situation.

There was really no need for Cheng Lisu to worry.

Seeing that Shen Han’s attitude remained firm, Cheng Lisu could only step back and say, “Fine, if you won’t release him, I have one condition.”

Shen Han asked, “What is your condition, Young Master Cheng?”

“The food and provisions in the dungeon are too frugal,” Cheng Lisu said. “My big brother can’t bear such hardships. I’m not asking for anything excessive. I just want him to have the same food he usually eats, and he should be given two extra blankets during these cold winter days. He should also have hot water every day….”

“Young Master Cheng,” Shen Han interrupted him, “this is against the rules.”

“If this or that isn’t allowed, then what do you want?” Cheng Lisu was frustrated and stood up, shouting, “You’re not allowing anything! Fine, if you won’t, I’ll go myself. Let me tell you, treating my big brother like this, you’ll regret it!”

With that, he turned and ran off.

The door slammed shut with a loud “clang,” and Shen Han couldn’t help but feel a headache coming on. Children of this age, especially those who had been spoiled by their families, were truly hard to handle. Xiao Jue, who appeared cold and demanding on normal days, had managed to tolerate Cheng Lisu for so long.

Inside the room, a few instructors looked towards Shen Han.

Liang Ping asked, “Head Instructor, what should we do now?”

A person had died in the military camp. Although He Yan was now locked up, her words had stirred up some ripples among the others. If Liangzhou Garrison did indeed have a spy, the fact that the person was still hidden among the new recruits and had discreetly killed a comrade meant that they weren’t here for fun. 

The identity of this person, their master, their intentions, and when they would reveal themselves – everything remained unknown. This person might be He Yan, but it could also be someone else. Dealing with He Yan would be manageable, but if it were someone else, it would be a significant problem. 

“Keep an eye on that guy, Hu Yuanzhong,” Shen Han contemplated. “If He Yan’s words are true, this person will make a move.” 

Ma Damei asked, “Commander, have there been any letters in the last few days?” 

Shen Han shook his head, and his expression darkened. 

The fact that there had been no news from Zhangtai was quite unusual. Hopefully, nothing bad had happened. 


Cheng Lisu ran outside and bumped into someone. The person held their forehead and grumbled, “Ouch! Can’t you watch where you’re going?”

Cheng Lisu took a closer look and realized it was Song Taotao.

Having just vented his frustration with Shen Han, Cheng Lisu now felt annoyed. “Who let you run into me?”

Song Taotao gave him an exasperated look. “I can’t be bothered with you.” She continued walking forward.


Song Taotao turned around and asked, “What now?”

“Are you going to see Old Shen?” Cheng Lisu pointed in the direction of Shen Han’s room.

Song Taotao turned around decisively, showing no concern for Cheng Lisu’s feelings. “Why? Is it not allowed?”

Now Cheng Lisu was fired up. He took a few steps forward and asked, “Are you asking Old Shen to show leniency for my big brother?”

Song Taotao gave him a look. Even though she disliked Cheng Lisu’s lack of ambition and his appearance of being a wastrel, she had to admit that he genuinely cared about He Yan. He had often brought food to He Yan, and their relationship was good. She responded, “Yes, so what?”

“Forget it,” Cheng Lisu waved his hand, looking dejected. “I just came from Old Shen’s room, and he’s incredibly stubborn. I tried to persuade him, but he and the others just won’t believe that my big brother didn’t commit murder. They also won’t allow food and blankets to be delivered to my big brother.”

“You’re so foolish,” Song Taotao said. “If they won’t agree, why don’t you just deliver it yourself?” She glanced at Cheng Lisu’s disappointed expression and added, somewhat irritated, “I just went there myself and delivered steamed buns to He Yan. You don’t need to worry.”

“Really?” Cheng Lisu’s eyes lit up, and he looked at Song Taotao. “I didn’t expect you to be so loyal.”

Song Taotao chuckled. “I appreciate Young Master Cheng’s admiration.”

With that, she turned and continued walking.

“Hey, hey, hey,” Cheng Lisu stopped her. “Why are you going to see Old Shen? We already said he’s unreliable. Why don’t you rely on the two of us instead?”

Because of He Yan, these two were now even using “us.” If He Yan were here, she probably wouldn’t believe her ears.

“That’s what I think too,” Song Taotao admitted. “But He Yan asked me to find Instructor Shen. Since he trusts him, I’ll go and talk to Instructor Shen.”

“Big brother asked you to go?” Cheng Lisu was stunned.

“Yes,” Song Taotao bypassed him. “So don’t bother me with your nonsense. I need to find someone first.” With that, she paid no more attention to Cheng Lisu and walked straight ahead.

After taking a few steps, she turned back and returned to Cheng Lisu, who was still in a daze. She lowered her voice and whispered in his ear, “He Yan also said that while you’re in Liangzhou Garrison these days, don’t wander around. If any new recruits approach you, don’t go with them. It’s best to stick by Instructor Shen’s side at all times.”

“Old Shen?” Cheng Lisu frowned. “Why should I follow him? I can’t stand him!”

“This is Big Brother He’s order!” Song Taotao’s tone grew serious. “You better obey.”

She remembered the young man standing in the dark dungeon, handing her something and expressing his worries, “There may be a traitor lurking in Liangzhou Garrison. Since I won’t be here, stick with Shen Han and let him protect you two.”

“Be extremely careful.”

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