Rebirth of a Star General Chapter 110

Chapter 110: Shocking Changes

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He Yan had been in the dungeon for two days now.

In these two days, besides Shen Han visiting once, no one else had come. Even when Shen Han came, he didn’t mention anything about the situation outside, suggesting that nothing significant had happened for the time being. However, the quieter it was, the more uneasy He Yan felt. Unfortunately, Liangzhou Garrison’s dungeon was as secure as a rock, making it difficult for her to find a way out. Song Taotao and Cheng Lisu were likely under surveillance, and she hadn’t seen any sign of them in these two days.

The food and bedding were rudimentary, but He Yan found them bearable. As time passed, the invisible danger drew closer, and that was the most terrifying part.

Unfortunately, no one had realized it yet.

It began snowing in the middle of the night.

Snowflakes, as large as goose feathers, floated down, landing on people’s bodies. Even thick cotton clothing couldn’t shield against the biting cold. Two sentries stood on the watchtower, their hands too cold to bear, rubbing them together and blowing warm breath onto their palms. A cloud of white mist formed in front of their faces, quickly dissipating.

Liangzhou Garrison was enveloped in silence. The winter garrison was far less lively than in the summer. There were no new recruits rushing to the Five Deer River for a midnight bath, and the incessant chirping of cicadas was absent. The only sound was the cold, quiet snow melting on the ground.

“I need to go to the latrine,” one of the sentries said, stamping his feet. “Can’t hold it anymore.”

His companion urged, “Hurry up and come back.”

The sentry put down his drumstick and took a blade before turning and going down to the latrine. The snowfall was heavy, and in a moment, it had accumulated into a thick layer. Stepping on it submerged the shoe’s surface, and the cold crawled up his legs. Shivering, he hurried to the latrine located behind.

Outside the latrine, there were torches lit. A few days ago, a recruit had slipped on the icy ground while relieving himself at night, injuring his leg. Afterward, Shen Han had arranged for torches to be placed here to light the way clearly.

As the sentry entered, there was already another person inside. He looked at the dimly lit figure and chuckled, “Oh, you’re up too?”

The other person smiled and replied, “Just got here.”

“It’s too cold. If I didn’t have to go so bad, I wouldn’t make this trip,” the sentry complained.

After finishing his business, pulling up his pants, he was about to leave, and the other person was also done. They left the latrine one after the other.

The torches at the entrance cast shadows on the snowy ground, swaying slightly. The sentry glanced casually and noticed that the person behind him had opened his arms at some point, ready to shout—

A hand covered his mouth and nose, and the person behind him drew the blade from his waist, slashing it viciously across the sentry’s throat.

Blood splattered all over, and the young body silently collapsed, devoid of any breath.

The shadow didn’t hesitate at all, bending down to drag the sentry’s lifeless body away. The snow fell even heavier, and in moments, it had covered the fresh blood. After the time it took for an incense stick to burn, the sentry emerged once more.

He scooped up some snow and wiped the blood off the blade, fastened it back to his waist, adjusted his fur hat, and headed up to the watchtower.

On the tower, his companion had grown impatient and suddenly heard some commotion. Seeing the sentry, who had gone to the latrine, return, he breathed a sigh of relief and cursed, “Why did you take so long? Were you slacking off?”

The sentry shook his head, attempting to blow warm air into his hands as if the cold had robbed him of his voice. Seeing this, his companion couldn’t help but rub his hands together too. “D*mn, it’s too cold.”

The sentry lowered his fur hat deeply, and his companion scolded, “Do you think pulling your hat down will keep you warm? Lift it up! You can’t see a thing when it’s down like that. What are you guarding the night for?”

He reached out to lift the sentry’s hat, but just as he got closer, he suddenly froze.

The sentry’s uniform had a distinctive white trim around the collar, unlike the entirely black and red attire of the new recruits. Now, in the area of the white trim on his collar, there were two spots of red.

These weren’t old stains; the colors were vivid, slowly expanding as they diffused. Just a moment ago, when he went to the latrine, there was nothing there.

His companion looked at the sentry, who hadn’t said a word since returning, and was about to draw his blade, but his actions were a step too slow.

The other person had two blades.

One blade belonged to the sentry who had just died, plunged into his chest. The other blade had a curved tip and had sliced across his throat.

He couldn’t scream, and he staggered to the ground. The assailant had already turned and was descending the tower. The sentry struggled to crawl on the ground, trying to pick up the fallen drumstick.

If he could grab the drumstick and sound the alarm, the entire Liangzhou Garrison would awaken.

This was the last thing he could do.

As he crawled, blood oozed everywhere, a horrific sight. He reached for the drumstick beside him, gripping it. He tried to lift himself to strike the drum.

Only half of his body was raised when he felt an intense pain. Blood splattered onto the drum’s surface, and his hand holding the drumstick fell to the ground.

His right hand had been severed.

The assailant returned, standing in front of him again, whispering softly, “Almost forgot.”

Not far away, the commotion seemed to startle another soldier patrolling the ground at the other end. Someone shouted, “Hey? Everything okay over there?”

The sentry pressed down on his fur hat, waved toward the distance, and replied, “It’s fine! Just slipped.”

The ground was covered in blood, and the sentry who had been barely hanging with eyes wide open had now passed away. 

The night was as dark as an abyss, enveloping the entire Liangzhou Garrison.

Early the next morning, just as the sun was rising, the new recruits got up to eat breakfast and then headed to the training ground for morning exercise.

Hong Shan, Xiao Mai, and a few others sat together to eat. Soon, Wang Ba, Huang Xiong, and Jiang Jiao also joined them. Huang Xiong asked, “Has He Yan been released yet?”

Hong Shan shook his head.

“This can’t go on,” Jiang Jiao said. “These past few days have been extremely cold. I heard from Young Master Cheng that there’s nothing in the dungeon. Even if he doesn’t freeze to death, he might fall ill.” He was their comrade who had fought together for the flag. Even though they had some grievances with He Yan over the “green hat” incident, they couldn’t help but worry now.

“Do you think He Yan will be released after the commander returns to the garrison?” Wang Ba asked.

“It’s hard to say,” Shitou replied.

“Why?” Wang Ba was puzzled.

“Right now, everyone in the entire Liangzhou Garrison knows that He Yan has killed someone. But if you ask for evidence that she didn’t, no one can provide it,” Hong Shan sighed.

“Why do we need evidence? She’s not a fool. Why would she kill someone and leave the body behind for others to find? That’s evidence enough!”

Xiao Mai whispered, “That’s a bit of a stretch.”

Wang Ba glared, “A stretch? Tell me, how is it a stretch?”

Just as they were talking, a sudden commotion erupted outside, with people shouting, “Someone’s dead! Someone’s dead! Go find the instructors!”

“What’s going on?” Everyone rushed outside, and they saw a short and alert-looking new recruit urgently saying, “All the sentries at the training ground are dead!”

All dead!

The expressions of everyone changed, and they quickly headed to the training ground.

Inside the training ground, blood flowed like a river.

The snow had stopped at some point, and some blood stains were buried by the snow, while others had frozen into ice. The scene of last night’s brutality was faintly visible.

Dozens of sentries, those on tower duty, and those on guard duty around the training ground, not one had survived. Their bodies were piled up in the center of the training ground, like a heap of livestock feed. All the dead soldiers had been killed with a single blow, their throats cut by a blade, making it extremely gruesome. Among them, one who was stacked on top had his right arm severed from the elbow down. He was dressed in a sentry’s uniform and appeared to have had his right hand chopped off when he was about to sound the alarm.

These were their comrades whom they had spent day and night with, and they had been killed just a wall away from where they slept. For a moment, everyone at the training ground’s eyes turned red. Someone said with hatred, “Who did this? If I find them, I will…”

A voice with a deep, arrogant tone interrupted, “What will you do?”

At an unknown time, from behind the martial arts field, in the connecting horse path leading to the White Moon Mountain, a group of cavalry suddenly appeared, numbering around several hundred to a maximum of a thousand. Leading them was a man with long hair, clad in dark armor, wielding a half-person-tall curved blade. He had a robust and imposing physique, broad shoulders, a high nose, and eyes of a deep, watery blue, which contrasted with the appearance of Central Plains people. When he smiled, it was like a blood-drinking vulture, exuding a sinister and bloodthirsty aura that sent shivers down one’s spine.

“Who are you?” the new recruits asked.

However, the long-haired man didn’t pay them any attention. He only approached the recruit who had spoken earlier and asked, “If you find them, what will you do?”

His smile carried a cruel and ruthless cruelty. Faced with this man, the new recruit couldn’t help but tremble with fear. He gathered his courage and said, “I… I will seek justice for my fallen comrades!”

“Is that so?” The long-haired man smiled and continued, “How will you seek justice?” Before the new recruit could answer, he raised his curved blade and struck down!

With a loud “thud,” a figure flashed past, blocking his curved blade. However, the impact caused the figure to step back several steps before regaining their balance. Finally, they looked at the long-haired man and said, “You’re quite audacious, committing murder in our Liangzhou Garrison!”

It was Shen Han.

“Instructor Shen, it’s Head Instructor Shen!” the excited new recruits exclaimed, finding their backbone.

“Head Instructor?” The long-haired man looked at Shen Han. “Are you the Head Instructor of Liangzhou Garrison?”

“And who are you?” Shen Han’s face remained as calm as water.

“I am called Ridamuzi. I’ve heard of the renowned generals of the Great Wei, General Fengyun, Xiao Huaijin, who has excelled in countless battles and is unmatched on the battlefield. I’ve come here for a learning experience. What’s the matter? Does Xiao Huaijin not dare to face me in battle?”

“You’re talking nonsense!” one of the new recruits couldn’t help but retort. “You clearly knew that the commander was not here, so you dared to—”

“Quiet!” Du Mao silenced the recruit, but it was too late.

“Not here?” Ridamuzi narrowed his eyes. “Well, that’s unfortunate.”

The instructors exchanged glances, and their hearts gradually sank. This so-called challenge to Xiao Huaijin was just an excuse. It was likely that this man already knew Xiao Huaijin was not in Liangzhou Garrison and had come to provoke them. However….several thousand of cavalry facing several tens of thousands of Liangzhou Garrison’s soldiers, even if they were new recruits, it seemed overly arrogant. Or perhaps… there was another plot at play?

All the sentries had been killed overnight, and if it was an enemy, it would be impossible to do so without inside help. There must be a traitor among them, and the deaths were caused by their own comrades.

Ma Damei whispered, “He Yan was right.”

What He Yan said was true. They’ve been keeping an eye on Hu Yuanzhong for these days, and Hu Yuanzhong has been quiet without any unusual behavior. If he has an accomplice hiding among the new recruits, everything starts to make sense.

“Form up,” Shen Han ordered.

Tens of thousands of well-trained soldiers behind him readied their weapons.

Since the newcomers had come with ill intentions, the Liangzhou soldiers had no reason to back down.

Seeing this, Ridamuzi burst into laughter. He said, “Ah, Head Instructor, I didn’t come here for a battle with you.”

“Are you a Qiang?” Shen Han asked with a cold smile. “Many years ago, Flying Phoenix General fought against the Qiang tribes. I thought the Qiang no longer harbored any ill will. Now that you’ve come to Liangzhou Garrison and killed dozens of my men, if it’s not for war, what is it for? You’re not here for reconciliation, I presume?”

Mentioning Flying Phoenix General, Ridamuzi’s expression subtly changed. After a moment, he locked eyes with Shen Han and smiled sinisterly, “Head Instructor, please don’t slander me. My original intention was just to have a friendly competition with Xiao Huaijin. Who would have thought that while passing through this area last night, the sentries here were unfriendly and got into a dispute with my brothers. Regrettably, we had no choice but to kill them all.” He spoke as if it were a trivial matter. “I originally thought the soldiers brought out by Xiao Huaijin would have some skills, but it turns out they couldn’t even put up a fight. When they died, not one of them made a sound.”

“You!” The new recruits were filled with righteous indignation.

“Head Instructor, don’t be angry. I came here for a spar, nothing more,” he looked with interest at the new recruits behind Shen Han, “If Xiao Huaijin won’t come out, then let his soldiers take the challenge. If that’s not possible, even you instructors can participate.”

Liang Ping stepped forward. “Aren’t you a bit too confident? Why are you so sure we’ll accept your challenge?”

“Not willing?” Ridamuzi clapped his hands, untroubled, and several men approached from behind. One of them struggled and said, “Let go of me—”

Shen Han’s expression suddenly changed.

Several foreign soldiers were carrying two people like chicks. One of them was Cheng Lisu, and the other was Song Taotao. Both of them had their hands and feet tied up, looking disheveled and struggling.

“Instructor Shen!” Cheng Lisu saw Shen Han as if she had seen a lifeline and exclaimed, “Who are these people, and why did they tie us up?”

Who are these people? Shen Han’s mouth went dry. He had already stationed many people to guard Cheng Lisu and Song Taotao secretly, but they were still captured. The enemy’s strength could not be underestimated, and they seemed to be very familiar with Liangzhou Garrison.

“Now,” Ridamuzi looked satisfied with Shen Han’s expression, “Instructor, are you still willing to spar with us?”

Song Taotao shouted, “How can we spar? They can’t possibly be so kind-hearted; there must be a trick!”

Shen Han said, “Fine.”

“Good!” Ridamuzi declared. “The weather is too cold, and I don’t want to take too long. Let’s have three rounds. You can pick three people.”

Behind him, a voice said, “Commander, I, Wala, am willing to fight!”

This was a robust man. Qiang people were generally strong and sturdy, standing next to the people from the Central Plains, he seemed particularly massive. He was young, in his early twenties, but his height was nine feet, like an ancient giant. He also had a fierce appearance, with eyes that protruded slightly like a bull’s, and he held a curved blade, giving off an intimidating aura.

“Good!” Ridamuzi shouted, “Wala is brave and valiant, truly a son of our Qiang tribe!” Then he looked at Shen Han again. “And what about your side?”

Wala’s strange and enormous appearance made people feel a sense of retreat. Moreover, the clear evidence of the brutal killings in the training ground clearly showed how ruthless these Qiang people were. For a moment, no one from Liangzhou Garrison responded.

“No one is willing to fight?” Ridamuzi said with a smile. “This is a good opportunity for the new recruits to learn.”

On the side, Liang Ping clenched his teeth, about to step forward, when a voice rang out, “I’ll do it.”

This was a young recruit from the Vanguard Camp named Wei Huan, and Shen Han remembered him well. Wei Huan’s blade skills were excellent, among the best in the Vanguard Camp. However, his personality was gentle and shy, not as attention-grabbing as Lei Hou, so even though he and Lei Hou were both outstanding, he didn’t draw as much attention.

Speaking of Lei Hou, Shen Han suddenly wondered, where was Lei Hou?

“Is it you?” Ridamuzi glanced at Wei Huan, his smile a mix of sincerity and cunning. “Bravery is admirable.”

Wei Huan slowly approached and stood in front of Wala. “I’m willing to spar with you.”

Wala smiled and looked around. He saw the elevated platform in the training ground and said, “How about up there? The height is good, and if I cut off your neck from up there, everyone below can see it clearly, isn’t that nice?”

Wei Huan remained composed as Wala laughed heartily and leaped onto the elevated platform. “Let’s fight!”

In the past few days, the elevated platform in the training ground had been used countless times, but it was always Liangzhou Garrison’s new recruits sparring with each other. They watched each other closely, pointing out flaws and highlights, learning from each match. Every bout was a valuable learning experience.

However, today’s spar was different, especially when Ridamuzi suddenly remembered something and looked at Shen Han. In a voice audible to everyone around, he said, “Head Instructor, I forgot to mention our Qiang tribe’s custom. Once you step onto the stage of life and death, there’s no distinction between life and death. Victory can only be determined when one side dies.”

“What?” Liang Ping angrily exclaimed.

“Warriors should be prepared to die at any moment. This is the highest honor,” Ridamuzi coldly declared. “No exceptions.”

On the platform, Wei Huan slowly drew the blade from his waist and nodded to Wala.

In the dungeon, it was as dark and damp as ever.

The guards at the door had disappeared at some point, and the prison cell was eerily quiet. Even the slightest sound was magnified, and the footsteps sounded particularly harsh.

A shadow descended the steps, one by one. The torches at the entrance cast flickering shadows. In the innermost cell, someone was curled up against the wall, asleep. They seemed to be trembling from the cold, their lips pale.

The shadow stopped in front of He Yan’s cell.

On the floor was an empty bowl that had once held water or food, but it had been licked clean, shining from the repeated scraping. The thin blanket was too short, barely covering the body, leaving the feet exposed. The person was shivering slightly, and their face was an unhealthy shade of white.

The shadow looked at the scene for a moment, then reached out and inserted a key into the lock. With a click, the lock was opened.

The person in the cell remained unaware.

The shadow entered.

The youth who had once been full of vitality and spirit now looked no different from any other prisoner. There was a hint of regret and caution in his eyes as he stood still, staring at the young man’s face.

The youth didn’t move.

After a while, the shadow slowly crept closer.

Just at that moment, the youth suddenly raised their head, revealing a pair of clear, alert eyes that showed no signs of sleepiness.

“You—” he managed to say one word before the blade in his hand could descend. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain as a foot kicked him directly in the chest, causing him to kneel on the ground in agony. In the next moment, a white silk scarf tightened around his neck, and He Yan’s voice came from behind.

“I’ve been waiting for you, Lei Hou.”

Lei Hou’s eyes rolled back as He Yan applied a great deal of pressure, pinning him with her legs. As Lei Hou was nearing the point of being strangled by He Yan, she suddenly released her grip. This gave Lei Hou a moment to catch his breath as he gasped for air, clutching his neck. He Yan quickly approached him, pried his mouth open like prying a duck’s beak, and poured something into his mouth. 

Lei Hou, who was trying to catch his breath, couldn’t defend himself in this situation. He swallowed everything she gave him without leaving a drop. He wanted to say something, but he suddenly found himself unable to use his full body strength. His entire body started tingling, and within moments, he lost consciousness, remaining motionless. 

He Yan kicked him in the face a couple of times to make sure he was incapacitated, and then she tore the white silk fabric into two pieces. She used them to bind Lei Hou’s hands and feet. 

On that day, she asked Song Taotao if she had any weapons on her. However, as a young woman, Song Taotao didn’t carry knives or swords with her. After searching her entire body, all they could find was a vial of a powerful anesthetic, which she had discreetly taken from Shen Muxue’s desk earlier. She thought that it might come in handy in case they encountered a dangerous situation. He Yan decided to make the most of what she had and took it.

Additionally, she borrowed Song Taotao’s belt. Song Taotao’s belt had been bought by Chiwu in Liangzhou after their return to the base. It was made of special fabric, extremely durable, and could match the strength of a rope. 

In times of necessity, a belt could also be used to strangle someone.

He Yan had thought that since the other party had gone to such lengths to falsely accuse her of murder, sending her to the dungeons of Liangzhou Garrison, they were probably quite wary of her. When she entered the dungeons, she knew that they would not give up and would likely come to kill her to silence her. So she had to carry weapons with her, ready to defend herself at any moment.

However, all her weapons had been confiscated, and she was left with only a bottle of sleeping potion and Song Taotao’s belt.

Early that morning, no one had come to bring her breakfast, which was quite unusual. Normally, they would have delivered breakfast at this time. Although Shen Han had not allowed Song Taotao and others to come see her, he had not mistreated her when it came to food.

The garrison was usually very punctual, and the fact that no one had come at this time indicated that something had gone wrong.

He Yan felt anxious, but she couldn’t leave her cell, not knowing what was happening outside. As she calmed down, she realized that if something had gone wrong, the people on the outside might be using the chaos as an opportunity to come here and kill her.

Before Song Taotao left, not knowing how she could help, she had given He Yan everything she had, including a box of cosmetic powder. He Yan applied some to her face and lips. She curled up in a ball, appearing like a prisoner suffering from a severe illness, and waited.

She speculated about what might have happened outside when she suddenly heard footsteps. That’s when the scene before her unfolded.

He Yan dragged Lei Hou into a corner, placed him with his face against the wall, and laid him down. The sleeping potion would last for eight hours, so Lei Hou wouldn’t wake up during that time.

She locked the cell door behind her.

Lei Hou had become a prisoner in the dungeons.

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