Rebirth of a Star General Chapter 119

Chapter 119: Old Friends

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Outside the Garrison, a group of people stood. 

Servants by the side of a carriage were busy unloading boxes from it. Inside the Garrison residence, guests were sitting and drinking tea in a resting area.

As soon as Xiao Jue entered, he saw Liang Ping pouring tea for the guests.

“Fourth Young Master Chu.” The first to greet him was Lin Shuanghe. He approached, waving his fan and smiling as if he were a host welcoming guests. “I wonder if the tea suits your taste?”

Chu Zilan stood up and respectfully bowed to Lin Shuanghe and Xiao Jue, saying, “Commander Xiao, Young Master Lin.” He smiled and continued, “The Liangzhou Garrison’s Cloud Mist Tea is rich and fragrant, leaving a lingering taste on the palate. You’re fortunate, Commander.” 

Xiao Jue pulled over a chair and sat down, watching him intently. “It’s just ordinary tea; there’s no need to be so polite.” 

Chu Zhao didn’t take offense and simply replied with a smile, “You jest, Commander.”

Fourth Young Master of the Shi Jinbo household, this year, was the same age as Xiao Jue. Compared to Xiao Jue’s often indifferent and weary appearance, Chu Zilan seemed much gentler. He had a superb appearance, with well-defined facial features, fair skin, and a loose, long robe that made him look even slimmer. His eyes were long and narrow, always carrying a hint of a smile, giving the impression of a refined gentleman, graceful like jade.

When the two of them were together, one was as cold as autumn water, and the other was as pure and clean as a fragrant orchid. They looked quite pleasing to the eye.

At Chu Zhao’s side stood a maid-like girl. Although she was dressed as a maid, she had an exceptionally beautiful appearance, with deep and radiant features. Even in simple attire, it was difficult to hide her radiance. Lin Shuanghe, who had seen countless beauties, couldn’t help but cast an admiring glance at the girl, secretly sighing. Together, the master and servant seemed otherworldly, far from ordinary people. Among Shi Jinbo’s four sons, the first three had plain appearances, but this one had such distinctive features. It seemed that the mother’s looks were truly important.

“Fourth Young Master Chu, what brings you to Liangzhou Garrison?” Xiao Jue asked.

Chu Zhao smiled and said, “His Majesty heard that Commander Xiao annihilated tens of thousands of enemy troops and eradicated the remnants of the Qiang people in Liangzhou. He was overjoyed and sent me to deliver rewards and, as an additional task, to observe the high spirits of the garrison here.”

“Deliver rewards?” Xiao Jue’s gaze turned meaningful as he spoke nonchalantly, “This desolate land of Liangzhou, where it could even make Fourth Young Master Chu come in person to witness, is not simple.”

Chu Zhao replied with a gentle smile, “Being able to witness Commander Xiao’s elite troops is Zilan’s good fortune.”

Xiao Jue gave a brief laugh but didn’t respond.

“This time, His Majesty also ordered me to hold a celebratory banquet for the victory in Liangzhou,” Chu Zhao continued. “However, I’m not familiar with the customary celebrations of the Liangzhou Garrison, so I have to trouble Commander Xiao.”

“The newly fallen soldiers have just been buried,” Xiao Jue said. “It might not be appropriate to celebrate now.” 

Chu Zhao’s smile remained gentle, but he was resolute in his response. “In war, there is always bloodshed. Besides, victory and the annihilation of the enemy are reasons for celebration. This is also the will of His Majesty.” 

Was he invoking the Emperor’s authority? 

Xiao Jue scrutinized him for a while, then nodded and smiled, saying, “Alright.” He stood up and added with a meaningful tone, “We can hold a celebration banquet tomorrow. We would like to invite the Fourth Young Master Chu to join us.” 

Chu Zhao stood up and paid his respects, saying, “I humbly accept.” 

Xiao Jue left the room and instructed Fei Nu, “Arrange accommodations for the people accompanying the Fourth Young Master Chu.” 

Fei Nu acknowledged and left.

Lin Shuanghe followed Xiao Jue out. He asked in a low voice, “Why has Chu Zhao come here? He seems to be planning to stay at Liangzhou Garrison for a while?”

“With the person missing, Xu Jingfu is getting anxious,” Xiao Jue said in a low voice. “Sending his dog over to see if there’s any issue, what’s wrong with that?” 

Lin Shuanghe looked back at the room where Chu Zhao was enjoying his tea and asked, “Is it safe to leave him here? After all, this young man is Xu Jingfu’s person.” 

“Safe or not depends on his skills,” Xiao Jue replied. “Let’s go.” 

“Where to?” 

“Since it’s a reward, we should see what’s inside,” Xiao Jue said with a hint of playfulness. “Coming to my Liangzhou Garrison with such fanfare, just a few boxes of rewards would hardly be enough.” 

“Are you planning to ‘pluck the feathers from the goose’ again?” 

Xiao Jue glanced at him. 

Lin Shuanghe said, “I didn’t mean anything by it, just asking. Don’t get mad. Let’s go, let’s go, see the treasure!”


He Yan returned from the martial arts field and found herself back in her state of idleness. She laid on the bed, reading several travel accounts. After Song Taotao brought her her meal and left, she heard some commotion outside. Thinking it might be Xiao Jue returning, she used her stick to get up, opened the door, and saw Lin Shuanghe.

“Dr. Lin?” He Yan glanced around but didn’t see Xiao Jue, so she asked, “Is the Commander not here?”

“He’s gone to discuss the victory banquet with the head instructor.” Lin Shuanghe smiled and added, “I will wait for him in the room first, I have something to discuss with him.”

“Victory banquet?” He Yan was puzzled. “What victory banquet?”

“The Liangzhou Garrison’s victory banquet,” Lin Shuanghe waved off Song Taotao and approached He Yan. But just as he reached the door to her room, he suddenly stopped, refusing to come any closer.

He Yan asked, puzzled, “What’s wrong?”

Lin Shuanghe retracted his hand and said solemnly, “It’s not appropriate for men and women to be alone together in one room. It could damage your reputation if it gets out.”

He Yan: “…..”

She said, “Here, nobody knows my identity. Dr. Lin, you can just treat me as an ordinary new recruit. Besides, you’ve been here before, haven’t you?”

Lin Shuanghe waved his hand in a restrained manner. “There were others present last time, but now it’s just you and me. I’m worried it might lead to misunderstandings.”

“What’s the misunderstanding?” He Yan was somewhat exasperated. “The Commander and I often share a room, and there’s nothing inappropriate.” 

At this, Lin Shuanghe took a step back. “In that case, it’s even more inappropriate. Friends’ wives should not be trifled with. Am I a person who would betray my friend?” 

He Yan: “….”

What nonsense was this person saying? 

After some thought, she came up with a solution. “How about this, Young Master Lin? You go to the Commander’s room, and I’ll stay in my room. I’ll open the center door, and we can talk through it. This way, we won’t be considered sharing a room but rather being in two separate rooms. Does that work?” 

Lin Shuanghe, caught off guard, thought for a moment, then clapped his fan. “Let’s do that!” 

So, when He Yan returned to her room and used Cheng Lisu’s silver hairpin to open the lock, she struggled to place a stool on the other side of the center door, while Lin Shuanghe was already waiting there. 

He glanced at the center door and asked He Yan, “Is this how you usually spend your time?” 

“How do I usually spend my time?”

“Just…,” Lin Shuanghe hesitated, seeming a bit embarrassed, and then shook his head with a smile. “I didn’t expect Huaijin to be like this…” 

He Yan found his remarks quite baffling. However, she still remembered the victory celebration he mentioned earlier and asked, “Dr. Lin, what was that victory celebration in the Liangzhou Garrison you mentioned?” 

“Weren’t you the ones who won against the forces of Ridamuzi, annihilating tens of thousands of enemy troops?” Lin Shuanghe explained. “The emperor, upon hearing this, was extremely delighted. He sent rewards as a token of appreciation and ordered a victory celebration in Liangzhou Garrison to honor the achievements and reward the troops.” 

He Yan was taken aback by this information. “Now? A celebration right now doesn’t seem appropriate.” 

Holding a victory celebration in Liangzhou Garrison at this moment was not ideal. Although they had ultimately won the battle, the situation had been chaotic at the beginning, and they had lost several dozen sentries due to a lack of information. Even though they had achieved victory with the assistance of the Nanfu troops, the prevailing mood among the new recruits was more one of sorrow for the fallen comrades and fear of the war, rather than joyful celebration. Having a victory celebration at this time would not be wise.

“What can we do if the emperor insists?” Lin Shuanghe sighed. “Do we dare to defy his wishes?” 

For a moment, neither of them spoke. 

After a short pause, He Yan asked, “So, the person who came to deliver the emperor’s orders was this Chu Zilan you mentioned earlier, right? And who exactly is Chu Zilan?” 

“You’ve never heard of Chu Zilan?” Lin Shuanghe was quite surprised this time. 

He Yan shook her head.

“In the dreams of young women in the capital, the top-ranked dream guy is Xiao Rubi, followed by Xiao Huaijin. This Chu Zilan is in third place,” Lin Shuanghe sighed. “But since Xiao Rubi got married, there is only Xiao Huaijin and Chu Zilan left. Huaijin has a cold demeanor, and he doesn’t like talking to girls. Over the past few years, he’s been far less popular than Chu Zilan. Although Chu Zilan’s background is not as noble, he’s good-looking, kind, and gentle. He hasn’t been betrothed yet. If you ask women in the capital who they’d most like to marry, it’s highly likely that they’ll mention Chu Zilan. How about it,” he looked at He Yan, “when you were in the capital, didn’t you hear about him? It’s impossible, right?” 

He Yan naturally had no knowledge of this. She had been leading troops in battles during her time in the capital and had no interest in the romantic affairs of the city. After returning to the capital, she quickly got married, so she had no way of knowing about the city’s romantic gossip or handsome men. She had genuinely never heard of this Chu Zilan. 

“I was raised in seclusion by my father since childhood,” He Yan replied seriously. “I rarely left the house, so I had very little contact with people, especially men from outside. I truly know nothing about these matters.” 

“I see,” Lin Shuanghe responded. “Your father really brought you up strictly.” 

He Yan nodded and asked, “So, what’s the relationship between this Chu Zilan and Commander Xiao?” 

Xiao Jue was a person who, although not particularly warm to people, had neither a strong liking nor a strong dislike for anyone. Xu Jingfu might be an exception, but this Chu Zilan, whom she hadn’t even met yet, had already put Xiao Jue in a bad mood just by hearing his name.

Did they have a past conflict?

“This is a long story,” Lin Shuanghe began. He got up to pour himself a cup of tea, moistened his throat, and then sat back down. “You’ve never heard of Chu Zilan, but what about his father, Shi Jinbo Chu Linfeng?”

He Yan found the name familiar and thought for a moment. “Is he the one who married nineteen concubines, all of them exceptionally beautiful?”

“That’s the one!”

He Yan remembered the name Chu Linfeng. When she was in the army, the subordinates would often gather for idle chatter. It wasn’t the emperor they envied most, but this Shi Jinbo. Chu Linfeng was renowned for his handsome looks, an iconic beauty in Great Wei. His wife, however, was several years older and less attractive, with a harsh temperament.

Men like Chu Linfeng were not the type to settle down. Before his marriage, he frequented the brothels, and even more so afterward. His wife was relatively virtuous and seemed to acknowledge her ordinary looks. She didn’t obstruct him from taking concubines. Over the years, he had acquired nineteen concubines, each of them stunning beauties with unique charms.

Only concubines came and went, and over these many years, aside from the three sons born of the main wife, there wasn’t a single concubine who could bear an heir for the Shi Jinbo. 

It was said that these concubines were fed sterility drugs before they entered the Chu family gates. No matter how much they pleased their master, without offspring, their fate was to be at the beck and call of the main wife. Shi Jinbo’s main wife kept a tight rein on these concubines, and not one dared to act out of line in her presence. Despite that, Shi Jinbo continued his affectionate relationships with the concubines as if nothing happened, while his main wife pretended not to notice, raising her three sons with love. 

Chu Zilan was the fourth son of Shi Jinbo, but he was not born to the main wife. 

“Was he born to a concubine?” asked He Yan. 

“No, no,” Lin Shuanghe explained, “Lady Chu keeps a tighter control over the concubines than your father does over you. How could a concubine possibly bear a son?” 


“It’s unclear. One day, during a Chu family gathering, they suddenly had a four-year-old son named Chu Zhao,” Lin Shuanghe said, taking a sip of tea. “Although no one mentioned it, everyone knew. Chu Zhao was likely Chu Linfeng’s illegitimate child born outside of his wife’s knowledge.”

He Yan’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Madam Chu couldn’t have anticipated that Chu Linfeng would have a child secretly. The child was already four years old, and since it was accepted during the family gathering, there was nothing she could do. But if that was all there was to it, Chu Zilan would have remained Chu Linfeng’s illegitimate child. However, when Chu Zilan was ten years old, he was officially recorded under Madam Chu. So now, his identity is recognized as the legitimate fourth son of Lord Chu Linfeng. Do you know why?”


“Because he is Xu Jingfu’s favorite student.” 

He Yan was taken aback. Again, it was Xu Jingfu?

“Although Shi Jinbo is flirtatious and wild, he is not a loving father. It is likely that Chu Zilan didn’t have an easy life under Madam Chu. However, I don’t know what method he used, but he managed to reach ten years of age safely. Afterward, he established a connection with Xu Jingfu. As Xu Xiang’s favorite student, how could Shi Jinbo dare to go against his wishes? Later, when they recorded Chu Zhao under Madam Chu, it was probably Xu Jingfu’s intention.”

“So this Fourth Young Master Chu is quite formidable.”

Lin Shuanghe looked at He Yan. “Do you think he’s formidable?”

“Formidable. As you mentioned, he has no external support within the household, his father doesn’t dote on him, his mother isn’t present, and yet he has become the legitimate son, honored by the emperor, and even delivered the imperial decree to Liangzhou Garrison. He has come this far on his own merits. He’s quite formidable.”

“If he weren’t formidable, would he be Xu Jingfu’s favorite student?” Lin Shuanghe shook his head in agreement.

He Yan then asked, “What about his birth mother? Wasn’t she brought into the Shi Jinbo household?”

“I don’t know,” Lin Shuanghe shook his head, “I heard that his birth mother passed away shortly after giving birth. If not for that, given Chu Zilan’s abilities now, his mother’s life would have been much better.”

He Yan nodded thoughtfully. “So that’s why Commander Xiao doesn’t like Fourth Young Master Chu.”

Xiao Jue and Xu Jingfu were adversaries, and Chu Zilan was Xu Jingfu’s student, so naturally, he was also Xiao Jue’s enemy.

“Brother….He,” Lin Shuanghe said, “If you had to choose between Commander Xiao and Chu Zilan, who would you support?”

He Yan found the question quite bizarre. “Why would you ask that?”

“I’m just curious to know what the young ladies of Great Wei would choose.”

“I don’t even know Chu Zilan,” He Yan replied, “so of course, I’d stand with Commander Xiao.”

Lin Shuanghe then wore a meaningful smile. “Well, don’t be surprised, but you’ll get to meet Chu Zilan tomorrow, as I mentioned.”

He Yan: “…..”

Seeing him, so what? Could there be anything particularly extraordinary about it?

Little did He Yan expect that, as Lin Shuanghe had said, on the following day, she would indeed meet the legendary object of dreams for many young women in Great Wei, the contender with Commander Xiao Huaijin for their affection, Chu Zilan, the Fourth Young Master Chu.

It was an unusual night with no snowfall, and the following day, the skies were clear. 

Despite the cold weather, the sun’s rays made it feel warm. He Yan got up and had some porridge. She noticed that the wounds on her waist were healing faster when she basked in the sunlight. Liangzhou Garrison had unpredictable weather. In the summer, it was unbearably hot, and the moment the sun appeared, everyone complained. However, in the winter, even a few hours of sunshine brought joy.

She couldn’t participate in the daily martial training at the practice ground at the moment. Feeling the warmth of the sun, she decided to take a stroll in the courtyard. However, just as she reached the door, she heard the voice of a girl, saying, “I saw this golden cake roll first, so it’s mine!” 

Then followed a female voice with a pleasant demeanor, “Young lady, this is a specialty made by the chef our young master brought, not something from the kitchen of the Garrison. Therefore, it is not yours.” 

“So, just because you said it belongs to your young master, it does? It was placed in the kitchen. How was I supposed to know it was made by your chef? If you have a chef, why don’t you make another one?” 

“Making a golden cake roll is quite laborious, and making another one would delay our master’s mealtime.” 

“In that case, don’t eat it!” 

“Young lady…” 

He Yan couldn’t stand it anymore, so she walked out and said, “Miss Song.” 

Song Taotao turned her head, and the girl she had been arguing with also looked at He Yan. Song Taotao happily said, “Big Brother He! This is a golden cake roll. Would you like to try it?” 

He Yan: “…”

The other woman responded, “But this is our master’s…” 

He Yan took the golden cake roll and returned it to the woman, saying, “Young children don’t understand, please don’t hold it against her.” 

“Big Brother He!” Song Taotao was exasperated. “Why did you give it back to her?” 

“It originally belonged to someone else,” He Yan shook her head. She guessed that the young master in the other person’s mouth should be Chu Zilan, the fourth young master of the Shi Jinbo’s residence. Chu Zilan and Xiao Jue had such a delicate relationship. If this caused trouble for Xiao Jue, it would be more trouble than it’s worth. 

“Thank you, Young Master,” the woman smiled at He Yan. 

He Yan was also startled for a moment, amazed by the girl’s appearance. There were already few girls from Liangzhou Garrison, apart from her fake identity, there were only Shen Muxue and Song Taotao. One was elegant, and the other was cute, but now there was someone as striking as a peony, which drew even more attention. 

Did Chu Zilan’s maidservants all look this beautiful? He Yan thought, the Great Wei girls Lin Shuanghe had mentioned earlier placed him first in their heart. Only a fool would choose Chu Zilan. If even the maidservants were this stunning, how could an ordinary girl catch his eye? It would be better to choose Xiao Jue. Around Xiao Jue, there were only men, and after seeing so many men, his expectations might become lower, providing some opportunities. 

Seeing He Yan staring at the other girl without speaking, Song Taotao became more anxious and pulled He Yan’s sleeve, saying, “What are you looking at? What’s so special about her?” 

The girl holding the golden cake roll saw this and burst into laughter, her smile captivating.

“Ying Xiang,” someone said.

Ying Xiang, the servant girl, quickly restrained her smile and curtsied towards the person who spoke. “Fourth Young Master.”

Fourth Young Master? Chu Zilan? He Yan turned around, and her gaze fell upon the person in front of her.

He was a young man, dressed in a pale jade-colored robe with exceptionally wide sleeves, wearing a jade crown, and looked as pure and refined as an orchid. A gentle smile adorned his face, and he nodded to He Yan.

He Yan furrowed her brows, feeling like she had seen his face somewhere before.

He recognized He Yan too, and after a moment’s pause, he smiled, seemingly understanding He Yan’s puzzled expression. He extended his hand, palm-up, and spoke softly, “Young brother, you dropped something.”

The words instantly snapped He Yan out of her reverie, and she recalled where she had seen him before. Back when she was in Shuojing, she had been trying to think of ways to get funds for her brother’s education when she ended up at Le Tong Manor to gamble. After winning a fight against the gamblers who had tried to rob her, this man had suddenly appeared and informed her that she had dropped some silver.

His exceptional looks were difficult to forget for anyone who had seen him. Now, coming across him so unexpectedly, in broad daylight, He Yan had momentarily failed to recognize him. However, he recognized her before she did.

“Are you… Fourth Young Master Chu?” He Yan asked.

Chu Zilan nodded. “That’s me.”

He Yan found herself at a loss for words. What kind of luck was this? To run into the most coveted man among Great Wei’s young ladies in such a manner? What were the odds?

“I’m Chu Zhao,” Chu Zilan introduced, smiling at He Yan. “Young brother and I go way back. But I don’t know young brother’s name; may I have the pleasure?”

His polite and gentle demeanor had He Yan starting to understand why he could be considered a rival to Xiao Jue. She quickly replied, “I wouldn’t dare. I’m He Yan. He from ‘Grains and Fields, Yan from Clear Rivers and Calm Seas’.”

Chu Zhao smiled and said, “That’s a lovely name. However,” he glanced around with a puzzled expression, “He Yan, what brings you here?”

He Yan replied, “Me? I’m a new recruit in the Liangzhou Garrison. However, I was injured a few days ago, so I’m not currently attending the martial training.”

“Ah, I see.”

At this moment, Song Taotao, who had been silent all along, finally seemed to come to her senses. She gently tugged on He Yan’s hand, probably because she noticed how stunning Chu Zilan was. Her assertiveness towards Ying Xiang had dissipated, and she even appeared somewhat embarrassed. She whispered, “Brother He, who is this person? Do you know them?” 

Answering this question was not straightforward. He Yan knew Chu Zhao, but their relationship wasn’t as familiar as Song Taotao might have assumed. It was just that, upon unexpectedly seeing a familiar face in Liangzhou Garrison, she felt a bit excited. 

He Yan replied, “This is the fourth young master from Shi Jinbo’s residence. I had a brief encounter with him when I was in Shuojing.” 

Chu Zhao smiled and said, “We can consider ourselves old friends.”

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