Rebirth of a Star General Chapter 122

Chapter 122: Jiyang

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

On her way to the martial arts arena, He Yan was still thinking about what Lin Shuanghe had said earlier.

The snake-patterned black jade in her hand felt as cold as water, clearing her mind even on this winter day. Stealing and doing such a sensational act as taking away Xiao Jue’s jade while being drunk yesterday, it seemed that she really couldn’t drink casually in the future.

Lost in her thoughts, He Yan had already reached the edge of the martial arts arena.

In front of Xiao Jue, there was a person dressed in the black armor of the Nanfu soldiers, who was silent with his head down. As she got closer, she heard Xiao Jue coldly saying, “Is this the formation you arranged?”

This man was probably his deputy commander, the leader responsible for training the Nanfu soldiers. He looked tall and imposing, but in front of Xiao Jue, he appeared like a child who had made a mistake, keeping his head down and saying, “I know my mistake. Perhaps everyone is not accustomed to the snowy weather in Liangzhou…”

“Not accustomed?” Xiao Jue gave him a sidelong glance and asked in return, “Do you need me to teach you how to adapt?”

He Yan clearly saw that the well-built man was frightened by this single sentence from Xiao Jue. He stammered, “I will take them to train properly!”

“Double the daily training,” Xiao Jue said calmly, “if there is another time, there’s no need to stay in Liangzhou anymore.”

“Yes!” The man nodded quickly and left. He Yan stretched her neck to look towards the martial arts arena, where this man, upon his departure, scolded several Nanfu soldiers who were standing in front of him thoroughly and then resumed the training of the military formation. She couldn’t help but be amazed.

Xiao Jue’s attitude towards the Nanfu soldiers and the recruits of Liangzhou Garrison was notably different. He rarely showed up in front of the Liangzhou Garrison recruits and maintained some distance. He even carried a degree of politeness towards Shen Han and the others. Only when dealing with the Nanfu soldiers did he truly exhibit his usual demeanor – casual and ruthless, like a commander who would scold people at the slightest provocation.

When she used to be Flying Phoenix General, did she also appear so annoying? He Yan silently self-reflected in her heart.

While she was contemplating, Xiao Jue had turned around and, upon seeing her, froze for a moment. After a moment of silence, he impatiently asked, “What are you here for again?”

He Yan forced a smile, extending her palm with a black jade resting on it, saying, “It seems that Commander dropped something at my place last night, so I brought it back specially.”

“Dropped something?” Xiao Jue playfully savored her choice of words, bending over to peer into her eyes, tugging at the corners of his mouth with a smirk, and indifferently saying, “My obedient daughter is so considerate.”

He Yan: “…”

Why does this guy hold grudges like this? Besides, even if she called him “Father,” Xiao Jue was the one who gained an advantage, after all. Why did it sound like she had committed some unforgivable crime coming from his mouth?

He Yan tried to maintain her composure and said, “Commander is quite humorous. This black jade looks quite precious. Commander, be sure not to lose it in the future and take good care of it.” She picked up the jade and reached her hand towards Xiao Jue’s waist.

Xiao Jue took a step back, looking wary. “What are you doing?”

“I’ll help you fasten it,” He Yan said innocently. “Isn’t this jade pendant supposed to be worn around your waist?”

In Xiao Jue’s mind, the words Lin Shuanghe spoke about yesterday suddenly resurfaced: “She likes your waist.”

He Yan moved closer, but Xiao Jue raised his hand to stop her and looked at her with a complex expression, “I’ll do it myself.”

“Oh,” He Yan didn’t understand and handed the jade pendant to him. She watched as Xiao Jue carefully fastened it around his waist. The black jade laid on his deep blue robe, looking very attractive.

She was gazing intently, unaware that Xiao Jue noticed her scrutiny. His eyes narrowed, and he immediately turned around, lifting up his robe.

Was he bitten by a bug? He Yan wondered.

Inside the martial arts arena, the sound of soldiers giving commands echoed. He Yan walked with him to the edge of the platform to get a closer look. The Nanfu soldiers were now well-organized and in high spirits. Xiao Jue had just scolded them almost to the point of tears. What’s wrong with Xiao Jue? He’s too picky, isn’t he?

If he were to take over the Fuyue Army, people wouldn’t even have time to eat with all the scolding.

While watching, He Yan spoke out what she had been thinking. She said, “They are practicing very well. You were a bit too harsh on them just now.”

“Harsh?” Xiao Jue questioned.

“Yes,” He Yan said. “If it were me, I’d have been scared to death.”

Xiao Jue laughed again. His smile had a hint of mockery. “I don’t think you find me harsh.”

“That’s because I’m used to being scolded by people,” He Yan said, looking down at the Nanfu soldiers. “This is the Arrowhead Formation.”

Xiao Jue asked, “How are they doing?”

“They’re practicing very well, but recently, the snowy ground is slippery, so the soldiers in the last row on the left are struggling to keep up.”

“Besides the Arrowhead Formation, do you know any other formations?” Xiao Jue asked casually.

“Well, quite a few,” He Yan said, counting on her fingers. “The Scatter Star Formation, Mandarin Duck Formation, Fish Beauty Formation, Crane Wing Formation…” She continued to list over a dozen formations, and when she saw Xiao Jue’s gaze focused on her, she couldn’t help but pause and ask, “You…. why are you looking at me like that?”

Xiao Jue turned around, leaning on the railing of the platform with a lazy smile. “I’m looking at how impressive you are, Female Star General.”

He Yan: “…”

She brazenly said, “If I’m so impressive, Commander, don’t you consider giving me a promotion? I could be your right-hand person. We would be an unbeatable team, conquering the world together!”

Xiao Jue scoffed, “Who said ‘we’?”

“Don’t push people away all the time,” He Yan retorted. “You should learn to be more approachable, like me.”

Xiao Jue couldn’t be bothered to deal with her. He Yan was about to say something when she heard someone behind her say, “Young Master.”

It was Fei Nu.

“Young Master,” Fei Nu glanced at He Yan and continued, “There’s been some movement from Lei Hou.”

Xiao Jue nodded. “I see.” He turned and began descending the platform, most likely going to the dungeon. He Yan initially thought of following him but hesitated.

In the end, if there was something significant, Xiao Jue would know even if she didn’t say it. By eagerly tagging along, she would only be in the way of Xiao Jue. She might as well go find Chu Zhao and ask if she had done anything out of the ordinary yesterday while drunk.

If there was something, she would have to queue up for an apology.

Thinking of this, she waved at Xiao Jue and said, “I have some other matters to attend to, so I won’t accompany you, Commander. Let’s meet later.”

Fei Nu smirked and thought, “Who invited her so familiarly?”

Xiao Jue had long grown accustomed to He Yan’s unruly behavior and started descending the stairs. “Let’s go.”

When He Yan arrived at Chu Zhao’s room, Chu Zhao was practicing calligraphy.

Yesterday, He Yan had arrived hastily, and it was nighttime, so she hadn’t noticed where Chu Zhao was staying. Now that she had a chance to take a look, she found it not only lacking in grandeur but downright humble.

Apart from a table and a bed, the room had only two chairs, with no additional decorations. However, Chu Zhao, the Fourth Young Master Chu, seemed to enjoy simple pleasures. He had placed incense in the room and hung a gauzy canopy. As a result, the initially plain room had a hint of elegance and the ambiance of a scholar.

Upon seeing He Yan, Ying Xiang smiled and said, “Is Young Master He here to see our young master?”

“Mmmm,” He Yan responded, “I came to bring some refreshments for Fourth Young Master Chu.” She raised a box containing leftover scallion pastries that Lin Shuanghe had given her in the morning. He Yan had originally planned to keep some to nibble on later, but coming to see Chu Zhao without a gift wouldn’t be proper, so she reluctantly considered this her greeting.

“Fourth Young Master Chu is practicing calligraphy,” Ying Xiang said with a smile. “Please follow me.”

He Yan followed her into the room and saw Chu Zhao sitting at a table, engrossed in writing.

She stood behind Chu Zhao and couldn’t resist reading the words aloud.

“Green mountains are free of dust, the blue sky is cloudless. In the sky, there’s only the moon, in the mountains, there’s only one person.”

As she finished reciting, Chu Zhao also completed the final stroke of his writing, turned around, and upon seeing her, smiled, saying, “Brother He has come.”

He Yan circled the words he had written, praising, “Young Master Chu’s calligraphy is excellent.”

Chu Zhao’s handwriting was different from Xiao Jue’s. Xiao Jue’s script was sharp and bold, carrying a kind of cold, unrestrained character. Chu Zhao’s script, on the other hand, was elegant and gentle, reflecting his personality. His poems also had this kind of detached and elegant style, and it was hard to imagine that he was associated with Xu Jingfu.

But thinking of Xu Jingfu, if it weren’t for He Yan’s current closeness with Xiao Jue and what she had heard from Ding Yi earlier, Xu Jingfu would only be a principled old prime minister in her mind.

“Brother He has come to see me; is there something you need?” Chu Zhao stood up, collected his writing supplies, and led He Yan to the only table in the room. There were exactly two chairs, and he instructed Ying Xiang, “Prepare some tea for Young Master He.”

Ying Xiang smiled and went to make tea. He Yan said, “I don’t really have anything particular in mind to see you, I just felt guilty for drinking Fourth Young Master Chu’s Changan Spring last night, so I’ve brought some snacks.” She gestured towards the snack box on the table but didn’t open it. After all, it seemed too simple.

“Thank you,” Chu Zhao was very considerate. “I was thinking of trying some of Liangzhou’s snacks to see how they compare to Shuojing. What you’ve brought is perfect.”

He Yan cleared her throat, “I almost forgot to ask, did I cause any trouble for you last night when I was here drinking? I had a bit too much to drink, and when I do, I tend to blabber. If I said anything, please don’t take it to heart.”

Chu Zhao looked at her and smiled, “Is Brother He here today just to ask that question?”

Indeed, being the favored student of the current Prime Minister, he was quite insightful, leaving He Yan with nothing to say. 

Perhaps sensing He Yan’s discomfort and embarrassment, Chu Zhao smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Brother He didn’t do anything here last night. We were just discussing military strategy. However, I’m not well-versed in military tactics and couldn’t really learn from Brother He, so I feel like I wasted Brother He’s efforts. I was just surprised that Brother He knows so much about it.” 

He Yan: “…..” She thought to herself, silently chastising herself that she should never call anyone else a peacock again. It was embarrassing to flaunt her knowledge whenever she drank too much. 

“Fourth Young Master, you’re too kind,” He Yan said, covering her face with her hand. “If you speak more, I’d be too embarrassed to show my face.” 

Ying Xiang approached with two cups of tea, placed one in front of He Yan, and said with a smile, “Young Master He, please try it.” 

He Yan took a sip and couldn’t help but exclaim, “It’s quite sweet.” 

“Shuojing’s tea isn’t as bitter as the tea from Liangzhou,” Ying Xiang placed the other cup in front of Chu Zhao. “As long as Young Master He likes it.” 

He Yan, looking at the tea in front of her, suddenly thought of something and turned to Chu Zhao, asking casually, “Fourth Young Master Chu, have you been living in Shuojing for a long time?” 


“You must be quite informed about the latest happenings in Shuojing, right?” He Yan looked at the tea leaves floating in her cup and said, “I’ve been in Liangzhou for over half a year now, and it’s nothing but rigorous training here, quite boring. After I got injured, I’ve even missed days of training and spent most of my time inside, feeling like I’m growing mold. Finally, I have a friend from the capital, and…” She leaned in a bit closer and fixed her gaze on Chu Zhao, “Fourth Young Master, can you tell me about the interesting things that have happened in the capital in the past six months?” 

“Interesting things?” Chu Zhao was momentarily puzzled. 

He Yan nodded. “You know, the more fun or unusual events.” 

“Well, there are quite a few of those,” Chu Zhao replied in a gentle tone. “Brother He, which aspect are you interested in hearing about?” 

“Which aspect?” He Yan thought for a moment. “Ordinary family matters probably aren’t particularly interesting. Let’s talk about the affairs of the officials in the capital. You know, officials like when a lord gets caught cheating on his wife, or when someone’s son is actually not their biological child but adopted… that sort of thing.” 

Even Chu Zhao, who was generally good-natured, was taken aback by He Yan’s words. 

He slowly began, “I’m not very clear on those private family matters. Let me share what I do know with Brother He.” 

He Yan eagerly nodded. 

Then, she listened as the Fourth Young Master of the Shi Jinbo’s mansion recounted various officials, both big and small, in Shuojing City. However, what she deemed “interesting” was nowhere to be found. It was all about who got promoted, whose salary increased by two stones, whose memorial had ugly handwriting that the emperor disliked, and whose wife had given rare fabric as a gift to the imperial concubine to gain favor. 

Chu Zhao was good-looking, had a pleasant personality, and was patient. He didn’t grow impatient like Xiao Jue, but even talking to him, He Yan was starting to lose patience. 

She endured it for a while, downing two cups of tea, but still didn’t hear what she wanted to hear. She couldn’t take it anymore and interrupted Chu Zhao, “Fourth Young Master Chu, in Shuojing, do you happen to know the current Flying Phoenix General?” 

As soon as she asked this, Chu Zhao paused. He lifted his tea and took a sip, then smiled and asked, “Why do you suddenly mention him?” 

“I’m in the Liangzhou Garrison every day, and the instructors there always discuss it privately—our General Fengyun and Flying Phoenix General, which one is more formidable. General Fengyun is someone I see every day now, so it’s not particularly exciting, but I’ve never met Flying Phoenix General,” she smiled, “You know, I share the same surname with Flying Phoenix General, so who knows, we might be related from a previous life. I just want to hear what kind of interesting things he’s been up to and if he’s really that formidable.”

Chu Zhao looked at He Yan, shook his head after a moment, and said with a smile, “General He and I are colleagues in the same court, but we’re not very close. I’ve only met him a few times, but he’s a very good person and indeed formidable. He displayed great bravery when he quelled the Western Qiang rebellion in the past.” 

“What about now? Has he been promoted in the capital?” 

“He is already a third-grade military officer. If he gets promoted too quickly, people might talk behind his back,” Chu Zhao replied. “However, His Majesty appreciates him a lot. He summons him to the palace every so often and even lets him instruct the Crown Prince in swordsmanship. I believe he won’t be any less than Commander Xiao in the future.” 

He Rufei… has already reached this level? 

He Yan’s smile faltered for a moment. 

Chu Zhao asked, “What’s wrong with you?” 

He Yan lifted her cup and took a sip, concealing her emotions, and said, “I’m just sighing that even though we share the same surname, and he’s only a few years older than me, his achievements are something I’ll never reach in my entire life.” 

“Don’t underestimate yourself, Brother He,” Chu Zhao consoled with a smile. “Flying Phoenix General also earned his merits on the battlefield. Besides, you’re still young, and in the future, you might not be worse off than him.” 

This reassurance didn’t comfort He Yan. She looked up again, wearing that carefree smile, and said, “Is that all there is to it? What about other things? Flying Phoenix General should be at an age where he’s thinking about marriage. Don’t tell me there’s no young lady he fancies? That would be quite unfortunate, for both of Wei’s renowned generals, Fengyun and Flying Phoenix, to be lifelong bachelors.” 

Chu Zhao was momentarily taken aback, then chuckled and said, “I don’t know about that, but so far, there hasn’t been any news of Flying Phoenix General getting engaged.” 

He Yan nodded.

“Oh,” Chu Zhao smiled at her, “Does Brother He have sisters or something and wants to….?” 

“No, no,” He Yan quickly waved her hand. “I have only one younger brother, and I’ve never thought about such things. Flying Phoenix General is, well, a general. We commoners like us can’t possibly aspire to such heights. I wouldn’t dare to think about it.” 

Chu Zhao nodded thoughtfully. 


In the dungeon, Xiao Jue sat on a chair, looking at the man in the cell. 

It had been over ten days, and Lei Hou had become frighteningly thin, as if he were two different people compared to his appearance over a two-week ago. He hadn’t slept well, and he looked as if he’d been tormented by nightmares, with deep sunken eye sockets. The once tall man had even stooped over considerably. 

Fei Nu delivered a letter and said in a low voice, “We’ve found the person who will meet with Lei Hou, and the letter was sent from Jiyang.” 

“Jiyang?” Xiao Jue raised an eyebrow. 


“Xiao Huaijin,” Lei Hou spoke, his voice raspy, as if it had been seared by fire. He was hoarse, as if he might lose his voice any moment. His lips were cracked and bloodshot. He continued, “I’ve followed your instructions and written a letter to the contact person, as we agreed. You can spare my wife and children now.”

Xiao Jue glanced at him and smiled. “Do you believe I’m the kind of person who keeps agreements?”

“You!” Lei Hou’s face changed dramatically, and he suddenly rose, but his hands and feet were bound in shackles. When he moved, they made clinking noises. These days, he had eaten very little, and he was physically weak. When he attempted to attack Xiao Jue, he fell to the ground instead.

The young man sat in a chair, looking down at him as if savoring his humiliation. After a while, he slowly said, “I just wanted you to consider.”

As a prisoner, Lei Hou realized that from the moment he entered Liangzhou Garrison, he was destined to be a prisoner. He was no match for this man who had caused the death of sixty thousand people in Guocheng at the age of sixteen, and who could kill Zhao Nuo without changing his expression. His ruthlessness and methods were unmatched.

“Please,” Lei Hou slowly knelt down and kowtowed to Xiao Jue, “spare my wife and child.”

The man gazed at him for a moment, then spoke in a deliberate manner, “All right. I have one more question for you. You and your contact only communicate through letters, is that correct?”

“Yes, yes!” Since he had decided to submit, his only goal was to have Xiao Jue spare his wife and child. He confessed everything he knew, hoping for a bit of leniency. “We send a letter every month. The contact used to be in Shuojing and later moved to Jiyang. That’s all I know. If you want to find him, go to Jiyang. You’ll definitely find him there!”

“Jiyang City…” Xiao Jue pondered for a moment, then looked at Lei Hou. “Jiyang City doesn’t allow people from outside to reside there. How did your contact enter the city?”

“I don’t know,” Lei Hou said. “I only know that he lives in Cuiwei Pavillion in Jiyang.”

“Cuiwei Pavillion.” Xiao Jue stood up and said, “I see.”

“Xiao Huaijin… Commander Xiao!” Lei Hou called out to him, crawling toward him like a dog. He begged, “I’ve told you everything I know. Can you spare my wife and child?”

The handsome young man stopped at the door, didn’t turn around, and his voice carried a touch of mockery. “Not so fast. I can’t be sure that you won’t remember something else in a few days. We can release them then, it won’t be too late.”

He turned and walked out of the room.

Outside the door, Chiwu was waiting.

Seeing him, Chiwu said, “Young Master, we’ve received news from Luan Ying.”

Xiao Jue asked, “Speak.”

“We’ve located Chai Anxi, they’re in Jiyang now.”

“Jiyang?” Xiao Jue turned around.

Chiwu was unaware of what had transpired in the dungeon earlier. He hesitated and asked, “Is there something wrong?”

Fei Nu also came out from behind Xiao Jue, his expression grave. “The person Lei Hou mentioned as the contact is also in Jiyang.”

“Young Master, do you suspect…” Fei Nu hesitated. “That the person secretly coordinating with Lei Hou is Chai Anxi?”

“We haven’t seen the person, so we can’t be sure.”

“But…” Chiwu couldn’t help but ask, “Jiyang is under the jurisdiction of Fan Wang. Outsiders are never allowed to stay there. Even we can’t come and go as we please. How did Chai Anxi get in? Could this be a trap?”

“Who knows, that Lei Hou didn’t say,” Fei Nu glanced at Xiao Jue’s expression and asked cautiously, “Young Master, should we think of a way to visit Jiyang first?” 

“Easy to say,” Chiwu poured cold water on him. “When the old master passed through Jiyang in the past and stayed for a few days, Mengji Wang refused to let our troops into the city. He said we needed a travel permit, and that permit had to be obtained from the Prefectural Office. We also had to report to the palace. Our trip must be low-key; how do we manage that?” 

“No rush,” Xiao Jue played with the longevity lock in his hand. “Wait a few more days.” 

Chiwu and Fei Nu exchanged glances. Fei Nu saw the longevity lock in his hand and remembered Lei Hou’s words in the dungeon earlier. He asked, “Young Master, Lei Hou’s wife and children are still being watched by our people… should we continue or…” 

There were people in the capital keeping an eye on Lei Hou’s wife and children. Although they had been detained these days, they hadn’t been harmed. With the news from Jiyang, Lei Hou’s condition didn’t seem like it could yield any more information. How to handle his wife and children remained a question. 

Xiao Jue’s gaze fell on the longevity lock in his hand, and he chuckled. Then, he casually tossed it to Chiwu. 

Chiwu said, “Young Master?” 

Xiao Jue turned and walked ahead, lazily saying, “Let them go.”

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Leave a comment