Rebirth of a Star General Chapter 134

Chapter 134: Searching for Someone

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After Xiao Jue finished playing the zither, he accepted the praise of the people and returned to his seat. Since then, He Yan also lost her appetite, who knows if other people will come over and want to see her other talents, what if they want her to write or compose poetry? She couldn’t just use “I have an agreement with my husband” to evade again.

She trembled and continued to sit until the end of the feast without any further mishaps. With the feast ending, the guests dispersed. He Yan walked out with Xiao Jue, and it was only then that they could speak with Lord Cui.

Cui Yuezhi’s senior concubine walked beside He Yan, a little behind Lord Cui and Xiao Jue, a few years older than He Yan, looking gentle and honest, her last name was Wei. Lady Wei said, “The young lord is so good to the young Madam.”

He Yan was taken aback for a moment and was about to say, “Why say that?” but then she smiled and said, “Yes, my husband dotes on me a lot, he always accommodates me, and supports me in everything. I feel very fortunate to have found such a satisfactory husband in this lifetime.”

Lady Wei chuckled and said, “They say that the women of Jiyang are straightforward, and I see that Lady He truly speaks her mind.”

He Yan chuckled silently, giving Xiao Jue the title of an overly doting husband, which meant that she could do whatever she wanted in Jiyang during these days without any concern. Xiao Jue probably didn’t expect that he would dig a pit for himself.

By the time they finished speaking, the two of them had already entered the main hall of the mansion. It was not known when one of Lord Cui’s concubine had already prepared hot tea and was waiting for them to come in.

Cui Yuezhi sat down in his chair and waved his hand, “The rest of you may leave.”

Several concubines and servants left.

He then smiled and said, “Huanqing, Yuyan, please be seated.”

Although Cui Yuezhi was a Zhongqi, he didn’t put on any airs and looked no different from a regular military man. He appeared kind and friendly, but he had a pair of bright and sharp eyes, like a heavy blade that looked dull but was chilling when unsheathed.

Xiao Jue and He Yan took their seats on the chairs beside him.

“Yesterday, I was originally going to come back to pick you up, but the Princess had an impromptu banquet and I couldn’t make it back in time. I finally had the chance to see you today,” He carefully examined Xiao Jue, and sighed, “Just a moment ago at the banquet, I only thought you looked good. Now that I take a closer look, you do have some resemblance to my late brother.”

He Yan: “…”

“You look somewhat similar to me as well,” Cuì Yuèzhī said. “Truly worthy of being a member of my Cui family.”

He Yan: “…”

Xiao Jue nodded.

“When you were born, I also held you in my arms. You were just as big as my two fists, maybe just one fist,” Cui Yuezhi said, “My brother wouldn’t even let me touch you. Later, you were taken away…” His gaze turned sad, “Before my brother and sister-in-law died, they thought of you. If they were in heaven and knew how well you’ve turned out, they would be very happy.”

Xiao Jue remained silent.

Cui Yuezhi himself suddenly laughed, “Why am I saying these unhappy things, don’t you all find it unpleasant? Huanqing, Yuyan, you’ve come at just the right time. In a few days, it will be the Spring Equinox, the Water God Festival in Jiyang, you must join in the festivities. I guarantee that once you’re here, you won’t want to leave.”

He Yan was surprised, “Spring Equinox?”

“What’s wrong?” Cui Yuezhi said, “Is there something unsuitable about it?”

“No, no,” He Yan smiled, “It’s just that my birthday is also after the Spring Equinox… It’s just a coincidence.”

“Really?” Cui Yuezhi was also surprised for a moment, then laughed heartily, “It seems that Yuyan has a strong connection with Jiyang! Your birthday happens to coincide with the Water God Festival, Huanqing, you should celebrate Yuyan’s birthday properly during that time.”

Xiao Jue glanced at her and said, “Alright.”

They talked for a while, and then Cui Yuezhi got up and said, “Huanqing, Yuyan, come with me to the ancestral hall to offer incense to my brother and sister-in-law. You haven’t seen each other in many years, and if they are in heaven, they will surely be delighted to know that you have built a family.”

After offering incense to his brother and sister-in-law, the sky was no longer early, so Cui Yuezhi asked the servants to take them back to their rooms to rest. They would explore and enjoy the city of Jiyang tomorrow.

Once the two returned to their room, He Yan couldn’t wait to sit down on the bed and said, “I’m exhausted! Sitting straight and proper all day, pretending to be a woman is not something humans can do. Even the daily training at the martial arts field is much easier than this.”

“Pretending to be a woman?” Xiao Jue chuckled, “It seems you don’t really see yourself as a woman.”

He Yan was also quite helpless, thinking that Xiao Jue had arranged this husband and wife pair, but they happened to be a talented female. If she had been asked to play the role of “a warrior’s daughter” or “a girl helping at the docks to carry stones and firewood,” she would have fit seamlessly.

Xiao Jue took off his outer garment and placed it on the wooden table next to the couch. He Yan sat up and said, “I really appreciate your help today. Without your intervention, it could have turned into a major incident.”

“Am I not an overly doting husband, always accommodating, always thinking of you?” Xiao Jue’s voice carried a touch of sarcasm, “It’s the least I can do.”

He Yan asked, “Did you hear that?”

Although it was all pretend, it still made He Yan feel embarrassed when Xiao Jue heard it. She smiled and said, “I’m doing this to make our marital relationship appear more affectionate and genuine. Don’t be mad, young master.”

Just as they were talking, someone knocked on the door from outside. He Yan said, “Come in.”

Cui Jiao and Hong Qiao each carried a food basket and took out the dishes, placing them on the table one by one. He Yan was puzzled and asked, “I didn’t ask for food to be brought in.”

“I did,” Xiao Jue said. “Place it here, then you may leave.”

Cui Jiao and Hong Qiao followed his orders and left the room.

He Yan questioned, “Aren’t you full? You just ate at the banquet.”

Xiao Jue smirked slightly, “I wonder who’s been fidgety and jumpy because of Ling Xiu, like a startled bird, not even eating their meal.” He asked, “Nervous?” 

He Yan hesitated, “You noticed, huh?” 

Xiao Jue: “Anyone would notice.” 

“Is it that obvious?” He Yan was quite skeptical, but when she saw the food on the table, she immediately became happy and said, “So, is this all for me on purpose? Thank you, Young Master! Young Master, you’re too kind, there’s no one better in the world than you.” 

“Enough,” Xiao Jue furrowed his brow slightly. “It’s disgusting to hear.” 

He Yan had already grown used to his way of speaking and pulled him to sit at the table with her, saying, “Let’s consider this a late-night snack. Join me in eating.” 

“I won’t eat.” 

“Come on, come on,” He Yan tugged at his sleeve, not letting him leave, and handed him a pair of chopsticks, “Look, there are two pairs of chopsticks here; it was meant for two people. I can’t finish it all by myself. Do me a favor, Young Master.”

Xiao Jue seemed to find the situation amusing and asked, “Are you underestimating your own appetite, Miss He?”

“Although I have a hearty appetite, I’m not a bottomless pit. Besides, have you not heard the saying ‘a feast for the eyes’? I can eat three bowls of rice, but when I see you looking this handsome and elegant, I can eat five bowls.”

Xiao Jue choked for a moment, then looked at her and asked, “Are you a pig?”

“Don’t be so harsh with your words.” She took a bite of a shrimp roe and winter bamboo shoot dish and a three-thread squash roll, then pushed them towards him. “Don’t you like these? Have some.”

Xiao Jue was taken aback for a moment. After a while, he looked at her and asked, “How did you know?”

He Yan stuffed a piece of thousand-layer steamed cake into her mouth and said, “I saw you use pick a few pieces when I was having breakfast, and you did that again during the noon banquet. You don’t touch things you don’t like, so I figured you must like it. But you’re quite strange. How come you like vegetarian food? Don’t people from wealthy families have more refined tastes?” No wonder his waist is so slim, she thought. 

Xiao Jue didn’t respond to her words, he just lowered his head and continued eating slowly. 

He Yan paid him no mind either. When she was younger and had to pose as a man, she liked to ponder details when she had nothing else to do, as she believed that attention to detail determined success or failure. The men in the He family had all been closely scrutinized by her, and some had even thought there was something wrong with her intellect. Things improved a bit during her time in the military, given that she had been living as a man for many years and had gained experience. 

If she really wanted to observe someone, she could do so meticulously, especially now that she spent her days and nights with Xiao Jue. Figuring out what he liked and disliked in terms of food was a piece of cake. 

“Is your birthday really after the Spring Equinox?” He Yan was happily eating when she suddenly heard Xiao Jue ask this. 

She paused for a moment, but her face didn’t reveal anything, and she casually said, “How is that possible? I just said it casually. What if Lord Cuì wants to give me a birthday gift? Wouldn’t it be a great opportunity to make some money?” 

Xiao Jue snorted, “Liar.”

“I’m not a liar,” He Yan pushed it further, boldly retorting, “I have to say, Young Master, you were the one who put on a seamless act during the banquet, fooling everyone. What’s with the ‘I have an agreement with my wife’… Hahaha, Young Master, honestly, I never thought I’d hear such words from you.” 

Xiao Jue watched He Yan teasing him with composure and only asked, “Is it really that funny?” 

“It’s very funny!” 

He nodded, “Then you can handle it yourself from now on, Madam Qiao.” 

He Yan couldn’t laugh anymore. 

She said, “Young Master, I was just speaking casually; please don’t take it to heart.” 

Xiao Jue paid her no mind and continued to eat his soup. 

“Stingy,” she said, “Incredibly stingy, it’s remarkable.” 

Xiao Jue remained unfazed. 

He Yan’s eyes flickered, and she softened her voice, “Husband, your wife was wrong. Please forgive my impoliteness. I won’t dare to do it again, Husband, Husband?” 

Xiao Jue couldn’t take it anymore and snapped, “….Shut up!” 

He told her, “Speak properly.” 

He Yan understood that the cold and heartless Commander Xiao was quite susceptible to softness rather than forcefulness. She burst into laughter. 

The laughter reached the neighboring room, where Fei Nu and Chiwu, who were playing leaf cards with Lin Shuanghe, simultaneously looked up. 

Chiwu sighed, “To act to this extent, Commander Xiao is really going all out. So is He Yan; he nearly sees himself as a woman. If they are like this, how can we not work hard?” 

Fei Nu had no response, and Lin Shuanghe, upon hearing this, stifled a laugh and said, “Yes… indeed, very committed.”


At night, they still slept separately, with one in the bed and the other on the cot. The next morning, He Yan woke up a little later and found Xiao Jue standing at the door, conversing with Fei Nu and Chiwu. 

After He Yan had freshened up, Cui Jiao and Hong Qiao brought breakfast from the kitchen. He Yan said to Xiao Jue, “Young Master, it’s time to eat.” 

“You can eat yourself,” Xiao Jue replied. “I have some business to attend to outside today. You and Lin Shuanghe stay at the mansion and don’t wander.” 

“You’re going out? Where are you going?” He Yan asked. “Can I come with you?”

Xiao Jue hesitated for a moment, then said, “It’s not convenient.”

He Yan hesitated for a moment and approached Xiao Jue, asking softly, “Are you going to look for Chai Anxi’s whereabouts?”

With this question, Chiwu was surprised; he didn’t expect Xiao Jue to reveal this information to He Yan.

“Yes, I am. Having you along would raise suspicions.”

He Yan nodded and said, “Alright, then you go.”

She was surprisingly cooperative, and she didn’t cling to him as usual. Xiao Jue was briefly taken aback, looking at her thoughtfully.

He Yan turned and walked into the room, saying, “Hurry up and go. But don’t forget that you won’t be able to shake me off if I change my mind.”

Xiao Jue didn’t say anything and left with Fei Nu and Chiwu.

After they left, He Yan had breakfast by herself. Cui Yuezhi was not at the estate; he had left early to train his troops. He Yan went to the next room to find Lin Shuanghe, but she found it empty. The servant girls who served Lin Shuanghe laughed and told her, “Steward Lin left early this morning to buy some things. He said he’ll be back later.”

He Yan thought for a moment and quickly realized the situation. Lin Shuanghe wasn’t a real steward, and he had been following Xiao Jue for the past few days, so he might have gotten tired of it. Given the rare opportunity of Xiao Jue going out today, he was probably enjoying his freedom to spend the day outside. However, he was being quite inconsiderate by not inviting her along. Perhaps he was afraid she would report back to Xiao Jue? 

But Lin Shuanghe’s actions played right into He Yan’s hands. 

She had been in Jiyang for a few days, but because of her current identity as “Wen Yuyan,” she was constantly with Xiao Jue and had no spare time to inquire about the whereabouts of Liu Buwang. With both Xiao Jue and Lin Shuanghe absent today, it was the perfect opportunity for her to act on her own. 

When Liu Buwang had bid farewell to her back then, he had mentioned that if she ever had a chance to pass through Jiyang, both within and outside the city, there was a tea house at the foot of the mountains. If she wanted to find him, she could inquire there, and she might have a chance to see him again. 

He Yan put on her outer garment, packed a few things, and Cui Jiao, noticing this, asked, “Madam, are you going out?” 

“Today, Young Master and the steward are both not here, and I don’t know anyone at the mansion, so it’s rather boring. Why don’t we go out as well? The weather has been lovely these days. How about taking a trip to the mountains outside Jiyang to enjoy the greenery?” 

The two maids exchanged glances, not understanding what “greenery” she was referring to. 

“Just consider it decided,” He Yan said and thought for a moment. She stashed the retractable nine-section whip in her bosom and headed out of the door. “Let’s go.”


Without Xiao Jue, He Yan was completely free and unencumbered. 

As a guest of the Cui family, there was naturally no one who dared to stop her. Zhong Fu was concerned about her going out alone and wanted to send two guards from the Cui mansion with her. However, He Yan sternly refused. “I’m just going for a short walk nearby, and I won’t go far. Besides, it’s broad daylight, and with so many people around, I doubt anyone would dare to commit a crime. Zhong Fu, you can rest assured. I’ll go for a little while and then find my husband. The two guards by my husband’s side are highly skilled, and they’re more than enough.” 

Zhong Fu reluctantly agreed. 

Once they left the Cui household, He Yan had Cui Jiao hire a horse-drawn carriage not far from the mansion. She instructed the coachman to head in the direction outside the city. 

Hong Qiao asked cautiously, “Madam, are we really leaving the city?”

“It’s not leaving the city; we’re going to take a look at Qiyun Mountain just outside the city,” He Yan said. “When I arrived, I passed by Qiyun Mountain, and the scenery on the mountain was stunning. I’ve been looking forward to it. Today, I happen to have some free time, so why not seize the day and go now.” 

She spoke as if it were real, and the two maids had no reason to doubt her. 

At the city gate, He Yan showed the token that Cui Yuezhi had given her to the gate guards. Seeing that she was from the Cui residence, they easily let her pass and exit the city. 

Qiyun Mountain was in the direction straight ahead from the city gate, and the path was not difficult to walk. When they reached the foot of the mountain, He Yan suggested, “I’m feeling a bit thirsty. Let’s see if there’s a teahouse nearby to rest for a while before continuing.” 

Cui Jiao and Hong Qiao naturally had no objections. Hong Qiao got off the carriage and said, “Madam, please rest in the carriage for now. I’ll go take a look.” 

Shortly afterward, Hong Qiao returned, smiling, and said, “There’s a teahouse nearby, just a short distance away, Madam. Let me assist you, and we can walk over directly.” 

He Yan readily agreed. 

They hadn’t walked for long when they spotted a thatched teahouse under a locust tree at the foot of the mountain. There were a few tea guests sitting in groups of twos and threes, enjoying tea and chatting. 

He Yan approached and ordered a few cups of tea and some snacks. She suggested that Cui Jiao and Hong Qiao join the carriage driver in having a drink. 

“Madam, this servant is not thirsty.” 

“This servant is not thirsty either.” 

“After walking for so long, how can you not be thirsty?” He Yan said. “Go ahead, I’ll go ask the innkeeper if there’s anything interesting around here.” 

Before they could answer, He Yan continued walking. 

The owner of the teahouse was a middle-aged couple, both wearing blue headwraps, with dark skin that’s a little flushed, probably due to the heat. When the female owner saw He Yan, she asked, “Miss, is the tea and snacks not to your liking?” 

He Yan smiled and replied, “No, I’m here to inquire about someone.” 

“Inquire about someone?” The innkeeper draped his handkerchief over his shoulder. “Miss, who are you looking for?” 

“The person’s name is Liu Buwang,” He Yan gestured, “taller than me, around forty years old, good-looking, and carries a zither with a sword, likes to wear white clothes, like a wandering swordsman.” After a pause, she added, “Not necessarily white clothes, but definitely an elegant man.” 

After all, she hadn’t seen Liu Buwang in many years, and perhaps he had changed his style and no longer preferred white clothes. 

The lady thought for a moment, then smiled and said, “Miss, the person you’re describing, is that the Yunlin Hermit?” 

“Yunlin Hermit?” 

“Yes, we don’t know his real name, but every year, a few days after the Water God Festival, he comes to our teahouse to ask for a cup of tea. As for the name Yunlin Hermit, that’s just what people call him based on what you’ve described. We don’t know his real name or surname. But according to what you’ve said, wearing white clothes, very elegant, good-looking, and carrying a qin, it should be the same person.” 

He Yan felt relieved and asked, “Do you happen to know where he is now?” 

“Miss, that’s a bit difficult for us,” the innkeeper said. “In this place, we don’t inquire about people’s origins. Naturally, we don’t know where he is right now. But don’t be discouraged. He comes to this place every year after the Water God Festival. I think he should be in Jiyang City now, probably for the upcoming Water God Festival at the spring equinox.” 

He Yan looked a bit worried. Jiyang City was not small, and while it might not be difficult to find Liu Buwang with the help of Cui Yuezhi’s men, this matter couldn’t be known to others. She would have to go alone to find him.

Not very easy. 

Seeing her look different, the elder lady asked, “Young lady, who is he to you? Are you looking for him?” 

“He is someone… I haven’t seen in a long time.” He Yan forced a smile and, after a moment, added, “If, after this year’s Water God Festival, that Yunlin hermit comes here again for tea, please ask the innkeeper to pass a message to him for me. Tell him that Ah He is now in Jiyang, and ask him not to leave, to wait here for a reunion.” 

“Alright,” the innkeeper said with a grin, “I’ll make sure to deliver it.” 

He Yan finally felt relieved. 

She returned to her seat in the tea house, and Cui Jiao and Hong Qiao asked, “Madam, the tea has gone cold.” 

“If it’s cold, it won’t taste good anymore, so I won’t drink it,” He Yan said. To be honest, after the lessons of her past life, she was cautious about drinking tea outside. 

The two maids exchanged glances, and after a while, Hong Qiao asked, “Madam, have you decided where you’d like to go?” 

“I just asked the innkeeper, and he said there are wolves on the mountain these days, so it’s best not to go up the mountain,” He Yan lied without a change in her expression, “I thought about it and realized that it’s too dangerous for a few of us weak women to go mountain climbing today. So, let’s head back home directly.” 

The carriage driver: “…” 

He wanted to say something but ultimately didn’t say anything. Who goes out for a stroll and then returns without doing anything? These ladies from Huzhou were truly difficult to deal with, clearly taking advantage of their favoritism! 

It’s too much! 


On the other side, Xiao Jue and his group found the location of Cuiwei Pavillion. 

Lei Hou said that the person he had been in contact with was in Cuiwei Pavillion in Jiyang. Xiao Jue suspected this person to be Chai Anxi. However, now, the place in front of them had turned into a blackened, burnt-out ruin, and if you sniffed carefully, you could still smell the burnt odor. 

“This Cuiwei Pavillion used to be a jewelry store,” the messenger who reported back said with a respectful bow, “Half a month ago, a fire broke out one night and completely burned Cuiwei Pavillion to the ground. None of the clerks, the shopkeeper, or the new accountant, Mr. Chai, came out.” 

The people were gone, and the leads had been cut. 

“Did you find any remains?” Xiao Jue asked. 

“They all burned to ashes. There are no remains. The neighbors said it was a terrible sight. Cuiwei Pavillion has been here all along, and the authorities said they would renovate it in a few days. However, the surrounding shops found it inauspicious and closed down.” 

Chiwu tossed a silver ingot to the messenger, who pocketed it and bowed to the group before disappearing into the crowd. 

Xiao Jue stared at his retreating figure and said after a while, “They escaped.” 

The fire started not too early or too late, clearly revealing that Lei Hou’s capture had been exposed, and the other party had escaped. 

“Do we need to investigate further, Young Master?” Fei Nu asked. “With the leads cut off now…” 

“No need for further investigation,” Xiao Jue turned around. 

The two of them were puzzled. 

“If it’s already known that our operation is compromised, and the other party is hiding their identity, they must be lurking in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to act. The enemy is in the dark, and so are we. So, there’s no need to do anything.” 

“We just have to wait,” he said.

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