Rebirth of a Star General Chapter 95

Chapter 95 – Ambushed

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“Don’t drink!”

Her voice, sharp as a sword and filled with a mournful tone, abruptly interrupted the cheerful atmosphere of the banquet.

The unexpected incident occurred at this very moment.

Standing beside Xiao Jue, Yingyue was holding a wine jug, having just poured wine. Before she could withdraw it, she transformed it into a dagger-like shape. Without hesitation, she thrust it toward Xiao Jue.

The young man remained calm, showing no sign of panic. With one swift motion, he flung his jade wine cup into the air. In mid-air, it collided with the dagger, shattering both the cup and the oncoming blade.

Suddenly, the wind howled from all directions. The beautiful women who had just performed the dance did not fully retreat; instead, they positioned themselves on both sides and rushed toward Xiao Jue. It was an intricately planned assassination attempt.

“Uncle!” cried out He Yan. She saw the youth slam his hand on the table, and a long sword appeared in his grip. Surrounded by ten or so assailants, he sternly instructed her, “Stay back!”

As for Sun Xiangfu, he seemed to have been stunned by the sudden turn of events and cowered beneath a table. He still managed to shout, “Help! Someone, come quickly!”

However, He Yan was focused on the guard behind Yuan Baozhen. She had initially suspected that this man, who belonged to He Rufei’s camp, had ulterior motives for following Yuan Baozhen. But at that moment, consumed by anger and shock, she had only been concerned with the wine on the table and hadn’t considered the possibility of an assassination.

To her amazement, the guard did not make a move.

Could it be that the assassins had nothing to do with him? He Yan considered this possibility but then glanced back at Xiao Jue, who was now surrounded by attackers, and felt her anger swell.

The assassins were all women, appearing graceful and gentle at first glance, but their every move was deadly. Concealed in their sleeves were hidden darts and throwing knives, which were now unleashed toward Xiao Jue.

In the vast banquet hall, only Xiao Jue stood against this group of assassins. He Yan had experience on the battlefield in her past life, and she had participated in martial arts competitions in this life, but she had never encountered such a covert and treacherous attack. Fueled by righteous indignation, she grabbed a small knife from the table and charged into the fray.

“Uncle, I’ll help you!” she shouted. 

He Yan, in the middle of her sentence, suddenly realized that she was currently disguised as “Cheng Lisu,” a useless young master in Shuo Jing who shouldn’t know martial arts. She couldn’t openly reveal her martial skills. With this in mind, she shouted, “Why are these people’s sleeves so long? I can’t even see you!” As she spoke, she grabbed the sleeve of a woman, swiftly drew a dagger, and cut the long sleeve, turning it into a short one. 

In an instant, the long water sleeves were transformed into short sleeves, and using concealed weapons, made her actions more conspicuous. He Yan continued to shout while maneuvering through the crowd. She moved gracefully, like an agile fish, slipping through the grasp of those who tried to catch her. The young man’s screams and curses added a touch of absurdity to the scene. 

Xiao Jue swiped away the woman’s blade with his sword and turned to glance at her. 

He Yan kept shouting, “Help! Murder!” She used her palm to deflect a flying dart that came at her and kicked another woman in the face. 

A faint twitch appeared at the corner of Xiao Jue’s mouth.

The targets of these courtesans were originally Xiao Jue, and all their deadly techniques and hidden weapons were aimed at him. Suddenly, this young man appeared and disrupted their plans. Yingyue’s face turned pale, her fingers clenched, and she angrily struck towards He Yan’s head. “How dare you!”

He Yan exclaimed, “Oh no!” and quickly hid behind Xiao Jue, shouting, “Uncle, save me!” while feeling astonished. 

These ten or so women were all highly skilled, and their techniques were not something that could be acquired overnight. Their methods seemed more like those of trained assassins. 

Who had Xiao Jue offended to the extent that they would send such skilled assassins after him? 

Among these women, Yingyue’s skills stood out the most. She was not necessarily the most skilled, but she continuously unleashed hidden weapons, such as hawthorn arrowheads, plum blossom needles, Emei thorns, and iron lotus flowers… He Yan couldn’t fathom how she concealed so many hidden weapons in her sleeves. However, it seemed that Xiao Jue did not intend to take her life, as he skillfully avoided vital points with his sword. 

He Yan knew that even when he was young, Xiao Jue’s swordsmanship was extraordinary, and he was incredibly agile. Now, after reuniting with him after many years, this was the first time she had seen him in action. He seemed to be handling the situation effortlessly. The assassins couldn’t get close, and many laid on the ground, unable to rise. With a swift motion, he pulled on Yingyue’s sleeve, causing her to move closer. In the next moment, his sword was aimed directly at her throat. 

The young man’s voice was deep and seemed more pleasant than the earlier melody of the zither, but it carried an unmistakable intent to kill, sharp and relentless. 

“Who sent you?”

He Yan couldn’t help but glance at the guard standing behind Yuan Baozhen.

The guard protected Yuan Baozhen, and his face, which had been hidden in the shadows earlier, now came into view. He appeared equally flustered, as if he hadn’t anticipated such a situation. There were no clues to be found in his expression. However, He Yan noticed that his index finger bent slightly, forming a half-circle.

No one would pay attention to a guard at a time like this. The guard’s movement was extremely subtle, and if He Yan hadn’t been closely watching him, it would have gone unnoticed.

Years of experience had honed her instincts, causing her to subconsciously turn her head to look. She saw a servant guarding the gate, who had been cowering behind a low table, suddenly rushing toward Xiao Jue.

“Watch out!”

Xiao Jue was pointing at Yingyue. He Yan couldn’t afford to worry about anything else. With a single palm, she pushed Xiao Jue away, and the man fell in front of her, his throat pierced by Xiao Jue’s sword.

All the assassins were women, so who would have noticed this servant? Moreover, from the very beginning of the incident, this person had been hiding like any other powerless servant, behind a low table. No one could have guessed that he was the final pawn.

“Is everything alright?” Xiao Jue furrowed his brow and asked her.

He Yan shook her head.

On the ground, Yingyue suddenly burst into laughter.

In the midst of the silence, her laughter sounded particularly jarring. He Yan turned to look at her; her lips were bloody, but her expression was fierce.

He Yan took a step forward and asked, “Who are you? Why did you try to harm my uncle?”

Yingyue looked at He Yan with a malicious expression. “If it weren’t for you interfering, we wouldn’t be in this situation today! You’ll never know who my master is…”

She coughed up more and more blood, and the blood she was coughing up was an abnormal black color, just like the rest of the women around her. He Yan realized that they had taken poison; if their assassination attempt failed, they chose to end their lives.

“Is that so?” Xiao Jue looked at Yingyue, and suddenly, a mocking smile crossed his lips. His eyes glinted with scorn as he said, “There are countless people in this world who want to kill me. But those who are in such a hurry, there’s only one.”

“I accept this generous gift from your master. I hope he can withstand my return gift.”

Yingyue’s face turned ashen, but she had already taken poison, and in a matter of moments, her complexion became gray. Like the other ten or so women, she perished, lifeless.

Xiao Jue stepped over her lifeless body and stood in the hall. He looked at Sun Xiangfu, who had been cowering in fear and trembling behind a low table, and rebuked, “Magistrate Sun, perhaps you’d like to explain why, in your banquet, the maids in your residence attempted to assassinate me. Are you deliberately plotting against me?”

Sun Xiangfu had long been frightened out of his wits, and upon hearing this, he almost burst into tears. After the assassins had all been dealt with, he finally mustered the courage to stand up from behind the low table. He hurriedly explained, “Commander, I truly had no knowledge of this! I swear I had no intention of harming you! These songstresses were brought to my residence just half a month ago, and I… I had no idea they were assassins! Lord Yuan, please help me explain. I… I really don’t know what’s going on!”

Yuan Baozhen, who had been silent the whole time, also regained his composure. He patted his chest, still trembling, and said, “Magistrate Sun, this is not a matter of whether you knew or not. These songstresses are all from your residence. If something had really happened to Commander Xiao, you would be implicated as well. I believe this matter is not as simple as it appears on the surface. Let’s clean up this place first and have the coroner come to investigate who these people were and what their identities were.”

He then looked at Xiao Jue and said, “Commander Xiao, you’ve also been startled. How about we freshen up and move to a different place? We can listen to Magistrate Sun explain what happened. I suspect these songstresses were prepared in advance.”

Xiao Jue looked at him with a somewhat mocking expression and said, “Alright.”

The night banquet had come to an abrupt end halfway through, and at this point, it was clear that nobody had the mood to continue. The hall was in chaos, and soon, the coroner arrived with his constables to remove the bodies of the songstresses. Yuan Baozhen asked, “Should we search their bodies for any clues?”

“Since they arrived at Magistrate Sun’s residence half a month ago, any evidence would have already been hidden. If there is any, it’s likely meant to frame someone else,” Xiao Jue stared at Yuan Baozhen and calmly stated, “Lord Yuan, don’t be deceived.”

Yuan Baozhen’s scalp tingled.

Xiao Jue didn’t pay any more attention to him. He turned and saw He Yan standing there in a daze. Suddenly, he remembered that she hadn’t said much since earlier. 

Is she scared? 

“What are you standing there for? Let’s go,” he said to He Yan. But just as he spoke, he felt his sleeve being tugged. 

“Uncle,” the young man looked up, his usually cheerful face now devoid of a smile. He appeared slightly nervous, and his gaze seemed distant, as if he wasn’t really looking at him. He continued, “When that servant rushed over just now, I pushed you aside. He threw something at my face, and my eyes are stinging a bit.” His voice was soft and hesitant, a far cry from his usual confidence. “I think I can’t see anymore.”

One doctor after another went in, and they all came out with fearful expressions, shaking their heads and sighing. 

Xiao Jue’s expression grew increasingly grim.

Sun Xiangfu watched with trepidation from the side. Who could have imagined that Xiao Jue’s nephew, the young man who had been with Xiao Jue, would be injured in the eyes by the assassins? Doctors could only pry open the young man’s eyelids and examine him. He kept saying that he couldn’t see, but Lanzhou City didn’t have any renowned physicians, and they had already brought over all the doctors they could find, but none had a solution.

The powder on the ground had been scattered by the wind, leaving no traces, and they didn’t even know what kind of poison it was. Fortunately, the young man’s injuries were limited to his eyes, and the rest of his body was unharmed. Otherwise, if it had been a life-threatening injury, Xiao Jue would have been furious.

“Commander,” Sun Xiangfu said nervously, “I’ll go find a renowned doctor to come immediately. The young master will surely be fine with good care.”

Xiao Jue snapped, “Get out.”

His tone carried anger, and at such a critical moment, Sun Xiangfu didn’t dare to provoke Xiao Jue further. He hastily uttered a few words and then fled.

Xiao Jue stood outside the room for a moment and then walked in. He happened to pass by the last doctor, who saw the young man sitting on the couch, seemingly calm. After a while, he used his hands to gesture in front of his own face, as if he couldn’t believe he couldn’t see.

Due to her complaints of pain, the doctors were cautious about using any medication. Instead, they applied soothing and cooling herbal remedies to clean strips of cloth, which they used to cover her eyes.

He Yan had always been cheerful, sometimes clever, and at times seemingly foolish. Whether her apparent foolishness was genuine or feigned remained a mystery. Her eyes were particularly striking—clear and lively. When she widened them, she appeared somewhat silly, but when she smiled, they brimmed with vitality and cunning. However, with the cloth covering her eyes, her face suddenly seemed unfamiliar, and her vivid expressions from before appeared blurred.

Xiao Jue suddenly remembered the incident at the banquet when the assassination attempt by Ying Yue and her group occurred. He recalled that He Yan had rushed over without hesitation. Even though he had no intention of drinking the wine that Ying Yue had poured, the young man’s cry at that moment seemed genuine, filled with fear and anger that didn’t appear feigned. 

It sent shivers down his spine. 

He walked inside and approached He Yan’s seat. 

He Yan seemed to sense something but appeared uncertain. She turned her head and asked cautiously, “Has someone arrived?” 

Xiao Jue remained silent. 

“Is there anyone?” She muttered again, almost in a whisper, then turned her head to settle back into silence. 

Throughout their journey to Liangzhou City, He Yan had been quite talkative. Since Xiao Jue didn’t engage in conversation with her, she sought out Fei Nu. Fei Nu, a person of few words, was then replaced by the arrival of Song Taotao. Someone who was usually chatty suddenly became quiet, which felt unsettling to those around her.

This young man was only sixteen years old, but he was different from ordinary people. Upon learning that he couldn’t see, he was somewhat panicked but didn’t cry out or shed tears. It seemed like he quickly accepted this fact. However, when he sat quietly, it gave people a sense of sympathy. 

Perhaps it was because he appeared so frail, making him seem quite pitiful. 

Xiao Jue asked, “How do you feel?” 

“Comm…Uncle?” He Yan was surprised for a moment before replying, “I’m just a bit uncomfortable.” She reached out as if she wanted to touch her own eyes, but her fingers touched the cloth bandage instead. She quickly withdrew her hand and said, “My eyes, are they really unable to see?” 

His tone was calm even as he asked this question. 

Xiao Jue should have answered “yes,” but at this moment, he found it difficult to say. 

This young man, who possessed remarkable skills and was at the prime of his life, had a promising future in the Liangzhou Garrison. In a few years, he would likely rise through the ranks. He was like a pearl in the mud, and his talents would not go unnoticed. However, losing his sight changed everything. Leaving aside the impact on his future, he needed courage just to adapt to these dark days. 

After all, he hadn’t been blind from birth. Losing something he once had and then regaining it was much harder to bear than never having it at all.

“Uncle, are you feeling sorry for me?” He Yan suddenly asked. Although her eyes were covered by the cloth, her tone was evident. If it were a usual situation, she would have widened her eyes, and her gaze would be filled with cunning and mockery.

“Perhaps you’re blaming yourself?” She continued with a smile. “You don’t need to blame yourself for me. Instead, you should praise me. Maybe if you praise me, I’ll think that everything I’ve done was worth it.”

“Praise you for what?” Xiao Jue replied indifferently.

“Of course, praise me for being amazing,” He Yan said with a touch of surprise in her voice. “If it weren’t for me reminding you not to drink the wine, we wouldn’t have uncovered this assassination attempt. I’m your savior, aren’t I amazing?”

What time is it now? He’s actually thinking about these things? Xiao Jue remained silent, unsure whether to think of the young man as bold or truly uncaring.

“You don’t seem to be too upset,” Xiao Jue remarked. “Your eyes can’t see, perhaps never again.”

As soon as these words were spoken, the young man’s fingers twitched slightly, an almost imperceptible movement that Xiao Jue caught. 

He was more afraid than he let on.

“Is heaven punishing me so harshly?” He Yan said. “I’ve never done anything wrong in my life. Why would it treat me like this? If… if this is my fate, then so be it. There are many kinds of blind people, and if I must be one, I’ll be the most remarkable among them.”

Xiao Jue was slightly taken aback; these words sounded strangely familiar, as though he had heard them a long time ago.

“But, Uncle, are you giving up on me so soon?” He Yan asked. “I think you should find a few more doctors to see me. Maybe there’s still hope. Why are you talking as if it’s hopeless?”

Xiao Jue glanced at him; the young man, despite trying to appear normal, seemed somewhat dispirited. “Rest well,” he said before turning and leaving.

After Xiao Jue left the room, it returned to tranquility. Due to the suspicion of traitors within the mansion, all servants had been removed from the room, leaving only Xiao Jue’s own men, including Fei Nu, in the courtyard.

He Yan reached out as if to untie the knot behind his head but stopped after a moment, leaving his hand hanging. 

She lowered his head and muttered, “Ding Yi.”

Ding Yi, the guard who had once been He Rufei’s little servant and the person who had personally given her a bowl of poison in her previous life. She had heard Ding Yi’s name when Yuan Baozhen called for him.


In the study, Sun Xiangfu’s face was contorted, on the verge of tears. In front of him sat Yuan Baozhen.

“Lord Yuan, you mustn’t stand by and do nothing! You are the only one who can help me now,” Sun Xiangfu pleaded with a mournful face. “I truly don’t know what happened with those assassins today. If Commander Xiao gets angry, and now that Young Master Cheng has lost his sight, I’m afraid Commander Xiao will place the blame on me. I’m just a county magistrate; I can’t bear the wrath of General Fengyun!” 

Sun Xiangfu had personally witnessed the close relationship between Xiao Jue and Cheng Lisu. When Cheng Lisu and Sun Ling had a dispute, Xiao Jue rushed over to protect Cheng Lisu, which was quite terrifying. At that time, their argument only escalated to a few harsh words, but now that Cheng Lisu had truly lost his sight, wouldn’t Xiao Jue seek retribution? Sun Xiangfu shuddered at the thought. 

“I don’t believe Commander Xiao is such an unreasonable person,” Yuan Baozhen tried to reassure him. 

As they were speaking, Xiao Jue arrived.

Sun Xiangfu didn’t even have time to plead with Yuan Baozhen anymore. He quickly straightened his robe and knelt down in front of Xiao Jue.

“What is the meaning of this?” Xiao Jue looked down at him, his expression cold.

“Commander, I truly don’t know what’s happening right now! I’ve been deceived by them as well! Even if you gave me a hundred times the courage, I wouldn’t dare to harm you!” Sun Xiangfu began to plead his innocence.

“Get up,” Xiao Jue said, his tone showing disdain for Sun Xiangfu’s behavior. He walked into the room, took the seat at the top, and looked at Sun Xiangfu. “Tell me how you encountered them,” he continued. “The assassins.”

Did he… believe that Sun Xiangfu was not the mastermind behind this? Sun Xiangfu sensed this and was overjoyed. On the other hand, Yuan Baozhen’s eyes flickered, but he remained silent.

Sun Xiangfu quickly stood up, not bothering to dust off the dirt on his robe, and took a seat in a slightly lower chair. In this way, he and Yuan Baozhen sitting together made it seem like they were subordinate to Xiao Jue. Sun Xiangfu wiped the sweat off his forehead and said, “In fact, they entered the mansion about half a month ago. Initially, a theater troupe came to the city…”

The troupe was led by an old woman who brought a group of beautiful young women to the city. She claimed that their hometown was suffering from a severe drought, and they had no means of survival, so they moved to Liangzhou city. They set up a stage on the eastern side of the city and performed three times a day.

At first, only commoners came to watch, but these women were not only beautiful but also talented in singing. They gradually gained fame, attracting the attention of many nobles. As word spread, it reached the ears of Sun Ling.

Sun Ling, who had been involved with most of the beautiful women in Liangzhou city, decided to buy the troupe and have them perform in his mansion. When the old woman refused, Sun Ling’s men beat her. When she was about to be killed, Yingyue stepped forward, offering to persuade her sisters to join the mansion willingly in exchange for sparing their leader.

Sun Ling generously agreed, and indeed, Yingyue managed to persuade her fellow sisters to enter the mansion. Once they arrived, they behaved gently and politely. After entering Sun’s mansion, Sun Ling discovered that these girls were not only skilled in singing but also in various arts, including music, chess, calligraphy, and painting. Among them, Yingyue stood out the most.

Sun Xiangfu also got to know Yingyue.

Unlike Sun Ling, Sun Xiangfu had some ambitions. While being the county magistrate of Liangzhou was good, what if he could climb even higher? Even as a county magistrate, his position was not completely secure. He needed to manage relations both above and below him, including people he wasn’t very familiar with, like the new commander of the Liangzhou Guard.

Sun Xiangfu brought Yingyue into his service and had her entertain guests at the mansion. Since there were only two guests that day, Imperial Censor Yuan Baozhen and Right Army Commander Xiao Jue, he believed that by pleasing one of them, he could secure his position.

Although Sun Ling was somewhat dissatisfied, he had no choice but to go along with it. In the days that followed, Yingyue diligently trained with her sisters in dancing and singing. Every time Sun Xiangfu checked on their progress, he was satisfied. Yingyue was not only beautiful but also intelligent. After experiencing the extravagance of Sun’s mansion, she became even more astute. Sometimes, when Sun Xiangfu spoke to her, he could sense her ambition for power.

After all, people aimed for higher positions, and both men and women were the same.

Sun Xiangfu had this belief until the unexpected incident at the banquet tonight.

As he recounted these events, Sun Xiangfu may have embellished them slightly due to the pressure, but the essence of the story remained the same. Sun Ling’s lust had led him to bring a viper into his home.

“I truly never expected them to be assassins. How could women… women become assassins?” Sun Xiangfu said, unsure if he was addressing Xiao Jue or himself. Women had always been playthings for the father and son of the Sun family, or items used to curry favor with superiors. Now that women had caused them trouble, Sun Xiangfu found it difficult to express his feelings.

“These assassins entered the mansion half a month ago?” Xiao Jue asked.

Sun Xiangfu nodded. “Yes, it’s true. It’s all my fault; I didn’t carefully verify their identities. I simply thought they were women in need, with no family or support in the city, so I…”

He was trying to portray himself as someone who had taken them in out of compassion for their vulnerability, but Xiao Jue paid him no attention. Instead, he played with the tea cup in his hand and said casually, “Half a month ago, Sun Magistrate hadn’t even invited me to your mansion.”

Sun Xiangfu was taken aback.

“But half a month ago, Lord Yuan should have known when he would arrive in Liangzhou,” Xiao Jue continued, glancing at Yuan Baozhen with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

Yuan Baozhen, hearing this, responded with a smile, “Commander, what do you mean? You’re not suspecting me, are you? Just think, Commander, how could I be so sure that these women would be brought back to the magistrate’s mansion? I can’t predict the future, can I?”

“Of course, you can’t predict the future,” Xiao Jue’s lips curled slightly as he spoke leisurely. “You just needed to write a letter to Sun Magistrate.”

This was implying that Yuan Baozhen and Sun Xiangfu had conspired together.

Sun Xiangfu, who had just barely managed to convince himself that he had cleared his name, was now sweating profusely again. He immediately waved his hands and said, “No, no! Commander, I really didn’t know. I have no knowledge of what’s going on. I never received any letters from Lord Yuan!”

Yuan Baozhen stopped smiling, looking at Xiao Jue with a solemn expression. “Commander, with just a few words, you’ve implicated both me and Sun Magistrate without any evidence. It’s chilling. Commander, we have no deep-seated grudges, and this is the first time we’ve dined together. Why would I want to harm you?”

He naturally had a friendly face, and his words were earnest, tinged with a hint of genuine hurt at being misunderstood.

Xiao Jue stared at him for a moment and then chuckled. He spoke indifferently, “Just a little joke, Lord Yuan, no need to take it seriously.”

He wiped away his smile, returning to his cold and detached demeanor, like a sword about to be unsheathed, hiding a fierce and impending storm.

“However, there are many mysteries in this matter. Until they are unraveled, I’m afraid we will have to stay here for a few more days,” he continued.

“Commander… you mean you’re going to stay here?”

After the assassination attempt, most people would consider this place unsafe and leave quickly to avoid being targeted again. Why would he choose to stay?

“Yes,” the young commander replied. He set down his tea cup, stood up, tall and imposing, his eyes slightly cold. “I will stay here to catch the thieves.”

— Side Note —

Don’t rush to scold me…

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