Si Tian Guan Chapter 157

Chapter 157: Commander Liu

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Liu Zhongming held the horse’s reins as he walked back along the street market.

This path was so familiar to him. Every time Chenzhou was called by his aunt to accompany her, he would rush over to pick him up.

The weather was cold, and cotton curtains were hung along the street for business, making the steaming buns shop particularly eye-catching.

Their beef buns were delicious, and they both liked them.

In the past, when they reached this spot, the little fox would carefully run over the ice and snow, then come back with the hot buns wrapped in his sleeve.

They would share a bun in the freezing weather, as familiar as an old married couple and as sweet as newlyweds.

Liu Zhongming paused in front of the bun shop for a moment. The steam rising from the buns made his eyes slightly blurry, but he continued to lead the horse forward.

Further ahead, there was a fruit shop. The little fox still wasn’t accustomed to sweet treats, so they would each buy their own. He liked the ice-snow candied plums, while the little fox enjoyed the mouth-puckering vinegar hawthorns.

No matter how he tried to dodge it, he would always manage to force one into his mouth. It was so sour that his teeth felt like they would fall out, yet the next time the little fox offered one, he would willingly open his mouth.

Liu Zhongming stared at the half-closed door of the shop, lost in thought.

The shopkeeper came out to greet him, naturally recognizing him as a regular customer. He brought out a freshly marinated vinegar hawthorn, and after observing it for a moment, Liu Zhongming picked one up and put it in his mouth.

It was still as sour as ever, sour enough to bring tears to his eyes.

The sound of urgent hoofbeats grew closer, and Liu Zhongming turned to look. After a moment, he waved his hand to the shopkeeper and indeed saw the rider dismount in front of him.

“Lord Shizi,” the person bowed with one hand cupped in the other, half-kneeling. “The Emperor has ordered Shizi to enter the palace.”

With an expression resembling a celebration, the person’s face was filled with joy. After Liu Zhongming mounted the horse, the person caught up a few steps and fell half a horse length behind, leaning in to whisper a few words.

“Congratulations, Lord Shizi,” the person paused for a moment and then chuckled mysteriously. “Congratulations, Commander Liu.”

Liu Zhongming had a faint smile on his face. “Thank you.”

He lifted his head, and the straight road in front led to that copper-walled and iron-barred prison. In the past and present, it was an impenetrable cage.

There, someone walked for him through a forest of blades. How could he afford to be disheartened?

He had once broken through that palace gate in ignorance and committed unforgivable mistakes. This time, even if it was just to apologize, he would be invincible.


In a room filled with warmth, the heat under the curtains was not enough to match the sweat streaming down their backs.

The man was reaching the end, abruptly lifting the person beneath him and thrusting down heavily.

“Ah Ru…” He squinted, a hoarse voice escaping his throat as he muttered fiercely, “…Ah Ru…”

Before the scent of their lovemaking and the sound of their heavy breaths completely dissipated, the curtains were lifted, and the man emerged wearing his clothes, his interest waning.

“What is it?”

The person who had been lingering outside the door dared not delay any longer and quickly pushed the door open, disregarding the chill that clung to their body as they presented a letter with both hands.

“Apologies, Wangye, there’s trouble at the Southern Bureau.”

Mu Jingyan unfolded the letter and read it carefully.

The person beside him explained eagerly, “Yesterday afternoon, the Emperor suddenly summoned Liu Zhongming into the palace. He didn’t even consult the three elders and directly appointed him as the commander of Jinxiu Ying.”

“Last night, Jinxiu Ying launched a surprise attack on the left valiant Guard. It is said that they captured many people, including Ren Rui. They are all currently detained in Jinxiu Ying.”

“Wangye, Ren Rui recently sent you a message, saying that he would be promoted soon for his achievements in the borderlands’ bandit extermination. What… What could have happened?”

“Ren Rui…” Mu Jingyan frowned and asked, “How is the situation in Jinxiu Ying?”

“Once we learned that something happened to Ren Rui, we tried to gather information from inside, but Liu Zhongming is more difficult to handle than we anticipated.”

The person sighed. “When he was in charge of Jinxiu Ying before, he replaced his own people and even sent away many others. Now the base is heavily guarded, and our people inside can’t pass on any information, while those outside can’t get in. We still don’t know what exactly happened.”

“What about Mu Jingde?”

With such a major incident at the Southern Bureau, Qi Wang couldn’t possibly remain idle.

“It is said that Qi Wang entered the palace yesterday afternoon and hasn’t come out since. According to the palace staff, the Emperor was furious this time and even fell ill from anger. The imperial physicians were also summoned to the palace. It seems this storm won’t be easily quelled.”

Mu Jingyan propped his head up and slowly went through the details again, his gaze falling on the name Ren Rui.

“Now Mu Jingde’s Left Valiant Camp is under Ren Rui’s command, correct?”


“Since they only targeted the Left Valiant Guard, it must have started with Ren Rui,” he pointed to the words “Liequ” on the paper. “The Liequ people indeed never gave up, but I’ve never seen so many of them appear at once.”

“In recent days, the only thing related to Ren Rui is this matter,” he furrowed his brow. “If there’s a problem, it can only be with these people. That madman, Ren Rui, hasn’t changed his stubborn nature, and we still don’t know where these people came from.”

“Yes, I will investigate immediately,” the person acknowledged, then asked with confusion, “But even setting aside Ren Rui, Qi Wang has gained numerous merits through battles. Is it necessary for the Emperor to be so furious?”

“Go and investigate. We’ll only know once we’ve investigated!” Mu Jingyan commanded, and the person quickly acknowledged and was about to leave but was stopped.

“Wait, there’s one more thing.” Mu Jingyan slowly twirled the paper in his hand. “The incident happened suddenly, there must be something fishy. We’ve been back from the borderlands for over half a month, why did the Emperor only now think of holding someone accountable for this matter?”

“Yes,” the person had been following Mu Jingyan for many years and immediately understood. “I will investigate it.”

The door closed, and the room fell into silence. After a while, the woman on the bed slipped down and bowed her head on the ground, quietly leaving the room.

Mu Jingyan raised his eyes and watched the figure that resembled Liu Qingru’s back as he sipped his tea.

“Qingru…” he murmured, sighing. “Why did you have to have a child? Why did you force me to act against you?”


In the dim and narrow lower dungeon, the sound of dragging iron chains approached from a distance, causing unease in the hearts of those who heard it.

But the person wearing a yoke and chains seemed completely unconcerned about their current situation, walking in a carefree manner.

The two jailers pushed and shoved him several times, but he didn’t seem to care. Only when he reached a higher step did he glance around, bowing slightly towards the person sitting in the middle.

“Lord Shizi, we meet again. That outfit looks good on you.”

“General Ren, you flatter me,” Liu Zhongming remained seated, smiling as he explained, “I’m just following orders. This is my first time doing this task. If I don’t do well, I hope General and my fellow brothers will bear with me.”

In addition to them, there were already thirty to forty people from the Left Valiant Guard who had been captured and brought into the torture chamber. They were all somewhat notable figures and were disgracefully bound together along the iron bars on the wall.

Initially, everyone was anxious and restless, but now, seeing Ren Rui’s lazy and insolent appearance, they glanced at each other, as if they had taken a comforting pill.

Liu Zhongming raised his hand, and the jailer quickly brought over the torture rack, suspending Ren Rui’s hands on it.

“Young Master, do you intend to interrogate me? Remember, I am from the Southern Bureau! Even if I have made mistakes, it should be Qi Wang who punishes me,” Ren Rui sneered. “Lord Shizi, think carefully. Jinxiu Ying is not a place for child’s play.”

Liu Zhongming laughed as well, slowly getting up and reaching out to the side.

The attendant quickly handed him his sword.

“What would you consider child’s play?” Liu Zhongming held the sword in his hand, the blade pointed a few inches away from Ren Rui.

“General, you’re right,” Liu Zhongming said, brandishing the sword playfully. “I’m still young, with a playful nature. Coming to Jinxiu Ying was also for the sake of experiencing something new. Today, let the General accompany me in a game.”

“What kind of game do you have in mind? I’m all in!” Ren Rui, seeing Liu Zhongming’s exaggerated gestures, burst into laughter. “Little Master, when I was in Jinnan Prefecture…”

Before his laughter could fade, Ren Rui suddenly froze. He heard cries of agony and screams filling the air. A searing pain spread throughout his body, and then he saw Liu Zhongming picking up something bloody from the ground on the tip of his sword.

“So, if a person loses their tongue, they truly can’t speak,” Liu Zhongming innocently remarked. “What am I going to do now? I haven’t extracted any information from you.”

Fear finally gripped Ren Rui.

He had been a tyrant who ruled with impunity in Jinnan Prefecture, and even after coming to the capital, he knew he had the protection of two Wangyes’. He had easily escaped punishment for his past crimes, and he had never regarded the insignificant Liu Zhongming with any importance.

But now he realized that this cunning Young Master had depths he couldn’t fathom.

Unable to speak with his missing tongue, he could only spew blood from his mouth, whimpering and struggling.

The two jailers moved forward together, not securing his ankles downward but instead pulling his knees apart, binding them to the sides of the torture rack.

Ren Rui suddenly understood what was about to happen and thrashed about frantically.

Liu Zhongming remained calm, his gaze sweeping across the room. Under his gaze, the members of the Left Valiant Guard fell silent, afraid to make a sound, as if their tongues had disappeared as well.

“General Ren mentioned that I love to play,” Liu Zhongming swung the severed tongue aside and raised his sword once again. “Then let me show the General what I usually play with.”

The sword blade slashed through Ren Rui’s pants, one cut after another, ignoring his desperate struggles until both his outer and undergarments were shredded and no longer concealed anything.

“General, since you’re older, you must be familiar with these playthings,” Liu Zhongming patiently unfastened his belt. “But being played with like this must be a first for you, isn’t it? It must feel refreshing.”

The members of the Left Valiant Guard were already dumbfounded. Some turned their heads away, not wanting to witness the gruesome scene, but they were quickly whipped by the guards standing nearby.

Either they watched attentively or they would be beaten to death on the spot.

Ren Rui’s lower garments had been completely torn apart. Bound in front of dozens of subordinates, his legs were spread apart, causing him immense shame and humiliation.

He struggled to the point of exhaustion and suddenly emitted a gurgling sound from his throat.

It sounded like a mixture of manic laughter and profane curses, gushing out from his bloodied mouth like a vengeful ghost.

Liu Zhongming took a few steps back and sat back in his chair, calmly observing the madness unfolding before him.

“General Ren, have you had enough fun? Can we talk now?” Liu Zhongming asked nonchalantly, as if he hadn’t noticed the severed tongue on the ground. He slowly continued, “Who were the people you captured at Beiwang Slope in the hunting ground?”

“Do you know who caused the commotion on the watchtower?”

“Are the dozens of severed heads you obtained truly from the old inhabitants of Liequ? And where did you find them?”

“To the south of Beiwang Slope, there is a village. Inside the village, the residents were decapitated, their heads neatly arranged in a room. The culprit even locked the door securely, making it impossible for outsiders to discover anything unusual inside.”

“Do you know who the culprit is?”

Ren Rui hung upside down on the torture rack, his head raised, without even the chance to bite his tongue. He futilely moved his lips, emitting terrifying, guttural sounds from his throat.

The laughter in the silence was chilling.

Liu Zhongming patiently waited for a moment, but naturally, he received no response. He clapped his hands lightly.

Someone entered the room carrying a bucket. When they poured its contents into a wooden basin, it became clear that the basin was filled with writhing, slippery yellow eels. At a glance, one could see their dense, black backs and yellow bellies.

The two individuals lifted the basin, and amidst Ren Rui’s agonized screams, his entire lower body was submerged. At first, he still had the strength to struggle and squirm, but before long, only spasmodic convulsions of his body remained as he fainted, his eyes rolling back.

On his lower abdomen, one could still see the wriggling movements of eels, as thick as two fingers.

Someone leaning against the iron railing on the wall slumped to the side, also frightened into unconsciousness. Another person couldn’t contain their piercing scream, but with a glance from Liu Zhongming, their scream was abruptly cut off at the throat.

“Have you all seen clearly?” Liu Zhongming leisurely washed his hands in the basin before taking a stroll in front of everyone.

“Have you all remembered my previous questions?”

“Those who are willing to have a good conversation are naturally friends of mine, Liu Zhongming.”

“Otherwise, he will serve as a lesson for all of you.”

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