Title: Infinite Power Over The World
Original title: 权倾天下[重生]
Author: 叶默凉(Ye Moliang)
Translated by: ~PurpleLy~
WARNING: Descriptions of blood and gore ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
The war had lasted for five consecutive months. The weather gradually heated up, causing the constantly even-tempered Shen Ci to feel somewhat irritable now and then.
On this particular day, it was raining heavily outside. Both armies called a truce for several days. It was rare to be able to be at peace for a while. Murong Heng was still discussing strategies with several of his generals. Shen Ci remained alone in the commander’s tent.
Just as he was about to doze off from the boredom, Feng Nan came in from the outside and saw his young master leaning on a couch, facing sideways, with his eyes closed. He had a tranquil look and appeared as if he were about to fall asleep. Feng Nan smiled slightly, knowing that his young master had nothing to do because the prince was away. As such, he simply went out and brought back a set of blind chess and played a few rounds with him.
With Feng Nan around, Shen Ci became clear-headed. Blind chess was developed by an expert a few years ago and was specially designed for people who cannot see. Blind chess was half-visible and half-hidden. The visible pieces were played by people who could see, and the hidden pieces were played by those who were blind. What Shen Ci needed to do was feel out which chess pieces were which through touch and then use those pieces to defeat the visible pieces.
Previously, when they played a set while they were residing at the Shen residence, it would usually take up an entire afternoon. Feng Nan’s chess skills weren’t terribly remarkable, but his style of playing chess was very different from others; it was rather fierce, and every move was lethal. But Shen Ci was just the opposite. He was as languid as water; every move appeared to be randomly placed, but each position had its function.
However, before two hours had passed, the situation on the chessboard was plain to see. The hidden chess pieces have occupied most of the territory, and the visible chess pieces have been forced to retreat every step of the way, without any room for retaliation.
“Young Master’s chess skills are still just as impressive; Feng Nan concedes defeat.” Seeing that there was no way out of it, Feng Nan put down the chess piece he was holding with a bitter smile. In terms of chess skills, he has always been inferior to his Young Master, but he enjoys playing chess with him. In the past, it was because of a feeling in his heart, but now it was because he was afraid that Shen Ci would be lonely.
A mere six months had passed, and although things have remained the same, people have changed. The young master is still the same young master as before, but Feng Nan is no longer the Feng Nan he was previously.
“Another round?” Shen Ci’s enthusiasm was fuelled. Besides, Murong Heng wouldn’t be back for a while, and playing chess with Feng Nan could be considered a way to pass the time. After not playing chess for a long while, his chess skills have regressed somewhat.
“No, thanks.” The door flap of the tent was lifted by the wind, and Feng Nan caught sight of a tall figure quickly approaching from a distance. The master had returned, and he should leave too. With this in mind, he got up and put away the chessboard before silently retreating.
As Murong Heng neared, Shen Ci also perceived his footsteps. With a joyful expression on his face, he stood up and made his way to meet with Murong Heng, then listened attentively to what he had just been discussing.
Once he finished speaking, Murong Heng picked up the cup on the table that Shen Ci had drank from. He tossed his head back and downed the remaining tea in the cup. Finally, he hauled Shen Ci over to the couch and sat down, letting him sit on his lap. These days, the bad weather and the truce between the two armies could be regarded as stealing a half day’s leisure, but they couldn’t afford to be unvigilant. Moreover, Murong Heng’s provisions for defences and the like were extremely thorough. If not, something major would occur.
Shen Ci, who’d been tugged over to sit on him, felt that the position he was sitting in was quite proper. The groove between his thighs happened to be in contact with something. His other senses had become particularly sensitive due to his inability to see. Therefore, in order to avoid this awkwardness, he shifted his body, sliding down a little to settle atop Murong Heng’s thighs.
Because of his actions, Murong Heng’s breathing grew heavier. He curled his arms around Shen Ci’s waist and lowered his gaze to observe his obedient expression. There seemed to be an inferno in his heart, emanating heat from inside his body out. He wished he could get drenched in rain for a while to douse the flames. As such, Murong Heng simply diverted his attention and asked softly, “What were you doing just now?”
“Playing chess with Feng Nan.” Shen Ci replied factually.
When he was done speaking, Murong Heng raised his eyebrows slightly. He knew Shen Ci’s exceptional chess skills, and he really wished he could play two rounds with him when he had time. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to play the kind of chess Shen Ci played with Feng Nan. Anyway, there was nothing to do now, so he might as well let Ah Ci teach him.
As a result, he asked Feng Nan to bring over the chessboard that the two had been battling with earlier. He allowed Shen Ci to sit in his embrace and carefully explain to him how to play this kind of chess. He wasn’t Liuxia Hui*. It was impossible to sit still while staring at the person he loved seated atop him and nestled in his arms. So he messed around with Shen Ci while he listened to his explanation.
(*TN: He was governor of the District of Liuxia in Lu State. He was a man of eminent virtue and is said on one occasion to have held a lady in his lap without the slightest imputation on his moral character.)
Shen Ci talked for a while, and every now and then, he felt his hand being caressed, his waist being pinched, or his face and lips being kissed a couple of times. All this made him feel discomfited all over, and more than anything, he wanted to leap to his feet. Later on, seeing as he was still teasing him, Shen Ci furiously said, “Murong Heng, if you tease again, forget about learning.”
“Learn-learn-learn!” Murong Heng quickly withdrew his hand in response and, in all seriousness, asked some questions that he didn’t understand. However, his hands were still wrapped around the waist of the person in his arms, and he refused to move them away.
Murong Heng’s ability to comprehend was extremely high, and it wasn’t long before he learned how to play this kind of chess. Yet he still refused to release Shen Ci from his embrace. Instead, he pretended that he didn’t understand and urged Shen Ci to practice it with him. He held Shen Ci’s hand and placed the chess pieces onto the board one by one, taking full advantage of these moments of skinship with him.
Murong Heng’s mouth revealed a most triumphant smile. His entire body felt thoroughly refreshed and comforted after playing this game of chess!
Meanwhile, in the imperial palace, Murong Yu was consulting with his general. Prior to this, he’d suffered too many defeats and had to watch helplessly as Murong Heng’s Iron Halberd Army made it as far as Changzhou. If they didn’t come up with a solution, he could very well hand over his position as emperor on a silver platter.
All of a sudden, he thought of the man accompanying Murong Heng. He heard that Wang Er failed in the assassination attempt and died of torture. Murong Heng tortured him plenty when he was alive, and all because of that man. If he could be captured…
Murong Yu’s brows knitted. Murong Heng safeguards him so securely that it is clearly unrealistic to have him kidnapped. Just then, an idea popped into his mind, and his eyes lit up. He moved close to his general’s ear to whisper.
After a long time, the general withdrew and hurried back to the barracks to inform the commander of the plan. Murong Yu stood in the centre of the hall. When he thought of Murong Heng’s bloody, painful death, a sneer appeared at the corners of his mouth.
Five days later, the rain that had lasted for nearly half a month finally abated. Murong Heng gathered the army and was the first to dispatch them to an area of flatland. It was time to buck up the morale after being placid for so many days!
The two armies quickly began battling each other. Murong Heng raised his sword and stabbed the soldier next to him. He was merciless. Blood spattered on his armour; the red was rather striking.
Just as his was all fired up from the slaughter, a prisoner’s vehicle suddenly rolled out from the opposite side, about a dozen metres away, with a man tied to it. The man was dressed in white; his head was lowered so his face couldn’t be clearly seen; his black hair hung down loosely on his cheeks; and he had a slim figure. He indeed resembled Shen Ci in every possible way.
“Ah Ci…” Murong Heng was taken aback for a moment, and his eyes subconsciously widened. Following the shout of the opposing general, all the soldiers stopped fighting. Murong Heng remembered that when he left the barracks, Shen Ci was fine and had even come out to see him off. It had only been a short time, and he’d been captured by the enemy. Perhaps it was a trick.
When he noted Murong Heng’s expression of disbelief, the opposing general lifted the man’s face to let Murong Heng have a better look. Right now, everyone can see it perfectly. He was obviously Shen Ci.
“Ah Ci!” Murong Heng couldn’t calm down now. He urged his horse to move forward but was stopped by Fan Hu, who was beside him.
“Your Highness, I fear it may be a trick.” Despite seeing it with his own eyes, Fan Hu still didn’t dare believe it. Gentleman Shen was definitely alright when the troops were leaving. How did he appear here all of a sudden?
Murong Heng didn’t respond. His gaze was firmly fixed on the person in the prisoner’s vehicle, whose face was as white as a sheet of paper. His head was lowered, and he wasn’t speaking. Could he be injured? Or had he been drugged?
He was incessantly worried. Immediately afterwards, he heard the other general shout loudly: “Murong Heng, isn’t this your beloved? If you still won’t surrender, I’ll kill him straightaway!”
“Don’t!” Murong Heng replied subconsciously, but he didn’t dare act without thinking and mess around with the lives of so many Iron Halberd soldiers. He stared obstinately at that man, and his breathing gradually slowed down.
When the opposing general saw that Murong Heng still wasn’t fooled, he became ruthless. He unsheathed the dagger he was holding and used it to stab the man. A painful moan escaped his mouth. The man lifted his head in a daze; his gaze was dull and lifeless. His dry, cracked lips parted slightly; from the shape of his mouth, it appeared to be four words—do not come over.
At this point, Murong Heng was becoming impatient. He could see clearly that it was Shen Ci, and he was still wavering here. When he didn’t make a move, the opposing general stabbed Shen Ci several times. The blood that flowed out stained the white clothes red. Murong Heng’s heart clenched with pain. The person he loved was suffering, but he was so useless that he didn’t dare save him!
Another stab with the knife and another cry of pain escaped. Murong Heng couldn’t stand it anymore. His killing intent triggered, he urged his horse and galloped towards the opposing side, shouting, “Let him go. Come and meet your death!”
The two armies started battling again in one area. Murong Heng’s mind was so impaired with anger that he didn’t notice a hint of mockery flashing for an instant in the opposing general’s eyes. He spurred his horse until he arrived before the general with his sword raised.
When the opposing general saw him approaching, he wasn’t going to take it lying down. Both their figures became jumbled. Murong Heng swung his sword and continued to hack and slash as if he didn’t know the meaning of exhaustion.
The image of Shen Ci covered in blood appeared even closer in his eyes. His beloved Ah Ci was playing chess with him a few days ago, sitting in his embrace and crossly telling him that if he doesn’t learn it, then he should forget about learning it. But now that he’d been tortured until he was in this state, Murong Heng’s heart ached so badly that he couldn’t breathe!
With a thrust of his sword, Murong Heng stabbed a deep, bloody gash in the opposing general’s arm. Blood stained his armour red. He slaughtered until he was in a frenzied state. He desperately wished to kill every single person there and save his Ah Ci.
It was another fierce battle. The opposing general wasn’t able to endure and was cut down by Murong Heng. Exulted, Murong Heng immediately turned and charged towards the prisoner’s vehicle. Once he reached the wooden boards outside the prisoner’s vehicle, he swung his sword forcefully to hack the logs and iron chains shackling Shen Ci’s body.
After carrying the person out as carefully as he could, Murong Heng glanced at the person in his arms and said softly, “Ah Ci, it’s alright now. I’ll take you away.” Once he’d spoken, he carried him and charged out. Out of the corner of his eye, he glanced at the sweat-covered face of the person in his arms. For some, there was an astonishing expression within the dull and lifeless eyes that he didn’t expect.
He instinctively sensed that something was wrong. In that instance, he saw the person in his arms suddenly raise his head. There was a flash from the gleaming blade he was holding. Murong Heng gasped in alarm and dodged. However, the dagger still pierced his abdomen. He hastily shoved the person in his arms away. He pulled out the dagger and tapped several acupuncture points on his body. Then he raised his head to meet “Shen Ci’s” sinister look, and his breath became stuck.
Dammit! He’d been tricked!