Qian’er accepted the endless stream of gifts. Looking at these people, her gaze was gentle but it was also tinged with animosity.
She knew that her husband was a militant and a militant was to enter the battlefield. Once on the battlefield, life and death were in the hands of god; either the enemy or their own people would fall.
If there came a day when a mishap happened to her husband, it would be caused by these people who were in front of her, passing her gifts with friendly grins.
With this understanding, this innocent lady could not help feeling the irony within, that she had to accept gifts from these people and listen to their sincere wishes.
Yutang’s troops from all four sides had mostly retreated now; the tables and stools that had stretched for tens of miles away were also packed away cleanly. It was as if nothing had ever happened on this quiet piece of land.
The occasion had finally come to its end.
However, reluctance reflected in the generals’ gazes when they looked at the vast empty land.
Did this just end like this?
This grand affair, that shook the entire military force of the continent, had just ended like this?!
For a moment, they were at a loss.
"I’ve clearly felt it just now…" An old general from Dayuan shut his eyes tight. "That they’ve come just now… they were drinking with me…"
Hearing his words, the other old marshals trembled with unexplainable emotions, their minds wandering off.
It was not just this old general; all the other old generals felt it clearly as well, the presence of their comrades who had fallen in the battlefields throughout these years, gathered around them.
They were smiling, all of them were ecstatic.
They still shared the same determination of dying and living together, they still shouldered the same happiness and disaster like in the days of old!
Qiu Jianhan sighed at the sky. "How many brothers have we sent away throughout all these years…"
On another side, Han Sanhe sighed as well.
Qiu Jianhan’s gaze turned fierce. "It’s ended now, why don't all of you get lost? Are you all addicted to the wine? Looking to drink a few more times? Let me tell you old men, in your dreams! There won’t be a second time for this great event!"
Han Sanhe rolled his eyes and said while smiling, "There’s still some time before the letter of credence of peace expires. Why should we leave so urgently? Why can’t we have a few more drinks? You may not be willing to receive us, but there are others who might be happy to take us in!"
Leng Daoyin said nonchalantly, "Brother Han, and you old slaughterers, don’t bear such wishful thinking. If you don’t leave now, you might not have the chance to later. Tiantang City doesn’t welcome any one of you."
"Each one of you holds a blood debt of no lesser than a hundred thousand Yutang men in your hands!"
Leng Daoyin spoke slowly, "It would be a terrible regret if any... mishap... were to happen to you here."
Han Sanhe shook his head and said, "Let us not lie in front of veterans. I would worry about that in any other country, but not in Yutang."
"This old and useless one has come to attend the merry event of militants. Secondly, I wish to visit the Residence of the Nine Supremes, to pay homage to their heroic souls. Then I shall go to the ancestral hall of the family of generals to pay my respects to the Shangguan ancestors. After that, I will stop by at the Thousand Feet Lake."
"Other than these, there is also the Snapped Blade Pavilion that’s famous across the continent and the Lionheart Hall that militants of the world revere."
Han Sanhe spoke slowly, "These are the places I must visit. If I have come to the Empire of Yutang but did not go to these spots, it's like returning empty-handed upon entering a treasured mountain – a lost chance that will never return!"
Qiu Jianhan’s face darkened immediately.
Han Sanhe’s list; the Residence of the Nine Supremes, the family of generals’ ancestral hall, Thousand Feet Lake, Snapped Blade Pavilion, and Lionheart Hall would take at least five days for them to complete the visits. If they went a little slower, it could even stretch into ten days.
Some of the places were so mesmerizing that even a person of Han Sanhe’s stature would forget to return after having seen them; it would be a godsend to be able to stay there for a period of time!
However, it was a sensitive time; could it be that this old thing had ill intentions and wished to wreak havoc?!
"Old Man Han is right." Another old man chuckled and came forward. "The few of us would like to have a look at these places too."
Not only Qiu Jianhan, Leng Daoyin and Tie Zheng’s face darkened as well.
The three of them understood well that perhaps the others could still meet disaster or mishap in Yutang but these old men would never have to worry about their safety. Once anything happened to them, the consequences would be catastrophic. Just their disciples and old friends in this country alone were countless, it could easily cause a calamity.
It could even be said that the disciples and generals under these six marshals from the five empires here had control over more than a seventh of the military power of all five countries combined!
If these people were to be stricken with mishaps, the Empire of Yutang would face the wrath of over a seventh of these four empires’ military troops!
What was worse was that they could attack under the name of justice, to seek vengeance for their masters. Innocent lives would then be lost while the nation would be sunk into disaster.
Qiu Jianhan and gang would never dare to instigate such a catastrophe, reluctant as they were to allow these men to stay.
These old men had come in peace, but who knew what tricks they had hidden in their sleeves? If Qiu Jianhan were told that there were no tricks at all, he would not believe it, even if he was beaten to death.
The five thousand people Han Sanhe brought along had already puzzled Qiu Jianhan.
If there were no exceptional experts among these five thousand men, none of those pinnacle martial artists who were confident enough to bring Han Sanhe in and flee Tiantang City should they be assassinated… well, Qiu Jianhan was willing to pluck his head off to be used as a soccer ball.
It would just be outrageous!
"as stated in the letter of credence, It’s the period of peace, of course, all of you may enter the city for a visit."
Qiu Jianhan wore a cold expression as he said, "However… I can’t have all five thousand of your company enter the city. Arrange it among yourselves. If there were to be any commotions, there will be no favors, and Yutang shall sentence severe punishments."
"Why would we wish to bring five thousand men in?" Han Sanhe asked with his eyes squinted in a smile, "Even if we were all allowed to enter, Tiantang City wouldn't have enough guestrooms to receive us. Each country will just bring fifty people in."
The other old men were smiling as well. "That’s right. Fifty men will be enough."
Qiu Jianhan scoffed coldly and said, "Even then, we don’t have much time to be hospitable to all of you."
Han Sanhe laughed. "Why do we need your reception? We plan to entertain ourselves upon entering the city. With your company, would we be able to have fun to our heart’s content? If you think you have to be courteous, just send someone to guide us around. We would be immensely thankful for the hospitality."
Qiu Jianhan released a sigh of relief and said, "Who do you want to bring you around? Officials from te Board of Rites?"
Han Sanhe was still squinting his eyes as he said, "We’re all militants, it wouldn't do to have those civil people accompany us. I don’t want anyone sent from your military side either; we would resent each other inwardly but speak courteously to each other on the outside. Why not let that young man, Yun Yang, from Tie Zheng’s wedding keep us company and guide us around? That child is rather handsome, a piece of eye candy. It’ll be appropriate to have him take us old folks around. According to what I know, he is the only son of Marquis of Heavenly Clouds; he’s not from the civil nor the military side, a nobleman who’s impartial and a Yutang citizen who has the least grudge against us."
Qiu Jianhan was shocked. "Yun Yang? Have you taken a liking to him?"
"That’s right. This old man is rather fond of this child." Han Sanhe stared at Qiu Jianhan quietly for a moment before he said, "Could it be that Old Qiu can’t even let such a person go?"
The other old marshals from other countries truly had no idea why Han Sanhe wanted this handsome fellow along but they made the appropriate noises anyway, "Right, right. We’ll take this young man, all of us like him indeed."
Qiu Jianhan’s face was icy as he rejected the request without hesitation. "This child is unavailable. You said it yourself, he’s the only son of Marquis of Heavenly Clouds. Marquis Yun is not in the city right now, how can this old man be qualified to assign responsibility to his only son?"
He was speaking words of courtesy but it was also the truth. Marquis of Heavenly Clouds was not only a marquis that surpassed all other nobilities in Yutang, his status was higher than all of the imperial officials as well. Even if it were the emperor, His Majesty could only invite him and could not assign him things to do. Old Marshal Qiu truly had no authority to assign Yun Yang any chores!
The real reason, of course, was also because Yun Yang was the last chance they had to prolong the emperor’s life and heal him; no risk could be taken as of now. He was the emperor’s healer now, it was a critical position. How would Qiu Jianhan be willing to let Yun Yang follow Han Sanhe; anything accident that befell the young man would be an earth-shattering event to Yutang!
"Old Marshal regards Residence of Marquis Yun with too much honor. This nephew is feeble and unable to shoulder the responsibility of national defense but it’s truly nothing extravagant that these old sirs want me to guide them on their tour. Besides, I don’t have anything important to do other than taking care of my cats at home. I can use this opportunity to enjoy the scenery and talk about the folklores and stories with these old sirs."
A gentle voice interjected itself into the conversation. It was Yun Yang, of course.
Han Sanhe smiled as he looked at Yun Yang. "Young Master Yun’s words have just turned us old men into cats. All the more this old man wants him to follow us. I’d love to know how Lord Marquis Yun gave birth to such an exceptional son."
Qiu Jianhan opened his mouth and shut it again. He then said, "Ugh, someone useless. Han Sanhe, take him for your yourself then." He then flung his sleeves and turned to leave, huffing in irritation.
The old marshal had obviously noticed his own abnormal behavior. Although Yun Yang was the only son of Marquis of Heavenly Clouds and his identity surpassed the ordinary, he was still undeniably a nobleman after all – he was not altogether that important. Yet, the old marshal's direct refusal had reflected Yun Yang’s hidden capability, one that they could ill afford to lose. While Yun Yang’s interjection was like a late remedy to the situation, nevertheless, it was still a remedy. Without it, the consequences of rejection might have been severe indeed!
Looking at Qiu Jianhan’s departing silhouette, Han Sanhe smiled meaningfully.
This old man was cautious and was good at weighing other’s reactions. It would be amiss if he did not find out the reason behind Qiu Jianhan’s reaction.
"Young Master Yun, we bunch of old men are under Young Master Yun’s care for now." Han Sanhe grinned as he looked at Yun Yang.
Yun Yang looked surprised at all the attention he was receiving. "Of course, of course. I’ll definitely take great care of you all. So much so that all of you will be smiling and ultimately be reluctant to even go home!"