8 Laohu Army
*Edited by buzyhoneybee*
The Laohu army consisted of only 10,000 soldiers. However, this number was to not be underestimated. These soldiers were the strongest and fiercest ones in the whole country. In fact, the army was so strong that it could wipe out any troops several times their size. It was said that one Laohu soldier could defeat 100 people on his own. Each soldier was carefully picked and trained in a tough and brutal process. They had to go through endless training and pass various tests until they were able to wear the infamous encrusted Tiger Badge, the sign of a Laohu soldier.
The special thing about the Laohu Army was that it only took orders from one person and one person only—Qian Tianhe, the legendary Imperial Commander of Feng Huang. Even the Emperor himself had no control over the Laohu army. Qian Tianhe was undefeated in all his battles and was a national symbol of hope during difficult times. He was loved by the people because he protected civilians and cared for his soldiers. Although the Laohu army was greatly feared by all, they were also respected.
Qian Tianhe was no other than Qing Qing's maternal grandfather who is currently residing in in the countryside, shut off from any worldly affairs. His only son, who was going to inherit Laohu army, died from sickness. Refusing to have anyone from outside the Qian family to control the army, Tianhe passed the army over to Qian Qingyu, Qing Qing's mother. But after she passed away three years ago, he had no other choice but to hand the control over to the young Qing Qing once she turns 18 in two years time. Feng Wangshu was worried. How could his youngest daughter be able to control such a powerful army by herself? This plan was only known by Qian Tianhe and Feng Wangshu. Even Qing Qing herself was unaware of this fact. So how on earth did the Crown Prince find out this information? However, no matter how much he tried to talk Qian Tianhe out of it, Tianhe completely ignored him, saying that only the blood of the Qian family can be the leader. Furthermore, there were also various dangers that came along with it. Many people are eyeing this army, wanting control of it. In fact, there was one standing in front of him right now.
"Why?" Feng Wangshu asked.
"I'm sure you're more aware than anyone of my Second Brother's movements. Although I'm the Crown Prince, Tian Lingmin has explicitly expressed his desire for the throne as well. Initially, I did not put him in my eyes. However, recently I have noticed that he's not as outspoken as before. For someone like him to be so quiet is out of his character. I had my people follow him. For three months, we didn't find anything. Then, two weeks ago he left the border and had a secret meeting with an unknown person. I assume that this person may be his backer. Prime Minister, can you guess who this backer may be?"
Feng Wangshu stumbled backward a little bit. He was rendered speechless by the Crown Prince but quickly regained his composure. He had a faint idea but did not want to say it out loud. "This subject is incompetent, do tell, Your Highness," Wang said with a bow.
Tian Weilong smiled lightly. This old man is quite shrewd; he knows the answer yet acts ignorant. "Tian. Jun. Jian." Weilong said, enunciating every word, his eyes examining every change in Feng Wangshu's expression.
Although the Prime Minister guessed this, he couldn't help but inhale sharply. He was about to open his mouth to speak but immediately snapped it shut. He didn't know how to react or what to say. Tian Jun Jian. An unforgettable name that no one dared to say out loud.
It happened 18 years ago, a couple of days after Yangmi was born. It was something Wangshu could have never predicted and the whole event was engraved in his mind ever since. At the time, the rebellion of Tian Jun Jian shocked the three continents. Tian Jun Jian was the older brother of the current Emperor, Tian Jun Guo. Tian Jun Jian was easygoing and seemed like he had no intention for the throne; he even supported Tian Jun Guo. No one expected that Jun Jian has been eyeing the throne all along. So when he did, it shocked the entire continent.
Although the war lasted for one year, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. At first, it seemed that Tian Jun Jian was winning since his private army was almost comparable to the Laohu army and he had won many battles.
Towards the end of the war, the Feng Huang army was exhausted and had given up all hope of returning to their families. Qian Tianhe was an astute person and adept in military tactics. Compared to Qian Tianhe, Tian Jun Jian was still inept with war. When Tian Jun Jian and his army reached the gates to the capital, Qian Tianhe and his army emerged and was able to turn the tides around. Tianhe wrote a letter to Jun Jian saying that he wanted to change sides and surrender to him. The Emperor was told of the plan ahead of time and acted out his anger in front of the officials. Jun Jian was initially suspicious of Tianhe's surrender. However, when a spy reported on his younger brother's distraught over the betrayal of the Imperial Commander, he had no reason but to believe Tianhe. Qian Tianhe sent crates of weapons and supplies to the enemy's main base near the capital as a surrendering gift. However, the crates that were thought to be filled with supplies were actually filled with kindling and oil! As the crates approached the base, it was set on fire and erupted in flames. During the confusion, the Laohu army infiltrated the camp and attacked Jun Jian's army, saving Feng Huang Capital.
The war ended in a draw and although they were able to save the capital, they were not able to do the same for half of the country's land. Tian Jun Jian gained control of half of Feng Huang and created his own empire, now called Zhu Que. Over the years, Zhu Que became an uncontrollable force, overpowering Feng Huang. It was even said that given ten more years, Zhu Que might even be on equal footing with Qilin country, the strongest country in the continent. Thus, when Tian Weilong mentioned the possibility of Tian Jun Jian conspiring with Tian Lingmin, Feng Wangshu was shocked, yet he expected it.
"Are you sure about this, Your Highness?" Feng Wangshu asked.
"If I'm not, would I be standing here?" Tian Weilong replied seriously. "You know yourself that without Laohu army, this country's fate would have already ended. If what happened eighteen years ago were to happen again, this country would not be able to survive once more. Which is why I came here to ask for your help."
Feng Wangshu took a deep breath, understanding the seriousness of this issue. "Why do you think you would be able to gain control of Laohu army by marrying Qing Qing?"
"Once she becomes my wife, what's mine is hers and likewise, what's hers is mine. As the future owner of Laohu army, I believe she would use it to save this country as her grandfather once did," His voice was so confident that Wangshu could not help but admire him.
As the Prime Minister, Wangshu obviously wants to help his country. However, he was also a father and this role was more important than his role as a Prime Minister. He didn't want Qing Qing to be a chess piece in this complex game of war.
"If Qing Qing wants to marry you, I would happily accept this proposal. But she refused to marry you and I can't do anything about that. I don't want to force her to do anything out of her will. Therefore, I cannot help you with this matter," Feng Wangshu said.
"You — " Tian Weilong started, "Will you be able to watch this country fall and end up in another person's hands?"
Wangshu stayed silent.
Weilong sighed. "What if she ends up falling in love with me?"
"If she does, I'm sure my daughter will help you all the way. Besides, we're not one hundred percent sure of the current situation. I advise you to stand back and watch closely. Gather all the evidence before making any decision. If what you're saying is true, this is treason. " Feng Wangshu replied coldly hiding his internal struggle, "However, I won't allow you to use Qing Qing as you wish. Now, the door is that way. Please show yourself out, Your Highness." Wangshu turned his back towards Weilong, refusing to say anything else.
Tian Weilong gave a helpless smile and left, leaving Wangshu standing alone.
An ominous feeling rose in Feng Wangshu's heart and he couldn't help but be fearful of the future.
Back in Yangmi's room, the two sisters were gathered together, chatting like girlfriends.
"Qing Qing, do you really not want to marry the Crown Prince? His looks aren't that bad," Yangmi asked. When she read the novel, she sincerely shipped Qing Qing and Tian Weilong together. Now that it isn't following the plotline, she couldn't help but be slightly disappointed.
"If his looks are so bad, why don't you marry him yourself?" Qing Qing shot back.
"Didn't- didn't you just hear him canceling our engagement and professing his love for you? Why would I marry him?!"
"If you won't marry him, then why should I?" Qing Qing refuted.
Yangmi was speechless. She thought her words were sharp but this girl was just as good.
"Fine, I give up," Yangmi thought to herself. On the other hand, Qing Qing was fascinated with ancient Chinese mirrors and was combing her hair in front of it.
"Are you really combing your hair in my room and act like nothing happened—what is that on your neck?" Yangmi jumped from her bed and dashed to Qing Qing's side. When she looked carefully, she could see a deep scar about 2 inches long that was evidently old.
"Are you done looking?" Qing Qing asked while looking in the mirror.
Yangmi ignored Qing Qing's question and asked, "How did you get it?"
After transmigrating into this body, Qing Qing received the previous owner's memories. However, the memories of when she was young was still a little blurry. She couldn't quite remember all the details and this frustrated her.
"I'm not so sure myself. I think it was on my 6th birthday. Someone helped me, but…" Yangmi paused before shaking her head. Whenever she tries to remember the past, her head began to hurt.
"Who helped you?" Yangmi asked.
"I don't know. I think you were also there. Do you remember anything?"
"I'm not the old Yangmi, how could I remember?" Yangmi was trying to grasp the details of the story but she doesn't remember anything of this. Being an avid reader, she thought she would know everything, but now she realized she knows nothing! What else is this damn author hiding from her?!
Qing Qing smiled, "Right, I forgot."
"Yeah, you 'forgot'," Yangmi said while rolling her eyes. This protagonist was definitely crafty.
The Crown Prince was currently heading back to the capital, his arms resting against the wooden pillar of the carriage with a face of utter nonchalance, as if he was just here to sightsee. Despite the rejection, he appeared to be completely unaffected by it. Although his face was relaxed, his hands say otherwise as he's tightly clutching onto a handkerchief, his veins visible. He had it for over ten years and had the habit of clutching it when he was stressed. It was a pale pink color with three small butterflies embroidered on it. The embroidery was clearly that of an amateur's with the butterfly wings slightly crooked. Tian Weilong held it tightly, its small size looking out of place in Weilong's long slender hands. Compared to Weilong, it was more befitting for a young girl to own it. Where he got this handkerchief, no one but Weilong knew.