It was another fine morning. There were no clouds in the blue sky and Nandu city was busy.
There were many people gathered at the gate of the city. A scholar was reading the notice posted and people discussed it around him.
“The military is recruiting more soldiers. Does that mean we are at war? I didn’t hear anything about it.”
“This is the preparations taken before war. It would be too late to recruit and train soldiers once the war starts.”
“This is preparation, but I don’t think war would happen right now unless there is an unexpected accident. This is a good thing. Soldiers have it good, they get free meals, a good salary, social status, and they don’t even have to fight, I will ask my son to enlist.”
“The army of Ye is quite strict with their soldiers. The military laws are very strict. You will have lots of training even though there is no war.”
“Let them become soldiers. The son of Ma Laoer is a soldier in the army and he is always boasting!”
As they spoke, they heard the sound of a horse. A rider in embroidered clothes rode a yellow horse that kicked up dust as it ran past. The horse moved towards the city’s gate quickly, but the rider urged it to go faster with his crop.
“Urgent official document from Andu City!” The rider roared. The gathered people were scared and cleared the way. The gate’s guards quickly gave way and he rode on leaving only the sound of the horse’s hooves in his wake.
The Flower Hall of Ye Family…
Ye Haoran sat in the middle of the hall, drinking tea out of a small tea-bowl. After a sip, the refreshing fragrance rose slowly.
“So good!” Ye Haoran put down his tea bowl and sighed, “How long will I be able to enjoy this kind of peaceful life?”
Ye Cai rushed inside just as Ye Haoran was sighing.
“General, there is the urgent official document for Andu City outside!”
“Hurry up! Let him come in!” Ye Haoran frowned.
After a while, the dusty rider strode in and kneeled upon seeing Ye Haoran. He held out a wax sealed paper bag, and said, “General Ye! This is an urgent letter from Governor Fang! “
“I appreciate your hard work.” Ye Haoran took a sip of tea, then he got up to take the letter while signaling the rider to stand and hand over the document.
“Did Governor Fang say anything?” Ye Haoran did not open the letter as he asked.
“No!” The rider kneeled back down after handing the letter to Ye Haoran.
“I see.” Ye Haoran didn’t respond. He raised his hand and signaled Ye Cai to send the rider away with a reward.
Ye Haoran went back to his study after they left and opened the letter. After reading it, he snorted coldly, and started pacing back and forth across the study.
Then, Ye Haoran’s voice sounded in the study, “Ye Cai! Hurry up and prepare. I will leave for Andu this afternoon and call a soldier come here.”
“I will do it now.” Ye Cai thought Ye Haoran was in too much of a rush to go to the capital, but he knew the rules. He had to keep his master’s secrets.
He informed the second wife. After a while, she hurried to the study, as Ye Haoran was handing a volume of letters to the soldier.
“Give this to Ye Wei,” Ye Haoran said.
“Yes, sir.” The soldier took the letters and put them away. Then, he turned around and walked out of the study quickly.
The second wife asked, “General, why are you leaving in such a rush? Is there something happening in the capital?”
Ye Haoran smiled, “Don’t worry. The emperor plans to blame me for the barbarian threat.”
The second wife asked, “Why wouldn’t the emperor just order you to suppress them instead of scolding you in court?”
Ye Haoran sneered, “He is going to make his stand clear to all of the officials.”
“Then you should just send your troops to wipe out the barbarians.”
Ye Haoran smiled quietly, “The Ye family will be next in line once we wipe out the barbarians.”
She was surprised and asked again, “Then you will willingly fall into the trap.”
“Don’t worry, we will be safe as long as the barbarians remain a threat. I will assure the emperor this time. It will be okay.”
Ye Haoran said, “In order to reassure the emperor, I may have to stay for a while in the capital. Try to stay in harmony with others and don’t cause trouble while I am gone.”
“I see.” The second wife curtsied slightly, showing off her hips. Although she was not young, she kept fit, and Ye Haoran couldn’t help touching her hip.
“General, it’s time to leave. Please stop.” She was very happy on the inside, even though she asked him to stop. She would definitely make trouble with the other women in the Ye Family, especially the ugly one.
Ye Haoran stopped quickly because his sons and daughters came to say goodbye. Ye Haoran decided to go back to the flower hall because there were too many people.
Some of the women were tearful, the second wife was angry when she saw this and planned to get revenge on them once Ye Haoran left.
Ye Haoran didn’t know what she was thinking. He was busy comforting some of the concubines who had just joined his family. Then, he confided in his sons. It all seemed very harmonious on the outside.
No one mentioned the young master who had been repenting for more than a year as if they had forgotten all about Ye Kong and his mother.
The second wife and Ye Cai did not forget them, but they made sure not remind Ye Haoran of this. They hoped that Ye Kong would spend the rest of his life repenting in the ancestral temple.
At noon, Zhang Wude walked quickly towards the Ye manor even though it was dangerous for him to walk so fast. He heard that Ye Haoran was going to the capital at lunch, so he put down his meal and rushed over.
“General, please wait!” Zhang Wude cried as he ran despite his stiff and bent legs.
He ignored etiquette as he could not stand for Ye Kong to be locked in the temple for more than one year.
Ye Haoran just got on the horse and waved to the farewell crowd. He saw Zhang Wude rushing out of the crowd, he was lying on the floor and gasping near the last carriage.
Ye Haoran got off the horse and asked, “Sir, what happened?”
“General, you forgot one thing. Ye Kong has stayed in the ancestral temple for one year.”
Ye Haoran remembered the punishment for failing to be chosen by Immortal Wan Xuan. The longest punishment used to be a month, but Ye Kong had been there for more than a year. It was cold and horrible, and there was no bed there. How could he have stayed there for a year?
“That’s my fault.” Ye Haoran could not help sighing and said, “Sir, let him out. I have no time to say goodbye to him. Please tell him to read more books and cause fewer troubles. Thank you. ”
A spirited young man came out of the temple in the afternoon. He was much taller than before. His spirit, actions and confidence were different.
After a year of cultivation, he had condensed a lot of Qi in his Qihai, though it couldn’t be seen. His mind and body was nourished by the spiritual Qi.
His eyes were clear; his eyesight was excellent. His reflexes were fast and his memory had been enhanced. The words and poems of Cangnan were not difficult for him. His power had improved so much that Liu Changqing couldn’t defeat him even though Ye Kong had never learned martial arts. During this time he had made friends with all the guards of the Ye ancestral temple.
“Young master, please don’t come here again.”
Ye Kong smiled, “I’m not a prisoner anymore. I can come anytime I want.”
Liu Changqing found out that he made fault and smiled sheepishly, “I mean don’t come to repent anymore.”
Ye Kong patted him and said with a smile, “If it was my choice, I would like to stay here for a much longer time.”
He was sincere. He cultivated all the time except during meals and seldom went back home, this place was a good place to cultivate without being disturbed.
The other reason why he did not want to leave was the cultivation book. If Ye Haoran came back to check on the book, he would need to quickly put it back, but Ye Haoran would be gone for a while yet, so he could take it with him without worry.
He could also open the collection of spells in his soul now. With that and a cultivation method, he would not fear other immortal cultivators.
“Brother Liu, I’ll come back and visit.”
“Ok, I’ll wait for you to come back sometime for a drink.”
Ye Kong nodded, shook his hand and walked to his yard, while singing to himself, “I am the most handsome.”