Chapter 13: A Total of 25 Names (Part Two)

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As soon as Li Gandang finished speaking, Li Xiaozong walked out of his tent, looked toward the gate, and quickly marched over while fixing his attire.

“I learned that the central government sent people from the Ministry of War and the Court of Judicial Review. Are they here?” Qiu Xiaoshu guessed.

Li Gandang glared at him and said, “What? Seeing the big figures from the central government, you are trying to go over there and flatter them?”

Qiu Xiaoshu endured his anger, stood up, and walked toward the tents.

Li Gandang looked at Qiu Xiaoshu who was walking away and sneered. “Fu Baobao, do you know why I never let Qiu Xiaoshu take our backs?”

“No; why?”

Li Gandang said, “This person is clever but doesn’t have the courage. While talking, his eyes glare around, meaning that his thoughts aren’t proper. I don’t dare to leave our backs to him. While battling, we don’t know when we would die, but I wouldn’t leave our backs open and not have a path to retreat.”

“This serious?” Fu Baobao gasped. “I think Qiu Xiaoshu isn’t bad.”

“You think?” Li Gandang replied earnestly, “When facing danger, I can stand before you, but he… will only run behind you. Although Fang Jie is afraid of death, he is loyal and wouldn’t escape. Therefore, I treat you guys and Fang Jie as brothers.”

Fu Baobao was touched and said, “Our team is lucky to have you as the leader.”

Li Xiaozong peeked at the eunuch who was sitting on his seat. Although he was angry, he couldn’t do anything. After all, this eunuch’s identity was unique; he was the eunuch who held the ink brush for the Emperor in the Royal Study. Since he was so close to the Emperor, sometimes one word from him would change a person’s future.

“Eunuch Wu, I wasn’t able to welcome you earlier. Please pardon my inconsideration,” Li Xiaozong said while cupping his hands together.

[TL Note: cupping hands together is almost like a non-military salute in ancient China.]

“General Li, don’t worry…”

Wu Peisheng sat on Li Xiaozong’s chair and said with a fake-smile, “I’m following His Majesty’s order to travel with the officials from the Ministry of War and the Court of Judicial Review to secretly inspect the military accounts of four circuits. Therefore, we didn’t dare to announce our whereabouts. If people know that we are coming, it would be hard to investigate the accounts. If we can’t perform the task that His Majesty assigned, we will all be punished when we return to Chang’an.”

Li Xiaozong hated how this eunuch talked, but he didn’t dare to show anything on his face. “Eunuch, you are right. Since you are here to inspect the accounts, I will order people to bring the books over.”

“No need to hurry.” Wu Peisheng waved his hand and laughed, “Since I’m here, there is no need to hurry. We ran into a snow storm on the way, and we are hungry and cold. General Li, aren’t you going to invite us to a few drinks to warm-up?”

“It is my inconsideration.” Li Xiaozong quickly ordered people to prepare food and liquor. Then, he ordered people to prepare the account books.

“I dislike snow. Although snowflakes look white and clean, they are dirty. When they land on clothes, the clothes would soon have creases. General Li, do you mind taking me to a place to change?”

Li Xiaozong replied, “Eunuch, please come to my study. I will lead the way.”

Wu Peisheng nodded, stood up, and said to the officials from the Ministry of War and the Court of Judicial Review, “Misters, you can enjoy the meal when it arrive; you don’t need to wait for me. I will come back after changing.”

The officials from the Ministry of War and the Court of Judicial Review quickly stood up and said while cupping their hands, “Eunuch, please do what you need. We will wait for you.”

Wu Peisheng didn’t say anything more and followed Li Xiaozong. When he was close to the study, Wu Peisheng suddenly smiled and said, “Before coming to Fangu, I went to Sleeping Immortal Mountain first and met with Great General Li Yuanshan, the Duke of Feudal State Tang. When we chatted, Duke of Tang mentioned you, and he said that you are a rare talent and will achieve more than him. I think that a general like you shouldn’t be buried here, so I will mention you to His Majesty when I go back.”

Li Xiaozong was confused by Wu Peisheng’s complete turn of attitude, but he was smart and quickly cupped his hands while saying, “Thank you, Eunuch Wu. My study has top-tier tea from Yangtze-South Circuit. Do you want to drink a cup of tea to warm up?”

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