Chapter 52: Red Horse, White Tiger (Part One)
Fang Jie looked at Wanyan Zhongde, hesitated for a moment, and asked the question on his mind while gesturing at his own forehead, “Brother Wanyan, why are the men’s hair of Northern Liao styled like this?”
Perhaps he realized that his question wasn’t polite, Fang Jie smiled awkwardly after asking.
Wanyan Zhongde didn’t mind the question, and he rubbed his smooth forehead and explained, “This is a way for us men of Northern Liao to show bravery and courage. I already told you that 100,000 Mountains of Northern Liao is the coldest place in the world. Our ancestors wanted to show their courage to stand the cold, so they shaved their foreheads.”
Then, he smiled and continued, “There is also another reason. If the hair is too long, it will block the eyes. Since Northern Liao is too cold for farming, we could only hunt beasts in the mountains. Long hair will affect our accuracy in shooting arrows, so this is much better.”
Fang Jie nodded and thought, “Is this the same reason why some people in ancient China had this hairstyle as well?”
“Brother Fang, what trouble did you encounter?” Wanyan Zhongde asked curiously.
Fang Jie sighed and said, “Brother Wanyan, I will be completely honest. I’m going to the Capital to participate in the entrance exam of the Martial Arts Academy under the recommendation of the military of Fangu. However, I encountered a group of enemies on the way. I’m being ambushed frequently, and I’m afraid that I will be killed before I get to Chang’an. Therefore, I hope that Brother Wanyan could gift me three good horses and help me get away from those enemies.”
“There are such bold people?” Wanyan Zhongde was surprised and said, “The laws of Great Sui are strict; how can the government allow such a thing? On top of that, you are a participant in the entrance exam of the Martial Arts Academy. With this unique identity, you could report to the local governments along the way, and they would send out people to protect you.”
Fang Jie sighed, “Those enemies are cultivation masters. Even if the local governments give me protection, it will only result in casualties. This is my personal matter; how can I see others die for me? I can’t do something like this. It is better for me to be more careful. Brother Wanyan, if it troubles you too much, just treat it as if we never met today.”
Then, Fang Jie stood up, cupped his hands, and said, “I look forward to seeing you again.”
Before Wanyan Zhongde could say anything, that girl stood up and said, “Sage Fang, you don’t need to be this concerned. We people of Northern Liao are loyal to friends. Since you saved our envoy at Fangu, you are a friend of Northern Liao. How can we not help you? Besides, Northern Liao doesn’t lack great horses that can travel more than 500 kilometers in a day.”
Now, Wanyan Zhongde wasn’t in a position to say anything else. He glared at that girl quietly and quickly added, “That is right. Brother Fang, you are only asking for a few horses. You pick! Take the ones you want.”
Fang Jie was waiting for him to say this, so he didn’t wait and waved. Da Quan and Mu Xiaoyao quickly dashed out of the reed marshes in the back.
Fang Jie cupped his hands together and bowed toward Wanyan Zhongde. He said, “I will definitely return this huge favor. Brother Wanyan, if you come to Great Sui again, and I’m not dead, you can come to me if you have any troubles.”
Then, Fang Jie casually pulled a horse without picking, jumped onto it, and said, “Brother Wanyan, remember one thing. After you return to 100,000 Mountains, don’t make the movement of your armies too obvious. The people of Mongo-Yuan probably already noticed your entry into Great Sui. Even if Great Sui is willing to help, Northern Liao is thousands of kilometers away. When the reinforcements of Great Sui get to Northern Liao, I’m afraid that your clan would be already exterminated.”
After thinking for a bit, Fang Jie added, “You can ask the Khagan of Northern Liao to write a letter to the Golden Tent of Mongo-Yuan. Don’t say anything like swearing loyalty; just say that the taxes are too heavy, and the people of Northern Liao couldn’t bear it. Ask Khagan Mong Ge of Mongo-Yuan to reduce the taxes.”
Wanyan Zhongde asked in surprise, “Huh? Wouldn’t it be the same as telling Mong Ge that we are planning to rebel?”