Home Post 2434-chapter-18


Chapter 18

The Crown Prince and his entourage had not yet entered the archery range when people from inside the range came out to greet them.

Liu Pei, as usual, was chatting and laughing with Feng Liwu. Feng Liwu remained calm and composed, as if he were not the one extorting a hefty sum from Liang State.

Both of them exhibited excellent diplomatic skills, earning admiration from Jiang Xiurun.

Winter hunting also invited diplomats from various countries to Luò’ān.

Even the envoys from the Southern Yi Kingdom, whose relationship with the Qi Dynasty was delicate, were selecting bows at the archery range.

Therefore, Piliba, the envoy from the Southern Yi Kingdom, came over to greet the Qi Crown Prince.

Piliba was a fierce warrior from the Southern Yi, especially skilled in hunting. The Southern Yi had always competed secretly with the Qi Dynasty, and now, meeting at the archery range, they naturally wanted to have a friendly competition and give the Qi Crown Prince some face.

The archery range here was different from others; it was tailor-made. Bows and arrows were adjusted based on each person’s arm strength and the length of their arms.

Feng Liwu had ordered a bow early on, and today came to see if the new bow suited him or needed adjustments.

When the bow, adorned with gold and set with gemstones, was brought out, everyone gasped. It was a heavy bow, not something an ordinary person could lift.

However, Feng Liwu effortlessly handled it, skillfully manipulating the bowstring with his long fingers.

Jiang Xiurun also witnessed the martial prowess of the Crown Prince for the first time. In the past, he had always seen him frail and sickly, but now, before getting injured, he turned out to be quite capable.

While Feng Liwu was trying the bow, the prince of the Liang state was not idle. He walked over to Jiang Xiurun, smiling, and said, “Long time no see, my friend. I’ve missed you. If you have the time, would you care to join me for a drink by the lake?”

Liu Pei never imagined that this seemingly arrogant young man would be recruited by the Crown Prince and become the vanguard against the Liang State.

However, since Bo State and Liang State were close neighbors and had maintained friendly relations in recent years, Jiang Xiurun, considering his role in strategizing for his motherland, had to give face to this situation.

If he could convince Jiang Xiurun, Liu Pei could at least extract information on Feng Liwu’s current plans and appropriately address the current siege on Liang State.

Jiang Xiurun yawned, not bothering to look at Liu Pei, and lazily said, “Is the young master dissatisfied with me? In such cold weather, do you really want to freeze on the lake?”

Liu Pei hit a soft snag and hesitated. Boating on the lake was merely a precaution against eavesdropping, and with the recent thawing of the icy lake, adding a charcoal brazier to the boat would not be particularly cold.

However, Jiang Xiurun was unwilling. He immediately changed his tune and said, “Then, where would you like to go, sir?”

(T/N: hit a soft snag means tactful retort or rejection.)

Jiang Xiurun was pulled out of her warm bed by the Crown Prince and hadn’t had breakfast yet. Now that everyone was gathered at the archery range, eagerly awaiting the chance to praise Feng Liwu,.

She stood behind the colonnade, took out a cloth bag from her arms, extracted a roasted peanut, peeled it open, and said, “I currently live in the Prince’s Mansion. If you have such a strong personality, why not come to the Prince’s Mansion?”

How did Liu Pei handle the situation? Seeing that Jiang Xiurun was not giving face and her casual act of throwing peanuts into her mouth seemed dismissive, Liu Pei lowered his tone slightly and said, “Two years ago, the Qiang attacked Bo State, and it was my father, the emperor, who sent troops to lift the siege on Bo State’s capital. Our two states are neighbors, and it’s important for us to maintain a close and friendly relationship.”

Jiang Xiurun sneered inwardly. With such a vigilant neighbor, no amount of closeness could guarantee mercy.

Her father, the emperor, was adept at playing the role of a dutiful and filial son. Since the emperor had a close relationship with Liu Pei, why should Jiang Xiurun go out of her way to please him, especially considering that she was paving the way for her father’s misguided rule?

With this in mind, she rolled her eyes, glanced at Liu Pei sideways, and said, “Your Emperor lent troops to Bo State, and I’m sure it wasn’t for nothing. With real gold and silver changing hands, your Liang state only sent troops to assist after being provoked by Liang people. Making money through such means, our Bo state has really had bad luck becoming neighbors with you!”

Jiang Xiurun spoke the truth, but Bo State was not as powerful as Liang State. Suffering such a loss was like losing teeth and swallowing blood. However, he didn’t expect this arrogant young man to bring the matter to light in such a blunt manner. How could Liu Pei respond to this?

Encountering such an undiplomatic and impudent youth, Liu Pei’s face turned half black.

Just as he was about to respond, Qin Zhao walked over, raising his thick eyebrows and saying, “The Crown Prince instructed to assist Young Master Jiang in testing the bow. Please go to the archery room to select the bow’s body and string.”

In recent days, Qin Zhao has been unable to see this Young Master Jiang and feels increasingly restless. Even when he finally went out with the Crown Prince today, he couldn’t talk to her.

Now that he had finally found an opportunity, she was being held up by a Liang State prince.

Qin Zhao couldn’t approach directly, but his eyes had been watching the situation.

This glance was critical!

For example, the disdainful white-eye roll from Jiang Xiurun. What Liu Pei saw was arrogance and disrespect—this kid deserved a good beating! However, Qin Zhao felt it was a flirtatious look, clearly engaging in some form of courtship with the Liang state prince.

Qin Zhao was infuriated. He walked straight over, interrupting their conversation.

Jiang Xiurun, accompanied by Qin Zhao and Bai Qian, entered the archery room.

Now that Qin Zhao finally had a moment, taking advantage of his stature, he blocked others’ views and leaned in close to Jiang Xiurun’s ear, saying, “What were you chatting with Liu Pei about that made you so happy?”

Jiang Xiurun had no idea which eye Qin Zhao used to see her happiness. Ignoring him, she continued to choose bows and arrows. In the process, she harshly stomped on the back of his foot, then turned to face the assistant and said, “These bows are too heavy. Do you have bows made from snake bamboo?”

Snake bamboo was a special product of the Qi Dynasty, named for the snake-like patterns on the bamboo and known for its toughness. However, the Qi people mostly used this sturdy bamboo for making bamboo chairs, and it was rarely used for making bows.

However, the assistant was quick-witted, knowing that this young man had come with the Crown Prince and would naturally have his requests fulfilled. He promptly instructed a runner below to go to the street market and search for a suitable bow.

In no time, the runner returned with a small bow, clearly meant for children aged eight or nine to play with.

Someone immediately joked, “Young Master Jiang, do you really intend to use a child’s bow and arrows to hunt tigers and wolves with the Crown Prince?”

Jiang Xiurun completely ignored the comment. She continued to search the arrow rack and, upon spotting a specially made sleeve arrow that matched the small bow, promptly had Bai Qian store two boxes of them.

Since the Crown Prince insisted on her accompanying him, she couldn’t avoid it. However, the winter hunt was fraught with danger.

In her past life, she only knew the result of the Crown Prince’s assassination attempt but had no idea about the process. When the time came, she could only play it by ear and strive for self-preservation.

Despite its seemingly rudimentary and childish appearance, the snake bamboo bow was easy to handle and had a fast arrow release speed at short range.

In her previous life, when she went hunting with Qin Zhao, she used this bamboo snake bow. At that time, Qin Zhao mocked her for choosing it, but after a month of diligent practice, she made Qin Zhao shut his mouth completely with her proficiency in using the snake bamboo bow.

Now, as she held the small bow, Qin Zhao behind her, like everyone else, wore a smirking expression, seemingly mocking her for overestimating herself.

Just then, Feng Liwu also returned after trying the bow.

Earlier, he had used a heavy bow to shoot ten consecutive arrows through the bullseye of a target positioned a hundred meters away, leaving a hole the size of a wrist. This astonishing skill left onlookers in awe.

This extraordinary feat made Piliba lose face.

When he saw the small bow chosen by Jiang Xiurun, Feng Liwu furrowed his brows lightly, sensing that this Bo State youth was once again acting against his wishes and trying to deceive him.

As the Crown Prince’s tutor, taking a child’s bamboo bow to the hunting grounds, did Jiang Xiurun intend to embarrass him?

Sure enough, Piliba, who had just lost his face, burst into laughter as if tickled. He mockingly said, “I heard that this person is the Crown Prince’s tutor. Yet, he’s holding a bamboo bow like a little girl. Your Highness, what exactly did this tutor teach you?”

The Crown Prince paid no attention to the arrogant Southern Yi envoy. He coldly addressed Jiang Xiurun, “Since you’ve chosen a bow, give it a try. If it doesn’t suit you, you can choose another.”

Seeing the Crown Prince’s stern expression, Jiang Xiurun understood that he was dissatisfied with her, but the words gave her an opportunity to change the bamboo bow.

Feng Liwu didn’t tolerate mediocrity. If she couldn’t shoot well today, given the Crown Prince’s temperament, he might make her practice until she collapsed in the archery range.

Sure enough, when they reached the shooting range, the Crown Prince ordered the placement of targets at a hundred paces—a distant target.

How could this small bow shoot such a distance?

Jiang Xiurun raised the bow and tried three shots, but all three arrows fell to the ground halfway, causing the young nobles around to burst into laughter.

The Southern Yi envoy laughed even more heartily, resembling a duck happily quacking.

Jiang Xiurun shook her head and said to the Southern Yi envoy, “I have a quirk; unless someone acts as a target, I can’t practice seriously. May I ask, sir, if you would cooperate? Stand at a distance with an apple on your head, and I will shoot the apple.”

Piliba, upon hearing this, laughed mockingly, “What’s this? Do you think you can shoot that far if I stand there? Are you using me as an excuse to save face?”

After saying that, he walked confidently to a spot a hundred meters away, instructing his attendants to bring a wooden basin and hold it above his head, saying, “Place a fruit on top!. In case you can’t see it, using a wooden basin is even better!” He burst into laughter again, and his beard trembled with each chuckle.

Feng Liwu’s expression also became increasingly unpleasant.

Although Jiang Xiurun was a Bo state prince, now that she had been accepted as the Crown Prince’s tutor, embarrassing Young Master Jiang would be tantamount to embarrassing the Crown Prince of Great Qi.

With Young Master Jiang raising herself to such a high position, how could she step down now?

Jiang Xiurun, however, remained composed. She instructed Bai Qian to find another heavy bowstring and replace the one on her small bow, making it even more curved.

At this moment, the hidden flexibility of the snake bamboo was fully revealed. After tightening the bowstring, it became taut.

Now, Jiang Xiurun no longer uses the bamboo arrows that came with the small bow. Instead, she switched to the sleeve arrows she had chosen earlier.

Amidst the mocking gazes of the crowd, this seemingly frail young person once again set up the delicate sleeve arrows. She shot casually in various directions at first, then pulled back the bowstring, squinting her eyes, and shot an arrow towards the Southern Yi envoy.

This arrow carried a whistling sound, and with a thud, it hit the target behind Piliba, far from the wooden basin above his head.

Some people reflexively wanted to laugh again, but most tightened their bows.

Earlier, no matter how Jiang Xiurun shot, the range was insufficient, and she wouldn’t harm the envoy.

However, now she somehow adjusted the bow, increasing the range suddenly, but the accuracy wasn’t great. This meant that Young Master Jiang might accidentally injure the Southern Yi envoy, causing unwarranted disputes between the two countries.

Piliba obviously realized this. His face changed immediately, and he tried to leave the target.

However, with a single movement, he found that the previous arrow had actually caught his right collar, embedded in the wooden target behind his head.

Just then, the second whistling, short arrow flew towards him. This time, it lodged into the left side, deeply embedding itself into the left collar.

Qin Zhao, knowing the consequences of Young Master Jiang’s arrows hitting someone, silently cursed the woman for being ignorant. He took a few quick steps, attempting to stop Jiang Xiurun.

But before anyone could react, five short arrows in succession were shot, grazing Piliba’s face.

After finishing the shots, Jiang Xiurun, without waiting for Qin Zhao to intervene, put down the small bow, sighed, and shook her head, saying, “My archery skills are not precise. I’ve embarrassed myself.”

Looking at the arrows, not a single one hit the wooden basin, but each pierced through the envoy’s clothes, pinning him to the target.

Even the experienced Southern Yi envoy, due to this reckless young person, was scared, and he wet himself.







Verified by MonsterInsights