Author: SheisNoLongerHere PM
When a 'million' man army arrives to conquer China, all hopes of stalling their advancement lies within the hands of Gan Ning, Lu Meng, and Lu Xun... Will the kingdoms unite before the defense falls?Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Drama - Chapters: 14 - Words: 77,696 - Reviews: 68 - Favs: 14 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 02-01-05 - Published: 11-02-03 - id: 1583967
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own any character in this fanfic unless otherwise stated. Lu Xun, Gan Ning, Lü Meng, and all other characters are copyrighted to KOEI Productions and are used for fan reasons only. Please do not steal or alter this fic.
Well, as promised, I have moved to the new dorm, and as expected, it was definitely better than the last one. But, enough of that, on with what's more important; THE FANFIC!Chapter Fourteen: No More Jokes, No More Games
A petal fell from one of her bright red flowers, and Lady Wu gave it an awkward glance, not panicking but approaching her flowers in a rather calming manner to see what the problem was. She instantly spotted the little bee that grasped onto the flowers remaining petals, not wanting to fall as it went to collect its nectar. No, she wasn't too angry with it; after all, it was doing what he needed to do…
"Naughty little thing; my flowers are delicate! Do be careful with them."
She laughed at the thought that she was talking to her flowers and the bee, but she laughed more when she thought of what threat she would have to give to the bee for it to listen to her. What COULD she do? She couldn't swat at it; killing wasn't her style. And she couldn't send the guards on it; that would only anger the guards left in the castle, to be used for such a silly reason.
Speaking of guards… well, rather men…
She wondered how Zhang He and Xu Huang were doing? She remembered their departure, how her granddaughter was in tears before them, begging from them to find her husband-to-be and bring him back safely. Oh, the poor girl…
Lady Wu thought of her granddaughter right now, sighing and wondering if there was anything that she herself could do to cheer that girl up. Her mother and aunt were doing all within their power to help, but she knew it would not be enough. She knew how to make the girl feel better, but there was nothing she herself could do about it now. The only way was to bring her some sort of proof that Lu Xun was alive and to assure her that her nightmare was only that; a nightmare.
The Empress of Wu remembered her granddaughter rushing to her in the middle of the night, with tears in her eyes, ranting about seeing the defense fall, and instantly she feared what would have became of her husband-to-be. Lady Wu couldn't blame her, and still, she thanked the men from Wei for stopping her horse in time; her granddaughter, in battle? No such thing! She was fit more for a bridal gown than battle armor, but that was not enough to convince her otherwise.
She sighed, going back to the bench and taking a seat by herself, wondering what else she could plan for the wedding. She had to keep her granddaughter's mind off of the battle, or the poor girl would get sick… she didn't need that stress.
So with that in mind, she rose and walked back into the castle, to find someone, anyone, which would help with the wedding plans. She was going to lift that cloud of doubt over Jian Ye; she wanted nothing but smiling faces when she was there, and she wasn't going to be the only sunshine of hope here.
"Bastards… I'll get them for this!"
No one doubted the words of the pirate captain, grunting slightly as Sei Rong bandaged his wound. Hua Seung had pulled the arrow out himself, as if to demonstrate his own strong will to his minions, though few were impressed as they had witnessed similar actions before. None of them questioned their captain's strength, that was for certain.
Nor did they doubt his rage right now, as he knocked Sei Rong away harmlessly, to stand despite of his wound and glare at every single one of them. "And no one though to follow them into the woods, eh? What kind of lot are you?"
It was Sei Rong that answered, the crippled man backing off for a few seconds to give his lord some room. He had already dispatched a force to seek whomever shot that arrow, and now, as the giant force lingered from the woods, weary that there could be more archers set up, merely waited for their lord to release his fury upon them now.
And that was exactly what the pirate captain was going to do, had Huang Zhong's arrow not struck in the right place. The man went to yell, but instead he winced, and Sei Rong spoke up again, "Don't agitate it; it would reopen-"
"Oh shut up."
Sighing, Sei Rong backed off, "Aye…"
Somehow, this made Hua Seung laugh, scaring his men for a bit but returning to his old self, despite the mask of sweat that covered his dark skinned face. "You act as if that was the first time I've ever been hit, Rong… don't think that if the first few didn't kill me then this one will."
"Indeed." Sei Rong sighed, envisioning one of his many plans of assassinating this man that failed and looking away into the woods where their enemy hid. He spoke up, knowing it would anger his lord but willing to take the chance. "Now what?"
He was correct to assume that it displease him, as the captain sneered, "What do you mean! We go after them!"
Surprisingly, it was another pirate that voiced his opinion this time, sparing Sei Rong the punishment. "But… we got 'em, Cap'n."
And another shouted, "Yeah, what's the point? They're defeated; they're no threat now!"
Before anyone else could join the Mercy Bandwagon, the captain rose in spite of his wound, and his shout was not to be ignored, as those that spoke out instantly regretted it. "What the hell ARE you guys to say such things! When has a pirate ever shown mercy to his enemies?"
No one had the guts to answer immediately, letting Hua Seung rant some more. "If they escape, then what will the other armies think? They'll think that we're sloppy-"
"But could we not use that to our advantage?" Sei Rong questioned, preparing for the strike that was going to come. When it did not, but seeing how the hand was reeling back for the response, he quickly blurted out and rose his shaky hands in defense. "You could trick them!"
The strike didn't come, but he trembled still, as the pirate captain heard another shout, "Yeah, fool 'em into thinking we're nice?"
"Then lead them into an ambush!" Another shouted, raising his bloodstained spear into the air. "Why not do that, Cap'n? That'll get them by surprise!"
And Sei Rong, feeling a bit of confidence, spoke up, "Pirates with a plan; something they would never expect."
There came no harsh response from the pirate captain, and many suspected punishment for the brave soldiers that spoke out. However, the pirate captain merely said nothing, growling and looking back at the woods where Lü Meng and Gan Ning fled to. They weren't sure what he was doing; was he contemplating it? Sei Rong did nothing, wondering if he should ask about his lord's health.
However, Hua Seung sneered and finally made a response, "Sent a few scouts into the woods, but don't attack them. I just want to see what they're up to… they're crafty and could have some extra forces in those woods."
That took Sei Rong by surprise, but he did not question it, merely nodded and giving out the word. Hua Seung added, "The rest of you are to remain here in a defensive position… it shouldn't be long before their main force arrives and I want to be ready for that."
As the rushed to work, Hua Seung grabbed Sei Rong quickly, and the crippled man was alarmed at how serious his voice was, as he asked the question. "Tell me, how many other kingdoms reside here?"
Sei Rong answered immediately, "Three at least, my lord… but they are all at war. Why do you care so much about that now?"
The pirate captain did not reply immediately, and actually tried to avoid the question, "I just feel better if my prey is dead, that's all. Gan Ning is a traitor to all pirates, and that Lü Meng … no, I especially do not like him."
"Any particular reason why?"
He earned a slap for that, and the captain sneered, "The reasons are my own! Now get to work; you're in charge of the scouts in the woods and keep the punks in line! Now get the hell out of my face!"
What else could he do but oblige? Sei Rong bowed quickly and retreated, though a light smile crept up onto his face. Though for a second, fear was obvious in his eyes; something about that general he struck earlier today frightened him… "Perhaps… I can use this to my advantage and finally break free from him?"
"Meng? How are you doing there, buddy?"
Lü Meng could hardly make out that panicked voice for his friend, as he was swimming in a heat of pain and complete misery. The wound was practically gushing blood now, thanks to the mad run, and the heavy armor weighed him down even more, giving him no other choice but to lay flat on the cool earth. He finally opened his eyes, never realizing they were even closed, and looked to see the look of fear on the former pirate's features... was he really that worried?
"Meng! Thank the gods you're awake! I was scared stiff I'd have to give you the kiss of life!"
He tried to smile, but it came out weak, as he sighed out a hiss of pain, "That... would do no good..."
"Hey... just hold still! You really need a healer..."
That silly pirate... there were no healers around. However, he said nothing, merely blinking to show that he was still there.
"I could probably tie you a bandage, if you had some cloth you wouldn't mind losing."
What did he care? He merely nodded, afraid to even speak.
"Alright then! Off with the shirt sleeves we go!"
The minute Gan Ning went to do so, his body racked with pain, and he could not hold back the cry, making the pirate wince. He sighed, "Be careful..."
Gan Ning nodded, shifting slightly so that Lü Meng could hear his bells tinkle in the wind, "Yeah... I will. Sorry..."
"Where... are we?"
"Safe in the forest." Gan Ning replied, going to rip apart the sleeves, but getting a better idea before he could tear the fabric. "I'll take off your armor... getting to your actual clothes will be easier then."
"Alright... let me sit up..."
But the former pirate's hands stopped him, "No... Just stay still. I'll do it..."
"Damnit Ning! I am NOT on the edge of death, and you are NOT my nursemaid!" Lü Meng snapped, struggling to rise. "I can help!"
"Well, until I say otherwise, I AM your nursemaid! So stay still!" Gan Ning ordered, pinning him down gently but firmly. No, Lü Meng could not blame him for his concern, and he hoped that the poor former pirate did not blame himself for his injury…
"Ning... you know that this isn't your fault, right? You tried to warn me..."
Somehow, that made the former pirate smile, shaking his head as he began to unlatch Lü Meng's armor. "It was… I should have listened to your order the first time. Don't worry about it… you just stay awake."
"Alright... I think I can do that..." With that, Lü Meng tried to relax, though it seemed impossible. He hated the feel of his own blood flowing freely through his wound, and he asked aloud, to keep a conversation going and to keep himself awake. "I wonder… where that arrow came from…"
Smiling again, Lü Meng shook his head, "Someone was there, and you know it…"
"Yes, I know it, and I also know that whoever it was had their reasons for doing things the way they did... it had just BETTER be a good one!"
Finally, as the last bit of his armor was thrown uselessly to the ground next to them, Gan Ning prepared to make the bandages, and he grimaced at the sight of the wound as he removed Lü Meng's many layers of clothing. "That's… that's no good… there's a frickin' hole there that shouldn't be there!"
"Well, Ning, that would be the literal definition of the word 'wound', now isn't it?"
Even his friend's jesting manner did not help, as Gan Ning began to tear at the sleeves, "I'll get Hua Seung later…"
"You will do no such thing. If anyone has a claim on his head, it's me, " Lü Meng grinned. "You wouldn't try and steal my thunder, would you?"
"Dammit… I should have listened the first time! It should be me hurt…"
"Then I'd be sitting in your position saying the same thing." Sighing, Lü Meng tried to calm his friend down, reaching with his own bloody fingers to pat him on the leg. "It… it was bound to happen sometime, but don't worry about it… we don't know how much longer Hua Seung will nurse his own wound…"
"That's true. Did you see the look on his face! Man... he sure was hurting." Just like that, Gan Ning was smiling again, his optimism always welcomed by his friend, even though he did not express it half of the time. He ripped apart the sleeves, tossing the strips to the side without haste. "I'd pay whoever shot that arrow gold just to see that expression again!"
"I'm sure they would appreciate that."
He figured the lightness in his voice worried Gan Ning, as the former pirate asked, "You need water or anything? I think there's a stream nearby…"
"Nah, I'm okay."
"You sure? It… it wouldn't take me long at all!"
How could Lü Meng say this without sounding completely weak? There was no way, so he just sighed, "Look... I don't want to be alone..."
Yes, he did sound weak, because instantly, the pirate was at his side, checking him for a fever. Wondering if he himself was that overprotective, Lü Meng sighed, as Gan Ning asked, "If you don't want to be alone, then that's fine… after I patch you up, I'll carry you there, okay?"
"... I would pay to see that sight..."
"Dammit, don't mock me… I'm… really worried!" Gan Ning snarled, his red eyes flashing. "And all you can do is crack jokes!"
They both grew silent, until Lü Meng whispered, "Ning…"
"Look... I take your health -very- seriously..." The pirate snorted, pausing to let some clothes rip, then began to count to see if he had enough. "You'd do the same for me… wouldn't you?"
"Yeah, I guess I would at that."
The general let out a sigh, turning his head to avoid Gan Ning's worried gaze, to stare at a patch of flowers instead. They were bright red, and in the middle, was a small yellow one, though it had not bloomed completely. He smiled, before asking, "You think… Lu Xun made it back to Jian Ye safely?"
"That little punk? Yeah... nothing happened to him. It better not, anyway."
The former pirate grabbed the lucky strap that was to be the first bandage, and he brought it against Lü Meng's wound, tensing when his friend let out a sickening moan. He cursed, "Maybe I should get some water… to clean the wound first!"
"Are you kidding? The water around here is enough to kill me!" Lü Meng did not mean to sound impatient, but sadly it came out that way. He hissed back the pain, to allow Gan Ning to continue. "We don't have the time… just bind it as quickly as possible…"
"Alright, but it's gonna hurt."
Laughing, the general sent him a questioning look, "More than it already does?"
"Probably not, no."
"Then get it over with…" Lü Meng sighed. "I… don't know how much longer I can stay awake, okay?"
Gan Ning took a deep breath, beginning to tighten the bandages as quickly as possible. He could see how much Lü Meng held back his cries, and he pitied the grass below them, seeing how much he dug into the earth. An overwhelming sense of guilt overran him to the point he could hardly contain his tears, but he stopped them in enough time, as his friend gave him a begging look. "Almost done."
Finally the distasteful job was finished, and Gan Ning brushed his hand on his pants, "Well... that's the best I can do."
"Don't thank me! We still have to get your carcass back to Wu!" Gan Ning joked, though he did not know how he even got it out without choking on it. "You wanna rest a little, or should we set out now? Who knows when the horse will start moving again."
"I'm tired... can I take a nap?"
Smiling, the former pirate gave a nod, "Sure… I'll stand watch."
"Thanks Ning... what would I do without you?"
"Don't ask that… you know where you'd be!" Gan Ning spat playfully, but it came out too late, as the man drifted into unconsciousness, his dirty face still hinting just a bit of pain. Guilt flashed in Gan Ning's red eyes, as the former pirate tried to move his friend into a more comfortable position, letting his head and his wild black hair to rest on his lap, surprised that it did not wake him. "Rest easy…"
No reply came from Lü Meng, but that didn't surprise Gan Ning at all, as he whipped out his sword and held it in one hand, and then rested his other hand on Lü Meng's head, to wake him up quickly should he need to. He kept his eyes open and his ears alert, wondering why Hua Seung didn't send in his troops yet… and why, of all people, did he go straight for Lü Meng? He sighed, eyeing the territory and sneering at his name, before silencing himself as to not disturb his friend's slumber. "Hua Seung… I'll get you someday…"
'How shameful to have a son such as you…'
Those words were spoken to him but a few hours before he fled from home, and how odd it was that he himself said this as he fled from the battle that he was meant to fight in…
Lu Xun never knew what happened to the men that he fled from, the men that he abandoned to tell the lord of their situation. No, he had no clue of Lü Meng's injury, otherwise he would have woken up and returned to them. However, in this state, he knew nothing and felt nothing but the shame that he let them down horribly, by order or not.
'How shameful… to let them down like this!' Lu Xun thought in his stage of slumber, wincing in his sleep and curling deeper into his ball, forgetting about the exhausted horse and everything else around him. He didn't care what happened to him now… all he cared about was the safety of his teacher and friend… his friends chased him away! 'I could have helped… that's why I came to Wu in the first place, to be of use to someone, anyone…'
He wanted to be useful, especially after his father, his own father, found him to be nothing close to that idea. In his father's eyes, he was worthless… 'What good is a brilliant mind if you have no power to back it up?'
He had let his father down so much, and now he let down his superior generals and friends and three thousand men. No, he just didn't want to dwell on it right now; it forced too many tears to want to break through his defenses, and he tried so hard to fight them, never hearing the footsteps of the man that approached him.
'Lord Lü Meng… Gan Ning…'
Why did they chase him away? It came out as an order, but it didn't feel that way. Maybe his father was right… maybe he just wasn't meant for war, and Lü Meng and Gan Ning were just agreeing with him. That still felt no better than when his father spoke the words (as well as dealing a blow or two to reinforce his words). In fact… it felt much worse.
Curling even more, if that was possible, he let out a silent but harsh choking sob, not seeing the sympathy in the eyes of the man that stood above him, watching.
He let them down… he was a failure after all!
The person came so suddenly that when he felt a hand rest upon his shoulder, he froze, not opening his eyes and cutting his sobbing short. There, in the darkness, he waited, feeling the odd warmth that came from this person as he heard a soft chuckle rise from this man's lips. Then, in a voice he never recognized, he heard this man say, "So this is my son in law… they will be safe. I'll see to it…"
Suddenly, his eyes flashed open, to see who had spoken this, but there was no one there. He was too late!
"Who's that! Who's there!"
No one answered, at least not a voice he recognized. Instead of the warming voice he heard earlier, there was a laugh, this time it came from a pirate, or at least he thought it did, as he could spot several coming from over the hill. "Well look at what we found… lady luck is with us today!"
No, they were not the same pirates as before, for their attire was a bit darker, well organized. He did not realize the slave ship that was docked but a few feet away, but in return, he knew nothing of the Wu forces that were heading his way at this very moment, otherwise, he wouldn't have grabbed his weapons so readily.
Another crowed, as seven, eight more appeared from over the hill, slowly advancing towards the lone soldier. "Oh, twin sabers! Looks like he can defend himself at least!"
"This should be enjoyable!"
Now, Lu Xun barked, threatening them with little or no fear in his hoarse voice, despite the situation. "I suggest you back away; I have no problem with spilling your blood, pirates!"
"Pirates! How rude of him!"
Another jumped at Lu Xun, and the boy prepared for it, jumping back and driving one of his sabers directly into his heart. The man fell dead, but the others did not seem to care too much, as they merely laughed and continued their advance. Two of which had rope ready, and Lu Xun knew all too well what they were planning on doing…
"He should sell greatly on the market, don't you think?" The one with the rope laughed, twirling it around playfully as the others began to circle Lu Xun and his dazed horse. "Dress him up like a monkey and have him dance for a king!"
Another went for Lu Xun, but the boy was too swift, swerving and showing the pirate no mercy as he slit the man's throat with deadly accuracy. And another met his fate, falling right into Lu Xun's attack as he almost took the man's head with a single swipe. Still, the pirates could only laugh, and as Lu Xun fought valiantly, not wanting to see what would become of him in their hands, all they could do was mock him for his efforts. He gave a choked cry, tears unwillingly forcing their way up, "Get away from me!"
They did no such thing, and he was practically fighting for his life, slashing this away and that in a panicked rush to save him. Lü Meng and Gan Ning worked so hard to let him escape, and how dishonorable it would have been had their attempts been for naught. As another pirate fell, he gave a cry, not seeing the rope that wrapped around his wrist and painfully pulled it back, forcing the sword out of his hand with one quick movement. And what was worse, was at the same time, another rope enclosed around his lower calve, yanking and pulling is foot from under him. The ground was harsh, but not as harsh as their laughs, as though with one hand and foot bound, he fought on, fighting with a quiet dignity…
'Lord Lü Meng… Gan Ning… I'm so sorry!'
However, fate shone pity on him, it seemed, as the sound of hooves could be heard over their cruel laughter. One pirate rose to see who approached, and his death came quick, his head cut cleanly off and rolling to the ground, right next to the fallen Lu Xun, as the others finally turned around. The boy still struggled, even as one cried out, "Is that who I think it is!"
No one answered, not even his savior, who's dark horse bellowed as he finally came to a stop. Had Lu Xun stopped struggling, he would have seen Zhou Tai's long cape draping in the light breeze and the slight anger upon his normally mellow face. It wasn't until another pirate gasped that he realized that he was saved… "Captain! Is that really you!"
It was a swift movement, but just as effective as the life he took just a few seconds ago, "Release him!"
And, rather in regards to their past loyalty or in fear of death from this man, they did, and Lu Xun swerved to look up at him, just as Sun Quan and Zhou Yu rode over the hill, along with a whole score of Wu soldiers. The hope that shone in his golden eyes was true, and he tried to stand, to greet them, but his feet refused to obey, allowing him to stare at them as the descended down towards them.
The pirates knew who Zhou Tai was, and the man stood between Lu Xun and the pirates, as Sun Quan practically flung himself off of the horse, to get to Lu Xun. "Lu Xun, are you alright! We've been worried sick!"
The boy wanted to cry out with joy, to tell them to hurry and go help his comrades, but no words could form, only feeding Sun Quan's fear as Zhou Yu went to join him. The boy couldn't believe that he could not speak, as he tried when Zhou Yu asked, "Are you injured?"
Still, Lu Xun couldn't say anything, mouthing the names of his friends that needed him, but still, nothing but air came out. Seeing this, Zhou Tai turned to the pirates and his voice made all those around him, even his lord, tremble slightly, "What did you do!"
None of them wanted to confess, as their voices gathered as one and became mindless jumble. Before Zhou Tai could question again, Zhou Yu answered, seeing Lu Xun grasp his throat, as if to try to force the words out. "He's lost his voice… I am not sure what's caused it, but it could be the stress he's under."
It seemed to explain everything, but still, the boy tried to speak, his golden eyes lit with tears as he begged for them to go help Lü Meng and Gan Ning. It seemed that they read his lips, as Sun Quan asked, "Where's Lü Meng and Gan Ning? Where are the rest of the soldiers?"
How could Lu Xun explain? He tried to stand, to lead them, but still, his body refused to obey, not to mention how the other two held him down. Zhou Yu noticed the wound that Hua Seung gave him earlier, pinning Lu Xun down gently as to not cause anymore harm, "Lu Xun, calm down… did they order you to leave?"
The boy nodded, and Sun Quan, still remembering his mother's plans, mentally thanked them for at least going through with that. Still, he, as well as Zhou Yu, knew that sending Lu Xun back to Jian Ye would not be the best of actions, at least not for Lu Xun. Neither one wanted to give the order, but it was inevitable. Zhou Yu began, "Lu Xun, we will go assist them immediately, but you must return to Jian Ye."
They didn't need to hear his voice to see his disappointment, as he mouthed the words, 'What!'
This time, Sun Quan spoke up, "You need to get your wounds looked at, and the ladies will be worried if we don't send them some kind of reassurance. I need you to do that for us."
Still, the boy shook his head, but he was then given no choice, as Zhou Yu fought against his conscious and struck the boy in a quick, painless manner, letting him slip into unconsciousness within Sun Quan's arms. They could still see the resistance in his sad golden eyes, but it did not last long at all, lying limp. Zhou Yu sighed, "We need to hurry… they cannot hold out for long!"
"I know…" Sun Quan sighed, looking down at Lu Xun and trying to overcome the guilt. "I hope we're not too late… and I hope he can forgive us."
It was Zhou Tai that spoke up, still keeping himself between the pirates and his lord. The pirates seemed obedient enough, knowing better than to cause any sort of trouble now, and they merely waited for the order to be killed on the spot. Sun Quan looked at them for a second, and then looked at Zhou Tai, "Stand down… they're not the same ones that threaten our land."
Zhou Tai backed away, and Zhou Yu spoke up to the pirates, making sure that they paid close attention. "We know your occupation, and while disgraceful as it is, we have other things to worry about, far more important things. I assume that none of you here owe your alliance to Hua Seung… which is why we're giving you two options."
They said nothing, merely waiting for the alternatives, and Zhou Yu gave a glance towards Sun Quan, who merely nodded. When Zhou Yu spoke, their fear of death was relieved, "Here are your options… you can either leave this land and never return, and should you try we will then swiftly eliminate you. Or, you can join our ranks, much like Zhou Tai and Gan Ning, a several others, have and work on redeeming yourselves."
One shouted, "Gan Ning? Gan Ning as in, Gan Ning of the Bells!"
Sun Quan answered, "The very same…"
It seemed that recognition lighted in their eyes, and one spoke for all of them, "Why didn't you SAY you knew good ol' Ning! He's the one the saved us from Hua Seung in the first place!"
Another shouted, tearing off his headband, "We'll GLADLY join ya! A lord of our Bells is a lord of ours!"
"And of course, you are always welcomed into our ranks," Sun Quan stated, easily overlooking what they had just done. He knew it was in their business, but, much like Gan Ning, things would change.
Zhou Yu spoke up, "We should hurry, my lord…"
"Right… Zhou Tai." The man looked up when his name was called, and surprisingly, Sun Quan handed the boy to him, explaining as Zhou Tai had little or no problem holding him up. "I need you to return to Jian Ye with Lu Xun and to remain there until we come back."
Instantly, the former pirate asked, "But what about you, my lord?"
"I'm safe, Zhou Tai; don't worry." Sun Quan stated, looking up at his bodyguard and seeing the rare concern that lit his dark eyes, the very same that he saw several years ago when this very man saved his life. He smiled, "I've put you through enough trouble over myself as it is, and I know that he will be safe with you. Please, you're the only one I can entrust this to."
He knew he could have instantly turned it into an order, but he didn't have to. Sun Quan knew he meant every word, and this was why he merely nodded and mounted his horse with the boy tucked neatly between himself and the neck of his horse, whom dared not complain. Before he left, however, he looked towards his lord and Zhou Yu, his voice low and heard well. "Be safe."
Both men nodded, and it was Zhou Yu that answered. "We'll do our best."
And with that, he was off, tapping his horse lightly on the rear and guiding the beast as he departed, with the unconscious Lu Xun still in his hold. Now, there was no time to waste…