Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan, relying on their outstanding acute spirit and extraordinary shenfa, taking advantage of the split-second gap while the guards on the watchtower on both sides were looking elsewhere, they flipped over the rear palace’s outer wall. Quietly, without making any noise, they sneaked in the direction of the inner palace jail at the northwest corner. Translated by foxs
The two leaped onto a big tree outside the partition wall on the east side of the inner palace. The main gate of the inner palace jail appeared before their eyes.
Looking at how tight the security of the inner palace jail was, with the iron-bar gate and the eight guards outside the door, their eyebrows were deeply knitted.
They thought that Kou Zhong was attempting to get the Pingyao Merchants out of Longquan with Du Xing’s help, plus they were afraid that they already missed him, hence without looking for him first, they took the initiative to come over here.
Ba Fenghan said, “Each of the iron bars making up the iron gate is as thick as a baby’s arm; even using tools, I am afraid we will need three quarters to an hour before we could cause any damage to it, the guards inside will have enough time to sound the alarm. If that happened, not only we could not save our people, we would also beat the grass to scare the snake.”
He added, “Do you think Kesubie knew the password but he did not tell us, for fear that we might immediately go to save people?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
From Kesubie, they learned that a secret password was required to open the jail, and Kesubie said that even he did not know it, hence the suspicion.
Xu Ziling said, “That is very difficult to say, people always have selfish motives. Presently, the only way is to keep watch for Song ErGe in here, we make our move only when necessary. Hey! Someone’s coming!”
Dressed in general’s attire, but wearing the ugly divine doctor Mo Yixin’s mask, Kou Zhong strode through the courtyard gate. Acting like he owned the world, he walked straight toward the inner palace prison, immediately attracting the guards’ attention.
Watching this, Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan were dumbstruck; they suspected that either they had dimmed eyesight, or that they were dreaming.
Because Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan did not try to conceal that they were watching him at all, Kou Zhong immediately sensed it; he cast his gaze toward the big tree outside the wall where they were hiding. Ba Fenghan stuck his head out of the braches and leaves and signaled him with his hand from a distance.
Kou Zhong was confused as well, thinking that all the bizarre things in the world, surely nothing could surpass this. How could these two kids appear here in such an appropriate time? This moment he did not have time to think too much, one of the palace guards at the gate, presumably the captain, shouted, “Password!” What he requested was the regular password to go through the palace.
Kou Zhong unhurriedly walked over toward the captain and the rest of the palace guards, while behind his back he signaled the two men to take care of these guards. He spoke with serious expression, “The stone produces five colors.”
Staring blankly, the captain said, “And this Jiangye [master general] is …”
Kou Zhong leaned closer and whispered in his ear, “I am Gongqi Jiangjun’s man, I am usually outside all year round, hence very few people know me. This time I am here on Da Wang’s order to ask Song Shidao a few questions. After I am in, it is very important that you lock the palace jail again, and don’t open the gate before I come out. This is Gong Jiangjun’s order.” Translated by foxs
The little captain’s suspicion was completely gone. First, Gongqi and his troops indeed often worked on the outside for a long period of time, so not recognizing his men was proper and to be expected as a matter of course. Next, the other side took the initiative to have the door locked after he went in, hence they shouldn’t be afraid that the prisoner would escape. Thereupon he shouted, “Open the gate!”
The imperial bodyguard inside the gate received the order and opened the lock. This gate must be opened from the inside, therefore, even if Lu Miaozi came back to life and came in person, toward such gate, he would have his hands tied without any plan.
The iron gate moved inward, the prison door was an unobstructed passage.
Under the watchful eyes of the guards, Kou Zhong entered the prison. He hung his hands down and waited patiently for the guard to lock the gate and handed over the key to the captain outside the door, before speaking with a laugh, “Where is Song Shidao? I want to talk some private matters with him; Da Wang’s order: no one is allowed to eavesdrop.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
The captain hurriedly ordered, “After taking Jiangye to the prisoner’s cell, everybody retreat to the main gate this side.”
Kou Zhong was amused inwardly, but immediately he was shocked. He saw behind the entrance, on the left side, there was a stone room about two zhang square, leaning against the wall were row upon row of wooden frameworks, full of cast iron stocks and chain and other things commonly seen in a prison, plus weapons, bows and arrows, even military uniforms. But it was not all these things that shocked him, what gave him headache was that right in the middle of the room was a big copper bell, as well as the bell hammer. If the bell was sounded, even if Bai Ziting was asleep, he would wake up immediately.
He had just signaled Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling to undertake the task to put the guards outside the door in order, without giving them the opportunity to raise the alarm, but now, naturally it was not feasible.
Able to think fast in an emergency, he retreated toward the iron-bar gate and raised his voice to call outside, “Nearly forget, Da Wang has another instruction: Da Wang pointed out that if you see any suspicious person, instead of thinking about fighting, sound the bell inside the prison first, understand?”
The little captain could only stand in attention to receive the order, while thinking inwardly, ‘Do I need your instruction for that?’
Outside the wall, Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling received the warning; naturally they could not possibly act blindly without thinking. But even after thinking until their brains burst, they could not figure out how Kou Zhong could obtain the password to open the prison, which, according to Kesubie, only Bai Ziting, one person, knew.
Ba Fenghan sighed and said, “Ay! That kid can disguise himself so convincingly; if I were a guard, I would be totally deceived by him as well.”
Xu Ziling looked at the starry sky above, the moon had just risen over the eastern horizon, he pondered inwardly: under the starry sky tomorrow night, would the magnificent palace halls, buildings and platforms before his eyes turn into blazing ruins and shattered roof tiles? Rescuing Song Shidao and the others have turned from an impossible thing to something possible, however, the fate of Longquan’s army and civilians, no one could predict. Translated by foxs
Kou Zhong followed behind the guard along a long corridor. The corridor was lined on both sides with prison cells standing in great numbers. By this time he already gained understanding on the layout of the prison. Inside the iron-bar gate, there were twenty jail guards. If his hands and feet moved a bit faster, plus he was at the right position, he could put the lowly prison guards inside in order before anybody had any chance to sound the alarm. As for the guards outside, naturally they were Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling’s responsibility.
Thinking to this point, his mood was improving tremendously, he nearly whistled a tune. These past few days he suffered too much injustice, making reprisals would be especially delightful.
Shuwen and his brothers, twenty-five men in total, were scattered around inside the cells on his left and right, their entire body was in heavy stock and their feet in chains, their expression disheartened and losing hope.
Arriving at the end of the corridor, inside the prison cell on the right was Song Shidao. Other than the stocks and chains on his hands and feet, his upper torso was bound, with his arms tied behind his back and a rope looped around his neck, all with ox-tendon ropes. Obviously they were afraid of his refined, pure and profound internal energy, so that ordinary iron shackles would not be able to restrain him.
Song Shidao’s countenance was much better than when he saw him this morning. He sat against the wall, his eyes closed and he did not say anything, his expression was proud and unyielding. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
The lowly prison guard opened the iron-bar gate and said, “Jiangye, please come in, subordinate will lock the door in accordance with the rules.”
Kou Zhong smiled and said, “Naturally you must do it according to the rules.”
Hearing that, Song Shidao opened his eyes and looked at him in shock; he recognized his voice.
With the guard behind his back, Kou Zhong winked at him.
The cell door was locked behind him, and the lowly prison guard returned to the main gate.
Kou Zhong rushed forward and kneeled down; while looking into how to remove the shackles, he said, “His Niang, Bai Ziting has the cheek to offend you, I will definitely make him pay both the principal and the interest. Funantuo has just been slaughtered by me, and Han Chao’an, that kid, I promised him that I won’t reveal his despicable behavior.” Translated by foxs
Hearing that, Song Shidao was muddled and completely collapsing [idiom]; he did not know how to respond, he only knew that the restoration of his freedom was an undeniable fact. He said, “If the prison guard sees my shackles are off, how could he be willing to open the gate for you?”
Kou Zhong laughed and said, “That’s not a problem. I still need ErGe’s help; we must not let them sound the alarm.”
Pulling out the Moon in the Well, he picked and cut the ox-tendon rope first, and then taking out the needle case, he selected a silver needle and inserted the tip of the needle into the keyhole, in just a short time he already unlocked the shackles binding his hands and feet, demonstrating the skill he learned from Chen Laomou and Lu Miaozi. He said, “You sit still and don’t move, I’ll call the guard to open the gate.”
“Open the door!” he shouted at the top of his voice.
The lowly prison guard rushed over in a flurry. Kou Zhong deliberately blocked his line of sight. The lowly prison guard did not suspect a thing, he concentrated his thoughts and efforts to unlock and open the iron-bar gate.
Kou Zhong’s right hand reached out, he grabbed the pit of his stomach and sent his true qi at the same time. Without a single groan the lowly prison guard fainted and slumped down on the ground. Kou Zhong pulled him into the cell.
Kou Zhong immediately took off his outer clothes and boots, and said to Song Shidao, “Quickly disguise yourself as him, and then stoop your back and follow behind me, I guarantee no one will find out.”
And then raising his voice, he shouted, “Da Wang said to be a bit polite to this prisoner, because his Lao Die [old man/father] is a man with much prestige in the Central Earth.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
This was spoken for the benefit of the lowly prison guards on the outside.
While circulating his blood and qi, Song Shidao quickly put on the disguise. In a shake of his body, he became the lowly prison guard, following behind Kou Zhong out of the cell, while also putting on an act to lock the prison cell.
Kou Zhong strode toward the long hallway; raising his voice, he said, “Da Wang said that if you watch these prisoners well, after the Tujue thieves are beaten back, everybody will be promoted one rank, plus five taels of gold reward.”
All the guards took it to be true, they all cheered together.
Song Shidao followed behind him.
Outside, Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan were focusing all their power to listen to the movements inside the prison. Hearing the last sentence, they knew it was time to act, so they simply leaped over the courtyard wall, like a big bird soaring into the air they pounced toward the guards outside the door.
The guards’ attention was completely attracted by Kou Zhong’s sweet, thick lies. By the time they realized what happened, Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan’s qi power was pressing down on their head. Translated by foxs
Naturally the guards inside the prison turned their eyes outside the gate. While they were aghast and turning pale, Kou Zhong and Song Shidao moved at the same time, sealing their acupoints one by one, so that in a few blinks of the eye all the guards inside the inner palace jail were subdued.
Ba Fenghan took the keys from the captain’s body. He was about to hand it to Kou Zhong to open the iron-bar gate, when suddenly they heard the sound of hoof beats from the distance coming near, more than twenty riders were rushing toward the courtyard gate.
Kou Zhong and the others, none did not have his countenance changed. Shuwen and the others were still locked inside the prison; could it be that this magnificent jailbreak feat from then on would be ruined for the sake of one basketful?
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