“It’s me!” Wei Yan smiled back at Sun Qian and sat down on a chair. He then took the fruits that had been on the nearby table and ate it. The ones he did not like were spat out without any regards for his appearance.
“How are you here?” Sun Qian turned pale from fright. These people were being looked for all over the city but no clues were found. How could Sun Qian not be startled when he realized that these people were in his home?
Sun Qian quickly got off his bed regardless of his injury and closed the door to his room. Only then was he able to breathe a sigh of relief.
“Why are you still in the city?” Sun Qian asked anxiously.
“Right now, the gates are heavily guarded. That Big Eared Liu is looking all over for us. If we try to leave, we would just be courting death! Our death would be no problem but wouldn’t it be a pity if we end up involving you?” Wei Yan replied coarsely. Sun Qian hated these kind of rough people that had no manners but at that moment, he couldn’t be bothered.
Sun Qian glared angrily at Wei Yan and asked. “Wei Yan Wei Wenchang! Why did you attack me that day?”
“Attack you?” Wei Yan repeated as he stood up. Wei Yan was at least two hundred centimeters tall. While Sun Qian was also a tall figure, he was less than a hundred eighty centimeters in height. On top of that, Sun Qian was injured and could not stand straight, so Wei Yan looked even more imposing.
“Master Sun Qian. Are you questioning me?” Wei Yan narrowed his eyes. Sun Qian became afraid but resisted his fear and replied. “No, I am not questioning you. I just want to know the reason.” After all, Sun Qian had been stabbed. He did not want to be curious about the reason for the rest of his life.
“Haha!” Wei Yan laughed when he saw Sun Qian recover. He was not here to do anything to Sun Qian as they were currently not enemies. He gave Sun Qian a sloppy reply. “Master Sun Qian. Do you think that you would be so popular if I did not stab you?” Wei Yan asked as he fiddled with the fruits on the table. There were plenty of fruits that could not be obtained normally in the current season. All of them were expensive fruits sent as presents.
“Don’t make things confusing!” Sun Qian may have enjoyed the attention but getting stabbed was never a good thing. Sun Qian would not let this matter drop until Wei Yan provided a proper explanation.
“Alright, I might as well tell you.” Wei Yan replied. He then put down the fruit and took out his sword.
“What are you doing?” Sun Qian panicked. He and Wei Yan were the only two people in the room. On the other hand, calling for help would expose the fact that he had dealings with Wei Yan.
“Haha! Didn’t you ask for the reason? I will show it to you!” Wei Yan said and then slashed at Sun Qian’s hand.
“Ah!” Sun Qian shouted and closed his eyes. If Wei Yan wanted to kill him, he would not be able to dodge. He was just a scholar. How could he be compared to a warrior? However after he waited for a long time, he did not feel any pain. Instead, his hands felt lighter1.
Sun Qian panicked again. Were his hands gone? A disabled person could not do anything and would always be a target of discrimination.
“You can open your eyes now.” Wei Yan said.
“There is no pain?” Sun Qian was puzzled and slowly opened his eyes. If his hands were cut off, he should have felt pain.
“Ah!” Sun Qian shouted again. He was still alive. His hands were also still with him. However, all of his fingernails were cut.1
“Master! What’s wrong?” Someone outside the room heard Sun Qian’s scream and wanted to rush in.
“Nothing’s wrong. I simply thought of something!” Sun Qian could not allow them in. Wei Yan was a wanted individual. If Wei Yan was discovered, both he and Sun Qian would die together.
“Nobody is allowed to enter the backyard without my permission!” Sun Qian added. He was afraid someone might enter. He needed to make sure that everything was safe.
“Understood!” The person outside nodded and left.
“Master Sun Qian. Is this explanation good enough?” Wei Yan laughed.
Sun Qian felt his head grow numb. Normally, long fingernails are cut with scissors and knives or were bitten off. Nobody used a sword to cut fingernails. The sword was long and sharp. Sun Qian believed that cutting off an arm would be easy with this sword. Yet, Wei Yan was able to use this sword to cut fingernails much to Sun Qian’s surprise.
“How did you do this?” Sun Qian asked.
“It is just an insignificant skill.” Wei Yan smiled indifferently. Wei Yan called it that because of his previous job. He was a butcher like Zhang Fei. Wei Yan had slaughtered so many pigs that he had learned how to make it painless. It is simply a skill that he automatically mastered while practicing his trade. Even then, he could not be compared to Zhang Fei in terms of skill. Zhang Fei was the boss of a slaughterhouse while he was only a pig butcher.
“What if you made a mistake?” Sun Qian asked. The sword was sharp. Striking at the wrong area would mean death.
“I wouldn’t have made any mistakes.” Wei Yan had confidence in his skill. He could not strip an entire cattle clean like Pao Ding but cutting fingernails with a sword was still within his capabilities.
“What if you made a mistake by accident?” Sun Qian asked relentlessly.
“If that happens then I would be very sorry for you!” Wei Yan replied. If he made a mistake, he would not be able to do anything. He was not a doctor.
“You!” Sun Qian felt anger and joy at the same time. The anger came from how Wei Yan treated his life so indifferently. The joy came from the fact that he was still alive.
“Alright that is enough of this! This time, I have a reason to be here!” Wei Yan finally said, “Master Sun Qian, please look at this.” Wei Yan took out a letter.
Sun Qian opened up the letter with suspicion and read it. His eyes grew wide.
“Are those words true?” The letter states that Sun Qian was being suspected by someone. Sun Qian had been investigated since Ruyin. At that time, Liu Bei and Sun Qian had also drifted apart. When Pang Tong killed Liu Mang’s envoy, this matter was spread out by Sun Qian. Sun Qian had tried to scheme against Pang Tong many times.
“Pang Tong Pang Shiyuan!” Sun Qian muttered. Pang Tong was his greatest enemy so he was the first person Sun Qian thought of.
“That fried chicken is not the only one. That Jian Yong who was always by Liu Bei’s side is also investigating you.” Wei Yan replied. Xu Shu was the only one in Liu Mang’s army who called Pang Tong with his name. The rest called him fried chicken.
“Jian Yong!” Sun Qian never expected Jian Yong as he had Jian Yong had quite a good relationship with each other. Sometimes, Jian Yong even helped him when Pang Tong spoke out against him. As a result, Sun Qian and Jian Yong could be considered friends.
“Master Sun Qian. Do you think Jian Yong would not know that Pang Tong was the one that burned down the provisions? Do you think Jian Yong would not notice that Pang Tong schemed against you?” Wei Yan asked with a sneer. Jian Yong was Liu Bei’s eyes. He knew everything that was going on in Liu Bei’s Army. He even knew things that Liu Bei himself did not know.
“Jian Yong Jian Xianhe!” Sun Qian felt afraid. He had seen how terrifying Jian Yong could be in the secret prison. This is because he recognized a few people there. These people either spoke maliciously about Liu Bei or disobeyed Liu Bei’s orders. All of them disappeared without a trace until they were sacrificed on the battlefield. If Jian Yong had his attentions on him, he would not be able to escape.
“Is that why your Lord made this move?” Sun Qian asked.
“Yes.” Wei Yan nodded. Sun Qian was an important chess piece to Liu Mang. Liu Mang did not want to lose Sun Qian so easily. As both he and Sun Qian wanted to deal with Pang Tong, why not help each other?
“The Military Advisor said that Master Sun Qian would be suspected and be placed in a desperate situation. So I had to stab you.” Wei Yan nodded. Mi Zhu may have been important but Liu Mang did not want to abandon Sun Qian just for Mi Zhu. That was why Wei Yan attacked Sun Qian. That is so that they would be able to keep both.
“Please give my thanks to your Military Advisor.” Sun Qian said when he finally realized how close he was to dying. Meanwhile, his hatred for Jian Yong grew for pushing him towards a dead end.
“There is no need for thanks. This is because our Military Advisor also needs something from Master Sun Qian.” It was a temporary and mutually beneficial relationship so there was no need for thanks. Once they got rid of Pang Tong, Sun Qian would still become their enemy.
“What is it?”
“Naturally, it is to help us leave Nanyang.” Another person said and barged into the room.
Sun Qian’s eyes grew wide when he saw this new intruder. This person was Mi Zhu Mi Zizhong. He had thought that Wei Yan and the others had killed Mi Zhu but the man was still alive.
“Military Advisor Sun Qian. I trust you have been well!” Mi Zhu said with a smile. He did not know whether he should hate Sun Qian. Sun Qian framed him, had his previous Lord arrest him and throw him into the secret prison. Mi Zhu was also about to be executed. However, this allowed Mi Zhu to truly understand what kind of person Liu Bei was and also find a better Lord.
“Mi Zhu!” Sun Qian cupped his fist and greeted back in reply.
“Master Sun Qian, let me introduce you to Mi Zhu, our Chief of Commerce and Marquis Guangzhou!” Wei Yan introduced.
“What?” Sun Qian was stunned. He did not know what Chief of Commerce was but the Marquis Guangzhou title made him stupefied. He was confused as to why a mere merchant was able to become a county marquis. Deep down in his heart, Sun Qian had always looked down on Mi Zhu.
Sun Qian had not even received a noble title and Mi Zhu had already become a county marquis. On top of that, Mi Zhu was Sun Qian’s prisoner just a few days ago. The discrepancy was too big.
The King of Shu Liu Mang must be crazy to give such benefits to a merchant. If Sun Qian did not firmly believe Liu Bei to be his true Lord, he too would want to switch sides.
“In that case I will need to congratulate you, Marquis Guang!” Sun Qian sourly cupped his fist to Mi Zhu. He and Mi Zhu both believed that this was the contribution of Mi Zhu’s sister.
“There is no need for that. After all, this was conferred to me by you.” Mi Zhu shook his head. It is only a few days ago when the two were irreconcilable. Now, Mi Zhu only needed Sun Qian to help them escape. Otherwise, there would be no use even if he had a title because he would be dead.
Sun Qian himself had similar thoughts. He had to send them out safely or he would also die with them.
“I suggest you stay here for the next few days and wait until I recover.” Sun Qian suggested. Martial law had been imposed on the city so nobody could leave.
“There is no rush.” Wei Yan laughed. All he needed was Sun Qian’s promise.
“Then we will be troubling you, Military Advisor Sun Qian!” Mi Zhu also nodded.
“Sigh.” Sun Qian sighed knowing that he had no other option. Liu Bei would not believe him if he handed them in. Those that erred once would have erred all the way.
World’s heaviest fingernails.
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