An enemy? What are they doing this far to the Shu encampment? Wei was getting too close to their heels, and Xiaozhi was becoming irritated with this attack. The men had become a pack of mere, raving dogs that seemed to have gone mad.
And he could not keep things in control if this was going to happen.
“YOU AND YOU!" he gestured to two of the base commanders, "SEND WORD IMMEDIATELY TO ZHUGE LIANG! NOW! SEND IT WITH THE FASTEST HORSE AND PREPARE FOR BATTLE! WE HAVE TO ENSURE THIS IS NOT TAKEN!”
The bolt of cloth was gripped tightly as he glared at the base entrance, “Ready. ATTACK!”
Unaware of the man behind the gates.
With a set of twin axes held at his sides as he proceeded through the southern gate with a small unit of men in tow, Zhang Liao approached the the base as the strategist within attempted to bolster their kingdom’s ranks. There were a few moments in which the warrior waited patiently, weapons up, battalion read to storm the gates or lie in wait.
But waiting was unnecessary, as the gates flew open in the moments that followed. Zhang Liao moved in with his company of men close behind. Not a moment was wasted in the deployment of the forces under his command as they filed in, weapons ready to cut any down who dared pass them by.
"That will not be necessary."
Even though that was the answer she had hoped for, Guan Lei was still surprised to hear it. “O-Oh! I am glad to hear that! Just to be sure, are you allergic to anything? I wouldn’t want to have you eat something you can’t eat.”
"I am not aware of anything, my lady. There is little you need to worry about, I assure you."
"It’s alright… but I guess I should call you lord," he chuckled nervously.
"That… Was not my intent." He insisted immediately—defensively, even. With an uncomfortable step back, Zhang Liao attempted to explain to the best of his abilities without frightening the man off, as he did with many.
"I have seen you in one too many precarious positions, my lord. I simply wished to prevent such things if I was able."
"It’s fine… you didn’t bother me," he smiled as he walked towards him, patting his shoulder before he stepped outside. It was odd for him to dress in the casual attire of the people, having been used to wearing his uniform nearly all day and sometimes night if he was still working.
How was he capable of keeping so casual in such circumstances? There were times where said state of dress was expected and or accepted, but now was not a time. Zhang Liao intruded and felt terribly foolish because of his mistake—one he silently swore not to make again.
With a glance after the strategist after little more than a friendly touch to his shoulder, the warrior gave a subtle nod in understanding, certain to make a swift exit in order to make himself scarce the moment he could.
He called out to the man again, having not heard why he had walked into his room. Xu Shu then asked, “Is something wrong?”
There was something or someone that needed the strategist’s assistance perhaps, but it had long since been forgotten in his own bumbling, forgetting which way was up and what was down.
"My mistake," he breathed awkwardly, head falling into a lower bow, "I did not wish to disturb you."
”Ah, and it pleases me to hear that you are doing well. Also if you are not already needed for the evening, would you like to join me for dinner? Of course, do not feel obligated to say yes, I was just curious and I.. Well, I rarely ever have company..”
"I—…No, my lady. I am not busy. It is rare that I have plans, let alone those that go beyond my line of duty."
"I would be honoured to, if you would have me."
"Good afternoon, my lord." He responded evenly with a swift bow of his head in reply, immediately reaching out in the moments that followed in request to take some of the baggage Xu Shu held within his grip.
"It seems that you are busy. Might I be of assistance?"
”Ah, my lord.”
”Yes, I have. And what of you, my lord? I pray that you have also been well.”
"As well as I can be, indeed."
"Though I’m pleased that you are well, my lady."
"You have been well in your absence, I assume."
”M-my lord, I—! This is most unexpected, but I—… I do accept this, I do accept you.” She said with a trembling voice. Guan Lei extended her left hand out towards her lord so that he might place the sparkling band of union upon her finger.
His own actions were hesitant, as if afraid of the fear that might have flashed in her eyes at such an absurd request, though there was something that sparked within him that would not have allowed another to take the place he had now; even if it meant appearing rash and making a fool of himself, or rejection even. Love, as Guan Lei had called it, was a selfish thing indeed.
"You will?" The words left Zhang Liao soundlessly. Needless to say there was surprise in her acceptance, enough to force him to lift his head and stare up at her in disbelief. In those few moments, it felt as if time had slowed, like his own steady hands were uncharacteristically sloppy as he fumbled with the ring to slide it in place wordlessly.