The Grandmaster Strategist


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This is an alternate history. Decades after the fall of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the world is still in chaos, although there is hope for reunification.

Of poor background, Jiang Zhe, styled Suiyun, has finally, after ten years of hard work, passed the imperial examinations and become a scholar within Hanlin Academy. Unwittingly, he becomes involved in the succession dispute of the Great Yong Dynasty. He faces conspiracies and machinations and countless battles of strength and wits. Intending to avoid court politics, he ultimately has no choice but to become involved. With no alternative, Jiang Zhe can only follow the crowd, joining the chaotic political turmoil. In this conniving world, he uses his intelligence and knowledge to provide for himself and his companions a stable environment to survive.

Watch nations fall, great men rise, and supreme martial artists kneel before the quiet whispers of a frail, unassuming scholar.

The Grandmaster Strategist average rating 4.8/5 - 240 user ratings
Associated Names
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Yīdài jūnshī
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Date Group Release
03/23/17 Wuxiaworld v5c12v5c12
03/22/17 Wuxiaworld v5c11v5c11
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03/02/17 Wuxiaworld v4c28v4c28
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23 Reviews sorted by

New xianxia_reader rated it
March 9, 2017
Status: v5c1
Before writing a review about the novel, let me first get around one of the criticism this novel might get/is getting. One of the noticeable things about Chinese LNs is that instead of taking the slow approach, they rather do an information dump. For example a typical xianxia novel will talk about the levels of cultivation or the place MC belongs to in detail, only to make the information moot later when you find that MC is somehow cultivation understanding was lowest of the low and the place he belongs... more>> was literally a village in the corner of the world, even if it is called "city" earlier.
Second thing noticeable is paragraphs tend to be super long. For example, if talking about a "sect" everything is dumped within a single paragraph - location, halls, master, master's appearance etc etc. While it could actually make information easily digestible by breaking it down to what, who and why. Maybe that is because of the Chinese grammar rules. For people not into reading chinese literature a lot, this comes off as info being a "wall of text".

Now as for the novel, from my limited knowledge I can think of three levels of chinese LNs - one the xianxia types where there is an information dump but then it has some excitement added in, then there is stuff written by Fengling Tianxia - Transcending the Nine Heavens etc, which tend to get talky a bit but also have the typical xianxia stuff added. So before reading this give Transcending the Nine Heavens etc a try, specially the first world arc. If you can stand the amount of talking spent on strategies, then this might be for you. If not, skip it.

The annoying thing about this novel is narrative - lot of time it is a first person, grandmaster's, narrative and everything is "I" and "me" but it will change the flow mid-paragraphs to third person narrative. If you are a speed reader like me you will be frequently confused and have to re-read what you just read.

Still a 4 because of the story. It doesn't get talky a lot but that's how I guess how wuxia's are supposed to be. <<less
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Shaiole rated it
January 2, 2017
Status: c58
Don't get me wrong, i love this novel. However there are many points about this novel that are not so great. But it may be the reason why it is unique and great. Other reviews already said how great this novel is, i don't see why I should focus on the good points.

When I first started reading it, it was very confusing. Info dumps here and there. Unlike your average CN novel where chapters are full of "fluff" where you could totally skip a few pharagraphs and chapter but still... more>> understand what is happening, this novel is the opposite. I need to carefully read it to not miss out any detail. Chapters are very long, but also informative.

Also, It is written in the first POV, but the scene sometimes shift to a place where the MC isn't present. This sometimes confuses me plus all the chinese terminology. However, I totally understand why it is so. The prolouge is like the ending where he reminise the past. The style is a bit spoilerish, but its not anything bad. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

The romance is... well idk? Bad. At least in the 58 chapters I have read, the romance is no good. But this isnt even a romance story so who cares. At least, this is still so much better than some other novels where MCs are picking up peerless beauties a smooth as jade as if they grow on trees. The only love I like seeing is loyalty between the mc and his servant/friend. No homo.

Many many poems. Sadly, because of translating to a different language, it couldnt be help despite the translator trying his best, some meaning are lost in translation. However, it is still amazing.

This novel has a unique story telling. The characters are well implemented. The pace is nice as it doest drags on. The strategies used are witty. Since the chapters are very long, these 58 chapters could entertain you for a while. The translation is great and fast. About a chapter a day for a large amount of text per chapter as of now. <<less
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doomeye1337 rated it
December 1, 2016
Status: c19
A very pleasant surprise. Truly a genius MC, unlike how that term is often used. Intrigue, foresight, and passion are the best descriptive words for the impression I have thus far. The chapters are relatively long as well. Downsides are probably that there are mini infodumps on current events at the start of a lot of chapters and the story starts off sounding dry because of the narration style (translator style?). Some people may also not like the unbelievable nature of the romance. ... more>> I started reading this intending to sleep after i breezed through the 20ish chapters, but here I am still not done 1.5 hours past my expectation. Once again, may not be everyone's thing, but anyone interesting in court intrigue stories that aren't overly cliche should def check this out. <<less
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Limeyblimey rated it
January 5, 2017
Status: v3c1
Warning: hella biased review!

I wholeheartedly Love this novel. I began reading it by mistake and ended up Like a moth drawn to the flame. Everything about this novel is great the scheming,the MC, the world building, side characters, wars and the other intriguing things in this novel. I was truly skeptical when I read the tags and couldn't comprehend how a normal mortal could be called "op". Boy how wrong I was! The fate of the world seems to be in his hands and no one can stop his will... more>> from becoming true.

5/5 I dare say that this might be the most complete novel I have ever read <<less
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jkmessah rated it
December 8, 2016
Status: c30
Oh my. Within the 30 chapters that I read, all I could think of was how well-written and well-paced this novel is. Truly, this is a great novel worth reading for anyone who wants a thoughtful story where characters too have flaws that make them more real, more relatable. The first person POV is also quite interesting and well done!

I absolutely enjoy the characters in this novel. Our MC is not OP in a typical sense, but he is gifted. If you've read Nirvana in Fire (also a wonderful novel... more>> and tv series) then you know what I mean in that the strategist himself is physically weak, but his mind is truly bright. He has doubts, he has strength and he sounds like a very real person going through some very real problems. Each of his actions has a purpose, likewise, each chapter in this story also has a purpose. All characters are given ample time for us to be familiar with them. Honestly, 30 chapter in and I'm quite attached to all the characters!

The pace is great. The chapters are definitely on the longer side, which is refreshing in its own way. You feel like many things are going on quickly, but at the same time looking at the big picture, you are still far. It's very easy to become absorbed into the story. There is this sense of reality in this novel. Training up an army takes years, plans take time to do and in fact time skips happen often. You don't notice it as much, but I think its important. Can you imagine how unlikely it is for someone to find a perfectly able, perfectly loyal aide in less than 3 months? So it doesn't happen with our MC.

Special mention for the translation which is absolutely well done! Translating poems must be a pain in the ass as you don't want to lose the meaning and subtleties that bring this novel to life. For that alone, I believe the translator has worked very hard and is worthy of commendation.

I would recommend this to everyone who wants a smart and thoughtful MC surrounded by people who matters and has a purpose built into their characters. The writing is unique with that biography occasionally giving us a summary of what had happened giving this authentic feel of it truly being part of history. Give it a shot, your brain would thank you for it! <<less
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Fanya rated it
December 20, 2016
Status: v4c29
I love this! If you like strategy or politics of royal court and war, then this is a fantastic read!

If you want action/cultivation/harem, this is not it. It does not follow the formula of MC reincarnates -> Everybody diss MC -> MC trains and OP -> repeat. There are no flat 2D characters here (the ones that, after reading 5 lines, you can clearly tell is a generic antagonist/follower/harem member etc). Everyone has their good points and bad points, goals they work towards and times that they are clear headed... more>> as well as hot headed.

Yes, the MC here is quite a genius and his sidekick's an awesome martial artist, but those are mentioned in passing and written to support the main plot, which focuses on strategy and politics as MC navigates around the court/battlefield and schemes here and there. <<less
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Eaglearcher rated it
December 9, 2016
Status: c16
Great stuffs, the author really knows how to write a smart thoughtful strategist character.

Many should recognize Great Yong politics is a retelling of early Tang Dynasty political intrigue, but author really made a story his own.
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Pandamonic rated it
December 6, 2016
Status: --
Its a novel that literature lover like me should read. The author made a great contribution to our society by writing this and shout out for our brave,courageous translator for a praiseworthy achievement to pick this novel up.

Tho I personally like this very much and maybe bias but this story is still worth your time to read.

Its a mixture of ZTJ mc's charachter and crazy experimental lich's writing creativity. I wouldnt ask for more .

ps. Every word of this novel is a gem for me .
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KazumaDayo rated it
December 1, 2016
Status: c25
Wow! Really, I am stunned. Just wow.

In order to explain my rating, I must also briefly explain the setting of "The Grandmaster Strategist". This novel takes place in China sometime after the Warring States Period. I am unsure if the novel is a fictional take on historical events and/or characters, or if it is entirely the product of the author's creativity, but it is one of the most immersive settings I have experienced since Tolkien's Middle Earth.

Read Full Review:

... more>>

The cast of "The Grandmaster Strategist" isn't excessively large, but it is populated with enough characters to feel alive in its own right. Furthermore, each character featured is fleshed out, given a back story and Zukunftspläne, motives and desires, faults and merits. Each member has been featured recuringly, and I expect that the author has plans for those who we haven't seen in some time. The main character's thoughts are expertly portrayed and lifelike, albeit he is a genius.

There are no "good" or "bad" guys, although we are given antagonists to oppose the main character, and anyone with a sense of empathy will want to destroy them. Most of the "rivals", however, can be identified with and appreciated, a clear sign of brilliant writing and character design. Each character is unique and interesting.

This novel has a distinctive style; it reads almost as a biography, and yet utterly immersive and engaging. I found this to be refreshing and a great joy to read.

A major negative of this is that many events are resolved before you even read about them. I learned to appreciate the journey more than the result, but this will not suite everyone. All I can say on this is that the manner in which events are spoiled, while anything but subtle, has a certain flavor and is deserving of the reader's best effort to appreciate it.

Many people might not like that many events are almost "glossed over" in a summary-like manner, but it is because this novel knows where it is going, what it wants, and is very, very focused. Everything the reader is shown is relevant and vital to the world building, character development, or plot advancement. And it is done so in a very tasteful way. No paragraphs of pointless, stale dialog as cookie cutter villains kidnap a harem member here! NOT ONE!

This is also a reflection of this story's most basic genre, which I have yet to discover. Is it Romance? Tragedy? Grand Strategy? It seems to be the simple story of one man's struggle to find a happy ending in a turbulent world. And that is all it needs to be.

And now a quick note on plot armor: although the main character reasons his way through each action, other characters are too excepting of his far fetched excuses. Additionally, even though things don't always work out as he expects them to - and in his favor - they usually do. In fact, there are a few convenient incedents in which you learn he has medical training, and that he had also prepared strange medicine at some point. Really?

Now that my rational for rating the novel so highly, and the pros/cons detailed, I will explain the translator's amazing effort.

The translation is amazing. No way around it. I have noticed all of... Two grammatical errors? I don't even think I have seen a spelling mistake? They must be there, but they clearly haven't prevented me from enjoying this work. Excellent. Then, the most difficult part of translations: what was lost? Pretty much nothing. The translator has taken great pains to explain the many references to old Chinese poems and paintings, as well as to recreate what I expect is the author's original style. I haven't read the raws so it could be different though.

So if you can get past knowing what is going to happen, and if blurring over the sometimes minor sometimes major events in order to prioritize the story doesn't drive you nuts, I think you will enjoy this immensely!

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Mouse the Dog
Mouse the Dog rated it
November 30, 2016
Status: v1c26
TL;DR: Highly recommend, mature alt-history story with complex politics and a wuxia flair
I basically just started reading this, but the style is very unique and interesting, and coupled with an intriguing plot and character, I'm very hopeful for this story. One thing I noticed almost instantly: the translator really puts in the work. Chapter 3 alone had 49 footnotes explaining various Chinese terms/traditions, and I really respect that. Registered an account and wrote this because of the great story and amazing translator (yes, there are minor typos here and... more>> there, but look at the big picture)

Read all of the current translated chapters, and nothing has changed. I really like this story. As the TL accurately described, it's an"Alt-History political scheming story with Wuxia flavouring". Don't expect dumb xianxia fights, don't expect the character to become an unbeatable martial monster, this story has a very fleshed out world and complex politics. This story is much more mature (not in a pervy way) than anything else I have read on this site, and I'm in love. The story has it's unique niche of story telling, also introducing historical excerpts in many chapters to give a better overview and special touch. <<less
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Benitora rated it
January 29, 2017
Status: v2c22
This is the first time I've ever bothered to leave a review, I'm not great with word as my thoughts are always scattered when typing / writing but here goes.

This is by far the best eastern novel that I have read to date. The drama is very intensive and most of the actions are behind the scenes.

Every chapter has me hooked and wanting more this novel is slow at the start and moderately picks up, the twists and turns and view points of all the characters is especially pleasing.

I implore... more>> anyone that hasn't read this novel yet to give it a good and honest try! <<less
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shuiko rated it
December 16, 2016
Status: v2c9
A sad yet glorious tale, plus really funny and intriguing. It definitely hearkens back to old school Chinese writing styles in terms of story format, but it in itself a tale, and tale that will flutter your heart.

MC? Funny and Cool, and you feel for him. He's weak, but smart and crafty, also loyal.

Bad guys? fleshed out and feel alive, with some minor ones who you just go lawl.

I generally don't like stories with sad major arcs mainly because i read for enjoyment, fun, and to dream! But this is... more>> one of the few exceptions, cause the writing and characters manage to surpass my hate for sad things. <<less
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Biasedjudge rated it
December 7, 2016
Status: c30
This will be quite in-depth without spoilers.

So don't bother if your looking for a quick review if this is worth your time or not. You know what, if your looking for a short read that will alleviate your boredom don't bother with this, this needs commitment as well as some understanding of context as well as language.
This should be my 2nd ever written review whilst being on this Page for over a Year.
It is one of those novels.

Honestly how someone gives this a rating below 4.5 stars... more>> is beyond me, maybe difference in taste? i wouldn't understand. But as someone who appreciates innovativeness as well as language i can only heartily recommend this to anyone who is bored of most of the generic novels, no matter if slice of life or xianxia or whatever these genres are called.

There is no use of repetition and every line is clearly well thought. Though it is not one that avocets emotions and intimacy with the character it still keeps you tightly in its grasp. And i meant when i said with not sufficient understanding of language, if your below the age of 16 -don't bother- you won't understand its features as well as exclusive charm. The story is portrayed mostly out of the perspective of a scholar, a genius of a scholar to be precise, who withers the storms of his life. Starting at the age of 15 the story already introduces main characters with a precise sense of forbidding anyone could decipher without giving us too much food for thought. The story continues this pace. Only bequeathing us with a solution in the end. The interests of this novel are the own solution and how it aligns with the authors ideas. By chapter 30 he is already aged above 26 if i am correct. So you get a feeling of the pacing. These are longwinded chapters. Not short ones. These 30 chapters took me about all in all 5 hours to read, whilst staying at a blissful pace. If this still does not interests you, maybe this approach will:

the story is about war and how it affects individuals, how the react to certain problems and their ways of solution. The protagonist isn't the "main" character of this story. He is a follower and on his search for a worthy leader. Furnished with wits and a incredible loyal retainer, he is the embodiment of change even though he desperately tries to avoid too heavy of a burden. At least till now. In the 30 chapters the novel has released, the main character has had a lot of change, not such superficial that he suddenly grew coldhearted through unfortunate events, but rather subliminal changes that seem to make this persona realistic to the reader. Which is very seldom found in most light novels.

The Author isn't afraid to integrate his personal philosophy as well as dreams into this story, unafraid to be unique, unafraid to build up character arcs to only destroy those said characters without a shred of sympathy. This novel is well thought out and the ending is most likely already clear to the author. He ties up loose ends with arcs to start anew. Well i call them arc but what they are, are possibilities for the protagonist to progress or deteriorate. This story has no convenient plot devices as well as lucky encounters. Every encounter is calculated or an example of the mistakes of the Protagonist.
All in all it is surprisingly realistic.
All in all i have read about 4 novels in my entirety of reading that came to this level.

if you have time and an adept mind due read this, not for your fascination with powerful individuals or their creation harems, but to appreciate the conflict of life.

Due apologize my ghastly language as well as my heinous use of punctuation or grammar. English is my 2nd language so forgive me for minor offenses and correct me on the larger ones. Have fun reading :) <<less
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Empress rated it
December 7, 2016
Status: --
This... Such amazing and intriguing plot with well made side characters which possess interesting personality. each one of them is very Interesting and not half-assed characters, especially the main character.

... more>>

Feared and respected by both rulers and their subject, He is too talented and smart, his strategy is vicuous and scary. many city and contry falls with a simple sentences. With a single song, a king of a certain country commit suicide. Geass can't even compare to him.

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Rice1321 rated it
February 16, 2017
Status: --
After reading this, I'm thinking to myself " What have I been reading this whole time?". Insightful, beautifully written, bittersweet, and suspenseful, Grandmaster Strategist makes all the other novels I've read feel like "fast food" take out. The poetry really helps bring out the character and changes in the MC in a ways that many books have not been able to fully create. The MC is very relatable, an "exceptionally" talented everyday man who wants things we can all understand; a beautiful wife, a roof over his head, and... more>> seeing the world. But what I love about the MC is that he is extremely decisive, and definitely not afraid to kill his enemies off in a manner that is completely believable in the limits of human capabilities. Although a bit of a slow start, Grandmaster Strategist is a definite pleasure to continue reading; A 5 hands down <<less
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Baddermawan rated it
January 19, 2017
Status: v3c15
A masterpiece and classic in the making. It's Lo kuan-chung meets Jin yong.

Characters are very well thought off, the philosophy of human natures are well displayed in non-linear ways. Historical references and poetries approaches are strangely refreshing.

Great works for the author and the translators. We can't thank you enough for such a brilliant works.
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Rhealora rated it
December 7, 2016
Status: c30
Let me open my review by saying that If most novels here are fast-food, then this one is a gourmet 5 star meal

Admittedly this novel is not xuanhuan or xianxia but rather wuxia-esque with focusing in strategizing and poetic things

I'm absolutely in love with the black bellied MC
He might not look like it but he's OP af
He might be not the strongest but his brilliant mind made up for it. He is the embodiments of calm, ruthless, and genius MC
This novel is also greatly written, the phrases... more>> and the poem used are beautiful
The plot are engaging and the characters are alive and not 2D

Well If anything to be of complaint, the first romance kinda sucks but still somewhat understandable

Salute to the translator! It must be hard translating it lol just look at the footnotes! But Damn aside from sometimes missing words or misspell (I mean, it's also long) it's been a smooth ride

Read it! I'm sure you won't regret it <<less
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rdawv rated it
December 5, 2016
Status: c13
Masterful. First off, it's not everyone's cup of tea: it is not hot-blooded action. Rather, the style and dry elegance reminds me of Ze Tian Ji, minus the fantastical aspects. Of all the Chinese novels that I have read here, this particular title bears the most resemblance to the historical epic Romance of The Three Kingdoms. More focused in scope as it is told from the first person point of view, but no less sweeping in its grand story-telling.

The MC starts as a poor but very capable scholar, and for... more>> some reason or another finds himself climbing the treacherous political steps of a decaying kingdom. He wants nothing more than to read books and live a sedentary life in the countryside, yet his flashes of brilliance in poetry as well as in military strategy attracts and frightens the powerful and famous personages around him.

Every chapter has a short blurb that dryly commentates on the biography of the MC, written in the style of an actual, ancient Chinese document, lending an authentic feel to this pseudo-historical novel. For those familiar with reading the stories from the Warring States and the Three Kingdoms, these small nuggets of information and short description of events are very similar. The story then proceeds with how the events actually took place, sometimes with slightly different details than what the history would remember or exaggerate.

All in all, the prose is excellent. The story itself moves along in a narrative style: notable events chained together by circumstances and all tied together by the presence of the MC who had witnessed them. It really does read like an detailed personal journal or memoir, and superbly told. Pick a famous individual from Wiki, now attempt to write his or her life story from that person's point of view. That's the selling point of this title.

Fictional characters and world building mix comfortably with references to actual history and famous personages, and the translator should be commended for the utmost care and dedication shown in translating them and the difficult phrases that peppered the text. Footnote and explanations abound, and the sheer number of them might deter a casual reader. But rest assured, such information are extra gifts and not necessarily important to the plot. Just think of those references as "the story is referring to someone famous who did something similar sometime ago".

Listed as complete at 228 chapters, I eagerly await the completion of this translation. <<less
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conrath rated it
December 5, 2016
Status: c28
Speechless. I have been on this site reading novels for nearly 3 years now and I have never felt compelled to register and review a novel until now, despite having read many addictive novels.

There should be so many more works like this - but what makes it stand out is its complete uniqueness. There are no convenient plot devices, no over-powered cheats, or any unrealistic behavior favoring the protagonist. There is only a beautifully crafted world filled with richly fleshed out characters that behave completely in line with their nature.

The... more>> main character is a brilliant scholar with humble beginnings who values freedom, peace and a long life above all. He would be happy surrounded by books and idling the days away composing poetry - for which he is world renowned.

However, there is no rest for the talented and his genius is recognized by the power players inside the period of warring empires. Walk along him as he is flung into the midst of political storm and forced into the battlefield. If you do, you will encounter both catastrophes that will jar your heart as well as surprising moments of beauty and peace serendipitous stumbled upon. Be ready, however, for your emotions to be violently stirred by this magnificently realistic work. <<less
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Gopper rated it
December 5, 2016
Status: c27
Absolutely fantastic novel and translation. The quality is up there with Deathblade with the footnotes and grammar.

The novel is not your typical wuxia novel. The MC can not cultivate, the story has nothing to do with cultivating. Instead it focuses on the political intrigue set in ancient china. The MC is a scholar, and stays a scholar throughout the novel, but the way he impacts the majority of lives around him, the country, with his masterful prose/poetry is astounding. The drama is nail biting.
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iampsyx rated it
December 4, 2016
Status: c26
This novel is short of a masterpiece.

World-building is excellent, characters are brilliantly fleshed out, and the prose is beautiful. If only it had more focus on wars and strategies then I would have loved it all the more, but it is a great story all in all. The translator did a terrific job! The chapters are pretty long (about 5-6k words?), and some knowledge of Chinese historical events might make it easier to read, but a clueless person like me whose only background was reading Kingdom (manga) and Chang... more>> Ge Xing (manhwa) was still able to join the ride.

The Grandmaster Strategist needs more love! <<less
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