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[Chapter 10 - A state of turmoil] Who said we are going back to Xi Nan
The night is silent like calm waters; the palace door guard is currently snoring, but he suddenly heard a horse braying in the distance, and stood up straight in a panic to see a horse galloping towards them; after walking nearer then he found out it's the Great General Shen Qian Fan.
And here he was wondering who was it. The guard instantly breathed a sigh of relief, and quickly went forward to help him hold the horse still: "Why is general coming at this time?"
"Before me, is there anyone who went into the palace first?" Shen Qian Fan asked.
"There isn't." The guard shook his head, "It has been quiet all along."
Shen Qian Fan nodded but didn't have the time to explain; he whipped his horse and quickly rushed through Chong Yang door (1) straight to the imperial military barracks inside the palace.
A moment later, another group of men rushed to the door on horses, torches in their hands; if the guard didn't see that the person in front is Liu Gong, the guard would've thought someone is coming to cause trouble.
"Liu —" The guard barely got a word out, before he was pushed, stumbling to the side; and saw this group of men burst into the palace.
At this time, even if one's thinking and reaction are slow, one can still realize that something strange seems to have happened; moreover Liu Gong has already resigned a long time ago; there's absolutely no reason for him to rush into the palace at this time, and so the guard hurried and followed them into the palace, wanting to report this matter to his superior.
The vice-commander of the imperial guard is called Cao Chi, he usually seems dull and lethargic, and seems like he has no lofty ambitions; but upon seeing Shen Qian Fan appear suddenly, he seems like a totally changed person.
"Capture him!" Liu Gong is coming from a distance, shouting his order.
The imperial guards nosily split into two sides; some stood behind Shen Qian Fan, but more gathered beside Cao Chi.
"The emperor has orders." Shen Qian Fan drew his sword of the scabbard, and said fiercely, "Capture the people of the treasonous Liu Manor, if they resist, kill them without consequences!"
"Yes!" The sounds of metal, blood, and cries melded into one, creating a cacophony that even heavens can hear.
In a big house on Zheng Wen street, the current Tai Fu (2), Tao Ren De is still in deep sleep, but outside someone shouted: "Master quickly escape, bandits have fought their way in!"
His wife sat up beside him, and said in fright: "What happened?"
Outside the window, the sounds of swords clashing are utterly piercing; Although Tao Ren De is over sixty, but he is an official of a high position, and already knows that some people in this court were restless; he has long disregarded his life and death, and so he didn't panic. He wore his shoes and drew out a sword from the bedside, and was about to fight and bring his wife out, when a light laugh sounded by his ear: "Lord Tao, it's still cold outside, at least wear a coat."
"Ah!" Lady Tao is also startled by this; when did this room have another person?
"Xi Nan King?" Tao Ren De is extremely shocked.
Duan Bai Yue said: "The people outside are all highly skilled, so it's better for Lord Tao to stay in this bedroom."
"You....actually dare to rebel!" Lady Tao placed Lord Tao behind her, a condescending air around her.
Tao Ren De: "....."
"Lady is mistaken, I am here to protect you two." Duan Bai Yue said, "As for who are the men outside, Lord Tao must already know."
"Is the emperor alright, how is the situation in the palace?" Lord Tao asked.
"Emperor is still at Jiang Nan, but General Shen has returned." Duan Bai Yue said, "After dealing with the group outside, if there's still time, I will go to the palace and lend General Shen a hand."
Duan Yao took out a bunch of poisonous insects from his pocket, and threw them over; all of them were stuffed into the mouths of the treasonous troops; getting dragged up in the middle of the night to fight, he must of course gain something for himself. Liu Fu De's chest was pierced by Duan Nian's sword, his mouth spilling blood; he eventually kneeled on the ground.
The treasonous troops number about a hundred men, each and every one of them willing to die; they obviously want Lord Tao to die right there and then. However they never expected Duan Bai Yue to suddenly join in the fight, spoiling their plans.
Tao Ren De said pressingly: "Xi Nan King, are the remaining peers of the court — "
"Rest a.s.sured Lord Tao." Duan Bai Yue said, "The emperor has long sent people to protect them secretly."
"Then that's good." Tao Ren De immediately breathed a sigh of relief.
"Can I go back to sleep now?" Duan Yao yawned.
"No." Duan Bai Yue got on the horse, "Men, follow me into the palace."
Duan Yao, with tears in his eyes, felt that he was deeply tricked; so they are not fighting just one battle.
In the palace, sounds of fighting erupted, fires raged; eunuchs and palace maids screamed and fled, all afraid that there will be a change of dynasties.
All these years, Liu Gong had carefully schemed; inserting quite a number of spies both by Chu Yuan's side and in the troops, all to ensure he can achieve his goal one day. Now that it's hard for him to turn back anymore, he wants to arrange for a ma.s.sacre; first is to eliminate Chu Yuan's trusted aides, then to tell the world that the emperor has been a.s.sa.s.sinated in Jiang Nan, so that it can be justifiable for the banished prince Chu Xiang to return to the capital; he will have a new set of cards in his hands then.
Shen Qian Fan is bathed in blood and fighting with all his strength; even both of his eyes are red.
"It's better for general to surrender early." Liu Gong is away from the crowd, and slowly and calmly said, "In this palace now, all the men are under my command."
Shen Qian Fan gripped his sword hilt, and aimed for his face.
It's not only the palace that's in chaos, the capital has also already descended into chaos; the treasonous troops seem to have appeared overnight, wanting to capture those officials who would oppose Liu Manor. However they were intercepted by Chu Yuan's secret guards; fire blazed and sounds of bloodshed rung out; a more daring person opened their doors a little and listened for a while, and was dragged by the ear back into the house by their daughter-in-law, do they want to even get involved in this kind of commotion?
Upon seeing that Shen Qian Fan has lost his strength, Liu Gong coldly laughed, and turned to go into the royal study.
"Where is Lord Liu planning to go?" Duan Bai Yue guided his horse in front of him, raising his eyebrow slightly.
"Xi Nan King?" Internally, Liu Gong is surprised yet suspicious; he doesn't know why the king would appear here at this time, and he can't determine whether he's friend or foe; whether if he's here to lend Chu Yuan a hand, or to get a piece of the pie.
"I heard that it was lively here, so I came to take a look." Duan Bai Yue smiled, "It has been a worthwhile trip."
"If Xi Nan King has any demands, say it straightforwardly." Liu Gong said.
Duan Bai Yue asked: "So no matter what kind of demands it is, Lord Liu can all agree to it?"
Liu Gong gritted his teeth: "If Xi Nan King helps me successfully in this matter, I can let you take all the provinces in Yun Gui."
Duan Bai Yue shook his head: "What this king wants, is not just this."
Liu Gong did not expect that his appet.i.te will be so big, and unhappily said: "Xi Nan King needs to think carefully on this, the demands I can offer are unprecedented, if it was the Chu family, I'm afraid that they will even think of ways to take back the sixteen provinces of Xi Nan."
"You dare to even boast about this kind of insignificant offering?" Duan Bai Yue can't help but laugh, "What Emperor Chu can give this king; that is then called unprecedented."
"What Chu Yuan promised to give, I can promise too."
"What Emperor Chu can give, I'm afraid you can never give." Duan Bai Yue drew out his sword, "Offer your life early; it's just nice for me to use it to humor someone."
"Presumptuous!" Liu Gong retreated two steps, "Men, go!"
Fighters surged from all four corners; Duan Bai Yue coldly laughed, the sword in his hand piercing through the wind and clashing with other weapons, sending out innumerable sparks.
On the other side, because Duan Yao probably hasn't woken up completely, and so his methods become more brutal; he threw Shen Qian Fan to one side, and began to spread poisonous bugs all over; in an blink of eye, uncountable bugs are released, forming a chunk.
Shen Qian Fan: "....."
This long battle continued till daybreak, with the Chu troops winning; Liu Gong is tied up, and sent to the prison for treason; uncountable treasonous troops are hurt or dead; the officials who were in cahoots with Liu Manor are also under their control. On the second day, the rest of the officials nervously came to court; the hall, originally full of seats, has only half left.
"Esteemed Tai Fu, is General Shen alright?" Liu Da Jiong is worried — after what has happened, he has become one of the few people from the Liu family.
Tai Fu replied: "Rest a.s.sured Lord Liu, it won't hinder the marriage discussions with your niece."
Lord Liu loves to matchmake; everyone, from court officials to commoners, knows this; when the hundreds of officials heard this they also laughed; the worry from yesterday's chaos has dispersed quite a bit.
However, even the highly respected Tai Fu also didn't expect that Chu Yuan has long expected this day to come, and sent out secret guards by everyone's side for protection. Upon thinking about this, he can't bear but to feel fortunate; luckily he did not do the wrong thing in moments of confusion.
Although Shen Qian Fan is injured, but it's not life-threatening; he will recover after recuperating for a few days. On the afternoon of the second day, Duan Bai Yue then took his leave, saying that he's returning to Xi Nan.
"Regarding Sha Da, how does Xi Nan King look at this?" Shen Qian Fan asked.
"Liu family has collapsed, there shouldn't be anyone concerned about him." Duan Bai Yue said, "As for why Liu Gong wants him to come to the capital, and why Gu Li died a brutal death in the streets, all of this are unrelated to Xi Nan, it's not convenient for me to intercede; I leave it for you general to judge."
"If it's as Xi Nan King says, then I'm afraid Xi Bei is going to be in chaos again." Shen Qian Fan worriedly sighed.
Duan Bai Yue smiled, and after saying his farewell to Shen Qian Fan, left the capital, and rushed to the south.
After ten days has pa.s.sed, Duan Yao then slowly realized and reacted: "This is the way back to Xi Nan prefecture?"
"Of course not." Duan Bai Yue said.
Duan Yao opened his mouth in shock; what does he mean by 'of course not'.
"Who said I'm going to Xi Nan?" Duan Bai Yue asked him back.
"You!" Duan Yao is indignant, a few days ago you said it yourself.
Duan Bai Yue raised an eyebrow, and without a hint of guilt: "We are going to Qian Yue city."
Duan Yao lost all hope: "In order to see the one you like?"
Duan Bai Yue raised his whip; the horse galloped faster.
Duan Yao wishes he can cry out loud; if you are having a tryst then have a tryst; why can't you let me return first.
In Qiong Hua valley, Chu Yuan is currently lying on the bed, reading a book; Ye Jin brought the medicine in, and thought of escaping immediately.
"Xiao Jin." (3) Chu Yuan called him.
"Xiao Jin? Xiao Jin can only be used by Teacher!" Ye Jin placed his hands on his hips, "I already told you, you need to call me 'this divine physician'." Do you know how to respectfully address someone; where's your manners!
"Right, this divine physician." Chu Yuan laughed and looked at him, "Can you talk with us?"
"You still can laugh." Ye Jin sat by the bedside, "An emperor, and you have become like this."
"To sit on the throne securely, some sacrifices must be made." Chu Yuan said, "We don't feel wronged."
Of course you don't feel wronged! Bringing a big group of people to eat and stay for free and while time away chatting; not a single coin has to be paid, and even requesting for meat every meal!
Ye Jin angrily thought, the person who should be wronged is obviously me.
"I heard from the servants, there are guests coming to this valley tomorrow?" Chu Yuan asked.
"It's Zhui Yin sect leader, he just happens to be pa.s.sing by." Ye Jin bit into a pear, and casually answered.
"Qin Shao Yu?" Chu Yuan is a bit surprised.
"You even know people from Jiang Hu?" Ye Jin didn't think of this at all.
"I don't know him, but I heard Qian Fan mention him before, highly skilled in martial arts and has a character of a warrior, he seems to be someone who can do great things."
"Don't say that you are thinking of asking him to go be an official." Ye Jin reminded him, "He won't agree to it."
"Really?" Chu Yuan is a bit disappointed, "Now that the southwest borders are getting chaotic again, the imperial court is in need of people now, there are people with many talents in Jiang Hu, if he agrees —"
"I don't know about other people, but Qin Shao Yu will never agree to it." Ye Jin interrupted him, and repeated himself.
Chu Yuan could only sigh.
"When everyone was fighting for the throne, I thought it was a good thing; in the end it's so tiring." Ye Jin can't relate to this.
Chu Yuan laughed, and reached out his hand to adjust his collar.
Don't touch me whenever you want to! Ye Jin slapped his hand away; he has already said that everyone is not familiar with one another, why be so touchy-feely.
"Will there be people to fetch you?" After a moment, Ye Jin asked again, "Or I need to help send a letter?"
"We have already sent men back to the capital." Chu Yuan said. "After some days there will be people arriving."
Capital.....Ye Jin really wants to go out to the yard and sigh to the sky.
Doesn't this means that he's staying for very long.
On the road, Duan Bai Yue hurried day and night; if his horse wasn't a famous one, it's afraid that a few horses will have already died along the way.
"Are you rushing to get married?" In the middle of this night, Duan Yao become irritable.
Duan Bai Yue reminded: "After six hours, we will be on the way again." So there's not much time to sleep.
Duan Yao laid back below the tree, he may as well be dead now.
If he can reincarnate in the future, he must choose a family with no older brothers.
It's very quiet in the small forest; a group of people have been on the rush for many days, and so their sleep is very deep. Even so, however, the instincts of a martial arts pract.i.tioner is still present. And so when they heard a very soft sound, everyone's eyes all opened at the same instant.
Hundreds of darts flew towards them, striking the trees, glinting in the moonlight; it was followed by a giant golden net, on the net are barbs dipped in poison. Duan Bai Yue swept away everything with one sword swing, and took Duan Yao to hide in a safe area.
"Xi Nan King." Laughter that sounded like silver bells came from deep within the forest, and petals were soaring in the wind. Duan Yao rolled his eyes, asking: "Is this your tryst?" A pleasant scent is in the air; quickly go and welcome her with a smile.
Duan Bai Yue said: " In this, you thought wrong, I'm only afraid that her aim in this trip is not me."
"What are you saying, you're saying it's actually me?" Duan Yao pouted.
"Think carefully Xi Nan King, when will you give Yao-er to me?" A lavish sedan descended from the sky; from within a beautiful lady walked out.
Duan Yao: "....."
This auntie, what did you just say, can you repeat it one more time.
"Sect leader Lan." Duan Bai Yue said, "At the time I have already said before, Xiao Yao has never learned the Bodhi Heart sutra before, I'm afraid sect leader has found the wrong person."
"Which martial arts he has practiced; I am clearer on this than anyone else." The young lady slowly got near, "If he's given to me, perhaps it can an exchange for Xi Nan King's life."
The person who arrived has bad intentions; Duan Bai Yue got in front of Duan Yao, his eyes gradually getting more steely.
(1) Chong Yang Door: 崇阳门 - lit. dignified north-of-river door. Renamed Li Zheng Men (丽正门) in 1754 after rebuilding. Still exists today in Cheng De, He Bei as part of . Used as a summer palace.
(2) Tai Fu: 太傅 - the person who helps the emperor to command the court during his absence or young age.
(3) Xiao Jin: 小瑾 - lit. little jin. Affectionate nickname.
Let me know if you spot any mistakes as usual!