Consort Mi and I continued to remain in this seeming firewood storage room for two or three sichen, until the doors were kicked open again. The incoming person is a burly man in black clothing, standing on the man’s right, is the Zhao Lu who had angrily left before, on the left is an unfamiliar young woman.
The man in black’s cold and sharp facial contour makes him appear gloomy and cold, fine eyes filled with hostility. Both his hands are held behind his back, stepping over the door threshold as he enters, he finally stops before Consort Mi.
Consort Mi disdainfully laughs, “I originally thought you’re a dog, but didn’t think you’re actually a dog that bites back at its saviour.”
The man is not agitated, just that his face turns a few points colder, “Those of my status naturally wouldn’t be held in your highness’ eyes, the one that is held in your highness’ eyes has already arrived, I shall let you have your reunion now.” The man turns to look at me, a flash of disdain sweeping past, “This must be Eunuch Lan.”
I smile, saying: “It is, don’t know what business this hero has?”
“No business, just abducting one more person, gaining one more bargaining chip.” The man also smiles, yet his eyes are filled with cold gloom. He turns to the two people behind him and say: “Zhao Lu, Chen Yi, bring them out.”
The two young women immediately come up and roughly pull up Consort Mi and I, the blades in hand also pressing against our necks. Consort Mi uncooperatively struggles a bit, causing that shaky blade to come closer to her.
The man says with a seeming smile: “Your highness and Eunuch must be very careful, if not, should their hands make a little fumble……”
Threat, bare and undisguised threat ah, this is.
Consort Mi coldly harrumphs, “Chen Yao, I really must have been blind to have saved you back then.”
“Your highness is still ever so annoying, no wonder why his royal highness is unwilling to even spare you a glance.” Disdain and hate surfaces on Chen Yao’s face, “Stuff their mouths.”
And so, our only freedom of speech has also been taken away thanks to Consort Mi’s provocation, Consort Mi is still squeaking out her words, but no one is able to understand her. I let out a deep deep sigh inside, woman, your name is troublesome.
We are forced into a horse carriage, approximately half a sichen later, the carriage comes to a stop, only after stumbling off the carriage, do we see someone waiting at a spot not far away, and that person is precisely He Lian Chen.
Chen Yao reveals a smile upon seeing this, just that such smile does not reach his eyes at all, “Eldest Royal Highness, long time no see.”
He Lian Chen’s eyes sweeps across us, finally settling on Chen Yao’s body. He also smiles faintly, “General Chen, long time no see.”
I secretly curse at him, at a time like this, you still need to keep up your manner and poise, man, your name is pretentious.
Chen Yao says: “Your royal highness came alone as agreed, indeed very courageous.”
He Lian Chen appears a little helpless as he says: “Zhen did want to bring people along, just that General Chen had zhen turning left and wandering right, changing the destination several times, hence even if they did want to follow along, they wouldn’t be able to.”
“Zhen?” Chen Yao’s eyes fills up with hostility, “Almost forgotten, Eldest Royal Highness is but the emperor of Yun Zhan now, just that your royal highness, sitting on that seat, do you perhaps feel at unease with a guilty conscience?”
He Lian Chen thinks otherwise as he says: “What guilty conscience would zhen have?”
“That seat should originally be our royal highness’, but was snatched away by Eldest Royal Highness……” Chen Yao coldly sounds a harrumph as he speaks.
“Winner is king, loser is enemy, should it have been zhen who died that day, zhen will not have the slightest of complaints.” His golden eyes flashes, saying with a smile: “General Chen is taking revenge for Imperial Brother today, snatching back this seat for him?”
“Anyone has the right to sit on this seat, only Eldest Royal Highness doesn’t.” Chen Yao spits out the words one by one: “Murder your father and kill your brother, how is your royal highness able to face the people of the world?”
He Lian Chen dangerously narrows his eyes, “General Chen seems to be deterring from the subject, you abducted my consort and eunuch, just to say this?”
Chen Yao casts us a glance, then loudly laughs and says: “Then let us get down to business.”
He Lian Chen says: “May General Chen speak your mind.”
Chen Yao coldly says: “I am not an unreasonable person, should I let your royal highness exchange yourself for one person right now, would your royal highness be willing?”
“One for one, is naturally fair.” He Lian Chen’s handsome face carries a smile, yet his golden eyes are bottomless deep.
“Then the one your royal highness wishes to exchange……” Chen Yao coldly sweeps a glance across Consort Mi and I, “Is which one?”
He Lian Chen’s eyes goes back and forth from Consort Mi and I several times, finally stopping on Consort Mi’s body, his thin lips lightly hook up, saying with a smile, “May I trouble General Chen to send Mi Er over, zhen will come with you all.”
When his words were spoken, Consort Mi’s eyes abruptly widens, in her eyes, there flashes shock, surprise, and……glistening tears. I on the other hand, feel nothing, just watching them indifferently, don’t know if it is my imagination, but when He Lian Chen had spoken those words, he had quickly cast me a look, his eyes containing some unknown meaning.
I lower my eyes, countless possibilities flitting past my mind, and finally, I hook up the corners of my lips unnoticeably.
Chen Yao is not surprised by this answer, he says: “Exchanging people is of course possible, but your royal highness’ abilities truly earns my respect……”
He Lian Chen says: “General’s meaning is……?”
Chen Yao says: “May your royal highness snap your own right arm.”
He Lian Chen lightly raises his thick brows: “Are you that worried……? Nevermind.” He does not care about the constant “wu-wu-wu-” weeping from Consort Mi, decisively grabbing his right arm with his left hand, then a loud and clear sound of “ge-deng” is heard……
Chen Yao applauds, “A great move your royal highness.”
He Lian Chen’s right arm falls limp, the corner of his forehead slightly oozing with drops of sweat, yet his face shows no change as he says: “General is overpraising, zhen has already snapped my right arm, can General let her go now?”
Chen Yao nods, coldly smiling as he says: “Of course, may your royal highness raise your left arm.”
He Lian Chen follows his instructions, I cannot help but find the look of him raising his left arm with a limp right arm funny, the great and honourable emperor is actually looking like an arrested criminal in the modern age. When he sees the situation, he directs an angry glare at me, but in his eyes, there is a persistent yet indiscernible meaning. I look to the side, seeing Consort Mi looking at He Lian Chen, her eyes blurred with tears, delicately pitiful.
Chen Yao sends Chen Yi — who is holding Consort Mi — an eye signal, Chen Yi then follows him in walking towards He Lian Chen. Chen Yao’s hand grabs onto He Lian Chen’s left arm and twists it behind his back, saying to Chen Yi: “Let her go.”
Chen Yi shows no tenderness towards the jade-like beauty as she pushes Consort Mi out, leaving her entire person to fall onto the ground, unable to get up. He Lian Chen slightly furrow his brows upon seeing this, but immediately loosens up. Chen Yao tugs his lips into a smile, ridiculing: “Eldest Royal Highness sure is tender towards jade-like beauty.”
Chen Yi also starts to walk back, whilst Chen Yao and He Lian Chen follows behind. Waiting until they’ve walked far away from Consort Mi, He Lian Chen sends me an eye signal, and so I know, he and I must get working..
I sigh, hooking up my little finger onto a fine and transparent line, then a short arrow instantly shoots out from my sleeve towards Zhao Lu, once Zhao Lu’s body is hit with pain, she loosens the stance of holding the blade to my neck, seeing this, I then nimbly kick at her legs, then dart to the side.
On the other end, Chen Yao and Chen Yi have of course noticed the strange situation over here, but the originally obedient He Lian Chen also starts to rebel. A short arrow also shooting out at Chen Yao at the same time, then immediately shoots out the second short arrow towards Chen Yi who held up her blade. At this point, Chen Yao, Chen Yi, and Zhao Lu are all wounded, both my hands are tied behind my back, whilst He Lian Chen is unable to move his right arm.
“Damned eunuch!” Zhao Lu curses, very quickly getting up, and heads towards me. I secretly cry out ‘trouble’, whilst dodging left and darting right, I turn around and aim at her position as I shoot out another arrow, only after the arrow hit her, did Zhao Lu fall onto her knees, unable to move again, and on the other side, whilst Chen Yao and Chen Yi struggles against He Lian Chen, they simultaneously cry out in anger and grief, “Zhao Lu!”
I hurriedly pick up the blade Zhao Lu had dropped and run towards Consort Mi, Chen Yi sees this and tries coming to block me, but was kicked right in the chest by He Lian Chen. Chen Yao’s eyes sees red, “A great Eunuch Lan, so you already planned it all out with him!”
I can’t be bothered responding to him, who planned it all out with He Lian Chen, how would we have planned it? The short arrow in my sleeves is pure coincidence, that day, Yun Ze had sent two exquisitely made little weapons of in-sleeve arrows to He Lian Chen, in-sleeve arrows, as the name says, it is precisely a little weapon that can be tied into the sleeve, small and not easily noticeable, just that there is one down side, being that the in-sleeve arrows only have very limited shots. He Lian Chen was afraid of my safety within the palace, hence giving me one, didn’t think that it would be put to use at a time like this, there truly is no story without coincidences.
I look at the stunned Consort Mi with a seeming smile, “Your highness, this is not the time to be blanking out, pass me your hand.”
Only then does Consort Mi snap back to reality, furrowing her fine brows together as she says: “You and Lian……”
I glance over at the side that’s currently engaged in a battle, “Is your highness sure you want to talk about this now?”
Consort Mi pauses, then cooperatively turns her back to me with her hands reaching outwards. I also turn my back to her and feel around for the rope, then laboriously use the blade to aim at the rope and prepare to cut down at it.
Just that He Lian Chen loudly yells out, “Watch out!”
Turns out Chen Yi is already charging over towards Consort Mi and I whilst holding her chest, seeing her face pale but filled with hate, I assume she must grit her teeth to take revenge for Zhao Lu first. I fiercely furrow my brows, just as I wanted to pull Consort Mi along in running, I see He Lian Chen shoot out another arrow towards Chen Yi, and then just like Zhao Lu, she widens her eyes and falls to her knees, her lips trembling as she tries to say something, her eyes filled with angry hate, unwilling to resign to fate.
“Chen Yi!” Chen Yao loudly cries out, hands not holding back at all as he throws out murderous strikes at He Lian Chen, He Lian Chen was unable to dodge in time and was grabbed by the neck, left hand wanting to strike back but was also seized by Chen Yao. Both Chen Yao’s eyes turn blood-red as his heavy fists constantly lands onto He Lian Chen’s chest, to the point He Lian Chen spits out blood.
“He Lian Chen, you killed my master and stole his throne, today, I shall definitely take your life!” After Chen Yao finishes saying this, he grabs He Lian Chen’s dislocated arm and fiercely twists it, He Lian Chen grunts, his face instantly washed white.
“Chen Yao, zhen sees you as a talent, but did not think you would be so unaware of worldly matters, since the ancient times, the winner is king and loser is enemy, fights for the throne never speaks of justice!” He Lian Chen’s face is pale white, yet his demeanour is far beyond the ordinary people.
Chen Yao’s face appears savage, bending his knees to knock against his leg, He Lian Chen is unable to withstand the hit and falls onto one knee, “No matter what smooth talks you make today, I will still be taking your life! I sure like to see how you’ll all escape from the palm of my hands!”
Having said that, he picks up Chen Yi’s blade from the ground and holds it against He Lian Chen’s left hand, cynically saying: “So you used the short arrow in your sleeve to kill Chen Yi just now? Very well, I shall have this hand of yours go accompany them first!”
I widen my eyes, unable to refrain from holding my breath. On that side, the blade is raised high up, when my eyes see it just about to cut down at He Lian Chen’s left hand, Consort Mi had broken out of the ropes and grabbed the blade as she charges towards Chen Yao.
“Chen Yao! Stop!” Consort Mi’s delicate face reveals a few points of determination, she shows no care as she charges over to Chen Yao with a blade in hand, Chen Yao stretches his leg out to kick her away, but due to having both his hands holding He Lian Chen down, his movements were made inconvenient, his leg was still slashed by the blade. Chen Yao narrows his eyes, face turning even more ferocious, just as he wanted to turn back and continue to deal with He Lian Chen, Consort Mi had thrown the blade towards him, when Chen Yao dodges aside to avoid the blade, He Lian Chen fiercely kicks behind him, finally breaking free from Chen Yao’s hold.
At this time, I had already run up to their side, taking advantage of the moment Chen Yao had his attention on He Lian Chen, I kick right at Chen Yao, Chen Yao turns back to fiercely glare at me, but as though treating Consort Mi and I – two weak women – as nothing to worry about, he just kicks me to the side and continues to face He Lian Chen.
I fall flat onto the ground, unable to get back up, and can only watch with my own eyes as Chen Yao’s blade slashes down towards He Lian Chen’s back. The blade had finally slashed down, but the one it slashes is not He Lian Chen, but Consort Mi.
I did not think Consort Mi would throw herself onto He Lian Chen’s body at a moment like this.
He Lian Chen also notices something strange, after seeing the person on his back, he speechlessly cries out: “Mi Er!”
Chen Yao pulls out the blade tainted in red as he coldly says: “Her highness Consort Mi sure holds deep feelings for your royal highness, not bad, I shall send the two of you down to become a desperate pair of mandarin ducks (symbolic of a lifelong couple).” Having said that, he once again raises the blade, but this time, a feathered end arrow fiercely pierces through him, then a second, a third……the blade lifelessly falls, that fierce expression on Chen Yao’s face instantly freezes, the surprise in his eyes boundlessly grows.
I bite down on my lips as I look at the frantically running horses, the two men leading them in a body of imperial guard outfits, longbows in hand, ready to shoot. I don’t know why I feel a little saddened, Consort Mi who had been slashed by the blade, He Lian Chen with a face of discomposure and horror……
I originally thought everything was settled, but did not expect a suspicious sound of “si-si”, the noise is just like……I abruptly look towards the source of sound, only to see the Zhao Lu who should have been dead, looking at us with a grin, in her arms, the wick of the explosive is rapidly burning down. She seems to be ridiculing: even if death is to come, I must have you all buried with me.
Damn, they actually had this final tactic! But right now……I dejectedly close my eyes, could it be, I’m really going to die here today?
The “si-si” sound comes to a stop.
I open my eyes, only seeing a long arrow precisely shot at the wick of the explosive, cutting off that weak and rapid spark. I look back, the two men on horses have already approached, the man on the left is burly and handsome, anxiously saying to He Lian Chen: “This subject – Ke Er – has come late to your majesty’s protection!” The man on the right has an ordinary appearance, with nothing special about his five features, although his face is expressionless, that pair of brown eyes contains a familiar shine that flashes past.
“Mi Er, hold on for a bit, we’ll return to the palace now, don’t be afraid.” He Lian Chen lowly speaks, the tremble in his voice barely noticeable.
Yet Consort Mi just smiles miserably, the tears endlessly rolling down from the corners of her eyes. “Lian……”
She says: “Lian, I only hate that I never held on before.” Didn’t hold on, hence tried hard to catch on, but forever unable to catch hold.
I close my eyes, feeling my throat immensely tighten.
Turns out that every matter is able to have a loophole, no one is capable of doing everything, no one, nor will there ever be anyone.