Translated by Eve
Edited by Kara
9. Hell Mode
Xie He looked at him. It seemed like it took him a while before he could clearly see who the person before him was. An insipid smile appeared within those beautiful eyes.
Chu Xing saw the smile in Xie He’s eyes, and his heart immediately felt stuffy. Again, it was like this! Again, it was like this! Why was it that no matter how he tormented him, he would always be like this—he would always use that kind of insipid smile to look at him as if mocking him, telling him that he was just wasting his energy!
“Your Majesty still doesn’t understand the situation you’re in, ah,” Chu Xing said with a glacial tone.
He paused. His tone then eased up a bit as he said, “Actually, so long as Your Majesty is willing to obediently cooperate, I will not make things difficult for you. I do what I say! If Your Majesty is willing to agree, then move your finger, OK?”
Xie He gazed at him firmly. A long while later, his lips curled slightly, and the pinky on his right hand slowly curled up.
He didn’t know why, but when Chu Xing saw this, he felt relieved. Obviously, he was the one doing the torturing, but he seemed to yearn for this to stop more than the one being tortured. Now, the torture could finally end.
He took off the gag in Xie He’s mouth. He watched as the other made a weak noise. However, because it was too quiet, Chu Xing had to move closer to hear what he was saying.
Xie He’s lips quivered. He slowly spat out three words, “In…your…dreams….”
Chu Xing’s expression suddenly changed. He immediately turned to look at Xie He and met with those bright, phoenix eyes. The other’s eyebrow was raised, and there was a wanton smile in those black eyes! It was like no one—nothing— could enter his eyes! As a lofty, esteemed Emperor, how could he lower his noble head to a traitorous scoundrel!?
At that moment, Chu Xing finally realized that he would never be able to get this person to truly submit to him!
Xie He laughed soundlessly. In the next instant, he abruptly shut his eyes.
Chu Xing felt his heart skip a beat. He rushed to support Xie He’s face. However, Xie He showed no reaction. His breath was extremely weak, almost gone…Chu Xing could feel his own hands shaking.
Was this Incapable Ruler about to die? Did he finally torture him to death?
No…he hadn’t actually wanted him to die. Although he had never been willing to admit this, at this moment, he could no longer continue deceiving himself. He wanted this Incapable Ruler to live.
As soon as he thought that the Incapable Ruler would die like this, that his lively face would never show any kind of emotion again…Chu Xing felt like his heart had become empty.
Only when you’d lost someone, would you find out that you had already placed them in your heart. Even if the other had committed unforgivable sins, he had still fallen for him.
【Ding, the target, Chu Xing’s Favourability Value +5. The current Favourability Value is 80. The current Blackening Value is 100.】
Chu Xing clenched his fists tightly and shut his eyes. He then rushed to take Xie He off of the punishment rack.
Xie He’s frail body seemed as if it would break from even the slightest touch like it would shatter into pieces. Chu Xing did not dare to use any force. He was afraid that he would crush him with even a bit of strength….
He carried Xie He back to Qin Palace and called for one of his trusted aides. He said in a low voice, “Quickly ask the Imperial Physicians to enter the palace!”
The trusted aid was astonished. He said, “General, we can’t. It will cause too much of a fuss if we call in the Imperial Physicians. We might not be able to hide what’s happening in the palace.”
Chu Xing clenched his fist, eyes frosty, “Go get him. There will naturally be a way to ensure that they know what to say and what not to say! As for other people guessing what’s happening, who cares?”
So long as the Incapable Ruler would survive, who would fear those trifling rumours and criticisms?
Chu Xing turned around and gently caressed Xie He’s face. There was hesitation and conflict in his eyes for a moment. In the end, they turned resolute.
He had always been a decisive person, evident in the way he had unhesitatingly decided to strike first to gain the advantage during the Incapable Ruler’s ambush at his feast! Since he had decided to overthrow this Incapable Ruler and enact justice on behalf of the heavens, he had not hesitated even once to become a traitor!
Now…he didn’t want this Incapable Ruler to die. That meant that the Incapable Ruler had to live! To ensure this, it would not matter to him how much infamy he would have to carry. Wasn’t he just a good-for-nothing Incapable Ruler? It couldn’t be that if Chu Xing didn’t kill him, he wouldn’t be able to take over this country and stabilize his footing?
It couldn’t be that if he didn’t kill him, he would be the one to die under the other’s hand? He didn’t believe that would be the case!
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Ktlr mbecags, atlr qfgrbc, atfs ybat yfibcufv ab tlw!
Cmaejiis, Wlf Lf kjrc’a mbwqifafis ecmbcrmlber ja atlr alwf. Lbkfnfg, tf ofia atja tf kbeivc’a yf jyif ab tbiv bc obg wemt ibcufg, rb tf rfca j wfrrjuf ab 444. 444 mjwf yjmx nfgs delmxis.
【444：Host dada, you called~~\(≧▽≦)/】
【Wlf Lf：Djys, sbe’gf yjmx. :)】
A second later.
【444, sobbing：Host dada, how did you end up like this?! QAQ You’re about to die, you’re about to die, you’re about to die!!!】
【Xie He：I haven’t died yet. It’s too early to cry. Smile.JPG】
【444：Didn’t you say it was time for something unsuitable for children? You tricked me, ah! Wah! QAQ】
【Xie He：I didn’t trick you. It is indeed unsuitable for children to see.】
【444：Wuwuwuwuwuwu, what to do, what to do, what to do….】
【Xie He：Didn’t I call you back? Quickly help me exchange for a “I won’t die so easily” expression pack. 】
【444：Oh! QQ “I won’t die so easily” expression pack exchange complete! It costs 1000 experience points. The instructions says: Do you want to experience the pleasure of life and death? Do you want to enjoy the excitement of treading on the thin line between life and death? Come, ba! Experience what it’s like to be in dire straits—at the verge of death as much as you like! And yet, you won’t die so easily!】
【Xie He：Very good. :)】
【444：Yingyingying…】There’s nothing good about this!
Chu Xing paced back and forth, brows furrowed. He never thought that time had felt so slow before until now. He said in a stern voice, “Go urge them to hurry up! Why haven’t the Imperial Physicians arrived yet?!”
His subordinates stood on the sidelines, keeping quiet out of fear. Immediately, several of them went out to urge the doctors to come more quickly. After nearly a quarter of an hour, the Imperial Physicians finally rushed over! Chu Xing let them enter Qin Palace and had people stand guard outside. Only then did he allow the Imperial Physicians to examine Xie He.
The Imperial Physicians had been suddenly brought into the palace. All of them were scared witless and were secretly wondering as to what had happened. When they saw the wounds on Xie He’s body, they were immediately frightened into kneeling onto the floor. Their gazes directed towards Chu Xing were filled with alarm! They had been implicated in the power struggle inside of the palace, ah! They did not expect that General Chu would dare to harm the Emperor. The rumours were actually true! Would they all be silenced today?
Chu Xing’s eyes were glacial, “I want you to examine His Majesty. What are you doing?”
“Please forgive us, General! Please forgive us, General, ah!” The Imperial Physicians repeatedly kowtowed.
When Chu Xing thought about how Xie He was at death’s door, he became angry, eyes full of fury, “Stop with the nonsense, and quickly examine him!”
The Imperial Physicians exchanged glances. They knew that they could only listen to Chu Xing’s orders right now. Therefore, they examined Xie He’s wounds, shaking. While examining him, they discovered that his wounds were even more serious than they had imagined! It was a spectacle too horrible to endure! They discussed in low voices before making a decision. In the end, one of them carefully said, “His Majesty’s wounds are too severe, we are powerless….”
Chu Xing suddenly kicked the desk over! He glared at them fiercely, “You haven’t even used any medication on him. You haven’t even tried, how can you say that it won’t work?! Is this how you usually do your jobs?!”
The Imperial Physicians were all terrified. It couldn’t be that they had guessed wrongly? Didn’t Chu Xing want the Emperor to die, having tortured him into this state? They had only said that the Emperor was beyond saving because they had wanted to go with Chu Xing’s will. They could announce that the Emperor had passed away due to illness. Like that, perhaps Chu Xing would let them off…however, at this moment, Chu Xing’s expression made it seem like he really cared about the Emperor’s life. What was happening?
However, the Imperial Physicians did not dare guess again at Chu Xing’s aim. They didn’t dare to be sloppy while examining him again. They took his pulse and checked his eyes. In the end, the old white-haired Imperial Physician stood up as their representative and said in a trembling voice, “We…have to take a look at His Majesty’s collection within the palace. If we can find an over-500-year-old ginseng, then perhaps we can keep his Majesty alive for now. However, as for whether he will actually survive…we…cannot guarantee that….”
Chu Xing waved his hand and immediately had his people take the Imperial Physicians back to the palace to pick medicinal ingredients. Fortunately, the palace’s collection was abundant. Not only did they find the ginseng, but they also found other precious medicinal ingredients. The Imperial Physicians were relieved. No matter what, they would at the very least be able to keep His Majesty alive. As for whether he would wake up and get through the next few days, that was up to the will of the heavens.
Chu Xing also did not let them out. Instead, he had them all stay in the palace to be called upon at any time, just in case.
The Imperial Physicians were frightened, but they had no choice. They could only do their best to treat Xie He.
Chu Xing watched as people came and went from the room. In the end, it became quiet once more, regaining the previous calm. From beginning to end, he stood in one place like a statue.
His gaze was constantly on the person lying on the bed. The person on the bed had a deathly pallid face, but he looked to be at peace as if he had forgotten all of his pain and was in a peaceful slumber. Chu Xing had never seen Xie He sleep like this before, so tranquil and gentle. It was completely different from the slightly gloomy and resentful appearance he had on usually….Chu Xing’s gaze softened. If the Incapable Ruler could always be this lovable, he would have probably been unwilling to treat him like that, ba? He walked over with light steps and used his fingertips to touch Xie He’s cheek. He whispered, “Did you think that you could escape me like this?”
I won’t allow it. I just realized that I cared about you. How could I let you leave me like this?!
You must live on!
Three days passed. Xie He never woke up. The Imperial Physicians began to panic. The longer one was unconscious, the more dangerous it became. With His Majesty’s current condition, he may die at any moment. At that time, would Chu Xing be willing to let any of them off?
Chu Xing saw this all. However, he did not force these Imperial Physicians. Aside from not letting them leave, he gave them everything they asked for to the best of his ability. He even treated them amicably. He only hoped that they would put their all into treating Xie He.
Every day, Chu Xing would sleep by Xie He’s side. He would gently place his hand on Xie He’s chest, feeling that weak heartbeat. Only then would he be able to tell himself that this person was still alive, that he hadn’t died yet. He was afraid that if he left for even a moment, this person would leave without a sound, never to return.
It had already been three days. It wasn’t just the Imperial Physicians who suffered.
So long as he thought about how the person next to him could die at any time, Chu Xing wouldn’t be able to breathe.
In his lifetime, he had killed people and then licked the blood off his blade. He had long since grown used to death. He’d watched the people by his side come and go…of course, he would still be sad and reluctant to let go, but he had never imagined that there would be a day where he would be this afraid of losing just one person.
He lowered his head, gently meeting with Xie He’s lips, and whispered, “Your Majesty, you’ve won. I can’t bear to kill you.”
“Wake up, OK? I won’t force you anymore.”
“I also won’t blame you for wanting to kill me. In any case, you can’t kill me anyway…what was I even bickering about with you, this Incapable Ruler….”
Chu Xing shut his eyes. He recalled every one of Xie He’s scowls, smiles—even his annoyed and angry expressions. There was nostalgia in his eyes, and he used a threatening tone to say, “Hurry and wake up. Otherwise, I won’t keep my promise…you don’t want people to trample over your corpse after your death, ba? If you live, I’ll forgive you.”
【Ding, the target, Chu Xing’s Blackening Value -50. The current Favourability Value is 80. The current Blackening Value is 50.】
The Imperial Physicians were called into the palace that night and never came out again. Xie He had not shown his face since then either. Rumours were running amok outside. Chen Cong rushed to the palace. There, he was met with the sight of Chu Xing carefully holding Xie He while feeding him medicine. Even so, Xie He could not swallow. After a long period of time, he could only ingest a bit. The medicinal liquid streamed out of his lips.
Chen Cong was burning with rage. He advanced and smacked the bowl of medicine out of Chu Xing’s hands. He bellowed, “Have you gone mad?!”
Chu Xing did not get angry. He placed Xie He back down and covered him with the quilt. He wiped the corner of the other’s lips with his sleeve and then told Chen Cong, “Let’s speak outside.”
Outside, Chu Xing asked, “Why have you entered the palace?”
Chen Cong glared at him, “You’re asking me why I came? Why don’t you first tell me what the heck you’re doing?!”
Chu Xing was very clear on the situation outside. He said apathetically, “Nothing. When it comes time, we can say that His Majesty is ill and cannot attend morning court. Tomorrow, I will have the Imperial Physicians speak. Those people will only form conjectures in their minds. They won’t dare to actually do anything.”
Chen Cong shouted angrily, “It seems that you really plan on leaving that Incapable Ruler his life?! If he dies, let him die! What are you saving him for?! Just say he died from illness!”
Chu Xing pressed his lips tightly together. He did not speak.
He and Chen Cong had been friends for many years. And yet, Chen Cong still couldn’t understand his thoughts. Instead, he was burning with fury, “Have you been confused by that Incapable Ruler? Fine. If you can’t do it, I’ll do it!”
As he spoke, he pushed Chu Xing away and rushed in. He directly pulled out the sword Chu Xing hung on the wall and swung it down towards Xie He!
Chu Xing’s expression changed greatly. Seeing that there was only an inch between the sword and Xie He’s face, he firmly grabbed hold of Chen Cong’s wrist and pulled him back with great strength. His complexion turned ashen, “What are you doing?!”
Chen Cong laughed with extreme anger, “You’re asking me what I’m doing? What are you doing? Have you forgotten about what this Incapable Ruler has done? Have you forgotten that he wanted to kill you? Have you forgotten about Xiao Yan? He treated you like his elder brother, but you’re not even willing to take revenge for him! You’re even protecting the sinner who killed him!”
Chu Xing’s expression warped slightly. His eyes darkened. A long time later, he said, “I haven’t forgotten. Let him live. He’ll suffer more. You don’t have to worry. I won’t let him have another chance to hurt anyone else ever again.”
Chen Cong gritted his teeth and spoke with a staccato rhythm, “I don’t believe you.”
Chu Xing sighed, expression complex and bitter. How could he not know that this was a betrayal towards Chen Cong? However, he…couldn’t let him kill the Incapable Ruler. After another long pause, he finally said, “Give me a few more days.”
Chu Xing let his subordinates forcibly send Chen Cong out. He saw Chen Cong’s disappointed expression when he left. His heart felt heavy.
Actually, Chen Cong wouldn’t understand. Even he himself didn’t understand. It was clear that he shouldn’t be like this…but, he couldn’t stop himself from caring about this person.
Chu Xing returned to the room and gently caressed Xie He. He continued to feed him medicine. After feeding him a bit with much difficulty, pain overflowed from his eyes. He said softly, “Your Majesty, if you die, I don’t think I can continue to protect you.”
Because, I cannot continue to damage my friendship for the sake of a dead man. I cannot hurt the person who had supported and protected me. I cannot disappoint everyone.
At that time, I can only hand you over.
But…if you wake up, I will definitely protect you, OK?
Chu Xing did not leave the palace during this time. The letter he sent to Chen Cong was not returned. Chu Xing knew that there was a gap between him and Chen Cong now. He could no longer rely on Duke Yingguo’s family. Fortunately, he still had his great army on the outskirts of the city. If he really ended up at the end of his rope, he could directly surround the Capital. In the Capital, who could do anything to him? Only, at that time, he would really be as the Incapable Ruler had said: He would be a disgraceful, traitorous scoundrel.
He looked at the person lying on the bed again. Suddenly, there was an unprecedented, preposterous conjecture popping into his mind. It seemed like he was rebelling against the state in order to have this person. So long as he could have him…what did it matter to him if he became a traitorous scoundrel cursed by everyone under the heavens?
As ridiculous as this thought was, it was impossible to get rid of.
【Ding, the target Chu Xing’s Favourability Value +5. The current Favourability Value is 85. The current Blackening Value is 50.】
Another few days passed. One time, when the Imperial Physicians used acupuncture on Xie He, Xie He’s finger twitched. The Imperial Physicians almost wept tears of joy. His Majesty had finally reacted!
Chu Xing’s expression finally changed a bit. Those days, he’d been extremely cool and collected. No one knew that he was really the one who was most worried. He rushed to Xie He’s side and lightly grabbed his hand. He whispered, “Have you awoken?”
Xie He’s eyes remained tightly shut. There was no other reaction as if what had just happened was an illusion.
Chu Xing fixed his gaze on him, wanting to say something but then hesitating.
Right at that moment, one of Chu Xing’s bodyguards rushed in with an anxious expression. He stooped down to Chu Xing’s ears and whispered, “His Highness, Prince An has returned to the Capital. He is outside the palace right now, requesting an audience with His Majesty!”
Chu Xing had a questioning look in his eyes. He had unexpectedly received no news regarding Prince An’s return to the Capital! He whispered back, “How many people did Prince An bring?”
The bodyguard said, “Prince An came alone!”
Chu Xing nodded slightly. Now, it made more sense. If Prince An had brought an army with him back to the Capital, there was no way to escape his eyes and ears. However, if he came alone, that was different. Chu Xing’s eyebrows then furrowed. It was just…why did Prince An brave such a risk to return to the Capital alone? It couldn’t be that he wanted to be Emperor and had come back to fight based on the rumours? However, if it was like that, why did he dare to come meet with him alone? He had placed himself in a disadvantaged position. It couldn’t be that he wasn’t afraid of being killed by him?
A moment later, Chu Xing stood up and said indifferently, “I’ll go meet Prince An.”
Since Prince An had come to request an audience, making clear his identity with great fanfare, it was clear that he was determined to meet with His Majesty. Since he had adopted such an attitude, daring to put himself in such danger, he couldn’t not meet with him, could he? He would go see what Prince An’s intention was. Although His Highness had been far away in Jiangzhou, he still had a worthy reputation. Chu Xing would not look down on him.
Chu Xing arrived at the palace gates. From afar, he saw Prince An standing with his hands behind his back, figure tall and graceful. Chu Xing laughed loudly, “Your Highness, Prince An.”
Upon hearing this, Jing Heng turned around. He wore a moon-white chang pao. There was a jade belt around his waist and a gold crown atop his head. His features were elegant, noble, and awe-inspiring. He gave Chu Xing a profound gaze, voice clear and melodious, “I’ve troubled General Chu for having to come welcome me. Benwang hasn’t returned to the Capital in many years. Recently, Benwang suddenly missed His Majesty, so Benwang took the liberty to come request an audience. Benwang would like to ask General Chu to please pass on a message.”
Chu Xing flashed a serious expression and sighed, “His Majesty has been ill recently, which is why he has summoned Chen, this small official, to assist him. Right now, Chen is afraid that it is inconvenient for His Majesty to meet with Your Highness.”
A concealed, extreme anger flashed through Jing Heng’s eyes. He suddenly strode forward, turned to the side, and lowered his voice to a level at which only Chu Xing would be able to hear, “General Chu, let’s be frank, Benwang has come here today to ask you one question. Is His Majesty alive or dead?”
The author has something to say:
Eve: Next chapter is a doozy. 🙁 Prepare yourselves.