First disregarding why this news had travelled so fast—everybody had found out in less than two hours—but were all the people on this estate… crazy?
Could it be that they truly believed it?
Had these family soldiers and servants performed too many tasks for Yu She, like taking off the wheels of other people’s carriages, that they had gone insane as well?
Could it be that Yu She had already secretly hired Daoist priests to perform the ceremony?
Which was to say… Yu She had believed it just now too?
“Does Ziyou actually know or not… that men can’t become pregnant?” Zhong Wan’s voice trembled. “And does he also know or not… that even if they could, we would need to have sex first…”
Here, Zhong Wan couldn’t help but be a bit unable to accept the situation. How dare Yu She try to force him to have a child without even contributing anything?!
“I want a child now. Do what you need to and give birth to one.”
Yu She was probably capable of saying such things.
But what abilities did Zhong Wan have, as a male, to help him prolong the incense? And alone at that?
He had only been flirting. Why did he suddenly have such a responsibility?
Outside the window, the family soldier and servant started spouting more and more nonsense. Zhong Wan shuddered in fear after hearing their conversation. He was so scared that he avoided the window and sat somewhere else.
Meanwhile, inside Imperial Consort Yu’s palace.
Xuan Qiong panicked. He stood up and walked around in several circles, then anxiously asked, “Mother, have you made up your mind yet or not?”
Imperial Consort Yu’s ten red fingernails dug holes into her handkerchief. Her gaze flickered. “I-I still want to ask your uncle…”
“I already told you that Uncle doesn’t have the guts!” Xuan Qiong turned around and said in agitation, “If he finds out, this entire plan will go out the window. Mother, you also notice how much Imperial Father relies on Yu She now. He locks him up with the senior cabinet officials every day to listen to their political discussions. Ever since Third Brother’s death, Imperial Father’s health has gotten worse and worse. Imperial Father doesn’t have the energy to worry about everything, but hasn’t given me even the slightest bit of official business to take care of. Isn’t it already clear what he means by this?”
Xuan Qiong’s expression was dark. “Jiangnan’s corruption case was originally supposed to fall under the Ministry of Justice’s jurisdiction. Who knows what Imperial Father was thinking when he suddenly transferred this case to the Dali Temple. He even sent the Inspection Division to help, clearly indicating that he’s training Yu She! After the corruption case is wrapped up, Jiangnan will basically have been personally filtered through by him. The remaining ones will definitely all be on his side and the ones added in later on will become subordinates he promoted! How crucial is this?!
“What about Uncle, though? All he knows to do is fearfully and respectfully thank the emperor for his grace on Yu She’s behalf. He doesn’t even dare to say half a sentence in rebuttal. But when he turns around to placate me, he has lots of excuses. He says stuff like ‘don’t care too much about this temporary loss.’ Don’t care about it? If I still don’t care about it, Yu She’s going to be named crown prince!”
With unease, Imperial Consort Yu said, “But hasn’t the emperor not taken him back yet? If you force him to head into battle, he’s really going to be admitted back into the family!”
“There can never be triumph without sacrifices! Even if I don’t give him that last push, Imperial Father will admit him back into the family sooner or later. By then, wouldn’t things just be the same?” Xuan Qiong asked in agitation. “Mother, how come you can’t understand? Imperial Father has already started thinking about taking him back in. He’s only missing a reason to do so! I’m using his strength against him!
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.
“Admit Yu She into the family, then send him to Beijiang. How smooth would that be? Imperial Father will definitely be tempted. As long as Yu She steps foot into the northern borderlands, I can decide his time of death with a mere command,” Xuan Qiong said. “The Beidi chief has already promised me that as long as Yu She reaches Beijiang, he’ll definitely be able to frame Yu She as a traitor who is working with the enemy. If I can also send him updates about our army’s movements, he’s also rather confident that he’ll be able to kill Yu She on the battlefield. As such, what else would I need to worry about? Who else would I need to worry about? Xuan Jing? He’d be the only one left, but how could he be a match for me?”
Imperial Consort Yu stood up and circled around the room. Her voice trembled as she said, “But I’m still anxious. It’s not that easy to touch Yu She. Princess Royal Anguo stands behind him! Your uncle once said that as long as the emperor doesn’t take Yu She back, he’ll forever be an illegitimate bastard with no true power to fight against you. I’m scared that you’re returning the tiger to the mountain. How about… how about you think about Xuan Jing instead! Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of him using this Beidi matter?”
“There’s no need to kill a chicken using an ox cleaver!” Xuan Qiong was so agitated that he had grown a ring of blisters around his mouth. “Besides, Xuan Jing can’t die yet! If he dies, I’ll be the only target in Yu She’s eyes. My circumstances will definitely become more difficult!”
Pwqfglji Jbcrbga Te kjr ofjgoei. “Dea… yea mjc atf kbgvr bo atf Dflvl mtlfo yf agerafv?”
“Rjaegjiis!” Wejc Hlbcu’r ujhf kjr olfgmf. “Ktf ifaafg atf rqs rfca kjr tjcvkglaafc lc yibbv ys atf Dflvl mtlfo. Jeggfcais, tlr ilof lr tjculcu ys j atgfjv jcv tf mjc bcis gfis bc wf ab tfiq tlw!”
That night, in the side courtyard of Prince Yu’s estate, Yu She observed the stranger kneeling on the ground, amused. He smiled. “It’s surprising that I’m important enough to cause the Beidi chief, who I’ve never seen before, to trust me so much. What a true honor.”
Zhong Wan stood in the inner compartment of the room, arms crossed against his chest as he leaned against the wall, quietly listening.
Neither he nor Yu She had expected that this Beidi chief would want to marry his daughter to multiple men. Surprisingly, he had come looking for Yu She.
The stranger took off his thick scarf and pulled out a letter written in blood from his breast pocket. He walked forward a few steps on his knees and, with tears in his eyes, he respectfully held the letter out to Yu She, expression solemn.
Yu She used a handkerchief to cover his nose and mouth. He slightly leaned back in his chair and said, “I get dizzy at the sight of blood. Move this thing further away.”
The stranger was rendered speechless.
In the compartment, Zhong Wan forcefully pinched himself in order to prevent himself from laughing out loud.
The stranger could only place the letter written in blood back into his breast pocket. He said, “Our chief has admired Young Prince Yu for a long time. Many years ago, he already wanted to make friends with Young Prince, but unfortunately, the distance between the north and south is great. Thus, his wish couldn’t be granted. These days, Chief spends each day in great pain and suffering. During his most difficult times, the first person he thought of was his friend here.”
Yu She lowered his gaze to hide the ridicule in his eyes. He didn’t answer.
The stranger continued, “Young Prince Yu must have a clear understanding of our chief’s situation. Our chief has also more or less heard about Young Prince Yu’s difficult situation. Our chief is willing to do his best to help you, Young Prince Yu, accomplish your noble aspirations. He only hopes that after you reach your goal, you’ll still remember that friend far away in the grasslands and lend a slight helping hand.”
Yu She laughed lightly. “What difficult situation am I in?”
The stranger hesitated for a moment. He said, “This…”
Yu She didn’t give him a hard time. He asked again, “How does your chief want to help me?”
The stranger immediately relayed the promises given to Xuan Qiong to Yu She too. Yu She couldn’t help sighing to himself upon hearing these.
Zhong Wan had actually been mostly accurate in his guesses.
The stranger gave Yu She the blueprint of a map of their country. Completely confident, he stated, “As long as Young Prince sends Fifth Highness onto the battlefield, our chief will ensure that he never returns! As such…”
The stranger kowtowed solemnly. “Young Prince will get what you want. Our chief doesn’t dare to ask for anything else. He only asks that after Young Prince comes into power, Young Prince can lend him a bit of military power to aid our chief in regaining that which belongs to him.”
Yu She gently fiddled with the jade pendant hanging at his waist. He asked, “I’ll get what I want… What do I want?”
The stranger had no other options. He did his best to avoid insulting Yu She. “Our chief has also heard a few rumors regarding Young Prince’s background before… If those are true, Young Prince must have experienced the pains of fighting for the throne too. Thus, you’ll be more capable of understanding our chief’s current panic and helplessness.”
Yu She’s expression remained calm. “You guys certainly know a lot.”
“Our chief admires the Central Plains greatly. In the past, he loved listening to the passing merchants tell stories about the Central Plains. Consequently, he…” The stranger lifted his gaze to glance at Yu She, cautiously continuing, “Learned about a few things. He learned that Young Prince’s name originally should have been written into the jade documents. Young Prince should have had an imperial surname and should have…”
Yu She turned his head to the side. “Enough.”
The stranger was scared of infuriating Yu She. He hurriedly changed the topic, saying, “I won’t speak of that anymore. It’s just that our chief feels wronged on Young Prince’s behalf and is willing to help Young Prince clear all the barriers in his way. Young Prince…”
The stranger lifted his head. He stared straight at Yu She, lowly asking, “Have you never hated them before?
“This nation originally should have been yours. They took away what belonged to you, and instead have now forced you into these circumstances. What logic is this?” said the stranger. “Those of us in the plains have also heard the beautiful yet sorrowful songs about you and the god of literature. Young Prince, if not for the fact that those people had cruel hearts and took ruthless measures, if not for the fact that you didn’t have enough power in your hands… why would you have separated from your beloved for so many years?”
Yu She’s expression slightly changed.
The stranger took this opportunity to say, “Young Prince, as long as you can inherit the throne in the future, there will be no one who can stand between you and your lover again.”
In the compartment, Zhong Wan thought to himself oh no.
It couldn’t be that Yu She was about to be deluded by this Beidi tribesman too, right?
Yu She narrowed his eyes and suddenly asked, “The emperor currently isn’t inclined to dispatch the army. How do you guys plan to overcome this?”
The other noticed that Yu She seemed slightly convinced, so instantly replied, tone earnest, “We were scared that we wouldn’t have the time to get in contact with Young Prince, so didn’t dare to intrude too far in! All we need is Young Prince’s nod of agreement. Then, we’ll immediately gather our ranks to invade the borderlands and travel another hundred li south! Many of the young and healthy members of the Central Plains peoples living in Beijiang have already moved south, but there will definitely be elderly, weak, sickly, and disabled individuals left behind. We’ll take care of all of them. If your emperor still refuses to dispatch troops, we can travel another three hundred li south! Everything depends on Young Prince’s orders!”
Yu She said, “What happens after Xuan Qiong heads to Beijiang? If he’s greedy for glory and blindly advances…”
The stranger answered, “Then we’ll dress up the people we’ve captured from the Central Plains as our own people and order them to fight the enemy! After Fifth Highness sends a battle report to your court, Young Prince can simply notify your emperor that Fifth Highness wrongfully claimed credit for a victory! In your country, that is a serious crime. Additionally, Fifth Highness wouldn’t have known in advance that those people were from the Central Plains. He’d never be able to prove his innocence.”
Yu She asked again, “And if he’s cowardly and refuses to advance?”
“That’s even simpler. All we’d need to do is continue our southern advances. After hundreds and hundreds of li filled with slaughter, Fifth Highness will be completely blamed for this cowardly mistake of not fighting the enemy! We could also provide Young Prince with some ‘evidence’ that proves Fifth Highness had received bribes from us with the goal of refusing to face the enemy head-on.” The stranger smiled confidently at Yu She. “Young Prince must have an ever greater understanding than us about how serious the crime of colluding with the enemy is.”
Yu She’s pupils shifted. “The path to death and path to life have been both blocked…”
In the compartment, Zhong Wan could tell that Yu She was slightly convinced. He started sweating with agitation.
The stranger lowered his voice. “Young Prince doesn’t even need to do anything. You only need to wait for the news that Fifth Highness has died after being stranded in Beijiang.”
Yu She muttered to himself, “As long as I make him head to Beijiang with the army, I’ll be able to get rid of him forever.”
The stranger said, “Exactly so!”
Yu She fell silent for a long time. He lifted his gaze. “After everything, the Beidi chief only wants a few soldiers?”
The stranger was ecstatic. He hurriedly said, tone humble, “Exactly so! We only need a little bit of repayment after you’ve achieved your goal! If you give our chief a small amount of military power, we’ll be your most loyal friends forever.”
Yu She stood up. He slowly walked over to the window and softly asked, “There’s something I still can’t stop worrying about. Why is the Beidi chief… so certain that I’ll collaborate with him?”
A glint of bloodthirst flashed through the stranger’s eyes. He viciously said, “Because our chief said that only those who carry great hatred in their hearts are the ones who can truly achieve great things. These past few years, Young Prince has experienced all the sufferings of the world. No one knows better than you what it feels like to be betrayed by those closest to you, one after the other. You also know most clearly the helplessness felt after being forced to separate from your lover, to watch your lover suffer daily but not be able to aid him.
“For many years, Young Prince has been stabbed in the heart time after time by family. It’s hard for a normal person to imagine what kind of life you’ve been living.” The stranger decided to simply state things outright. “It’s true that Young Prince’s blood isn’t as pure as Fifth Highness,’ but our chief is right: those with the dirtiest blood running through their veins are more likely to be able to accomplish great…” He trailed off, coughing.
Yu She retrieved the sword hanging from the wall in one movement, then turned around and stabbed the stranger through the heart. The sword completely passed through the stranger’s back.
The stranger lowered his head to look at the blade sticking out from his chest in disbelief. He spat out a mouthful of bright red blood. “Young… Young Prince…”
Expressionlessly, Yu She pushed the sword further forward, inch by inch. He lowered his voice and repeated, “Leaving the elderly, frail, women, and children of the border for you to slaughter?
“Allowing you to invade the southern border?
“Allowing you to force my Beijiang citizens into battle with the northern expedition army?”
Yu She twisted his wrist, allowing the sword to make a complete spin inside the stranger’s chest. The stranger released a bloodcurdling scream.
Yu She let go and turned around to tear open the stranger’s robes. He took out the letter written in blood and calmly said, “My blood is dirty, but no matter how dirty or disgusting I am, I’m not the type to ignobly side with foreigners…”
Yu She glanced at the completely dead Beidi tribesman in disgust. “Who do you people think you are?”
In the compartment, Zhong Wan sat on the couch, spent. And he completely relaxed.
After this chapter, sleepchaser and I will be taking a one week break to stock up on some chapters! Next update will be Saturday, July 18~