After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 184

Chapter 184


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The next day, the emperor approached Yuan Li, excitedly proposing to abdicate the throne in favor of him.

“… ” Yuan Li was taken aback.

Although Yuan Li had anticipated this, he didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

Seeing the emperor so eager and proactive, Yuan Li was at a loss for words.

Naturally, Yuan Li kept refusing, but the more he declined, the more insistent the emperor became, almost wanting to abdicate immediately to Yuan Li.

Abdication was inevitable, but not at this moment. Yuan Li had reached the final step and needed to remain calm. He had to ensure everything was foolproof and be fully prepared before discussing the abdication with the emperor.

Yuan Li assigned Kong Ran to reorganize the Yangzhou navy, had He Lang lead thirty thousand soldiers stationed in Yangzhou, and left Zhou Gongdan to temporarily act as the governor of Yangzhou.

Once all the officials had adapted to their new positions, Yuan Li prepared to depart for Youzhou.

Before setting off, Yuan Li felt that it would be a shame if he didn’t experience the coastal scenery of ancient times in the south. So, he waved his hand and decided to take his boyfriend and subordinates for a team-building activity at the seaside.

Everyone was thrilled.

When Yuan Li mentioned going to the beach, everyone became extremely excited. Some even brought fishing nets and pots.

Chu Hechao even found a piece of hemp rope and tied it around his and Yuan Li’s waists.

Yuan Li held the rope and asked curiously, “What’s this for?”

Chu Hechao bent down and quickly tied a knot, “Look at how skinny you are now; I’m afraid a wave will take you away.”

Yuan Li said, “Oh,” and looked at Chu Hechao’s firm jawline, “Aren’t you afraid of being taken away by a wave along with me?”

Chu Hechao smiled mischievously, “What wave can take me away?”

Yuan Li retorted, “If the waves are strong enough, they can even sweep away houses.”

Chu Hechao’s lips twitched, and he tugged on the hemp rope tied to Yuan Li’s waist, “Fine, since you said that, we won’t play today.”

Yuan Li hurriedly held onto the rope, getting anxious, “But today, the wind and waves are calm; there won’t be such big waves!”

Only then did Chu Hechao stop and smirk, “You still dare to argue with your romantic brother?”

Yuan Li shivered, “I’m getting goosebumps.”

Chu Hechao grinned, “Then let me press them down for you. If they don’t go away, I’ll give you a kiss to make you feel better.”

Yuan Li surrendered and admitted defeat.

The others were busy with their own activities, leaving Yuan Li and Chu Hechao undisturbed. They strolled leisurely along the sandy beach, connected by a thick rope.

After walking a few steps, Yuan Li stopped. Chu Hechao asked, “What’s wrong?”

“My shoes are soaked,” Yuan Li frowned, “and my clothes are dirty. I want to take off my shoes.”

Chu Hechao sighed, squatted down, and helped him take off his shoes, rolling up his trousers and tucking his clothes, “Yuan Li, how will you live without me?”

Yuan Li couldn’t help but laugh and cry. He originally wanted to do it himself, but seeing Chu Hechao so considerate, acting as if he was pampering his own wife, Yuan Li didn’t say anything and just enjoyed the General’s services openly.

Walking barefoot on the sand was quite comfortable. The sea breeze lifted the clothes of the people on the shore, and white clouds floated leisurely across the sky.

When a wave splashed Yuan Li’s legs, the sand stuck to his skin. Chu Hechao saw his legs and frowned, not liking the sand. He wanted to clean them with his hand.

“Do you think there are prehistoric monsters in the sea?” Yuan Li suddenly had a whim and stood at the water’s edge, peering into the sea.

Chu Hechao glanced at his legs out of the corner of his eye, but couldn’t resist bending down to brush off the sand, “What kind of monsters?”

“Monsters like dinosaurs or giant pythons, crocodiles, or massive sharks, over ten meters long,” Yuan Li grew more excited as he spoke and ran forward, “The species now must be more diverse than in the future. Chu Hechao, do you think I can find a dinosaur fossil…?”

Chu Hechao was still bent over, and when Yuan Li started running, he forgot about the rope around their waists. Before he could finish his sentence, a large wave surged, and Yuan Li was knocked down by the rope and splashing water. Chu Hechao was dragged down with him into the sea.

Both of them were caught off guard and swallowed several mouthfuls of water. After the waves subsided, they ended up lying on the sand looking like drenched chickens.

Chu Hechao brushed his hair off his face, pulled the rope with his left hand, and dragged Yuan Li, who was lying not far away, next to him. He pressed down on him and held Yuan Li’s hands with both of his, pretending to be scaring him, “Lord Yuan, you’re about to become an emperor, yet you’re still so mischievous.”

Yuan Li spat out a mouthful of seawater and said with a bitter face, “This water is so salty.”

Chu Hechao couldn’t help but laugh. He looked around and quickly kissed Yuan Li on the lips while no one was paying attention. His tongue swept around Yuan Li’s mouth and then smacked his lips, savoring it, “Indeed, very salty.”

Yuan Li’s Adam’s apple moved as he swallowed the seawater and found it salty again. He kicked Chu Hechao, “Go drink some water and rinse your mouth.”

“No,” Chu Hechao acted spoiled and pressed down on Yuan Li, taking advantage of the next wave to quickly kiss him again, “Let me have a few more kisses to satisfy my craving.”

The waves surged over them, and Yuan Li couldn’t tell if the taste in his mouth was from the seawater or from Chu Hechao. All he knew was that the more they kissed, the thirstier he became. Chu Hechao held the back of Yuan Li’s neck and lifted his head, kissing him fiercely and passionately. Yuan Li himself couldn’t resist the surge of emotions.

The wet face, with sea water and sand as the backdrop, looked as translucent as jade. Yuan Li’s eyes were dazed, and his lips were left with a blush from the passionate kisses.

Waves splashed against their legs, and their clothes danced with the ebb and flow. Far away, someone called them to have lunch, their voices muffled by the crashing waves as they reached Yuan Li’s ears.

Suddenly, Chu Hechao put something on Yuan Li’s hand.

Yuan Li raised his hand to look and found a bracelet made of small round stones.

Each of these small round stones was no bigger than a fingernail, with rough carvings and irregular shapes, clearly the work of an amateur. Unlike ordinary stones, they didn’t have a dry appearance; instead, they felt somewhat warm and smooth to the touch.

Surprisingly, despite its rough appearance, the bracelet was extremely smooth and didn’t feel rough at all.

Yuan Li touched the bracelet and smiled, “Did you make this?”

Chu Hechao pulled Yuan Li to his feet, putting on a handsome face, looking everywhere but at Yuan Li, “I made this small trinket while bored on the ship to Jiaozhou. If you like it, you can wear it.”

Pausing for a moment, he coughed a few times and lowered his voice, “The jade Guanyin you gave me, I don’t know where it went when we were fleeing… Don’t be angry.”

Yuan Li found it amusing.

Since receiving Chu Hechao’s safe arrival message, he had carefully kept the jade Guanyin. After meeting Chu Hechao, he had forgotten to take it out. Chu Hechao probably didn’t know that the jade Guanyin was now in Yuan Li’s hands.

Yuan Li planned to find an opportunity to give the jade Guanyin to him again. For now, he just wanted to take a good look at the stone bracelet in his hand.

As he caressed it lovingly, Yuan Li discovered a small secret and looked up with delight, “There are words engraved on it.”

Chu Hechao’s face turned red, even his ears flushed. He quickly pulled Yuan Li towards the crowd, impatiently saying, “Wait until we’re alone later; you can look at it then. Don’t look now!”

Yuan Li held back his laughter and replied, “Okay.”

Although he said that, Yuan Li secretly flipped the round stone over and stole a glance at the engraved words inside. Ten stones, ten words, and these words gradually formed a sentence.

【Le Jun, I will run to you with my all.】

***

This time, when Yuan Li returned to Youzhou, he didn’t take the Bohai route but traveled through the inland river.

Every time he arrived at a new place, he would bring the Emperor out and have the local officials pay their respects to him.

Influenced by Guo Mao, the Emperor believed that Yuan Li’s actions were meant to secure the throne for him. Terrified, he actively praised Yuan Li’s accomplishments at every place they visited and belittled his own abilities, implying his willingness to abdicate in favor of Yuan Li.

Yuan Li, in response, cooperated by constantly shaking his head and expressing his inability to shoulder such heavy responsibilities.

Both the Emperor and Yuan Li seemed fine with this arrangement, but the officials in the provinces they visited were impacted to varying degrees. Some who had already recognized the inevitable change of dynasty remained silent. Those loyal to Northern Zhou believed that Yuan Li had misled the Emperor, but what could they do? They could do nothing and were powerless.

The momentum was already in Yuan Li’s favor, and no one dared to defy him, especially with his army of over two hundred thousand soldiers behind him. Even those who were willing to risk their lives to defend the position of Northern Zhou’s imperial family were unable to shake Yuan Li’s position in the slightest.

The news of the Emperor’s intention to abdicate in favor of Yuan Li spread like wildfire, fueled in part by Yuan Li’s subordinates who were eagerly pushing for his ascension to the throne.

Compared to outsiders, Yuan Li’s subordinates were extremely excited and eager to see their lord return with the Emperor. They were impatiently waiting for Yuan Li to ascend to the highest position. They were more than willing to do whatever it took, even sacrificing their lives and wealth, to see a new dynasty emerge with Yuan Li as the emperor.

However, there was a lingering concern among them—whether Yuan Li actually wanted to become emperor. Liu Jixin, Xiang Hongyun, and others believed that Yuan Li did, but they couldn’t be certain. Yuan Li had never revealed such ambition in front of them, and his character was upright and benevolent, showing genuine care for the Emperor.

Wise people tend to think more, especially in critical matters. Liu Jixin and Wu Kai were both worried, fearing that Yuan Li might not be willing to take the throne.

Yet, at this stage, the matter of ascending to the throne was no longer solely Yuan Li’s decision. Everyone was pushing him forward, and even if he didn’t want it, they would dress him in the imperial robe and “force” him to ascend.

Thus, after learning of Yuan Li’s victory over Chen Wang, his subordinates began to spontaneously build momentum in anticipation of his impending ascension to the throne.

They spread this news far and wide across the land, using the Liangliao Institution to control public opinion and rhythm without drawing attention. They composed catchy folk poems that celebrated Yuan Li’s benevolent deeds, stirring the enthusiasm and anticipation of the people. Through these efforts, they created an atmosphere where everyone seemed to eagerly anticipate Yuan Li’s ascension to the throne.

Even though some powerful families and landlords were discontented with Yuan Li’s potential coronation and wanted to resist, when they saw that seemingly everyone was speaking favorably of Yuan Li, they hesitated. The opposition felt isolated and began to doubt their decisions, leading them to remain silent, unwilling to openly confront the public.

Subsequently, various auspicious signs related to Yuan Li started to appear in Youzhou, Bingzhou, and Jizhou, even before his return. White snakes were seen, ancient trees formed the characters “emperor”, and giant tortoises appeared. The most widely talked-about events were Yuan Li’s early prediction of a snow disaster in Youzhou and his miraculous forecast of heavy rain.

Yuan Li could not be unaware of the commotion caused by these events. However, as ascending the throne was his goal, he pretended not to know about what his subordinates had done. It saved him from the awkwardness of orchestrating such auspicious signs and omens himself. If it had been up to him, he might not have been able to muster the courage to create such propaganda.

One day, the fleet passed through Jingzhou. Jingzhou’s Provincial Governor, Jiang Biao, blushed and appeared apologetic, surrounded by numerous gifts of compensation. He personally stood with his subordinates and bodyguards on the shore.

As Yuan Li’s boats passed by, Jiang Biao immediately signaled everyone to kneel and bow in reverence. He then deeply bowed and apologized to Yuan Li, expressing remorse for his previous attempt to harm Yuan Li’s subordinates, Xiang Hongyun and Wang Qianzhi, and his misguided attempt to please Chen Wang.

The atmosphere was tense as Yuan Li’s subordinates watched this scene, knowing that their lord had not forgotten the past. Yet, Yuan Li, who was on the boat, maintained his composure and did not make any public statements about the matter. He allowed Jiang Biao to carry out this act of contrition without commenting on it himself.


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