After several struggles, Xu Chunmu had a shallow cut on his arm, and blood gushed out, filling the air with a strong metallic scent that entered their noses.
Chu Xie grabbed his sleeve, his palm stained with fresh red blood.
Suddenly, his vision blurred, and his chest ached.
It was as if a dark mist enveloped his vision, and Chu Xie suddenly lost consciousness.
In the capital.
The palace was draped in curtains, empty, with no sign of light.
When Jiang Yanchi entered, he could still smell the strong medicinal odor in the room, and there were faint, coarse breaths.
“Back then, Jiang Jinlin was still the Crown Prince, and his one-night encounter with Duan Se, the orphan of the Yue Clan, resulted in a secret pregnancy. This thoroughly angered Emperor Xuanhe. Originally, Emperor Xuanhe was planning to depose him and make Ningyuan Wang the new Crown Prince.”
Jiang Yanchi listened to the voice behind him, seeming somewhat absent-minded. He lifted the curtain and saw the half-dead person on the bed.
This person’s eyes were deeply sunken, their body skin and bones, barely hanging on to life.
“But at this very moment, Emperor Xuanhe coincidentally passed away. Ningyuan Wang was far away in his fief, and he could only watch helplessly as the Crown Prince ascended the throne. So, this time, he played it smart and as soon as there was any disturbance in the capital, he immediately sent his legitimate son to the capital.”
It wasn’t a coincidence.
Jiang Yanchi checked the person’s breath lightly, then called out in a very soft voice, “Jiang… Jinlin.”
He didn’t call him Father.
“Jiang Yanchi, do you want to be the Emperor or not?”
Jiang Yanchi fell silent for a long time, “Are you asking me to follow his example, to kill my father and take the throne?”
“Jiang Jinlin is currently in the city. Not only do you have to kill your father, but you also have to kill your brother,” Su Mingan said lightly. “In today’s world, if you want to ascend to the throne, you must be a ruthless and heartless person.”
Did you give this advice to Chu Xie in the same way back then?
“Jiang Yanchi, deep down, you actually want to kill, don’t you?” Su Mingan thought Jiang Yanchi had softened again and hinted, “You’ve suffered for so many years because of this heartless and cowardly man. Pity your mother, who didn’t enjoy a single day of happiness in her life. Don’t you really hate him? Can you really not bring yourself to kill the real culprit?”
Jiang Yanchi fell silent again for a long time.
This time, even Su Mingan couldn’t figure out what he was thinking.
“After the rebellion in the twelfth year of Yongan, Emperor Xuanhe died within five years of ascending to the throne. Su Mingan, how much Jiang family blood is on your hands?”
Su Mingan chuckled softly.
“You’re a Yue Clan member, aren’t you?”
The Grand Tutor openly admitted it.
At the end of the twelfth year of Yongan, General Shen Qianan, with 500,000 troops, broke through the Northern Xiongnu for thousands of miles, and then killed 170,000 Northern Xiongnu troops, causing turmoil in the border region, which led to a coup in the Yue Clan royal city. Shen Qianan also took advantage of the situation to slaughter the royal capital of the Yue Clan, causing floating corpses for a thousand miles. From then on, the Yue Clan dynasty changed hands.
But just a few months later, before the general could return from subduing the barbarians outside, where he had won three victories, a civil war broke out in Great Wei, and Shen Qianan was urgently summoned back to the capital by Emperor Yongan. He was accused of conspiring with the Northern Xiongnu and rebelling against the state.
Shen Qianan refused, and Emperor Yongan executed ten members of the Shen family in a single day.
By the seventeenth day, over a hundred members of the Shen family had been beheaded, and Shen Qianan abandoned his troops and opened the city gates to defect to the enemy, ultimately taking his own life at the border city. The three barbarian tribes invaded, and after assassinating Emperor Yongan, the Yue Clan decapitated the king and the crown prince in front of the palace, causing an uproar throughout the country.
This was the shocking event of the previous dynasty—the Yongan Incident.
After this incident, Jiang Fuqing, who was still an inconspicuous prince at the time, ascended the throne. He divided the Shen family’s military power in half, giving one part to the Xu family, which had supported him in ascending to the throne, and the other part to his eldest son, bestowing upon him the title of Ningyuan Wang. These two military powers counterbalanced each other on the northern and western borders.
In the first year of Xuanhe, following this tragic event, Great Wei quickly stabilized and counterattacked, completely annihilating the Yue Clan kingdom.
Emperor Xuanhe appointed his close friend Su Mingan as the Grand Tutor and entrusted him with the upbringing of his twelve-year-old son, Prince Jiang Jinlin.
Under Emperor Xuanhe’s efforts to restore stability, the people of Great Wei gradually emerged from that terrifying memory and returned to prosperity. However, the good times didn’t last long. In the fifth year of Xuanhe, the county prince fell seriously ill and died. The young Prince Jiang Jinlin, at the age of sixteen, ascended to the throne.
Jiang Yanchi still remembered the whisper in his ear when he was forced by Chu Xie to transcribe the national history.
Chu Xie said, “Crown Prince, don’t look at this as just strokes of a brush, there are piles of bones covering a thousand miles hidden inside, and it’s soaked with the blood of rivers and mountains.”
“Chu Xie is a survivor of the Shen family, isn’t he?”
Jiang Yanchi’s chest tightened. “Back then, Emperor Yongan was suspicious and believed in Chen Lianzhou’s false accusation. He made such a foolish decision… wiping out the entire Shen family. That’s why he had to kill him.”
Jiang Yanchi looked at Chu Xie back then, feeling that he didn’t seem to be living a real life.
He didn’t seem like a person who was alive and present, but more like a lost soul from a distant place.
Zhao Xuan tried to poison him, but he didn’t seem to hate him at all. He hardly showed any normal emotions.
He had almost beaten him to death, but after he survived, he remained steadfast in his goals, using anyone and any means available to him to achieve his objectives.
It seemed like he was solely focused on killing Chen Lianzhou and couldn’t fit into the current world.
It turned out he bore such a painful past.
“What would it achieve to kill Jiang Jingan?”
Jiang Yanchi’s voice turned cold. “While Chen Lianzhou’s false accusation undoubtedly harmed the Shen family, Ningyuan Wang and Marquis Zhenguo were accomplices…”
Pity him, all alone in this world.
Seeking revenge was easier said than done.
He could only become Su Mingan’s sharpest blade, aligning with his interests and seeking any opportunity he could.
Perhaps he had been as pure and kind as Ah Mu. Unfortunately, in the face of overwhelming hatred, kindness could not be preserved, and it gave rise to a dark side.
He was forced to have both a good and an evil side.
In the end, he was strangled to death right here in the imperial city.
“What’s the use of killing a Jiang Jingan? Ningyuan Wang only sent a hostage to test the waters.” Jiang Yanchi looked at the struggling Emperor before him, and the faint redness in his eyes turned into an abyss of ice. “If Jiang Jingan dies, he has other sons.”
Su Mingan was stunned.
Could it be that he also wanted to strip away the power of Ningyuan Wang? How could that be possible?
“I don’t want patricide.”
“I want both Ningyuan Wang and Marquis Zhenguo dead. Just like during the Yongan Incident, we will borrow troops from the Northern Xiongnu and unjustly kill them on the border.”
Su Mingan was greatly shocked and took a few steps forward.
“You’ve done something like this before, haven’t you? I want to ascend to the throne just like Emperor Xuanhe did. I don’t want to linger under the watchful eyes of Ningyuan Wang and the Xu family like Jiang Jinlin. I want to be a true emperor.”
“Jiang Yanchi, tread carefully! Such radical actions will only lead to chaos in the world. Do you know that during the Yongan Incident, Great Wei almost fell into ruin? It was Emperor Xuanhe’s exceptional talent that saved the day and restored order during that brutal upheaval. You…”
Jiang Yanchi’s eyes were completely devoid of light, as dark and endless as an icy wasteland.
The lives of Duan Se, his own life, Chu Xie’s life… the lives of many people were nothing more than rotting flesh in a swamp.
Everyone had no sign of vitality.
“If I fail, then Great Wei will fall anyway.”
“In any case, this dynasty has long lost hope.”
When Chu Xie woke up again, he felt a biting cold wind clutching at the blankets. He saw an unfamiliar felt tent in front of him, and he sat up, hearing the constant footsteps outside and the sounds of weapons training nearby.
It turned out that the Xu family’s troops had arrived just in time to save him and Xu Chunmu’s lives.
Chu Xie felt like he had just had a long dream, but he couldn’t remember what he had dreamt.
Xu Chunmu heard that he had woken up and quickly came over.
It was the first time Chu Xie had seen Xu Chunmu in full military attire, and he asked, “Are your injuries getting better?”
Xu Chunmu simply replied, “Yes, it’s not a big issue. You’ve been asleep for half a month, and the physicians couldn’t diagnose any illness. What exactly happened to you?”
Chu Xie looked at Xu Chunmu’s face, faintly feeling that the dream was somehow related to him, but he couldn’t recall it clearly.
All he felt was a heavy sense of oppression.
There were vague fragments, like white plum blossoms swaying on the red palace walls, and glimpses of small lights flickering on the hospital’s ceiling.
Many memories were jumbled together, leaving him in a state of confusion.
“Why is there so much commotion outside?”
“Since the Northern Xiongnu breached the northern border and the two vice-generals under Ningyuan Wang defected, we lost control of the pass. The Xiongnu have been heading northwest for half a month, and they’ve already taken five commanderies,” Xu Chunmu wrinkled his brows. “Things are not looking good. It’s strange, the city’s sudden fall seems to be targeted at Ningyuan Wang. It might be an upheaval originating from the capital city.”
An upheaval originating from the capital city.
Chu Xie was greatly shocked and quickly accessed the system: “What’s going on? Why has the plot suddenly taken this dark turn?! Why is there suddenly a war? Wasn’t Jiang Yanchi supposed to kill Jiang Jingan first, then kill me, and finally become the emperor? The script didn’t mention any warfare!”
“Ah, h-host… the protagonist’s storyline… it seems to have already collapsed….”
“This war in the west is one thing, but Jiang Yanchi is clearly using Ningyuan Wang’s two hundred thousand troops to pave his way to the throne. Are you sure he’s the protagonist and not the villain?! His actions are a thousand times, ten thousand times more ruthless than me!”
No, this… these aren’t the main issues.
The main issue was that this war had now spread to the Northern Border, and Xu Chunmu had been seriously injured not long ago and had yet to recover. Now he was going to the battlefield again. What if he accidentally died?
He couldn’t die!
Did Jiang Yanchi go mad? Instead of being a good emperor, did he have to become a ruler of a ruined kingdom?
Was there something wrong with his brain?
Chu Xie once again pulled up the original text that was available, carefully analyzing the current situation at the border. Ningyuan Wang controlled nine commanderies, while Marquis Zhenguo controlled thirteen, for a total of five passes. But now, two of them had fallen.
D*mn it, how could two of them have fallen already?
Did Marquis Ningyuan have spies who defected?
Why was the entire storyline going awry? It was already a tragic storyline, and now it seemed like a landslide was about to lead to an all-Bad Ending in half a month!
This was completely outrageous!
“I’m going back to Changye Commandery. Ah Xie, I’m very sorry for bringing you to the Northern Border… I didn’t expect such chaos to suddenly erupt at the border… Don’t worry, I will pacify it…”
What a load of cr*p!
Chu Xie anxiously grabbed Xu Chunmu’s wrist. “You’re still injured, don’t go to war!”
Chu Xie sighed heavily, rubbing his temples. “I’ll go for negotiations. Don’t worry, I have a plan. I won’t let the Northern Xiongnu take your thirteen commanderies.”
“Ah Xie, you…”
“I’m not trying to confine you. I know the Left Virtuous King of the Northern Xiongnu. I have some leverage over him. Let me try first. Don’t go to war, please don’t go to war… Just focus on recovering.”
Xu Chunmu shook his head.
“You’re defenseless, how can I let you take risks on your own?”
Author’s Note: Jiang Yanchi: I’m tired, let it all be destroyed.
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