Chapter 8 – Drugging
Chu Xie dismounted, showing respect for the top scholar’s request.
The atmosphere was tense, as everyone expected Chu Xie, with his skill, to at least maim the top scholar.
But then Chu Xie drew a longsword, and due to his weak and feeble arms, the sword almost fell as he withdrew it. He chuckled, “Hmm, haven’t used a sword in a while, I can barely hold it.” He finished with a laugh.
However, he was the only one laughing, as the others struggled to find humor in the situation.
What was he doing with that sword?
Chu Xie gripped the hilt firmly, and the top scholar trembled, frozen in place as if he were a leaf in the wind.
With a faint smile, Chu Xie swung the sword down. Blood splattered on his sleeve, and the horse let out a mournful whinny before collapsing to the ground.
“Go ahead, ride it,” Chu Xie said, tossing the sword aside.
The top scholar, who had only recently become a top scholar and attended court a few times, was unrecognizable to most of his colleagues. They had never seen anything like this before and were paralyzed with fear. They stammered, “You, you…”
Chu Xie kicked the sword away, and the blood-stained blade landed on the grass, emitting a pungent odor of blood.
Approaching the top scholar, Chu Xie wore a faint, sinister smile.
“Will you exchange or not?”
The top scholar didn’t dare to speak.
“Live men ride live horses, dead men ride dead horses,” Chu Xie smiled, revealing his sharp teeth, looking like a ghost with a green face and sharp fangs. “Exchange or not?”
The top scholar remained completely silent, only pushing his body back a few inches and shaking his head vigorously.
Chu Xie stood up, subtly adjusting his neck as if that earlier sword strike had consumed a considerable amount of his strength.
The atmosphere around them grew excessively tense.
Chu Xie lazily crouched down, carefully examining the top scholar.
The onlookers watched as the Zhangyin, who was at least half a head taller than the top scholar, reach out and lift the top scholar’s chin, gripping it tightly, and then suddenly lifted it.
“You’re quite interesting,” he remarked playfully. “How about not being a top scholar anymore? Come to my residence and be my wife instead.”
His suggestive words instantly lightened the heavy mood, and the surroundings became lively again, with everyone making jokes.
Several officials, who were sharp-minded, breathed a sigh of relief. They also made an interesting discovery—Chu Xie had an inclination for handsome men.
Fortunately, the top scholar was reasonably good-looking, which seemed to have won Chu Xie’s favor and spared him from further humiliation.
Meanwhile, in the shade of the trees, Jiang Yanchi’s fingernails dug deep into the bark. He watched the absurd scene unfold before him, his gaze turning increasingly sinister.
Chu Xie, the eunuch, wielded power and politics. He was guilty of numerous crimes, too numerous to list, and had also caused the death of Jiang Yanchi’s mother.
Someday, he would flay Chu Xie alive. Every piece of his flesh would be fed to the dogs, his bones crushed to dust.
Due to his lazy disposition, Chu Xie rarely appeared in court for nearly a month.
However, official documents continued to be delivered to his residence daily.
At the beginning of the year, as he was being carried in a sedan chair into the palace, he was surprised when a gatekeeper from the Imperial Guard dared to stop him.
“How dare you! Do you know who this is?!” The young eunuch leading the way arrogantly kicked the Guard leader, though it had no effect whatsoever. He was brimming with arrogance. “This is Chu Xie, the Zhangyin!”
“I am aware, but according to the laws of the dynasty, someone with a pending case cannot attend morning court for seven days,” Officer Sun, replied unfazed.
Chu Xie squinted his eyes slightly. “I have a pending case? What case?”
“The events of last night. It’s quite normal that news couldn’t pass through the iron-clad walls of Lord Chu’s mansion,” the official who held military power spoke with a firm tone, showing no submission in front of Chu Xie. “It involves the City-North Jinhuan Gambling House and a major case of bribery to buy official positions from the court.”
Oh, it’s the Jinhuan Gambling House incident.
This was a significant turning point in the book.
It involved centuries of family history and power struggles within Great Wei, and Chu Xie had simply skimmed over it and wasn’t interested when he read the original text. Now he couldn’t make sense of it either.
This was such a good opportunity for a break, and he couldn’t have asked for more! It was the perfect time to lie around at home for seven days, so why not enjoy it to the fullest.
Don’t make it seem like he’s so eager to go to court.
Chu Xie chuckled coldly, raised his wrist, and swung it backward, causing both the person and the sedan to turn around. He then leisurely made his way back to his mansion.
Outside the mansion, he unexpectedly ran into the Crown Prince, who was dressed in plain clothes.
What a rare sight.
After not seeing him for some time, it seemed like he had grown taller. As he spoke, there was a puff of white breath by his mouth, unable to conceal a hint of gentle laughter at the corner of his lips. “Zhangyin.”
“What’s the matter?” Chu Xie was assisted by a young eunuch as he got down from the sedan.
“It’s about the allocation of funds for the Western Corridor. This year, the Ministry of Revenue has allocated most of its budget to the locust plague issue, but the Hexi Commandery is requesting 700,000 taels of silver for maintenance work to be completed by the end of March. The two officials in the court are in a heated argument over this matter…”
Heh, they won’t let me attend court, but they want me to handle troublesome affairs.
No power, no obligation.
Chu Xie responded indifferently, “You deal with it yourself.”
The youth continued, “There’s another matter.”
“It’s about the visit of the Xiongnu Ye’er Clan’s Left Virtuous King and his emissaries to the capital. They are arriving three days earlier than expected and should be here by noon today.”
…All holidays are just a mirage.
Chu Xie’s face clearly darkened.
He belatedly recalled the plot. Seven years ago, he had secretly sold war horses and weapons, making a considerable amount of silver from several Xiongnu tribes. However, this matter had been noticed by the Zhenguo Marquis in the Northern Border, and while it didn’t escalate into a public scandal, it did cut off his source of income in secret.
Because he had violated the agreement by doing this, he had a falling out with the then-leader of the Ye’er Tribe’s grandson Huchi Er.
Little did he know that in just three or four years, Huchi Er’s father would seize power from his own tribe’s leader, becoming the current Yizhizi King of all the Xiongnu tribes.
Huchi Er had also become the highly regarded Left Virtuous Prince.
This was the person Chu Xie least wanted to see.
His expression grew even uglier.
“I won’t go. You can host the banquet at noon.”
The young Highness quickly blocked Chu Xie’s way and persuaded him, “But, I don’t understand these matters, Zhangyin. It’s important for you to attend. There aren’t many people in the court who can speak, and you wouldn’t want to appear discourteous in front of foreign dignitaries…”
With no way to decline, Chu Xie reluctantly took on the role of bridging the friendship between the two nations once again and returned to his residence to freshen up.
At one-fifteen in the afternoon, the Xiongnu’s carriages and horses entered the city.
Seven years had passed, but Left Valiant King’s Huchi Er instantly recognized the person standing on the city wall, cloaked in a snowy-white robe, appearing as if he were a solitary figure isolated from the world.
This man truly had a remarkable appearance.
Seven years had gone by, yet he was still irresistibly captivating.
Upon their first encounter, Huchi Er had been reminded of a cunning red fox from the grasslands. The fur was glossy and shiny, and despite being attractive, it was also very agile—
The most challenging small animal to hunt.
During the meal, the newly appointed Crown Prince sat at the head of the table, and Chu Xie took a seat on his left.
Despite the rush, Chu Xie had arranged various aspects of the feast, including music, dances, and melodious tunes, exceptionally well. The grasslands were known for their barrenness, but Great Wei had many beautiful women and sweet wines, leaving the Xiongnu emissaries in admiration.
Chu Xie naturally remained cautious of the Left Virtuous King. After three rounds of wine, he didn’t touch a single bite of food.
As the day neared its end, a residence had been prepared outside the palace for the Left Virtuous King. After some small talk, Chu Xie planned to return and get some rest.
However, when he stood up, he felt that something was amiss.
He glanced down and suddenly stiffened, quickly sitting back down.
He… d*mn it.
Jiang Yanchi had been able to see that Chu Xie had been on guard the entire afternoon, sitting rigidly on his left side.
Originally, he had intended to use this opportunity to have Chu Xie assassinated by the visiting envoys.
As the banquet continued, he noticed Chu Xie slightly bent forward, looking somewhat uncomfortable, and quietly left his seat.
The Xiongnu emissaries were indeed quite skilled. This cunning fox, Chu Xie, couldn’t escape their notice.
Jiang Yanchi followed him.
Hiding at the end of a corridor, he distinctly felt Chu Xie’s steps falter. After a few steps, Chu Xie couldn’t move any further and had to lean against the wall, gradually sliding down.
It was poison.
Jiang Yanchi thought that this way of dying was somewhat fortunate for him.
A slight smile tugged at his lips, and his eyes flickered with a cold light.
He wanted to witness Chu Xie’s death with his own eyes.
But then, he heard heavy and powerful footsteps approaching from the other end of the corridor. The person reached Chu Xie, lifted his slender wrist from under the snowy-white robe, pushed up the sleeve, and began massaging the delicate inner wrist.
There was no further sound for a long while.
Could it be that this poison was slow-acting?
Jiang Yanchi leaned forward slightly, only to see the young prince half-kneeling, raising Chu Xie’s hand, and biting into his wrist. His other hand was wrapped around Chu Xie’s slender waist, pulling him closer.
Then came a suppressed groan, which sounded distinctly in the quiet corridor. Jiang Yanchi was completely stunned.
It wasn’t poison.
Then he heard the Left Virtuous King let out a muffled laugh and spoke in the language of the Xiongnu.
“Chu Xie, Lord Chu.”
“Does anyone in Great Wei know that you’re not truly a eunuch?”
This development was unexpected for him.
Huchi Er had exceptional skills, and Jiang Yanchi didn’t dare to approach too closely. He could only control his breathing and move stealthily closer.
He saw Chu Xie, who was panting, with his chin raised and forced to look up at the tall man in front of him.
“Seven years ago, you and Chen Qimou swindled so much of my wealth. Did you think that hiding in the Western Capital would keep you safe?”
“Le… let go…”
He clenched his teeth and barely managed to spit out two words, suppressing a trembling tone, and the repressed rage in his voice was palpable.
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