Ch 247 Final – Second Half
Fresh red blood spread on the smooth marble floor, forming a bright red flower in the center of the hall. In the embrace of a young girl, the person in her arms laid lifeless. Her face showed no emotion, but tears silently streamed down her cheeks, dropping onto the face of the person she held. Xia Yuqing and the others stood by the side, anxiously calling for the imperial physician.
When Feng Tingye and his companions heard the news, they hurried over from the study and witnessed the scene.
Their expressions changed slightly as they quickly approached Xia Yuqing and the others, looking at the motionless Su Wuduan on the ground. Feng Tingye’s face turned cold as he asked, “What happened?”
Xia Yuqing’s face was pale as paper, and she bit her lip, saying, “A-a-assassins… The assassins came for me. Senior Brother… Senior Brother…”
Before Xia Yuqing could finish her sentence, Yun Zhongyue, who was standing nearby, couldn’t bear it and roared again, “Where is the physician? Why hasn’t the physician arrived yet?”
Yun Zhongyue’s face was also unusually grim. Although they usually enjoyed teasing and bickering with each other, they grew up together like siblings. How could he not be concerned when he saw Su Wuduan seriously injured?
“Here they come!” Just as Yun Zhongyue finished his shout, a group of elderly physicians, led by a young eunuch, rushed in.
“Your Majesty, Your Empress…”
The physicians were about to salute, but their actions were impatiently interrupted by Feng Tingye, “No need for formalities at this time. Quickly check on the person’s condition!”
The physicians were taken aback but, seeing Su Wuduan’s current state, they paid no heed to etiquette and hurriedly approached to examine his injuries. However, they were stopped by Cui Er, who firmly grabbed one of the physician’s wrists.
“What are you trying to do?”
Cui Er’s eyes were filled with a chilling coldness, like a ferocious beast defending its territory, ready to attack any unwelcome intruders.
The physician was frightened by the pressure emanating from Cui Er and took several steps back. Xia Yuqing hurriedly stepped forward and held Cui Er’s hand, saying, “Cui Er, the physician just wants to save Senior Brother. Please let go for now.”
“Save him?” Cui Er trembled all over, looking at Xia Yuqing with numbness in her eyes. “You mean… he can still be saved?”
Xia Yuqing was stunned, gazing at Cui Er, who seemed to have lost all hope. Xia Yuqing firmly held Cui Er’s cold hand and nodded, “Yes, Senior Brother won’t abandon you.”
Cui Er’s already-continuing tears burst forth once again. It was the first time Xia Yuqing saw Cui Er like this, and her heart ached. An inexplicable surge of emotions stirred inside her. If these two people could be more open and honest with each other, how could they have come to this point today? Sigh…
Upon seeing Xia Yuqing stabilize Cui Er, Feng Tingye immediately exchanged a glance with the old physician. The old physician snapped out of his daze and quickly instructed the other physicians to come forward and treat Su Wuduan’s wounds and stop the bleeding.
“How is he?” Xia Yuqing still tightly held Cui Er’s hand, watching the several old physicians checking Su Wuduan’s pulse and complexion with great enthusiasm. Unable to contain her anxiety, she couldn’t help but ask.
The old physician who was checking the pulse looked hesitant when Xia Yuqing inquired. He said, “Niang Niang, Young Master Su’s injuries are quite severe. He has lost a considerable amount of blood, and his breathing and pulse are extremely weak. Fortunately, I have a blood coagulation pill, which can temporarily stop the excessive bleeding. However…”
“However, what?” Before the old physician could finish, everyone had already gathered around, staring at him intently, including Cui Er, whose consciousness had been somewhat unclear until now. She turned her head and fixed her gaze on the old physician.
Feeling chills down his back from being scrutinized, the old physician wiped the cold sweat from his forehead and continued, “Although the sword wound on Young Master Su avoided his heart, it is still dangerously close to it. If he can’t hold on in the next few days… I’m afraid there will be little hope of recovery.”
Cui Er’s already-pale face turned even paler, and the expressions of Xia Yuqing and the others also became grim.
“So, there’s no other way?” Xia Yuqing pursed her lips, and then as if remembering something, her eyes widened suddenly. “The Second Master, he must be able to help if it’s him…”
Xia Yuqing turned her head abruptly to look at Feng Tingye, but to her surprise, his expression didn’t soften because of her words; instead, it became even more unpleasant. “Your Majesty?”
“Doctor Su… He’s currently not in the capital. Even if we ask him to rush back now, it won’t be in time,” Feng Tingye replied.
Xia Yuqing’s mind went blank for a moment. She fell into silence, and after a while, she suddenly asked, “The Second Master… is he at the border treating the plague?”
Feng Tingye and the others, including Shao Zitang, had a sudden change in their expressions upon hearing Xia Yuqing’s words. They looked at her with a hint of surprise, clearly not expecting her to know about Doctor Su’s whereabouts.
Seeing their reactions, Xia Yuqing knew she had guessed correctly. Taking a deep breath, she turned to the old physician and asked, “Is there no other way?”
The old physician replied with trepidation, “I can only use some precious medicinal herbs to sustain Young Master Su’s life temporarily. As for the rest… we can only leave it to fate.”
“Leave it to fate…” These four words were so cruel, shattering all hope and leaving them feeling powerless, having no choice but to entrust everything to the heavens, letting fate make the decision. That’s how destiny was; it always struck people with a harsh blow when they were overly confident, reminding them that they were mere mortals.
“Young Master Su shouldn’t be moved too much now. Your Majesty, Niang Niang, you…” Xia Yuqing turned to look at Feng Tingye, but seeing him not showing any expression, she turned to the palace maids inside and instructed, “Prepare the side hall immediately and move Senior Brother there. Be careful.”
Everyone scrambled to do their respective tasks. Xia Yuqing had originally planned to follow Cui Er and the others to the side hall, but in that instant, she heard a voice full of resentment.
Everyone in the hall froze and turned to the source of the voice. They were surprised to find that it came from one of the assassins who had attempted to kill Su Wuduan earlier. Many people’s faces displayed anger at the sight of him.
Feng Tingye and the others, who had arrived later, frowned upon hearing the man’s words. A hint of killing intent appeared between their brows.
“Ai Fei, you go with Cui Er and the others to see Young Master Su’s condition. I will handle this.” Feng Tingye held Xia Yuqing’s hand and wanted her to leave this place quickly.
Under normal circumstances, Xia Yuqing wouldn’t disobey Feng Tingye’s wishes and would obediently leave. However, perhaps due to Su Wuduan’s shocking condition or the overwhelming events of the past few days, Xia Yuqing felt like a frightened bird. Upon hearing that man insult her as an “evil woman,” she found it increasingly difficult to remain calm. It felt like something uncontrollable had happened without her knowledge.
“Evil woman! As long as you’re not eliminated, Ye Country will never be at peace. Your Majesty, this evil woman brings calamity to the country and its people. She’s a scourge to this world. I implore you, for the sake of Ye Country and its people, remove this evil woman and ensure peace for generations to come!” The assassin suddenly became agitated and stood up, attempting to rush towards Feng Tingye, but he was quickly subdued by the guards by his side.
The people around were shocked to hear his impassioned words, and many of them looked at the assassin with astonishment. Some even turned their worried gazes towards Xia Yuqing.
“You… You’re spouting nonsense! Her Majesty is not an evil woman! You assassins failed, and now you’re trying to slander our Empress!” Lu Rui, the head palace maid, was the first to regain her senses. She stepped forward and angrily rebuked the black-clad man.
The assassin sneered, looking at Xia Yuqing with resentment. “Not an evil woman? Isn’t she the one whom the Astronomical Observatory identified as bringing great calamity to Ye Country? Isn’t she responsible for the continuous plague at the border, causing countless deaths and injuries? All of this is thanks to her, all her fault. As long as this evil woman is killed, Ye Country will return to its former tranquility. Otherwise, all of you who protect this evil woman will suffer and have miserable deaths!”
The black-clad man’s almost desperate shouting left everyone in the hall with pale faces.
Heh, these lines sound so familiar! Xia Yuqing thought to herself with a touch of self-mockery. She had expected herself to feel somewhat annoyed or even panicky upon hearing such words, but unexpectedly… when she heard those words spoken out loud, she became unusually calm.
“Lu Rui, you all go in first and see how Cui Er and Senior Brother are doing.”
“But, Your Majesty…” Lu Rui and the others looked at Xia Yuqing with concern. However, upon seeing a rare determined glint in Xia Yuqing’s eyes that couldn’t be refused, they silently bowed and retreated.
Feng Tingye and the others were taken aback by Xia Yuqing’s behavior. “Ai Fei, you…”
Xia Yuqing smiled lightly and hugged Feng Tingye’s arm. “Your Majesty, these assassins injured Senior Brother and now they’re speaking about me like this. They clearly came for me, and I want to stay and listen to what they have to say.”
“I can handle this matter.” Feng Tingye intended to persuade her further, but when he saw the rare resolve in Xia Yuqing’s eyes, he swallowed the words he wanted to say.
In the end, Feng Tingye compromised. He turned his head and looked at the few barely conscious black-clad men and coldly ordered, “Bring them up.”
“Your…” Yan Ran disagreed with Feng Tingye leaving Xia Yuqing behind and wanted to speak, but he was stopped by Leng Ruofeng and Shao Zitang.
The black-clad men were brought forward, and each one glared at Xia Yuqing with murderous intent still present in their eyes.
Feng Tingye discreetly stood in front of Xia Yuqing to shield her from the blatant stares of those men, and he asked in a cold tone, “Who is behind your assassination attempt on Ai Fei? Also, how did you come to know about the Astronomical Observatory’s matter?”
The black-clad men, with their hands restrained, exchanged glances and then glared at Xia Yuqing. With a cold snort, one of them said, “If you don’t want others to know, don’t do it yourself. No one is behind us. We are all ordinary people who have lost loved ones due to the plague. Even if Your Majesty deliberately hides or favors this evil woman regarding the Astronomical Observatory’s matter, nothing can remain a secret in this world. Your Majesty, do you really want to disregard the safety of Ye Country’s millions for the sake of this woman?”
“That’s right, the plague is gradually spreading from the border. Given time, the capital will inevitably suffer too. Your Majesty, are you really willing to endanger all the people of Ye Country for the sake of this woman?”
With the lead of the first black-clad man, the rest suddenly became impassioned. The guards were supposed to silence them, but Feng Tingye and the others didn’t intervene, and they hesitated after hearing what the black-clad men said.
Feng Tingye’s face remained composed as he watched the group of people clamoring around. Suddenly, he spoke in a low voice, “That’s enough. How I handle things is not up to you to comment on! The Astronomical Observatory? Ha, if the Astronomical Observatory is so accurate, then how did my father suddenly pass away? The Astronomical Observatory once confidently told my father and mother that Huo Feiyan’s and my destiny align, and she would become my empress in the future, helping me unify the four countries and be invincible. But what about now? Do you think a madwoman can achieve anything?”
The black-clad men were startled by the killing intent emanating from Feng Tingye’s body. Before they could speak, he interrupted them again.
“The plague is a natural disaster. I won’t allow anyone to scapegoat my empress. You’d better remember this point.”
As Feng Tingye spoke, Xia Yuqing couldn’t help but shiver, her eyes fixed on Feng Tingye’s profile without a hint of falsehood, her hands slightly clenched.
However, Feng Tingye didn’t notice her unusual behavior. He continued to stare coldly at the black-clad men and sneered, “If you refuse to reveal the mastermind, I won’t force you. I have ways to find out who’s behind all this. But let me advise you, think clearly about the beginning and the end of the matter before taking any action. Don’t be a pawn used to commit crimes unknowingly.”
As Feng Tingye’s sarcastic words were uttered, the faces of the black-clad men turned pale.
Before they could react, Feng Tingye took Xia Yuqing’s arm and stepped back a few steps, raising his hand and waving, “Regardless of whether you are relatives of those affected by the plague or not, daring to attempt assassination in the palace is unforgivable. First, lock them up in the dungeon, and later hand them over to the Shuntian Residence for disposal.”
With Feng Tingye’s order, the guards took hold of the black-clad men and started leading them away. The once stunned black-clad men suddenly resisted.
“Your Majesty, you can no longer be deceived by that witch. She’s a disaster for the country, a beauty that brings calamity. Only by sacrificing her life can you protect the lives of thousands of people in Ye Country. This is what a ruler should do, Your Majesty!”
“That’s right, if that witch continues to stay by your side, she will bring disaster to the entire Ye Country! Your Majesty, if you continue to favor her and be deceived by her, you will regret it one day!”
As the black-clad men’s shouting grew fainter, the expressions of Feng Tingye and the others became increasingly grim. They exchanged glances and then shifted their gazes to the two people not far away.
“Ai Fei, you’re trembling.” As Feng Tingye sent away the black-clad men, he immediately felt the slight tremor coming from her arm. His eyes narrowed, and he reached out to hold Xia Yuqing’s hand, only to find that she was trembling more and more.
Feng Tingye’s face turned somewhat grim. He turned his head and shouted outside, “Physician!”
Xia Yuqing hurriedly held his hand and shook her head, “I’m fine.”
Feng Tingye looked at Xia Yuqing’s profile, his brows slightly furrowed. He didn’t entirely believe her words. “Ai Fei, your complexion looks terrible. You were just frightened. Let me call the physician to check on you and calm your nerves.”
“I’m really fine!” Xia Yuqing suddenly shouted loudly, pushing away the hand Feng Tingye had extended to hold hers.
With a crisp sound, Feng Tingye’s hand was forcefully pushed away, shocking everyone in the hall, including the two involved.
“I… I didn’t mean to. I…” Xia Yuqing looked at her own hand that had pushed Feng Tingye away, her face full of astonishment. As she tried to step back, she stumbled over a small step behind her, almost falling.
“Be careful.” Feng Tingye quickly reached out and steadied her, pulling her back into his arms just before she could hit the ground.
Xia Yuqing’s face turned pale as paper, and she still seemed dazed. After a moment, she finally came back to her senses. As she looked up, she met Feng Tingye’s concerned gaze. Her heart trembled, and she unconsciously reached out and hugged him tightly.
“So, this is why you have been leaving early and returning late lately? The Astronomical Observatory predicted that the border plague was because of me? Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
Xia Yuqing’s muffled voice came from within Feng Tingye’s embrace. Yan Ran heard her question and wanted to speak up for Feng Tingye, but Shao Zitang stopped him with a serious expression. Reluctantly, Yan Ran kept silent.
Feng Tingye didn’t expect Xia Yuqing to ask this question, and he was momentarily stunned. Xia Yuqing still refused to look up, so Feng Tingye could only watch the top of her head as he let out a soft sigh. “I just didn’t want you to worry.”
All this time, he only wanted to protect her in his arms, shielding her from all the malice and ill intentions of the world, allowing her to live carefree under his wings with their children. But he never imagined that although she might seem timid and carefree, overly optimistic, in her heart, what she wanted most was to share both joy and sorrow with him.
After hearing Feng Tingye’s words, Xia Yuqing’s hands around his waist unconsciously tightened. “So, what they said just now is true?”
She should have thought that if what Ye Shuyan said was true, even if Feng Tingye didn’t intend to harm her, there would still be many people who would come after her. Her days ahead might not be peaceful.
Feng Tingye didn’t answer directly, but Xia Yuqing had already gotten her answer. She buried her face in his embrace and asked another question, “And you… do you believe what the Astronomical Observatory said?”
Xia Yuqing’s heart raced, waiting for Feng Tingye’s response. Unexpectedly, Feng Tingye smiled lowly and lifted her head from his embrace, looking into her eyes directly. He said, “I already said it earlier. If I believed the Astronomical Observatory, I would have believed it a long time ago. Why wait until now? Besides, I have never believed in fate. If I were to believe in anything, I would only believe that you would be by my side, with me in this life and the next, through eternity. That is my destiny.”
Xia Yuqing’s pupils suddenly contracted, looking at Feng Tingye with astonishment. In the entire hall, only she seemed to understand the hidden meaning behind his words. Her heart, already beating rapidly, now trembled uncontrollably. The uncontrollable and intense palpitations even caused a slight ache in her chest.
Seeing Xia Yuqing’s silence, Feng Tingye let out a soft sigh and gently touched her cheek. “I will handle this matter and make sure you are not harmed. Ai Fei, after everything we’ve been through, I thought you could trust me.”
Xia Yuqing looked deeply into Feng Tingye’s eyes and finally nodded. She buried her head in his embrace again, hiding her hesitation.
It’s not that I don’t trust your concern for me; it’s that I don’t trust myself. I dare not guarantee that this plague is or isn’t related to me, nor can I guarantee that in the near future, when I see you fighting against the whole world to protect me, I won’t be swayed and let you leave for my sake. I can’t even guarantee how many days I can stay by your side in the future.
In the chaotic palace, the two held each other tightly, trying to give each other a little more warmth, not realizing that this excessive heat might burn them and gradually push them apart without them noticing.
Though Feng Tingye wanted to stay and comfort Xia Yuqing, the most important thing now was to deal with the assassins and those who intended harm to her. So after Xia Yuqing’s emotions stabilized a bit, Feng Tingye left Xiufang Hall with a stern expression, accompanied by Shao Zitang and others, including Yun Zhongyue.
“What are you planning to do?” As soon as they entered Qianqing Hall, Yun Zhongyue’s face turned cold, and he was the first to speak. The usual playful expression on his face was now replaced by a serious and stern demeanor, surpassing even Leng Ruofeng’s iciness.
Feng Tingye raised an eyebrow, looking directly into Yun Zhongyue’s eyes. “I don’t understand what Sixth Royal Prince means.”
“I’m asking you, how are you going to handle Little Junior Sister’s matter?” Yun Zhongyue fearlessly stared back, with a trace of obvious aggressiveness in his eyes.
Su Wuduan had already been severely injured, and he couldn’t risk Xia Yuqing’s safety any further. Although they usually played and quarreled with each other, and even though they were constantly bickering, he had long regarded these people, including that Hua person, who was extremely incompatible with him, as his family, apart from the few in Yun Zhongli. Especially Xia Yuqing, the youngest and most troublesome Junior Sister.
The concept of one’s destiny chart was highly valued by any ruler of any country. Although Yun Zhongyue knew that Feng Tingye cared deeply for Xia Yuqing, he couldn’t be sure whether Feng Tingye would abandon her for the sake of the country’s future when faced with the big picture.
“I thought I made it clear just now. I will do everything in my power to protect my Ai Fei and not let anyone harm her in the slightest.”
Yun Zhongyue’s eyes flickered with evident hesitation as he looked at Feng Tingye. “Are you really willing to defy fate for Little Junior Sister?”
Feng Tingye seemed to hear a huge joke and laughed lightly before looking at Yun Zhongyue. “Fate? I know Ai Fei’s nature, I know she would never harm me or my country. Even if fate is as you say, so what? For her, I can defy and change fate at any cost!”
Feng Tingye’s last words were uttered with a resounding tone, momentarily silencing Yun Zhongyue across from him.
Yun Zhongyue was stunned for a moment before sneering, “You’d better remember what you said today, otherwise, as the Thousand-Handed Divine Thief, I can steal someone from your palace and hide them in a place where no one can find them, as easily as turning my hand.”
Feng Tingye’s eyes narrowed, and a distinct killing intent seeped into his gaze. “You can try. If that day comes, I will personally lead an army to conquer Shu Country, leaving nothing behind!”
Yun Zhongyue stared at Feng Tingye for a while but didn’t say anything. He turned and left.
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