Fuzhu’s Ballad Chapter 48

Chapter 48 Losing by a single move

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Lan Dan covered Shentu Rui with a thin blanket while he slept soundly. She looked at him for a while under the moonlight and realized that he was truly tired. She smiled, leaned over, and lightly kissed his cheek. He didn’t move or react at all.

As expected, Lan Huang counted every step accurately. If she left now, Shentu Rui wouldn’t find out until tomorrow and it would be too late to catch her. She had wondered why she didn’t leave when the city was at war. Later, she realized that not only did Shentu Rui leave Sun Shi Xiang to watch her every move, but during the battle, the four city gates were on high alert, and not even a fly could get out. It was not like now, when the troops in the city were tired and weak, and it was not easy to alarm them.

Someone outside the door coughed lightly, making Lan Dan’s heart tremble. It was finally time to say goodbye. She looked at Shentu Rui again. Was she reluctant to leave? Yes, she was, but there was no way around it. He was someone she couldn’t afford to be with. She decisively turned her head away and didn’t look at him again. She quietly took out the already packed bag from the cabinet and opened the door. She saw Zi Fu standing outside, looking at the moon. Her gentle face had no expression.

“Let’s go,” Zi Fu said to the moon, not looking at her, and led her to the back door. The guards on duty were probably all arranged by Lan Huang beforehand. They didn’t stop or ask any questions when they saw them leave quietly.

Outside the General’s mansion, the street was empty as if the entire city was in deep slumber. Lan Dan didn’t see any horses and was feeling a bit puzzled, but Zi Fu seemed to anticipate her question and said flatly, “The city is filled with soldiers. Riding horses is too conspicuous. It’s safer to walk to the city gate. Hurry, the patrol will be here soon.”

Lan Dan nodded and followed Zi Fu closely.

After walking for a while on the street, Lan Dan tried to orient herself. “Isn’t this the way to the West Gate?” Shouldn’t they be going to the East Gate?

“Yes, it’s the West Gate,” Zi Fu affirmed stiffly, her brows furrowed as if she heard something. “Quick! Hurry up!”

Lan Dan was flustered by her urgency and was about to ask why when they heard the sound of battle cries coming from the north. It was particularly terrifying at night. The flames suddenly burst out and lit up the sky, burning down the houses in the north corner of Tongye City. The red light reflected the sky, making the moon look dim, and soon it was shrouded by thick smoke.

“Hurry up! Hurry up!” Zi Fu’s expression changed and she was very flustered, even pulling Lan Dan’s arm and dragging her into a jog. “Why did they come earlier?!” She grumbled fiercely.

“What’s going on?” Scared by the deafening shouts and the flames, Lan Dan looked back as she ran. The whole street was lit up, and the fire and sounds of battle were spreading quickly throughout the city, getting closer and closer to them.

“Don’t ask! If you delay any longer, you won’t be able to leave!” Zi Fu screamed, almost falling because of panic, dragging Lan Dan to stagger.

Her voice was quickly drowned out by the tsunami-like cries of battle. Lan Dan didn’t know where, but she heard the screams of children and women, shrill and miserable. The entire city was engulfed in flames, like being in hell, making people shudder with fear.

Flames also appeared in the west of the city, and the sound of crying and roaring suddenly boiled up. Because of the short distance, Lan Dan felt waves of scorching hot air rushing towards them.

Terrified, Zi Fu’s face was as pale as a ghost in the flames. “Why is there a fire in the west of the city? How could there be a fire in the west of the city?” She repeated the same sentence over and over like a fool.

The people were awakened from their deep sleep, crying and shouting as they rushed out of their homes to escape the raging fire. The streets were instantly crowded with people, but the city was on fire everywhere, and people were like small animals being chased to the brink of death, colliding and crowding each other, with no unified direction.

Lan Dan was bumped several times, trying her best to pull Zi Fu into a dead-end alley. It was narrow and not passable, but it prevented them from being jostled by the crowd.

“What should we do now?” Lan Dan was panting heavily, not knowing how Lan Huang arranged the situation and how Beimo people managed to sneak into the city to launch a surprise attack.

Zi Fu also regained her composure, but was still as restless as an ant on a hot pot. “We can’t go back to the General’s mansion, or we’ll be dead immediately. We can’t go to the West Gate either…” She looked at the fire to the west, gritted her teeth, and made a bold decision, “Let’s go to the North Gate!”

“North Gate?” Lan Dan thought she was crazy. The North Gate was the first gate to be attacked, with the largest fire and the most intense fighting.

“North Gate!” exclaimed Zi Fu with a fierce expression. “The Fifth Prince and Her Highness should be at the North Gate. Outside the North Gate is Beimo’s army camp. We can definitely leave the city from there.”

Lan Dan was stunned, although she was in the midst of a raging inferno, she still felt a bone-chilling coldness. Was Lan Huang secretly opening the city gates and letting Beimo’s army into the city for a surprise attack?

After walking a few steps on the street, Lan Dan felt hopeless. The screaming and fleeing civilians had been scared crazy by the fire and war, scattering in all directions. They were almost trampled in just a few steps. At this rate, it would be dawn before they could reach the North Gate.

Zi Fu didn’t have any luggage in her hands. She pushed through the fleeing crowd like a madman, and she looked like she was ready to fight anyone who got in her way. Lan Dan held onto her luggage tightly and followed Zi Fu’s lead, stumbling forward for quite some time. She was grateful that Zi Fu didn’t abandon her in such a chaotic situation. It was truly remarkable.

The smoke was too thick and the closer they got to the North Gate, the hazier the surroundings became. Luckily, people were not running towards the North Gate so the road was relatively easy to walk on. In a state of confusion, the noise in Lan Dan’s head was so loud that she didn’t even notice the gradually decreasing noise ahead.

“Who goes there?” Suddenly someone shouted. A group of soldiers appeared through the smoke.

“Do not be impudent, we are here to find Her Highness,” Zi Fu said to them, feeling relieved upon seeing them. She immediately straightened up her posture.

“Her Highness?” The leading soldier laughed loudly twice and waved his hand. “Seize them! They could be spies and traitors!”

Just as Lan Dan wiped away the tears from her smoke-filled eyes, two burly men grabbed her arms. They were too rough and she immediately felt like her arms were going to break, but she held onto the bag that contained everything she owned. They dragged her all the way to the open space at the city gate. She felt hopeless and defeated, as this was the second time she had been dragged by soldiers. It seemed that not only had her escape plan failed, but even Lan Huang had suffered a crushing defeat.

The city gate was wide open, and the night wind blew strongly from the open fields outside the city, bringing no smoke or haze with it. The surrounding houses had already burned down, and the fire was blowing towards the city due to the wind, making the gate area bright and glaring.

Lan Dan looked around in a panic. Maybe the situation was not as bad as she thought. Wasn’t Lan Huang standing across from her? She was not going to be captured, as there was a group of soldiers around her, facing off against Shentu Cheng. Lan Dan felt a shiver down her spine as she saw Shentu Rui standing beside Shentu Cheng, looking coldly at her. The set of his jaw was particularly resolute, and the indifference in his eyes must have come from his heart.

Shentu Rui glanced at her for a moment, then coldly looked at the soldiers holding her. They were frightened and immediately released her.

Lan Dan panicked and stood rigidly, her shoulders drooping. The night wind blew her around, making her feel like she could fall at any moment.

Lan Huang also looked at Lan Dan and Zi Fu expressionlessly, her brow furrowed as she considered something. Suddenly, she said, “Let them pass.”

The corner of Shentu Cheng’s mouth lifted in a mocking sneer. At this point, what right did she have to speak to him like that? His gaze swept over Fu Zhu, who looked very disheveled after the journey, with her hair down and her clothes in disarray, with a few streaks of ash on her face. She stood weak and delicate in the night wind and firelight, alone and beautiful. As if the whole world had abandoned her, she appeared even more isolated, stunningly beautiful.

His eyes flashed and he changed his mind, becoming patient. “Then use your fake son to exchange!”

Lan Huang gave a cold and sinister smile, thinking that it was time to lay the cards on the table. He said it straightforwardly, “Alright.” She raised her hand, and Zi Yuan, who was standing behind her, suddenly changed expression. She hesitated before approaching and stepping forward. Lan Huang turned her head, glared at Zi Yuan, and ordered, “Go exchange!” Shentu Cheng laughed too, knowing that even though she didn’t care, still insisted on using the child as an exchange.

Without hesitation, Zi Fu shook off the soldier’s restraint and walked quickly towards him. However, Lan Dan hesitated for a moment.

In fact, she was afraid of Shentu Rui. Walking past him like this in front of him would be an act of betrayal… but what was the point of hesitation? Betrayal was betrayal, there was no light or heavy, and there was no turning back.

Lan Dan gritted her teeth, focused straight ahead, and followed Zi Fu towards Luan Huang’s camp.

When she passed by Zi Yuan and the baby, she couldn’t bear it, stopped and looked at the sleeping baby, and worried whether he was truly sound asleep or drugged and unable to wake up by Luan Huang’s medicine.

A sergeant quickly stepped forward, and rudely snatched the baby from Zi Yuan’s arms. Both Zi Yuan and Lan Dan cried out.

The sergeant ignored them and brought the baby in front of Shentu Cheng. “Your Majesty, what should we do?”

Shentu Cheng glanced at the child who still hadn’t woken up despite being tossed around, and couldn’t help but sneer at Lan Huang. “Even if he’s not your biological son, you’re still too cruel to him.”

Lan Huang coldly laughed and didn’t care.

“Actually, I don’t want to make things difficult for him, but his existence is a disgrace to me. Seeing him, I feel like I’m being fooled by you,” Shentu Cheng sighed with regret, but his decision remained cold and ruthless, “Dispose it.”

When the officer answered “yes”, he ᴅʀᴇᴡ ᴏᴜᴛ ʜɪꜱ ꜱᴡᴏʀᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ɪɴ ʜᴀʟꜰ ᴀʟᴏɴɢ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ꜱᴡᴀᴅᴅʟɪɴɢ ᴄʟᴏᴛʜᴇꜱ. ᴛʜᴇ ꜱᴍᴀʟʟ ʙᴏᴅʏ ꜱᴘᴜʀᴛᴇᴅ ᴏᴜᴛ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴀꜱ ʀᴇᴅ ᴀꜱ ᴀɴ ᴀᴅᴜʟᴛ’ꜱ, but was even more pitiful and tragic.

Shentu Rui’s Adam’s apple moved, his eyebrows wrinkled in disgust, and he lowered his eyes, not wanting to look any further.

Zi Yuan and Lan Dan’s faces turned pale, their bodies trembling. When the ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ᴡᴀꜱ ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ, they had been screaming as if they had used up all their strength. Zi Yuan even fell to the ground, tears streaming down her face.

“Useless!” Zi Fu scolded contemptuously, with a cold face. She grabbed Zi Yuan with one hand and Lan Dan with the other, and walked towards Lan Huang’s team.

Lan Huang laughed out loud and looked at Shentu Cheng with extreme sarcasm. “You think he’s just a pawn, useless to you so you can kill him to vent your anger. One day, you will know…,” Lan Huang’s smile deepened, appearing more vicious and sinister, “… how ridiculous it is for you to kill him!” She laughed even louder for a long time.

Shentu Rui slowly raised his head amidst her laughter, and frowned deeply, appearing thoughtful.

Shentu Cheng curled his lips indifferently. “I don’t think you’ll have a chance to know. You just need to know how ridiculous you are. You think it’s easy to open the city gate of Tongye just with you?”

With one sentence, Lan Huang’s smile froze on her face.

“How is it? Didn’t go according to your plan?” Shentu Cheng looked at her with a smug smile. “All four gates were opened, and Xiao Bing Wen received information that the troops were divided into four routes, with the West Gate as the main entrance, causing chaos throughout the city. But you didn’t find the person who was supposed to meet you, did you?”

Lan Huang’s face turned ugly. “So you made a move…” Then she retorted, “You are really cruel to your own people.”

“Not at all,” Shentu Cheng smiled. “It’s you who are heartless. I’m just helping you out. What are these common people to you? After all, you’re the kind of person who can kill your own parents and siblings.”

Lan Huang gave a signal to a nearby general, who was about to take action, but Shentu Cheng laughed and stopped him.

“My lady, Xiao Lan Huang, you’ve calculated everything. Tell me, do you think I’ll still give you a way out?” Shentu Cheng’s words were interrupted by a group of soldiers who suddenly appeared outside the city gate, blocking Lan Huang’s escape.

Lan Huang’s expression turned panic, but she quickly regained her composure and smiled arrogantly. “Since that’s the case, the winner takes all. Let’s each follow our own destiny.”

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