Chapter 94 The north wind sweeps the earth Part 7
Murong Xiu’s words were like a blow to the head, causing a buzzing sound in Yan Changqing’s mind.
Male empress? Murong Xiu, is he crazy? !
But when he met his eyes, Yan Changqing’s heart felt cold. Murong Xiu’s eyes were so sad and angry, like a young wolf who was afraid of being abandoned, but was not willing to be abandoned, showing all his fangs and claws, guarding his precious territory.
Yan Changqing knew that he was wrong.
After the incident in Qixia Village, Yan Changqing knew what Murong Xiu thought about him. It’s just that at that time, he thought it was just a fluke, thinking that the emperor who grew up with him had lost his mind for a while. As long as he walked away from Mobei and didn’t appear under Murong Xiu’s eyelids, he might be able to soften Murong Xiu’s feelings. He thought that the position of the ruler of the world in Murong Xiu’s heart was still much more important than himself.
He was dead wrong.
A poisonous vine may only grow a small bud on the ground at first, but in the black soil, the tangled rhizomes may have already been densely packed and intertwined. And every bit of his relationship with Helian Rongchuan, as long as it reached Murong Xiu’s ears, would become the nourishment of this poison ivy. Murong Xiu had completely changed. In the entanglement of poison ivy, Murong Xiu had become a person he did not know at all.
But what can he do? That was the younger brother he swore to protect, the monarch he had to be loyal to.
Yan Changqing’s eyes looked carefully at the faces of the forty-five members of the Yan family members. Dazed, terrified and innocence were written on every face. The Yan family was full of loyal members, and most of the males died in the army, leaving only the old, the weak, the sick and the young. They should have lived a good and stable life under the protection of the heroic spirits of their husbands and brothers.
Murong Xiu brought them to him. Although he didn’t say anything, Yan Changqing understood everything.
He was afraid it was not just his family. Since he could be recalled from Dongyun, Murong Xiu must also know where Helian Rongchuan was hiding.
The cold wind slammed open the window and blew over. In the yard outside the window, the two Begonia plants that he and Yan Changqing planted when they were young had been devastated by the wind and snow, obviously unable to wait for the next spring.
Yan Changqing lowered his head and slowly bowed to the ground: “Chen, follows the order.”
In the fifth year of Yan Qingzhao, the Murong royal family member ascended the throne at the age of fourteen, and at the age of eighteen, Murong Xiu, the emperor who pacified all four sides, finally appointed his queen. Although homosexuality prevailed in all countries, it was not new for males to get married, and there had been a male empress in the past, but because of this male empress’s unique identity, the people of Yan Kingdom were still in an uproar. They were discussing in private.
“Why is the emperor choosing the famous silver-faced King of H*ll to be the empress? Didn’t he say that the silver-faced King of H*ll was a monster with fangs?”
“Hey, what kind of monster is that! I heard that the silver-faced King of H*ll is a peerless beauty. It must be that the little emperor was reluctant to let the beauty go to war in all directions, so he took him into the palace.”
“Take him into the palace? Then he won’t fight in the future? Hey, General Yan has made so many military exploits, is he willing to stay in the palace for the rest of his life?”
“He can’t even have children if he stayed in the palace. Tsk tsk, maybe that little emperor is just trying something new and fresh. After all, the taste of a man is different from that of woman…”
Several voices laughed slyly.
Among the noisy discussions, mixed were a few inappropriate sighs: “Obviously they came from a generation of generals, why would he be willing to let go of his ambitions and stay in the deep palace? It’s a pity, it’s a pity!”
“Stupid scholar, don’t you know?” A smooth voice said: “The sword does not have eyes on the battlefield. No matter how powerful the silver-faced King of H*ll is, he may have a day he cannot keep his heart if he is not careful. He could be killed by the enemy with an arrow on the battlefield. The reputation of his loyal family was not earned from the dead. How can his time where there may not have been a tomorrow compare to an empress’s life with safety, security, clothes and food? I heard that a few days ago, even the few remaining relatives of the Yan family were called in. After leaving the palace, they obtained a lot of awards, and when they came back, they even soared into the sky with many more people serving the house!”
“My God, this is more lavish than fighting a war…”
“Who said it wasn’t…”
The people were either envious, or shook their heads and sighed. After they finally finished discussing, each and every one of them contentedly went away to their busy affairs.
However, the situation in the courtroom was much quieter than that of the people in the market. Pang Taishi single-mindedly wanted to take over the power and be the regent. He had always been aggressive in the courtroom and confronted the little emperor tit for tat, but this time he was silent for the first time. The ministers who stood on the side of the little emperor finally saw their nemesis shrivel, but they were not happy at all – they knew that the little emperor was in a hurry, so he had to protect Yan Changqing as the empress and resist the threat of Pang Taishi’s party. But this move was a bit like hitting a mouse but hurting the porcelain bottle first. Is it really a good choice to bury a generation of good generals in the deep palace?
And according to General Yan’s cold and arrogant temperament, is he really willing to stay in the deep palace? What should the black armoured troops do? Apart from General Yan, who else in the world can protect the borders and the world?
A few old officials with upright personalities couldn’t stand it any longer, and a memorial was presented. Who would have guessed that when they went to court the next day, the shadows of these old officials disappeared. Murong Xiu sat high on the dragon chair. Although he didn’t say anything, the rest of the ministers looked at each other and were full of words, but didn’t dare to say anything.
All the preparations before the big wedding began in an orderly manner. Such as the proposal rite, acceptance rite, inviting ceremony, etc. The Ministry of Rites prepared it according to the previous wedding of Empress Zhao, and it was not difficult. But there was only one difference. According to the ancestral rules, before the big wedding, the empress should have stayed at her own house to wait for the guard of honor, and then the emperor would have welcomed him to the Zhaohua Hall in person. But their future “empress” was arranged to live in Zhaohua Hall from the beginning, and the emperor had no intention of letting him out of the palace at all.
The official of the Ministry of Rites in charge of the wedding scratched his head and really didn’t know what to do. One of them had the courage to ask the emperor to release Yan Changqing from the palace and return them to the general’s mansion, and pick him up on the day of the wedding. As a result, this little official of the Ministry of Rites suffered a slap in the face. Although the remaining officials of the Ministry of Rites were puzzled, they were too frightened to speak any more, so they had to arrange the wedding ceremony to send the empress from Zhaohua Hall to the emperor’s bedroom, Wende Hall – out the right door, into the left, a private joke made by the palace servants.
In the blink of an eye, it was the eve of the big wedding and the streets and alleys of Sheng An City were already lit up everywhere. The palace was even more beaming, with red silk hanging everywhere and a sea of flowers. Because the time of the big wedding was too urgent, countless palace servants had to work overtime all night, busy with the final preparations for the big wedding. The eunuchs in charge of being the master of ceremonies were especially busy, their feet had not even touched the ground. It was past the Chou hour of the night, and they were still busy hanging up the red lanterns at the gate of the palace with their sleeves rolled up.
After finally hanging one up, Eunuch Zhang wiped his sweat and was about to get off the wooden ladder when he saw a carriage driving out of the palace gate. He couldn’t help but wonder: In the middle of the night, the palace gate had always forbidden entries and exits, who would be so bold?
Eunuch Zhang trembled down the ladder. The guard at the gate of the palace snorted, and the carriage really stopped. He saw a small official in green robes from the Ministry of Rites getting out of the carriage. He was tall and had an ordinary face, with only one pair of dark and bright eyes, and his expression was extremely respectful.
The guards knew that Eunuch Zhang, who was of a higher rank than them, always liked to be meddlesome, so they moved out of the way following practice.
“Gonggong.” The little official saluted.
“What are you going to do?”
“Go to General Yan’s Mansion.”
Eunuch Zhang raised his eyebrows: “What are you going to do in the General’s Mansion in the middle of the night?”
“The emperor said that he wanted to place some things from the general’s own house in the Zhaohua Hall to decorate it, so that it would feel more intimate and not awkward when he welcomed his relatives.” The little offical said. He took out a palace token from his arms, respectfully holding it for show.
Eunuch Zhang glanced at the token. Naturally, he knew that the Ministry of Rites had suffered bad luck because of the honor guard. There was no one who goes out from the right door and enters the left to greet relatives, luckily they can figure it out. Eunuch Zhang sighed in his heart, but he didn’t show anything in face, he just nodded: “En, go.”
Before the big wedding, these small officials of the Ministry of Rites were the busiest. Eunuch Zhang let go of the little official and continued to hang the lanterns. But he didn’t know if his eyes were dim or what was going on, but the other lantern couldn’t be hung up.
This was a bad omen!
Eunuch Zhang wiped the sweat from his forehead, and for some reason the little official in green robes appeared in his mind. He had seen this little official before, and he was not considered a new face. But why was it that the more he thought about it, the more he felt that something was wrong?
Eunuch Zhang slowly frowned.
In the deep night, the carriage of the green-robed little official entered the General’s Mansion not long before it hurried off again. However, the carriage did not return to the palace, but drove quickly outside the city.
“Drive, drive!” The small official kept urging the horse to move forward, until it reached the spacious official road where there was no one around, then it slowly stopped.
“Where is this?”
The door curtain was lifted, revealing an old woman’s wrinkled face. She was holding a seven- or eight-year-old boy in her arms. She stared at the little official with big eyes. Further inside, there were eight or nine old and young women and children in the car.
“Sir, you… Didn’t you say you wanted to take us into the palace, this is…?” The person in the carriage asked with a trembling voice. Several timid children have already burst into tears, wanting to cry but not daring to cry.
The green-robed small official jumped out of the carriage. Although his footsteps were faint, his waist was straight. Standing in front of the carriage, he lifted his finger to the side of his ear, and the human leather mask fell off, revealing a picturesque, handsome face.
Only in the moonlight, the face looked pale and a little sad.
“Changqing!” Everyone in the carriage was startled. The old woman got out of the carriage tremblingly and touched Yan Changqing’s cheek: “Good boy, why are you here? What did you bring us here for?”
Yan Changqing lifted the hem of his clothes, knelt down, kowtowed three times in a row, and said, “Changqing doesn’t want to be humiliated, and he can’t bear to implicate the Yan family. So I can only think of this method.”
“Good boy, I know, I know…”
Big tears rolled from the turbid eyes of the old woman: “The three generations of our Yan family are loyal and fierce. We earned fame on horseback. Entering the harem is a great shame and a big joke to the world. No matter what others say, I know that our family’s Changqing will never be willing, never willing…”
Yan Changqing raised his head, his black mercury-like eyes trembled faintly. “Other clansmen, young and old, I have made arrangements.”
Yan Changqing spoke and took out a road map from his arms: “You follow the instructions on this map. If everything goes well, in seven days, you will arrive in the east. The Diecui Valley of Dongyun Kingdom.” Yan Changqing pointed at the mark on the map, his fingertips trembled slightly.
“If nothing else happens, when you get here, you will meet with the others. You will follow this path in the valley together. When you go, you will find a big villa. When the time comes, you only need to take out this map with my handwriting and the owner of the villa will treat you well.”
Yan Changqing solemnly said word by word: “You must tell him, someone might want his life, let him take you and find another place to settle.”
“What about you? Won’t you come with us?”
The old woman figured out the meaning of Yan Changqing’s words: “You aren’t willing to enter the harem and you let us go, this is against the emperor’s order. You will be killed!” The old woman widened her eyes in horror, and clenched Yan Changqing’s hand.
“Child, you must not stay, go with grandma!”
Yan Changqing shook his head: “Official and monarch and brothers, I have unfinished business to do. Don’t worry, he will not hurt me.”
“I don’t believe it!” The old woman burst into tears, but her words were very firm: “If you won’t leave, I won’t leave. You are a good boy and the last glory of our Yan family, grandma must protect you with her old life, and won’t allow them to bully you!”
Tears finally fell from the corners of his eyes, but Yan Changqing was still smiling: “Okay, okay, then grandma will accompany me.”
He put his hands around the old woman’s shoulders, comforting her gently, then put his hand on the back of her neck, a sudden chop.
A very measured palm ensured that the old woman would not feel pain and would wake up after half a day. Yan Changqing wiped away the tears, then carefully picked up the fainted old woman and placed her into the carriage.
The old and weak women and children in the carriage have already cried, red eyes one by one. Yan Changqing suppressed the emotions in his heart, and told the contents of the map in detail again. Just as he was about to get out of the carriage, he heard the seven- or eight-year-old boy ask timidly, “Big brother, is the owner of that villa really reliable?”
Yan Changqing paused, but didn’t turn his head around. He only lightly said, “There is no one more reliable than him in the world.”
With a long neigh, the horse finally stomped towards the east.
Yan Changqing stood quietly in the dark, the cold winter wind ruffled his long hair and ruffled his thin robes like a pair of broken wings.
He didn’t stand there long before the sound of horses’ hooves gradually sounded behind him. Yan Changqing sighed silently, watching the white mist exhale from his mouth slowly disperse in the cold night wind.
Turning around, hundreds of torches illuminated the snow. In the white snow, stood a familiar figure.
“You still miss him, don’t you?”
Murong Xiu sneered: “You are worried that I will kill him, and you are worried that I will kill your family, right?”
Yan Changqing looked at Murong Xiu quietly and remained silent. This silence had been maintained since the day he was trapped in the palace.
Murong Xiu was already used to this silence. The corners of his eyes were red, he suddenly stepped forward and grabbed Yan Changqing’s collar.
“I used your family and clan to force you, but I never really meant to hurt them. I have no intention of killing that Dongyun man. Yan Changqing, what do you mean by doing this?! Speak!!!”
“What do you think of me?”
“Why don’t you believe me at all??”
Still no response. Murong Xiu knelt on the ground in pain, the snow-white gold fox fur stained with mud from the melting snow on the ground, and the golden silk dragon crown scattered. In his tightly closed eyes, chaotic scenes were swirling.
It was the white silk that fluttered when his biological mother, Concubine Xian, was strangled to death, the paper money that flew in the sky when his father was buried, the vast snow when he ascended the throne, and the respectful kowtows of countless people.
Long live the emperor!
In the depression that was about to suffocate him, the warm palm of a young man pulled him out. A distant voice echoed in your ears:
“Don’t be afraid. When I grow up, I will be the most powerful general and will always protect you and the territory of Yan Kingdom.”
“Then are you still my brother?”
“Apart from brother?”
“I’m still your most loyal servant.”
“But I don’t want you to be my servant and I don’t want you to be just my brother.”
“Then what do you want me to do?”
“I… I don’t know… Anyway, don’t abandon me, forever.”
“Liar!” Murong Xiu had a splitting headache and cried out in pain, “You lied to me, you don’t believe me. You sent them away first, then you will run away yourself, right? You will run back to that person from Dongyun and abandon me, right?”
Yan Changqing looked at Murong Xiu quietly, still silent.
Murong Xiu opened his blood-red eyes with hatred and grief: “Okay, since you don’t believe me, then I’ll just do it. Someone come, bring back the carload of people just now, and send someone to Dongyun. Find that Dongyun man, and smash his body into thousands of pieces!!!!”
However, when the voice fell, no one dared to move behind Murong Xiu.
An icy long sword was facing Murong Xiu’s chest. So close, only a few inches and then it could pierce the flesh.
Murong Xiu was stunned, he looked at the sword in disbelief. For a long time, a bleak smile burst out from the corner of his thin lips: “For him, you want to kill me? Yan Changqing, you dare to kill the king?!”
Yan Changqing smiled softly. Looking up slightly, he saw the snowflakes swirling and flying in the sky. They were so white and crystal clear. When they fell down gently, it was as if they wanted to kiss the vast earth, but as soon as they fell, the snowflakes melted into the mud on the ground, disappearing.
When he closed his eyes, it was like a blazing fire, like the scorching sun. It was the corpses of countless people, a large pool of frozen blood, and the blood-stained palm prints on the gate of Ningcheng. Heart-piercing screams begging for mercy seemed to be echoing in his ears. These voices tormented his heart all the time, making him sleepless at night.
Perhaps there was only one place to redeem him, and that was the verdant valley, where there were wet green pines and green bamboos, winding stone paths, and the sound of hundreds of children reading books. Every night, red lanterns would light up one by one on the path in the forest. Under the lantern, someone must be waiting for him.
But the road was too far, and he couldn’t go back.
Yan Changqing opened his eyes and looked at Murong Xiu softly. He suddenly remembered that in front of the mausoleum of Concubine Xiangui, the fourteen-year-old Murong Xiu also had red eyes and messy hair. At that time, he swore to protect him and help him to be a good emperor.
He was wrong.
If he hadn’t appeared in the first place, it wouldn’t be what it was now. It’s a pity that everything in the world would only roll forward like a wave, and there was no “if” to choose from.
As of now, he has only one way to go.
Yan Changqing smiled lightly and said to Murong Xiu, “If it wasn’t for me, you would have been a good emperor.”
Murong Xiu was stunned, only to see Yan Changqing suddenly turn his sword, and a bright and clear light flashed across his neck.
Murong Xiu rushed towards Yan Changqing with a roar, as if struck by lightning. However it was too late.
Bright red blood continued to flow down Yan Changqing’s slender neck. Murong Xiu hurriedly stretched out his hand to cover the wound, but no matter how hard he kept covering it, Yan Changqing’s blood continued to flow through his trembling fingertips like a stream, dripping onto his trembling fingertips. On the snow, it quickly became cold.
“Where’s the imperial physician? Where is the imperial physician? Someone come, come!!” Murong Xiu shouted frantically and collapsed. He wanted to hug Yan Changqing, but he was shaking so badly that he fell to his knees before taking two steps.
“Come save him, someone come…!!”
“No need.” Yan Changqing’s face became more and more pale and decadent. He reluctantly raised his head, and was like a gossamer: “…Pro…promise me…don’t hurt…him…ok… don’t..”
“Okay, okay, I promise you everything. I promise you everything…” Murong Xiu’s voice was trembling and out of tune. He didn’t think and just promised him everything, only feeling the blood in his body freezing.
“Don’t scare me, okay? Please don’t scare me, okay? Where’s the imperial doctor? Someone come and help—”
The unfinished words suddenly got stuck in his throat. Murong Xiu opened his eyes wide and watched Yan Changqing’s hand on his sleeve gently drop down.
Yan Changqing seemed to be extremely tired, closed his eyes gently, and stopped breathing.