Chapter 23 Chip Chip
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Huo Caiyu’s gaze instantly turned cold. He took a deep breath and shouted, “Take cover!”
With a swift flick of his wrist, he lashed out at the horse’s hindquarters, urging it to race faster. In one fluid motion, he leaped onto the roof of the carriage, gripping the reins with steely resolve as he surveyed his surroundings.
The old horse whinnied in protest, but galloped on with renewed vigor. Thankfully, the horses that had been procured from the palace were of the highest quality, allowing them to traverse the road without overturning.
As they hurtled down the road, shadowy figures dressed in black suddenly materialized on either side of the carriage. Brandishing iron-tipped strong bows, they unleashed a hail of arrows, their intent unmistakably lethal.
Huo Caiyu’s body tensed as he took a deep breath, summoning his inner strength. He used his whip as a sword to sweep away all the arrows that were shot at him.
Those assassins did not have any means of transportation, so as long as they ran past this stretch of road, they would successfully escape!
But the black-clad figures were not about to let them get away so easily. Seeing that Huo Caiyu was a skilled warrior, some of them redirected their aim towards the horse that was pulling the carriage.
Shoot the horse before the person!
Now Huo Caiyu was in trouble.
He had to protect the carriage from being hit by the strong bows and arrows, while also having to divide his attention to protect the horse. Soon, he was struggling to keep up.
Huo Caiyu’s attention momentarily faltered, and in that split second, an arrow came hurtling towards him from an unexpected angle. Gritting his teeth, he braced himself for impact, preparing to use a less vital part of his body to absorb the blow.
But just as the arrow was about to strike him, an invisible force suddenly intervened. Huo Caiyu watched in amazement as the iron-tipped arrow inexplicably changed direction, grazing his shoulder and tearing through his clothes but leaving him unscathed.
Shaken but undeterred, he quickly regained his focus, resuming his battle with the ruthless assassins who were still relentlessly attacking the carriage.
Li Jinyu gasped for breath inside the carriage.
Despite Huo Caiyu’s valiant efforts and the mysterious force that had intervened to protect him, tragedy struck as the horse was struck by a fatal arrow. The poor creature let out a heart-wrenching wail before collapsing to the ground, bringing the carriage crashing down with it.
Huo Caiyu desperately tried to steady the carriage, but it was no use. With no other options, he smashed through the window and hoisted Li Jinyu onto his shoulder, bravely facing the rain of arrows as he made his escape.
Li Jinyu was reeling from the impact, his head throbbing and swollen. He had used what little spiritual power he had to protect Huo Caiyu, but the chaos of the situation had left him disoriented and unaware of the danger until they were out in the open, being pursued by a relentless group of black-clad figures.
Li Jinyu instinctively buried his head in Huo Caiyu’s arms for protection. But as he slowly began to collect his thoughts, he realized something. Why was he afraid of being killed by the assassins when it would only serve to further Huo Caiyu’s ascent to the throne?
Anyway, he could fake his death and escape!
It might hurt though…
After struggling in his mind for a while between enduring long-term or short-term pain, Li Jinyu made up his mind and whispered on Huo Caiyu’s shoulder, “Put Zhen down.”
Put me down, and you will be the Emperor from now on.
Huo Caiyu’s eye twitched slightly. His hold on Li Jinyu’s hand tightened, answering quickly without hesitation, “Don’t even think about it!”
His voice was resolute and powerful.
Li Jinyu lifted his head and saw Huo Caiyu’s handsome and firm profile with sweat trickling down slowly. He had the vigor of a young man combined with the composure of an adult. His voice was sonorous and unyielding.
Li Jinyu could even hear Huo Caiyu’s slightly labored breathing. His heart felt a little sour. Did Huo Caiyu really need to have such good character? Even if he didn’t know that he was the obstacle to his future reign, he should know that the death of a tyrant like himself would be better for the court and the people, right?
Why was he trying so hard to protect his opponent?
Li Jinyu drew in a deep breath, mustering up all the courage he had left as he firmly patted Huo Caiyu’s shoulder before deftly pulling away from his embrace. With nimble agility, he leaped from behind Huo Caiyu and positioned himself squarely in front of the group of menacing assassins.
With a resolute voice that carried a regal authority, he declared, “I am Emperor Jinchang, the seventh Emperor of the Great Di dynasty! If you have the guts, come and face me!”
Huo Caiyu’s heart thudded loudly in his chest as he watched in horror, unable to keep up with Li Jinyu’s lightning-fast movements. He slammed on the brakes of his racing thoughts, turning around abruptly, his pupils constricting in fear as he cried out, “Your Majesty!”
A sudden and overwhelming sense of panic gripped him tightly, his mind racing with the nightmarish image of Li Jinyu lying lifeless and still, his body stained with blood that flowed from his wounds until it dried up! No matter how much he called out, there would be no response, no matter how much he shook, there would be no more sound, just like his father, like countless soldiers on the border…
However, His Majesty stood in front of him without hesitation, his back more dazzling than the noonday sun.
Li Jinyu stood in front of the assassins, the spiritual power in his body already brewing. He watched as they quickly set up their bows and arrows, and even though he was prepared, fear still gripped him and he couldn’t help but turn his head away.
Hoohoo, will it hurt…
Suddenly, a sharp arrow whistled past him, heading straight towards Huo Caiyu, who was racing towards him from behind!
Li Jinyu stared blankly as more arrows dodged his body and aimed straight at Huo Caiyu. He watched as several arrows deeply pierced through Huo Caiyu’s defenseless body, and saw him slowly fall in front of him, with only a dazzling red blood flower blooming.
He was stunned for a moment, and then he understood.
These assassins didn’t intend to assassinate him! They were here for Huo Caiyu!
Huo Caiyu thought he had no chance of waking up again.
As he slowly regained consciousness, his vision was filled with the shimmering light of the stars. For a moment, he was convinced that he had passed away and become a wandering spirit, reaching out to touch the twinkling constellations that dotted the night sky.
But the intense pain coursing through his body quickly brought him back to the harsh reality of his situation. Huo Caiyu struggled to move his neck, feeling as if a hundred blades were slicing through his flesh with every movement. The pain was excruciating, leaving him gasping for breath as he fought to regain his bearings.
It would be best to lie down now, but since he didn’t see a familiar figure he was looking for, he didn’t want to just stay put.
Was His Majesty all right?
Was he injured?
Those assassins would kill anyone, regardless of their target…
Huo Caiyu clenched his teeth, determined to push through the pain as he attempted to sit up. As he struggled, the image of His Majesty’s unwavering form came to mind, causing his heart to clench in agony.
He had to see for himself if His Majesty was alright, even if it meant facing the brutal reality of his death!
“You’re awake? Don’t move! The wound might reopen!”
Suddenly, a familiar heavenly voice sounded, and the Emperor’s slightly dirty face turned from behind to face him, with a mix of joy and worry written all over it.
As he turned to face Li Jinyu, Huo Caiyu’s confusion only grew. The Emperor appeared unharmed, his face slightly soiled but otherwise unscathed. Huo Caiyu wondered if he was hallucinating, unable to comprehend how the Emperor could have survived the attack. Perhaps, the assassins had spared them both?
Li Jinyu clutched a wooden box which held a small amount of water. Seeing that Huo Caiyu was awake, he happily said, “Good thing you’re awake. Lie down… no, drink some water first.”
Huo Caiyu obediently took a few sips of water from Li Jinyu’s outstretched hand, his mind still in a fog. As he looked at the familiar snack box, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of confusion. Why was His Majesty carrying around a snack box in the midst of such danger?
Li Jinyu coughed slightly and said apologetically, “W-when Zhen heard there were enemies outside the carriage, Zhen packed up the food first.” At that time, he was thinking that if he managed to escape after playing dead, he could take the snacks and dried fruits with him… The snacks made by the Imperial Kitchen were exceptional, and he wouldn’t be able to taste it again in the future.
Huo Caiyu couldn’t help but feel a bit dumbfounded. However, this also made Huo Caiyu gradually realize the situation and carefully looked up and down at Li Jinyu again, confirming that Li Jinyu was really not injured. He sighed in relief and said, “It’s good that Your Majesty is safe.”
Li Jinyu felt a little sour in his heart when he saw that Huo Caiyu was concerned about him despite being seriously injured. He whispered, “Are you alright?”
“This official has a tough body. A little injury is nothing,” Huo Caiyu comforted the red-eyed Emperor, and then focused on examining his own injuries.
After a long time, he opened his eyes, and a hint of confusion appeared in his brown eyes. “This official’s injuries are not too serious.”
With so many arrows hitting him that day, Huo Caiyu thought that even if he miraculously survived, his body would still suffer severe injuries. However, when he carefully examined himself just now, he was surprised to find that, besides superficial wounds, his body was only slightly weakened?
What was going on?
Li Jinyu couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt and a hint of satisfaction as he saw the confusion in Huo Caiyu’s eyes. With every ounce of his spiritual power drained, he had nothing left to feign death or make a quick escape. But he didn’t regret it, not when he had used every last bit of his strength to save Huo Caiyu’s life and mend his wounds.
Looking at it now, it turned out that he wasn’t entirely useless!
Before he could accumulate his spiritual power once again, he couldn’t recklessly go out and become a target or attempt to provoke Hao Caiyu into killing him.
Li Jinyu looked at Huo Caiyu with a bit of grief and sighed inwardly. He and Huo Caiyu were supposed to be enemies, locked in an endless cycle of hostility and hatred. But somehow, they had found themselves in a situation where they were saving each other’s lives.
It’s all Huo Caiyu’s fault for not being willing to calmly plot to usurp the throne!
However, using spiritual power to heal the body was not the same as normal recovery, especially for a little demon like him who was a lazy cultivator. While it may alleviate immediate injuries, weakness and pain would likely persist in the long run for Hao Caiyu.
Li Jinyu felt a pang of heartache as he saw Huo Caiyu wince and sweat from moving his neck and forehead. “You’d better stay lying down. Just tell Zhen if you need anything to be done.”
Although Huo Caiyu yearned to sit up and find a safe place, he knew it was futile. He didn’t have the strength to move, let alone protect himself from any further harm.
“Your Majesty, do you remember what happened?”
Huo Caiyu was still in disbelief that their attackers had simply let them go. He couldn’t fathom why anyone would risk their lives to rescue them and then leave them in such a vulnerable state.
Li Jinyu scratched his fingers and coughed. “After revealing Zhen’s identity, Zhen finally subdued the assassins. They thought you were dead when you fell down, so they left on their own.”
In reality, Li Jinyu had taken matters into his own hands and rushed to pick up Huo Caiyu, running as fast as he could and leaving their assailants far behind. With his natural speed and endurance, no amount of training could have enabled their attackers to catch up with them.
Huo Caiyu felt that this reason sounded very strange and unreasonable, but when he questioned Li Jinyu again and again, he only repeated the same few sentences. If he asked again, he would just be too scared to remember.
So Huo Caiyu could only temporarily bury the doubts in his heart and ask a different question, “Does Your Majesty know where we are now?”
Li Jinyu scratched his fingers and looked a bit embarrassed. “Zhen doesn’t know.”
He ran in one direction all the way, so he didn’t know where they were now.
Huo Caiyu glanced at him slightly and sighed inwardly.
He knew that His Majesty had never left the palace and could not possibly know the location outside.
If His Majesty’s explanation was to be believed, and their attackers had not bothered to check whether they were truly dead or alive before leaving, then it was likely that they were still in the vicinity of the attack.
The most important thing now was to recover his strength as soon as possible, so that he could walk normally and lead His Majesty to a safe place.
As for those assassins…
They could have shot both His Majesty and himself, but they deliberately avoided His Majesty. They apparently knew His Majesty’s identity and most likely received orders not to harm him.
Huo Caiyu reflected for a moment. He had not made any private enemies before, and his father had died on the border, so he had no political enemies. If he had to say it, he had recently offended the Prime Minister’s faction.
Could the Prime Minister be so audacious?
In any case, he had to make sure they could safely return to the palace before holding the Prime Minister accountable.
Huo Caiyu took a deep breath and focused on recovering his strength as quickly as possible through cultivation. He knew that in his current weakened state, he would be unable to adequately protect Li Jinyu and could even become a liability.
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