Chapter 75.2 Chip Chip Chip~
Upon reaching the battlefield, Huo Caiyu realized something was amiss.
The two conflicting parties in the battle were not the Di Dynasty and Jiao Kingdom, but rather two factions from the Jiao Kingdom.
No wonder the old man confidently warned him not to come closer… It seemed he knew that the two factions involved in this battle had no relation to him.
Unfortunately, both sides had already spotted him and directed their attention towards him.
Huo Caiyu let out a sigh of resignation, but he wasn’t particularly afraid.
These two groups claimed to be engaged in battle, but they had limited weapons and relied mostly on martial arts. The warriors among them were clearly not the elite ones.
Although Huo Caiyu was alone, his martial skills easily dominated these ordinary people. Soon, he had taken down over a dozen Jiao Kingdom fighters who rashly charged at him.
The remaining individuals, witnessing Huo Caiyu’s formidable prowess, displayed fear and scattered in all directions to escape.
Huo Caiyu’s gaze swept across the area, keenly sensing something unusual. Both sides had a group of people huddled together desperately fleeing, seemingly protecting someone of importance.
Once something was discovered, action could not be avoided.
Without hesitation, Huo Caiyu left behind the fallen Jiao Kingdom fighters at his side and rode his horse to catch up with one of the groups. This group not only consisted of riders but also pulled several carts, moving at a slow pace. Huo Caiyu quickly caught up with them.
Dealing with the surrounding guards effortlessly, Huo Caiyu cast a mysterious gaze at the pale-faced young man lying on the ground.
The young man wore a robe adorned with an embroidered silver wolf head, indicating exquisite craftsmanship. He had jingling silver ornaments hanging from his neck, clearly signifying a distinguished status.
The golden wolf head symbolized the ruler of Jiao Kingdom, while the silver wolf head represented princes, princesses, and tribal leaders who held a slightly lower rank than the ruler.
Judging by the young man’s age, he didn’t seem capable of assuming the role of a chief of a large tribe.
Huo Caiyu raised an eyebrow and asked in Jiao Kingdom language, “Which prince are you?”
Previously, when the Jiao Kingdom envoy went to the capital of Di Dynasty under the guise of tribute but with the intention of showing off their military might, they managed to capture a prince. Valuable information was extracted from that prince through interrogation.
The reason why Huo Caijin could advance so quickly with his army was also because they had acquired a significant amount of information about Jiao Kingdom.
The young man gritted his teeth and, just as he was about to speak, the sword against his neck pressed inward slightly. “Think carefully before answering. I don’t have that much patience.”
With his life hanging by a thread, the young man’s face revealed a trace of humiliation as he replied, “I am Bake.”
“The thirteenth prince of the Jiao’s King.” Huo Caiyu raised an eyebrow.
Unlike in Di Dynasty, where there were no successors, the Jiao King had many children and grandchildren, numbering in the tens. Di Dynasty had already extracted the names of the major princes and princesses from the captive Sangtuo.
“Who is on the other side?”
“It’s my sixth brother, Soutu.”
“Why did it escalate into a fight?”
Bake clenched his fist and lowered his head as he answered, “Soutu attempted to seize my wealth.”
Li Jinyu lay against Huo Caiyu’s chest, filled with questions.
The Di Dynasty’s army had reached their doorstep, yet these two Jiao Kingdom princes were fighting over wealth in such a remote place?
Could it be that the royal capital had already been breached, and that was why these Jiao Kingdom nobles had fled?
Huo Caiyu had the same doubt, “Has Di Dynasty already captured the royal capital?”
Bake looked fearfully at Huo Caiyu, hesitated, and then shook his head, “The Di Dynasty’s army doesn’t dare to enter the city now.”
Huo Caiyu narrowed his eyes slightly, “Then why did you all run away?”
Bake’s body stiffened, and he hesitated to speak.
Huo Caiyu lightly tapped the blade of his sword, creating a small cut on Bake’s neck.
The pain and fear caused Bake’s whole body to tremble, and a hint of terror appeared in his eyes, “Because our Father King has gone mad.”
Li Jinyu asked with surprise, “Mad?”
Bake paused and looked around in confusion, “Who’s talking?”
Li Jinyu suddenly realized that he was still a little hamster and quickly pulled his head back into Huo Caiyu’s collar, pretending he hadn’t said anything.
Huo Caiyu wanted to laugh inwardly but managed to suppress it, maintaining a serious expression as he asked, “How did he go mad?”
Bake suspiciously glanced around for a while, not seeing anything unusual, then answered Huo Caiyu’s question, “Father King killed many people, even our brothers were taken and offered to the god Jiao, and he kills every day…”
By the end, Bake’s voice was trembling, and his face had turned pale. “A few of us brothers planned to escape from the royal capital. I and Soutu agreed to leave together and find refuge in a nearby tribe. But here, he suddenly attacked me and stole my treasures!”
Huo Caiyu understood.
Li Jinyu listened attentively, his ear perked up against Huo Caiyu’s collar. Internally, he estimated the timing of when the Jiao Kingdom’s monarch began to go mad and wondered how to hint at Huo Caiyu to ask about it. To his surprise, Huo Caiyu asked as if they had a telepathic connection, “When did he start killing people?”
Bake thought for a moment and answered uncertainly, “Around the third lunar month?”
Third lunar month.
Li Jinyu suddenly felt palpitations. When he transformed into a hamster, he sensed that the national fortune of the Di Dynasty was being disturbed at that time.
It seemed that the Jiao Kingdom’s monarch was sacrificing living people…
Huo Caiyu also thought of this, his expression turning slightly darker.
Although Jiao Kingdom was not under the rule of the Di Dynasty, he still found the act of sacrificing living people abhorrent.
“I’ve said everything. Can I leave now?” Bake asked tentatively, observing Huo Caiyu’s pensive demeanor.
Huo Caiyu glanced at him, pondered for a moment, and then retracted his sword.
Bake breathed a sigh of relief, scrambling to his feet, eager to depart.
However, Huo Caiyu firmly grasped his shoulder and before Bake could react, placed something in his mouth. Then, with a pat on Bake’s back, he made him swallow it. “This is a specially prepared poison. You better follow me obediently.”
Wide-eyed, Bake reached into his throat, attempting to regurgitate what he had just swallowed.
“If you spit it out, you can say goodbye to your head.”
Bake froze in place.
“Don’t worry, I won’t kill you. I just need you to lead the way.”
“Lead the way to where? Where are you going?”
Huo Caiyu smiled faintly, “To the royal capital.”
Huo Caiyu only took Bake with him on the journey and had no interest in the other guards.
However, those guards were still loyal, trailing behind with Bake’s wealth in tow.
With Bake as their guide and Li Jinyu able to discern directions, they made much faster progress.
However, it was inconvenient for Huo Caiyu and Li Jinyu to be intimate with another person around.
Worried about startling Bake to death, Li Jinyu obediently remained in his hamster form, nestled in Huo Caiyu’s palm.
The two of them sat by the campfire, whispering softly to each other.
“Where did you get the poison from?”
“It’s not poison.” Huo Caiyu’s voice, filled with a smile, formed into a thread of internal energy that only reached Li Jinyu’s ears. “It’s a peanut.”
Li Jinyu: “…Won’t he notice?”
“Even if he does, so what?” Huo Caiyu gently scratched the little hamster’s head. “I don’t want to resort to threatening him by breaking his arm. If he’s smart enough, even if he discovers it, he should pretend not to.”
Li Jinyu once again realized the cold ruthlessness with which Huo Caiyu treated his enemies.
But speaking of it, Huo Caiyu had matured a lot now.
Since his father died on the border, the previous Huo Caiyu always mentioned Jiao Kingdom with a hint of coldness and hostility. But now that he hasdactually set foot in Jiao Kingdom’s territory, he had become much more gentle than before.
Huo Caiyu noticed that Li Jinyu was lost in thought and lightly poked his butt. “Jinyu, what are you thinking about?”
Li Jinyu snapped back to reality, scratching his face with his front paws. He lowered his voice and said, “I’m just feeling a bit surprised. I didn’t expect you to harbor such little animosity towards the people of Jiao Kingdom.”
The smile on Huo Caiyu’s face faded slightly as he gently rubbed Li Jinyu’s head. “Those who incite wars are always the ones at the top. Most of the common people are innocent. Besides, since our goal is to integrate Jiao Kingdom into our territory, we naturally cannot harbor hatred towards the people here.”
Li Jinyu nodded, seeming to partially understand. He turned his head and glanced at Bake, who was sitting alone at a distance, tending to his own campfire. “Why are you bringing him along?”
Although Bake’s guidance on the terrain was useful, they already knew the direction to the capital of Jiao Kingdom, so there was no necessary reason to bring him along.
Huo Caiyu smiled and said, “Apart from the ruler, Jiao Kingdom’s other forces mostly exist in the form of tribes, with conflicting interests that are difficult to reconcile. If we want to gradually assimilate Jiao Kingdom and fully integrate its people into Di Dynasty, we cannot allow them to regroup. We have already captured one prince, and now by capturing another, we can divide the territory of Jiao Kingdom among them, causing competition among themselves. This will make the assimilation process much easier.”
Li Jinyu pondered for a moment and agreed, “Brother Huo, you have thought it through carefully.”
Huo Caiyu’s heart trembled at the address Li Jinyu used, wishing that Li Jinyu would turn back into human form now so they could be intimate together.
However, with the current circumstances and surroundings, he could only lower his head and affectionately chat with the little hamster by kissing its ears.
Despite sitting by his own small campfire, Bake’s eyes were constantly fixed on Huo Caiyu. Though he was being threatened to show the way, he could tell from Huo Caiyu’s skill and demeanor that this person from Di Dynasty was not ordinary.
Though Bake was compelled to guide them, he could sense from Huo Caiyu’s prowess and demeanor that this person from Di Dynasty held a significant status.
He pondered in his mind about what he should do next.
Bake was not a favored prince in Jiao Kingdom, always being on the outskirts of the royal court. He managed to survive till now by being able to read people and align himself with the right side.
The current situation in Jiao Kingdom had filled him with a hint of despair about the future.
Father King had lost his sanity, the tribal leaders were vying for power, and the forces of Di Dynasty were at the city gates…
Bake even considered whether he should take a gamble and side with Di Dynasty.
This person from Di Dynasty was no ordinary individual, and Bake was hesitating whether he should use this opportunity to test the waters and make contact with Di Dynasty.
However, this guy was engrossed every day in playing with the rat he carried around and even petting and cuddling it…
Bake shivered involuntarily.
Were people from Di Dynasty really that strange?
After a few days, Huo Caiyu arrived at the royal city of Jiao Kingdom, accompanied by the small tail he had picked up along the way.
The capital of Jiao Kingdom was perhaps the only place on the grasslands worthy of being called a “city.”
Although Huo Caiyu and Li Jinyu had never been to the capital city of Jiao Kingdom before, a royal city of a kingdom should not be as desolate as the one before their eyes.
The city gates were tightly shut, and there were no campfires or any sounds emanating from the towering walls. It felt like a lifeless city.
Outside, the banners of the Di Dynasty fluttered, completely surrounding the royal city.
Huo Caiyu glanced at Bake and asked, “How did you manage to escape?”
Bake looked at the royal city with a hint of fear in his eyes and replied, “When I left, the troops of the Di Dynasty hadn’t yet surrounded the city.”
In other words, Huo Caijin had also arrived at the royal city in the past few days.
Li Jinyu popped his head out and looked at the Di Dynasty army encircling the royal city without advancing, slightly puzzled.
Since they had already arrived, why weren’t they launching an attack on the city?
Huo Caiyu pondered for a moment and led Li Jinyu and Bake straight into the ranks of the Di Dynasty army.
After revealing their identities and requesting an audience with Huo Caijin, the siblings could see concern in each other’s eyes upon meeting.
After some brief pleasantries, Huo Caiyu inquired about the situation in the royal city, “Why is our army stationed outside and not moving?”
Huo Caijin’s face darkened slightly as he let out a sigh, “Something strange is going on inside.”
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