There was a circle of people in front of the stage. Besides the Eldest Prince, Li Yuanqian who was recuperating from a cold at Rong Hua Palace, the rest of the Princes were all here. On the right side of the stage, there was a seat with no curtain and seated there was Empress Sima’s only daughter, the beautiful Princess Li Si. She was hiding in her wet nurse’s bosom, looking at the iron cage on the stage rather fearfully and curiously. (Ciacia/N: Your typical lady is here~)
There was a bloody youngster half-kneeling inside the cage, opposite him was a clear black furred, tall, strong mastiff. It looked up at the sky and hissed, alarming the birds on the branch to flee in all directions.
Although he knew what he was about to see, Li Yuanmin still paled the same way as he did in his previous life.
He recognized that boy and the fierce beast in the cage. It was “Xiao Tian” from the Fourth Prince Palace. In his previous life, he couldn’t avoid getting intimidated by it. Xiao Tian’s nature was fierce and violent. Every day, live animals were used to feed and raise his ferociousness. There were even rumors that if the Zhong Cui Palace’s workers offended Wang Guifei’s inverse scale (her weakness – her son), they would be thrown into the cage directly to be fed.
This kind of bloodthirsty beast shouldn’t be displayed for people to watch here.
But seeing the cage was already reeking of blood, that youngster grabbed the iron cage’s pole and vigilantly looked at the front. He was covered in blood all over his body. His shoulder, back and thigh had been torn and had several deep cuts already. His flesh was twitching terribly and the bloody mess had provoked Xiao Tian’s killing nerve. It opened its mouth and saliva dripped from the corner of its mouth. It let out a dangerous rumbling noise from its throat. Very quickly, it leaped forward.
Li Yuanmin trembled, then moved his head away, unable to bear to look anymore.
Seeing that Xiao Tian was about to tear the slave up, everyone’s eyes became more excited. Unexpectedly, the slave rolled on the spot, then charged forward, and directly climbed up on Xiao Tian’s back. Xiao Tian scrambled up and down, while the slave’s finger gripped on tightly. It almost pinched into the neck of the mastiff. Xiao Tian began to move wildly.
Li Yuanxu’s eyes turned red: “You beast, bite him to death!”
He whipped the iron frame, making a huge sound. Xiao Tian’s turned red quickly. It went to knock on the iron wall violently. The wounds on the slave were hit by the iron railing, causing blood to splash all over the place. Finally, he fell down in pain. (Ciacia/N: I swear Imma die ten of thousand of times if I were him, *sobs* so pitiful.)
Everyone held their breath, excitedly waiting for Xiao Tian to give the final blow. (Ciacia/N: Y’all sickos!!)
However, unexpectedly, that slave’s speed was oddly fast. He landed on the ground and shot back with force. He hugged Xiao Tian’s neck and his two legs held its belly. Contrary to what one would expect, he rigidly took a bite of the mastiff’s neck.
Blood splashed out instantly.
The mastiff was moving frantically, roaring and trying to throw the person off. The slave’s vein suddenly burst and a fierce-looking appearance flashed. His teeth were full of strength, then he unexpectedly tore off Xiao Tian’s blood vessels. Scarlet blood resembling a gushing spring splashed out from the wound. The mastiff trembled. Its violent pulse slowed down, and finally it dropped on the ground with its limbs twitching.
Complete silence. The slave slowly stood up, body covered with blood.
At the corner, Li Yuanmin’s back was soaked with sweat.
Everyone could hardly believe that a ten-year-old little slave actually killed Li Yuanxu’s bloodthirsty beast with his bare hands.
However, Li Yuanxu was not angry. Instead, there was a ray of excitement in his eyes.
“It’s really a monster born from a human beast traitor. Hehe, I finally found my baby!”
A delicate, soft voice confusingly asked: “Elder Imperial Brother, what is a human beast traitor?”
The person who asked was the beautiful Princess Li Si. She was already more than 10 years old and had a fair, oval face similar to that of Empress Sima. Beautiful and elegant at such a young age, Emperor Mingde was extremely fond of her. Therefore, even as a princess, she could still attend the Imperial School.
Li Yuanxu was about to explain, but he heard Li Yuanlang cough and realized it was not appropriate. He smiled,
“Sixth Imperial Sister is still young, so you can’t hear these kinds of filthy things. Were you shocked just now?”
(Ciacia/N: Wow, dude, you realized it’s inappropriate? Filthy too? Actually, you are the filthy one.)
Li Si knew that Li Yuanxu didn’t want to say it. She frowned, “Fourth Imperial Brother don’t need to change the topic, why can’t I know of it? If Fourth Imperial Brother doesn’t wish to speak, I will go to Imperial Father and complain that you bullied me.”
Li Yuanxu laughed loudly, calling out the injustice.
“Good Imperial Sister, how can this Fourth Imperial Brother bully you?”
He ticked Li Si’s elegant nose, then picked up some words to tell her,
“The Father of this slave was Ni Yan, a courageous general back in the day, who lost the Nan Tai 16 Prefecture. Hearsay, that Ni Yan strayed into the mountains when he was young, and was rescued by a tigress. Later on, he shamelessly conceived a child with this animal and gave birth to this slave here. Tsk tsk, this Ni Yan was born of humble origin. If it weren’t for his ability to lead soldiers in battle, how could Imperial Father give him the Jiangbei camp. Unfortunately, even a brilliant person like Imperial Father can make error judgments at times. A low life is still a low life in the end, how can he be gracious and noble when he actually would have s*x with an animal and give birth to a small beast that is even more ferocious than Xiao Tian.”
“Human and animal…”
Li Si’s eyes widened in disbelief. She immediately frowned. She saw the stubborn slave staggering onto Xiao Tian’s trembling body to suck the blood that flowed out of his neck. Originally, she was sympathetic, but when she heard of his life experience, and saw him sucking the blood of a domestic animal like a terrible beast, she couldn’t help feeling disgusted.
“Ah, Fourth Imperial Brother, quickly send someone to take this blood-consuming slave away, he’s making people want to puke.”
Li Yuanxu stood up. He looked at the blood stains in the cage with interest, and touched the beautiful princess’s head.
“Sixth Imperial Sister isn’t aware (raw said 5th sister but maybe it’s a typo?), but this slave was cut off of water and rice for two days already. At this moment, even giving a load of stinky poop from the public bucket*, he will also gladly eat it.” (Ciacia/N: Gong Bucket: ancient toilet bucket)
He took a few pastries and threw them in the cage.
“What is this slave’s name?”
Yeyou Court’s servant said with a smiling face: “Master, His name is Ni Lie. He changed his surname according to Yeyou’s regulation. Ni is the fierce beast’s Ni (Ni in Ni Lie means fierce beast), and lie is the lie from fierce fire.”
“Alright, Ni Lie.”
Li Yuanxu squatted down and looked at the boy in the cage.
“My mastiff is dead, now it’s up to you to replace it.”
“This….” the servant smiled at him, “Your Highness, Yeyou Court’s slaves cannot stay inside the Imperial Palace. Moreover, this slave’s origin is fierce and savage, I’m afraid he will offend the nobles.”
How could Li Yuanxu miss the meaning behind his words. Before he could flare up, Li Yuanlang who was waiting respectfully at the side had already spoken out:
“Fourth Royal Highness said he needed it. You guys from Yeyou Court killed our mastiff. What, do you not want to compensate him for one now? Besides, our Fourth Royal Highness’s uncle is the governor of the defense camp, who’s in charge of the Palace Forbidden power. If he finds out, wouldn’t you be blamed?”
The servant wanted to speak again, but Li Yuanlang’s fierce eyes darkened with killing intent. The servant could only swallow back his words in his throat.
“Since the Fourth Royal Highness took a fancy to him….it could be considered this slave’s blessing.”
Li Yuanxu laughed with satisfaction. He touched the ring on his hand full of spirits, while Li Yuanlang behind him also showed a subtle sneer.
That night, Li Yuanmin started to have nightmares again.
It was that rainy day in his dream.
A child clutched his shirt tightly,
“Palace maid Jiejie*…don’t forget A Li*….” (Ciacia/N: As most of you have probably known that using “A” before a name is to show affection or closeness. And Jiejie is elder sister, just thought that using Chinese Pinyin here sounds better than the actual English word!)
Li Yuanmin’s palace maid cloth used to conceal his identity was soaked. He only touched his wet face, softly soothing:
“Alright, A Li, I won’t forget you. You drink this medicine. After three days, you will be free. From now on…. Jiejie can no longer take care of you. You will be alone outside…you have to take good care of yourself.”
(Ciacia/N: Ni Lie: Pretty Jiejie, why don’t you want to help again in this lifetime, so I can give you my seed later, umm?, *puppy eyes*. AGFFFDGD, I’m a sinner!)
The rain in the dream was still heavy. Thunder roared, shaking the earth.
Li Yuanmin sat up abruptly, panting.
The night wind pushed opened the window and the moonlight shone in from the outside, filling the ground with its radiance.
Li Yuanmin looked at the ground blankly. He curled up slowly, hugged his knees and buried his face deep inside.
The cold wind blew in, making his back and neck turn cold.
In the next few days, Li Yuanmin went to the Imperial School as usual. Everything seemed to have returned to its original appearance. He was still the same humble existence of Imperial School. The only difference from his previous life was that he didn’t try to save that child, nor did he pretend to give him food and medicines for his injuries, nor did he tell him stories during the night. His heart no longer had the terrified and self-harm feeling. He was only left with barrenness. But he couldn’t help thinking of the past.
That child really was too hardworking.
Previously, he thought that the two of them had never seen each other so far. He was trapped inside the Palace as a puppet, while Ni Lie was struggling to survive. Yet unexpectedly, they still had the chance to meet again.
Meeting him again was at the great victory of Yinzhou. As the Commander in Chief, he entered the capital to receive his title.
Li Yuanmin, wearing the Emperor’s heavy crown, looked at the child he saved in the hall through his heavy bead curtain.
He had grown up and became stronger. He was even taller than the other Generals in the Hall. Li Yuanmin was very pleased. He wanted to have a talk with him (NL). Maybe he remembered his appearance, or maybe he couldn’t remember it, but he wanted to ask him if he had remembered his “Jiejie”? Perhaps his face would become hot when he asked that, or maybe they would give each other a clear and bright smile, and have the past be bygones.
But he had no choice. He didn’t even have the authority to call him. Everything he did was controlled by the Sima Family.
However, the one who came to receive the rewards and title wasn’t the outstanding commander-in-chief, with many military results from many years of bloody battles, Ni Lie. Rather, it was Sima Yu’s trusted aide, Governor Lu Su.
“A cheap slave from Yeyou Court, how could he shoulder the weight of this honor? Your Majesty shouldn’t care about this military affair.”
Although, one of them was the Emperor, and the other party was the Commander in Chief, but they were both nothing but a small presence in the face of authority.
Li Yuanmin looked at the tall and lonely figure standing at the end of the group in the Palace Hall. He carefully looked after him for many years. He understood his loneliness so well that his heart started to hurt. He thought that he must look for Marquis Zhenbei to give that child a title, even if the title only existed in name.
However, afterwards, he knew of him (NL), but he (NL) didn’t know of him.
“Fourth Imperial Brother, is that slave in your Palace tamed?”
The words of the Eldest Prince awakened Li Yuanmin, and Li Yuanxu chuckled.
“Naturally, but this slave unexpectedly has some backbone. My Palace’s servants couldn’t do anything about it. But luckily, due to Second Brother’s many ideas, the slave had been won over.”
“Fourth Brother had entrusted me a task, how can I not do my best?”
Li Yuanlang, who was waiting respectfully behind him, smiled: “But this slave was even more difficult to tame than the Xiao Tian in the past. It took me more than half a month to tame it, and it was still fierce and untamable. Fortunately, I went to the Tai Chang’s temple to investigate. Originally, this guy had a younger sister born from the same womb at Jiaofang department. That day, I cut his little sister’s little finger and threw it before his eyes. That slave’s eyes turned bloody red, how could he not give in and be obedient.”
Finished talking, he seemed to become quite interested.
“At this moment, Imperial teacher Wujing isn’t here. Why don’t Fourth Brother bring Eldest Brother to see the slave? Last time, Eldest Brother didn’t get to see the appearance of this slave tearing apart Xiao Tian.”
“Oh?” Li Yuanqian had long heard of this phenomenon, but he was somewhat curious, “I want to see how vigilant and brave this slave is.”
Li Yuanxu rarely won over Li Yuanqian in terms of power, so he couldn’t help but smirk in his heart. His tone was somewhat content.
“It’s just not big talk this time. This slave’s fierce nature, even with Eldest Brother’s knowledge, Eldest Brother still may not have seen it before.”
Finished speaking, he winked to his side, “Go, bring him here!”
Li Yuanxu’s attendant went to execute his order.
With sharp eyes, Li Yuanlang grabbed Li Yuanmin who was about to leave his seat.
“What are you intending to do? Don’t want to look at Fourth Royal Highness’s fierce beast?”
Li Yuanmin’s eyes drooped, “… My body doesn’t feel well, it’s not appropriate to remain here.”
Li Yuanxu’s face was a little uneasy. He managed to tame this slave, so he wanted to show it off in front of everyone. Unexpectedly, someone was dampening his spirits. However, the Eldest Imperial Prince was here, boasting about his own status was no good. He only raised his eyes to look at him and sneered:
“You don’t know what’s good or bad. Quickly leave to avoid agitating this Royal Highness.”
Li Yuanmin was silent. Seemingly used to this kind of insult, he only raised both hands to clasp them together, and went away without a sound.