The moonlight was unstable and a dark cloud invaded the moon. The night wind suddenly rose, and the broken paper window gave off a rustling noise.
Suddenly, a cold wind broke through the window, making the old-fashioned curtain swing around all over the place. On the bed, Li Yuanmin in his sleep, clutched the bedding tightly. Cold sweat dripped from his forehead.
In a daze, Li Yuanmin fell into a sea of blood.
What entered his eyes was bloody dark-red scenes. Severed heads and limbs were all piled up, turning into a bumpy small hill. The sticky blood gathered together and became a river, soaking the bottom of his shoes.
A dense fishy stench that made people nauseous filled the air.
In the distance, a giant behemoth roared. It raised its forefoot high, and instantly crushed the besieging crowd in front of him. There was a flutter of giggling sounds, then a wave of blood half a person’s height splashed over.
The tremor that shook the world came from under its feet, and the behemoth stepped in his direction.
The people who were besieging were endless. They advanced wave upon wave to kill the behemoth, and pledged on their life not to give up. But, the difference in powers from both sides were too great. Those people were no different from ants in front of the behemoth, and they were instantly trampled into meat pulps.
“No….” Li Yuanmin could barely squeeze out a sound.
He couldn’t move. He could only watch the behemoth get closer and engulf him with the huge wave of blood it brought with it.
He could barely stand still. He opened his pair of eyes with difficulty, and suddenly saw the densely packed arrows on the body of the behemoth. It turned out that the dark colors on its body were all arrow feathers. One layer crammed with countless arrows, then countless arrows were stuck between all the small cracks. Layer upon layer, it was endless.
The behemoth roared to the sky anxiously, splashing more bloody waves.
The fight was never-ending.
“No….” He cried.
The behemoth finally fell down in front of him. As the huge body pressed against him, Li Yuanmin was strangely not afraid, but just sad. Inexplicably sad.
A burst of immense force swept over him, circled him into a warm and calm world. The behemoth whimpered and blood poured out of its mouth. The pitch-black pupils turned dim.
Li Yuanmin walked over. Leaning his forehead against the tip of its wet nose, tears streamed down his face.
“Don’t be afraid.” Li Yuanmin rubbed against him and choked up, “… Don’t be afraid.”
All the killing sounds gradually disappeared, and the bloody smell as thick as fog around him suddenly dispersed. Within the mountain of corpses and sea of blood, Li Yuanmin and the dying behemoth snuggled up together.
“Don’t be afraid.”
Li Yuamin whispered.
Even though it was just a dream, he could still feel the heat on its body.
The night wind gradually died down and the still moon surpassed the black cloud and came out. The silver light poured down on earth, and the Western Palace sank into a moment of silence.
Li Yuanmin’s brows gradually eased. A teardrop slipped from the corner of his eyes, slowly drying up on his black hair.
The Autumn Selection day was a day with good weather. After three consecutive days of heavy snow, the sky was clear. The sky above the imperial city was blue, cloudless, and as vast and calm as a waveless sea.
Even many years later, Li Yuanmin would still remember that day.
That was because his fate had changed. He made a decision completely different from his previous life. From now on, his fate will be reversed. It’s just that the him in that time didn’t know where he could have gone to and was terrified, thus he persisted in fear.
He was like an old man moving forward blindly, his journey seemed endless. However, he didn’t have any way out of it. The abyss behind his back fixed its eyes on him, seemingly wanting to swallow him up at any time. Thus, he can only get rid of the fear of this gaze by moving forward.
Inside Zhong Cui Palace, Wang Guifei who got up late was still being dressed inside the Palace. The three Princes were waiting for her outside the Palace.
Li Yuanlang and Li Yuanmin sat at the bottom of the hall, and the Fourth Prince, Li Yuanxu, who had not shown his face for more than a month, sat in the front seat. He had already put on a grand official robe, and was leaning against the pillow, throwing a few fennel beans into his mouth from time to time with a bored expression.
These past days, he had been constantly watched over in the side palace hall memorizing Wujia. He was vexed long ago. Last night, Wang Guifei had finally lifted his restriction. However, today was a hard fight and it was even more the case that he couldn’t make a ruckus. Remembering this made his head hurt.
Then when it was Mao shi (between 5-7am), Qing He and a group of palace maids came in to replenish their tea for the third time.
“Royal Mother is not ready yet?” Li Yuanxu asked impatiently.
Qing He bowed her head, and said: “Niang Niang had felt sleepless these past few days for the purpose of Autumn Selection today. She became even more exhausted from overthinking. In the end, she became tired and woke up late today.”
Li Yuanlang after hearing this, seemed to be deeply moved. He sighed: “Royal Mother has really worked hard.”
Li Yuanxu waved his hand nonchalantly: “Royal Mother must have over thought it. Uncle had already said that the old fox, Sima Ji, has always been at odds with the Left Prime Minister. So, how could he let their Dizi* to be Eldest Imperial Brother’s golden assistant? Could there be a better choice than this prince?”
(Dizi: heir or son of first wife)
The corner of his eyes swept a glance at Li Yuanmin who was beside him. The other party was still the same disdained child as before. Both of his hands were drooped down besides his body, and his chin was lowered. He seemed to have the look of a bullied person. He should be like this, and act like this. But Li Yuanlang knew this delicate like leather bag image actually was not the truth.
(Ciacia/N: Poor LYL for having been traumatized by LYM, LMAO.)
What happened that day in the corridor had become a grave disease in his heart. It would call for him every night. He couldn’t help be fearful.
But he couldn’t tell what was wrong.
What made him even more fearful was that in just a few months, Li Yuanmin had unexpectedly seized Wang Guifei who had once regarded him not as good as a dog. These days, Li Yuanmin had become a precious guest of Zhong Cui Palace, and his status had even slightly overshadowed him. Thus, how can he rest easily? But he didn’t know how all of this happened. More importantly-what exactly did this bi*ch want to do?
With a dark undercurrent surging in his eyes, he calmly looked at Li Yuanmin for a while. The other party was still the same as before without any reaction, as if he had become a rigid puppet. He calmly sat on the drooped chair.
He couldn’t help but squint his eyes slightly, with some schemes in his mind. He turned his head to face Li Yuanxu who was in the front seat, and smiled warmly:
“I haven’t seen Fourth Brother for many days, but you’re a lot thinner than before. Presumably these times spent on doing homework had left some progress?”
Not saying anything was fine, but once mentioned, Li Yuanxu gave a disgusting tsk as soon as he said it.
“Second Brother, is it possible that you don’t know how I’ve always been fed up with those Classical Literatures. Don’t even talk about progression, these past few days, I could only toss from side to side inside the Palace.” Having evoked unpleasant memories, Li Yuanxu’s eyes turned dark and somewhat resentful, “Cao Gang, that old and ignorant man, was old-fashioned and stubborn. These few days, he nearly exposed the layer under my skin. It’s truly infuriating. Right now, I can’t do anything to him. However, this grievance will be repaid!”
If one knew Li Yuanxu, then they would know that this was definitely not just all talk.
Li Yuanmin was in a daze for a moment. He fixed his eyes on the figure, and tightly grabbed the armrest.
Red Tiger Army’s military adviser, Cao Gang. Nowadays, he was just an Imperial School’s graduate soured by his loss of hope. Later in his life, his unyielding temperament was the reason he offended the Fourth Prince, and was demoted to be a commoner. Later, he was inspired by Ni Lie to join the army. Of the two of them, one was unparalleled and brave, while another could make great judgements. Indeed, unstable situations lie great opportunities. The Red Tiger Army, originally, had only five thousand soldiers guarding at the border to protect the city walls. Several short years after that, it developed into a heaven splitting sword, able to overturn the whole country.
It turned out that everything was retribution.
Li Yuanlang followed Li Yuanxu since he was a child, and he was clear about his temperament, so he followed along:
“As a beloved son, naturally the plan was far-reaching for you. Royal Mother’s love for her son isn’t fake, and only seeing that the long-standing reputation of Cao Gang as a talented scholar, she specifically invited him over to teach you. Who would have known this guy was annoying and stubborn in temper. These past few days had really been hard on Fourth Brother.”
“If Royal Mother was too worried about everything, she should have discussed with me.” Li Yuanxu sneered: “Everyone knows that Imperial Father had always treated us at Zhong Cui Palace differently. Is there any other palace as good as this one? Eldest Imperial Brother just has a good uncle, but is there anything else he can compare with this prince? Everyone has a good pair of eyes, so how could they have not seen the future of this…”
He paused, even though he was mad and rebellious, he knew that there were some things he couldn’t say at the moment. He just snorted and said confidently: “Fortunately, after today, Royal Mother can finally relax.”
“That’s right.” Li Yuanlang’s gaze turned deep: “She could finally relax.”
He turned his face sideways. He looked at Li Yuanmin, the corners of his mouth floated into a smile: “What do you think?”
Li Yuanmin nodded slightly: “Yes.”
“Oh?” Li Yuanxu cast a sidelong glance at the person sitting on the back. He swept over him up and down several times. He ridiculed: “When could this old gentleman also enter and leave Zhong Cui Palace?”
Li Yuanmin didn’t answer him.
It was Li Yuanlang who answered: “These few days, luckily we had Third Royal Highness to relieve some of Royal Mother’s worries.”
Li Yuanxu’s face was a bit uneasy. Yesterday, Li Yuanlang had long been adding oil and vinegar in front of him (making him angry and jealous), so his heart was a bit unhappy. It didn’t matter if other people curried favor with Zhong Cui Palace, but this son of a bi*ch in front of him won’t do. Not to mention, his status is low. Just looking at that ominous body brought bad luck. He didn’t know what his Royal Mother was thinking to actually come into contact with him. So, he spoke unceremoniously.
“Third Royal Highness? Isn’t he just a not man nor woman unlucky thing born from a bi*ch? How does he deserve to be called His Highness?”
If these words were spoken behind someone’s back, then it would be greatly inappropriate, let alone speaking of it in front of someone. This was formless murder. Li Yuanlang no longer answered any words. He only showed a few hidden smiles and glanced scornfully at his side.
However, the other party wasn’t a bit angry. He only sat there with a numb face, just like a stone without any emotions.
Li Yuanlang was sick of his expressions. Before, it was fine, but nowadays after he recovered, he didn’t even react. This made Li Yuanlang want to tear down this layer of hypocritical leather image even more. He was about to think of new methods to incite Li Yuanxu again, when there were movements inside the Palace. The bead curtains were lifted, the ornaments gave out a sound, and Wang Chaoluan, dressed in splendid clothes walked out slowly from inside the palace hall.