Сhapter Four Breaking into the City
There had always been a legend in the Zhao family. According to the legend, Zhao Hao, the ancestor of the Zhao family, was born able to communicate with hundreds of birds. Later, he attracted a luan bird (1) from the sky, who transformed into a woman and married him, and his descendents acquired a certain special bloodline power.
The more verifiable family history was that the Zhao family, born and raised in Southern Yunnan, had produced witches and wizards for generations since ancient times. The chosen ones in the family were the clansmen with special bloodline powers.
The Zhao family was able to stay in Southern Yunnan for thousands of years, through all the dynasties, all because of the power of this bloodline.
However, this bloodline power needed to be awakened, and not every descendant of the Zhao family had this ability.
Back then, it was one of Zhao Shen and Zhao Yuan’s ancestors who used the power of his bloodline to save the Qing Dynasty at a critical moment. For saving the life of the Qing emperor, their ancestor was named the only king with a different surname in the Qing Dynasty.
The bloodline of the Zhao family could ward off a hundred poisons, but for several generations there was no one amongst the descendants who could truly awaken their power.
Zhao Shen was shocked and angry when he suddenly heard that his younger brother had awakened the power of his bloodline.
The power that saved the Qing emperor once had been dormant since then. He himself, his father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather… none of them had it.
What made the emperor even more surprised was that he and Zhao Yuan were twins. It was clear that Zhao Shen was the true dragon but the power of the bloodline was awakened in Zhao Yuan.
The emperor was also angry that Zhao Yuan had never revealed a word to him. Such an important matter related to his family and country, and he had never revealed a single word.
He was angry that his brother possessed such precious power but did not know how to cherish it and used it plainly and secretly.
It was important to know that once the power of the bloodline was used, the person who could have been immune to all poisons would be poisoned by his own blood and would no longer be able to have children, which was tantamount to relinquishing his inheritance.
The ancestor who saved the Qing Dynasty had already had children by then, otherwise the Zhao family would not be able to rule the world today.
Zhao Shen stared at him with wide eyes, ignoring the blood that he had coughed up. He grabbed Zhao Yuan’s robe sleeves tightly with both hands. He coughed more and more violently, and eventually he couldn’t say a word.
Zhao Yuan hurriedly helped the emperor. He knew his brother’s thoughts and motioned to the emperor to let go.
When the emperor released him, Zhao Yuan stepped back a few steps, first took off his breastplate and then pulled open his shirt. He showed a clear purple scar in the middle of his chest that looked like a bird tattoo.
Zhao Shen stared at the tattoo and knew that there could be no mistake.
At this point, the emperor’s mood was particularly complicated. He was both saddened and angry, but more than that, he was glad that his brother had used up the precious power that symbolised the most rightful heir of Zhao’s bloodline.
If Zhao Yuan still retained the awakened blood power at this moment, the throne would inevitably belong to him, and his son would have no chance of winning.
But now that this was the case, it was impossible for Zhao Yuan to have children, let alone inherit the throne.
Zhao Yuan looked up at the emperor and knew from his tired and peaceful expression that the emperor was relieved.
After a long time, Zhao Shen calmed down and asked, “Was it when you were a hostage in the capital?”
Zhao Yuan was out of the control of the family only during that period of time. He had nothing to hide and nodded, “Yes.”
The imperial family of the Qing Dynasty was jealous of the Zhao family. Counting Zhao Shen, they had already asked the Zhao family to send three generations of children to the capital. But it happened that this generation had twins. The Zhao family had concealed it since the birth of the two of them. In three years, they reported to the imperial court that they had given birth to two sons, which created an illusion that the brothers were born in different times.
Later, the Zhao family sent Zhao Yuan to the capital to replace Zhao Shen as a hostage. Since the Zhao family had been dissident for many years, Zhao Yuan was naturally regarded as a sacrificial pawn by default.
It was just that he was lucky enough to get the opportunity to return to Southern Yunnan alive.
Zhao Shen already knew that his brother was no longer a threat, but he still had one more thing to ask, “Who is that person?”
Zhao Yuan knelt down and bowed, “Forgive your brother for not telling.”
Zhao Shen glanced at his younger brother, feeling a headache, knowing that he would not say anything.
After thinking deeply, Zhao Shen gave up asking questions. He knew that Zhao Yuan was too resistant to be forced, and his eldest son would have to get along with his uncle for a few years in the future.
Zhao Yuan was needed to hold tight onto the military power, to strengthen the dynasty, to clean up the situation and also to help Heng Er suppress his other uncles.
Throughout the dynasties, there had been one position that was even more uncomfortable than the throne, and from ancient times to the present, among those who occupied it, few had ended well.
Zhao Shen wanted to push his younger brother into this position, and he wanted him to do his best for a few years to plan for Heng Er.
Who Zhao Yuan used the power of his bloodline to save was of great importance. It was a very important means to restrain Su Wang, and this matter needed to be checked carefully.
Zhao Shen’s expression was subtle, and he turned to discussing the siege of the city.
At this point, he had no worries, so he made up his mind and said, “Attack the city as soon as possible, I want to watch you take the capital.”
Zhao Shen had a resolute mind. At this moment, he had accepted the reality that he was terminally ill. He directly gave up the possibility of commanding in person and turned to the next best thing. He hoped to take the city as soon as possible and enter the Forbidden City while he was still alive.
If he died, he would die in Dacheng Hall.
Zhao Yuan finally could hear the emperor’s instructions to send the troops, and he did not hesitate to issue a military order. “The day after tomorrow at noon Your Majesty will be invited to enter the palace. Your brother will live up to Your Majesty’s trust!”
When Zhao Yuan ordered the attack to begin, he had already made a decision. Once he made a decision, all the crazy thoughts in his heart stopped, and his mood was as calm as a deep pool.
Two days later, the capital was invaded for the second time within a month. This time, it was not the scattered peasant army that poured in, but the Southern Yunnan royal army with strict military discipline.
It was just that the city was more chaotic than when the rebel army broke in.
Ping An was holding a knife in his hand, and his body was splattered with blood. After killing two people in a row, the young man who was always gentle and thin burst out with amazing hostility.
Li Yi saw several horses galloping towards them in the distance and hurriedly stretched out his hand to pull Ping An into the alley. As soon as his hand touched the person, Ping An turned his head fiercely, the knife clenched in his fist.
Both of them were startled.
Ping An’s eyes turned red, and his hand holding the knife trembled with tension and excitement. He arched his back and his muscles tightened.
“Hurry up, horses are coming, let’s avoid them first,” Li Yi said extremely fast.
Whether it was the rebel army or the royal army of Southern Yunnan, those who could ride horses were either elite cavalry or upper ranks. Encountering anyone with Ping An’s shabby kung fu would just lead to death.
Ping An was still rigid as he was dragged into the alley by Li Yi.
The horses ran past, the wind blowing into the alley. Li Yi dragged Ping An holding him tightly and stuck him behind piles of garbage and debris in the small alley, trying to hide their whole figures.
Zhao Yuan hurtled past an alley and went straight into a city house. As soon as the capital was invaded, he took a few of his followers and left the troops to search for someone.
As the deputy commander, Yuchi Rui received the report from the city: Su Wang actually threw away the army right after he broke through the city walls? He was so angry that he was not afraid to be heard by his subordinates, saying fiercely: “The Lord must be confused. Jing Wang is already bringing his men to the palace! It’s obvious that we breached the city, and we’re just one breath away from welcoming the Emperor into the palace, but we’re giving away the greatest honour of all just like that!”
Zhao Yuan had already rushed to that place at this moment. Jumping down before the horse stopped, he flew straight into the house, and his trusted people quickly got off their horses to follow. The horses were left outside and the people went in.
Zhao Yuan broke into the front yard, and when he saw the scene in front of him, his heart thudded.
There was a corpse of a rebel soldier lying in the yard. He hurried into the house. In the hall, there were one, two, three… many corpses strewn here and there in various poses. Some were rebel troops and the identity of others were unknown.
He had checked the main hall and the main house, then turned to the wing room. Only then did he see a man looking like a scholar lying by the window. His figure was thin, his hands hanging on the low couch bed were white and slender and his back was soaked with blood. At first glance, one could see that he had been stabbed through the heart from behind.
Zhao Yuan never thought that he would be afraid of seeing a dead body.
Two men from his entourage followed in, and when they saw Zhao Yuan standing motionless, they instinctively wanted to go forward to check the corpse and took a couple of steps closer.
Zhao Yuan let out a cry, shocking them into stopping abruptly.
The two of them immediately looked around and saw that there was no danger. They looked back at Su Wang with some confusion and saw him walk forward quickly, then pause again when he was about to reach out to check the body.
Zhao Yuan finally turned over the scholar lightly, and the next moment he was already standing up, his face full of relief.
The front and back courtyards were searched, but Zhao Yuan did not find the one he was looking for. He did not expect that even though the city was broken into, the whereabouts of that person was still unknown.
Li Yi, where the h*ll are you?