The Tyrant’s Cannon Fodder Male Empress Chapter 71

Chapter 71

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Because of the Seventh Prince’s extraordinary talent that exceeded the norm, Fourth Zhang first tested eighteen weapons on the Fifth Prince and the Sixth Prince.

The Fifth Prince believed he was suited for using meteor hammers or long spears, but Fourth Zhang chose a lance for him instead.

“This…” The Fifth Prince was clearly dissatisfied. “This weapon is only necessary for heavily armored cavalry when they charge in a battlefield. It’s more suitable for group battles than one-on-one combat. Who would choose a lance as their specialty? It’s too unwieldy! It’s useless in confined spaces, and once the opponent gets close, there’s no chance of winning!”

Xue Yao was also puzzled. Why did Fourth Zhang select a weapon meant for the battlefield for the Fifth Prince?

Did Fourth Zhang perhaps recognize the potential of the Fifth Prince as a great commander?

The form of the cavalry lance was similar to a long spear, but it was significantly longer. The sharp blade of just the spearhead alone measured more than half a meter.

The shaft of the cavalry lance wasn’t a simple wooden structure but a complex composite material, made by layering and gluing different materials together.

The reason for not using a regular wooden shaft was that the cavalry lance’s primary purpose was for charging in heavy armor. A purely wooden shaft would snap too easily, while an all-metal counterpart lacked the required flexibility, burdened by excess weight.

The cavalry lance was an exceptionally long weapon, measuring around eight feet. If it were made with solid copper or iron for the shaft, it would probably be even heavier than Guan Yu’s crescent moon blade. This would make it too exhausting to wield, so a composite material was used for the shaft. It provided both strength and flexibility without excessive weight.

This type of weapon was very costly to manufacture and wasn’t suitable for one-on-one combat. Hence, very few people were using it.

In Xue Yao’s memory, only the mighty general Qin Qiong excelled with this kind of weapon.

All in all, this was a weapon born for the battlefield. Rarely did someone stroll through the streets carrying such a lengthy spear. It paled in comparison to the elegance of a sword.

For a youth of the Fifth Prince’s age, elegance and style were among the criteria to gauge a weapon’s worth. Lack of style meant losing the admiration of young ladies, rendering half of the purpose of martial practice meaningless.

Naturally, the Fifth Prince wasn’t inclined to choose the cavalry lance.

“The cavalry lance is the perfect weapon for you,” Fourth Zhang asserted, withdrawing the cavalry lance and demonstrating before the Fifth Prince. As he gracefully moved and twirled the lance, he explained, “The cavalry lance is not just a weapon for charging into battle. Its length allows you to maintain a safe distance and better observe your opponent’s movements. Your Highness, your biggest weakness lies in your eagerness to deliver a fatal blow in close combat, often disregarding the potential for enemy sneak attacks.

“I understand your desire for swift and decisive combat with meteor hammers, but in reality, your failures don’t stem from insufficient weapon power but rather from a habitual blind spot in close combat. When you maintain a certain distance from your opponent, your observations and judgments become incredibly accurate and sharp. This is precisely the manifestation of the cavalry lance’s natural talent. Once you master the cavalry lance, handling a spear or staff will be child’s play.”

The Fifth Prince carefully recalled every instance of his past encounters with others and realized that Fourth Zhang was indeed correct.

During battles where he maintained a certain distance, he often had the upper hand. However, as the distance closed in for the moment of engagement, he found himself easily overpowered.

He had previously assumed that this was due to the inadequacy of his weapon, making it difficult to gain the upper hand at crucial moments. However, after listening to Fourth Zhang’s analysis, he understood that his true weakness lay in a blind spot for extremely close combat.

“You make a lot of sense,” the Fifth Prince admitted. “But I… still don’t quite like the cavalry lance. Can we work on correcting my mistakes in close combat with a different weapon?”

“Your Highness,” Fourth Zhang interrupted him. “As I’ve mentioned, the most important thing is to find the right direction based on your talents. While your weaknesses can certainly be corrected with diligent practice, when you encounter an opponent skilled in close combat, those weaknesses will persist. You must use your best skills to keep yourself in an advantageous position, in order to succeed in numerous battles.”

The Fifth Prince had no counterargument and reluctantly nodded, extending his hand to take the cavalry lance from Fourth Zhang.

Unexpectedly, Fourth Zhang retracted his hand before handing over the cavalry lance.

The Fifth Prince looked up at him with a puzzled expression.

“Once you’ve decided on your goal, you must genuinely love your weapon from the bottom of your heart,” Fourth Zhang said sternly. “If you don’t currently like the cavalry lance, then train with both the dual hammers and the cavalry lance together. A month from now, challenge your instructor with both the dual hammers and the cavalry lance separately. Then come and tell me your true choice.”

The Fifth Prince slowly lowered his head and, after a long pause, his voice trembled as he spoke, “It’s not that I don’t like the cavalry lance, but I dislike a person who once used the cavalry lance to achieve fame and success.”

Fourth Zhang blinked, staring at this child who bore a striking resemblance to the Emperor. After a long pause, he spoke softly, “The mighty general who made a name using the cavalry lance was none other than General Qin, your grandfather. Don’t you hold any affection for him?”

The Fifth Prince nodded, raising his head to look at Fourth Zhang. “You know my grandfather?”

Fourth Zhang sighed and, with a world-weary look, said to the Fifth Prince, “A decade before your birth, I worked in the general’s household, how could I not know General Qin?”

The little garden suddenly became exceptionally quiet.

The white clouds in the sky gradually dispersed, allowing the concealed sun to envelop the garden in a blazing radiance.

Just like the fiery anger in the eyes of the Fifth Prince.

“I hate him.” The Fifth Prince gritted his teeth. “It’s because of him that my mother had to substitute for my aunt in the palace selection.”

Fourth Zhang raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Consort Hui entering the palace is an honor for the General’s household. As a prince, shouldn’t you take pride in it?”

The Fifth Prince lowered his head, his voice barely audible as he replied, “Never. I wanted to ride into the battlefield like my grandfather, to achieve fame and success. This palace…”

His inexperienced fists clenched audibly. He suddenly looked up at Fourth Zhang, his eyes reddened with sadness. “This palace is my mother’s prison, and it’s my prison too!”

Xue Yao and the Sixth Prince were left utterly astonished.

It had never occurred to anyone that the Fifth Prince, this rough and rugged young man, would contemplate such matters.

Xue Yao had always thought of him as a carefree and big-hearted boy.

It turned out that each person concealed an unknown facet inside them.

Fourth Zhang stared blankly at the Fifth Prince, his mind devoid of thought.

Prior to this moment, he had never regarded the Fifth Prince as Her Highness’ son.

He accepted that the Third Miss of the Qin family had long become the Emperor’s woman, and he genuinely hoped that she was happy.

However, the part of him that remained a man couldn’t accept the fact that the Third Miss Qin had already given birth to another man’s child.

Self-awareness also reminded Fourth Zhang that he couldn’t afford to provoke the Emperor’s son.

Therefore, Fourth Zhang had chosen to evade this fact and treat the Fifth Prince as an unrelated royal son to Consort Hui.

But at this moment, he discovered that this child was born to wield the cavalry lance, inheriting the blood of seven generations of warriors from the Qin family, and naturally possessing the vigor reminiscent of Consort Hui’s youthful years.

Fourth Zhang gradually saw in the Fifth Prince’s resolute features a shadow of the woman he loved.

The anticipated hatred and rejection didn’t surface at all. Acknowledging the Fifth Prince as her child unexpectedly kindled a different warmth in Fourth Zhang’s heart. Unconsciously, he looked at the Fifth Prince with newfound understanding.

The Fifth Prince had never imagined he would unleash these hidden dark thoughts from his heart, nor did he anticipate how liberating it would feel. He shouted without restraint at Fourth Zhang, letting it all out, “With your incredible skills, why didn’t you help my mother escape back then? Even that powerless scholar dared to flee with my aunt, but you just watched as my mother was forced to take my aunt’s place in the palace selection. Are you even a man?”

“Fifth Brother!” The Sixth Prince hurriedly stepped forward to restrain his elder sibling.

While this garden had already been cordoned off in advance, who could guarantee that no one might accidentally intrude?

If these rebellious and disrespectful words were overheard by outsiders, the consequences would be disastrous!

Xue Yao was already breathless with fear. Thankfully, the Sixth Prince intervened to stop the Fifth Prince.

The Seventh Prince, on the side, turned to Xue Yao and asked, “Why does Fourth Zhang not count as a man? He doesn’t wear makeup or anything.”

Xue Yao: “……”

Seeing no response, the Seventh Prince believed he had used the wrong tone again, so he immediately lowered his voice. “He doesn’t wear makeup or anything.”

Xue Yao suddenly felt a bit comforted and reached out to pinch the chubby little dumpling’s cheek.

At least this little scamp had grown up in happiness. His efforts seemed to have paid off.

Because the Road to Shu crisis had been resolved, Consort Xi and her son had been favored all along. To the Seventh Prince, the Emperor was even a good father.

Consort Xi had poured all her maternal love into the Seventh Prince, focusing solely on this one child.

In the novel’s timeline, Consort Xi had given birth prematurely to a baby girl more than half a year after the Emperor declared the Road to Shu campaign. Unfortunately, the baby didn’t survive, but in this new timeline, she didn’t conceive that child at all.

Xue Yao had been puzzled about this for a while, but he later guessed that it might be due to the fact that in the original timeline, Consort Xi readily agreed to accompany the Emperor on his campaign, and it was during the passionate period of their relationship that she became pregnant with the baby girl.

In this new timeline, during the same period, Consort Xi refused to accompany the Emperor, leading to his neglect of her. Consequently, she missed the opportunity to conceive another child. In her frustration with the Emperor’s selfishness, she privately took contraceptive measures for an extended period, leading to her not conceiving since.

This situation meant that all of her maternal love was bestowed upon the Seventh Prince, making him the true favored one.

Unlike the Sixth Prince, who didn’t receive much affection from his father or mother.

Nor like…

Xue Yao looked at the tearful and resentful Fifth Prince with pity.

“You’re right,” Fourth Zhang attempted to appease the situation and helplessly smiled at the Fifth Prince, “I never really counted as a man to begin with.”

How could the illiterate Fourth Zhang compare to the scholar who ran away with the Second Miss?

Who was he to compete with the Emperor for women, and why should Consort Hui have roamed the world with him?

The Fifth Prince gradually quelled his anger, regained his composure, and asked Fourth Zhang, “What is the real relationship between you and my mother? Don’t worry, tell the truth, I won’t hold the past against you.”

Fourth Zhang’s expression momentarily blanked. He then gave a carefree smile and told the Fifth Prince, “It’s alright. A lowly servant like me can’t possibly have any connection with Consort Hui.”

“Hmph,” the Fifth Prince grumbled in frustration. “No wonder my mother said…”

In an instant, a chilling hostility emanated from Fourth Zhang’s eyes, and he urgently pressed, “What did your mother say?”

The Fifth Prince, forced back by his sudden aggression, regained his composure and mumbled, “My mother said she doesn’t remember anyone like you in the General’s household.”

Fourth Zhang’s expression, initially twisted by expectation, froze in place. He stared at the Fifth Prince with a dumbfounded, foolish look for quite a while. Then, the corner of his mouth twitched as he withdrew his gaze, muttering, “Naturally, naturally.”

Xue Yao was taken aback. Consort Hui didn’t even remember this mysterious master.

Initially concerned that the eunuch’s change of personnel might make Consort Hui anxious, it appeared that this eunuch, in Consort Hui’s perspective, didn’t even have a name.

In fact, this was a good thing. After all, this eunuch had suspicions of coveting the Emperor’s consort. If there were a genuine past, it could be dangerous.

It was also possible that Consort Hui was lying, as it might not be appropriate to discuss her past admirer in front of her child.

Upon further thought, considering Consort Hui’s straightforward personality, she might just openly acknowledge these matters in front of her child.

Being a woman from a military clan wasn’t just a casual statement.

Typically, consorts in the palace would spend their days watching performances and enjoying flowers. However, when Xue Yao visited the Fifth Prince’s residence during his childhood, he often saw Consort Hui practicing with weapons!

Xue Yao remembered that when the Seventh Prince was five years old, there was a time when he and the Fifth Prince were playing in the residence, with palace maids following to serve them.

When Consort Hui spotted them, she swiftly lifted the chubby child by the back of his collar, carried him into a side chamber, placed him in a chair, and roared at him, ensuring that the Seventh Prince sat properly for his meal.

It was worth noting that the five-year-old chubby prince was no ordinary child. Even the Emperor, who was well-trained, would have bulging veins on his forehead when lifting the solid child with both hands. But Consort Hui effortlessly lifted him and moved swiftly!

She was truly the toughest of the tough women.

Her personality was just as straightforward as the Fifth Prince’s. Xue Yao couldn’t imagine her refusing to acknowledge Fourth Zhang, her admirer, out of shyness.

Tomorrow, Xue Yao would accompany Fourth Zhang to visit Consort Hui at Zhongcui Palace. He was curious about how Consort Hui would react.

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