Thousand Miles of Heaven Chapter 72

Ch 72 “You know I have to go back.”

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Three days later, Xie Chaoyuan moved out of the Xirong Palace with Xie Chaoling and into their new mansion. 

Xie Chaoyuan gradually renovated the interior of the mansion according to the style of the Daliang, and all the items were replaced with goods brought in from the market. In just a few days, the entire house had been transformed, with only the Qiong flower tree in the backyard left untouched.

Xie Chaoyuan also set the date for their marriage, which would take place half a month later, just before the holiday season. Xie Chaoling was happy to cooperate and took the initiative to handle the wedding preparations, while Xie Chaoyuan was busy dealing with the Xirong people. Xie Chaoling took people to explore the streets and alleys of Lidu, buying things and getting to know the ins and outs of the city.

“These shops sell wedding supplies. The wedding customs of Xirong and Daliang are different, and the wedding process is also very different. However, you can find everything you need on this street, you just have to pick carefully,” a Xirong vendor who was pointing the way for Xie Chaoling said with a smile.

“Thank you,” Xie Chaoling said, casually buying a few animal bone decorations from the stall. When a Xirong vendor handed them to him, he threw them to Wang Jin behind him and continued on his way.

As the vendor had said, there were indeed wedding supplies for sale here, many of them high-quality goods. Xie Chaoling took his time choosing according to his own preferences since he had nothing else to do. He stopped in his tracks when he saw a shop with a thick, shade-casting curtain hanging over the entrance and asked casually, “What is that shop selling?”

Wang Jin went to take a look and came back to tell him, “That kind of shop is called a divination shop. Xirong people believe in divination, and these types of shops are everywhere.”

Xie Chaoling said, “I’ve heard that the divination methods used by the people of Xirong are very different from those used by the Daliang sorcerers. I’ve never seen it before.”

Wang Jin smiled and asked him, “Would you be interested in having your fortune told?”

Xie Chaoling stepped forward.

Wang Jin accompanied him inside, while the guards stayed outside waiting. The furnishings in the shop were simple, with a tall cabinet, a long table, and a few chairs along the wall. There was nothing else. A woman dressed as a shaman sat behind the table, slowly flipping through the wooden plaques in her hand. Xie Chaoling sat down at the table, and the woman looked at him and asked, “What would you like me to divine?”

Xie Chaoling lowered his voice and said, “My future fortune.”

The shaman repeatedly shuffled the wooden plaques in her hand and shook her head, saying, “I cannot divine your fortune.”

“Then please find someone who can,” Xie Chaoling said.

After half an hour, the cabinet behind the priestess slowly moved aside, and someone came out from the hidden door behind it. It was surprisingly General Tebumu.

The priestess got up and bowed before leaving, and Tebumu sat down in his place, slowly flipping the wooden cards left by the priestess. As his gaze roamed over Tebumu’s face, the hands that were clasped together began to tremble slightly. After a long time, he suppressed the emotions in his voice and hoarsely said, “Little Uncle.”

Tebumu’s movement in flipping the wooden cards came to a halt, and he gave a vague response in his throat.

In an instant, tears welled up in Xie Chaoling’s eyes. “Is it really you? Why are you here? What has happened in these years? We thought you had already…”

Eleven years ago, during the brutal battle with Xirong, his maternal grandfather and two uncles had all died on the battlefield. His maternal grandfather and eldest uncle were shot to death, while his then seventeen-year-old younger uncle died in the artillery fire, leaving no trace of his remains.

But now, his uncle who he thought had long passed away had appeared before him alive and well, and had even became General Tebumu of Xirong.

Tebumu glanced at Wang Jin, who was bowing his head and being obedient, and Xie Chaoling slightly calmed his voice, “He’s no harm. Little uncle, just speak up. What happened in these years? Why didn’t you go back?”

“I didn’t die,” Tebumu whispered. His voice was no longer the one Xie Chaoling remembered, which used to be full of laughter and made people feel refreshed. Now it was dull and hoarse, making people feel uncomfortable. “I was hit by a shrapnel in my head, my memory was damaged, and I even forgot who I was. The Xirong people treated me as a prisoner of war and brought me over here to do hard labor. Later, I got the favor of a Xirong nobleman by chance. He took me out of the labor camp and brought me to Lido. He also gave me a Xirong identity. After that, I saved the Xirong King once and gained his trust. Since then, I have been following him.”

These few casual sentences omitted the details of his life over the past ten years. Only he himself knew that he had been living like h*ll, worse than death, but there was no point in saying more.

Xie Chaoling’s heart felt like a lump in his chest, unable to rise or fall. He had never thought that his younger uncle had been living like this for all these years. His uncle was still alive, but was living such an inhuman life in an unknown place.

“When did you remember? Previously, the Northwest Army said they received two letters, warning them that the Xirong had the defense map. Was one of those letters from you?” Xie Chaoling asked.

“I remembered not long before that. My actions are limited, I could only write that anonymous letter to warn the Northwest Army,” said Tebumu as he collected the scattered wooden boards.

Xie Chaoling clenched his fist tightly. “Since you remembered, why didn’t you come back?”

“I can still go back?” Tebumu chuckled bitterly.

He had spent ten years in Xirong and had become the top general, the most favored commander by the Xirong King with high status and power. Who would believe that he had never colluded or betrayed the Daliang court? He was only grateful that during the time he couldn’t remember, he had never been sent to the battlefield and never had the blood of the people of Daliang on his hands.

“…You know that someone has been waiting for you to come back,” reminded Xie Chaoling.

Tebumu was stunned for a moment, then changed the topic in a hoarse voice, “The Xirong King received a letter from the Daliang court, informing him that the illegitimate child of the Daliang Emperor was about to return, and he also brought back the Crown Prince of Daliang. The Xirong King had ambitious plans to use you to deal with Daliang. I intended to rescue you, but when I went to meet the person who was handed over to the Xirong King by the little prince, I found out that he was not you.”

“So, that day on the street, you deliberately tested me,” Xie Chaoling said.

The sentence “there is always a reason for everything” that Tebumu said that day was something his little uncle had told him before, and he had always remembered it. In fact, he had recognized his little uncle on the day he arrived in Xirong, but he didn’t dare to be sure. It was not until he heard that sentence that he believed the truth and deliberately threw down the jade pendant to reveal his identity.

Tebumu asked him, “Crown Prince, what are your plans now?”

Xie Chaoling frowned, “There are many spies from Xirong in Daliang, and they are probably sending back messages frequently. Do you know what the situation is like in Daliang now, Little Uncle?”

After a moment’s hesitation, Tebumu told the truth: “On the day of the Emperor’s sacrifice at the Moon Altar, King Xun went insane and kidnapped King Ning, shouting that he wanted to be the Crown Prince. In the chaos, King Ning was beheaded and killed, and King Xun was also killed by the Imperial Guard. The Emperor suffered a severe stroke and fainted on the spot due to the shock, and he is still in a coma.”

Xie Chaoling was shocked.

Tebumu shook his head and continued, “As for you, the Crown Prince, you were brought to Xirong by that little prince. In the capital, only King Huai is left among the imperial princes, and he is in collusion with the Zhao family. They have closed the gates of the inner city and want to use the Emperor’s authority to command the vassals. The head of the Imperial Guard was originally a capable person, but he was relieved of his position due to his serious injury in the Dongshan Ying interception incident. The remaining few deputy heads were coerced and bribed by King Huai and the Zhao family, and they joined forces to hold the Emperor hostage.”

“King Huai and the Zhao family have framed you for treason and colluding with Xirong as a fake prince and spy. Moreover, after the incident, you fled to Xirong with them. It is feared that King Huai will proclaim himself emperor with a false imperial edict.”

“’… your royal uncle, he took over Dongshan Ying before this, and he was not in the city when the Zhao clan closed the gates. Luckily, he was not harmed by them. He has already issued a call to arms to attack King Huai and the traitors. However, with the Emperor in their hands, neither the outer city guards, the West Gate Camp, nor the Dongshan Ying dare to act rashly. For the time being, they can only be in a stalemate.”

It took Xie Chaoling a while to recover from the shock. He never expected that such an earth-shattering event would happen in the capital in just half a month. Xie Chaoqi hated the Zhao clan so much, yet he colluded with them?

Tebumu asked him again, ‘Crown Prince, what do you plan to do?’

Xie Chaoling’s mind raced quickly, and he soon calmed down. “That false Crown Prince must be eliminated.”

Even if that person is not him, he cannot allow Xirong to really hold a false heir of Daliang to threaten Daliang. When that day comes, it will fulfill Xie Chaoqi and others’ wishes, confirming his identity as a traitor who colluded with the enemy and fled to Xirong. By then, it would be difficult for him to return to Daliang.

Tebumu naturally knew the pros and cons of this. “I understand. I will take care of it.'”

Xie Chaoling’s heart settled slightly, then he picked up a pen and paper on the table and quickly wrote a letter: “Uncle, please help me send this letter to King Xing in the northwest. He is currently in the northwestern army, ask him to be prepared.”

Tebumu didn’t read the contents of the letter, and only asked him: “Can we trust King Xing?”

“He can be trusted, send the letter to him,” replied Xie Chaoling.

Xie Chaoling then asked: “Uncle, can you help me leave Xirong?”

Tebumu looked at him: “Your Highness, you and that little prince…”

On that day, when Xie Chaoyuan publicly declared that Xie Chaoling was his husband, even though Tebumu was not present, he had heard about it. The news of Xie Chaoling’s upcoming marriage to a man had spread, and he had witnessed Xie Chaoling personally purchasing various wedding items these days. It’s no wonder he suspected that Xie Chaoling had other intentions.

Xie Chaoling interrupted him: “Uncle, other things are not important. You know that I must go back.”

Seeing that Xie Chaoling didn’t want to say more, Tebumu had to stop asking: “I will find a way, but it won’t be easy. We have to wait for the right opportunity. Although the Xirong King trusts me, he is also wary of me. Without his orders, I can’t leave Lidu. From Lidu to the northwestern border of Daliang, there is still a long way to go. I’m not comfortable with letting others escort you back, so I’ll have to escort you myself.”

“Come with me,” said Xie Chaoling, “There’s no such thing as not being able to go back. I’ll find a way. I know you’re afraid of implicating the Li family, but now that what Li Huan did has pushed them to a dead end, only you going back might be able to save them.”

“Moreover, even if it’s for uncle yourself, you definitely need to go back,” Xie Chaoling said confidently. Even if he couldn’t go back as the former young master of the Li family, he knew his little uncle would still go back to meet the person who had been waiting for him for ten years.

Tebumu’s lips moved, and he said with difficulty, “Alright.”

He also wanted to go back. Ever since he remembered his past, he had been yearning day and night to return to his homeland.

Suppressing his complicated emotions, Tebumu reminded Xie Chaoling once again, “During this period, I will find other ways to send you messages. We should try to meet as little as possible to avoid arousing suspicion. The situation in the capital should be able to last for a few more months. King Huai and his allies are currently fighting a desperate battle, and they should not dare to attack the Emperor directly. Even if he proclaims himself as the Emperor, it would be a self-deception that no one would recognize. As long as you can return safely, the situation will be resolved. Before that, don’t panic, especially now that you’re in Xirong. Be cautious and don’t rush into anything.”

“I know,” Xie Chaoling replied. “I’ll be careful, and so should you, Little Uncle.”

Before leaving, he asked Tebumu, “Little Uncle, I’ve seen that some people in Xirong have also learned the Gu art of the Bailing people. Have you researched this?”

“I have heard of it,” Tebumu replied.

“…Have you heard of a heart Gu? It is nourished by the blood and heart of its host, and when the host dies, so does the Gu. I want to know if there is any other way to break it,” Xie Chaoling asked.

Tebumu frowned at the question, “Why do you ask, Your Highness?”

Xie Chaoling did not explain, saying only, “I can’t say but please tell me everything you know, Little Uncle.”

“I’ve heard of it,” Tebumu said, furrowing his brow. “But I don’t really understand it. I’ll have to find someone who really knows about it when I go back. If you really want to know, then wait a few days. I’ll find a way to pass on the information to you after I’ve found out.”

“Okay,” Xie Chaoling nodded as if he had breathed a sigh of relief.

“You…” Tebumu looked at him with a strange expression, but the words he wanted to say never came out.

Xie Chaoling didn’t stay long. Now was not the time for him to catch up with Tebumu. He said what he needed to say and got up to leave.

It had started to rain outside, and Wang Jin whispered to him, “Lord, do you want to continue to the front?”

Xie Chaoling seemed to ignore him, standing under the eaves and staring blankly at the unfamiliar scenery of this strange town. After a moment, he gave an order: “Go and bring the carriage. Let’s go home.”

As they approached the mansion, Xie Chaoyuan could be seen holding an umbrella waiting for him in the rain. Xie Chaoling was slightly stunned. As the figure drew closer, the facial features covered by the umbrella were blurred in the rain.

The carriage stopped, and Wang Jin gently reminded him, “Lord, we’re here.”

Xie Chaoling came back to his senses, stepped out of the carriage, and approached Xie Chaoyuan with his hand extended, but he did not move.

“Aren’t you getting out, brother?” Xie Chaoyuan asked with a smile.

Xie Chaoling reached out and stepped down from the carriage step by step, then walked into Xie Chaoyuan’s umbrella, quietly looking at him.

Xie Chaoyuan reached up to wipe the raindrops off Xie Chaoling’s eyebrows, his fingertip gently rubbing the corner of his eye.

They locked eyes for a few silent moments. Xie Chaoling took another step forward, then reached out and embraced Xie Chaoyuan’s waist in the pouring rain. He closed his eyes and leaned on his shoulder, exhaling softly, “I just bought a lot of things on the street. I’ll show them to you inside.”

Xie Chaoyuan chuckled softly, “Alright.”

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