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Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Nonetheless, the one who had made the announcement, Xuanyuan, had been thrown into an awkward and helpless situation.
The snow fell heavily that day as the Dahan’s King of Han advanced upon the defensive troops of Xuanyuan. Xuanyuan immediately counter-attacked, but it was only for a moment before the King of Han’s army forced itself upon them. The Dahan troops that had been stationed at the border were also steadily advancing behind.
They did not attack; however, they were made up of elite and battle-hardened soldiers compared to Xuanyuan’s defensive troops, which hadn’t had a battle in years and weren’t familiar with the terrain—they created a great psychological weight upon them.
The defensive troops swiftly sent a status report back to Kunjing, and the Regent King held a full day’s worth of meetings as the court officials sighed hopelessly at the King of Han’s shamelessness. Although King Meng’s territory was close to the borders of Xuanyuan and Dahan, there was still a distance of several hundred miles. Moreover, who would go hunting during such terrible snowfall? What rabbit were they hunting to kill an entire troop? Was this really hunting? This was an attack!
Dahan’s King of Han was even more vicious than the Emperor of Dahan himself, directly stepping onto Xuanyuan’s face!
After getting stepped on, Xuanyuan issued an emergency meeting. They cleverly rushed back to look for the Dahan Emperor who was still at Kunjing, only to realize that the person that Xuanyuan Cheng had ordered to be heavily guarded had already disappeared, and nobody knew when he had left.
Finally, Xuanyuan Cheng desperately sent out all of his best generals. Even Lord Tang Rusong came to his aid with his five armies, sending a hundred thousand men to the border to support.
On the day Tang Rusong dispatched his armies, the Regent King sent him off personally, offering him wine. Tang Rusong finished the cup in a single motion and declared, “I will not retreat until Meng Fuyao is slaughtered!”
At that moment, an arrogant voice traveled over from the harem. “Empress Yuwen” was tapping on the pear-wood table with her long fingernails as she let out a bright smile and said softly, “Honey, you’re going in the wrong direction.”
The expression in her eyes was probably too sudden and sinister that even from afar, Xuanyuan Min couldn’t help but shudder.
Meng Fuyao looked at him and beckoned for him to come over. Xuanyuan Min hurried over instantly and started massaging her legs. Noticing the dirt on his fingernails, Meng Fuyao kicked him away and said, “Did you steal something from the garden again?”
Xuanyuan Min replied solemnly, “No, it’s been cold recently, and nothing can be grown. I’ve ordered my men to head out to the market to buy some vegetables for the ladies to plant.”
Meng Fuyao touched her forehead…’Too sentimental, he really is too sentimental.’
Xuanyuan Min smiled and leaned on her knee. “After Tang Rusong, there are three more, their arms and legs should be cut off at least.”
“Politics is a wonderful thing, it requires gentleness and appearance, don’t describe things to be so gory,” rebuked Meng Fuyao. “Relax, there will eventually be a solution.”
The cross-dresser raised his head and gazed at her. Suddenly, he said, “Am I on your hit list?”
Meng Fuyao glanced down and warmly met his gaze. She smiled and replied, “What do you think?”
The cross-dresser smiled and did not answer, instead, changing the topic. “Can I try to guess who you are?” he asked.
Meng Fuyao grabbed a handful of walnuts and stuffed them into his mouth. “No,” she said firmly.
The cross-dresser covered his face with his sleeves in anguish and sang, “The silver river is long and winding, in the palace, the concubine weeps in front of a candle… Your Highness, which fox has stolen your heart again…”
“I’m off to kill a vixen.” Meng Fuyao kicked aside her “concubine” and said, “Get lost.”
Her “concubine” then turned and retreated as a slow and soft voice sang:
“Oh, oh, oh… you… have killed… my… land’s… rabbits…”
On the twenty-third day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of the Zhaoning era, Xuanyuan experienced it’s most difficult internal turmoil since its inception.
After getting rid of King Meng of Dahan’s rabbit, Shangyuan had suddenly gone against Xuanyuan, raising their suspicions that their Empress Dowager had been killed by Taiyuan’s Empress Dowager. Since the Empress Dowager was no longer alive, this revenge would fall upon Xuanyuan. Shangyuan requested that Xuanyuan offer up the culprit and provide an explanation to the King of Shangyuan.
A twelve-year-old case had suddenly been raised again, exactly at the moment when Xuanyuan was embroiled in a conflict with Dahan. The matter had happened in Taiyuan, yet they did not go to Taiyuan to seek compensation, but instead came to Xuanyuan. This was probably a consequence of King Meng of Dahan’s interference—it was simply daylight robbery.
It was said that when Xuanyuan Cheng received the national book, he had slammed his fist on his armrest so forcefully that it had cracked, and the entire court knelt down in terror. Only a single, old official remained standing and immediately began reading. The contents were merciless and shocking, revealing everything that the Regent King had committed, from assassinations to sinister political plots and other unforgivable crimes.
And this person that stood out was a great scholar, originally the Regent King’s concubine’s father, the Regent King’s father-in-law, now a renowned scholar that was widely respected by all scholars throughout the land.
The entire court was launched into chaos, and Xuanyuan Cheng finally exploded. Moreover, nobody was of a high enough status to accuse him of these crimes; hence, he simply sent Dou Mingji into the dungeons. He was still controlled enough not to kill him on the spot since the man was already old and frail, and the entire court was his witness.
Even worse was that, after the scholars learned that their old comrade was locked up so mercilessly, they revolted and protested in the streets of Kunjing, generating even more unrest… The Regent King had to send out his men to suppress the unrest and chase them away. Finally, they returned back to their quarters.
With the entire court in turmoil and Shangyuan’s message after message of revenge, Xuanyuan Cheng could only send out his border troops, refusing to give an answer and kill some rabbits. Xuanyuan Cheng ordered them to investigate why Shangyuan would suddenly go crazy and demand revenge out of no reason and declare war against them. He wanted them to know that Xuanyuan wasn’t that easy to bully! However, the results of the investigation only further chilled his heart.
Recently, Shangyuan had encountered an internal turmoil—back when Shangyuan was building its nation, Wuji had always been trying to push the two plots of land to Shangyuan. At that point, Qi Xunyi had been extremely grateful, only to realize that those two plots had been filled with landmines that put them at Zhangsun Wuji’s mercy. Qi Xunyi simply couldn’t control them and ended up having to abandon his wealth and serve his people wholeheartedly, helplessly requesting Zhangsun Wuji to take back the land.
Who knew that whatever was given out was difficult to return, the valiant and generous crown prince of Wuji claimed, how could one return what was given to them? Unless they were trying to make, the giver lose face? It was simply unacceptable, moreover, at that point, Qi Xunyi himself had been utterly delighted, so why was he going back against his delight now? Was he unhappy with what Wuji had given him? Then, would he like Wuji to gift him another two plots of land?
The messenger from Wuji laughed coldly as he delivered his message, and Qi Xunyi nearly collapsed on the spot—he had only known of fighting earnestly for one’s land, he had never seen an instance of offering free land and yet unable to return it. Then and there, he knew that he had been caught in Zhangsun Wuji’s plot—whatever he gave out was never easy to receive.
In the end, Qi Xun had to tug at the messenger’s sleeve and plead desperately before Zhangsun Wuji finally retracted this “gift.” However, there had to be conditions?
What conditions? Qi Xun asked tentatively, his expression helpless.
The messenger unhurriedly unraveled a secret scroll and read it mysteriously to the King of Shangyuan, “Your Highness’ mother had died for so many years, you can finally take revenge.”
Hence, Shangyuan suddenly felt like seeking revenge, and Xuanyuan was now being attacked from two sides. The land that Wuji had given out was now reclaimed one-for-one. Zhangsun Wuji had also helped a certain someone, who now didn’t even need to send out her own army.
This was the highest form of gaining profit without any investment—Send you something to trap you and make you willingly return it, yet I am unhappy when you return it and demand for additional conditions.
Poor Shangyuan, poor Xuanyuan…
After understanding what was happening, Xuanyuan Cheng immediately lost all thought. Shangyuan actually had such an insidious shadow as Wuji lurking behind them. Xuanyuan definitely couldn’t face them directly, Qi Xunyi had opened up his land with the assurance from Zhangsun Wuji to attack Xuanyuan.
Xuanyuan Cheng was helpless and could only send talent after talent, and even his closest aides, to personally head to the borders between Xuanyuan and Shangyuan to engage in diplomatic discussion with the King of Shangyuan.
When the cross-dressing emperor heard the news, he gazed at Meng Fuyao for a long time. Meng Fuyao affectionately stroked his head and said, “You must behave.”
The cross-dressing emperor smiled bitterly and stalked off, singing as he swayed, “Oh, oh, oh, I… My mother… I must seek revenge…”
As for the rest of them, she would slaughter from within.
This was the plan Meng Fuyao had arranged much earlier. She would first create an external disturbance and strike the inner palace when Xuanyuan Cheng was distracted, making her move.
This was the only way to attack the inner palace without rousing Xuanyuan Cheng’s suspicion and retaliation.
On the twenty-fourth day of the twelfth month, the palace would naturally prepare for celebrations as well. Meng Fuyao had directed the concubines to sew and plant vegetables; hence, they were able to retrieve the vegetables they had planted to utilize in their own kitchens, to the concubines’ delight, and they all chose to retreat into their own quarters and celebrate by themselves.
Ever since Consort Jade Jian Xue had received Meng Fuyao’s orders to take care of Consort Xian, Consort Xian had been cast aside and imprisoned within her own quarters as punishment, and living in the Cuiyun Palace beside Consort Xian’s Suxin Palace, Jian Xue would invite herself over and celebrate with Consort Xian. Originally, Consort Xian hated her, but upon seeing that she too was not favored by the Empress, she changed her mind, and the two of them happily ate their New Year’s meal at the Suxin Palace. Jian Xue had personally cooked the dishes, and Consort Xian decided to prepare several dishes as well. The pair worked in harmony, and when they ate, they were extremely courteous and amicable. Among the dishes was a sliced chicken dish, and Jian Xue mentioned that it was Consort Shu’s favorite dish, why not send some to her out of goodwill.
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