Chen Xing gasped for a long time before he settled down, then he stared blankly at Xiang Shu.
“I am a Han,” Chen Xing finally blew up as he retorted angrily, “How is it any of your business where I go?!”
Xiang Shu shouted, “That group of people are all plotting a rebellion! What you did was just courting death!”
Chen Xing shuddered — how do you know that?!
When he spoke, Xiang Shu had already drawn his sword as quick as lightning. Chen Xing sat on the floor and quickly retreated, but Xiang Shu’s long sword was already placed against his throat. He looked down on him from above and said coldly, “You’re not an exorcist, you were lying! Explain everything to me clearly. If you lie to me one more time, I’ll take your dog life right now!”
Chen Xing couldn’t stop panting. The ice-cold tip of the blade was placed against his throat; he looked up at Xiang Shu and all sorts of feelings welled up in his heart for a moment. The myriad of complicated affairs of tonight was surging, and all of them flashed through his mind.
“If you don’t believe me, then just do it.” Chen Xing endured his grief as he stubbornly said, “Come ah! Kill me!”
He recalled what Feng Qianyi said; his parents’ deaths, Yuwen Xin’s betrayal… Chen Xing finally couldn’t hold it in anymore — his tears streamed uncontrollably down his cheeks.
Xiang Shu, “……”
Xiang Shu totally didn’t expect Chen Xing to cry. He lifted his sword a little and studied Chen Xing, baffled. Chen Xing finally shouted, “I do want to rebel! I want to take revenge for my parents! You’re right, everything I said was a lie!”
“Shut up!” Xiang Shu shouted again. He was afraid that Chen Xing’s voice would attract people over. There were many ears and eyes in the palace, and even if he was the Great Chanyu, plotting a rebellion was a huge taboo.
The eruption of Chen Xing’s emotions lasted for just a brief moment before he quickly calmed down again. He looked into Xiang Shu’s eyes, his gaze unperturbed.
“Who sent you here? Aren’t you afraid that your whole family would get executed?!” Xiang Shu finally accepted this explanation, but after thinking about it carefully, there seemed to be even more things that didn’t make sense with this explanation.
Chen Xing wiped his tears away and said, “I’m the one who wanted to come, why would I be afraid of having my whole family executed? My entire family’s already dead!”
Xiang Shu was stunned when he heard this and withdrew his sword instead. He took a step forward, and within the gaze he cast at Chen Xing, some sympathy could be seen. He reached out as he wanted to pull Chen Xing up from the ground, but as soon as his wrist moved slightly, Chen Xing thought that Xiang Shu was going to hit him again so he backed away in fear.
The two of them looked at each other for a moment. Chen Xing didn’t say anything as he avoided Xiang Shu, then he slowly crawled onto his bed and lay down with his back to Xiang Shu.
So Xiang Shu changed by himself and sat on the main bed. With a murderous look on his face, he would glance at Chen Xing from time to time.
“Will the assassin come again?” Chen Xing faced the wall and changed the subject.
“You’ll have to ask yourself that.” Xiang Shu said coldly.
Chen Xing said, “Is the coachman dead?”
“What do you think?” Xiang Shu answered grumpily.
Chen Xing, “……”
Why would they suddenly come across such an assassin when Xiang Shu was taking him back to the palace? What’s the identity of the assassin? That black iron helmet……he kept feeling like he had seen it before somewhere. Even Xiang Shu knows that the Feng family was plotting a rebellion in secret? Chen Xing’s head hurt so badly he couldn’t stand it, and he felt dizzy as he said, “What do we do if the lights go out later?”
It was rare for Xiang Shu to speak in full sentences, “This is my territory. If it dares to chase us all the way here, I’ll kill it.”
Chen Xing was so tired that he didn’t even know when he fell asleep. He dreamt that a huge yao lived in Xiang Shu’s body, and on the long, pitch-black street, Xiang Shu stepped forward bravely and picked him up. Just as the two were leaping onto roofs and vaulting across walls, the huge yao within Xiang Shu’s body appeared and wrapped the two of them up with innumerable, pitch-black tentacles. Chen Xing kept struggling, but his throat ended up getting strangled.
When he suddenly opened his eyes again, the night had passed without anything happening. The sun had risen three poles high, and the hall beyond the screen was filled with young men around the ages of sixteen or seventeen.
Xiang Shu, dressed in an unlined garment, stood before a mirror as a eunuch helped him put on Hu attire. When he turned around and went out, all the young men were extremely docile as they said in succession, “Great Chanyu.”
Great Chanyu Great Chanyu Great Chanyu……
Chen Xing got up bleary-eyed. He put on his clothes and stared coldly at Xiang Shu, who was having breakfast in the hall. Beautiful young men crowded the hall, and Yuwen Xin was there too. He sat upright on a seat quite far back in the hall and stared enviously at the Xianbei young man who was pouring a cup of water for Xiang Shu.
Xiang Shu glanced at Chen Xing. Chen Xing turned his face away and ignored him, but when he turned his head sideways, he suddenly felt like everyone in the hall was looking at him.
There was a note placed on the table with Chen Xing’s name written on it. Chen Xing opened it up to take a look, and saw that the handwriting inside appeared both bold and powerful — it was Fu Jian’s handwriting. The emperor himself was actually in the mood to invite Chen Xing for a chat in Taixing palace after Chen Xing woke up in the morning.
“Does the Great Chanyu want to take a stroll in Chang’an City today?” A young man asked.
Xiang Shu didn’t say anything. After finishing his breakfast, he started drinking tea.
Another young man said, “Or we could go to the hunting grounds?”
“Yes, yes.” Everyone comprehended it at once. Yuwen Xin continued, “I’ve heard that the Great Chanyu has outstanding riding and archery skills that remain unrivalled throughout the land; I’d really like to catch a glimpse of it.”
Xiang Shu seemed pensive, and the young man who had taken the initiative to wait upon him approached a little closer. He smiled as he wanted to whisper to Xiang Shu, and Xiang Shu was going to push his head away when Chen Xing suddenly looked up.
“Great Chanyu,” Chen Xing said, “His Majesty has summoned me. I need to make a trip down later.”
Xiang Shu didn’t push the young man aside. The young man was halfway through speaking when he glanced at Chen Xing, who had circled around the screen, and revealed a hostile expression.
Who is that guy?! Why is he living in the Great Chanyu’s room? Did they spend the night together?
Chen Xing could almost hear the mad cries within the crowd from just their expressions. The corners of his mouth twitched; I have no intention of snatching your Great Chanyu at all. If you like that rabid dog then continue liking him by yourselves, it has nothing to do with me. Then he stuffed the letter into his pocket and without waiting for Xiang Shu’s answer, went straight to Taixing palace to have an audience with the emperor, Fu Jian.
Before leaving, Chen Xing was in a very complicated mood as he glanced at Yuwen Xin. Yuwen Xin wasn’t aware of it at all and was still showing Xiang Shu a warm and genial smile.
Chen Xing suppressed his impulse to go forward and punch Yuwen Xin in the face. If he really made a move like that now, he would have to suffer the consequences of it later. And from the looks of it, Xiang Shu wouldn’t protect him either—— besides, he hadn’t investigated the matter thoroughly yet. What if it was just a lie fabricated by Feng Qianyi to deceive him in order to incite him into joining them?
His parents have already been dead for so many years. There would always be a chance to find out the truth, so he need not feel too anxious about it right now. But what if it was just as Feng Qianyi said?
Since they are already dead, how useful would revenge be? His parents and grandmother wouldn’t revive even if he killed Yuwen Xin…… Chen Xing passed through the imperial garden and sighed with a lot of thoughts weighing on his mind. He just felt like the human world was truly too complex. In the beginning, his Shifu once said that the human heart was sometimes even more insidious than yaos, and Chen Xing was now feeling the truth behind that statement a bit.
Taixing palace was located within the imperial garden, and it housed Fu Jian’s imperial study. Spring had arrived, the grass stood tall, and orioles were flying about, all clustered around a small, elegant building. One could have a wide field of vision here, and the spring breeze was fresh, and the scene resembled the play of light and shadows on a screen. Chen Xing arrived outside the imperial study, where Tuoba Yan personally guarded the door for Fu Jian.
Tuoba Yan whispered, “I’ll look for you after my shift is over.”
Chen Xing was about to exchange some pleasantries with him when Tuoba Yan made a gesture, signalling for him to go in first.
Bookshelves that were one-zhang-high surrounded the place on all three sides; bamboo strip documents, books, and scrolls were all classified according to different categories and arranged according to the Heavenly Stems and Earth Branches. Fu Jian, who had an imposing figure, sat upright on a couch right in the middle of the room.
Behind him hung two banners, one to his right, and the other to his left. One was embroidered with a white tiger, while the other was embroidered with a Zouyu.
Hold on, were those magic weapons from the Jin Dynasty? Chen Xing narrowed his eyes as he recalled that the ancient texts he read did record white tiger and Zouyu banners. The white tiger energized armies, while Zouyu calmed them, and such amazing magic weapons were actually in the hands of Fu Jian! But it was a pity that after silence fell on all magic, the two banners were no longer of any use, but he still needed to find a chance to get them away from Fu Jian. Otherwise, it would be hard for one to say what may happen in the future.
Fu Jian was speaking to a gentle and elegant scholar beside him. Below them was a neat row of 24 short tables, used for princes and ministers to come here and discuss politics as well as to accept the emperor’s inquiries.
“You’ve come at just the right time.” As soon as Fu Jian saw Chen Xing, he beckoned and said, “Come here, let Ziye take a look at you.”
Chen Xing went forward and was about to kowtow to Fu Jian when Fu Jian said, “No need to kowtow. Before Zhen, scholars have always been exempted from kowtowing.”
He could tell that although Fu Jian was trying his best to be amicable, he still possessed an unquestionable sense of authority, in complete contrast to the way he spoke to Xiang Shu the other night.
He could tell that Fu Jian was trying his best in pretending to be familiar with “scholars” and would only be really familiar with Xiang Shu.
The scholar called “Ziye” smiled, “Whatever the emperor says goes. Since he said that you need not kowtow, you may feel free to be impudent.”
So Chen Xing laughed, then Fu Jian said calmly, “This is Wang Ziye, Zhen’s Palace Assistant Secretary.”
Although a Palace Assistant Secretary was only of a standard class, rank 3, he was still an official who inspected all other officials, examined all memorials to the thrones regarding state affairs, and reported directly to Fu Jian, which was equivalent to being Fu Jian’s personal secretary. The imperial court’s recommendation xiaolian system and final approval have to go through the officials under this person named Wang Ziye, so he was an official who held immense power.
Chen Xing called him “Lord Wang”. Wang Ziye merely smiled as he studied Chen Xing and asked about his family, as if he was trying to ascertain that Chen Xing’s identity was not a fabrication.
“I didn’t expect Mr. Chen to still have a descendant,” Wang Ziye said ruefully, “This is great, this is really great!”
When Chen Xing politely answered his questions one by one, he kept having an inexplicable sense that Wang Ziye was a little strange.
It was his first time feeling so restless in front of a stranger after leaving the mountain.
His gaze seemed like it could see through everything. Chen Xing couldn’t help but think, don’t tell me that Fu Jian wants me to become an official after meeting me just once? Also, why is everyone so well-informed around here?
Aside from Xiang Shu, only Yuwen Xin should know about his background, and he didn’t expect that this news would spread like wildfire within Weiyang Palace. Within a day, the Feng family managed to catch wind of it, and now even Fu Jian was well aware of it. There must be a lot more who were discussing it behind his back as well.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), kee.