Pei Qianhao and Su Xi-er were locked in an embrace when Du Ling spotted them. Heaving a sigh of relief, he started to approach, but was mindful not to disturb them as he stopped about ten steps away, silently watching them.
Pei Qianhao took out the jade pendant he picked up earlier and started to help reach around her neck as he spoke. “Here, put it on. It’s very important, so you should keep it with you.”
Su Xi-er nodded and spotted Du Ling. “Brother.”
“Now that we’ve settled things in Dongling, you can return to the Western Region with me. You haven’t met Royal Grandmother yet.” He spoke gently, losing his usual imposing aura.
Du Ling’s ‘Royal Grandmother’ was none other than the Grand Empress Dowager of the Western Region. She was Su Xi-er’s grandmother, and missed her granddaughter enough that she was duped by Tan Ge.
Pei Qianhao supported Su Xi-er as she stood up and dusted off her dress before walking over to Du Ling. “Shi Mo is dead, and Tan Ge is missing. Where do you think she might have gone?” Though he phrased it as a question, it was obvious that he was implying that Tan Ge would try to return to the Western Region.
Du Ling’s gaze darkened instantly. Pretending to be the imperial princess, tricking the Grand Empress Dowager, getting the support of the left faction, and making a mess of court affairs.
“A-Jing, let’s go back to Dongling’s imperial palace and pack up before heading to the Western Region. I’m going to take back what belongs to me.” Su Xi-er sounded resolute and steadfast. She had given Tan Ge enough chances.
Pei Qianhao and Du Ling exchanged glances before the three of them set off with Du Ling in the lead, clearing the path for the other two.
When they emerged from the forest, they were greeted by a chaotic scene: Chu Linglong lying panting on the ground with blood trickling from his mouth, and the rest of Shi Mo’s guards bound and captured. With a sword pointed at his brother, Chu Xian coldly spoke. “Say that again and this Emperor will kill you!”
At this point, Chu Linglong’s eyes landed on the trio that had just appeared. Staring at Su Xi-er, he said, “You’re the luckiest. You had nothing in the past, but now, you have everything.” He then turned to Chu Xian and said, “You might not be able to see Chao Mu for the last time if you don’t return to the palace soon.”
Chu Xian raised his sword with a trembling hand, preparing to pierce through Chu Linglong when a small rock hit his wrist and sent the sword clattering to the ground.
Su Xi-er let go of Pei Qianhao’s hand as she walked up to him. “You shouldn’t be killing your own brother. Go back to the palace to check on Chao Mu.”
Prompted, Chu Xian leapt onto his horse and rode away without another word. How could anything have happened to Chao Mu? Chao Mu will be safe with the ice!
He was sure that Chu Linglong was just scaring him, but after hearing what Su Xi-er said, he began to have second thoughts. Maybe, maybe...
Chu Linglong’s lips turned up into a slight smile as he watched Chu Xian’s rapidly departing figure. He then turned to Su Xi-er and asked, “Why did you save me? Getting killed by Chu Xian wouldn’t have been a bad end. He’ll leave a stain in Dongling’s history as an emperor who killed both his father and brother.”
“I saved you because you still have a conscience. You refused to follow Shi Mo’s orders exactly, despite being in cahoots with him. You can carry on with your own life now that Shi Mo is dead.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter