In Xiliu’s imperial palace.


Hua Zirong was seated on the throne in his dragon robes, flipping through the imperial secret scrolls of Xiliu’s history when an arrow suddenly came flying in.


It struck the ground next to Hua Zirong before a nearby eunuch yelled, “Somebody help, there’s an assassin!”


The imperial guards immediately swarmed in and attempted to pursue the perpetrator.


Hua Zirong was the only one who remained indifferent, instead reaching down to break the shaft of the arrow in half. Watching as a note fell from within, he unfurled the strip of paper and read the message within.


Just like the blossoms reflected in the mirror and the moon’s reflection in the water, all is naught.


Hua Zirong crushed the note immediately and began giving orders. “All of you may leave. No one shall enter without my permission.”


The palace maids, guards, and eunuchs hurriedly withdrew from the palace hall upon receiving the instructions.


“Come on out,” Hua Zirong said.


A figure stepped out from the shadows, revealing someone dressed in a bright, red changshan.


“When are you guys planning to leave?” Hua Zirong continued flipping through the scrolls as he asked in a casual tone.


“Everything has been set in stone.” One could tell the figure was a man from his deep voice.


Hua Zirong said, “Chaos will ensue in Xiliu. You’re no longer one of us, so you should leave while you can.”


“It’s so unlike you to be all serious. I much preferred you when you were still a young kid.” The man in the red changshan smiled.


“I’m no longer the person I was.” Resignation seemed to flash across Hua Zirong’s face as he answered.


“I know that. If not for the current situation, you would be doing a splendid job in ruling Xiliu.” The man in the red changshan seemed to be reminiscing about the past as he spoke.


Hua Zirong took a sip of his tea and gave a bitter smile. “Please, if I was truly qualified, none of them would have had the chance to start this in the first place.”


“I’ve met Lanshan, but she’s still very stubborn.” The man in the red changshan said as he touched the wound on his chest that Lanshan had afflicted on him, finding it to still be throbbing with a dull pain.


Hua Zirong’s eyes dimmed when Lanshan was mentioned. “You know that I will never be as merciful as you guys were.”


“That’s fine; you can do what you want. We no longer exist in this world, and we wouldn’t have appeared if it weren’t for this anyways.” The man in the red changshan smiled, but sadness filled his eyes.


Hua Zirong said, “This is something I definitely did not wish to see happen.”


“Zirong, Qing-er is a cunning individual who is adept at reading others. You have to be very careful.” The man in the red changshan warned.


“You guys should know that I won’t pursue the matter as long as he’s willing to turn over a new leaf. Being part of the Xiliu imperial bloodline, we owe him that much,” Hua Zirong said.


The man in the red changshan smiled. “The matter is already out of control. Many are eyeing the throne.”


“Why did you choose to erase your existence and sever all ties with the imperial family? You’re not even allowed into the imperial mausoleum.” Hua Zirong asked.


The man in the red changshan said, “You’ve learnt quite a bit about the past from those secret scrolls, haven’t you? The late Emperor would have been sacrificed if I didn’t make that choice. I know that I’m incapable, so that was the best way forward.”


“Were you really willing?” Hua Zirong tried to probe further.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Hilda

Editor: Lunarlark

Proofreader: Rakumon