What kind of deal did Great General Mu want to make with Han Yunxi?
A hostage deal!
He would trade all 30,000 lives of the people in the city for a single Han Yunxi. If she refused, he would slaughter the citizens. If she agreed to enter the city, then he would stop the lockdown on Tianan’s capital city and have all the Li Clan-led troops in the different directions surrender!
At the same time Han Yunxi’s group received this news, all of Cloud Realm Continent heard as well. Heaven knows how many scouts Great General Mu had planted in the different regions to tell them all simultaneously. In any case, this left Han Yunxi’s group between a rock and a hard place. It had to be said that this was the greatest tumble Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had ever experienced in their lives! They had misjudge Great General Mu’s true motives for raising unrest.
The Li Clan didn’t want the world, only Han Yunxi.
They didn’t need to guess. No matter how Great General Mu and Bai Yanqing ended up working together, in the end it was Bai Yanqing who really wanted Han Yunxi, not the Li Clan. Currently, Han Yunxi’s group was only a day’s travel away from Tianan’s capital city. All four stood silently on the mountain paths to exchange looks. The three men were all silent, even Gu Qishao, who looked unusually solemn. It was as if...as if he’d never smile in this lifetime again.
Only Han Yunxi managed to laugh helplessly. “What a way to praise someone while putting them at a disadvantage! Truly brilliant!”
Could Han Yunxi afford to refuse the summons? A single city and 30,000 lives were at stake! She couldn’t refuse for personal reasons! Even if she didn’t kill them, the 30,000 innocent lives would die for her sake! That would become an unending nightmare for the rest of her life! No matter where she went in the future--even if she hid away--everyone would say that her selfishness and cowardice led to these people’s deaths. It would be recorded into the annals of history and make her a laughingstock in this era and beyond.
No matter how good you used to be, how much you contributed in the past, all the sacrifices you once did--a single mistake would be enough for people to remember your errors. People not only strove for perfection in themselves, but others! Han Yunxi could dismiss any other matter with a careless “screw them,” but not this time.
From a public interest perspective, this was a killing move from Great General Mu to Han Yunxi! Most definitely! All of the positive developments from the central regions and Jiangnan, the organization of the people’s militia, and the relief troops heading down south, were concentrated in the heart of the continent where the people’s hearts laid. Together, they united against a common enemy and their hearts became one, all because the citizens had faith in Long Feiye and Han Yunxi, loving and respecting them.
Under these circumstances, if Han Yunxi refused Great General Mu’s demands, she would be cutting off the lives of the citizens in Tianan capital city in public. Those same innocent people were once people of Tianning Country as well. Neither did the citizens of the south and central regions harbor any grudge or hatred against them. How would the people see Han Yunxi after she refused them? How could they continue to trust her?
Moreover, Great General Mu’s terms extended beyond the 30,000 hostages to stopping all warfare in the four directions! Once Han Yunxi said no, she would be rejecting an end to the fighting as well. After the news broke, many people were beginning to suspect whether the fighting all started because of some old grudge against Han Yunxi in the first place. Heaven knows what kind of rumors would spread after her rejection.
This was definitely praising someone in a way to put them at a disadvantage!
It made Han Yunxi unable to advance or retreat!
The four people were extremely silent. Long Feiye, Gu Beiyue, and Gu Qishao all stared at Hn Yunxi, whose smile turned awkward under their looks. She tried to joke, “I suddenly thought of a saying: ‘if I don’t go to Hell, who will?’”
She wanted to jest, but the three men remained serious and sullen. Feeling miffed, she decided to get serious when Gu Qishao suddenly grabbed her hand. “Let’s go, to hell with those 30,000 or 300,000 people!”
“Let go!” Long Feiye snapped at the same time he grabbed Gu Qishao’s wrist. He very narrowly snapped it in half, but Gu Qishao didn’t loosen his grip.
He glared at Long Feiye and demanded, “What, you want to take her away? Where to?”
“Damn if it’s your business,” Long Feiye retorted as he increased his strength. Gu Qishao immediately circulated his qi to counter the force, spurring Long Feiye to do the same. Like that, the two men grew at loggerheads with each other. With Gu Qishao’s death grip on Han Yunxi, Long Feiye dared not use too much strength in case he hurt her too. They glared at each other, each refusing to back down.
Multiple times in the past, Gu Qishao had given up first, whether or not he was winning! But this time he wasn’t planning to budge at all! Abruptly, he reached out with his other hand for Han Yunxi’s free hand, but Long Feiye beat him to it. He gripped Gu Qishao’s wrist so hard that it began to make cracking noises.
“Are you letting go or not?” Long Feiye’s veins were popping out of his forehead. His rage dashed to the skies! It wasn’t clear whether he was more angry at Gu Qishao, Great General Mu, or himself.
Gu Qishao was equally temperamental and shouted back, “Where will you take her? Where?Where?!”
He stopped pulling to look into Long Feiye’s eyes. “Tian, An’s, capital, city?”
At this, Long Feiye raised his foot to kick Gu Qishao in the stomach! He immediately spat up a mouthful of blood. Still, he continued to stare at Long Feiye, saying word for word, “Unless I die, don’t, you, think, of, it!”
“Enough!” Han Yunxi was too angry to talk, her complexion ashen. Was there any point to arguing like this? Unfortunately, neither man paid her any attention. Both were frighteningly aggressive on this subject.
“This crown prince will never allow her to endanger herself!” Long Feiye shot back.
But Gu Qishao still held on. He looked warmly towards Han Yunxi and asked, “Poison lass, will you be good and listen?” He might be carelessly cheerful on a usual day, but he knew her too well. Even Long Feiye couldn’t convince her of her views.
As expected, Han Yunxi didn’t answer. Long Feiye looked at her as well, releasing Gu Qishao. He walked close and drew her into his arms. “Be good and listen, alright?”
“Listen to what? Where do you two want me to go? Are you treating me as a coward? Or do you want me to hide for a lifetime?” Han Yunxi smiled softly. “It’s only being a hostage, so what? I won’t die. Maybe I’ll even get to see Bai Yanqing before you guys come to rescue me.”
Long Feiye and Gu Qishao were silent. Gu Qishao released her hand, but Gu Beiyue hadn’t moved from his spot since the start. He only looked silently at the ground. He was the calmest and clearest of the lot! Han Yunxi looked at him and said, “Gu Beiyue, tell me, what should I do?”
Gu Beiyue didn’t speak. In the end, he stared at the moon in the sky. Today was the 15th of the month, so there was a full moon. However, that also made it all the more lonely.
“Princess, this subordinate only censures you on matters of your personal safety. This subordinate can only accompany you in life and death...but I have no right to make decisions for the princess.” His tone was as respectful as always, but his helpless eyes were enough to break one’s heart. For the first time, the gentleman Beiyue’s feelings were written clearly in his eyes and his features. He...was feeling very miserable…
Han Yunxi was not only helpless against Long Feiye, but Gu Qishao and Gu Beiyue as well. In the end, she said, “Alright, let’s just discuss tactics after seeing the situation ourselves. I’m not going to go courting death!”
At her words, the three men finally recovered some semblance of rationality. On their way here, Gu Qishao could always provoke the taciturn Long Feiye to fight with him while Gu Beiyue was the quietest one. Tonight saw Gu Qishao growing quiet as well. As they lay on the grass staring at the moon in silence, they lost themselves in their thoughts. Long Feiye’s fingers were intertwined tightly with Han Yunxi’s.
What would happen tomorrow?
At the same time, another man far away was staring at the moon in thought. This was Ning Cheng on the outskirts of Skyriver City. They were on the verge of attacking the place, but he had no motivation. He was hesitating whether to head south to take a look at Han Yunxi. Still, he couldn’t find any reasons to do so, much less hold the right to convince her. He was a vassal and she, her sovereign. He never imagined there would come a day when he wanted to leave all hopes in Long Feiye’s hands. This time, he truly wished that Long Feiye could stop Han Yunxi.
Why did the Li Clan ask for Han Yunxi instead of Long Feiye?
Why did a single woman have to bear the burdens of the entire world?
If he could start from the beginning again, he would definitely accept all costs to destroy Tianan and kill Mu Yuanbo.
Unfortunately, it was all too late…
The next day, all traitorous factions stopped fighting, but General Mu’s headquarters in Tianan tossed out 100 dead bodies from within the city to urge Han Yunxi for her answer. Once again, the news was spread simultaneously all across Cloud Realm Continent. If everyone had been denouncing the Li Clan for being ruthless yesterday, they were now focusing all their attention on Han Yunxi today. It seemed as if she would be crueler than Great General Mu if she didn’t agree to his demands; it seemed as if Han Yunxi had killed those 100 people, not Great General Mu.
“I have to go! Right now!” Han Yunxi cut to the chase. She wasn’t afraid, only reluctant, but that she hid in her heart.
Unlike yesterday’s fury and irritation, Long Feiye and Gu Qishao were unusually serene today. Gu Beiyue had his head bowed, his expression inscrutable.
“If none of you are saying anything, I’ll just assume you all agree!” Han Yunxi said.
None of the men made a sound, but when Han Yunxi moved to leave, both Long Feiye and Gu Qishao raised hands to stop her.
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