What to do about this conundrum?
Long Feiye and Gu Qishao had spread out their arms to block Han Yunxi in front. She looked helplessly towards Gu Beiyue and asked, “Gu Beiyue, tell Long Feiye which choice is right.”
When it was time for Long Feiye to choose whether to postpone the northern expedition, Gu Beiyue had said there was no such thing as ruthlessness and cruelty when making a decision, only right and wrong. The role of a sovereign was only to accept or reject! Even so, the northern expedition couldn’t compare to a true sovereign’s choice like the dilemma facing them now!
If they gave up, they would not only lose a kingdom, but people’s hearts!
Perhaps Gu Beiyue could maintain his calm and logic if this was anyone else, but this time it was Han Yunxi at stake. He wasn’t some god! How could he be so ruthlessly cold or calm? He didn’t say a thing, having said all that was needed already.
“Poison lass, let’s go! We’ll leave this godforsaken place! I’ve already made inquiries and there’s a Frozen Sea north of Wintercrow Country’s snowy mountains! Beyond that is a whole new continent! We’ll go there and leave Cloud Realm together!” Gu Qishao proclaimed loudly. “Send people to spread news now that we’re all dead and gone! Mu Yuanbo can do whatever he likes! The kingdom can go to whoever wants it!”
Right now, Gu Qishao resembled nothing more than a stubborn child making fantastical claims. But Long Feiye actually listened to his rambling. “Alright, we’ll leave immediately!”
Han Yunxi shook her head. “Long Feiye, are you going to give up the kingdom?”
“Forget about Northern Li, this crown prince doesn’t even want all of Cloud Realm Continent!” Long Feiye said coldly.
In the past, he’d told Jun Yixie he wouldn’t trade Han Yunxi for the world. That wasn’t a joke or a lie to trick the man. He wouldn’t trade Han Yunxi for Northern Li or the entire continent!
“I don’t want to ruin your kingdom, much less yourself by making you a deserter!” Han Yunxi’s voice was frosty. “I, Han Yunxi, am no deserter. Even less is my husband one!”
What kind of crappy idea did Gu Qishao come up with?!
He wants us to run away?
The kingdom might be vast, but human hearts were only so big. Even if they ran from Cloud Realm Continent, could they escape their own hearts? Even if they fled from people’s mouths, could they escape the historians’ condemnations?
Han Yunxi didn’t care what others thought of her or how the historians penned her down! But she did take offense to what the people would think about Long Feiye, or how the historians would record his actions!
He was different from her!
She was only a soul transmigrated from 3,000 years in the future! All she had was him and close friends who’d risk life and limb with her! It was enough to just have them!
But he was the true crown prince of East Qin and the sole heir to the Great Qin Empire’s royal bloodline! He was also a beloved ruler in the hearts of Cloud Realm Continent’s people!
He was a real man!
His shoulders carried a mandatary destiny as well as the hopes and aspirations of the kingdom’s people. He also carried his own ambition and her expectations for him. How many candlelit nights had they talked about their wishes for the future? To build an entirely new nation with the highest, most noble imperial dynasty, ushering in an era of unprecedented peace!
Had he forgotten all this? Was he going to throw it all away?
Faced with Han Yunxi’s “deserter,” Long Feiye didn’t speak. She pulled him towards him so they were meeting face-to-face.
“Long Feiye, you told me that the world was big, much bigger than I could ever imagine! Tell me, just how big is this world? How far can we run?” she asked.
Still, Long Feiye didn’t speak. Gu Beiyue’s eyebrows creased hard as he looked at Han Yunxi. He suddenly realized that the calmest, most rational one amongst them wasn’t himself, but...this woman!
He had lost utterly.
“Tell me!” Han Yunxi pressured Long Feiye.
Long Feiye didn’t answer, but Gu Qishao loudly replied in his place. “Fine! We won’t run away!” He turned away and took out the Moye sword spirit, narrowing his eyes. “This old man’s not gonna be some desert. I’ll go slaughter Tianan’s imperial city right now. See who’s threatening whom!”
At this, Long Feiye immediately looked towards Gu Beiyue, who met his gaze. The two of them seemed to have thought of something. Gu Qishao was serious about going too, but Han Yunxi managed to stop him in time with a rebuke. “If you dare try that, I’ll kill you first!”
Gu Qishao narrowly avoided replying, “Unfortunately, you can’t kill me.”
But Long Feiye pulled Han Yunxi over and said, “Have him go for the slaughter! Kill Mu Yuanbo and hang his neck over the city gates!”
“Right! If he’s not killed, how can we placate the hearts of the Tianan people?” Gu Beiyue was quite excited.
They must have been addled by Mu Yanbo’s threats, or else they wouldn’t have lost their cool. They should have thought of this plan ages ago! Their original plan was to come here in secret for a surprise attack! Thank goodness Gu Qishao’s words had reminded Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue.
As an undying man, Gu Qishao was just as frightening as Bai Yanqing. If he gave it his all, it would be simple enough to massacre all the inhabitants of a captured city, to say nothing of Mu Yuanbo. Once Mu Yuanbo was dead, the Li Clan would lose their head and fall into disorder.
And if they happened to run into Bai Yanqing along the way, so much the better.
Long Feiye summoned a shadow guard and ordered, “Have the Tianning army reply Mu Yuanbo’s letter under this crown prince’s name. Just say that this crown prince will personally come forward with Han Yunxi! He should prepare himself to greet us at the gates!”
Hearing this, Han Yunxi recovered her wits as well. She knew what Long Feiye was planning!
Gu Qishao couldn’t care less about their plans. The Moye sword spirit gleamed with cold light in his hands. His temper wouldn’t be quelled until he slaughtered Mu Yuanbo himself.
It took half a month for Tianning’s troops to reach Tianan’s imperial city, but their group was only a day and a night away. Since Mu Yuanbo wanted to use the world’s people to push Han Yunxi off her altar, then they’d do the same and win people’s hearts again!
Just as the shadow guard planned to depart, Gu Beiyue called him over and muttered a few things by his ears. Whatever he said, the shadow guard made careful notes and repeated back to him before finally leaving some time later.
The momentary arguments hadn’t affected Long Feiye and Han Yunxi, but made them understand each other’s hearts even better. After discussing their counter plans, the group continued to advanced.
By nightime on the next day, they had already arrived in secret to the outskirts of Tianan’s imperial city. At the same time, Tianning’s military camp sent a letter to Mu Yuanbo while using Long Feiye’s name to issue an open letter to all people, civilians and soldiers alike. First, the proclamation described Long Feiye’s deep love for Han Yunxi and how he’d joined hands with the West Qin princess to create an era of peace under Great Qin to benefit Cloud Realm’s people; then it expounded on the threats that the Li Clan’s Mu family had raised against them, and how after much deliberation and discussion, they promised the people and soldiers in battle that to minimize the sacrifices, Han Yunxi was willing to personally travel to Tianan’s imperial city to exchange her life for the sake of Cloud Realm’s peace.
Gu Beiyue had told the shadow guard to write this letter. Although parts of it sounded sham and hypocritical for the sake of rousing emotions, it was true in a way. If Long Feiye and Han Yunxi weren’t concerned about the people’s hearts, why would they be threatened in the first place? When it came to repaying debts, Long Feiye was no slower than Gu Qishao with his wicked and merciless ways.
Once the letter became public, it spread across all corners of Cloud Realm Continent within a matter of days. Not only were the south central regions and Tianning affected, but even people in Northern Li, Western Zhou, and Tianan cheered Long Feiye and Han Yunxi on. At the same time, they denounced the Li Clan’s Mu family. Many more civilians even signed up for people’s militias, clamoring to fight. In a matter of days, Cloud Realm Continent was broiling with the Li Clan’s Mu family as their primary target. Everywhere sent punitive forces against their soldiers. The people said, if Mu Yuanbo dared to hurt a single hair on Han Yunxi’s head, no one in the world would give his Mu Clan easy days!
Long Feiye’s group remained hidden around the perimeter of Tianan’s imperial capital, waiting for their chance to move. None of them expected these developments. They were only planning to fight fire with fire, but ended up casting public ire against the Mu Clan.
Reports from their scouts indicated that even civilians near Tianan’s imperial city had raised a cry to arms. The citizens of other regions were equally excitable and were rushing to the traitorous army camps on their own without bothering to form militias. What did it mean by “when the world is in chaos, the people follow?” Exactly this! Long Feiye’s group could now take their time to watch developments unfold instead of rushing to sneak attack.
Sadly, news to the Tianan imperial city civilians were blocked, or else they’d probably be starting an uprising too!
On this day, a great pieces of news came from Jiangnan. One of the rebel forces couldn’t stand the pressure and surrendered, even cursing out the Li Clan’s Mu family for being cruel and unjust. They didn’t deserve to lead an army! At this news, many other traitorous factions gave up and surrendered too. Now it was even less mandatory for Han Yunxi’s group to show their faces. They could win without a single struggle.
Faced with such pressure, Mu Yuanbo no longer dared to slaughter the citizens of Tianan’s imperial city. Instead, he passed multiple sleepless nights. He had resorted to locking himself up in the study while the Li Clan elders knocked on his doors and took turns coaxing or threatening him.
That’s right, Great General Mu’s actions in putting Long Tianmo under house arrest and threatening Han Yunxi with a city-wide massacre had earned extreme disapproval from the Li Clan’s Council of Elders. Now that the Li Clan had grown to be a target of public censure and enemy number one, they could no longer remain aloof and indifferent. Yes, the Li Clan was skilled in leading troops, but they were the last ones to want war, much less participate in one.
Only those who had truly experienced war, with its rivers of blood and ground littered with bodies, knew what battles really cost, knew how to hate and fear such fighting.
This was the true Li Clan!
The Li Clan’s art of war was not a talent inherited on birth, but trained through generations of Li Clan members who’d experienced it first hand. In the battlefields, they charged through enemy lines and shattered their positions, licking their knives and drinking blood, risking life and limb to accumulate experience. The Li Clan’s books on military tactics were both stratagems and a record of its blood history. It was pages upon pages of military pledges!
The Li Clan was weary of war, which was why they chose to be neutral parties! When the Great Qin Empire had dissolved into civil war and left the East and West Qin sides both wounded, the Li Clan and its 100,000 soldiers hadn’t favored either side, or betrayed them to be kings of their own, but chose to dissolve the army and retreat to live in seclusion. They thus vanished from history…
Why had Great General Mu chosen this course of action?
1. The military pledges referred to here are the same as the ones sworn by disciples of the Li Clan. In Chinese it reads as 军令状 junlingzhuang and has two meanings. 1) An agreement between an army officer and his superior that he will be severely punished if he cannot successfully carry out a special mission for which he has volunteered; 2) Promise to get a job done, and accept severe penalities if unsuccessful. Think of it as a blood pact of sorts, swore upon military exploits and honor.
Happy Chapterversary guys!
5 bonus releases of PGC coming your way today, so sit back and start that spree! <3