Chapter 280: Resolution in a Dominant Fashion (II)
Qin Yining didn’t understand why Weichi Yan was so upset and picked up the letter with some hesitation.
“To the Emperor of the Yan Dynasty” was written on the envelope. Every horizontal stroke lifted slightly upwards, the spacing between each perfectly delineated. It was a beautiful effect, and the calligraphy as powerful as a flying dragon, each character vigorous and decisive. The author’s dashing flair and unyielding arrogance was on full display. It went without saying that it’d been written by Pang Xiao.
The girl unfolded the paper within and almost burst out laughing when she read the contents.
There were a short line on it. “Return her at dusk or bear the consequences of a city siege!”
A cocksure “Pang” was the signature, as well as the seal of the Faithful Prince of the First Rank and Pang Xiao’s personal chop.
It was supposedly a letter, but the contents so little. The seals had certainly been carefully affixed, however. The red official seal and small personal one almost filled the paper!
The parting words of “bear the consequence” smacked of pure pompousness; they also fully displayed the writer’s contemptuous disdain of Weichi Yan.
No wonder the emperor was so hopping mad! His face was almost swollen with all the slapping it’d received! If Pang Xiao besieged the city, what would Weichi Yan defend with?
The Duke of An had already led most of the generals and numerous civil officials into authoring a declaration of fealty. They would just open the city gates if the prince attacked. Weichi Yan probably wouldn’t even have the chance to surrender then, because with the current circumstances, Pang Xiao didn’t care if he did or not! It didn’t have the slightest bearing on whether or not the prince could trample Great Yan.
The girl compressed her lips, put the letter away carefully, and offered it back with both hands.
Weichi Yan refused to take it. He sneered. “Are you feeling proud of yourself?”
“Proud? This subject’s country will no longer exist in the future. What is there to be proud of? Rather, does Your Majesty know what you’re talking about right now?” Qin Yining lowered her highly raised hands since Weichi Yan refused to take the letter, and placed it on a nearby table. “Did Your Majesty just say that you knew the duke had kidnapped me and was using me to lure the Faithful Prince of the First Rank into a trap?”
Though Weichi Yan raged with fury, a guilty conscience still pricked him when faced with this question. After all, he kept saying he liked her, but he’d also allowed her to become bait.
The emperor didn’t respond.
“Does Your Majesty know the full extent of the duke’s plan? He’s luring the prince here so that he can gift me to his bodyguards and soldiers after he kills the prince, then frame my father with Pang Xiao’s death!”
Weichi Yan trembled violently upon hearing this and lowered himself down to eye level with Qin Yining. It was apparent he didn’t understand, so the girl continued.
“I woke up in the carriage when I was kidnapped, but pretended to still be out. I clearly heard everything that the duke said to his men. He’d come in contact with a secret envoy from Great Zhou a long time ago. The envoy promised the duke that as long as he cooperated with the Great Zhou army, the envoy could guarantee that all surrendered Great Yan officials would still be part of the aristocracy once we moved to Great Zhou.
“The duke said that my father already eclipses him in Great Yan. Once my father murders the prince, he will certainly be punished after our surrender. The duke is planning on eliminating two political enemies, in the form of my father and the prince, before everything else happens!
“Your Majesty, did you know about the duke’s intricate plotting?”
The last question jabbed right into Weichi Yan’s heart, making him quaver all over just like the threat of “bear the consequences”. He fell to a sitting position.
“Ha, haha!” Weichi Yan threw his head back tragically, crying and laughing at the same time. “Such are Our subjects! Utterly incompetent in defending the city, but adepts in games of power. They’ve included me as a pawn as well! Hilarious, absolutely hilarious! With so many subjects like these, it’s no wonder that the nation’s fallen. I well deserve to be the last emperor of a ruined nation alright! Hahaha!”
Qin Yining knelt on the floor watching a crying and laughing Weichi Yan pound the ground. He didn’t care that his imperial dragon robes were all dusty and dirty.
The girl was afflicted with heartache. Who wanted things to progress to this stage?
The tumors and ailments afflicting the nation were chronic affairs. Add to that the emperor emeritus wasting a few decades with incompetence and debauchery… to be honest, even if Weichi Yan was highly skilled at ruling, it would’ve only prolonged Great Yan’s suffering for a while longer.
The emperor really wasn’t talented in this area. He had the heart but lacked the strength. He’d tried his best.
“Your Majesty…” Qin Yining sighed and wanted to comfort him, but had no idea how.
Weichi Yan sat dumbly on the ground for a while longer and suddenly surged to his feet. He was embarrassed, but spoke very politely. “You may rise. We went down the wrong path this time and wanted to play along when We learned of the duke’s plan. We kept your father in the palace for some company.”
He seemed to fear Qin Yining misunderstanding and quickly added, “Don’t worry, Grand Preceptor Qin is Our teacher. We would never hurt him and would in fact, protect him. Once all of us go to Great Zhou, We’ll have to trouble you for some good words on Our behalf to the prince.”
Qin Yining stood blankly, not sure how to respond as she looked at Weichi Yan’s slightly appeasing smile. In the end, she had to settle for, “Your Majesty is too polite. This subject won’t forget that I am a Great Yan citizen. I also know that everything Your Majesty is doing is for the people, not yourself.”
Weichi Yan almost teared up. He looked at the girl once more, dusted off his robes, and swiped his hand across his face to restore his earlier expression. He called out, “Come, prepare the cart.”
Someone harried over a mule cart before long. There was no compartment on top of it, making it apparent at a glance who the occupants were.
Weichi Yan gave orders to an untied Bingtang, “Help your miss get to the other side.” He then turned to a young eunuch. “You, drive the cart and take Miss Qin to the other side.”
The little eunuch almost burst out crying from fright. He shook and trembled, agreeing to the order.
Qin Yining cast an astonished look at Weichi Yan. She hadn’t thought that he’d send her directly to Pang Xiao’s camp!
The letter had indeed said to return her, but it meant to the Qins, not what he was doing now!
Some further thought brought understanding. Weichi Yan was currying favor with Pang Xiao.
This… is really… She didn’t know what to say.
The two girls took their seats in the cart and the eunuch took the whip. He directed the cart out of the city with a pained expression, traveling past a spacious lot to the Great Zhou encampment.
Weichi Yan watched the city gates open and close again, the cart wandering further and further away. A mixture of emotions assailed him, and vengeful resentment in his eyes was finally replaced with resignation.
When he looked at the duke and others standing with their hands to their sides, he realized that he didn’t know what to do with them. The army had mutinied. If he gave orders now to punish the duke, he’d probably lose his life!
Forget it, forget it. Let’s just stay alive for now.
Weichi Yan returned to the palace with his servants.
Within the Valiant Tigers camp, a messenger flew in. “Your Highness, a mule cart’s coming from the other side. Two pretty girls are on it.”
Pang Xiao lit up with delight, threw down his book, and sprinted out of his tent.
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