Li Qitian smashed a teacup on the marble floor as soon as the eunuch finished speaking. Porcelain shattered everywhere, shards drawing several bloody traces across Li Guanwen’s face, but he didn’t dare even wince.
“Your Majesty, please quell your anger!”
Li Qitian shot to his feet in throes of fury, furiously slamming his fist on a pile of documents on the table.
“Pang Zhixi, what a great man you are, Pang Zhixi! He dares disregard Us to these depths! Defying just one imperial decree is a capital crime and grounds for execution! We showed him mercy, but he then stirs up this kind of trouble! What, does he want to rebel after running off with his private army? Men, go surround the Faithful Prince’s manor! We would like to interrogate those two Yao old wretches and that slut of a mother how they raised their son!”
Who dared venture anything different in the emperor’s fit of anger? Li Guanwen hastily agreed and led a group to prepare for the emperor’s trip.
At this moment, twenty-five kilometers outside of the city gates, Ji Zeyu waited on the silver-white steed that Pang Xiao had gifted him. A blazing red fox fur cape wrapped around him, his fair and slender hands grasped black reins, at ease in the center of the road.
Pang Xiao pulled his black steed to a stop, a surprised smile on his face. “Ah Lan? What brings you here?”
Ji Zeyu shook his reins and urged his horse closer. Although the expressions of the Elite Tigers behind Pang Xiao didn’t change, their bodies tensed, ready to fight.
The prince consort frowned slightly as he swept his gaze across the group. A wave of uneasiness swept through the soldiers, curbing the sharp pressure they’d been directing towards Ji Zeyu.
“You wish to search for née Qin? Is it that unbearable for you?”
Pang Xiao frowned as well and nodded. “I’ve been, well, I’ve been quite anxious these days. I feel like if I don’t go, something will happen to my wife.”
Ji Zeyu frowned as he took a deep look at Pang Xiao; the contours of his friend’s handsome face jutted out from all the weight he had lost. The prince consort pursed his lips as he sighed, “You really care about her that much?”
“Ah Lan, she is my life.”
“Didn’t you used to always say that a right and proper man doesn’t worry about the lack of a wife? Even if née Qin is one in a million, she is still just one person. Can she really compare to all the lives depending on you?
“If you hare off like this, aren’t you afraid of implicating your family in your actions too? I believe that even if something were to happen to née Qin, she would hope for you to live on, to live well, to take care of your family and hers. She wouldn’t want you to impulsively leave the capital in private like this. You should know that right now, your actions are crossing the emperor’s bottom line!”
Ji Zeyu was a naturally aloof man of few words. However, such habits always fell by the wayside when it came to Pang Xiao’s matters.
Moved, Pang Xiao jumped off his horse. His black, sable fur cloak flew up in the air, exposing powerful, black-clad legs that had been hidden underneath his clothing. He tossed his whip to Huzi behind him and walked towards Ji Zeyu.
The prince consort also jumped down from his horse, a deep frown on his face as he walked up to the prince. Another furrow added to the lines of his forehead, the tender fairness of his skin highlighted by the fiery cloak.
Pang Xiao sighed as he patted his friend's shoulder, his voice low. “Take advantage of how the emperor still trusts you and prepare a way out while you have time. Don’t be caught unprepared when something actually happens.”
Ji Zeyu glared at Pang Xiao, “If you didn’t let your emotions affect your judgement, you would also have the emperor’s trust. I’m talking about you right now, so why are you flipping it back onto me?”
“You’re still the same as when we were kids, always saying what’s on your mind.” Pang Xiao smiled in return. “You’ll also never admit to doing so.”
Ji Zeyu glared at him again but didn’t refute his friend. “Are you sure you want to go?”
“Yes. I have to go, or I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.”
“You’re not the sort to let your emotions affect your decisions. Where did all those years of calm and rational action go? You say you don’t want to regret it for the rest of your life, but there will always be times in life where you have to choose what you don’t want. How many can really live a life without regret?”
“Ah Lan, I understand your good intentions. I’ve already sent my maternal grandparents and mother back to the Qins, so if something happens while I’m gone, my father-in-law will know and should help me take care of my family.”
Seeing that Pang Xiao had already made up his mind and that there was no room for negotiation, Ji Zeyu could only sigh helplessly. “Alright, if you want to go, go. Don’t worry, I’ll also help look after everything.”
Pang Xiao nodded with great emotion. “Be careful. Remember my words and think of a way out for yourself.”
“Don’t you worry, I’m different from you.” Ji Zeyu smiled faintly. “You have much to worry about, but I have no family or anything else, so I’m not afraid of anything.”
“How can I truly relax? No one would’ve ever thought that us brothers would one day end up where we are now. Ah Lan, you have to stay safe. I’ll try to return as soon as possible.”
Ji Zeyu nodded in response to the solemn expression on Pang Xiao’s face and passed the whip in his hands to Pang Xiao.
“Take this. The Dragon Riders stationed at the border are all my former subordinates and around a hundred of my trusted aides are also within that group. They will all recognize this token of mine. If you need it, just take this whip to their leader, Tao Jun. He currently holds the position of commander and is a bit over thirty years old. He has a scar on his forehead and a heavy smoker. You’ll recognize him immediately.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter