The general leading the soldiers noted Lu Heng’s clearly well-read and scholarly appearance. Furthermore, he was the cousin of their future princess consort, so the general didn’t dare to slight him. He answered with a smile, “There’s no holiday today, so I guess something good must’ve happened.”
Something good? What else could that ‘something good’ be?
Although Lu Heng felt like his heart was on fire, he only displayed a look of delight on his face. “Can it be that my cousin and the prince are really getting married?”
The soldiers traded glances with each other. Seeing how happy he looked, the guy probably also wanted his cousin to marry the prince, right?
He was about to become the prince’s brother-in-law!
When the guards thought of that, they immediately lowered their swords so the atmosphere was no longer so threatening.
“We’ll all be one tribe in the future,” responded a soldier with a smile.
Lu Heng bobbed his head happily. “That’s right! Could I trouble one of you to see what’s going on? If my cousin’s really marrying the prince, I have to start preparing her dowry!”
The soldiers couldn’t help but crane their necks and peer at the faraway wagons. There were so many supplies there that they lacked, who didn’t want a share of them? Maybe if they helped Lu Heng, they could get some as a reward!
The general immediately ordered a soldier to scout the plaza.
It wasn’t long before the soldier returned in merry spirits. “Whew, it really is something very good! The prince plans to marry Miss Pang today at noon, and the public plaza is already bustling with people.”
Lu Heng’s hands were clenched tight inside his sleeves. Though his nails dug so deep that his palms had started to bleed, he still couldn’t feel the pain.
So it was true. Qin Yining really had sacrificed herself for the Minuo. In confirming that, Lu Heng was also able to guess much of what she planned afterwards. That silly girl might not live past tonight.
A thousand arrows pierced his heart in this moment. How he truly hated himself for not being proficient with martial arts. Otherwise, he would’ve just charged in to rescue Qin Yining and escaped with her!
They were surrounded by the desert on all sides. After entering the endless land of sand dunes, there would be no telling where Great Zhou lay. Furthermore, the heavens hadn’t been merciful enough to bless him with a strong body skilled in martial arts.
They were foreordained to die here, in a distant land away from home. Qin Yining had chosen the most desperate and decisive strategy, sacrificing herself to protect the entire tribe.
All Lu Heng could feel was the violet pain stabbing his heart. A sweet and salty taste rose in his throat as a bout of coughing came to the fore. He couldn’t control it and coughed violently, spitting out a mouthful of blood.
“Oh no! What’s happened?!” The Minuo rushed up to support Lu Heng.
Harbhara anxiously asked Lu Heng in Tatar, “What’s wrong? Let’s go find that Imperial Physician Wang!”
Lu Heng just waved him away. Pale as a sheet of paper, he drew a handkerchief from his sleeves and calmly wiped the blood off his lips. He gave the Xiyue general a smile. “I’m fine, it’s just an old illness.”
The general looked at Lu Heng doubtfully, but couldn’t make anything out of the Lu scion’s expression. Although he didn’t dare to offend their prince’s future brother-in-law, he also didn’t care to lower his guard and no longer chatted with Lu Heng.
Lu Heng looked towards the plaza, a deathly-still look on his face.
Maids escorted Qin Yining to the wide castle gates. When she stepped into the plaza, the crowd of Xiyue citizens burst into raucous cheers.
“Goddess! Princess Consort! Goddess! Princess Consort!”
Prince of Xiyue, Zhou Meng, stood on the platform. Clad in red robes with a golden headpiece, his excited voice boomed out. “We Xiyue are protected by the heavens and favored by the goddess. I am the lord selected by the heavens! After a hundred years of devoted prayers from our pure and kindhearted people, the goddess has finally descended, bringing grain to Xiyue. Today, she will become my consort!”
“Hurrah! Hurrah!” the commoners cheered spiritedly.
People at the front of the crowd whispered quietly as they watched a woman under a red veil walk out with the help of her maids.
“Do you guys see the goddess? I just saw her!”
“She’s so beautiful! She’s just as I imagined, and even more beautiful than described in the sacred texts!”
Zhou Meng could no longer suppress his delight as he turned to face Qin Yining. The Xiyue officials were also present and they cheerfully stood to both sides of the path, watching Qin Yining make her way to the platform.
The crowd’s cheers grew even louder and the din assaulted Qin Yining’s eardrums, but her heart was as cold as ice.
When she married Pang Xiao, she’d been dressed with the stately magnificence befitting the occasion. All propriety, rites, and courtesies had been duly observed. Was she truly to marry somebody else on this day?
No, she wouldn’t allow herself to serve two men!
Lips painted bright red, Qin Yining pursed them tightly. A red veil covered her eyes, so all she could see was a sea of red. This made her hearing exceptionally sharp, allowing her to make out the faint sound of horse hooves drumming amongst all the cheers.
The sound that had suddenly appeared seemed to be getting closer and closer. Was it just a figment of her imagination?
It somehow reminded her of Pang Xiao, which further brought to mind him and his troops. Qin Yining smiled ruefully as she stepped onto the platform with the help of the maids.
And then, the unexpected happened!
If you read my other novel NECRO, I'm handing out red envelopes!