Chapter 304: A burning city for a peaceful country
“This old man made a big mistake.” Grand Preceptor Xie muttered to his assistant.
Xu Yiming hastened to comfort Grand Preceptor Xie, “Grand Preceptor, victory or defeat is only temporary.”
Grand Preceptor Xie waved his hand. “This might just be what Ning Yu wants, peace for the entire capital and its vicinity at the expense of a city wall.”
“His Majesty, he…”
“A burning city for a peaceful country.” Grand Preceptor Xie heavily pushed the birdcage. The canary inside chirped woefully.
“Why did Grand Preceptor call out and identify His Majesty as a fake?” No matter how much he thought about it, Xu Yiming couldn’t figure out the reason. It was such a foolish excuse to accuse His Majesty as a girl; even Xu Yiming was in disbelief that those words came from his master.
“Do not ask.” Grand Preceptor Xie waved his arm in dismissal. “Let’s depart.”
A chilling shiver went down Assistant Xu’s spine and spread throughout his body.
Grand Preceptor was about to throw away almost 70,000 troops, along with the asset that he’d built up in the capital and its vicinity over so many years.
As Grand Preceptor Xie walked down the steps, the heavy rain instantly drenched him from top to bottom. Grand Preceptor Xie silently contemplated the name Ning Yu in his heart. If he had known this day was going to come, he would have wiped out that baby girl’s existence from the start.
On the main road to the capital’s eastern suburb, Xu Feiyu watched as his men stopped and thoroughly inspected a group of horse carriages. After they were done, he asked, “How is it?”
The deputy general rushed up to Xu Feiyu and reported, “Xie Wenyuan isn’t among this group.”
Xu Feiyu walked to face Lady Luo, who was cradling her little son. “Third Young Lady, long time no see.”
Lady Luo tightly held her son in her embrace, her voice quivered, “W-what do you want from me?”
Xu Feiyu was a tall, handsome young man with bright eyes and straight, slanted eyebrows. Upon hearing Lady Luo’s question, he sneered coldly, “Where is Xie Wenyuan?”
Lady Luo shook her head.
Xu Feiyu lifted the curtain of the horse carriage next to him. The inside of the carriage had changed beyond recognition. Xie Anshi was suffering a life worse than death as he could only shout out “ah ah”. His throat was burnt so badly that he didn’t sound human at all.
“Don’t know, I really don’t know where Grand Preceptor is.” Lady Luo spoke in a tiny voice. Rain was trickling down her face, bystanders couldn’t tell if this Third Young Lady was crying or not.
Xu Feiyu let go of the carriage curtain and gave order to the deputy general behind, “Search one more time.”
So, the soldiers began to search the vehicle line from both ends towards the middle once more. From time to time, sounds of women wailing echoed from the line of vehicles. No matter if they were rich and noble or poor and lowly, they all looked miserable and pitiful at times of distress.
Lady Luo’s little son cried whimpers in her embrace. She held him and retreated backwards. In the presence of Xu Feiyu, she didn’t even dare to coddle her son.
Xu Feiyu just stood there, detached.
This time, the soldiers dismantled the horse carriages to conduct their search. They didn’t dare to miss out a single possible hiding spot for a person. This went on for about an hour until the search was finished.
A concubine of Xie Anji shrilly shrieked, possibly from being touched by the soldiers. She shoved the soldiers surrounding her carriage and ran up along the line of vehicles.
A soldier chased after her. The long spear in his hand thrusted forward and pierced through the concubine’s body, before he swung her onto the ground.
As the concubine’s corpse heavily rammed on the saturated ground, the shrieking instantly ceased. But this silence only lasted for a few seconds before much bigger sounds of screaming consequently rose up.
The deputy general ran up to Xu Feiyu and reported in a low voice, “We searched everything. Xie Wenyuan isn’t here.”
Xu Feiyu banged his hand against a carriage, “Get rid of all these people.”
The deputy general was terrified, “Can we directly kill the Xie family members without going through His Majesty first?”
“Nine familial exterminations for those who rebel.” Xu Feiyu snarled, “Why would His Majesty want to keep them around? Kill!”
The deputy general accepted the order. He turned to the soldiers and made a slashing gesture with his hand.
That was the beginning of a massacre.
When Lady Luo wanted to flee with her son, a soldier kicked her to the ground. The sounds of horse hooves came from the capital’s direction. Pei Yan and his cavalry team were approaching Xu Feiyu at a fast speed.
“Your Excellency Pei?” Xu Feiyu reached out his hands to help Pei Yan pull back the reins, effectively stopping the horse.
Pei Yan leapt off the saddle and effortlessly landed on the waterlogged ground without kicking up a single droplet of water.
“What has His Excellency Pei come here for?” Xu Feiyu handed the reins to the soldier next to him.
Pei Yan looked at the corpses on the ground and replied, “Supreme Commander Lou has news that Xie Wenyuan is currently in the eastern suburb.”
General Xu shook his head, “With the exception of Xie Wenyuan, the Xie family members are all here. Oh, right, that Assistant Xu Yiming isn’t here either.”
“There are many villages at the eastern suburb farm area. Since Xie Wenyuan isn’t here, I’ll lead men to look at those villages. I’ll have to trouble General Xu to take care of the matter here.” Pei Yan didn’t stay for too long. After instructing Xu Feiyu with the task, he got on the horse and was about to take his leave.
“Second Master,” Lady Luo shouted as she knelt on the ground.
Pei Yan looked towards the woman on the muddy ground and sized her up for a good while, but still couldn’t recognize who she was.
Lady Luo could care less and yelled, “Second Master, I’m Luo Mengyun.”
Pei Yan furrowed his brows. For generations, the Pei Clan and the Luo Clan have shared a friendly relationship. He and Miss Luo could be considered close childhood friends. After a great catastrophe, however, the Luo Clan became Xie Wenyuan’s guard dog, and Miss Luo climbed to a higher position as she was betrothed into the Xie family. No one could’ve ever imagined a day when Pei Yan would look down at the woman on the ground from horseback. Things had changed with the passage of time, and Luo Mengyun had become someone that he was no longer familiar with.
“I beg you, please save my children.” Lady Luo sobbed and pleaded, “I beg you, Second Master. I know that I’ve owed you too much. I shall be your slave in my next life to pay back my debt. Second Master, please save my children!”
Pei Yan turned his horse and urged it to go.
“Second Master!” Lady Luo screamed in desperation.
“Save your children and be condemned by His Majesty? So that he push his Pei Clan to death?” Xu Feiyu sneered at Lady Luo, “So his Pei Clan’s children should all die so that your children can survive?”
As Lady Luo watched Pei Yan sprint to the distance without turning back, she wailed out loudly. A long time ago, she had cried when she knew she’d be married to another person. But after she became Xie Anshi’s official wife and watched Lord Protector’s estate get worse with each passing day, she felt fortunate. She was lucky she hadn’t married into the Pei family. She’d even hoped that Lord Protector’s estate would continue crumbling down, as proof that she hadn’t married into the wrong family. Now, she was the falling into the mud with her baby in hand while Pei Yan galloped away on horseback. Was Pei Yan just heartless, or was this her karma?
A soldier strode up and slashed down his sword, ending Lady Luo’s life in the mud. As for the little young master in her arms, his head was chopped off and he died on the spot.
The soldiers dragged Xie Anshi out of the carriage and shoved him to the ground. Then, he was killed by multiple slashes. Third Young Master Xie had been suffering a fate worse than death from his serious burn. When he died, he seemed relieved. Finally, he no longer has to live in torment.
Xu Feiyu turned around and strode to his warhorse. He once thought the Xie Clan was a tree that could reach high to the sky; an unshakeable monster. In order to survive, he had no choice but to bent and knelt before Xie Wenyuan even though he wanted to kill him countless of times. Xu Feiyu still forced himself to respectfully call that man Godfather every time they met.
Now that he looked down at the puddle of blood at his feet, he saw the Xie Clan on their road to final doom. Xu Feiyu shook his head lightly. So the capital’s Xie Clan isn’t unshakable after all. It’s just that none of them had the courage to do anything back then.
An hour later, Pei Yan picked up a silver bird cage from the swamped ground. The yellow canary had drowned from the rain, looking pitifully small as the water drenched its feather.
“Second Master, there’s no one in this farmstead.” a bodyguard ran into the courtyard and reported out loud.
Pei Yan casually threw the birdcage to the ground again. This isn’t an abandoned farm, so why is there no one here?
A captain of the Nine Gate Infantry dashed into the courtyard, his face pale and his feet unstable. “Your Excellency, the backyard pond, the backyard pond is full of bodies.” the captain shouted.
Pei Yan hurriedly made way to the backyard pond. Before his eyes was a pond full of corpses, men and women, young and old. The type of wounds on their bodies varied as well.
“Second Master, do we scoop them all out?” a bodyguard was seeking Pei Yan’s decision.
Pei Yan squatted down and randomly dragged a corpse of a little girl ashore. The little girl’s throat had been slashed. The larynx bone was fractured. After carefully examining it, Pei Yan stood up.
All of the soldiers in the backyard gazed at Pei Yan expectantly. Who would massacre these people of the farm at this time? The rebel troops?
Impossible. Pei Yan swept a glance at the pond of bodies. Then, he abruptly walked out of the yard as he ordered the soldiers, “Don’t worry about this place for now.”
Everyone hurriedly followed him out altogether.
“Go check all the entries,” Pei Yan ordered loudly, “See if there are any marks of carriage wheel on the ground!”
The high-rank officers hastened to spread out with their troops.
Pei Yan took quick steps out of the farm’s main entrance. All of the warhorses were currently roped outside the farm. Under the heavy rain, all the hoof mark from their arrival had disappeared. Second Master Pei furiously kicked the water on the ground. Even the marks from their arrival have faded away now, how can there still be traces left behind from Xie Wenyuan’s horse carriage?
“Should we split up to pursue them?” a deputy general quietly suggested next to Pei Yan.
Pei Yan asked back, “Do you know the routes leading out from this place?”
The deputy general couldn’t respond. He was familiar with all the big and small streets of the capital. But he’d never even been here before.
Pei Yan inwardly estimated the number of troops he brought here. Even if they successfully located Xie Wenyuan after they spread out to search, who knew if a small troop could outfight Xie Wenyuan’s bodyguards?
“Go find Xu Feiyu,” Pei Yan instructed his deputy general, “Tell him, Xie Wenyuan has definitely fled east. I will take the small road from this farm and give pursue. Tell him to take the main road.”
The deputy general didn’t dare to delay. He said words of assent and immediately galloped towards the main road.
“Go!” Pei Yan got on his horse and ordered loudly. A team of soldiers headed east and gave pursue along the gravel road in front of the farm.
Meanwhile, at Xu Feiyu’s location, General Xu gawked in shock at the person standing before him, “You are His Majesty?”
Ning Xiaoyao was standing in the bloody puddle with her serious chubby face. She nodded at Xu Feiyu.
Xu Feiyu’s face immediately turned embarrassed.
Ning Xiaoyao forced herself to stop looking at the ground as she questioned Xu Feiyu, “Didn’t you say Grand Preceptor is in the eastern suburbs? Where is he?”
Deep down, General Xu truly wanted to ask, where did you get this news from? Is it reliable?
Ning Xiaoyao dug her fingers into her palm and mumbled, “If Grand Preceptor isn’t here with you, then where is he now?”
Hearing someone call her from behind, Ning Xiaoyao turned around to look. Lou Zigui was approaching her on his horse. He was wearing a silvery armor, his entire body reeked of fresh blood.Previous Chapter Next Chapter