Just as Elder Li brought the court officials through the palace gates, a horse swiftly stopped at the front of the gates. The soldier on the horse was covered in dust and didn’t even dismount before he rushed towards the Elite Imperial Guard shouting, “Urgent message from Tong Ling Passageway!”
Similar to Prince Fu’s reaction to the invasion of Hubei, when the court officials heard the words “Tong Ling Passageway”, an explosion went off in their heads. Tong Ling was a gateway north of the capital. If they lost Tong Ling, the Northern Hu must have already entered the capital!
The Elite Imperial Guard personally ran towards the Supreme Splendor Hall to report the urgent message from the soldier.
Elder Li and the others also hurriedly ran in. Although it was already deep in the night, the capital was about to be attacked by enemies. Hence, the officials were not in any condition to sleep. All the officials and soldiers had their brows furrowed and were very anxious.
The sergeant was soon brought into the Supreme Splendor Hall by the general of the Elite Imperial Guards. They ran over at top speed. The general of the Elite Imperial Guards have already ran to and fro from the Supreme Splendor Hall twice while Elder Li and the others were still walking halfway.
When Ning Xiaoyao heard about the invasion and the death of Tong Ling Passageway’s general, she plopped down on the chair and stayed silent for a long time.
“This is the letter from my family’s general to Your Majesty,” the sergeant took out a letter wrapped in leather. Shadowrain took the letter and passed it to Ning Xiaoyao.
Ning Xiaoyao opened the leather envelope and realised that there were two letters inside. One of them was the final handwritten letter from the garrison general of Tong Ling. As for other letter, Ning Xiaoyao looked at the introduction and told Prince Fu and Shadowrain, “This letter is from Madam Feng.”
“Who?” Prince Fu asked.
Shadowrain hurriedly asked, “Feng Muhai’s mother?”
Ning Xiaoyao nodded her head. After reading half of Madam Feng’s letter, Ning Xiaoyao’s hands started to shake. Prince Fu couldn’t wait any longer and rushed towards Ning Xiaoyao to read the letter.
Ning Xiaoyao slapped the letter into Prince Fu’s hands and furiously shouted, “F*ck dis shit!”
Shadowrain asked, “What happened?”
“Feng Muhai has defected,” Ning Xiaoyao’s voice turned cold, “Madam Feng says she’s too ashamed to continue living and all the womenfolk in the family have committed suicide. She also mentioned that she doesn’t recognise Feng Muhai as her son.”
Shadowrain was dumbstruck. “You come over,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at the sergeant.
The sergeant walked towards Ning Xiaoyao. After the war broke out in his city, his companions had risked their lives to send him out of the Northern Hu army so that he could escape. He had no idea how his comrades were doing and also suffered some major wounds himself.
Ning Xiaoyao patted the sergeant’s hands and a pale green light shone from her fingertips.
“Your Majesty,” the sergeant didn’t realise his wounds were healing at a rapid pace and looked at her with reddened eyes, “The Northern Hu are coming towards the capital. M-most likely, the towns along the way will be seized.”
“It’s okay. It’s okay ah.” Ning Xiaoyao smiled at the sergeant, “The country hasn’t vanquished yet. Third Rain, bring this little bro to rest.”
Shadowrain led the sergeant out. The sergeant knew that he was just an insignificant individual and did not have any place to speak here.
“Go ah,” Ning Xiaoyao smiled at the sergeant again, “Go and rest well. After you are well rested, you can fight against the Northern Hu with me!”
Only then did the sergeant leave with Shadowrain. Prince Fu scoffed at Ning Xiaoyao, “You’re still in the mood to smile?”
“Should I cry then?” NIng Xiaoyao pouted.
“The Son of Heaven will protect the country! The Son of Heaven will protect the country!” Prince Fu chanted around the palace hall, “In the beginning, our forefathers shouldn’t have built our capital in this godforsaken place!” If the capital city was further down south, a few invaded towns wouldn’t put them in such danger so soon!
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t understand Prince Fu’s complaints but she couldn’t be bothered anyway. “Uncle, what’s the point of scolding our ancestors now?”
“What do we do now?!” Prince Fu wailed at Ning Xiaoyao.
Just then, Elder Li and the rest walked into the Supreme Splendor Hall with Shadowgale.
When Ning Xiaoyao saw Elder Li, she shuddered on reflex.
After greeting the monarch, Elder Li immediately asked Ning Xiaoyao, “Does Your Majesty intend to stay or leave?”
Pei Yan instantly replied, “Your Majesty, this subject will accompany your Majesty down south.”
Half of the court officials agreed with Pei Yan’s suggestion. Heading south would be the safest option for His Majesty.
Elder Li continued to gaze at Ning Xiaoyao, “How does Your Majesty feel about this?”
“Of course it’s to leave ah,” Prince Fu added, “Rebel forces are coming from the sea, the Northern Hu are coming from the waterway. If His Majesty continues to stay in the capital, wouldn’t he be waiting to be surrounded?!”
Ning Xiaoyao stroked her chin and sat down. Tong Ling’s garrison general wrote in his final letter that the Northern Hu cavalry had always been invincible and he had failed the imperial grace.
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t feel that the garrison general owed her anything but from his words, she could tell the Northern Hu army was very strong. It would probably be very difficult to defeat them. Even if she deployed more troops into the capital, there was no guarantee they could block the invasion of the Northern Hu.
“Your Majesty!!” Prince Fu shouted at Ning Xiaoyao. It’s time to make a decision. Why is he zoning out for?!
“If I leave, wouldn’t this become the territory of the Northern Hu and rebel forces?” Ning Xiaoyao furrowed her brows, “Is that a good thing?”
“This subject is willing to lead the troops to guard the capital.” Pei Yan hurriedly blurted.
“If I leave, the soldiers’ morale would be affected right?” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. She may not know any battle tactics, but she understood the importance of morale.
“Your Majesty ah,” Prince Fu understood Ning Xiaoyao’s intention and realised that this “nephew” didn’t want to leave. So, he anxiously exclaimed, “With green hills around, there will always be enough firewood to burn. After Your Majesty is safe in the south, we could send in more troops into the capital to aid the war.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked at Elder Li. So should she stay or leave?
Elder Li stayed silent.
Was she supposed to come up with ideas on her own? Ning Xiaoyao changed her sitting position several times.
“Your Majesty, this is a pressing matter,” Pei Yan frantically urged Ning Xiaoyao, “This subject would advise Your Majesty to leave as soon as possible.”
Before Ning Xiaoyao could respond, another piece of bad news arrived. A messenger soldier had rushed to the capital to report urgent news. However, the moment he got off his horse, he collapsed and died. The general guarding the capital found a bloodied note in his belongings and rushed to deliver this note to Ning Xiaoyao. The report was a note written in one’s own blood.
Ning Xiaoyao saw it and sighed before turning to the crowd, “The thirty six barracks of Roaring Tiger Camps are no more.”
There was only the sound of humans exhaling in the hall before an absolute silence.
Everyone has already lost their will to fight ah. Ning Xiaoyao subconsciously started to hug her head again.
Throughout generations, the army was deprived of general necessities. Life was tough for the soldiers. Aside from a few elites troops, the rest were all funded individually by the generals themselves. However, officials were corrupted and embezzled money. They exploited the army and caused the soldiers to starve. How could they fight in this condition?
This didn’t just affect the soldiers and army. Elder Li and the other ministers knew that the army was rotten from the roots. His Majesty was a good emperor but what he lacked was time. The soldiers of Yongning were as rotten as common refugees and this wasn’t something that could change within a short period of time.
At dawn, another urgent report was sent into the capital. A key passageway from the south was blocked by the rebel forces and Xiyuan City was captured by them.
“We could still take the waterway,” Second Young Master Pei wished he could just help Ning Xiaoyao pack her luggage. If they still continued to dilly dally, they may not even have the chance to take the waterway.
Within one night, Ning Xiaoyao received four terrible news in a row. After getting smacked with bad news again and again, she was calm. She wiped her face and said to Pei Yan, “I’m not leaving anymore.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s decision caused an uproar in Supreme Splendor Hall.
“I can fight,” Ning Xiaoyao looked at everyone in front of her, “Even if the capital is invaded, I can still find a way to escape. So, none of you guys have to worry about me. If you’re able to send your families away, don’t delay anymore. Do it now!”
Elder Li pressed, “So what’s Your Majesty’s decision?”
“I’ll wait in the capital for the Northern Hu and rebel forces to come,” Ning Xiaoyao sat up straight and raised her chin, “I’m not scared of them.”
Thunder sounded from outside the window. Another storm unexpectedly arrived again. “What shitty weather,” Ning Xiaoyao scolded.
“Have you made up your mind?” Prince Fu anxiously looked at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Yes, I have. Uncle you can leave,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
“I… Where can I go ah?” Prince Fu hollered at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Go look for General Tao Yu,” Ning Xiaoyao was having difficulties understanding Prince Fu again. This guy isn’t afraid of her harming him anymore ah?
“If something happens to Your Majesty, would Tao Yu let me go?” Prince Fu pointed at his nose. Does he think that the one surnamed Tao is a kind person?!
“You can’t fight anyway. Even if General Tao Yu wants to kill you, what can you do?” Ning Xiaoyao frowned, “Then you can do whatever you want, Uncle. But if you want to leave, you’d have to leave soon.”
Prince Fu didn’t know if he should stay or leave. He was afraid of dying. But when he thought about this “nephew” of his facing the Northern Hu army and rebel forces alone, he couldn’t bear to do it. Facing this internal struggle, Prince Fu suddenly didn’t want to talk to Ning Xiaoyao anymore.
“We should all chill out.” Ning Xiaoyao told Elder Li, “We’re not dead yet, we can still think of a solution!”
“Send more troops to protect His Majesty,” Elder Li instructed Pei Yan and the other military generals, “If His Majesty doesn’t leave, then Yongning must definitely win this war.”
Pei Yan wanted to continue persuading Ning Xiaoyao to leave but Ning Xiaoyao suddenly let out a yawn. She got up and walked away. She was hungry again. It was time to get some food.
Shadowbolt arrived at the capital three days later. Fourth Commander didn’t take the same path as the Northern Hu army. But on his way, he received news about losing Tong Ling and the destruction of the Roaring Tiger Camps. When he arrived at the Supreme Splendor Hall and heard that Ning Xiaoyao wanted to stay and fight the Northern Hu and rebel forces, Shadowbolt was shocked to a daze.
“The situation on Supreme Commander’s side…”
Shadowgale didn’t wait for Ning Xiaoyao to finish and immediately asked Shadowbolt, “How did the Northern Hu cross the six cities of Anyuan?”
Shadowbolt told Ning Xiaoyao and Shadowgale about what happened the other night, “On the night that Supreme Commander arrived at Black Frost City, he immediately sent General Fang out saying there was news that there was trouble in a small southwest mountain pass. Your Majesty, I’ve heard that merchants even have trouble with travelling on that narrow pass, much less the soldiers.”
“The Northern Hu army is about to reach the capital,” Shadowgale icily reported, “There must be an issue with the small passageways.”
“Supreme Commander said he would come to the capital as fast as possible. We should just wait for Supreme Commander and the Black Frost Calvary to get here,” Ning Xiaoyao shrugged her shoulders. The troops in Yongning were really shitty, the Black Frost Calvary should be elites, right?
Shadowbolt took out Lou Zigui’s white jade amulet and placed it on the table in front of Ning Xiaoyao, “Your Majesty, Supreme Commander wants to give this to you.”
Ning Xiaoyao held the jade amulet in her hand and a smile appeared on her face. She didn’t understand what this was, but it was made of jade so it must be very valuable, right?
“Your Majesty,” Shadowbolt said, “Supreme Commander wants you to go down South immediately.”
“It’s okay,” Ning Xiaoyao replied, “I’ll wait for him here.”
Shadowgale shook his head at Shadowbolt. He had already tried persuading His Majesty but he didn’t want to leave. They could only accompany him here and wait for the Northern Hu and rebel forces to come. As long as they were alive, they would try their very best to keep His Majesty safe.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Is it just me, or the chapters are getting longer? Sigh... but next chapter will be super funny!! Stay tuned!