While they were on their way to find Wu Ying, Lian Feng explained the entire story to Lin Shan.
Since the Emperor was critically ill, Lian Feng was ordered to go to Black Dragon Mountain to find the antidote. Deep down, both he and Du Hao knew Du Ye’s intentions were not innocent. Du Ye was the Eldest Prince, but he had always been placed around the borders. It was definitely not a coincidence that he had arrived back during this critical period when the Emperor was so sick. Most likely, Du Ye had something to do with the Emperor’s sudden illness.
At the time, Du Ye had returned to the Capital with a hundred thousand soldiers. Du Ye’s soldiers were stationed right outside of the Capital. This wouldn’t have been so worrisome if it weren’t for the fact that Du Hao only had approximately ten thousand of his men guarding the Capital. If the Emperor were to die, Du Ye would certainly invade the Palace and attempt to become the next Emperor. Under the circumstances, Du Hao would have surely lost.
During this crucial period, if Lian Feng were to find the antidote, it would definitely turn the story around. But obviously, Du Ye wouldn’t let Lian Feng ruin his evil plan that he had carefully crafted from years ago. Thus, before Lian Feng left the Palace, he had already arranged a person under him into Lian Feng’s team.
The goal was to ensure that Lian Feng would not make it back alive. That was why there was a traitor during their journey.
But that was only what it appeared to be from the outside. Du Ye had underestimated Du Hao. The truth was, Du Hao had been preparing for Du Ye all along. He had secretly been training an elite forces of twenty thousand soldiers in the suburbs of the Capital.
Although twenty thousand was not a huge number, these soldiers were skillful and disciplined. They had participated in many secret operations and did very well. Since they were so capable and dominant in combat, they were known as the “Army of the brave”.
However, this group of elite soldiers were very mysterious. Ever since Du Hao returned in triumph, they had vanished without a trace. In reality, Du Hao had hid them because they were his backup plan. In the event that something was going wrong, it would be the time to use them.
But Du Ye was not stupid. In order to prevent his plan to becoming the Emperor from failing, he had inserted secret spies all over the Palace. Even a mosquito would not be able to escape from his sight. Who would be able to communicate with anyone from the outside?
At this time, Lian Feng had exposed his identity to Du Hao. This was actually beneficial to Du Hao. Lian Feng decided to do an exchange with him: Lian Feng was willing to help Du Hao become the next Emperor and get rid of his enemies as long as Du Hao would grant him and Lin Shan freedom afterwards. That was why he said, “I will give you the world for one person.”
Du Hao was a smart man. If he had to choose between power and love, ultimately, he would not give up everything for a woman. Therefore, he accepted Lian Feng’s proposal. They will put on an act and report Lian Feng’s death. Then, Lian Feng would contact his secret forces and ambush Du Ye’s huge army.
Clearly, Du Hao had chosen the right person for the job. Since Lian Feng looked exactly like him, when Lian Feng carried the jade pendant and appeared in front of the troops, the morale of the army increased substantially.
The twenty thousand soldiers then met up with the ex-mountain thieves and came up with the best ambushing plan due to their familiarity with the landscape. Within a night’s time, they were able to defeat Du Ye’s hundred thousand soldiers.
Although it may seem very surprising that they won, it naturally made sense. Lian Feng had the right timing and location working for him. In addition, the soldiers were ecstatic to fight alongside with their “Crown Prince”. Whereas, their opponents had no idea that they even existed. They had no commanding officer and they weren’t prepared. Hence, it was no surprise that Du Ye’s army lost despite having five times more soldiers.
The defeat of his army stunned Du Ye. He was so close to becoming the next Emperor.
True. He was the one behind the Emperor’s sudden illness. As the Eldest Prince, he should have been the Crown Prince. But since his mother was a commoner, he wasn’t given that opportunity. In the past, he thought as long as he could demonstrate he was more capable than his brother, the Emperor and Empress would change their minds and value his existence.
But he was wrong.
Not only did the Emperor not treat him better due to his spectacular successes, he saw him as a threat to Du Hao and wrote an Imperial edict and sent him off to the borders. Although it may have looked like the Emperor was being fair (since Du Hao was also sent to fight), but in reality Du Hao had the military power.
Although he was given the title of a General, but in actuality, he had no authority. He was sent to the harshest conditions of the Northwest border, and that would have been basically his life.
His dream was totally shattered by his father’s decision. During his time at the borders, Du Ye went through a drastic change. He slowly became more cold blooded and ruthless. He vowed that he was going to take back everything that was supposed to be his.
At this time, Du Ye unintentionally discovered a poison. This poison had no colour and taste. Even a silver needle would not be able to detect it*. As long as someone constantly mixed it in with the food and water, eventually the poison will appear like a disease. No one would know they were poisoned.
When Du Ye discovered this poison, he realized his opportunity had finally arrived. He managed to overtake the main General working alongside with him and got hold of the military power. Then, he secretly sent his people to test out the poison in Black Dragon Mountain. He wanted to ensure that the poison would still be effective in a different climate and location.
In addition, he contacted the old counsellors who had always been very supportive of him. Slowly, he was going to control everything and replace Du Hao as the future Emperor.
Du Ye’s plan was half successful. He was only one step away from achieving his dream. But he was too careless with his last step. He thought he was the only one who had undergone tremendous change. He failed to realized that Du Hao had also matured and changed from his own experiences.
The reason why he lost was because he had overestimated himself and underestimated his opponent.
By the time Du Hao’s troops had arrived into the Capital, Du Ye had already secretly fled from the Palace.
Perhaps, he was bitter and planned to get revenge; but even if he wanted to, the chances were low. As of now, his dream of becoming the Emperor will only remain a dream.
After hearing Lian Feng’s explanation, Lin Shan was utterly shocked: “So are you telling me this was an act the entire time? You and the Crown Prince planned this all along?”
“Yes.” Lian Feng nodded.
If Lin Shan had the ability, she would pounce on Lian Feng and bite him to death.
It turned out she was tricked by the brothers! What a waste of my tears! They’re shameless. Shameless, I tell you!
Lian Feng could tell Lin Shan’s complexion wasn’t looking so good. He tried to relieve the situation: “I know I should have told you this beforehand, but Du Ye is too meticulous. We were worried any mistakes on our parts would ruin all our previous efforts. That’s why….”
“So you guys decided to use me to trick Du Ye into thinking that you were truly dead so that he would have his guard down?” Lin Shan looked like she was ready to kill someone.
Lian Feng remained silent but nodded his head.
Lin Shan was so furious that she nearly leaped off the horse: “Stop! Stop! I’m not going any further. I’m breaking up with you!”
They went too far. They schemed everything while she remained clueless and cried hysterically. She even thought of committing suicide if Lian Feng was dead. She was more embarrassing than a crown. She’s not going to forgive! No!
Lin Shan rolled off Wu Ying’s back and stormed off. She muttered angrily: “Don’t even try to stop me. I might as well go back and marry Ji Bai Yu instead….”
Before she could finish talking, her wrist was firmly grasped. Then, she was pushed back against a tree. Lian Feng was leaning on her and his eyes looked cold: “What did you say?”
Originally, Lin Shan was just venting. But now that Lian Feng was glaring at her, she felt like she was a tiger that was stuck. Now, she had no guts left and started to stutter: “I-I…. I’m going to break up with you…to go…. marry..Ji Bai Yu….”
Lian Feng’s face became darker and darker. His dark pupils stared into her soul: “It was wrong of me to lie to you, but I will not allow you to break up with me. And definitely not marry Ji Bai Yu. You understand?”
This was an apology? How come I feel like I’m being threatened? …..Lin Shan felt hopeless. Did she find herself a bad man? Within a night, her loyal man was becoming more like an Emperor. At this moment, she had a bad feeling she was going to be controlled by this guy for life.
The truth was, she was already controlled.
*In the past, it was common for people to stab their food/drink with a silver needle to detect if it was poisoned. If the needle turned dark, it would imply that the food/drink was poisoned.