Chapter 286: A Nation Must Not Have A Day Without A Ruler
There was no human who doesn’t fear death. The soldiers stopped chasing their liege when they were caught by their fear of death. That moment of hesitation was enough for the emperor to disappear, right in front of their very eyes. The emperor had been trying to subdue his startled horse, but had been quickly interrupted by a man who’d leaped up on his horse. The mysterious man struck the emperor’s acupoints before he could shout for help and dragged him off the horse. By the time the emperor’s body hit the ground, he was already unconscious.
And thus, the pitiful emperor fainted before he could even see who his assailant was. The whole group returned to the underground tunnels after Long Heng waved at the assailant. There was a person outside the tunnels who was tasked with the job of clearing the scene of evidence. After he was done, he turned around and vanished in the chaos of the battlefield.
After escaping from the battlefield, Long Heng and his cohort stared at the unconscious emperor. This man was once the ruler of millions of people, but now he was nothing more than just a common prisoner. Long Heng looked at the emperor coldly and jabbed at his eyes with his fingers.
The emperor was thus blinded in his sleep. Two streams of bloody tears began to flow down his cheeks. Ah Song and the rest were shocked by how ruthless Long Heng was. All things considered, this man was still once Long Heng’s liege. How could he blind his previous ruler without even a moment’s hesitation? Long Heng then said, “It’s time for me to return to the capital. Handle everything else here according to our original plan. Understood?”
“Understood.” After that, Long Heng no longer spoke. He wasn’t planning to let the emperor have the pleasure of knowing who his abductor was before his death. Long Heng had actually made a very cruel move today. Losing the emperor so early had been a critical blow to his army, and the emperor’s army began losing very badly soon after the emperor went missing.
The great army was forced to retreat back to Tranquil City. Meanwhile, Long Heng and his cohorts were going in two separate ways after they exited the tunnel. One group headed for Shu County, while the other headed for the capital. After arriving at Tranquil City, everyone else only realized what kind of disaster had happened when they failed to find the emperor, no matter how hard they searched. They immediately sent some men to the capital to report the matter, because it was an incredibly frightening thing for a nation to lose its ruler.
However, these men were still one step slower than Long Heng. When Long Heng’s men arrived at the capital, they followed the plan and invited Prince Rong to the palace, along with Princess Consort Rong and all his other noble consorts. Soon after that, the news from Tranquil City arrived. The emperor was announced missing after many failed search attempts. A nation must not have a day without a ruler, therefore the country was actually in very dire straits.
And during this critical time, three of the five senior officials actually voted for Prince Rong to ascend to the throne immediately. On the other hand, the other two voted for the ten year old crown prince to succeed his father. It was during this moment when Prince Rong said, “There is someone else who can give out their opinion on this matter. Does everyone want to see him?”
“Who is it?”
“Ah! P-Prince Li! How can it be you? Didn’t you pass away already?” These men only saw a heavily injured Long Heng limp his way into the meeting room.
“Truth be told, while it was true that Prince Li was heavily injured, it wasn’t actually a mortal wound. Realizing that there was a spy hiding in our court, the emperor and Long Heng decided put up an act so that he could remove the spy in secret,” Prince Rong said.
“Oh? Then who was the spy?”
“It was Noble Consort Su from the royal harem. She was actually Commander Lu’s concubine, a prince from the enemy nation. She’d been using every trick up her sleeve to seduce the emperor, including hiring doctors to change her appearance…” Prince Rong was telling them what Long Heng had taught him to say, but he was actually sighing on the inside. He’d never once yearned for the throne, but it seemed like he was about to be pushed into that seat.
There was almost no flaw in Long Heng’s story. There was no way Long Heng could lead the troops to battle since he was heavily injured, so it was only natural that he was given the task of ferreting out spies instead. Long Heng had actually made a significant contribution now that the spies had been removed and the wretched noble consort slain. But who would’ve thought that something would happen to the emperor in the meantime?
With the votes from three senior officials and Long Heng’s guarantee, Prince Rong was pushed onto the emperor’s throne in just a day’s worth of meetings. Because the empress wasn’t around, not many were willing to support the young crown prince. Even though some believed that the crown prince had the rights to the throne, he simply lacked the necessary military power. Even if he were to become the emperor, Long Heng might not be willing to protect him.
Because the nation’s border was in chaos, and also because the officials were afraid that the new emperor would fall to the enemy’s hands again, it was decided that the throne would be more suited to an adult with wisdom and foresight. Therefore, Prince Rong was the best candidate for the throne.
On the second day, Prince Rong entered the palace and claimed the dragon throne. On the third day, the empress returned, but the outcome was already a foregone conclusion.
On the fourth day, the previous crown prince was given the title of Prince Yun, and was banished to Yun County. The previous empress was to accompany Prince Yun to his banished land immediately.
On the fifth day, Princess Consort Rong entered the palace and was officially crowned the new empress.
On the sixth day, there was a nationwide celebration due to the coronation of the new emperor.
On the seventh day, Long Heng was given the title of General of Shu County. Leading an army to Tranquil City in Shu County, he was tasked with the mission of finding the emperor and defeating the enemy troops.
Bai Xiangxiu only got to see Long Heng once in these few days. She was given a very passionate kiss, but the huge mosquito left as quickly as he had come. On the next day, Xiaoshi found the enormous red mark on the princess consort’s neck to be very strange. Bai Xiangxiu noticed it too and used something to obscure the mark. They were husband and wife right? Why make it seem like they were illicit lovers?
She was also told that the old madame was going to return soon. However, that was all she’d heard from Long Heng. He didn’t specify when. But since it was going to be the new year soon, so she should prepare really prepare for the old madame’s return.
By now, rumors were already spreading all over the city that Prince Li hadn’t died yet, and that he was already marching with his troops to Tranquil City. Everyone was so overjoyed that they they had begun beating the drums and gongs in celebration. It was almost as if the new year was already here. Prince Li Manor had also taken on a new look. Bai Xiangxiu’s clothing choices was also no longer limited to plain white. She could even leave the manor and have a walk outside and no longer worry about the Long family asking her for things every day.
Being a widow sure wasn’t easy. She was dog tired just from managing the family business. Bai Xiangxiu suddenly looked at the old madame with a whole new level of respect and admiration. The Prince Li Manor never would’ve lasted this long if it hadn’t been for her. There was simply too many wolves lurking around, waiting to be fed. Even Bai Xiangxiu’s maternal home had caused her much anguish. Her younger sister had been pestering her for the promised dowry for the wedding. They’d visited her many times after Long Heng’s funeral as well. However, Bai Xiangxiu had been chasing them away by saying that the gifts had been bestowed by the emperor, and couldn’t be given away. Now that Long Heng had risen from the dead, their attitudes turned upside down immediately.
Those who had done her wrong quickly came to apologize and shower her with gifts. After all, there wasn’t a soul in the world who didn’t know that Long Heng was a man with true power and not just a general with an empty head! The person with the biggest army was always the one with the most authority, no matter the era, and money would naturally come with that authority. This is something that has remained unchanged throughout all of humanity’s existence.
Why did authority lead to money? Because of the amount of gifts they received. This was an ugly practice with little to no regulation in the olden times. Moreover, these gifts were often given under the guise of many different reasons, causing Bai Xiangxiu’s hand to go soft from receiving too many gifts. The list of gifts have to be recorded into a book, because one would have to repay them for their generosity in the future.
Prince Li Manor wasn’t like any typical home in modern times. It was almost like a small-scale society. The servants would often plot against their masters if they were pushovers, which meant that there was a lot of backstabbing amongst the servants as well. Moreover, Bai Xiangxiu was pregnant and her husband was nowhere in sight to dote on her. Life in the manor had slowly become a little unbearable. It felt like someone was always plotting against her everyday. Fortunately for her, the old madame soon returned before the situation had taken a turn for the worse. Bai Xiangxiu nearly wanted to kiss her feet and call her mother. However, a look of surprise appeared on the old madame’s face before Bai Xiangxiu could even throw herself at the old madame.
Can someone update me on what has happened in the recent days? Why did my daughter-in-law suddenly appear in the manor with such a huge stomach? It’s true that I was in the Shu County, but why didn’t anyone inform me about this?