Chapter 501: The Duke of Qin is the first to leave the city Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
With words like that, there was no doubt the Mu father and son knew what was going on with the traitorous guards. Although Long Tianmo still didn’t know the details, this revelation only made him all the more angry. He pounded his fist on the table. “You guys! Are! Great! Just great!”
He and Mu Qingwu had done so much and had earned imperial father’s trust along the way, only for things to suddenly turn south once the emperor summoned the Mu father and son to ask about the issue of the guards. If their traitorous actions hadn’t incited imperial father’s suspicion, things would not have devolved to this point. Even in the past, imperial father wouldn’t dissolve the Mu Clan’s military strength so quickly after the military depot explosion, because of his trust in the Mu family. Imperial father would at least deliberate and hesitate, giving them time to fight for their own justice.
Now look! The entire court had watched the Eastern Palace turn into a laughingstock! Anyone could tell that demoting the Mu Clan mean the emperor suspected the crown prince as well!
When Long Tianmo saw that Great General Mu still refused to speak, his face twisted into a hideous expression. He was about to stalk off when the man suddenly said, “Your Highness, please calm your anger. This incident involves some things that this soldier is reluctant to discuss.”
“Just tell me!” Long Tianmo suppressed his temper.
But after Great General Mu said but a single name, Long Tianmo’s fist pulverized the general’s most precious golden-threaded Phoebe nanmu tea table. The name uttered was none other than…Mu Liuyue!
Even though Long Tianmo was facing her brother and father, he couldn’t control himself. Unsheathing his sword, he cried, “This crown prince is going to kill her!”
Mu Qingwu hastily blocked his way. Actually, he had figured out what was going on as soon as he recognized the young commander of the turncoat guards. That was why he hadn’t hesitated to kill the man that fateful day. As for the commander’s two captains, they were nothing more than subordinates obeying orders with no idea of the bigger plot. They couldn’t give away anything.
“Let go!” Long Tianmo’s face was as dark as a thundercloud.
Great General Mu fell on his knees in front of the man. “Your Highness, please calm your anger! My rebellious daughter created chaos with her preposterous actions, this soldier really is ashamed to face you.”
Long Tianmo gave a cold snort. “You father and son pair hid the truth until now. What face do you have left?”
Mu Qingwu gave a long sigh before dropping to his knees as well. “Your Highness, my sister deserves ten thousand deaths for her crimes, yet she’s still the crown prince’s consort!”
Long Tianmo stilled at these words. The crown prince’s consort…of course, I’d forgotten Mu Liuyue held such a title.
The crown prince’s consort…was his woman, and the Eastern Palace’s woman! With her status, they had no choice but to suppress the truth. Otherwise, the Mu Clan and the Eastern Palace both would suffer disaster! Imperial father was already suspicious, so telling him about Mu Liuyue would only give the man a chance to suppress him further.
“Your Highness Crown Prince, please don’t concern yourself with Liuyue at the moment. Once everything passes, this soldier will definitely teach her a good lesson.”
“Your Highness Crown Prince, our only plan left now is to hurry and find those crossbow archers. Otherwise, His Majesty will definitely start looking into things.”
Both the Mu father and son pair were coaxing him earnestly. Mu Qingwu had his eyes on the end goal, while Great General Mu had a private desire to protect his daughter. Long Tianmo sat to the side, his heart stifled and uncomfortable. The greatest regret of his life—and yet the one regret he couldn’t take back—was marrying Mu Liuyue. Of course, his original motive for the marriage was to bring the Mu family to his side. Now was the time to put them to true use.
After a brief moment of silence, Long Tianmo dropped his voice. “The two of you, rather than trembling with fright and allowing yourselves to be trampled, why don’t we…”
He didn’t finish, but made an unsheathing motion with his hand. Without a doubt, he wanted to call out the troops and start the rebellion. Mu Qingwu was shocked, but Great General Mu had only expected as much. He’d long guessed that a day like this would come, he just didn’t expect it to arrive so soon. Neither of them spoke.
Long Tianmo dropped his voice even further as he continued. “If not now, then when? Wait until imperial father’s taken away all your military powers? It’ll be too late to regret then.”
Unfortunately, the Mu father and son were still silent. Great General Mu might look rough and boorish, impulsive and temperamental, but in grave circumstances like this he was extremely prudent and careful. The Mu Clan had survived through two successive dynasties of sovereigns. They had maintained a moderate stance during past power struggles to earn Emperor Tianhui’s deep trust and they controlled a massive army. It was clear that Great General Mu was no simple man. As for Mu Qingwu, his heart was more simple. He wasn’t loyal to any individual, but to Tianning and its people as a whole. If civil unrest began within its borders, it would be the innocent civilians who suffered the most.
Long Tianmo had a good sense of the pair’s attitudes. He too, remained silent, however he left the two with a parting sentence before he stalked out the door.
“Fine! Consider this time this crown prince’s loss. The debt will be on Mu Liuyue’s head!”
Long Tianmo hadn’t even left the courtyard yet before Great General Mu chased after him. “Your Highness Crown Prince! Your Highness Crown Prince, please wait!”
Mu Qingwu was right behind his father, seeing the man’s tall, straight back bent over in submission like an old man. A desolate sadness rose in his heart. He too, felt that Mu Liuyue deserved to die for her actions, although he knew that his father felt differently.
Mu Liuyue resembled their late mother too closely. Moreover, his father and mother would never lose their reason against their daughter, no matter what kind of conniving schemes she thought up, because she was their flesh-and-blood child. Many times, Mu Qingwu rather wished he was born in the cold-blooded and unfeeling royal family, where its members weren’t chained so tightly to sentimental bonds.
Long Tianmo knew there was hope as soon as Great General Mu chased after him out into the courtyard. He wouldn’t have married Mu Liuyue in vain. As expected, Great General Mu murmured, “Your Highness Crown Prince, this soldier will remember the debt. However, with the current imperial guards…”
Long Tianmo laughed coldly before he finished, “Haven’t you planted plenty of Mu Clan men into the imperial guards’ ranks? Moreover, haven’t the artillerymen fallen under the Ministry of War’s jurisdiction?”
The most intelligent decision that Emperor Tianhui made in his lifetime was to quickly claim the front line artillerymen from General Mu’s command. It was something he had wanted to do for ages. However, his stupidest choice was to transfer command of the artillery and its gunpowder reserves to the high official in charge of the Ministry of War. The entire ministry had long drawn lots with Long Tianmo’s faction!
Chu Qingge’s dowry had included a regiment of archers, but it was the Ministry of War that proposed to leave those archers at the borders to guard Great General Ning’s calvary forces. The crown prince had agreed with the proposal at Great General Mu’s suggestion in order to avoid rousing suspicion. Now Great General Mu was nodded his head helplessly to Long Tianmo’s words.
In the end, he decided, “This is no small matter. It has come so suddenly as well, so I ask Your Highness to give this soldier some time to consider the details.”
Long Tianmo nodded his agreement. “Very well! This crown prince will give you time. However…you should have made preparations already.”
Everything had happened too suddenly. He had never expected imperial father to get suspicious so soon. But since Emperor Tianhui was more willing to trust outsiders like Chu Qingge over himself, don’t blame me for forsaking the bonds between father and son!
He had long erased imperial father from his heart ever since the man used him as a pawn to face off against the Duke of Qin and Qin Wangfei!
Just like that, the Eastern Palace and Great General Mu’s estate started their secret preparations. Investigating the crossbow archers became the responsibility of the newly appointed head commander of the imperial guards. He was a loyal subject to Emperor Tianhui and attacked his duties with great gusto, making a new wave of arrests that left the populace trembling in their shoes. Emperor Tianhui favored Chu Qingge one more time. He was already swaying in her favor, so her bedside whispers convinced him to give the imperial guards permission to search through the residences of the nobility as well. Before this incident, the guards had limited authority when it came to the aristocrats.
This news sent the entire nobility into a seething flurry of various emotions. However, the Duke of Qin’s estate was the quietest one of all. Qin Wangfei wasn’t home and His Highness Duke of Qin had retreated into seclusion. Su Xiaoyu had come back home because all work had stopped on Pill Fiend Pharmacy, and then she spent her days chatting idly with Zhao mama. Over at the Han Estate, Han Yunxi had spent numerous days in silence. To outsiders, she looked to be doing nothing but hiding in her rooms and sleeping all day. In actuality, she had shut herself up in her detox system to wander around.
Previously, while at the black markets, she’d combined Perplexing Butterfly Illusion and Beauty’s Tear into the poison pond water, then left it in her detox system, untouched. She had originally come for some peace and quiet, but found that a reaction had occurred between all three poisons. Of course, she still didn’t know what had changed, but could feel that the corrosive qualities of Perplexing Butterfly Illusion had weakened slightly from the fusion. Besides that, she had plenty of other tasks to occupy her mind in the detox system too. For example, organizing her giant store of medicinal ingredients by hand.
Whenever she was in a bad mood, she’d busy herself with her work until her mood improved. The busier she was, the less she had the brainpower to feel. Still, she had the damnable luck of making constant mistakes this time around. She actually ended up making a mess of her well-organized storehouse and had to resort to brainpower to clean up the disaster. Once that was done, she ended up fiddling with the piles again….mm, to make another mess.
How would Long Feiye feel if he knew she was doing such things at the Han Estate?
Today, Long Feiye finally emerged from his seclusion, his injury about halfway healed. Chu Xifeng brought him news as soon as he appeared. “Your Highness, as you had predicted, the Chu Clan’s made their move.”
“Has everything been tidied up?” Long Feiye asked his retainer mildly.
“Yes, everything has. There’s only…” Chu Xifeng didn’t dare to continue. Without a doubt, everything under His Highness’s name had been taken care of except for one certain woman.
It was unclear whether Long Feiye caught the hint, but he only replied coldly, “You should make preparations as well. Your lordship will leave the city tonight.”
And then, Chu Xifeng found himself unable to say anything at all.
That night, a huge disaster broke out at the general’s estate. The head commander of the imperial guards brought a team of men to personally search their grounds and discovered ten crossbow archers hidden in the outhouse. Naturally, the archers fled, but Head Commander Meng Zhan managed to shoot two of them.
The discovery led to an uproar in the city!
Meng Zhan’s men chased after the remaining suspects while ordering guards to surround the general’s estate. Emperor Tianhui fumed and placed orders that very night to revoke the Mu father and son’s titles and their military authority. The justice courts were to lock them up into the prisons to await trial. However, when they came to take the Mu father and son into custody, three cannons went off outside the capital city. The artillerymen had raised the flag of rebellion first!
Utter pandemonium broke out in the capital city. En route to the prisons, the Mu father and son were left with ‘no choice’ but to ally with the imperial guards and call out their troops. When there was a mutiny in the capital city, attacking the imperial palace was the most important step!
Emperor Tianhui spat out a mouthful of blood from inside his imperial study. Fortunately, more than half of the imperial guards were in his hands to ward off the attacks. Chu Qingge never expected the situation to turn critical, while the Chu Tianyin in hiding was caught completely off-guard. Everything had been meticulously planned, but Long Tianmo’s sudden rebellion had wasted all his efforts! The rest of the people in the city fled like mice in the night. However, the Han Estate had long been standing empty…
Where did its people go?