486 – Exchange life with life!
Chapter 486: Exchange life with life!
West Wind Kingdom, Sky capital.
A team of Flying feather soldiers, clad in brown military attire and with long sword hanging at their waist, patrolled the city to ensure that the city was calm and secured during the change of power. The inspectors of the Monitor Division, dressed in the black three-headed snake uniform, kicked open one door after another, arresting the high officials and noble people that had vowed loyalty to Chu Xianda or were close to the Lu family, as well as the military generals. The women were sent away under escort to serve as slaves or entertainers, and the men were imprisoned or directly beheaded.
They were treated worse than criminals. People who have committed crimes had the opportunity to be sent thousands of miles away to serve in the army, but these generals were originally raised or promoted in the army, and who knew how much influence they would have in the military?
Therefore, killing them was the most timesaving solution.
Chu Xianda had died, was beheaded by traitor ‘Lu Xingkong’. It was said that Lu Xingkong’s scheme was discovered by the Emperor and was driven to a desperate action, thus Lu Xingkong launched a palm strike to Chu Xianda’s head.
At that time, the image that the Song family had created all these years played a huge role.
The Song family took advantage of the fact that they had control of the civil service system to fabricate and promote that Chu Xianda and Lu Xingkong were on bad terms, and thus Lu Xingkong was described as a ruthless and arrogant state official who held military power and made the Emperor feel uneasy and insecure.
When Chu Xianda was killed, the news of Lu Xingkong’s rebellion also spread out of the palace, stirring the citizens of Tiandu. They jumped out as prophets and expressed their long-worried views on Lu Xingkong and his rebellion.
“Lu Xingkong, that old man, I knew he was not a good person——his eyes are deep and fierce like those of a sand eagle, and he is indeed a traitor.”
“Do you remember the last time? The late Emperor punished Lu Xingkong to kneel and in the end Lu Xingkong fainted on the ground——”
“Those who serve in the army are not any nice people, just because they won a few battles, killed a few people, they look down on everybody and think they are the best in the world——Look at the Song family. They are cultured, well read, low profile, humble, and is polite to everybody. They are the model example that officials should follow——”
The gorgeous carriage that was hung with the Song family’s flame bird sign rolled across the dull and oppressive Sky capital. The curtains were lifted open, revealing a pair of beautiful big eyes. Watching the ruthless inspectors of the Monitor Division shoving and barging violently, the beautiful big eyes took on the colour of anger, and then the curtain was brought down by someone.
“I liked the capital city back then.” Song Chenxi said in a loud voice. “It was bustling with noise and excitement, and everybody looked so happy. It was calm and peaceful, and everywhere I walked the citizens radiated a proud and happy energy for being able to live at the foot of the Emperor. Look at them now, they are anxious and nervous, cautiously looking at the Flying Feather Army and Monitor Division, as though there may be danger at any time——”
“Chenxi——” Song Tao said in a comforting voice. “Pain is only temporary, wait until everything is stabilised, they will return to the same calm and peaceful appearance as before. People’s memories of public events are short-lived, and in a few days, you will see a different capital. They will forget the late emperor, forget the coup, and continue to live their life proudly and happily as citizens at the foot of the Emperor.”
“So, this is where the Song family got the courage to rebel?” Song Chenxi asked aloud.
“Chenxi——” Song Tao snapped.
He lifted open the curtains, glanced around, and found that there were no suspicious people in the surroundings. There were only the drivers of the Song family and the bodyguards of Song Chenxi around the carriage.
Song Tao lowered the curtain and activated a soundproof barrier formation. There were some words that even the people around them must not hear.
Song Tao lowered his voice and said softly, “Chenxi, don’t talk nonsense.”
“I saw it with my own eyes, how is it nonsense? I know what happened, and I saw what you all have done with my own eyes——just because it will soon fade from the citizens’ memory, just because they’ll soon forget the late emperor, forget their fears, and forget what had happened, the Song family dared to do such a thing. Because the Song family know that the people will never know the truth.”
“Most of the people who know the truth are people who wants to move to higher positions or hold important positions. Their interests are in line with that of the Song family, so they won’t say anything about it. Or they will be in a conflicting relationship with the Song family, and perhaps be killed before they speak out the truth. Therefore, the Song family is the family of justice, the role model of officials. This will never change. Isn’t that right?”
“If you win you are the king, if you lose you are nothing. It has always been like this since ancient times.” Song Tao explained. “The history books are written by the victors, and the past imperial courts have been this way. It is not only our Song family that is doing such a thing.”
“But what about the Lu family?”
“The Lu family has lost, the Lu family is the aggressor. There is nothing to explain.”
“Is that the rules of the game between you men?”
Song Tao let out a gentle sigh. If it were other people that questioned him, no, if other people dared to say that the Song family had rebelled to his face, then he would have immediately severed off their head. However, the person who asked this was his beloved little sister. He had no choice but to treat this matter cautiously.
He did not expect her to accept it, but at least, she must not hate what they had done.
“If the Lu family had won, they also will treat the Song family the same way. You, me, all the people in the Song family would become ghosts under their blade——On the battlefield of power there is nobody that is nobler than anyone else.” “
“If the Lu family is not nobler than the Song family, then why did they not join the Song family and do what the Song family has done? I don’t believe that Prince Fu had not tried to pull them in——” Song Chenxi sneered.
“Chenxi, as before, don’t care about anything, don’t ask about anything, okay?” Song Tao looked at his precious little sister with a doting face, and said softly. Everyone in the family was now very busy, and he was assigned to protect the beloved baby sister of the family. Therefore, he wanted to do it as well as he could.
Song Chenxi was born with an incurable illness, and her mother passed away at a young age. Everyone in the family loved her dearly, especially Grandfather, who regarded her as the pearl in the palm. Because she was excessively protected, Song Chenxi was rarely in contact with the outside world, especially in the spring and winter, when she was almost locked in her little courtyard all day and not allowed to go out.
At that time, her mind was simple and pure, like a crystal-clear snow crystal. However, recently, from being in contact with Li Muyang for too long, she had all of a sudden became interested in the matters of the world.
“What a bad habit.” Song Tao thought in his mind. “If I knew this would happen, I would not have let her come into contact with Li Muyang.”
“But, I saw it.” Song Chenxi repeated with a painful face. “I saw it with my own eyes, how can I think that nothing has happened?”
“Third elder brother, tell me, Li Muyang, is he really a dragon?”
“——About this, since Grandfather had said so then it is certainly true. In order to prove that Li Muyang is a dragon, Prince Chu Xun did not hesitate to blind his eyes——”
“However, Li Muyang is clearly a human, how could be a dragon?” Song Chenxi said with an puzzled face. “You’ve also been in contact with him. Where do you think he looks like a dragon?”
“It is said that the high and mighty dragon can take the form of humans, thereby possessing the wisdom of human and the power of dragons——”
“Li Muyang has been under your surveillance from birth till now, how could he become a high and mighty dragon?”
“Third elder brother, you have a guilty conscience.”
Cui family. The back courtyard of the Cui residence.
Cui Xiaoxin was standing under the eaves, staring at the snow-covered flowers, trees and stone pavilions in the courtyard, lost in thought. The sight before her made her feel both familiar and unfamiliar.
One day of time felt like it was a lifetime ago.
The West Wind Emperor Chu Xianda had become the ‘late Emperor’, and Prince Fu had become the new emperor.
One of the three greatest families of Tiandu, the Lu family, had intended to plot a rebellion, but were jointly overthrown and eradicated by the Song family and Cui family.
After Lu Xingkong had killed the late Emperor Chu Xianda, he was then killed by Song Gudu, and Li Muyang——had unexpectedly turned into a dragon.
“Li Muyang——how could he be a dragon?”
The news came like a bell, throwing Cui Xiaoxin into a confused state of mind.
Cui Xiaoxin did not believe that Li Muyang was a dragon.
She and Li Muyang were classmate, and was fully aware of his situation more than anyone else. How would the ‘pig’, the ‘charcoal’, and the ‘trash’ in the eyes of the other students have any connection with the dragon clan?
Besides, no one had ever seen a dragon in tens of thousands of years, and that powerful and mysterious clan had long been wiped out in the ‘Dragon slayer battle’——How could Li Muyang be a dragon?
However, she couldn’t help but feel sceptical——
Because she knew that Li Muyang had, from an idiot with no special skills, become a genius who understood everything in only a few days of time. Adding to this he was admitted into Starry Sky Academy with the best results in the imperial exam of the Kingdom.
Moreover, there was the incident of the assassin attack in Jiangnan’s. He had clearly stretched out the palm of his hand to block a knife, and she clearly saw Li Muyang’s hand being pierced by a dagger. But the next day when she checked his palm, it had already healed, as if nothing had happened that day——
Also, there was the incident at the Thousand Buddha temple on White cloud Mountain, where he had once again jumped out to shield her from the assassin attack. At that time, she had suspected that Driver Li Mu was Li Muyang, and also specially went to check his palms, but in the end there was not the slightest trace of a scar——
Cui Xiaoxin was certain that the person who was hiding in the onsen and who jumped out to protect her in Thousand Buddha Temple on White Cloud Mountain was Li Muyang. It was Li Muyang who disguised as Li Shinian’s driver Li Mu.
From the first time the two chatted at Sunset Lake to Li Muyang becoming well known across Tiandu, and then to his victory against West Wind Sword God Mu Yubai and killed the Old immortal of Still water——Li Muyang’s experience could be called a miracle.
If he were not a dragon, then how did he do all that?
“Li Muyang, are you——still alive?” Cui Xiaoxin murmured.
“Miss, why are you outside again?” Servant Taohong dashed over with a white fox cloak in her arms, draping it over Cui Xiaoxin shoulders, and tied the neck strap. “It’s cold outside, Miss must not catch a cold.”
“I’m fine.” Cui Xiaoxin said, shaking her head. “Is there any news?”
Taohong shook her head, “Miss, we are all locked in the courtyard. There is no way to go out and get in touch with other people. We don’t know how the situation had developed——Liulu had used the excuse that Miss wants to eat the Osmanthus flower cake on West Street and was only given a quarter of an hour of time to go out. She should be back in a moment and should have the latest news.”
“How could the rumours on the street be taken seriously?”
“What should we do? Young Master Xiangma hasn’t come over—”
“Cousin is a censorate official of the Monitor Division, and should be assigned to a task. How would he come?”
Bang, bang, bang——
Someone was slamming on the courtyard door.
“Liulu is back.” Taohong exclaimed, darting over to open the door.
“Liulu, what new news did you hear——” Taohong shouted while opening the door.
Standing at the door was Ning Xinhai, Cui Xiaoxin’s driver.
“Housekeeper Ning——” Taohong stood aside, bowing her head to Ning Xinhai.
Ning Xinhai stepped into the courtyard, and went over to say to Cui Xiaoxin, “Miss, don’t let the little girls take risks. If Madam gets angry, she might break one of their legs——”
“Yes.” Cui Xiaoxin responded in a low voice. Her servants knew that she wanted to know about the news outside and had tried to sneak out to find out for her.
Of course, she also intentionally allowed them. If she had told them not to go out, they would not have dared to go out.
“What would a few girls find out?” Ning Xinhai said in a loud voice, shaking his head.
“I know you want to know about the news outside, so I’ll tell you.” Ning Xinhai looked at Cui Xiaoxin’s pale and haggard little face. “You can ask.”
“How’s the Lu family now?”
“Lu Xingkong had died in battle, the Lu clan had committed the crime of treason, their house was searched, possessions were confiscated and all relatives were executed.” Ning Xinhai said aloud. “Of course, when Song Lang and the Qilin Army wiped out the City Patrol led by Li Kefeng and entered the Lu residence, they found that the Lu family had long escaped through a secret path in Lu Xingkong’s study. Song Lang flew into a rage and set the Lu residence on fire. The whole house sank into a sea of fire——”
“Song Lang led the elites of the Qilin Army to chase after them, and vowed to kill Gongsun Yu and Young master Lu Tianyu——until now there still isn’t any news back. They probably did not find them. It is said that the Three souls and seven spirits had escorted them away so there shouldn’t be a problem.”
Ning Xinhai stood under the eaves of the roof, lifted his head to look at Cui Xiaoxin’s eyes as he said aloud: “Of course, I know you would like to know about Li Muyang. In order to give Li Muyang a chance to survive, Lu Xingkong was willing to die, and hindered Song Gudu from chasing after Li Muyang. Lu Qingming escaped with the exhausted Li Muyang. It is said that the new Emperor and the Song family had sent a large number of masters to chase after and kill them.”
After a pause, Ning Xinhai added, “Of course, this includes the masters of our Cui family.”
“What about Uncle Ning?” Cui Xiaoxin’s face grew increasingly pale, asking, “Why didn’t Uncle Ning go?”
“I stayed behind to guard the Cui residence and to protect Miss.”
“That’s not the reason.” Cui Xiaoxin said aloud.
Ning Xinhai’s face was devoid of expression. “Miss, at this time you should not show concern for Li Muyang.”
“From the incident of the destruction of the Lu family, you should already know about the strength of the Song family. Although Master had contributed greatly to the crowning of the new Emperor, but——the new Emperor is no more than a puppet, same as the late emperor, controlled and manipulated by the Song family. This is why Master is bent on being close to the Song family.”
“Your marriage to the Song family’s jade tree cannot be change, the situation is stable, and the time will probably soon be determined. You couldn’t resist before, and now, you can’t resist even more——”
Cui Xiaoxin stared at Ning Xinhai with blazing fury in her eyes. “My mother asked you to come.”
“Yes.” Ning Xinhai did not deny it. “Madam is worried that the failure to communicate between you two would deepen the conflict and would ruin the mother and daughter relationship——”
“What a good mother.” Cui Xiaoxin said in a sarcastic tone.
“In some ways, she really is.” Ning Xinhai reminded Cui Xiaoxin again. “The Lu family had collapsed, Li Muyang’s identity is unknown, and even his life and death is unknown. He is not a good match for you.”
“I understand.” Cui Xiaoxin said in a solemn tone of voice. “I am called Xiaoxin, and naturally knows that my nature is careful. I will absolutely not do anything that exceeds the limit.”
“That’s good.” Ning Xinhai nodded. “Then I won’t disturb Miss.”
With that, he turned and walked outside.
Very soon, servant girl Liulu rushed in with a box, excitedly yelling: “Miss, I heard——“
Since there is no way out, might as well be brave and proud.
Since I can’t protect my life, must maintain my dignity.
That’s what Li Muyang thinks, and that’s exactly what he did.
He was going to fight Song Gudu. And then die.
Like his grandfather, like the former ancestors of the Lu clan.
It was just that his life had been too miserable.
Even he felt grievance for himself.
If he had the chance to see the creator and see the God of fate, he must tug at his beard and ask him, “Have you had a good time playing about with me?”
“Why are you more anxious than I am?” Song Gudu asked, looking at Li Muyang.
“You must have never experienced anything like this.” Li Muyang said in a loud voice. “You don’t realise that a lot of times, you’d prefer to have an outcome. Whether it is alive or dead, it is a matter of moment. This kind of unresolved issue is the real torment.”
“You’re right.” Song Gudu said, nodding. “Every word you say has a point. The body of a demigod, the accumulation of tens thousands of years, you indeed are worthy of this reputation.”
“Do you have such a habit? Praising your opponent before you kill them?”
Song Gudu shook his head. “I don’t have such a habit. And would not want to waste time on such boring things.”
“Then why do you treat me differently?”
“Because you’re a dragon.” There were flames flashing in Song Gudu’s eyes. “A member of the dragon clan that have vanished for tens of thousands of years.”
“So, you decided not to kill me?”
“I am willing to do so.” Song Gudu said. “I want to make a deal with you.” “
“Use your life to exchange for your family’s life.”
“What does this mean?”
Song Gudu spread opened his hand, where a black pearl appeared.
The black pearl erupted in a blaze of light, presenting a transparent screen in front of Li Muyang.
The light screen was showing Li Shinian’s life at that very moment.
In a shabby firewood room, she was chained, hair disheveled, clothes ragged, stained with blood. She was paralysed on the ground with a sad and despairing look across her face.