A jar of sake rested at the bow of a ship. There was a red container of unrefined sugar used to preserve food, yet there was nothing preserved that could be enjoyed with alcohol.
A black canopy boat moved along the center of Peach Blossom River, inside of it was a beauty dressed in rainbow-colored clothes, a chinese lute in her arms. Her beautiful appearance was half veiled, eyes closed, slender jade-like fingers gently plucking on the instrument, the clear and melodious notes drifting along the clear river. Suddenly, her red lips opened slightly, quietly singing, “With the evening eastern winds, the flowers of a thousand trees dance about, falling down like stars, falling like rain, precious horses guiding a carriage along a fragrant road. With the whistling of winds, the swirl of a jade pot’s brilliance, comes a night of dragon fish dancing. Amidst the fireflies and snow willow’s golden strands, laughter gradually dims, the fragrance scatters. After searching endlessly, when I suddenly turned around, that person was actually there, within the waning lights.”
When the song ended, the rainbow beauty quietly put away the pick, but still continued to hold the lute with her eyes lowered, momentarily silent.
“What, you don’t like the lyrics?” A barefooted Zhu Moyun was sitting at the bow of the ship, dressed in white hemp garments. He looked towards the rainbow beauty, revealing a faint smile, saying this gently.
The rainbow beauty shook her head slightly. “Your honor, these lyrics are superb, but the mood is a bit too somber.”
Zhu Moyun looked at the rainbow beauty, gently swirling his wine cup. “These lyrics were left behind by Principal Zhang in the past, it is definitely not something I can come up with… Moreover, the meaning behind these lyrics is extremely beautiful. Sanqian, it is because you have some stuff on your mind, which is why you feel that it is a bit somber… do you still remember how long we’ve known each other for?”
“If this humble one’s memory hasn’t failed me, then it should be three years and six months.” The rainbow beauty lowered her lute, walking over from the narrow cabin, sitting down on the other side of Zhu Moyun, helping him pour wine.
“Your memory is impeccable.” Zhu Moyun quietly looked at her, watching her lily-white hands, saying with a light sigh, “Back then, when I first met you, you were but a Justice Sector small official.”
The rainbow beauty revealed a sweet-tempered smile, saying with a soft voice, “However now, you are already a Justice Sector Defense Envoy, directly above that is Vice Sector Head. Within all of Imperial City, there aren’t many people who could make you lower your eyes and bend at the waist. Your prospects are beautiful and brilliant, if you always stay with me, it definitely isn’t a good thing.”
“Is this what you are thinking about?” Zhu Moyun laughed, emptying the alcohol in the small cup before him in one gulp. With a tone of self-mockery, he said, “This is what you don’t understand. Once one reaches my position, if one wants to climb any further, it no longer hinges upon how much I do, but rather if those above me are willing to let me climb further or not, willing to leave open a seat for me. That is why I’ve already properly thought through things. If this trip goes smoothly, no matter what, I am going to bring you back with me to Central Continent Imperial City.”
The rainbow beauty’s hands trembled slightly. She didn’t know what exactly this trip entailed, but she didn’t ask either, only lowering her head further and quietly saying, “Your honor, let me drink with you.”
Zhu Moyun’s expression was gentle. He raised his head slightly. There was a waning crescent in the skies above, its reflection cast on the waters below. A green carrier pigeon flew over from the distance, but it directly landed on his left shoulder. Firmly tied to its vermilion-colored claw was a small message container.
After taking a deep breath, he extracted a small paper scroll from the container. After just a brief scan, his expression suddenly turned pale.
The red lips of the rainbow beauty trembled slightly, but the expression on her face was stil sweet-tempered.
“She really is going through too much…” Zhu Moyun released a slow sigh, speaking a line the rainbow beauty could not comprehend. After giving her a deep look, he said softly, “Accompany me in one more drink.”
The rainbow beauty nodded, pouring more wine. Their wine cups touched, and then they both drained them in one gulp. However, what made her entire body go rigid was that the same pot of wine, even though she was fine when she drank from her cup, when it entered Zhu Moyun’s mouth, there were wisps of black blood that flowed out.
“In this world, the most tragic thing, is seeing one’s love right before one’s eyes, yet unable to bring her into your embrace, enjoy her warmth… I’m sorry…” Zhu Moyun still sat there without moving, however, tears of blood were flowing out of his eyes. His head also drooped, his voice gradually growing faint, and then finally completely disappearing.
The rainbow beauty’s face was still gentle and calm. She looked at the unmoving Zhu Moyun in a stupor, recalling the figure of this man who climbed onto the bow of her ship three years ago, full of ambition… However, she would never see him again. She quietly got up, produced a lute from the cabin, and then while sitting on the other side of Zhu Moyun, she slowly began to put on makeup, her appearance changing from her previous refreshing and clear prettiness to a gorgeous and incomparable beauty.
“Your honor, I will accompany you. Regardless, from today on, I will always follow you.” When the rainbow beauty completed her look, she looked towards that waning moon above the heart of the river. As if she was going to pluck it straight out of the sky, she reached towards that brilliant crescent, and then she jumped out, producing a splash of jade-like pearls in the water.
Rudong City’s supervisor Li Qilong committed treason, carrying out an assassination attempt on the traveling princess Changsun Muyue. The princess lost consciousness from her severe injuries. That night, Justice Sector’s third most authoritative figure, namely Zhu Moyun, ingested poison, committing suicide on Peach Blossom River.
The female singer accompanying him jumped into the river, also committing suicide.
Early the next day, the emperor’s imperial court session in Central Province Imperial City.
The emperor was currently seated on a coiling dragon throne, quietly examining the dozen or so officials kneeling before him in the golden brick hall.
Everyone knew that Yunqin Empire’s current emperor was thirty years of age, his energy at its very peak, yet this outwardly unswerving, yet seemingly magnanimous and gentle lean man released a faint feeling of exhaustion.
This made all of the officials who were kneeling on the ground feel their hearts go cold, assuming that the emperor most likely couldn’t sleep last night over dealing with this matter.
“Zhu Moyun died… but this isn’t enough of an explanation for me.”
Even though there was thunder ringing furiously within his mind, the voice of this man dressed in dragon robes was still just as calm, gentle yet firm. His eyes lowered towards the tea before him, his gaze not even stopping over these chancellor’s bodies. “Was it really just the Justice Sector? The Bronze King Heavy Armor is something unique to the border armor, even though this armor isn’t something especially formidable in itself, the number of those who could wear it is few. I believe you all do not need me to remind you that some matters could have been investigated through this Bronze King Heavy Armor, right?”
“What my sister represents is my decree and order, to even dare assassinate her… then in this Imperial City, shouldn’t I also be scared and on edge each day?”
After calmly saying these things, the corners of this person who had the most authority in this world finally began to uncontrollably tremble. His voice also finally became a bit higher in pitch than how it was normally. “Do not forget, my father only left a single pair of daughter and son, and I only have one younger sister!”
The many chancellors who knelt in the main hall, as well as the few individuals seated behind nine layers of heavy curtains at both sides of this hall all laughed inwardly, thinking that it was this Yunqin Empire’s brother and sister pair who overturned Yunqin Empire crossing the line a bit to begin with… She was basically doing all of the work of the Justice Sector, then what was the Justice Sector supposed to do? The chancellors here today, which one of them didn’t know that everyone’s relationships were like a pile of firewood, if just a single piece was removed, then who knew how many other pieces would slide down? Moreover, what kind of individual was she… if there was a well-known figure seated behind the curtains in this palace, would she really not sense anything? Even an assassination attempt like this wanted to hurt her?
However, what the current emperor said, his wrath, was real. After all, that woman’s serious injuries really did exacerbate his fury… what if she really did die?
That was why regardless of how they felt, in this type of situation, they could only hide it inside, concede a bit, one step forward, one step back. The miscalculation this time, was only that they never expected that girl who lived like a spoiled princess to actually have such a decisive and fierce side. All they could do now, was to focus on minimizing the effects as much as possible, and then slowly regain everything bit by bit hereafter.
Tangcang Ancient Country’s Imperial Palace, an imperial strategic advisor found it hard to hide the happiness he felt. He bowed in respect towards this young emperor Feng Xuan, worked up as he said, “News of Rudong’s chaos has been confirmed, it is the perfect time to seize this opportunity to send troops, strike while the iron is hot!”
The child emperor whose face was even more tender than Qiu Lu’s gave this imperial strategic adviser a look of slight dissatisfaction. “Why?”
“Yunqin Empire’s senate elders originally allowed this matter to happen to deliver a warning to the imperial throne, for him not to cross the line, but with Changsun Muyue’s retaliation, they will undoubtedly have to back off a bit… during this step forward and step backwards, there will definitely be a bit of chaos. Yunqin’s emperor is extremely domineering to begin with, if one or two people like Zhu Moyun don’t die this time, how can his anger be quelled?”
“This reasoning is so shallow, if even you could think of it, you think those seniors behind the curtains in Yunqin won’t think of it? The best way of quelling anger is naturally through blood and deaths, if they wish to kill, it naturally also doesn’t have to be in Imperial City.” Emperor Feng Xuan looked at this strategist with mockery. “With those people’s abilities, they could completely send those people to die in the Border Army, also… for Yunqin’s emperor, if we make a big move, it’ll be the best opportunity for him. You should understand that the best method of exchanging blood, is to have armies fight. When one batch of people dies, another will be exchanged. If this happens, just how much leverage would he have at his disposal?”
After a slight sneer, Emperor Feng Xuan looked at this imperial strategic advisor with slightly narrowed eyes, adding, “Moreover, you should also understand that those senate elders seated behind the curtains, compared to the impetuous Yunqin emperor, are much more cool-headed. Even if they are harder to deal with, I would still rather face these old fellas who have carefully deliberated over every detail than risk it all against someone who is full of ambition, someone who doesn’t hesitate to face any consequences. If the south wishes to make a move, then just let them risk their lives first. However, that old bastard down south might have thought things over even more carefully than us, or else the circumstances down south wouldn’t be like how they are now.”
“Everything the emperor says is wise.” This strategic advisor took a deep breath, respectfully giving this short-statured, ordinary looking child emperor another bow of respect. Everyone in the hall who heard the conversation between these two felt cold sweat emerge on their backs.
They originally thought that it was just the empress dowager who was wise and farsighted, excelled at the art of politics, but right now, she was clearly not governing from behind the curtains… meanwhile, just how old was this child emperor? Yet towards the conspiracies of politics, he understood them even more clearly and thoroughly than the imperial strategic advisor who immersed himself on these matters year in and year out. Could it be that the control and toying with countless people’s lives and deaths, the art of politics most people found incomprehensible their entire lives, for people like him, was but an innate tendency?
The tender-faced child emperor no longer looked at this strategist, instead sweeping his eyes over the remaining officials standing in this court. While rubbing his temples in a bit of a weary manner, he slowly said, “We absolutely must try to rescue Nan Gongmo, he is a rarely seen cultivation genius from Tangcang to begin with, moreover, his loyalty is second to none, do not hesitate to pay any cost… If he never leaves Green Luan Academy and cannot be rescued, then exchange for his return!”