Turning back the time a little.
A few trained scouts continuously ran over with updates. Xu Xiang Rong’s emotions fluctuated as his heart sped up and slowed down.
When he received news that the crown prince had actually escaped the encirclement, he couldn’t resist kicking the bushes. He paced back and forth fretfully. Yan Ting stood under the tree on the side. A few meters away from the two of them stood several people wearing green clothes and headbands.
The green on these people was very strange, seeming to be the same color as the trees and grass around them. If they weren’t standing so close, they would easily be overlooked.
Soon, one of them appeared in front of Xu Xiang Rong and reported something in a low voice.
“You’re telling me they found a group of scapegoats? Do you know who they are?”
As he spoke, Xu Xiang Rong struck out at the branches next to him. It was clear he was muddled from anxiety. These deathsworn had undergone special selection, and none of them were familiar with the nobility in the capital. How could they know who was in the group?
But having planned for so long and failing at the last moment made it truly hard for Xu Xiang Rong to accept. How was that crown prince so lucky, coincidentally running into a group of scapegoats?
They were the ones responsible for bringing the wolf pack over, but they could only rely on the secret medicine to keep them in a certain area and wait for the crown prince to walk into the trap. To ensure the crown prince would take the bait, they had spent quite a lot of effort. However, the nature of wild animals couldn’t be controlled. It was reasonable for the wolves to choose the larger group over the smaller one. They were starving after all.
He gave Yan Ting a glance. The scout walked ahead while the two of them followed behind. Some of the green-clothed people came along as well. They snuck over to the spot.
When they arrived, they were startled as they watched from their concealed position.
Not only was Xu Xiang Rong surprised, but Yan Ting was as well.
This was because the people surrounded by the wolves not only included Yan Ting’s daughter Yan Yan, but also the Zhenguo Duke’s grandson and that fool of a fourth prince. As for the other people, Xu Xiang Rong didn’t bother with them.
After getting over his shock, Xu Xiang Rong’s eyes grew brighter and brighter.
Yan Ting wanted to speak. He made a gesture and the group moved further away, leaving two scouts behind to keep an eye on things.
“Requesting the lord heir to give me a hand. My little girl is in imminent peril.”
Yan Ting didn’t bring his own people on this trip. Since he wanted to save Yan Yan, he naturally had to ask Xu Xiang Rong for help.
Xu Xiang Rong’s face was inexplicably sinister. He gave Yan Ting a weird look.
“Doesn’t lord marquis feel this is a very good opportunity?”
Yan Ting froze. “What opportunity?”
“To get rid of the crown prince!”
“But the crown prince….”
Yan Ting already vaguely understood Xu Xiang Rong’s meaning.
His expression changed abruptly as he said urgently: “But we cannot sacrifice my little girl. Lord heir should know the significance of her coming this time.”
Xu Xiang Rong smiled and patted Yan Ting’s shoulder. “I know lord marquis cannot bear losing his daughter. However, this opportunity is more important than getting the Zhenguo Duke. You should know that even if the second prince marries your daughter, we would only be getting the Zhenguo Duke on our side. But if we can use this opportunity to get rid of the crown prince, the second prince would be the best candidate for his replacement.”
Yan Ting’s face turned pale and then black, black and then pale.
How could Xu Xiang Rong not understand what he was thinking? The father-in-law of the future crown prince was naturally more important than a noble who helped him obtain the position. The merit could be stripped one day, but if his daughter became the crown prince consort or the empress, his position would be as stable as Mt. Tai. If his daughter worked hard and gave birth to a son, with the Grand Xi’s emphasis on bloodline and seniority, perhaps the declining Weiyuan Marquis would become the future Jingguo[/efn_note]Nation Pacifying. Title of the current empress’s father, the crown prince’s maternal grandfather.[/efn_note] Duke.
Everyone had their own interests in mind when plotting, but Xu Xiang Rong couldn’t let such a good opportunity slip through his fingers. If they could make use of it, the Xu household would truly become the in-laws of the son of heaven.
He grew more excited the more he thought about it, but didn’t reveal anything in his expression.
“Bro Pengyuan, you should know this heir has always trusted you. I will naturally praise you often in front of the second prince. Your sacrifice today will definitely be engraved in his heart, and he will not mistreat you in the future.”
Pengyuan was Yan Ting’s nickname. Prior to his coming-of-age, the previous Weiyuan Marquis had given him this name personally, signifying that he would go far in the future.
Yan Ting’s expression was a little reluctant. Even the calmest person would have a hard time making this choice. But did he even have a choice?
Xu Xiang Rong held a smile as he looked at him. He knew it was easy to get through to a smart person.
Yan Ting gave a decrepit sigh and cupped his hands. “Hopefully lord heir will not forget your words today.”
“Of course not.”
At this moment, Xu Xiang Rong looked delighted.
Truly, when one door closes, another opens! Failure had been imminent when the heavens sent over an even better opportunity for them. It seems the crown prince was fated to be unable to remain stably on his seat.
He couldn’t help but laugh brightly.
Crown prince, oh crown prince. If he got the reputation of being afraid of death and disregarding of lives, especially those of the Zhenguo Duke’s grandson and his own brother, how could he overcome this?
The scouts came to report once again, saying a few people had broken through the encirclement and seemed to be going for reinforcements. They asked Xu Xiang Rong if they shold pursue. After Xu Xiang Rong clarified the details, he smiled as though victory was in his grasp and waved his hands.
“Heaven is truly helping us. The people going back will definitely tell the whole story. When these people end up in the wolves’ stomachs, the crown prince who is responsible for it will definitely have a wonderful expression!”
Xu Xiang Rong muttered for a bit before giving out orders.
The green-clothed people swiftly spread out as instructed.
Yan Ting who was on the side naturally heard his poisonous scheme in its entirety. He understood Xu Xiang Rong very well, but today he was the one on the butcher’s block while Xu Xiang Rong held the knife. He could only comfort himself by thinking that the second prince will not forget his sacrifice after ascending.
“Bro Pengyuan, this way please. We should go find the second prince at this time. It would be best if the second prince could wander over with his hunting party and discover this tragic scene. Of course, it can’t just be the second prince’s people. It’s best if there were a few other witnesses. When the truth comes out, as a father who just lost his daughter tragically, you should also do your best.” As he spoke, Xu Xiang Rong couldn’t hold back his laughter. He was clearly extremely pleased.
Yan Ting couldn’t help but feel a chill. This Xu Xiang Rong was truly perverse. He never stopped to consider that as someone who sacrificed his daughter due to a few words, he wasn’t much better himself.
The two walked through the grass, twisting and turning. They reached an area behind a tree where their horses were tied. Their hooves had been bound with cloth. The two rode off without any hoofbeats.
One of the two remaining green-clothed people let out a whistle that mimicked a birdcall. Soon, several other members of their group appeared in the surroundings. These people were all dressed the same way, but had things woven from wood and grass on their head to better camouflage themselves. They had come very quickly, and had clearly been hiding in the area for a while.
Following a gesture from that person, these people silently went back to that area. After finding a fine spot, they spread out and concealed themselves once again.
When the empress headed over to the Zhenguo Duke’s tent, Senior Concubine Xu had already received the news.
Her trusted palace maid looked worried but she herself was steady as Mt. Tai.
The tent was silent enough to hear a pin drop.
That palace maid could no longer sit still and spoke. “Concubine, we cannot wait any longer. The empress has definitely gone to find the Zhenguo madam. Shouldn’t we prevent it?”
“Prevent what?” Senior Concubine Xu leisurely examined her painted delicate nails and rubbed them a couple of times.
She had a pair of extremely beautiful hands. Her fingers were slender, delicate and fair. Her nails were long and painted bright red, making her hands seem even more lustrous like jade.
“The empress has definitely come up with a plan. We cannot….”
Senior Concubine Xu interrupted her. “Enough, you’re too hotheaded. That woman has naturally gone to feign weakness, hoping to get the Zhenguo madam’s pity. The Zhenguo Duke has always been loyal to the nation and its monarch. He sees the bigger picture and also knows to be tactful. If nothing happens to the Zhenguo Duke’s grandson, he will definitely help cover it up. If something does happen, for the sake of the nation, he also won’t pursue and invstigate things relentlessly.”
Senior Concubine Xu smiled extremely mockingly. “Having struggled with that Xiao woman for so many years, no one understands her better than this seat. She’s used to acting. She can put on airs when she needs to but also lowers herself without hesitation when necessary. However…..” She covered her mouth and laughed with schadenfreude. “She will never expect that while the mantis stalks the cicada, an oriole waits behind. The people there are dead for sure. My brother has arranged everything and we’re just waiting for things to play out. So what if she can act pitiful? Is that enough to turn things around? Everyone should naturally be made aware of such a big event. Wait and see, don’t be impatient. A good performance must be slowly enjoyed.”
The wolf pack seemed to be gradually expanding.
Because these wolves all looked similar, Yan Yan wasn’t able to tell one from the other. She only knew that a few dozen more had appeared. She naturally didn’t realize that the remaining guards who had covered the crown prince’s retreat were all in these wolves’ stomachs. The wolves there naturally came to regroup.
Both sides maintained a weird equilibrium. That alpha wolf understood human nature quite well. He seemed to have figured these people out and started making arrangements to wear them down. The wolves no longer attacked as fiercely as before. Instead, they slowed down.
Yan Yan’s group wanted to maintain control and not kill too many so they wouldn’t be exposed when the reinforcements arrived. The alpha wolf also ignored the dozen or so dead wolves. The injured wolves retreated to lick their wounds and the rest continued to attack.
As time dragged on, Yan Yan’s group couldn’t help but marvel over the beasts’ widom. They were dragging them into a battle of attrition.
Even though they took turns to rest, they only had over ten people. The wolf pack had a hundred or so wolves. Gradually, they were no longer as energetic as before.
Luo Huai Yuan had been sitting back without using any strength the entire time. His eyes were fixed on the situation in front and he finally couldn’t endure any longer. He stood up.
“Little second Shen, stop holding back. The reinforcements still haven’t arrived and it’s not clear if something has happened. Let’s not play ourselves to death.”
Luo Huai Yuan’s words were rough, but not really. The leader of the guards had suggested this to Shen Qi several times, but Shen Qi had brushed him off for some reason. Now as time dragged on, their hearts gradually started to waver.
“Big bro Qi, I feel little fatty’s words make sense. If this goes on, we’ll end up screwing ourselves over.”
Ever since Luo Huai Yuan brought up his suspicions of the crown prince, Yan Yan had been very fretful.
This feeling wasn’t describable and her nerves were inexplicably on edge. She even had the faint sensation that they were being watched. However, when she looked over she didn’t see anyone. As time passed, Yan Yan’s brows furrowed tighter and tighter and she gradually became unable to steady her breathing.
This wasn’t a good sign. Internal arts relied on the inhale and exhale of breath. After these years of training, Yan Yan was already able to control her breathing very well. But due to her anxiety, she was gradually starting to lose her rhythm.
Shen Qi muttered to himself and then gestured with his hand. The group’s formation changed. He and Yan Yan stood in front along with several guards while the rest stayed behind. Those behind didn’t go rest, but grabbed their bows instead.
All the attacks were blocked by the people in front while the people behind methodically loosed their arrows. These people’s archery was pretty good. Although they weren’t experts, they could still land eight out of ten arrows, each hit dealing grievous wounds.
The alpha wolf saw the casualties suddenly increase and wasn’t able to remain quite steady. His eyes shot out a fierce light as he let out a howl. The wolves immediately grew frenzied in attacking.
Close by, hidden behind an outcropping, two green-clothed people were quietly discussing.
One said not to wait any longer while the other said to wait a little more.
The master’s instructions were very clear. They should do their best to have the corpses be eaten by the wolves. They shouldn’t make a move unless they had to. After all, that would surely leave signs no matter how well they covered it up. They might also leave tracks that would complicate the issue. Furthermore, the scouts in front sent no signal, meaning that no reinforcements were coming yet. They might as well continue waiting.
The people surrounded by wolves were pretty skilled and the person in charge also understood how to conserve their stamina. However, there were only around ten of them after all. Even if each of them took on ten wolves, their chances of victory were slim.
The sounds of discussion faded as they fell silent once more.
There were actually around twenty people hidden in the area, all wearing green. The color was similar to the surroundings and they were invisible from a distance. They also had secret medicines that concealed their body odor. Even the wolves with their acute sense of smell weren’t able to detect them. It was no wonder Yan Yan’s group didn’t notice these people.
The smell of blood gradually thickened along with the feral smell of the wolves.
Yan Yan liked cleanliness and this smell made her feel nauseous. Luo Huai Yuan never relaxed his attention on her. Seeing this, he hurriedly pulled out a handkerchief and leaned over, wanting to put it under her nose. Yan Yan didn’t refuse. She felt better with a handkerchief under her nose, especially since it had a faint trace of green bamboo fragrance.
Luo Huai Yuan smiled extremely vulgarly. Everyone was busy with killing wolves and no one noticed his smile.
The situation grew more and more tense. Yan Yan’s group had taken the initiative. After a round of arrows, there were over thirty wolves dead or injured. The alpha wolf saw things weren’t looking good and let out another howl. The wolves no longer remained in formation and pounced with wild abandon. Everyone grew flustered.
Someone in the front would occasionally get injured. Someone behind would then put down his bow and pick up his weapons to fill the gap. They maintained the semi-circle and didn’t allow their formation to falter.
Two fists ultimately cannot overcome four hands. In a moment of carelessness, one of the guards was bitten in the throat by a pouncing wolf. Although Shen Qi had swiftly used his spear to stab the wolf’s stomach and fling it far away, that guard’s throat was already penetrated. The blood flowed continuously and he was clearly done for.
Everyone’s expressions turned cold. This was something they expected and while their morale didn’t break, they became more cautious in attacking and defending.
The situation became more and more dangerous. The semi-circle formation was gradually penetrated by the wolves. Some wolves had already entered the semi-circle, attacking the people from behind and from the side. At this time, with attacks coming from several directions, the formation was finally broken and several people were injured.
Shen Qi cried loudly: “Three-man formation.
The scattered people fought fiercely and gathered in groups of three, fighting back to back.
Yan Yan and Shen Qi had crowded Luo Huai Yuan under the tree as the two of them defended him.
“Little sis Ah Yan, give me a blade. I can also fight.”
“Shut your mouth. Don’t mess around.”
Luo Huai Yuan was sweating from anxiety. He knew he was in the way. He felt the tree behind him and said: “I’ll climb the tree. You guys don’t have to worry about me.”
As he spoke, he climbed upwards. Perhaps due to not having climbed trees in a while or perhaps due to his weight, he only got halfway up after climbing for a while.
Yan Yan wanted to face-palm. She gave Shen Qi a glance. Shen Qi swept the wolves in the area away with his spear. She took a deep breath and leapt, grabbing Luo Huai Yuan’s collar and dragging him up the tree.
Luo Huai Yuan’s eyes were burning. He had seen Lady Hui do this before, but it was his first time seeing the little consort do it. If it weren’t for the inappropriate timing, he would definitely have hugged the little consort’s leg and cried out “my queen accept my worship!”
Without Luo Huai Yuan, Yan Yan and Shen Qi let loose. None of the wolves actually dared to approach the two of them. Their weapons were suited for group battles, and with their assistance, the pressure on the other guards lightened. Slowly, the group gathered together once more.
They continuously harvested lives.
The wolves grew fewer and their corpses piled up. A wolf saw that they were no match and seeing its many dead companions, it turned tail and fled. However, the alpha wolf that was steadily giving orders from behind pounced and crushed its throat with a bite.
The alpha wolf drank the traitor’s blood and let out a long howl. Its body was tall and sturdy with a sleek light-gray coat. Its mouth was stained with fresh blood and its fangs were sharp. It was clearly fierce.
With a leap, it entered the fray.
The alpha wolf’s speed was extremely fast and it was rather cunning. He didn’t attack from the front, but would strike from the left and the right, appearing where they least expected it. Several guards were injured by its claws. It never remained after striking and would pass by in a flash.
Hearing another person cry out tragically, Yan Yan looked over. One of the guards had been raked by the alpha wolf’s claws, his left shoulder mangled. She was no longer able to endure the fury in her heart and rushed over. She first dragged the guard who had dropped his weapons back to the tree before rushing recklessly after that alpha wolf.
The alpha wolf was very fast but Yan Yan’s speed didn’t lose out to his when she was flipping out. At some point, the whip in her hands had returned to her waist and she held two emei piercers instead.
The martial arts she learned wasn’t suited for group battles to begin with. Back in the day, Lady Hui mostly fought alone or assassinated her targets. At most she would go against ten or so people. Yan Yan’s whip was her secondary weapon. Since Lady Hui’s techniques were for killing, it naturally had nothing to do with group battles.
Luo Huai Yuan cried out in alarm on the tree but Yan Yan was already unable to hear him. She dove into the wolf pack, pouncing left and dodging right in close pursuit. That alpha wolf seemed to sense the little thing behind it wasn’t easy to deal with. It naturally hid into the pack to use its subordinates as meat shields. Some wolves obstructed her from time to time. No matter how fast Yan Yan was, she would inevitably be tied down.
At this moment, a lot of arrows suddenly appeared on the scene.
These arrows weren’t aimed at the wolves, but at the people instead. Because everyone was focused on the wolves and no one had expected this ambush, several guards where hit by the arrows. Luckily these arrows weren’t shot with a lot of force and the wolves also covered them from some of the barrage. There weren’t too many who were hit and their wounds weren’t deep. They weren’t fatally injured.
It was a two-pronged attack!
Before the group could adjust their formation, another dozen arrows flew over. They seem to be closer than before, and the guard closest to the firing had already been nailed to the floor. Shen Qi let out a shout and stepped forward, continuously wielding his spear to strike the arrows down.
Suddenly a loud bang sounded out. Some bushes nearby exploded and they saw a weirdly dressed person tumble out.
Luo Huai Yuan was standing on the tree, smugly blowing on a smoking gun barrel.
“You group of bastards actually camouflaged yourselves. Watch how this granddaddy blows your cover!”
No one went to investigate what Luo Huai Yuan had used to blow these people out. Shen Qi and Yan Yan had already rushed over.
New grudges piled onto old ones. They had known there was a possibility some people wouldn’t let them off, but didn’t expect them to act at this time. How malicious! How crafty!
Yan Yan and Shen Qi merely assumed the crown prince had returned to silence them. They were extremely resentful and didn’t show any mercy. Shen Qi had ditched his spear as he wielded a curved blade, openly facing off against those people. Yan Yan held her emei piercers as she moved like a divine dragon. She flashed by and someone fell to the floor. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that person’s throat had a small hole, and his chest as well.
The people outside watched the show while those inside saw the details.
Shen Qi had trained in martial arts from a young age and naturally understood what had happened. There were many weakpoints on the human body. The most vital were the throat and the heart. If those places were pierced, that person would die on the spot. If those places were unharmed, they could still move around despite being injured.
Shen Qi inexplicably felt a chill on his back. He finally understood something his grandfather had joked about before.
In a regulated contest, he was on par with Ah Yan. But in the art of killing, he was not her match!
What was the art of killing? It was precisely this!
Before those people could react, one of their numbers had returned to the underworld!
Yan Yan barged into those woods as though a god of slaughter entering the battlefield. Her eyes were already red, her face rigid and her lips pursed. Her clothes were drenched in blood and her moves were extremely swift and merciless. The people’s tragic cries intermingled with the wolves’ howls, composing a symphony with the loss of life.
Why did things turn out this way? Why did it become like this?
Weren’t they here to hunt and have fun? Just who did they provoke?
The crown prince used them as scapegoats, the wolves wanted to eat them, and now they had to suffer an ambush by people trying to silence them….
Since one side had to die, it was naturally better for it to be them.
Yan Yan had been doubtful at first when learning Lady Hui’s true skills. Only now did she realize that her words had been correct. Her techniques were meant for killing.
Using the simplest methods to achieve the quickest attacks. Every move was meant to harm. There were no extraneous techniques or fancy flourishes. There was just killing.
This was Yan Yan’s first time killing someone. She didn’t feel much. She knew that these people wanted them dead. They had ambushed them at the height of their peril. Therefore, it was better to have these filthy people die…
“Little sis Ah Yan, little sis Ah Yan…..”
A sound as quiet as a mosquito’s buzz wormed into her hears. Then there was an earsplitting bang. Only then did Yan Yan feel the bloodlust in her eyes dissipate. The first thing she saw was a large chubby face.
She froze for a long while, and let out an “oh”.
“You’re unhurt, right? Don’t be scared, these people weren’t human. They wanted to kill us. You did nothing wrong. Don’t be scared.” Luo Huai Yuan’s face was filled with concern as he comforted her.
He was comforting her?
Yan Yan felt her mind was sluggish. She looked around. The surroundings were completely silent.
The ground in the distance was covered in wolf corpses and blood. Close by, there were several people lying on the floor. These people were dressed weirdly and they were all lying still. Not a single one remained alive. There were a few people standing nearby, all looking bedraggled and covered in blood.
She killed people?
“Can you say something? Don’t scare me and little second Shen.” Luo Huai Yuan’s smile was a little forced. “Killing someone is no big deal. Back in Fujian, I also beat some pirates to death. We did this in self defense. It was to protect ourselves!”
Yan Yan didn’t really understand why Luo Huai Yuan was putting so much effort into telling her these things.
The people were already killed. What was the use in saying this now!? If they died, then so be it. Better them than us!
She seemd to realize Luo Huai Yuan’s worries and impatiently pushed him away. “You talk a lot of rubbish….”
Before her voice fell, she felt the ground tremble. It was clear a large group of people were approaching on horseback.
Someone was coming?
Luo Huai Yuan hurriedly had Yan Yan put away her piercers and take out her whip. He then wiped a bunch of wolf blood over himself and hid the firearm in his hand.
After doing this, the people arrived.
In the lead were two horses ridden by the second prince and the crown prince.
There were several people following them, all being descendents of nobility. Xu Xiang Rong was there as well, and Yan Ting was next to him.
These people were all startled at the scene. The second prince and Xu Xiang Rong’s faces were a little rigid. Xu Xiang Rong was especially astonished. The crown prince’s surprise turned to ecstasy.
All these emotions were very fleeting. Only Luo Huai Yuan saw things clearly.
He laughed coldly in his heart. Those who should come have all arrived!
The crown prince hurriedly got off his horse and ran over. On the way, he shed tears of gratitude.
“How wonderful that you are all safe. If anything happened to you, this humble one wouldn’t feel at peace for the rest of my life!”
The crown prince’s focus was mostly on Shen Qi. He grabbed Shen Qi’s bloodstained arms in excitement, and then turned to show “affection” towards the foolish, fat and timid fourth brother of his that he had always disdained.
That fourth brother trembled a little and actually hid behind a young miss, both hands grabbing her sleeves. His large figure couldn’t be concealed at all but he didn’t seem to have noticed. He said “quietly”: “Little sis Ah Yan, I’m scared. So many people wanted to kill us earlier. Do you think these people are here to kill us too?”
Yan Yan laughed coldly and looked at the crowd. Her gaze swept past Yan Ting and she didn’t spare him a glance. She then averted her gaze and no longer gave the crowd a second glance.
Shen Qi’s face was rigid. He removed the crown prince’s hands and said firmly: “Crown prince highness, please forgive this little one’s lack of etiquette. There were truly too many killers lying in ambush around Mt. Meng. Our group has escaped the jaws of death several times, and no longer have the energy to mind our manners.”
The crown prince didn’t notice his coldness at all and his face was apologetic. “It’s all this humble one’s fault for getting you involved. I have already reported this matter to my mother empress, and have sent someone to inform royal father and the Zhenguo Duke. You will definitely get an explanation! You are all injured. You should return to the campsite with us. As for those people playing mischief in the dark, don’t worry. This humble one won’t let a single one off!”
Every word was spoken clearly and forcefully!
Hopefully everyone won’t curse Ah Yan for being too bloodthirsty. There’s definitely some psychological effects, but it just isn’t that serious. Ah Yan has always been direct, and it was a situation where only one side could live. Many female leads in household struggles will end up with blood on their hands. It’s just that this female lead is skilled in martial arts, and isn’t using underhanded schemes.
The little fatty didn’t really show off much strength in this chapter. However, this author never said the little fatty must be more skilled than the female lead. Haha, this fellow is best at screwing people over. Everyone can imagine in the future when they’re married, one will be the T-rex in front while the other comes up with wild ideas behind. It sounds like a great time.