Success or failure depended only on tonight. He raised his hand towards the black-clad guards to signal for action.
Various forces began to surge.
In the middle of the night, Shen Fengyue tossed and turned because of Emperor Chu’s words. After struggling for half the night, he finally fell asleep. Just as he fell asleep, he suddenly felt a sudden feeling of weightlessness in his heart, waking him up from his dream.
In a daze, he opened his eyes and saw a black-clad figure climbing in through the window with a shining dagger reflecting a cold edge as it was pointed at him.
Shen Fengyue broke out in a cold sweat, and at the moment the knife came down, he rolled to the side nimbly, dodging the attack.
The black-clad figure’s first attack missed and the knife plunged deep into the bed. Shen Fengyue’s eyes narrowed, and he quickly pulled the blanket over the person. While the black-clad figure’s vision was blocked by the blanket, he decisively kicked out with his foot, delivering a heavy blow that made the other person stagger back several steps and stumble.
He grabbed the opportunity to shout, “Help! – Assassin!”
The black-clothed person threw off the bedding and immediately continued to attack him. He was obviously trained specially and the three-legged Cat Kung Fu that Shen Fengyue had learned offline was not a match for him. He could only dodge awkwardly and was wounded by the knife in several places in a hurry.
The two fought all the way to the window. Suddenly, a figure flashed in from the window, and the next moment, the black-clothed person was kicked to the ground. The newcomer raised his knife and killed him with one strike.
The dagger hit the person’s chest directly.
Shen Fengyue was still frightened, leaning on the window and panting. He kicked the body away from him with his foot.
“Are you scared?” A simple question unexpectedly sounded gentle.
Accustomed to the other’s often rude tone, the sudden gentleness made Shen Fengyue feel even more frightened. He looked at him suspiciously, as if to confirm whether he was possessed by something dirty.
“What’s wrong? Is there something on my face?” Eunuch Shen pointed to his face. “Why are you looking at me like that, Your Majesty?”
Shen Fengyue and he haven’t used the word “slave” privately for a long time. Shen Fengyue didn’t mind not using it, he didn’t like it when others constantly used it in front of him. It made people feel inferior. Of course, it would be even better if the title “Your Majesty” could be removed.
He shook his head to indicate that he was okay. Outside, there were cries of astonishment and the sound of chaos.
“What’s happening outside?”
“The Crown Prince initiated a palace coup,” said Eunuch Shen, as he saw that he had several knife wounds on his body. He took out a bottle of golden sore medicine from his pocket, dabbed some on his wounds, and said, “The commotion was quite intense.”
Even though he deliberately applied less pressure, Shen Fengyue was used to living a pampered life and still gritted his teeth in pain. He asked, “How is Emperor Chu doing?”
“I don’t know. His fate is uncertain. Chaos has broken out outside, and I don’t know what the situation is,” replied Eunuch Shen, as he handed the medicine to Shen Fengyue. “This is top-quality golden sore medicine. If you use it promptly whenever you get injured, it will help your wounds heal quickly.”
Upon hearing this, Shen Fengyue couldn’t help but ponder. He considered himself a worldly person and now that the fate of Emperor Chu was uncertain, he didn’t know if there would be a new emperor. Wealth and glory were fleeting and not worth much in the grand scheme of things, so he immediately prepared to pack his belongings and leave to save his own life. If Emperor Chu was still alive, he could shed a few crocodile tears and cry a little, which wouldn’t be a big deal.
Where there’s life, there’s hope.
He hastily packed his luggage, and Eunuch Shen sneered at him.
The laughter sounded as though it had been magnified countless times in the room as if it were right next to him. Shen Fengyue turned to glare at him.
Eunuch Shen was puzzled. “What is Your Majesty doing?”
Shen Fengyue had packed some clothes and lightweight jewelry. After pausing his packing for a moment, he continued without looking up. “Planning ahead.”
“I see,” he said with a sudden realization. “Is Your Majesty planning to run away on the road? I dare to ask that you take me with you, so we can look after each other on the way.”
“Is that so?” Shen Fengyue lifted the luggage bag onto his shoulder and smiled. “This palace should thank you, Lord Shen, for coming to the rescue. How can I bear to leave you behind and run alone?”
“No need, this slave just couldn’t sleep at night and wandered around. Who would have thought I would encounter some villains entering Your Majesty’s room, so I just happened to save Your Majesty.” He took the package from Shen Fengyue’s shoulder and threw it onto the bed with a big movement. “But I want to remind Your Majesty that the Prince’s palace coup is just child’s play. Emperor Chu values his life more and more as he gets older, so he always arranges heavy guards when he travels. This time, it was just a close call. Please don’t let the old Emperor see your packed bags.”
Eunuch Shen blinked at him, “It will soon be calm, please be patient, Your Majesty.” He leaned back in the chair and didn’t mean to leave.
Shen Fengyue knew that this person was not just talking, but was actually worried that he would encounter villains again, so he acquiesced.
So the two of them sat in the room, one on the bed and the other leaning on the chair, waiting. As he said, news of the Crown Prince’s palace coup being suppressed came out soon.
Shen Fengyue’s mood was complicated. He didn’t expect the Prince to be so useless that he was dealt with so quickly. After tidying up, he followed Eunuch Shen to the main hall.
Emperor Chu was already there, sitting high on the throne, with the Prince kneeling underneath him.
The Prince was wearing armor, with disheveled hair and blood stains on his face. His arms were pressed by guards and he couldn’t move. He was bowing his head, not knowing what he was thinking.
Emperor Chu first lost his beloved grandson, and then the Prince rebelled. He was already an old man in his fifties, and after experiencing this series of events, he was mentally exhausted and his expression was even more haggard.
He had been frowning and looking at the Prince who dared not look at him, without saying a word. It wasn’t until Shen Fengyue came that he spoke up and asked, “Is Yan Yan okay?”
After Shen Fengyue said he was okay, he didn’t say anything else.
He looked at his eldest son below and suddenly didn’t know what to say. Should he question him about the reason for the palace coup? Or should he scold him harshly? The old man didn’t know, his muddy eyes mixed with bloodshot veins, he was exhausted.
“Crown Prince,” he called out and then fell silent.
After a long while, he continued, “Do you know you’ve done wrong?”
The Crown Prince’s eyes flickered, his head moved slightly, and then he lowered it even further.
“Release him,” the Emperor commanded, and the guards let go of the Crown Prince, but he still knelt there without daring to stand up.
“My Crown Prince,” he paused for a moment and only managed to say, “You’re confused.”
The Crown Prince was called “Crown Prince” twice by his father, which made him tear up. He finally raised his head to look at his father and called out softly, “Father.”
A glimmer of moisture appeared in the Emperor’s eyes, but a monarch cannot easily shed tears, so the moisture quickly disappeared. He softened his gaze and looked at his son, asking gently, “Can you tell me why?”
He didn’t use “we” but “me,” speaking from the perspective of a father rather than a monarch.
The Crown Prince also smiled, with tears in his eyes, and the tears fell silently. After a while, he finally answered his father, “This son did something wrong.”
The Emperor asked him, “Is it because I let Prince Qi’s family go?”
The Crown Prince nodded and then shook his head, “You’re too biased.”
The killer who had killed his son had been let go by his father, and this kind of behavior had chilled the Crown Prince’s heart.
He seemed to have remembered something from the past and his eyes were filled with memories, “After Prince Qi was born, you showed him extra favor. I’m not good at expressing myself, but Prince Qi is. Crying babies get milk, and as the Crown Prince, I naturally couldn’t be so ostentatious as to cry. So I often saw you doting on him, spoiling him, and every time I saw him, I felt envious. He was good at learning and had talent, so I worked harder and harder in secret. I was afraid that if I didn’t work harder, someone would snatch away my only position as the Crown Prince.”
The Crown Prince is the eldest son of Emperor Chu. Time flies and he is already over thirty years old. But when the Emperor looks at him, he still vividly remembers the excitement of becoming a father when the Crown Prince was born. He held the soft and delicate body of the baby, feeling both cautious and inexplicably happy.
He had high hopes for the Crown Prince and designated him as the heir apparent at the age of one. Since then, he had often personally taught and guided him, but it seemed that as the child grew up, they became increasingly distant. Later, when Prince Qi was born, that child was particularly spoiled and adorable, and often clung to him, occupying most of his time, so his interaction with the Crown Prince was indeed reduced.
“Crown Prince, I have neglected you,” said Emperor Chu, “but you are my eldest son and the candidate for future succession. Isn’t what you did tonight unnecessary?”
The Crown Prince’s tears flowed even more violently. He stared at the Emperor and said with a heavy heart, “Father, I don’t want to be Crown Prince anymore. I’ve waited too long and don’t want to wait any longer.”
An old Emperor and an old Crown Prince are always a problematic combination. Shen Fengyue thought to himself.
Emperor Chu was choked by his words and felt a heart-wrenching pain. He covered his chest and pointed at the Crown Prince, unable to speak for a long time.
The Crown Prince’s words were truly rebellious, and he kowtowed to the Emperor with tears but refused to apologize.
Shen Fengyue handed a cup of tea to Emperor Chu to help him calm down. After he recovered, he sighed heavily, shaking his head and muttering several times.
“If you know you are wrong, I won’t pursue it anymore,” said a father who couldn’t bear to be harsh, “you will return to the Eastern Palace and reflect on your actions, copying scriptures to calm your mind.”
A tiger does not eat its cubs.
He looked around, “Tonight’s events will be considered as if they never happened. All of you must keep your mouths shut.”
The Crown Prince’s tears fell incessantly, some even slid into his mouth and tasted salty. He tried his best to swallow the tears and kowtowed to Emperor Chu three times.
Even though Emperor Chu said he would not pursue it, tonight’s events would still be a knot in his heart. Even if he was fortunate enough to survive, he had already fallen out of favor. Moreover, how could a rebellious Crown Prince ever ascend to the throne in the future?
“Your child thanks Father Emperor for his kindness,” he straightened up, his trembling hand hanging down. “But your child knows that he has committed a great sin, failing to live up to Father Emperor’s kindness and expectations, and also failing the title of ‘Crown Prince’. Your child is afraid that he cannot repay Father Emperor’s years of nurturing and kindness one by one.”
“My crime of rebellion today is unforgivable, and the only way to atone for it is to die.”
Emperor Chu secretly realized it was not good and shouted, “Stop him!”
In the next moment, the Crown Prince drew the sword of the guard beside him, and with a flash of cold light, he took his own life.
Blood sprayed out like flowers, and he fell into a pool of blood.
Emperor Chu leaped up from his seat, pushed away the others, and held the Crown Prince while crying in pain. The Crown Prince still had a breath, and he felt Emperor Chu hugging him, but he could never open his eyes again and eventually passed away.
“My son, my son…” At this moment, the titles of the Nine Five Supreme and the Current Emperor meant nothing. He was just an old man, a father who had lost his child.
The Current Emperor cried bitterly, holding his deceased son and calling out his name as if he could bring him back, but the Crown Prince could never return.
Those around dared not speak or intervene but instead watched in silence as the grieving Emperor vented his pain at the loss of his child.
Shen Fengyue could only sigh helplessly.
The Crown Prince, indeed, had been foolish.
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