Whether it was Gu Yun, Zhong Chan, or even the entire Great Liang Army, no one had absolute confidence about naval battle, thus they must bring out their best to respond. First, they followed the young genius Ge Chen of Ling Shu to dismantle the Western Dragon. From the aspects of speed, defense, artillery, and Ziliujin carrying capacity, they analyzed the operational habits of the Western Navy from beginning to end and the possibility of changes they might have on the battlefield.
When the two armies came into an unavoidable confrontation, there were thousands of large and small Dragons. It was quite different from when they fled on the river with twenty people. Anything was possible.
How to fight in certain situations, many things seemed to require only flexible reactions during battle, but in reality, these were all dependent on the innumerable experiences and efforts of the commander from behind. Moreover, they must also discuss the direction of development of the Great Liang Navy in the future, how to prepare, what kind of warship should they request from Ling Shu Institute, how to train the soldiers, how to distribute Ziliujin, so on and so forth.
Gu Yun's situation here was a little more complicated. He was ordered to command the four borders. Besides the battlefield in Jiangnan, he had to consider many other aspects.
Every day, he followed the patrol station around Liangjiang to feel the situation of the battlefield. At night, he returned to alternatively discuss with either old General Zhong or Mayor Yao. Since Chang Geng left, he had always been on the move, busy to the point of not having a moment to drink water.
Today, as Gu Yun stood up to say goodbye to Yao Zhen, his legs suddenly became numb, his body swaying and his heart beating like a drum. Yao Zhen quickly supported him: "Marshal, what's wrong?"
"It's all right, just hungry," Gu Yun said with a slight self-mockery, laughing at him. "To tell you the truth, right now if you were to bring me a pancake as big as a cart pulled by a donkey, I could still swallow it whole."
Yao Zhen frowned. Gu Yun must not be able to see his own face now. They all described young people as ‘overflowing with vigor’. A person’s spirit was all on their face. Whether they were healthy or not, one could tell by looking at their cheeks and lips.
Yao Zhen said, "Marshal should come to my place today. My wife has no other hobbies, she only loves cooking. Let me ask her to prepare some porridge and vegetable dishes for you. There are no luxurious delicacies, but home-cooked meals that are hot and delicious, we don't lack any."
If Gu Yun heard this before, he would have instantly followed along for a free meal, but he did not know what problems he had recently — the more tired he was, the more he could not eat, only wanting to find a place to fall asleep. He replied, "Thank you. How about another day, it's already very late now. It's not appropriate to trouble Madam."
It was not convenient for Yao Zhen to persuade more, he accompanied Gu Yun all the way back to the tent, not feeling reassured. In the end, he said: "As long as the green hills are preserved, there will be no fear of lacking firewood. Marshal should take care of yourself more."
"Enough to pass the winter, don't worry." Gu Yun waved his hand, raised his head, and moved his stiff neck. Suddenly, he caught sight of the river of stars in the sky flowing like satin. He said with emotion, "I remember that year, although Brother Chong Ze was brilliant, you were not ambitious, not wanting to take credit for even such great merit as settling Wei Wang’s uprising. You preferred to live a stable life in this one acre of your own house — but now you have also been pushed to this point, fate truly toys with people."
Yao Zhen said with a bitter laugh: "There are too many factions fighting among each other in the court. I am only a scholar with no power and influence. Why should I follow along with them to add more fuel to the chaos? How much benefit can there be from plotting and calculating? It's better to stay in this place far away from the Emperor, where my entire family young and old are all around, not having to worry about food and drink, even my words are worth something in the local area, is it not good luck?"
Yao Chong Ze was too smart, he was even more excellent in pursuing profits and avoiding disadvantages. As early as when Wei Wang rebelled, he had soon recognized the declining path hiding behind the false pretense of prosperity of the Great Liang Dynasty, he was not willing to sell his life for the ruined court, only carrying with him an official position that was neither big nor small, waiting to die with a full belly.
Unfortunately, at present, there were no whole eggs under an overturned nest, he could no longer hide his talents.
Gu Yun refused to let it go and asked, "What about after the war ends?"
Yao Zhen answered with vigor, "If the country is peaceful then, there will no longer be any place where I can be of use. If the court is still engulfed in thick miasma like this, why should I add more to it? Marshal Gu holds the Black Tiger Emblem in your hand, is it truly happier than that year when you were young, returning victorious from the South, enjoying flower wine with us idlers?"
Gu Yun: "..."
Yao Zhen seemed to have recalled something and laughed: "I still remember clearly even now, when Marshal Gu was drunk, you had stepped on a thin railing with one foot, swaying, holding an embroidered sword used for dancing, using it to carve embroidery letters on the fallen petals in the air, making the beauties blush, even now it remains a grand story…"
Gu Yun was so embarrassed that he almost knotted his tongue: "Back then I was a child, not understanding anything. This nonsensical matter, please don't… don't bring it up again in the future."
Yao Zhen smiled unconsciously, then looked towards the South and said, "One day when Jiangnan is recovered, I will be the host, inviting the general to get drunk in the spring breeze. You must come."
Gu Yun thought, I dare not. Having one person like that in the family is already enough.
However, it was inconvenient to confess such embarrassing words in the face of an old friend, Gu Yun could only show an unfathomable smile.
In the middle of the night, when the two of them were not embarrassed to talk about entertainment, Ge Chen suddenly ran over with a pale face, holding a piece of sea grain paper in his hand: "Marquis, it's not good, Yang Rong Gui is going to rebel!"
This letter came from the false Yan Wang. Fearing that the wooden bird would be caught by the bad guys, he did not dare to mention the matter of real and false Yan Wang, nor to reveal that this letter of only a few words was to be sent to Jiangbei Camp, he was only seeking for help, saying that they had temporarily stabilized the traitors, but did not know what Yang Rong Gui would do to them next.
Gu Yun and Yao Zhen were both stunned at the same time. Gu Yun did indeed assume that when Yang Rong Gui could not bribe the imperial envoys, he would resort to this method. But he had been in charge of the Black Iron camp for a long time, he somewhat did not take these local forces into account. He thought that twenty personal guards were enough to sweep the Yangzhou Capital. Chang Geng was not the type to overdo things.
Gu Yun raised his hand and took Ge Chen's paper, only seeing that the handwriting on it was not Chang Geng's, appearing to have been written in a hurry, but above it all, the content caused one to be more frightened the more they read, especially at the end: there was an assassination attempt on the Emperor, it is unsure whether he is dead or alive.
Gu Yun's thoughts turned quickly, instantly breaking in a cold sweat. Holding Yan Wang in the South and assassinating the Emperor in the capital. This was not impossible to achieve if there was enough thorough calculation, as long as one had the guts to do it.
If Lin Yuan Pavilion had not been secretly involved, there were still Lin Yuan wooden birds that could still fly out. At present, Yangzhou City was isolated, all news was basically blocked. Yang Rong Gui could make his underling forcibly escort Yan Wang to the North, it would not even disturb Jiangbei Camp.
What's more, once Li Feng had died and the throne was vacant, it would be worth considering.
Yao Zhen: "Marshal?"
"Go back to General Zhong, tell him to lend me some Eagle Armors, I will return them when I'm done. Hurry." Gu Yun already forgot his exhaustion from just now. He quickly said, "Xiao Ge will stay here and try to contact the capital to see what is going on. I'll take people to Yangzhou."
The false 'Yan Wang' and 'Xu Ling' were packed up by Yang Rong Gui at this time, 'invited' to get on their boat, and left Yangzhou Prefecture with their army, moving to the north to force the Emperor to abdicate.
Their travel was very secretive. From the great epidemic in Jiangnan that did not cause any rumors, it was clear how much control Yang Rong Gui and his traitorous party had over the posts along the canal.
In the evening, at a post stop, 'Yan Wang' and 'Xu Ling' had to stay in the same room. The bodyguards beside them had already been taken care of. The outside was filled with Yang Rong Gui's eyes and ears, they could not escape even if they grew wings.
It was not until the middle of the night that 'Yan Wang' looked out of the window. When he saw the guards had loosened a little, he touched his face and lowered his voice to Xu Ling and said, "If I knew it was such a difficult job. I might as well have stayed with the barbarians. This time, Yan Wang owes me a big favor — we don't even know if the wooden bird could arrive in Ge Pang Xiao's hands, we also involved the young master like this. If your father knows, he must be very worried."
'Xu Ling' was about to reply when suddenly, his face turned solemn. Somehow, a few guards at the back door all fell down. With absolutely no sound, a dark shadow flew in.
All the weapons for self-defence on 'Xu Ling's' body had soon been confiscated, he grabbed a porcelain cup on the table and threw it out with a strong force. The visitor gently tilted his face, avoiding this weapon by a hair, then reached out and rolled the porcelain cup into his sleeve, creeping in silently from the back window. His body was incredibly agile, even after this string of actions, the windchime had not made a single sound.
When the visitor landed, he pulled off his face mask and gestured, "It's me."
It was Gu Yun.
'Xu Ling' had never met Gu Yun before, he was stunned, only 'Yan Wang' took in a breath of cool air, joy showing on his face.
Gu Yun actually thought something was amiss. The cup Xu Ling had thrown carried too much power, but right now there was no time to think about it. He carefully looked outside, frowned, and quickly signed, "How did it come to this? Where are the personal guards?"
Before the sign language was finished, 'Yan Wang' had rushed towards him like a swallow returning to the woods, with beautiful steps that inspired praises in others.
Gu Yun had a sharp nose unknowing to outsiders. Within three feet of a person's body, he could detect if there was something wrong by scent. Instead of the perennial soothing fragrance, the 'Yan Wang' in front of him did not have the years-long scent of tranquilizer but an imperceptible smell of makeup powder. Gu Yun suddenly stepped backwards and grasped the throat of ‘Yan Wang’: "Who are you?"
'Yan Wang’ did not expect to already reveal himself as soon as they came face to face. Frustrated with his immense failure, he fluttered his hands and feet and signaled with his lips: "Uncle Shiliu, it's me."
The only people who called Gu Yun ‘Uncle Shiliu’ were the two children Ge Chen and Cao Chunhua brought back with Chang Geng from Yanhui Town, although after growing up, they no longer referred to him as such.
Gu Yun loosened his hand and said in astonishment, "Xiao Cao?"
On this side, they secretly joined hands with each other, and there was no information regarding the whereabouts of the true Yan Wang. At the same time, on the third day of July, a secret letter from Yangzhou City passed through the Ninth Gate of the Imperial City and arrived in Lu Chang's hand.
After reading, Lu Chang could not hold back his joyous laughter, gathering with trusted people to discuss secret matters while sending an invite for Lord Fang Qin.
The Fang and Lu Manors were not far apart. The family servant soon returned, "My lord, Fang family said that Master Fang had contracted a severe illness recently. He has a rash all over his body and a high fever. He is about to move to a house in the outskirts of the capital, it is inconvenient for him to receive any guests. Your servant saw that their courtyard had prepared carriages, their bedsheets and clothing were being burned in the backyard."
Lu Chang asked, "Does Master Fang have any words for me?"
"Yes," the family servant responded respectfully, "Master Fang asked me to give you the best of wishes, achieving your desired success."
Lu Chang sneered, waved for him to retreat and turned into the study. "Fang Qin, this old fox, he has many vile ideas in his mind, all mighty when instructing the people around him, like drawing the rivers and mountains. As soon as something happens, he reverts to his usual habit and shrinks back his neck like a turtle. In this life, he only has the ability of a Dog Head Army Master. Never mind him, now our grand plan is already more than half accomplished. Everything is ready, the only thing left is the East Wind."
The rash-covered 'Dog Head Army Master' that Lu Chang mentioned just burned his clothes and quilts, going to the Northern suburbs on a small and very ordinary palanquin. Shen Yi, who also snuck out in secret much like him, happened to be in the Northern Camp. When hearing Master Fang — the one who no one knew which side he had placed his precious buttocks on — was coming to visit, he was in shock.
The new commander of the Northern Camp was one of Tan Hong Fei's deputy generals. Knowing that this was not a trivial matter, he immediately whispered advice, "General Shen, please avoid it for the time being. Let me meet this man."
That day, Fang Qin stayed at the Northern Camp for more than an hour. No one knew what he had said. It was only once it was dark that he silently left on his small palanquin.
At the end of July, Long An Emperor's birthday was just around the corner.
Since Li Feng ascended the throne, he had never thrown a large banquet for his birthday, the Empress Dowager died early in the palace, and after the death of the former emperor, he no longer has any elders left to take care of this.
However, for this year's birthday, Li Feng finally had some movement.
The Qi Yuan Tower that collapsed during the war was rebuilt in its original location. Li Feng believed that the appearance of the 'Picking Star Platform' was too ominous and the wasteful luxury of 'Yunmeng Grand View' affected heaven's goodwill. Thus, he ordered a restructuring to transform 'Qi Yuan Tower' into 'Qi Ming Altar', abolishing the original function of eating, drinking, and entertainment and turning it into a righteous altar for praying to the heavens. The Supervisor had also been moved in.
No one knew whether Emperor Long An had nothing else to do, or if was persuaded by the bad guys, but he decided to go to the newly built Qi Ming Altar to worship the heavens and ancestors, confessing all his sins to celebrate his birthday.
...Speaking of it, Li Feng's underlings consisted of only corrupt officials and ministers devoting themselves to gnawing at his society and eating away at his nation. He himself was fated for a life of hardship with no one loving him, there was no one to even make him a bowl of noodles on his birthday, even having to put all his mistakes in governing on display for everyone in the world to see.
This was sorrowful and depressing, but aside from the group of white beard rotten worms in the court, there was no one behind that would praise him — it truly was a human tragedy.
When the Emperor left the palace, all officials would naturally accompany him. The imperial army opened its way and marched to the Qi Ming Altar. The imperial sensory was awaiting, dressed in proper costumes, the sounds of the bells ringing all over the city.
There were a thousand stone steps leading to the top of the Qi Ming Altar, and a narrow path in the middle was known as the 'Imperial Road', only for the Son of Heaven to walk on. On both sides was the 'Royal Road' accompanied by the officials, which only led to the five-hundredth step and stopped halfway to the altar.
Emperor Long An picked up his feet from the Royal Road, the lower ranks of the hundred civil and military officials saw him off from below. Accompanying him to the top were two ministers, one martial and one civil. But both Gu Yun and Yan Wang were not in the capital at this time, the accompanying passengers had to be replaced by Jiang Chong of the Grand Council and Shen Yi, the Southwest Governor, who happened to be in the capital.
Li Feng was always busy, neglected horse riding and shooting, wearing the overwhelmingly heavy Emperor's attire, it was quite difficult to climb those one thousand steps. As he walked along, his mind was suddenly in a daze, remembering something from his childhood.
It was Gu Yun's first time going along with the old Marquis' faction to the South to eliminate bandits and returned victorious. Li Feng followed the former emperor as a Crown Prince and welcomed the army back to the court.
Li Feng remembered the young general's vigor when he left, his face bearing a somewhat arrogant childishness. When he returned from the battlefield, his whole appearance seemed to have aged up to ten years. His facial features had not been sharpened by the years, but his eyes that seemed to be in a daze due to being unable to see well had begun to sink down, resembling a true Wind Slasher, looming faintly with an awe-inspiring aura.
He dismounted from his horse, shouting 'Long live the Emperor!' together with all the officers and generals. The armor on his body was shining like fish scales in the sunshine. Li Feng seldom got to accompany the former emperor outside the palace. He looked at Gu Yun in armor with admiration. Taking advantage of when the commander of the army at that time was conversing with the Emperor, Gu Yun suddenly raised his head, winking towards the Crown Prince who had not yet reached the age of twenty, smiling at each other as they exchanged a look.
Now, Li Feng was on the Qi Ming Altar, remembering this old event from the past, his lips could not help but lift in a smile. He came back to his senses, looked back, and saw countless people kneeling down below the stone steps. There were only heads wherever he looked, the two accompanying him were also well-behaved, nobody dared to raise their heads to offend him...
Perhaps there no longer existed in this world the young man who would wink at him. Li Feng's heart suddenly gave birth to the loneliness of a ruler at the top.
The Imperial Astronomical Bureau was ready for the ritual of worshipping the heavens. He was clearing his throat to open his mouth when suddenly, there came a disturbance under the altar.
Li Feng wanted to display his own sins, but also wanted to make a name for himself as diligent and caring for the people. On this day, the capital did not completely enforce martial law and only used the imperial army to separate the people on both sides of the road. There were countless people who came to join in on the fun. As soon as a commotion broke out, something happened.
A group of masked men suddenly rushed out of the crowds of spectating people, their movements like the wind, tearing a hole in the defense line of the imperial army in the blink of an eye and rushing straight to the prayer altar.
"It's the Dong Ying people!"
Hundreds of officials were in disorder. Liu Chong Shan, the commander of the imperial army, shouted 'Protect the Emperor!' and rushed directly to the Imperial Road of the altar in a hurry. He knelt down beside Li Feng and said quickly, "Your Majesty, this place is dangerous. I will escort you away at once."
Li Feng could not breathe from anger, kicking Liu Chong Shan's shoulder: "Incompetent!"
Liu Chong Shan suddenly raised his head and his eyes glinted with murderous intent. Several of the imperial guards following Liu Chong Shan all drew their swords at the same time. Li Feng was shocked, suddenly coming to a realization — there were no assassins in the first place. It was basically a rebellion. This tactic was similar to that of the former emperor at that time, letting the barbarian consort harm the Black Iron Camp!
Li Feng was both startled and enraged. He pointed at Liu Chong Shan and said, "How courageous! You would dare!"
Liu Chong Shan, with a low laugh, stood up, swept the dust off his shoulders and approached Li Feng. "Your Majesty, for your sake, you'll have to be escorted out of this chaotic place."
Liu Chong Shan just finished, and a 'Dong Ying assassin' had broken through the Imperial Army and boldly rushed towards the Imperial Road. Liu Chong Shan grinned and pulled out the sword on his waist, pointing to Li Feng: "Your Majesty, rest assured, I will not let them touch even one of your hairs."
There was a scream behind Li Feng. He looked back in a hurry and saw that the officer who was overseeing the ceremony was killed by the assassin, the blood on his neck pouring down the stone steps.
This horrifying scream was like a command. Liu Chong Shan immediately swung his sword down. Li Feng did practice martial arts for several days as a child. Unfortunately, with no talent for it, his ability was very ordinary, neglecting for many years, he had soon returned everything he learned to his Master. In order to avoid it, he took several steps back in a panic, stumbling over the stone steps without paying attention. Everywhere his hands touched was hot blood, the sacrificial attire immediately stained.
In this situation, if it were to be replaced with a timid person, they would pass out from fright, but thanks to the hard-headed and stubborn personality of Emperor Long An, not only did he not faint, but he also even dared to point at Liu Chong Shan and burst into a rage, "Traitorous subject, are you not afraid of punishment coming down on your entire family!?"
The Son of Heaven did not have three heads and six arms. With no one there to protect him, did he not stretch his neck out to be cut? Liu Chong Shan missed his first slash, the little fear of rebellion in his heart had already vanished, pursuing him to the end: "Then for the sake of my entire family both young and old, I shall charge forward without turning back!"
Under the sword, the Son of Heaven was still a mortal body of flesh and blood. The wind brought by the sword slash coming down on his head, Li Feng could not avoid it, but he still refused to insult his royal lineage. He was silent, his heart was filled only with sorrow — he did not die from his brother who wanted to seize power and usurp the throne, he did not die in the siege of the Western Army. Now that the country was starting to stabilize, wanting to rest and recuperate, he would die in the hands of his traitorous underlings... he did not even know for what reason they rebelled.
At that moment, a strong wind came from the side, sweeping by the tip of Li Feng's nose. The steel blade in Liu Chong Shan's hand which almost injured the dragon body was hit by a two-and-a-half-inch Xiu Zhong Si. At last, Shen Yi, who accompanied him, arrived.
The generals who accompanied the Emperor on the altar did not carry swords, their armor was only for show. No one expected that Shen Yi's iron wrist bracelet had a Xiu Zhong Si inside.
Liu Chong Shan saw how close he was to succeeding but was suddenly interfered by Shen Yi. He could not help but curse inside. Before he came, Lu Chang had said it clearly — he already tried to test the reaction of the Shen family, they would not cause any trouble. They would only shrink back and watch on like the surname Fang, why did this suddenly happen?
Shen Yi stooped down and helped Emperor Long An up. He and Jiang Chong, who had trotted all the way with their robes, surrounded him in the middle, appearing very isolated and helpless at this moment. Only in difficulty could one see loyalty and treachery. Li Feng's heart was full of mixed feelings for a moment, he lamented awkwardly, "The two subjects have a heart."
Jiang Chong did not know martial arts and was somewhat nervous. General Shen, however, was the one who returned from the Southwest with an army of defeated soldiers to relieve the capital. His face remained unchanged: "Your Majesty does not need to worry. There are many people here today. In order to prevent accidents, many lords have sent their family guards to mix up with the crowd of commoners, it will be enough to deal with this. Even if I was any more useless, I could still clean up this army made of young masters, protecting Your Majesty thoroughly."
A while ago, Fang Qin secretly went to the Northern Camp with a letter from his sister sent to his mother*. The things mentioned in the letter were very frightening.
*The word used here refers to a mother who is the illegitimate wife of his father.
A young girl who had just been bought by the Fang lady to serve as a maid accidentally broke into the study room from not knowing the rules and was beaten to death. Yet this was not the most frightening thing, even the Fang lady who was married properly got confined to the inner courtyard for this trivial matter and had to appeal to her mother's family for help. The letter mentioned that there were many guests that day, including Liu Chong Shan, the commander of the Imperial Army.
It also happened that Emperor Long An had just announced that he was going out to offer sacrifices to the heavens on his birthday. Such coincidence could not help but make one think.
However, after all, this was only a vague home letter, which could not be used to report to the Emperor - otherwise, if nothing happened, would it not become an accusation based around rumors?
Li Feng hated forming parties and fighting among each other. The reason as to why the Imperial Censorate had been humiliated by the Emperor many times was due to them being unable to bring forth any true accusation towards Yan Wang.
Nobody dared to take the risk rashly.
However, the Northern Camp was not allowed to enter the palace unless summoned. If an accident were to happen when the Emperor left, water from far away would not be able to put out this fire.
Thus Fang Qin came up with an idea to let the Northern Camp wait outside the nine gates. Once there was a disturbance, they could force their way into the city and come to rescue in an incense time. Before that, they borrowed a group of powerful generals from military families such as the Shen’s and the Marquis' Manor. They would also be mingled with the spectating crowd. In case of an accident, they only needed to prolong it for a while to wait for the rescue of the Northern Camp.
Although Shen Yi did not like Fang Qin very much, he had to admit that the old man did things very thoroughly.
Liu Chong Shan could not bear to look at Shen Yi's leisurely appearance. He sneered and said, "Then allow me to observe the General's skills!"
After that, several rebels in the imperial army together with the assassins rushed up behind him. The officers Fang Qin arranged in advance came back to their senses and ran up to the altar on both sides, beginning to clash with the rebels.
Shen Yi pulled Li Feng behind him, grabbed an assassin's wrist and broke his arm, taking a sword with a strange shape from his hand. The heavy Dong Ying blade then lightly bounced out of his palm and cut right into Liu Chong Shan's face.
"Observe my skills?" Shen Yi shook his head and sighed like a good old man. "I'm afraid Commander Liu doesn't have what it takes."
Liu Chong Shan and Shen Yi were both descendants of noble families, growing up with the grace of their ancestors. Graduating in the same year, the difference was that Shen Yi went with literary arts, while Liu Chong Shan followed the true school of martial arts. Later, he entered the imperial army by the influence of his family background. With incredible glory, why would he ever put Shen Ji Ping, who had never had a proper career, in his eyes?
But in the past few years, the imperial army was full of young master soldiers, Liu Chong Shan had endured hardship until now, honing his experience and finally becoming a small commander. What the hell was that Shen Yi? He was only a mechanic serving royalty who changed his career halfway through, stepping on a pile of feces and getting on the boat of the Gu family by chance, yet he managed to become a Governor in the end.
Liu Chong Shan laughed angrily, his eyes almost flashing red. Making a long whistle, more rebels came up from under the altar, the civilians watching on both sides all tried to flee.
Liu Chong Shan: "All legends say that thirty Black Armors can stabilize the Eighteen Tribes of the barbarians. I don't know how many nails General Shen can twist with his mortal body?"
At this time, the scream of a heavy steel armor came from below. Several Heavy Armors tore open the defense line and surrounded the retreating Emperor and the guards in the formation of a fan. The killer snow-white steam spurted up to the sky without bending.
Since the reign of Emperor Wu, the machines and steel armor carried by the guards in all parts of the country had been standardized, they were absolutely not allowed to overstep the rules. The Imperial Army was the only unique exception who received Heavy Armors. But now, the ferocious dog raised by royalty had finally turned around to devour its master.
Shen Yi carefully guarded the stolen Dong Ying knife across his chest, hoping that the Northern Camp would arrive quicker.
After such an interruption, Li Feng had become calmer. He took off the blood-soaked robe and threw it away. He went up to him and questioned, "Liu Chong Shan, with your many years of incompetent experience, you were not in a fitting position to take on a major responsibility. Out of respect for the loyalty of the Liu family, I had personally promoted you to be the commander of the Imperial Army. I have never mistreated you, yet you would ally with foreigners to repay my grace this way?"
Liu Chong Shan had always been conceited. He felt that his unfortunate career path was the fault of his incompetent parents and family. Resentful of them, he was never friendly towards his own flesh and blood. Instead, he had a close relation with the Lu family. When he heard Li Feng's meaning that he was not fit for even such a small position as this, he grinned and twisted his words back to him: "What does your majesty write about yourself on the imperial edict? 'Does not have a good judge of character, does not have any merit in ruling, governed for nine years, making many ignorant decisions, even harming the country and the people.' Since you already said it so clearly, why not abdicate and give up the position to someone talented?"
Li Feng almost grinded his teeth to dust, "Then tell me, who am I stepping back for? Giving up the position to whom?"
At the same time, Shen Yi and Jiang Chong were both startled. Shen Yi beat an assassin away. As he was momentarily nervous, the Dong Ying sword which he was not used to handling slipped away directly.
He knew that the old man surnamed Fang was not so kind!
Liu Chong Shan's words could not help but make one think of Yan Wang. This matter could not be pondered about too deeply. Otherwise, Gu Yun would also have to be involved. He did not leave before. Why must he insist on leaving at this time? He departed together with Yan Wang, was it because they had conspired this plan beforehand?
Shen Yi's head flashed with several thoughts, cold sweat began to come down. At first, Shen Yi's thoughts were very simple. He felt that Yan Wang traveling to the south was only to deal with Yang Rong Gui. Logically, he would not ally with the Lu family's failure of a bunch, that was why whether it was public or private matter, he could not let the traitorous Lu Chang have his way.
Only then did Shen Yi discover that he had been fooled.
Was it really Lu Chang who started everything?
If the Fang lady truly got confined because one of her maids heard something she should not have heard, then how would a young lady like her who grew up behind walls be able to send a letter to the outside?
Generally speaking, people would think that all noble families were linked together, sharing both honor and damage. If the Lu family had their possessions confiscated, their in-laws would not have a good ending either... But what if someone sacrificed themselves for righteousness?
Fang Qin took a letter from his younger sister and quietly sent it to the Northern Camp, showing his opinion at the critical moment. If the Emperor came out of the accident safe and sound, he would make a great contribution. Just judging by this alone, if the Fang lady was willing to separate with her husband, even if the entire Lu family was executed, his sister could still be saved.
Fang Qin appeared to be helpless, but in fact, he had abandoned the pawn to protect the car, turning the Lu family into a disposable explosive, aiming at Yan Wang!
Shen Yi, escorting the Emperor in the midst of a rebellious army, suddenly did not know how to end it.
Should he continue to protect the Emperor and wait until the Northern Camp arrived to eradicate the rebels, then kill Yan Wang and Gu Yun, or should he immediately turn face for personal selfish reasons and send Li Feng to see the Hell King, branding Yan Wang the name of the rebellious?
Old Maid Shen had never been in such a dilemma in his life.
As soon as the Dong Ying sword slipped out of his hand, Liu Chong Shan seized the opportunity to take a few steps and deliver three slashes in succession. Shen Yi's feet were in disarray, almost getting his belly cut open, he dodged with difficulty. The front of his formal attire was torn in a line.
The Heavy Armor of a rebel approached, a shot of explosives engulfed Qi Ming Altar in black smoke and dust. Jiang Chong shouted behind him, "General Shen!"
Shen Yi reluctantly stood still and turned around, only to see a rebel Heavy Armor killing three generals at once. The short guns had taken aim at Li Feng, preparing to shoot the Emperor to heaven——
Suddenly, there was the sharp, ear piercing sound of an eagle in the air. An iron arrow came down, almost grazing Li Feng's arm, and shot through the golden box in front of the Heavy Armor's chest, exploding it into fireworks a few feet away. Jiang Chong rushed forward and pushed Li Feng to the ground.
Shen Yi took in a cool breath, his hands and feet were numb. The next moment, he suddenly remembered that the anti air net in the capital had been restored since the Qi Ming Altar was built. Except for the Emperor's command or an order by the Black Tiger emblem, how did that Eagle fly in?
Could it be...Gu Yun was back?!
While Shen Yi's thoughts were still in a mess, three Eagle Armors swept down from the air. Their advantage was obvious, taking care of the assassins around Emperor Long An in the blink of an eye. The leading Eagle Armor landed on the ground. With an iron mask on, one could not tell who it was. He stopped not far away, half-kneeling on the stone steps, helping lift Li Feng up.
At this time, the long-awaited Northern Camp finally arrived.
There was chaos both from below and up on the Qi Ming Altar. The Northern Camp charged into the rebels. Some of those who tried to fish in troubled waters were captured by several Eagle Armors on Li Feng's side.
As soon as he learned that Gu Yun had returned — at least the Black Tiger Emblem had returned, then he knew the Marquis of Order had known about this. Out of his unreasonable trust in Gu Yun, Shen Yi immediately felt more reassured. He caught a Wind Slasher thrown to him by an Eagle and directly slashed off one of Liu Chong Shan's arms, capturing him alive and bringing him in front of the Emperor.
The Imperial Army was defeated by the Northern Camp. In a matter of minutes, the dust settled and the rebel leader was captured.
Li Feng was not so foolish. He knew that there must be someone else behind Liu Chong Shan. He immediately ordered a blockade of all the city gates and prepared for a thorough investigation.
The blood on his body was still wet, but his face did not change for the better even after escaping danger. Li Feng glanced at the ironic clothes of the Imperial Army on the corpses of the rebels laying everywhere. He thought of the important ministers involved who would not be able to escape this and the words 'handing the throne to the talented' spoken by Liu Chong Shan, feeling like two ice thorns had pierced through his chest.
Li Feng could not contain such a trivial question as 'how did the Eagle Armor enter the capital' in his head for a moment. His mind was full of the word 'betrayal'.
Noble families receiving royal grace for many generations came together to betray him, his trusted Imperial Army betrayed him. Gu Yun who grew up with him, the one he just reminisced about, had betrayed him, and even his blood-related little brother had too.
How many shocking things did Yan Wang do after he entered the court? Since the establishment of the Grand Council, the papers that accused Yan Wang had never stopped coming, just like the routine letters of regards. It was all single-handedly suppressed by him.
Towards his overly talented little brother, Li Feng did not feel relieved — he was doubtful, or even jealous of him, but he had never touched a single strand of Li Min's hair, he felt that he had already did his best, but in the end, did he only raise a traitorous wolf who wanted his life?
Jiang Chong saw that Li Feng's face was unusual. He quickly whispered, "Your Majesty, there are many people here, let us go back to the palace first."
Li Feng looked at him blankly, taking two steps, then he suddenly bent over, fingers grasping for something in the air, and vomited a mouthful of blood.
Around him came several shouts of 'Your Majesty'. Li Feng's ears were buzzing, after a long time, he found that he was grabbing the arm of the Black Eagle who rescued him just now, his blood staining the iron arm of the Eagle's armor red.
This matter was obviously not over yet.
The new leader of the Northern Camp stood quite far away, unable to see that the Emperor had just vomited blood, he did something not suitable in the moment. He came forward with a man and reported, "Your Majesty, this man wanted to secretly leave the city towards the south in the midst of chaos. I have detained him, for fear that there might be something shady."
The man was trembling greatly, casting a glance towards Lu Chang with his eyes from time to time.
At this time, someone confirmed: "Your Majesty, I recognize this man. He was a carriage driver in Officer Lu's house. He waited outside everyday for Lord Lu after the court was dismissed, I saw it with my own eyes."
Lu Chang's face was ashen gray, kneeling onto the ground.
Li Feng steadied himself using the iron shoulder of the Eagle Armor, straightened up his back as best as he could, asking in a hoarse voice, "Subject Lu, who are you trying to inform, sending people out of the city at this time?"
The commander of the Northern Camp relentlessly pressed the Lu family's servant on the ground, pulling his sword out of the sheath at his waist.
The Lu family servant was also a scaredy cat, wetting himself from fright, kowtowing like he was pounding garlic: "Your Majesty forgive me, Your Majesty forgive me, I was forced to… I was… It was Master Lu, Master Lu secretly instructed me, after the deed at the Qi Ming Altar is done, whether it is success or failure, I will… will leave the capital during the commotion to inform Master Yang…"
Li Feng asked in surprise, "Which Master Yang?"
The man swallowed his saliva: "Uncle... Yang...Master Yang Rong Gui..."
Li Feng tightened the hand that was holding onto the Eagle Armor, his voice rising sharply: "Yang Rong Gui is the Governor of Liangjiang, as a major officer at the border, how dare he enter the capital without command? Nonsense!"
Servant: "Your Majesty, spare my life! Uncle secretly travelled to the south gate of the capital, waiting for the signal from my lord, as long as...Commander Liu succeeded, he would..."
Li Feng: "Would what?"
Servant: "... Support the new Emperor coming to the capital."
Li Feng's eyes darkened. If not for the Eagle Armor at his side supporting him, he would have almost fainted on the spot.
Once again, Shen Yi was puzzled by this unexpected development. If before, he could use the words 'unconfirmed rumor' to help save Yan Wang, then what would happen now? Was this evidence conclusive? For a moment, he was confused about whether Gu Yun truly came back or not. There were countless horrifying possibilities in his mind. His cold sweat soon rusted the armor.
Fang Qin buried his head low. At an angle where others could not detect, his lips revealed a slight smile.
Yan Wang was the blood-related brother of the Emperor, he could not be shaken unless it was for the grave crime of rebellion.
It was a rebellion now, was it not?
"Go invite Yang Rong Gui and his new Emperor in here," Li Feng gritted his teeth. "This imperial one will have a look... "