“Humph, once we reached our place, we will certainly not let them go back!” Qi Jing Han and the others were used to such environment ever since they were small, they seemed to completely ignore the wind and snow, they were completely comfortable and familiar with it, the eyes of the three persons were like fire torches, in which they had already seen the flag of two countries highly hoisted up in the distant place.
Being reminded of all the humiliation they had suffered in Western Chu during the recent days, Qi Jing Han wished he could cut the bodies of those three arrogant men into pieces.
“Tenth Brother, when will you become a bit more calm and rational?” Qi Jing Yuan coldly glanced at Qi Jing Han, afterwhich his both eyes slightly narrowed as he looked at the flag of Northern Qi which still remained bright and clear in the midst of snow. His heart immediately came up with a plan, he shot a glance towards Qi Jing Xuan who was standing in a corner, seeing the other person looking directly to the front sneering, not in the slightest degree of considering his warning.
“Don’t you think it's strange? Based on our treaty, the deployment of the armies of both countries was not mentioned. Why would such situation happen?” Qi Jing Han wasn't clear about the situation, when both sides had signed the treaty, with him as the tenth prince of Bei Qi, he was actually present, although he was quite puzzled by this rule that the crown prince had put forward during that time, but during this time a breach in the treaty had occurred, this made him feel a little bit more puzzled.
“There's nothing strange about it! I presume someone wants to obtain meritorious service in front of our father emperor, who had especially requested our father to deploy the army to welcome us back.” After seeing the smaller army flag up ahead, Qi Jing Yuan laughed even colder.
After Qi Jing Yuan’s hinting, Qi Jing Han looked ahead following his gaze, indeed he saw another set of flags, he suddenly turned gloomy, unsatisfyingly glared at Qi Jing Xuan, and angrily said “Qi Jing Xuan, what do you mean by this? You have actually assigned your own uncle to come and welcome us, do you plan to kill the three persons of Western Chu together with me and the crown prince? Don’t you think that I don't know anything about your thoughts! You are so hypocritical that you requested our father to deploy his troops to come and welcome Hai Tian, to show other people that Northern Qi had given importance to the marriage as the peace treaty, but in reality you have already assigned the killers, when the time comes you will just blame them all on Western Chu, at most you will only get reprimanded by our father after that! You are truly ruthless, as you wouldn't even let you own brothers get away, during this huge matter you are still thinking about seizing the throne, you are very narrow-minded!”
Qi Jing Han was not an ordinary man, he was everyone's favorite person inside the palace, ever since he was small, Late Emperor Ling and the Empress had personally raised him. His brother Qi Jing Yuan was always protecting him, as a result he was never afraid of anyone since his childhood days, even if he was confronted with such powerful and ruthless prince like Qi Jing Xuan, he didn't feel even the slightest bit of fear. Furthermore he was good at expressing his thoughts, not to contain any slightest bit of fear while looking at Qi Jing Xuan’s gradually turning fierceful face at this time.
“Look at your face, I must have said it right! Qi Jing Xuan, you are truly foolish for planning such scheme against Western Chu, aren't you afraid that Chu Fei Yang and others might take their revenge?” Seeing Qi Jing Xuan refused to talk, Qi Jing Han was infuriated, his hand suddenly tightened its grip on the reins, in an instant he turned the horse around then dashed towards the direction of Qi Jing Xuan……
“Tenth brother!” But during this time, Qi Jing Yuan stopped the angered Qi Jing Han, using his gaze gesturing him to return back to his side, then he sneered and looked at Qi Jing Xuan, then slowly spoke “Did you think that your plans were flawless? Did you think that all the people will really fall into your trap?”
Qi Jing Xuan’s eyes were fixated at the front all along, hearing Qi Jing Yuan’s interrogation, he only curled up the corner of his lower lip, not being afraid of the wind and snow that were hitting on his face, then he arrogantly spoke “How long do you think you can still hold on to your position as the crown prince? Did you think that your capricious performance during this period had never attracted anyone’s attention and suspicion? Qi Jing Yuan, don't you ever think that after our father had given you the title of crown prince, you can do anything as you wish, even if today I am not the one who will do it, inside the harem there are still plenty of other princes, any of them will be able to pull you down from your position as the crown prince, if you don’t believe it, we can bet on it! But, with this bet, you have to be able to survive your way back to the imperial palace for it to be considered as valid!”
With such response from Qi Jing Xuan, it then confirmed that the armed troops ahead were really arranged by him. Competing against Qi Jing Yuan for so many years, he refused to believe that he will never win over this bastard, he was obviously Late Emperor Ling’s eldest son, but the Empress together with her relatives had convinced his father to bestow the title on her own son instead of the eldest son born from a concubine, with such awkward situation like today, how could Qi Jing Xuan be able tolerate it, he must snatch back from Qi Jing Yuan’s hand all the things that originally belonged to him.
“Really?” But the response that he had given, was actually an extremely simple rhetorical question, mixed with the violent wind and snow, the sound disappeared in an instant, yet it caused Qi Jing Xuan to suddenly become alert.
“Three years ago I was able to make it back alive, after three years, I will also naturally return to the palace alive! Brother, your calculations were quite accurate, but you are always lacking the right timing and place. Don't you think that, even the heavens will not allow such deceiving face of yours to win over me?”
“Don’t talk nonsense with him anymore, just directly allow your people to tie him up and consider him as a shield made up of flesh, let’s see if his uncle still dare to kill us!” Qi Jing Han was even more straightforward, as he directly expressed the thoughts in his mind.
But the current situation wouldn't allow them to do so. Emperor Yu Qian had sent out Chu Fei Yang, Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi, in order to use them to control the three princes of Northern Qi. If they had a internal conflict right now, perhaps Chu Fei Yang and the others might take advantage of the situation.
And during that time perhaps the armed troops of Northern Qi which were waiting in the borderland might go into a riot, before the two countries will start their war, the princes had already been fighting against each other, during that time their own troops might get defeated, and on the contrary Western Chu will be able to gain from it.
“Brother, what do you think about tenth brother’s suggestion? I felt it was quite feasible!” Of course, whether to do it or not, it will be completely another thing. The intimidation was also another thing. Since Qi Jing Xuan had the guts to let them fall into these traps, then Qi Jing Yuan will naturally not forgive him!
Qi Jing Xuan was Late Emperor Ling’s eldest son, he was the eldest among all the princes and princesses, the one who had the most experiences in life, although his intelligence was a bit far from Qi Jing Yuan, but as for analyzing other people’s thoughts, and as for him who had been born and raised inside the imperial palace, it was certainly an easy thing.
Particularly this time with Qi Jing Yuan doing all the talk and no action, it had even made him feel more confident that even if Qi Jing Yuan hated him bitterly, he would not commit the political mistake like that during this critical moment.
Qi Jing Xuan did not respond to Qi Jing Yuan’s question, but instead he just waved his hand gesturing his own guard to approach beside him. Then he whispered a few words beside his ears, that guard immediately led a few soldiers as they spur the horse to full speed advancing towards the borderland.
“Apparently, Northern Qi didn’t intend to follow the rules stipulated in the treaty!” Hai Chen Xi watched the three persons ahead of them whispering words to each other’s ears for almost half day, his eyes gradually turned cold, afterwards he smiled as he told Chu Fei Yang and Jiang Mu Chen his own point of view.
“What do you think, Wang Ye?” Chu Fei Yang did not answer but instead he asked this question, throwing the problem to Jiang Mu Chen beside him, then he continued to monitor the movements up ahead.
“For matters that Chu Xiang wasn’t able to find conclusions, I also naturally wouldn’t make reckless comments!” Jiang Mu Chen’s both eyes similarly looked ahead, despite the very strong wind and snow, and the intense wind blew past his ears making the buzzing sounds, even if his martial skills were not that weak, he also was not able to hear the details of conversation between the three persons. He could only slowly guess their current mood judging by the movement of their limbs.
And Hai Chen Xi was looking at the two persons beside him with interest, when did the two of them became too modest like this, that was truly funny!
“Why are you both not speaking, Chu Xiang and Wang Ye? If the opposing side has set down a trap for us, don’t tell me that we have to jump into their traps under their guidance?” Qi Jing Yuan and the others had been staying in Western Chu for a very long time, they had already seen through all the behaviors that the three princes displayed, only at this time the matter concerned the relationship of two countries, not to know whether Qi Jing Yuan and the others had given importance to the interest of the entire country or only focused on their own personal interests.
“Since Qi Jing Yuan had signed the treaty, then it naturally represents the agreement between Northern Qi and Western Chu, there’s no doubt about it! But, Qi Jing Xuan being the eldest prince of Northern Qi yet he still had to bend his knees before his own younger brother, probably in his heart he is very unwilling to do that!” This time, Chu Fei Yang slowly spoke as he analyzed, even if they were under a very harsh situation, his voice still sounded warm as if it had brushed through the weeping willow, his voice was not very loud but it seemed calm.
“Oh? It is quite rare that Chu Xiang didn’t aim against the crown prince of Northern Qi this time, is it possible that Chu Xiang and Qi Jing Yuan had an agreement with each other?” This time Jiang Mu Chen also regained his gaze, his eyes looked at Chu Fei Yang prying into it coldly.
That day when the relay station had been attacked, he and Hai Chen Xi had went up to the second floor to rescue Hai Tian, leaving Chu Fei Yang alone in the lobby. Afterwards when the two of them came out from Hai Tian’s room, they saw Chu Fei Yang walked down from the third floor. This made Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi could not help but suspect that there must be a hidden agreement between both Chu Fei Yang and Qi Jing Yuan.
Being watched intently by both of them, Chu Fei Yang’s facial expression remained the same, as if their discussion was as simple as having a meal, after a long while he simply said “Wang Ye, you are being oversensitive! As a citizen of Western Chu, also being the leader of the hundred officials in Western Chu, why will I do anything to disappoint His Majesty, to let down the imperial court, and to betray all the common people! Such kind of accusation, not to mention myself, even if it landed on Wang Ye, I suppose Wang Ye will not be able to escape from it unscathed! Wang Ye, instead of leisurely making a random guess on something that simply doesn’t exist, it would be better for you to carefully map out a plan, considering the next step that we should take, or else once we are caught unprepared by the opposite side, then we will not be able to explain ourselves to His Majesty once we got back to the capital! Furthermore, it is Hai Wang Fu’s Jun Zhu who got involved in this marriage as the peace treaty, Hai Jun Wang, don’t tell me that you are completely unconcerned with your sister’s welfare after she arrives in Northern Qi? I’ve heard Hai Wang Fei loves Princess He Shun dearly, I suppose Hai Jun Wang and Princess He Shun are also close to each other as siblings!”
Chu Fei Yang raised up the corner of his lips speaking these words, riding on the horseback his body posture did not turn crooked because of the strong wind and the huge snow, standing perfectly straight just like a deep green pine tree that made people feel a deep veneration for him.
Hearing him speaking like that, Hai Chen Xi just sneered, his gaze shifted towards the phoenix palanquin that was parked at a distant place, feeling grim at the bottom of his heart.
Jiang Mu Chen temporarily regained his gaze from Chu Fei Yang. He knew very well that Chu Fei Yang’s answer was merely a diversion in order to distract their attention. Seeing him talking for a long time yet not in the least bit of mentioning the important points, perhaps there was really something going on in Chu Fei Yang’s mind.
But, the most important thing here was still the three persons of Northern Qi. After this peace treaty marriage had been settled down, why should he worry about not having the opportunity to reveal Chu Fei Yang’s real evil nature?
“Chu Xiang, you are always being resourceful, moreover you are also a valiant military leader in the battlefield, I presume Chu Xiang had already prepared his response, is there a need to interrogate us?” Jiang Mu Chen spoke coldly, watching Chu Fei Yang’s expression which was full of self-confidence, igniting up a ball of flame in his heart.
“Benxiang is also human, no matter how meticulous the plan is, it also has its imperfection. It would be better for us to discuss it together, so as to avoid someone to play tricks behind it!” While Chu Fei Yang was speaking, his gaze shifted from Jiang Mu Chen to Hai Chen Xi. During the first half of the statement he was mocking Jiang Mu Chen’s negligence during the incident where he forced Yun Qian Meng to marry him, and the other remaining half of the statement was reminding Hai Chen Xi not to have any other thoughts in his mind during this time.
Those two persons were not someone to be trifled with, yet unexpectedly Chu Fei Yang’s one statement had cursed two persons. Moreover the words sounded particularly smooth, for once it made Jiang Mu Chen believe that Chu Fei Yang was warning Hai Chen Xi and deliberately speak out the first half of the statement, and it also made Hai Chen Xi believe that in order for Chu Fei Yang to mock Jiang Mu Chen, he had specifically added the next half of the statement, for a moment the two of them stared at each other, only to see the expression on both of their faces to become even more gloomy.
“Reporting!” This time, a soldier mounted on the horseback who had gone out to find the path rushed in from a distant place, seeing Chu Fei Yang and the two others, he immediately tightened the reins to stop the war horse.
“How’s the path ahead?” Seeing the soldier’s return, Chu Fei Yang asked in a low voice.
“Reporting to Xiang Ye, Wang Ye, and Jun Wang, up ahead were the troops of our General Hu Wei and the troops of General Piao Ji, both troops had been standing opposite to each other for a few hours!” The soldier on the horseback reported everything that he had seen up ahead.
“General Hu Wei! He was the one personally appointed by His Majesty during the time when Qu Zhang Qing had been wrongly accused last year! As for General Piao Ji, he is the uncle of the eldest prince of Northern Qi, hard to imagine these two people to actually meet each other when they had never fight against each other in the battlefield before.” Chu Fei Yang slightly muttered for a while, then he slowly spoke, his tone of voice showing a bit of interest, as if these two persons who possessed the massive troops were simply insignificant in his eyes.
“Chu Xiang, are you sighing or are you feeling sad about it? Although the matter concerning Qu Zhang Qing was something to be proud of, but because of that it had made the position of the assistant minister of the Ministry of War become available, apparently, in His Majesty's heart, Chu Xiang is still not totally credible!” Jiang Mu Chen heard Chu Fei Yang’s careless tone of voice, he sneered, soon after he spoke these words to mock him. Perhaps this time Chu Fei Yang’s heart certainly felt bad about it. He had been sacrificing himself for Emperor Yu Qian for almost half part of his life, yet he had actually came to such kind of fate, if Emperor Yu Qian had given General Hu Wei a secret command, perhaps today this borderland of the two countries might become their burial place!
“Benxiang is very curious about this General Piao Ji! Whether it is Northern Qi’s method to confuse us or it is just their own internal conflict, this will really be worth our investigation!” Hai Chen Xi skipped the surging waves between the two of them, then he mentioned his own opinion.
“No matter what sort of conspiracy exists between them, we’ll just wait and see, counter changes with changelessness, fight inconsistency with consistency. Let the opponent mess up instead!” After speaking, Chu Fei Yang clamped the horse belly advancing towards the foremost location of the entire peace treaty marriage group.
Seeing this situation, Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi looked at each other then immediately followed behind.
“Who’s coming?” Hearing the sound hoofs gradually getting closer, someone at the front started to ask.
“Western Chu Chu Fei Yang!” Chu Fei Yang was the first to arrive. Seeing the two vigilant troops, the idle smile on Chu Fei Yang’s face instantly faded away, replaced by the unique coldness. The non-aggressive prestigious chilliness immediately suppressed down the troops with ten thousand people up ahead, causing everyone’s heart to be tensed up. One by one they lowered down their heads, not daring to look at this Western Chu’s Minister of the Left, being regarded as a ‘cold faced warrior’, directly in the eyes. Even the armed troops of Northern Qi had also suddenly became alert because of Chu Fei Yang’s appearance. The strange atmosphere of uneasiness surged up even stronger because of Chu Fei Yang alone had joined, for a moment the troops of both had started to strut their swords, striking their poise while waiting for the command.
“What is going on? General Piao Ji, how are you handling your own troops?” This time, Qi Jing Yuan who arrived last was coldly staring at General Piao Ji who was standing in the midst of Northern Qi’s troops. The murderous spirit in his body instantaneously bursted out, causing Qi Jing Han’s relaxed expression to turn serious. Then he quietly leaned closer to Qi Jing Xuan, to prevent him from doing a sneak attack on Qi Jing Yuan.
“Crown Prince, this humble official is just following His Majesty's command to come here and fetch you and the other two princes, Princess Ling’er!” Seeing Qi Jing Yuan’s arrival, the soldier immediately gestured the guards behind him to remain silent. He returned the unsheathed sword back inside the scabbard first, then respectfully remarked, but his half squinted eyes took a glimpse at Qi Jing Xuan, seeing Qi Jing Han closely stayed behind him, General Piao Ji slightly tightened his grip on the reins.
“That must be hard for you, General Piao Ji! But, your troops’ battle disposition, truly made the crown prince felt disgusted! If wasn’t for your honest words earlier, general, I would have thought that you are planning to murder me! Humph!” Qi Jing Yuan was not someone who will be easily fooled.
Particularly when Qi Jing Xuan had personally admitted this matter earlier, he also dispatched a guard to go ahead to inform them not to act rashly, but this time General Piao Ji was actually pretending, that truly made him feel disgusted.
Qi Jing Yuan’s words made all the people get startled, and the face of the soldier who was originally standing behind General Piao Ji looked surprised and frightened. One by one the soldiers hand down their heads, permitting the wind and snow to conceal the terrified look on their faces at this moment!
They always knew that the crown prince Qi Jing Yuan’s character was truly unpredictable, he never really regarded the significance of anyone in his eyes, but it was not merely this character that makes all the people fear him.
The crown prince happened to be extremely good at leading the troops while fighting in the battlefield. Under his command were more than ten thousand soldiers of Northern Qi. This man was ruthless and killed people without ever blinking an eye. If at this moment someone was able to eliminate Qi Jing Yuan on behalf of the eldest prince, the in the future he will be the person most favored by the eldest prince, yet unexpectedly the crown prince seemed to have already guessed their intentions. Furthermore, Chu Fei Yang and the others who were dispatched by Western Chu made them become even more passive in this situation.
“How can humble servant commit such crime! Please carefully consider it, Crown Prince, please do not make any false accusations against humble servant!” Receiving Qi Jing Xuan’s secret hint, General Paio Ji’s heart tensed up, he could only explain these words facing Qi Jing Yuan.
“Crown Prince, if General Piao Ji really has other intentions, then please handle it appropriately once you all returned back to Northern Qi! Now we have another more important thing to do, I believe the crown prince didn’t forget it, right?” Watching the current situation, Jiang Mu Chen suddenly understood, then he reminded Qi Jing Yuan in his cold tone of voice.
And during this time Chu Fei Yang had arrived in front of General Hu Wei, his cold gaze crossed over General Hu Wei then looked at the tens of thousands of troops behind him, thousand soldiers neatly hopped down from the horsebacks, facing Chu Fei Yang they knelt down on one knee then remarked in their loud and clear voices “Our Mighty Chu Xiang!”