B4C26: No way out
The Qin clan’s 50,000 Fierce Tiger troops have completely surrounded the Imperial Palace. Every Fierce Tiger soldier’s eyes are filled with pride. Only a half year has passed since the beginning of the war but the entire Chu kingdom has fallen into the hands of the Qin clan and therefore, as the Qin clan’s finest soldiers and officers, they all feel very proud.
The Imperial Palace’s forbidden guards have already scattered earlier. The head of the Imperial Palace’s forbidden guards was an elite soldier of the Xiang clan but he has been assassinated by the coward vice leader of the forbidden guards. Afterwards the vice leader has led his men to surrender to the Qin clan, plunging the forbidden guards into chaos.
In the past all of the Xiang clan’s members led by Xiang Yu were extremely heroic but, after experiencing 1000 years of a luxurious lifestyle, the Xiang clan is now made up of corrupted and depraved people. Seeing that their own clan is falling apart, these members all bring out their money and valuables to beg for mercy. However, the Qin clan’s way of dealing with them is -- to confiscate their valuables then to throw them in jail.
By now the Imperial Palace has become a mess. There have been members of the Xiang clan who have committed suicide out of despair. And bunches of eunuchs, ladies-in-waiting and coward forbidden guards have begged for mercy from the Fierce Tiger troops. But there have also been loyal forbidden guards who have been trying to kill off the people who are afraid of death.
Chaos, chaos, chaos!
The Xiang clan’s doomsday has come. All of the people in the Imperial Palace are in a state of anxiety. They are trying to plunder the royal clan’s valuables and kill each other. The 50,000 Fierce Tiger troops however only watch everything happening in the Imperial Palace apathetically. None of them has attempted to get involved in the situation.
In the audience hall of the Imperial Palace, there is only Xiang Guang sitting in the throne. A white-haired eunuch is standing on one side of him.
The head eunuch Wang Meng looks at the Chu emperor Xiang Guang before him. Wang Meng has been in the palace since he was still a kid. Now his only relative is his younger sister’s grandson, who he already sent to the Ming dynasty long ago with proper arrangements.
However, an over 90 year old Wang Meng does not want to run for his own life.
Xiang Guang, who is sitting dejected in the throne, looks as if he is sleeping. Despite hearing Wang Meng’s words, he only raises his head after a long time. He then gives Wang Meng a lifeless look: “Oh, it’s you, Manager Wang. When things have come to this, only you still accompany me.”
Wang Meng says: “Why haven’t you run away, Your Majesty? As long as you can save your life, you will be able to stage a comeback, won’t you?”
Xiang Guang shakes his head: “Anyone else can run but I can’t.” His eyes flash with coldness and fierceness. “The Qin clan has been preparing for so many years but has always been refraining from action because it’s been enjoying the power of the East Vanquishing Prince position. But … that year I caused that incident, bringing about its current revolt.”
“It was because of me that the Qin clan rebelled. I’m the number 1 target.” Xiang Guang has gone mad.
“Great Ancestor has already sent the most promising members of the Xiang clan to a different place. He did so just in case something bad would happen but now it seems to have become the only method of surviving for the Xiang clan. Only they … are the most important things to the Xiang clan at the moment. I definitely can’t run away. Once I run, the Qin clan will stop at nothing to catch me so even those hidden members will probably be found out.” Xiang Guang’s body slightly shakes.
He then gives a disappointed smile: “I can’t run. Without Great Ancestor, I definitely won’t be able to escape from the Qin clan’s tight encirclement. Since it has come to this … I’m going to stay here to wait for Qin De. After killing me, Qin De will be less likely to hunt down the other members of the Xiang clan. With the protection of Great Ancestor’s 4 disciples, those hidden members should be able to survive. I only hope that one day they will be able to avenge the destruction of the kingdom, in which case I’ll be satisfied even though I’ll have to die.”
Wang Meng looks at Xiang Guang for a long time as if this is the first time he has ever met him then says with a sigh: “Your Majesty, I’ve always thought that you …”
“Thought that I’m absurd and silly, right?” Xiang Guang says with an indifferent smile.
Wang Meng does not deny, saying: “Judging only by the fact that you dare to stay here to wait for Qin De, I sincerely admire you, Your Majesty. I’m now just an old man so there’s no point in my living. There’s nothing else I can do but I’m still capable of such a simple thing as perishing together with you.”
Xiang Guang gives Wang Meng a look without saying anything.
After a while, a black-clad silhouette suddenly appears in the audience hall. Seeing Xiang Guang, he immediately bows, saying: “Your Majesty, the mission has been accomplished. All of the concubines and the other female members in the palace including the princesses and the empress have passed away.”
As soon as Wang Meng hears this, his face changes color. He quickly understands that Xiang Guang has ordered that all of his female relatives in the palace be killed.
With an expressionless face, Xiang Guang however waves his hand in an unconcerned manner, saying: “Alright, I’ll give you my last order. All of you are to change into forbidden guards’ clothes. When the Qin clan’s troops enter the Imperial Palace, try to kill as many of them as possible.”
The black-clad silhouette says expressionlessly then leaves the audience hall extremely fast at once.
With a loud sound, the Fierce Tiger troops, who are staying closely together outside the gate of the palace, all get down on one knee almost simultaneously. At first sight, only some people such as Qin De are still standing among several tens thousand people. Qin De is bringing along his 3 sons and Xu Yuan heading straight for the Imperial Palace. The 50,000 Fierce Tiger troops also rush into the palace right after him.
At the moment Qin De looks apathetic. There is no trace of a smile on his face.
The 3 brothers, Qin Feng, Qin Yu and Qin Zheng, and Xu Yuan are not smiling in the slightest either. All of the people present go direct toward the audience hall. They seem to already know where Xiang Guang is. The Fierce Tiger troops however are focusing their entire attention on everything around.
A knife is drawn. A Xiang clan’s forbidden guard is cut in half. That Fierce Tiger soldier then coldly pulls back the battle knife in his hand.
On the way to the audience hall of the Imperial Palace, there are quite a few fearless forbidden guards who charge at the Fierce Tiger troops but what they do is merely akin to throwing their lives away successively. In a short while, the audience hall is already in sight. Qin De’s eyes flash. He cannot help walking a bit faster.
The 3 forbidden guards of the Xiang clan who are charging at the Qin clan’s troops from the distance speed up. They come into the middle of the Fierce Tiger troops like 3 illusions. Blood then splatters and severed limbs fall down. In just a moment, 6 or 7 Fierce Tiger soldiers have been killed.
All of a sudden, a cold humph rises. With 3 sharp screams, the 3 silhouettes fall down directly on the floor for good. A hole has appeared on the forehead of each of them. It turns out their heads have been shot through with pebbles. One of them is none other than the black-clad man who met Xiang Guang not long ago in the audience hall.
Qin De turns his head taking a look at the 3 corpses without saying a word. He then strides directly to the entrance of the audience hall.
Qin De is outside the audience hall while Xiang Guang is in it. Both of them look at each other. Qin De takes one step after another into the audience hall while looking at Xiang Guang. The 4 people consisting of Qin Feng, Qin Yu, Qin Zheng and Xu Yuan also follow him closely into the audience hall.
Qin De is now on the lower part of the audience hall while Xiang Guang is on the higher part. Even though Qin De has to slightly raise his head to look at Xiang Guang, there is a note of disdain in his eyes.
“You’ve come …” A faint smile appears on the corners of Xiang Guang’s mouth.
Qin De says coldly: “Right, I’ve come. At this point you’re still acting as if you’re not afraid of death? Xiang Guang, I know you don’t want to run away to protect the Xiang clan’s elite members. Do you think I’m right?”
Xiang Guang slightly narrows his eyes then says with an indifferent smile: “If I say you’re wrong, will you believe it?”
“At this point you’re still trying to play it cool?” Qin De’s eyes are full of disdain. Xiang Guang however simply does not care about that: “I’m still the emperor. Qin De, hasn’t you come to kill me? If you want to kill me then kill me. Don’t waste my time. I’m already tired.”
Qin De takes a careful look at Xiang Guang: “Emperor? If you want to call yourself emperor then just do it. But … I never thought that you wouldn’t be afraid of death.”
“Why would I call myself emperor when you tell me to? Qin De, in this life you won’t ever be able to order me. Even if I have to die, I will never be afraid of you.” Xiang Guang unexpectedly does not call himself emperor. At the moment he is trying to do the opposites of what Qin De tells him.
“Oh … I remember that the Xiang clan still has some elite people …” Qin De wants to see Xiang Guang panic.
But Xiang Guang pays no attention to his words: “Qin De, let me tell you something, those elite members of the Xiang clan have already gone into hiding. They no longer have any connections to me. You can deal with them however you like.”
Qin De’s face darkens.
Xiang Guang continues to say smilingly: “Let me tell you another thing, you won’t be able to control even my death. Because …” He bursts out laughing. His face turns purple extremely fast. Afterwards, 2 purplish black streams of blood flow out from his nose.
“Even though I have to die, I’ll … kill myself. Don’t even dream … about … controlling …”
Before Xiang Guang can finish saying, he is already dead. But there is only a cold smile on his face. Wang Meng on one side also smiles. He takes out from his bosom a bottle and drinks up the liquid contained in it at a gulp.
“Your Majesty, I’ll follow you.”
Blood flows out from Wang Meng’s ears, eyes, nose and mouth too. He then falls powerlessly on the floor and dies.
Qin De looks at the dead body of Xiang Guang. His expression is very complex. For the moment, no one else can imagine what he is thinking. Is he feeling happy because of Xiang Guang’s death or is he regretting not being able torture Xiang Guang personally?
“Father, this Xiang Guang fella waited for you here probably because he wanted to protect the elite members of the Xiang clan who had gone into hiding.” Qin Feng looks at Xiang Guang’s corpse, his eyes filled with coldness.
Qin De says with a shake of his head: “Feng’er, you’re wrong. The one who knows a person best is his arch-enemy. Xiang Guang was so merciless that he was able to kill even his wives and children. So, how could he have possibly cared about the other members of the Xiang clan?”
“Then why did he wait for us here instead of running away early on?” Qin Feng asks.
Qin Zheng says coldly: “Big brother, based on Xiang Guang’s last sentence we can figure out his reason. He naturally knew that we were determined to capture him and it was simply impossible for him to escape so he brazenly waited here to get on his high horse in front of father for a while before killing himself.”
Qin Zheng has seen through everything very clearly. Xiang Guang indeed wanted to let Qin De know that he would control his own life and death and that, even though he was going to die, he would kill himself.
Qin Yu says with an indifferent smile: “Xiang Guang was very ignorant. Weren’t his life and death actually under father’s control? If father’s armies hadn’t forced him, how would he have ended up like this? He killed himself, but even so he was forced to kill himself by father, and yet this fella Xiang Guang still thought that he controlled his own life and death.”
“He was just fooling himself and other people.” Xu Yuan says with a wave of his feathered fan.
Qin De strides towards the throne, removes Xiang Guang’s corpse from it with a kick then looks at it for a long time. He then suddenly turns around and looks outside the audience hall, saying loudly and clearly: “The Chu emperor Xiang Guang is already dead. From now on the Chu dynasty no longer exists.”
Thanks to several hundred years of preparations and Qin De’s 18 years of meticulous planning, the Qin clan was able to come out of the 3 Eastern region counties to take control of the 2 Northern region counties and the 3 Southern region counties. Its armies then advanced with a nearly unstoppable momentum only to be blocked by Xiang Yang, the Xiang clan’s Great Ancestor, at a crucial moment.
However, in the legendary ‘Two Moons’ battle right afterwards, Qin Yu and Xiao Hei joined forces and were able to kill Xiang Yang, the real 1st emperor of the Xiang clan.
Following Xiang Yang’s death, Qin De gave an order and the Xiang clan’s last county quickly fell into the hands of the Qin clan too. At this point, the Xiang clan was wiped out and the Xiang dynasty completely collapsed.
In the following month, all of the 12 counties of the Chu kingdom are reorganized. Every remaining member of the Xiang clan is found out and killed. The hidden forces of the Qin clan among the common people also play a great role in hunting down the Xiang clan’s survivors.
The Han dynasty and Ming dynasty originally wanted to take advantage of the situation to gain some benefit but they never thought that the true military power of the Chu kingdom would suffer almost no loss during the civil war. At first the country was divided between 4 big forces but it has been unified.
The Shangguan clan’s 2 Northern region counties are now under the Qin clan’s complete control and the Mu clan is also willing to give the Qin clan the 3 Southern region counties. Unlike the Xiang clan in the past, at the moment the Qin clan is having real control over the kingdom’s 12 counties. And the true reason the Mu clan switched sides and gave away its 3 Southern region counties so easily was that …
It has basically been a branch of the Qin clan for many years.
The Mu clan has always been concealing its true identity and has even been loyal to the Xiang clan for several hundred years. It has followed the lead of the Xiang clan so closely that even Xiang Yang thought that it was really loyal. The secret that the Mu clan is a branch of the Qin clan have been known only to the heads and elders of either clan.
In the princely mansion in Yan City,
This period of time, Qin Yu has been practicing in peace to restore the power he lost during the battle against Xiang Yang. He has also discussed Xiuzhen-related matters with Qin De and Fengyuzi. As for his body’s injuries, they were already healed long ago by the Meteoric Tear.
In Qin Yu’s courtyard house in the princely mansion, Qin Yu, Qin Feng, Qin Zheng, Qin De and Fengyuzi, 5 people altogether, are sitting at a stone table. At the moment there are 3 secret books on the table. They are none other than the 3 Xiuzhen secret books Qin Yu left behind before.
“Xiao Yu, your Uncle Feng and I have read your 3 secret books. Even your Uncle Feng thinks that these 3 books are all top-class Xiuzhen secret books. He has now given up his original Xiuzhen technique to follow the ones written in these books.” Qin De says smilingly.
Fengyuzi also says emotionally: “Xiao Yu, as far as my school’s secret practice technique is concerned, even I only know its method for reaching the Yuanying stage. And it isn’t as clear as the ones in these books. Such profound and mysterious practice techniques are perhaps better than even my school’s most precious esoteric technique.”
Qin Yu however says nothing. With a wave of his hand, 5 middle-grade holy short knives and a black long spear suddenly float above his palm.
End of b4c26.
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