Long Live The Emperor!

Chapter 13

Living And Dying Together

The soldiers did not bother to wait for the Ninth Imperial Princess as they quietly buried the five bodies.

Eunuch Mei found a wheelchair and brought the steward back to the palace to treat his wounds. Both had suffered serious damage after going up against the Seventh Imperial Prince, especially the steward. It was frankly a miracle that he was still alive after being wounded so badly. Those with powerful abilities had tougher dispositions and the steward, with his level of prowess, was even able to maintain consciousness even though three of his limbs were broken.

He wanted to curse Eunuch Mei. How could the old man be so blind as to not notice a thing after watching the Seventh Imperial Prince for two years?

However, when the words came to his lips, he did not voice them out. It would not help the situation even if he said them. He looked at Eunuch Mei’s severed arm. It looked like he really had no idea what was going on.

The steward sighed lightly. The Seventh Imperial Prince had studied Buddhist scriptures for more than two years and yet he was still capable of such brutal conduct. Just how much obsession was the Seventh Imperial Prince hiding?

Obsession makes one a demon, letting go makes one a Buddha. To be fair, the Seventh Imperial Prince was truly the demon of a generation. It was just too bad that he was dealt a lousy hand in life.

The clamoring din eventually quietened down.

The bloodstains in front of the palace were also cleaned up.

Xia Ji looked at the sky. Xiaosu should be returning soon, which was why he stayed where he was and leaned against the icy-cold palace wall, waiting.

It was not long before a bronze carriage appeared from afar. The carriage moved slowly across the snow and debris. It crossed the long, white bridge before stopping right in front of Xia Ji.

The wooden window was thrown open and Xia Xiaosu’s face appeared. She spotted her older brother in front of the palace and her expression became fearful. She quickly called out for the carriage to stop and lifted her long dress while hopping off the carriage. Her petite face looked around nervously. When she noticed the palace was unusually empty, she finally whispered, “Big brother, get on the carriage, quick. I’ll take you to the archive chamber.”

Xia Ji did not move.

Xia Xiaosu got anxious. She immediately grabbed her big brother’s hand and tried to pull him into the carriage, but she was powerless and got pulled in by Xia Ji instead.

Xia Ji pulled out the tiger tally, authority seal, and the imperial decree from his pockets. “I’m now standing guard at the Imperial Capital and have been bestowed the title of Grand Marshal of the World.”

Xia Xiaosu had question marks etched all over her face as she took the imperial decree from her brother, half-believingly and half-suspiciously.

The imperial decree did not lie. Everything had been written out clearly.

Xia Ji explained, “The Heir Apparent is dead and the exotic tribes are too ruthless, which is why the Imperial Emperor has fled with the rest of the Imperial family.”

This was really big news and it stunned Xia Xiaosu right where she was.

Xia Ji continued, “Guifang will take a little more than two days before their soldiers reach the city.”

Xia Xiaosu could hardly believe this and said, “The Heir Apparent’s army of a hundred thousand did not stop them?”

“They’re all dead.”

After saying those three words, Xia Ji took the opportunity to tease her further as he smiled and said, “Didn’t you praise the Heir Apparent earlier for earning merit with an enduring achievement when he put on his golden armor for an expedition to the border? Tell me, aren’t you poisoned milk?”

Xia Xiaosu stared at her toes and insisted, “I’m not!

“The Heir Apparent had such a clear advantage, so why did he die?

“Yikes, big brother, let’s stop talking about this…”

Xia Xiaosu bit her lip and moved closer to him, saying in a quiet voice, “Let’s make a run for it. Don’t take up that silly mantle of Grand Marshal of the World. Let’s escape to the south…”

Xia Ji said, “They went to the south.”

Xia Xiaosu urged, “Then we’ll head East. If that still doesn’t work out, we’ll escape across the seas and go into hiding till we die of a ripe old age.”

Xia Ji suddenly said, “Mother was murdered by someone.”

Xiao Xiaosu went silent for a moment. Her eyes suddenly turned red. “Who?”

Xia Ji replied, “I don’t know yet. I’ll send you to the East tomorrow.”

“What about you?”

“Xiaosu, I am a little stronger than you imagine. There might be a chance I can protect this city. I have too many things I need to do, so I can’t leave, nor do I want to leave and forever become a rat that can only hide his face.” Xia Ji lifted his head to look at the snow dancing in the air as he spoke soulfully.

Xia Xiaosu gasped, “Big brother, do you want to be the hero who saves the Imperial City?”

Xia Ji smiled. “No.”

Xia Xiaosu asked curiously, “Then what…”

Xia Ji touched his sister’s long hair, which was fine and soft, as he said quietly, “I just feel that the ones who should be running are those exotic tribes. That’s enough for now, tomorrow I’ll make the arrangements to send you away from the Imperial City and head for the Eastern cities.”

Xia Xiaosu suddenly said, “No!”

This time, it was Xia Ji who was stunned.

Xia Xiaosu chuckled and said, “It’s just that, since the exotic tribes should be the ones to make a run for it, why should I leave?”

Xia Ji laughed as well.

His sister had not noticed what she had just done. She trusted him so much, or rather, it was not about trust, it was the determination of them living and dying together.

You leave, I leave.

You stay, I stay.

You live, I live.

You die, I follow.

He did not try to convince her anymore. All he did was reply very simply, “Stay, then. Watch how your big brother defeats the enemy.”

Xia Xiaosu wanted to tease and mock him with words like, “Stop boasting, would you?”, but the words that reached her lips turned into, “I’ll stand on the city walls and watch with my own eyes how you defeat those exotic tribes.”

When the time came, she would bring along an ice-cold dagger. If her brother dies, she would take her own life immediately. The road to the netherworld would not be lonely when she walked it, and she would even take the opportunity to tease her big brother after their deaths.

‘Just look at you, boasting so much. You’ve boasted your way to death now, haven’t you?!’

Her big brother would surely be so dumbstruck, he would not be able to come back with a rebuttal.

The thought of her big brother’s embarrassed look made Xia Xiaosu laugh out loud.

Xia Ji had the imperial decree instructing him to guard the Imperial City, and the fact that he was a prince helped him take control of the palace very quickly.

Some were not entirely convinced to obey him, but the story of how the Seventh Imperial Prince had suppressed the steward had spread because of those three hundred guards, and even those who were not convinced ended up giving in.

The soldiers that could be mobilized using the tiger tally were already within the Imperial City. There were a total of fifty thousand soldiers who were led by an old general who had a stubborn temper named Deng Jue. Xia Ji sent out soldiers that night, adding on the stamp of ‘Grand Marshal of the World’ to request for the general to meet him in the palace.

He took the free time he had to visit the Imperial family’s new archive chamber. The Heir Apparent may have brought many books away with him, but there were still many of them left behind and a portion of them was stored here.

Some of the other nobles had personal library lofts at home too. These nobles may have followed the Imperial family down south, but they were unable to take all of their books with them. This was another portion.

As for the books belonging to different sects and clans of renowned families in the Imperial Capital, there were currently no plans for Xia Ji to touch them as he did not want to create any unrest.

He held a lamp as he went around the library loft, sometimes stopping here and there. He would pick up every book to read, flipping through page by page, reading it out loud to obtain skill beads.

The palace maids, eunuchs, and guards on duties were filled with confusion over this temporary master of the palace, who would probably maintain his post for only a few days. The exotic tribes were arriving soon with their army, so why was he still engrossed with reading?

However, Xia Ji’s sereneness had indirectly influenced them.

When midnight came, the snow fell heavier, slowly rising to the level of one’s ankle. Xia Ji put down the book in his head and carefully experienced the green skill bead that had appeared in his mind. These skills were mostly artistic skill types, the names not even worth mentioning. He gave it some thought and reached out to grab another book. Right at this moment, the shrill voice of a eunuch outside the door could be heard from afar.

“Announcing the arrival of General Deng Jue.”

The voice came nearer from a distance.

Before long, the door of the library loft was opened.

Xia Ji’s finger pushed back the book he had just pulled out and he turned around, his calm expression facing the old general who had just opened the door.

The general was still clad in armor and had obviously not gone home yet. He stared straight at the young man in the room, sizing up the prince with his eagle-like eyes.

If he remembered correctly, the Seventh Imperial Prince was only seventeen, right?

Xia Ji brandished his tiger tally and said out loud, “General Deng, please come in. I won’t be inviting you for tea when the situation is so tense right now.”

Deng Jue said grimly, “What tea should a man who is about to have his head hung around another’s waist have?”

He walked into the library loft and closed the door behind him. His gaze swept across the books within the loft. It had messy titles with a bit of everything.

Reading books before the great battle?

What was this prince up to?

Xia Ji did not bother with small talk when he saw the general walk in. He asked directly, “The exotic tribes have managed to get through Wolf Restraining Pass and exterminated the Heir Apparent and his army of a hundred thousand. They are currently headed straight for the Imperial City and will arrive in three days. What does the general think about this?”

Deng Jue glanced at this prince with his smooth and tender body. He sort of guessed that this was the scapegoat left behind by the Imperial family, but this prince was known for his Buddhist nature and right now, he was acting calm and composed, with no signs of planning a hasty escape. This propelled the general to look him straight in the eye respectfully. A slight laugh escaped from him as he said, “Does the Seventh Imperial Prince want to hear the truth or a lie?”

“How about the lie?”

“We will follow every one of your instructions.”

“And the truth?”

“I will die protecting the Imperial Capital. The capital will not be besieged as long as I remain standing.”

“How are you prepared to protect it?”

Deng Jue was slightly surprised, but he proceeded to explain his plans fully to the Seventh Imperial Prince. There were a few skill beads involving the art of war stored in Xia Ji’s mind. Even though he had not absorbed that art of war, he nevertheless retained knowledge from before his transmigration, which helped him point out possible flaws within Deng Jue’s plan with probing questions such as ‘If the enemy did this or that, what would you do’. He had an unrestrained mind and while Deng Jue may be a veteran general, there were moments when the general could not see a situation clearly due to his close involvement. They discussed through the night with only the candlelight to accompany them and finally stopped after four hours, where they managed to finalize a tighter defense plan.

The old general may have been done with the discussion but he felt he had more to offer. He was usually quite long-winded and even his subordinates had to force themselves to listen to him without falling asleep. He had never expected this prince to be able to keep up with his rhythm.

Xia Ji said, “You may take your leave, General Deng.”


“Oh, another thing. I hope you will protect the Imperial City with your life. If the city falls under siege, you may well fall with it. Meanwhile, the tiger tally may be in my hands, but I won’t interfere with you making arrangements for the soldiers. You may act according to circumstances and there is no need to specifically go through me for anything.”

Deng Jue replied, “Please don’t worry, Seventh Imperial Prince. I would rather die fighting in the Imperial City than make an escape. I would never leave a black mark on my strength of character. Only… I have something to ask of you.”

“What would that be?”

Deng Jue took a deep breath and said loudly, “I’d like to ask the Seventh Imperial Prince to stand guard till the very end. If you feel that I can no longer hold the fort, then please leave the Imperial Capital from the East gate. But for now, you are the soldiers’ morale. If you leave, the morale of our soldiers will drop to the lowest point!”

Xia Ji retorted, “Why would I leave?”

Deng Jue was taken aback. “You mean you’re not leaving?”

Xia Ji shook his head calmly. “No, I’m not. Do you have any other questions?”

Deng Jue was stunned. This situation was not what he imagined at all. It was only until this young prince had turned away to read another book that he suddenly gave a start. He looked at the prince’s figure with mixed emotions as he bowed slightly and gently rephrased his words, “Marshal, in that case… I shall take my leave.”

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