Chapter 456 - Putting Down a Rebellion
At first, they thought it was only a small rebellion . However, they soon discovered that there was an expert from the previous dynasty hiding within their ranks and it was even someone that Head Steward Liu knew . In fact, Head Steward Liu was also a remnant of the previous dynasty and had been a small leader of one of the groups of the imperial hidden guards .
When the current emperor emeritus stormed his troops into the Imperial Palace, the emperor of the previous dynasty had sent out his newly born grandson with the then leader of the imperial hidden guards . The leader had originally been a free and arrogant martial arts expert in the jianghu  . Once, he had been chased by his enemies who wanted to kill him and he had serendipitously encountered the previous dynasty’s emperor, who was traveling incognito among the people . The previous dynasty’s emperor told his subordinates to save the expert, who was on the verge of dying, and also helped him take revenge .
The people of the jianghu followed their own code of ethics and chivalry, and this particular expert was an adamant adherent to the code . He believed that his life had been saved by the previous dynasty’s emperor and swore a blood-oath to follow his orders to death . Thus, he was the one responsible for building up the imperial hidden guards from scratch and all of the hidden guards within the organization were personally trained by him . Every single hidden guard in the group was a peerless martial arts expert .
When the previous dynasty’s emperor died alone from an illness, his only request was that his last blood-related descendant would live and, later on, regain the throne . At that time, the head of the imperial hidden guards took away more than half of his loyal subordinates and left the rest in hiding in the capital to wait for opportunities and further orders .
This leader had been in hibernation with his little master for more almost thirty years . The hidden guards, who had been left in the capital, went from hope to despair . In this time period, medical science was not very advanced and the survival rate of young children was not very good . It would be difficult to ensure that an infant, who was just a month old, didn’t encounter any mishaps while being taken around with a crude adult man .
There were loyal and devoted hidden guards among those who had been left in the capital . They continued to train their successors and sent them into the Imperial Palace to serve whenever they had the opportunity . In fact, Su Ran was one of those people who had been trained and sent in . There were also those that, as time went on, started to become indecisive about their mission . Within these people, some had left the capital to go live their own private lives, while others wanted to use this giant secret to get some glory and wealth in return .
In the end, a traitor had appeared within their ranks and many of the previous dynasty’s hidden guards who had connections with him were pulled out of their hiding spots . Liu Fusheng, who had been hiding in a remote palace for a very long time, was one of the men who was betrayed by the traitor .
The emperor on the throne at that time was the current emperor emeritus . He had been a military man all his life and had been a god of the battlefields . When he found out that there were so many remnants of the previous dynasty around him, he erupted in fury . A river of blood appeared in the capital as he sent people to chase down and slaughter all of these hidden guards . The results were disastrous for the hidden guards . Only one in ten had survived the massacre . Those who were fortunate knew that they could no longer stay in the capital and secretly fled . They followed the secret messages left behind by their leader and returned to meet up with their leader and their young master . As for the remaining hidden guards in the capital, they had almost been wiped out!
Liu Fusheng had been a head steward in the palace then and had been heavily tortured and punished until his body didn’t even resemble a human being’s anymore . Despite that, he still refused to betray any of the secrets he knew . However, within their ranks, there were other people who were not as courageous and daring as he was .
At that time, the previous dynasty had been destroyed for almost twenty years . These hidden guards had cover jobs in every trade . Some of them, after getting used to a normal life, had lost their courage and loyalty . With these people confessing, it speeded up the destruction of the remnants of the hidden guards . As for those turncoats, who thought that confessing would lead to lenient treatment, they had been executed in secret . On the contrary, those like Liu Fusheng, who stayed faithful to the end, had obtained the appreciation of the emperor emeritus and he kept them around .
The emperor emeritus respected and admired those who remained loyal and persevered . He knew that as long as he obtained their loyalty, he would be able to obtain subordinates who were dependable . After several years of kindness, even a stone would start to warm up .
Liu Fusheng had been castrated before he entered the Imperial Palace but it wasn’t his personal idea to do so . For the sake of the previous dynasty’s emperor, he had forsaken his right to be a man . Furthermore, he had eradicated many dissidents to the previous emperor, so he was a meticulous and dutiful subordinate . At that time, Liu Fusheng had finally started to slowly soften under the years of good treatment and the persuasions of his fellow comrades who had also pledged loyalty to their new master .
During that time period, the emperor emeritus never treated him poorly because he was one of the remnants of the previous dynasty . Instead, he placed Liu Fusheng by his side to manage the large and small affairs of the palace . It could be said that other than the other old experienced court eunuch by the emperor emeritus’s side, he had the most power .
After all, with his status as a previous enemy, it made the rest of the court wary of him and many officials sent up requests to either remove him from office or imprison him . However, the emperor emeritus withstood all of that pressure and showed Liu Fusheng that he was trusted . This was the main reason as to why Head Steward Liu Fusheng became hell-bent on following the directives of the emperor emeritus .
Despite that, in order to avoid having his old leader and previous colleagues use his status against him for their own motives, he had continuously looked for an opportunity to leave the Imperial Palace and the emperor . Later on, Imperial Prince Jing’s youngest son had a problem come up and required an expert to ‘protect’ him . Liu Fusheng volunteered to take that role and had been with his current master until now .
Liu Fusheng truly wasn’t one of the original turncoats . He had never used his knowledge to trap and kill his former comrades within the hidden guards . At most, he only abandoned his previous master and was now following a new one .
Unfortunately, the remnants of the hidden guards from the previous dynasty didn’t know the whole truth! The head of the hidden guards, who had been hiding within the rebel army, had seen his previous capable subordinate following the leader of the army in charge of putting down the rebels . Furthermore, this leader was also one of the members of the Great Ming Dynasty’s imperial family . The head of the hidden guards thought of many possible circumstances . He now believed that Liu Fusheng had used the blood and lives of his comrades to obtain the trust of the Great Ming dogs in return for glory, splendor, and wealth .
Consequently, while the army was putting down the rebels, the head of the previous dynasty’s hidden guards and a few death soldiers he personally trained used the chaos of the battle to mount a sneak attack at Royal Prince Yang and Liu Fusheng, who was by the prince’s side .
Because he detested traitors, the head of the hidden guards, who was the most skilled out of all of them, made Liu Fusheng the target of his ambush . As for Royal Prince Yang, who had barely reached his twentieth birthday, the leader regarded him as an unskilled young fellow . Thus, because he was underestimated, Royal Prince Yang was only targeted by two of the death soldiers .
With Royal Prince Yang’s insane martial arts skills, how could two little death soldiers do much against him? In fact, the prince acted as if he was a cat playing with two mice and was very carefree as he fought with the two soldiers . The fight didn’t even resemble a battle and instead seemed more like a game to him .
Liu Fusheng, on the other hand, was in a whole other situation! It could be said that all of the hidden guards’ skills had been learned from this leader alone . Furthermore, their master wouldn’t teach them all of his tricks . Even though Liu Fusheng hadn’t become rusty in the past few decades and even sparred constantly with Royal Prince Yang, his opponent was still his previous master! The leader of the hidden guards wasn’t just a tiny bit better than him; he was a lot better .
As he was caught off guard, Liu Fusheng had been instantly injured by his old master and obtained a serious internal injury . Blood spewed out of him as he desperately tried to defend himself . Under the oppressive attacks of his opponent, his body started collecting large and small injuries very quickly . If Royal Prince Yang hadn’t discovered his peril and started to fight seriously to get rid of his own opponents before he leapt over to block a fatal attack, it was likely that Liu Fusheng would have lost his old life at that battlefield .
After hearing such a thrilling story, Yu Xiaocao felt her heart clench in fear and she asked in worry, “That leader of the previous dynasty’s hidden guards is so violent that even you, Head Steward Liu, aren't his opponent . Wasn’t Royal Prince Yang in danger then?”
Liu Fusheng finished his large cup of tea and then poured himself another cup from the tea kettle on the table . He had tasted pretty much all of the famous teas of the era and thought that even the top-notch Da Hong Pao  wasn’t as fragrant as the tea in this pot . Obviously, this pot of wild tea had been personally processed by Miss Yu herself . All of his deep exhaustion and pain from his injuries seemed to have disappeared after drinking this tea .
“Miss Yu, you are truly looking down on my master!” Head Steward Liu let out a light sigh of relief and continued to tell his story about that fight on the battlefield .
When the head of the hidden guards saw that Royal Prince Yang was coming of his own volition ‘to die’, he decided to seize the opportunity to arrest the leader of the opposing army right then and there . This guy was from the imperial family and was also a favored grandson of the Great Ming Dynasty’s emperor emeritus . If he had this prince in his hands, then the Great Ming troops wouldn’t dare to continue for fear of harming the youth . It would definitely be an advantage to capture this juicy target .
The leader of the hidden guards didn’t even consider Royal Prince Yang to be an opponent after looking at his youthful, handsome face . He believed that as long as he stretched a hand, the prince would be captured . He never expected that this ‘embroidered pillow’, who was even more beautiful than a woman, was more than he could handle! Since he underestimated the prince, Royal Prince Yang very easily injured him . With an internal injury now hindering him, the head of the hidden guards continued to fight but noticed that Royal Prince Yang seemed to get fiercer and fiercer as time went on . The young man fought with an incredible ease and was full of energy . The leader of the hidden guards knew that he had finally hit a hard wall!
As soon as he sensed that things were going south, he made a quick calculation . Although he was unable to defeat Royal Prince Yang, he still had some leeway to flee with his life . His young master was still waiting for him to get back, so he couldn’t have a mishap occur here . Thus, he abandoned all of his subordinates and the rebel army he incited . The leader of the hidden guards escaped without even looking back!
Soon thereafter, the remaining remnants of the previous dynasty, who had infiltrated in, either fled from the battlefield or died right there . The ignorant peasants, who had been incited, had nothing left for them! Before long, the rebellion in the north had been suppressed!
Liu Fusheng had a very serious internal injury and was also covered in external wounds that weren’t light . If his master hadn’t reluctantly given him a pill for treating internal injuries, then he likely would have lost his life . Even if he didn’t somehow die from his injuries, his veins, muscles and tendons had all been heavily damaged . He would have likely become a cripple .
Fortunately, the internal injury pills that Miss Yu personally made not only saved his old life but also allowed him to recover from his internal injury very quickly . The military doctor had kept saying that a full recovery was impossible . However, the master had also given him some special wound balm and it was much more efficacious than the army’s wound balm . The foot-long wound on his back had very quickly stopped bleeding after the wound balm was rubbed on . Furthermore, his wounds stopped hurting and a cool, refreshing feeling came on instead . Before several days had passed, he felt like his scabs were starting to itch . After accidentally picking one off, he discovered that the flesh underneath had unexpectedly healed! This . . . wasn’t logical ah!
After receiving a warning glare from his master, Liu Fusheng, as a perceptive man, naturally knew that this wound balm and medicine to heal internal injuries weren’t normal . He continued to wrap himself under layers of gauze even after his wounds had completely healed . Furthermore, whenever he swapped his dressings, he didn’t dare let the military doctor help . He even pretended to have an internal injury that hadn’t healed completely from time to time as he was afraid other people might notice something odd . Now that he was looking back, he felt that it was very tiring to have to put up an act for so long!
Just as they were about to go back to the capital after putting down the rebellion, news came from the northern border that outsiders were invading . The emperor sent an emergency decree from far away to give Royal Prince Yang command over the army as the head general to reinforce the frontier troops .
When he received this new imperial decree, Zhu Junyang had already been away from the capital for more than a month and he missed his little lass . He originally thought that after the rebellion was put down and things became calm, he would be able to go back to the capital to see his little lass, Xiaocao . He didn’t expect he’d be called to duty again to rush to the northern border for who knew how long . This made the prince very irritable for some time .
 jianghu (江湖) - literally 'rivers and lakes', often refers to the martial arts communities in Wuxia novels . Members of the Jianghu are usually more aloof from politics of the mundane world .
 Da Hong Pao - Mentioned in other chapters, but a very high-quality oolong tea .