Chapter 320 "Dan City"
“Mother, go beg Father, I don't want to die in the northwestern battlefield. I'm his son!" Xia Hou Hong pleads to his mother, totally unwilling to go.
“Your Highness, this is not of your choice, it's a military order. We will set off in five days. During this period, please look after your wounds so you can withstand the hurdles of travel." Hong Fang's voice was rather harsh there, very different from his usual demeanour before the pair of mother and son. With another meaningful glance at Consort Luo, he had indirectly warned the woman to do as told before taking his leave.
Now that they are alone after the outsider had left, this mother quickly pulled his son over: "Son, I'm not able to help you this time. The expedition to the Northwest, you must go, you must! But don't worry, I've brought in two very effective masters to act as your bodyguard. With them by your side, any spirit beast below the ninth rank are of no danger whatsoever."
Following the signaling clap of her hands, two highly contrasting figures had walked into the room. One tall and one short, the former appeared very thin in his body shape while the ladder looked chubby and tiny like a dwarf.
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However, this wasn't the most eye-catching part about these two men, it's their faces which gave Xia Hou Hong quite the fright after they removed their masking scarf.
The tall one had a very big pair of protruding ears, which was also his name "Protruding Ear". As for the short one, he had a giant nose like that of a pig's. For that, his name was called Nose King.
Xia Hou Hong usually likes to surround himself with beautiful and lovely children, so it came as no surprise that he would be disgusted by these weirdos brought in by his mother. Just watching those freakish faces would make him want to throw up.
Not missing the changes in her son, Consort Luo quickly lowered her voice into a whisper: "Son, you mustn't offend the two masters. They may not be very good looking, but their abilities are extraordinary. Protruding Ear can detect any disturbances within several miles of himself, making him the perfect guardian to avoid enemy ambush. As for Nose King, his tracking skills with his nose is unmatched. With him along your side, no enemy in their disguise will be able to get past his nose. They are your birth father's men, sent here to protect you during your journey."
“Mother, what are you talking about? What birth father, are you saying I'm not legitimate?" Xia Hou Hong was real shocked by his mother's remark.
“Now that things have come to this stage, I don't want hide it from you anymore. Yes, you are not the king's son, you are a son of North Qing as well as your father. Back when I first became pregnant, I was sent by your birth father to this place, all so you can one day inherit the throne of Da Xia." After seeing her precious baby become a prisoner and ripped of his title, her feelings for the king had all been crushed. Now, there's only hatred left in the woman's heart for everyone here.
With the truth out in the open, the prince felt like all his strength had left him. Crashing to the floor, he just sat there unmoved and unchanging.
If that's true, then I'm not some noble prince, just a……
“Don't be scared my son. Your birth father may not be some king of a nation, but his status is superior in every way. So, don't think of yourself as a wild child from nowhere. When the time is ripe, you will most certainly be recognized and be able to return to your roots." Knowing the arrogant and proud nature of her son, Consort Luo attempts to make the process easier by consoling the boy.
“Young Master, rest assured. Compared to that useless king, your birth father is the heaven and he's the ground. With us brothers here, you will surely be able to shine in the expedition to the Northwest." Protruding Ear also chimes in to persuade the boy.
“Mother, if I'm not the king's son, then wouldn't that mean me and Xia Hou Qi aren't brothers?" Showing a splendor of colors in his eyes, Xia Hou Hong appears to have recalled something important.
Seeing this strange behavior, Consort Luo can only feel her heart shivering with fright, It can't be, is he really holding wild thoughts about that boy?
“Don't worry Mother, I've changed my mind. In order to succeed the throne, I will go to the northwestern battlefield." All of a sudden, the emaciated boy seems to have been possessed by a whole different personality.
Towards his biological father, Xia Hou Hong didn't hold any feelings or care. What he does care about though was his noble status and how to keep it. So long as he can become the next king, he will immediately sentence that tramp from the Lan House to death. Then to make the deal even sweeter, he intends to lock Xia Hou Qi into his personal harem and use the boy as his personal plaything.
Just thinking about the wonderful future awaiting himself would make the boy laugh maniacally, which also had the consequences of alerting Hong Fang and Alchemist Chou to this morbid laughter.
The two wasn't blind to the drastic changes taking place in the prince's character after being released from the prison. But it's too late once a person was on the tiger's back. Until an opportunity presents itself, they can only go with the flow and continue on with this path.
“Vice Manger Chou, congratulations on your good fortune this time of re-entering the Royal Hospital.” Retracting his thoughts back from the strange commotion inside, Hong Fang turns his focus back to the old master.
Speaking of Alchemist Chou's fortune, he really did have it good this time. The treatment for the king's migraine was meant to help Xia Hou Hong get out of prison, but instead of doing just that, it ends up benefiting the old master instead and got him reinstated. Though the position was one step lower than his former post, it's still high up there.
“That is all thanks to Royal Tutor's great planning." Alchemist Chou sounded very thankful in his chuckle.
“Now, now, I'm no longer the Royal Tutor. Do watch your words in the future less someone is ease dropping on us." Matching the other side's goodwill, Hong Fang also scoffs a laugh.
"With your lordship's ability and talent, it's just a matter of time before your reinstatement. Plus, after this expedition, I'm certain it won't be long when that comes to past. In fact, I speculate the king might even award your lordship with a genuine noble title of power if everything goes smoothly." With a face full of flattery, the old alchemist held nothing back in his words.
In truth, Alchemist Chou was quite envious of these military men who can earn merit and gain status in the battlefield. Sure, alchemists may have the ability to reap a lot of benefit, but at the end of the day, it's only material wealth with no recognized honor to bring glory to the ancestral name.
"Oh Master Chou, you shouldn't hold yourself in contempt. If you are willing, the opportunity is just around the corner. I've got news from my people, the caravans headed for the battlefield from Dan City had just been attacked with the chief alchemist dead. Now, an urgent letter should be on its way to the Court, asking for a new supervisor to manage the alchemists there in the city." As the main commanding general of the expedition, Hong Fang's was the first to get this information in the capital. Therefore, even the Royal Hospital and General Lan were oblivious to the news.
Dan City was located in the northwestern reaches of Da Xia. This place had originally been nothing more than a remote gathering hub for the trading convoys from the other states, but due to the special geography of the mountainous terrain, it was soon converted into an auxiliary base for the military because of its safe nature.
No different from the Royal Hospital, the alchemists in this city are mainly responsible for providing medicinal care for the soldiers and treatment for any heavily wounded individuals. In short, the best alchemists in Da Xia are either in the Royal Hospital or at Dan City because only in these two places can their skills shine.
As for this so called Chief Alchemist mentioned by Hong Fang, the title was simply the counterpart of the main manager in the Royal Hospital. The person would be in charge of overseeing the rescue efforts and production of medicinal pills for the battlefield.
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(30$ to make me stay up late into the night is fair right for this novel?