Not caring who said that last statement, the whole troop instantly drowned in silence after hearing that.
"Warriors of Yan Bei!" Yan Xun sat on his horse, as he gazed at those who raised their hands up in the sky. His eyes formed a thin line as he firmly stated, "My father was mercilessly killed eight years ago! Yan Bei has fallen greatly in the meanwhile, trampled upon by evil. The glory of the Yan Bei warriors were also destroyed by the rotten Empire! We were all loyal people of the Empire. We guarded the borders and fought against the barbarians, as we protected the peace within the Empire. But as time passed, the prosperity of the capital clouded the eyes of the leading group in the capital. They forgot who fought beyond the boarders. They forgot who built the great walls of protection using sweat and blood! They forgot who weathered the storm and kept the Quan Rong people at bay. They forgot who saved the Empire during the most dangerous time!"
"It was us! Us, Yan Bei!" the soldiers cheered.
"That is right! It was us!" The wind started to blow, and the young man ripped off his crimson red robes, revealing a jet black battle dress. On that dress was an embroidered golden eagle. That was Yan Bei's war flag! A golden eagle!
Yan Xun bellowed fiercely, "The Emperor is no longer a wise leader. He can no longer separate loyalty from evil! We can bleed on the battlefield, we can fight for the sake of the civilians, but we cannot be a slave to a master who repays loyalty with retaliation!"
"We will not be slaves!" everyone echoed in succession.
As the wind started picking up, Yan Xun drew a blade from his waist. The fierce wind sent his battle dress fluttering and the embroidery moved along with the fluttering. It was as if the golden eagle would readily take flight at anytime! Being trapped for eight years, the Prince let out a mighty roar, "Warriors! Follow me! Breakout of the capital and return to Yan Bei! We have no choice but to rebel! From now on, Yan Bei will be an independent territory!"
"Breakout of the capital! Return to Yan Bei!" The excited roars pierced the skies!
At this instance, within Ying Ge court, Chu Qiao wore a long black blouse waiting under the darkness of night. Behind her was a group of similarly dressed men. A white eagle soared through the sky and perched on her shoulder. Retrieving the letter, she read it solemnly before letting out a long sigh of relief and ordering, "Move out. Let us use the rotting innards of those in power as a sacrifice for our country's rebirth!" With a short rustling, the courtyard was soon empty.
Meanwhile, a well-dressed female official rushed towards the princess. Her face gave away her panic, "Princess! The ceremony is about to begin! Why are you still here? The ceremonial officers are already waiting for you and a few servants are kneeling in Bai He Hall!"
In a similar state of panic, the lady dressed in bright red fumbled for the female official's hand. "Nanny Miao, what should I do? It is already past the scheduled time, but he has still not come back. Could something have happened?" The female official was only slightly over 20 but she seemed very mature for her age. She comforted Zhao Chun'er and hugged her close. Gently, she told her, "Right now, outside of the palace, everyone cheering and being delayed by the crowds for a while is normal. You don't have to worry."
Zhao Chun'er bit her lips and her sense of worry had not dissipated in the slightest. She persuaded herself to believe those words, and stopped overthinking. Following the official, she stepped towards the Imperial Harem.
In the darkness, the female official's brow furrowed. For all royal ceremonies there were fixed timings to adhere to. How could the common folks dare to obstruct royal proceedings? There must have been something that had gone wrong.
Just then, a horse suddenly arrived at the palace gate. A soldier jumped down and staggered towards the palace gates breathlessly, but was blocked by the guards. "I have important things to inform the Emperor! Let me in!"
The guards refused to budge. Blocking the messenger, a guard warned, "Please show us any order from the Emperor."
The soldier, his head sweating profusely, roared in anger, "The matter is of great urgency! If it is delayed, ten of your heads will not be enough to compensate!"
"What is going on?" Zhao Chun'er inquired.
"Your Highness, the Princess?" Just taking a glimpse at the costume, the soldier recognized her. Stepping forth, he quickly whispered to her. "Princess, it was disastrous! The Yan Bei Prince, Yan Xun, rebelled! He is heading over with soldiers from the Southwest Emissary's Garrison!"
Thump! One of the hand warmers in Princess Chun's hands dropped to the floor. The young lady's face was as white as a sheet of paper and her lips turned blue-black. She was so shocked, she could not muster strength to speak.
"They controlled the path to the Grand Elder's Council and to the Capital City Hall. The Elders and Generals are still in the palace. Before they leave, we need to let them know so that they can strategize! Princess? Princess?"
"Ah, you, you are right." Finally reacting, Princess Chun stiffly nodded. Her terrified look faded away. Putting up a strong front, she said, "Follow me."
The soldier, delighted, followed after the princess. The guard frowned and daringly, he headed up to the princess and said, "Princess, this is against the rules."
"What rules?!" The female official retorted furiously, "If the Princess wants to bring a servant in, she needs your approval? Who do you serve, giving you the courage to doubt the Princess?"
"Nanny Miao, let us go." Zhao Chun'er was completely pale and turned towards the Fang Gui Hall. The great wedding tonight would be held there, and all officials had already reached it. As the princess and her party entered the gates, the guards looked coldly at each other, their eyes signalling to each other.
Passing by the various buildings in the palace, the sky was already completely dark. Apart from a few lanterns that provided a dim light that was just enough to walk, it was completely quiet. Zhao Chun'er suddenly stopped. Her face was now so pale that it was frightening. She turned and told the soldier, "Come here, I have something to ask of you."
The soldier hurried forth. Bowing, he approached the Princess. Zhao Chun'er walked forth, almost sticking to that soldier. The official frowned, but just as she was about to speak, there was a shriek. Following that, the soldier jumped up and kicked the princess. The princess fell and a huge part of her robe was torn off.
Utterly shocked, the female official screamed, "Assas-.." But before she finished her sentence, she stopped herself. The soldier was spasming on the floor, his whole body covered in blood. Zhao Chun'er miserably got up from the floor and clumsily crawled towards the soldier. With the golden dagger in her hands, she stabbed the soldier's chest! The blood splattered, and large amounts of blood, still lukewarm, splashed everywhere. Even though she was covered in blood, the princess kept swinging the blade. The sound of metal cutting through flesh and bone resounded eerily across the empty corridor.
"Princess! Princess!" The female official, almost wailing, staggered over and hugged Zhao Chun'er. Holding back her hand, she pleaded, "He is already dead! Already dead!"
Clang! The dagger dropped to the floor. The young lady, with her eyes wide open, sat down all of a sudden with her hands still trembling.
"I have killed someone… I have killed someone..."
"Princess, what happened? Did this man violate you??
"Nanny Miao!" Zhao Chun'er held her hands tightly, her eyes already bloodshot. She instructed, "Leave the castle immediately and seek the Yan Prince. Tell him not to be rash! Do not ruin his future! He does not want this marriage, I know. I understand completely. I will not force him anymore. I will go and explain to the Emperor now!"
"Princess! What did you say?"
"Go!" the princess furiously stated. She steadied herself and said, "Go and find him now and tell him what I said. I will head to the Emperor now and retract the marriage. I won't force him anymore!"
"Nanny Miao, please.." Big droplets of tears fell from Zhao Chun'er's eyes. Her face was still pale and her lips were still blue-black. Her eyes were now completely bloodshot. Biting the bottom of her lip, she forced herself not to cry. With big patches of blood still on her neck, she tightly grasped the female official's arms with strength so great it was as if she wanted to dig her fingers into the flesh.
The female official was ultimately not that experienced, and face with this whole mess, she was so terrified she started to cry as she wailed, "Princess, do not worry, I will definitely find the Yan Prince."
"Alright, then please leave quickly. The palace is now very messy. Stay safe." Zhao Chun'er wiped away her tears.
"Um, please do not worry." The two briefly exchanged words of blessings before splitting into opposite directions.
The cold breeze brushed the dust and leaves on the floor. The female official hurried through the small alleyways. Just as she turned past an ornamental fountain, a flash of white filled her vision. Before she could recognize the assailant, she fell in a pool of her own blood. In the darkness, a few men stepped out, the leader apparently the guard.
"Brother Yu, about the Princess..."
"Worry not, she will not spread the message." The man, with a face of steel, whispered, "Seal the north gates and get ready to meet our lady at the west gate."
Near the west gate in a dilapidated hut, a lady dressed in white stood in the courtyard. Looking at the aqua blue flames burning in the sky, her face showed no emotion. After a long while, she instructed her subordinates, "According to the original plan, within two hours, paralyze the entire Green Army, the Dauntless Cavalry Camp, and the rest of the military commands in the capital."
Xia Zhi and Xirui acknowledged her quietly. Bian Cang stepped forth and said, "My lady, everything is still peaceful within the palace. The eastern and northern gates are already in control. Miss Chu's plan has already succeeded."
"Yes, let us now execute the plan of flames." Lady Yu nodded.
With the tranquil reflection of the moon in the still waters, the celebration continued on. However, few realized that the beasts were gradually approaching and slowly making their way to the unprotected parts of the Empire.
After two hours, a team of men in black rushed to the west gates. The guards at the gates acted as if they had not seen them at all, and no one made a single noise.
"Zuo Qiu, bring word to his Highness. Everything is in order, proceed as planned."
"Yes, Miss." The loyal subordinate left the castle. Chu Qiao removed the blood-soaked battle dress and revealed the dazzling robe underneath. Quickly, she made her way to a carriage hidden in the bushes. The servants lifted up the carriage, and without a single word, marched forward.