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Chapter 400: Exclusive

The sounds of cranes could be heard from afar.

Elder Ye and the others turned around to see a black-necked crane with a red crown flying toward them.

It was a fifth-grade fiend—a Black-necked Crane. These cranes were fiends kept by Country Yao Chen’s royal family.

Emperor Jiawen was sitting on the back of one.

Under normal circumstances, members of the royal family rarely summoned the fiend, but something had happened to the imperial mausoleum. Thus, the emperor couldn’t care less.

This also enabled his swift arrival. He was just a few seconds later than Elder Ye and the others.

Emperor Jiawen came up with several possibilities on his way here, but when he saw the crowd gathering at the top of Golden Inheritance Peak, his heart sank. Nobody except me can set foot on the peak. The situation is worse than I thought.

“Your Majesty!” Elder Zhong Qi and the others bowed, perturbed.

Elder Ye was a man of high status; there was no need for him to execute this formality.

When the Black-necked Crane landed, the elder wasted no time. “Your Majesty, did someone steal the key to Golden Inheritance Peak’s barrier?”

Emperor Jiawen descended from the fiend, dumbfounded. “No! It’s safe with me; I have it here.”

Elder Ye and the others exchanged a look among themselves.

“Your Majesty, are you certain?” the elder asked again.

The emperor showed them his palm, and a strange pattern appeared in the middle of his hand.

He really had the key!

“What is happening? Elder Ye, why did you ask?” The emperor was confused.

Elder Ye replied, “Two people opened the barrier to Golden Inheritance Peak in secret and entered the imperial mausoleum. The whole process was extremely stealthy. Zhong Qi and the others only realized something was wrong when the intruders were at the top. We suspected they had stolen Your Majesty’s key, but that isn’t the case.”

His words contained so much information that the emperor froze in shock.

“W-What? Intruders in the imperial mausoleum?” Emperor Jiawen glanced around and saw the disc rotating slowly not far away.

He was in such a rush earlier that he missed it.

Emperor Jiawen felt a lump in his throat suffocating him. Country Yao Chen’s imperial mausoleum has existed for a thousand years. It was built when the successive emperors died, yet it has been opened.

“W-who did it?” His face was pale from anger.

The elders could see his vein throbbing.

Elder Zhong Qi and the others fell to their knees immediately. “Your Majesty, please calm down. We… We didn’t see the intruders. Please punish us for our incompetence.”

Emperor Jiawen took a deep breath, and he finally suppressed his rage. There’s no use crying over spilled milk.

“Find them! You must find the intruders no matter what!”

Elder Zhong Qi and the others were covered in cold sweat.

Elder Ye sighed and explained hurriedly, “Your Majesty, no ordinary man can open the mausoleum. I’m afraid you will have to take action before we can enter.”

The emperor massaged his temples. “I had forgotten about this. Wait a minute… In that case, how did the intruders get in?”

Silence fell.

The intruders could open the mountain peak’s barrier, so what else can they not do? Obviously, they came prepared. At this thought, the emperor couldn’t help himself from feeling frustrated.

Golden Inheritance Peak was heavily guarded by troops. Nobody could penetrate the area easily.

This was like a vicious slap to his face.

Frowning, Emperor Jiawen walked to the rotating disc.

Except for the time when the late emperor was buried, he had never seen the disc rotate again.

I never thought this would happen. The emperor took a deep breath and raised his hand slowly.

The strange pattern appeared again.

Suddenly, the disc glowed with a silver ray of light. Very quickly, it disappeared.

Emperor Jiawen’s expression changed drastically. I can’t open the mausoleum!

People were rustling in the forest outside Golden Inheritance Peak—it was Rong Jin and Situ Xingchen.

Panting, the former looked up as he said, “Golden Inheritance Peak is right ahead.”

Situ Xingchen followed his line of sight.

In the midst of the mountain range, Golden Inheritance Peak was the most conspicuous one. It was steep yet magnificent.

Even though they were still a distance away, they could feel its immense pressure.

Situ Xingchen tightly clenched her hands in her sleeves. The barrier to Golden Inheritance Peak is too powerful. I’m afraid this is going to be a problem.

Just as she was about to advance, Rong Jin stopped her. “Xingchen, wait.”

She looked back at Rong Jin, who was staring at the peak solemnly.

“The barrier to the peak is right there. This is where you stop.”

Confusion appeared in Situ Xingchen’s eyes.

Rong Jin explained, “There are many guards. Now that something has happened to the mausoleum, more troops will be deployed to stand guard. My father should be there by now. If you go further, they’ll see you. For your safety, wait for me here.”

Situ Xingchen was stunned by his words. I’ve tried everything to help him escape from Crown Prince Mansion and even covered his tracks to come here. Now, he’s asking me to wait for him here? That’s ridiculous!

She forced a smile. “Your Highness, don’t worry. I won’t cause you any trouble. You are venturing into an unknown situation. I’ll feel better if you let me go with you.”

Rong Jin looked hesitant.

Situ Xingchen teased softly, “Your Highness, are you worried that I will go against you?”

“Of course not!” Rong Jin retorted immediately, but his eyes wavered with guilt. “I-I’m worried our presence will cause unnecessary trouble. I’m still the Crown Prince, so it’s normal for me to come when something happens at the imperial mausoleum. Xingchen, we… We’re not married yet. If anyone sees you here, it might be an issue.”

Situ Xingchen sneered inwardly. Rong Jin’s words are grand. He has forgotten that he’s supposed to be under house arrest at Crown Prince Mansion. If anyone sees him here, he might not be any better off than me. He just wants to go alone.

Rong Jin felt Situ Xingchen’s eyes on him. It felt as though she had seen right through him.

Nevertheless, the latter said, “I will wait here for Your Highness then.”

He looked at her smiling face as if he thought nothing was wrong. Then, he grinned with relief. “I’ll be back soon.”

With that, he strode away with purpose.

Situ Xingchen watched his silhouette and snickered. You want to cast me aside now that I’ve served my purpose? Fat chance!

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