Dianxia Qingcheng- Chapter 51: Your Majesty, There’s Only One Thing I Want
October 16, 2022Merchie
The sacrificial ceremony began.
A large group of people wearing black robes and holding staves adorned with bells walked into the hall; they appeared to be shamans.
They spread out within the hall, shaking the bells and muttering incoherently.
All of the barbarian citizens in the hall placed a clenched fist over their hearts, closed their eyes, and bowed their heads, their faces filled with reverence.
Those who came from the Celestial Dynasty copied the gesture as well.
Pei Zheng didn’t close his eyes.
Instead, he glanced at A’mu Le, who was sitting a little way away.
The moment their eyes met, both of their gazes changed.
Without warning, more than a dozen people carrying daggers silently entered the hall.
The expressions on the faces of the shamans darkened, and they revealed the knives hidden between their robes.
In an instant, blood splattered and filled the air.
The blades of these mysterious intruders were extremely sharp; after cutting a shaman’s throat, they threw the body aside and moved on to the next.
Nobody in the hall could react in time; their throats were all sliced in the blink of an eye.
The sound of screaming, swords clashing, cups shattering, and blood flowing all echoed endlessly… The splendid golden hall was now painted red.
All but A’mu Le’s entourage lay dead or dying in a pool of their own blood.
There was only one other person left alive.
They stood in front of the throne, high up above the rest of the hall.
A’mu Le slowly strode up the steps until he stood directly in front of the shocked A’su Ran.
He smiled at his titular uncle, before plunging a knife straight into his heart.
“Uncle, you’ve been sitting on this throne for so many years now, it’s about time that you passed it along to your nephew.”
A’su Ran clutched at his chest before slowly falling to the floor.
On what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of his life, his breathing ceased.
Out of the people who were still alive, many of them were the leaders of smaller tribes who had come to attend the ceremony.
They had already been bribed by A’mu Le, and fully supported him as the barbarian clan leader.
Outside of the hall, imperial troops and A’mu Le’s subordinates had joined forces to fend off A’su Ran’s soldiers, to ensure the rebellion’s success.
It turned out that the marriage alliance was merely a farce on Pei Zheng’s end.
His purpose in proposing the idea was to have the barbarians completely swear allegiance to the Celestial Dynasty.
Who could have known that the other useless court officials didn’t catch on, and ended up writing countless reports to impeach him.
He never bothered to explain himself, and kept the matter strictly confidential.
The fewer people who knew, the better.
He couldn’t even tell Zhao Litang, who was escorting them.
It didn’t matter as long as the Emperor understood his thoughts.
News spread about the internal strife among the barbarian tribe.
Pei Zheng sent a message to A’mu Le, and had him serve as the envoy to the Celestial Dynasty.
The two had conspired and planned the rebellion.
Pei Zheng, as the Prime Minister of the Celestial Dynasty, would help A’mu Le become the clan leader.
In turn, the barbarian tribe would completely surrender to the Celestial Dynasty, cede their territory, and pay tribute every year, without fail.
Otherwise, the Celestial Dynasty’s imperial troops would ruthlessly destroy them and their barren land.
A’mu Le sat high up on the clan leader’s throne, and the people below lowered their heads and bowed respectfully.
The door to the hall opened; the fighting outside had ended.
A’su Ran’s soldiers had been completely wiped out.
A herd of servants and soldiers poured through the door, and began to move the corpses and clean up all the blood.
After a long while, the hall was finally gleaming again; it looked as good as new.
Thick sticks of incense were lit, and the heavy stench of iron slowly dissipated, replaced by a sweet, soft aroma.
The hall was spotless; no one could have guessed that such a brutal bloodbath had just occurred here.
A’mu Le was full of smiles as he lifted his cup and toasted Pei Zheng, “Lord Pei, I must thank you again for aiding us.
Our tribe will always remember the kindness that the Celestial Dynasty has shown us.”
Pei Zheng elegantly stood up.
In neither a humble, nor arrogant manner, he raised his glass to A’mu Le and drank as well.
The tense atmosphere suddenly lightened.
One by one, everybody began to congratulate A’mu Le, as if they hadn’t just murdered a hall full of people.
Pei Zheng scanned the hall, and his eyebrows furrowed discreetly; why didn’t he see that colorfully-dressed, beautiful little figure
A’mu Le stood up from the throne and walked to his side.
“Lord Pei, what are you looking for”
Everybody else was fully immersed in celebrating the success of the rebellion, laughing and chatting, completely oblivious to the two of them.
“Looking for someone.”
“Who do you think.”
A’mu Le grinned, “Lord Pei, you couldn’t be looking for my wife, could you”
“What did you say” Pei Zheng clenched the cup in his hand, and a crack appeared on its surface.
“You didn’t know Traditionally, after the previous clan leader’s death, his wife and concubines will automatically belong to the next one.”
A’mu Le’s smile was laced with victorious arrogance, “So that means, that little prince of your Celestial Dynasty belongs to me now.”
Pei Zheng’s gaze was malevolent, and he sprang up in rage.
But he was suddenly overcome with dizziness, and almost couldn’t stand properly.
His luck was truly rotten; his head was throbbing once again.
This…was sleeping incense1.
One couldn’t feel the effects of it if they stayed still.
But the moment they tried to move, they would immediately become dizzy.
Sure enough, those from the Celestial Dynasty saw Pei Zheng stand up, and they all rose from their seats in anger as well.
But they could hardly hold themselves up, swaying and staggering all over the place.
The barbarians were remained perfectly lucid, sitting serenely in their spots.
A’mu Le shrugged his shoulders and said, “Lord Pei, don’t get angry, otherwise we both won’t be able to bear the consequences.
You are all visiting the barbarian tribe as representatives of the Celestial Dynasty; it would be quite improper if you all started fighting inside my hall.
I’m sure you understand.
You all should head back to your rooms and rest well, so you can start your journey back home as soon as possible.”
A’mu Le continued, “I know the Celestial Dynasty doesn’t trust our tribe.
But I, A’mu Le, am not someone who goes back on my word.
I’ll do everything that I promised.
The territory, the tribute, I’ll hand them all over.
But the noble Celestial Dynasty will surely keep their word as well, right There’s no reason for you to take the wife you offered to me back.”
His words were sincere and reasonable; anyone who listened to them would have no qualms about his requests.
But that certainly wasn’t the case with Pei Zheng.
He was boiling with rage.
A’mu Le actually had the audacity to ask for something like this!
The cup in his hand shattered, and the broken fragments stabbed into Pei Zheng’s palm.
Blood immediately gushed out, but the pain cleared his mind a little.
He blinked his eyes, gritted his teeth, and diverted the flow of his qi into his heavy limbs.
His body slowly began to exude a frightening, powerful aura.
A’mu Le was surprised for a moment, before he laughed, “Lord Pei is truly formidable; you can actually resist the effects of the incense.”
The wound on Pei Zheng’s palm was dripping blood.
He looked at A’mu Le, “What if I refuse to leave without him You’ve got guts, treating envoys of the Celestial Dynasty like this.
You’re not afraid that the imperial troops will come and raze your land to the ground”
To say that A’mu Le was completely unafraid of Pei Zheng was false.
After all, he had heard all about Pei Zheng’s ruthless methods.
But A’mu Le couldn’t give that kid up so easily.
People who were as cute and interesting as that little prince were hard to come by.
The moment A’mu Le laid eyes on him, he wanted to bring him back to the barbarian tribe, and keep him by his side.
After thinking it over in his head, A’mu Le said, “All right, since that’s the case, we can make a little competition out of it.
If you win, I’ll let you leave with him without any complaints.
I’ll even gift you one of our best horses, so you can return home as soon as possible.
But if you lose…”
“No.” Pei Zheng interrupted bluntly.
“I won’t lose.”
Everybody in the hall quieted down and spread out to the sides, making a stage for the two competitors.
“No matter what happens, no one is allowed to intervene.” A’mu Le ordered.
If Pei Zheng wasn’t under the influence of the sleeping incense, A’mu Le wouldn’t even be considered an opponent.
But presently, Pei Zheng could hardly even hold his sword without trembling.
A’mu Le had assumed that Pei Zheng would not be able to block three moves, but who could have known that Pei Zheng, when he wielded a blade, became a completely different person.
His footwork was imperceptible; his body moved so fast that it was a blur in A’mu Le’s vision.
Under Pei Zheng’s quick and powerful strikes, each slash glinting with light, he was forced to take up a defensive stance.
The tables and chairs in the hall became collateral damage; the battle became a blur of shadows and flashes of silver that circled and danced above everybody’s heads.
In the end, Pei Zheng knocked A’mu Le to the ground, and pointed his sword at the other’s throat, “You lost.”
The coldness in his voice could have frozen everybody in the hall.
A’mu Le spat a mouthful of blood.
The corners of his lips opened up, and he laughed heartily.
Pei Zheng was truly peerless in terms of skill.
He had no choice but to accept his defeat.
A’mu Le waved his hand, and several people walked into the hall, with Qi Changyi and Cheng Feng in tow.
Cheng Feng also appeared to be under the influence of the sleeping incense.
He was half-carried and half-dragged into the hall without any resistance.
On the other hand, Qi Changyi’s eyes were bright and full of life.
As soon as he saw Pei Zheng standing in the hall, he broke away from A’mu Le’s subordinates and ran toward him.
The red-clad figure rushed up to Pei Zheng, who was still holding his sword, and jumped directly into his arms, before nuzzling the other’s shoulder.
Qi Changyi had no idea what had happened; he had been frightened stiff by the chaos and flurry he had heard from inside the hall.
It wasn’t until he felt a few warm droplets drip onto his face that he came to his senses.
He lifted his hand to wipe it away.
Brilliant red was smeared all over his fingertips.
A thin line of blood was streaming from the corner of Pei Zheng’s lips.
Drop by drop, tiny red puddles formed on the ground.
His Adam’s apple bobbed, and he swallowed back some of the faintly sweet, iron taste that was rising into his throat.
He had disrupted the flow of qi in his body in order to resist the effects of the sleeping incense.
His internal organs were already damaged, yet he still fought with A’mu Le.
It had cost him too much energy.
Now, the qi and blood in his body were raging and tumbling, threatening to surge upward.
Pei Zheng’s body swayed; his legs slackened, and he suddenly fell against the small man in front of him.
His lips touched Qi Changyi’s ear, and he whispered hoarsely, “I’ll…take you…home…” With those words, he fainted.
Qi Changyi stretched his neck, struggling to support Pei Zheng’s weight.
Tears welled up in his eyes.
The barbarian tribe’s horses were much larger and stronger than those of the Celestial Dynasty, so the journey back to the Imperial Capital was much faster.
Zhao Litang’s face was ashen the entire way back.
He didn’t visit Pei Zheng once, still resentful over the other not telling him about such an important matter.
Pei Zheng recovered quickly.
He stayed in the carriage with Qi Changyi all day long.
No one knew exactly what they were doing in there, but sometimes, the guards escorting the carriage heard something that they shouldn’t have, and their ears would turn bright red.
A few days later, the group finally reached the Imperial Capital.
Qi Changyi didn’t return to his own residence.
Instead, Pei Zheng took him to the Prime Minister’s Manor.
Pei Zheng went to the palace to meet with the Emperor.
He reported that the barbarian tribe had surrendered, ceded their land, and would pay an annual tribute of horses, cattle, and sheep.
All of the officials present were stunned; while they congratulated the Emperor for regaining the borderlands, their hearts were filled with slanderous remarks that couldn’t be said out loud.
It was unknown what devious methods Pei Zheng had used this time.
Perhaps he made some kind of shameful bargain with the barbarian tribe.
The Emperor was overjoyed and decided to reward Pei Zheng for his great contribution, though Pei Zheng hadn’t planned on asking for a reward.
The other officials all filed out.
Only the Emperor and Pei Zheng remained in the hall.
“Pei-aiqing, you really don’t want a reward”
“Your Majesty, there’s only one thing I want.
It’s a person.”
Kind of butchered this title a little bit, it’s actually more like ‘this subject only wants to ask his Majesty for a person’.
Not even 1.5 chapters for A’su Ran before he was killed, poor guy he didn’t even do anything
I don’t know any of these qi terms very well, but Pei Zheng’s situation wasn’t a qi deviation
Thanks for reading~
1.迷香: there’s not really a specific name for it, it’s an incense that makes people sleep, hence…sleeping incense
There was also a very strange sound effect right after Changyi jumped into Pei Zheng’s arms, ‘非司司非司司’, I believe it’s like…nuzzling sfx, but not too sure.
If you know what it means, let me know!