Chapter 204: It’s Lonely Being At The Top.
The spring breeze couldn’t scatter his anxiety, or remove his worries. On the hillside where the Temple of Heaven was located, Huang Yue’s figure was hidden behind the thick branches and leaves, surrounded by Imperial Guards dressed in black clothes.
In an hour, Yan HeQing would go up the mountain alone to worship his ancestors. According to the rules of the Southern Yan Kingdom regarding the Emperor worshipping his ancestors, his Imperial Bodyguards could only wait at the foot of the mountain for him; so Huang Yue tried his best to replace all the people on the West side at the foot of the mountain with his own men. Then he sent several people to sneak up the mountain from the West side, to wait for Yan HeQing to pass by.
Chen Ge should soon find that the Imperial Guards on the West side had decreased. Whether the plan will be a success or a failure can only be known in a moment.
Huang Yue placed his hands behind his back, took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Suddenly, he heard the sound of footsteps coming from behind him. When he looked back, he saw that it was his subordinates and Xiao YuAn.
Huang Yue greeted him faintly: “Xiao Jun Wang.”
Xiao YuAn looked around and smiled: “What a Heavenly net1.”
“If it hadn’t been for Xiao Jun Wang helping with his military strength, none of this could’ve been possible.” Huang Yue said. “I wonder, how is Xiao Jun Wang feeling now?”
Xiao YuAn: “I won’t lie to General Huang, I’m feeling nervous and scared.”
Huang Yue smiled sympathetically, and said: “Xiao Jun Wang, do you know why I want the throne?”
Xiao YuAn replied: “Aspiration.”
Huang Yue shook his head as he said: “You chose to usurp the throne with me because you wanted to live. As for me, I also wish to keep on living.”
“General Huang, you once fought alongside Yan HeQing in the war against the Eastern Wu Kingdom and achieved great success. But now, even when you have power and influence in the Southern Yan Kingdom, you’re not satisfied with this, and you insist on usurping the throne. Shouldn’t it be lying to affirm that your only desire is to live?”
Xiao YuAn’s words were filled with thorns, but when Huang Yue looked at him, he didn’t seem annoyed. Instead, he replied calmly: “My father was once a subordinate of a Deputy General of the Southern Yan Kingdom. Even though his official power wasn’t great, his salary was enough to allow our family to not worry about food. My mother and I had always been quite satisfied with our lives, until I turned 16. The Deputy General my father was loyal to, was framed and put into prison. As for my father, he was implicated, and was sent to prison as well.”
Huang Yue paused, lowered his head and his gaze was lax, as if he was lost in his memories: “My mother ran towards all the relatives she could, scattered all the family assets and begged all the people she could beg for help. I still remember that time she took me to kowtow and beg for help on a rainy night. We knelt on the ground in a mess, drenched from head to toe by the rain, but even so, my father was still not released. Later, I joined the army, and risked my life on the battlefield, rushing to the front line to kill the enemy every single time. It took me six years and hundreds of scars to obtain the position of Deputy General, to use my power to clear my father’s name. But, by then, my mother had already died two years ago, and my father died soon after he was released from prison.”
Huang Yue continued with a cold smile: “At that time, I understood that when you’re a nobody, even if you split your head open, no one would listen to you. However, as long as you have power, you can have whatever you want, even the entire world. Xiao Jun Wang, do you understand? It’s better to hold power firmly in your own hands.”
Xiao YuAn was silent for a while before he could say: “It’s lonely being at the top2.”
Huang Yue: “It’s nonsense to say that those who are in high positions scare those who are at the bottom. But, of course, only when you stand on top of the mountains are you able to see the sky from all directions.”
Xiao YuAn was speechless.
Suddenly, there was the sweet sound of the birds singing in the forest. At this, Huang Yue’s eyes narrowed slightly as he said in a whisper: “The Emperor is coming.”
Xiao YuAn followed his gaze as he pursed his lips nervously, and his hands clenched involuntarily.
Through the gap between the branches, Xiao YuAn was able to overlook the winding path up the mountain. After the singing of the birds, a white figure appeared in Xiao YuAn’s eyes.
Yan HeQing’s black hair wasn’t tied up, gathering together on his back. He was dressed in white garments, and as he looked ahead, he held the sacrifices with both hands as he walked up the mountain, step by step.
Xiao YuAn bit his lips nervously, without even noticing the taste of blood in his mouth. Huang Yue was also nervous, holding his breath without saying a word.
After an unknown period of time passed, in which the mountain breeze was silent and everything became quiet, almost all of the eyes were on Yan HeQing. Like when the swords are drawn and the bows are bent3.
Yan HeQing, as if he realized something, stopped abruptly. Then, he slowly turned his head to look over.
Huang Yue’s eyes suddenly shrank, and he hurriedly made a gesture to his subordinates. Then, another sound of a bird singing resounded through the mountain. A while later, dozens of black-clothed people jumped out of the trees and grass, fiercely waving their swords at Yan HeQing.
Yan HeQing took a few steps back to avoid the swords, but when he looked back, he found that his way was blocked by the men dressed in black. He was surrounded by the assassins!
Yan HeQing frowned tightly, when suddenly, he heard Huang Yue calling ‘Your Majesty!’ behind him. Yan HeQing turned around and his gaze was instantly fixed on the person next to Huang Yue. He was so surprised that his eyes suddenly widened.
Huang Yue thought that Yan HeQing was surprised by his own betrayal, and joked: “Is His Majesty really so surprised?”
After saying that, Huang Yue no longer talked nonsense as he pulled out the long sword at his waist. As he was about to make a move, the thin sword clanked out of its sheath, flooded with a cold light.
Suddenly, someone reached out to stop him.
The one who stopped him was Xiao YuAn.
Xiao YuAn and Yan HeQing looked at each other. Then, Xiao YuAn took a deep breath, and said: “General Huang, can you let me do it? I really have too many accounts to settle with your Emperor.”
Huang Yue thought for a moment, and handed a dagger to Xiao YuAn.
After all, it’s still regicide. It’s better to borrow someone else’s hand in this matter.
Xiao YuAn held the dagger tightly as he slowly walked away from Huang Yue and got close to Yan HeQing. Their eyes never moved away from each other, as if there was no one else in the world.
Xiao YuAn said: “Yan HeQing, after all this time, have your feelings for me ever changed? Have you ever loved me, even for a little bit? Do you remember my sobbings and laughter, even if only once? Because, Yan HeQing, I love you.”
Huang Yue secretly tsked, obviously unable to understand those deep feelings of love and hate, standing aside to watch the show with interest.
On the surface, Yan HeQing was quiet, but inside his heart, he was anxiously waiting for Xiao YuAn to escape.
Xiao YuAn wanted to walk up to Yan HeQing as soon as possible, but he was afraid to reveal anything by mistake, making Huang Yue notice. So, he had to rack his brain to remember the lines of those toxic dog blood novels he read before as he continued to act: “Tell me! Have you ever loved me?!”
Huang Yue felt a toothache, not wanting to see this drama anymore. Unexpectedly, he saw among the black-clothed Guards someone quietly retreating a few steps.
It was one of the soldiers from the Western Shu Kingdom that Xiao YuAn lent him to use.
For a moment, the winds and clouds surged, and everything became silent in an instant.
Huang Yue suddenly clenched his long sword and stood in front of Xiao YuAn, dragging him back violently. With a sinister smile, he said: “Xiao Jun Wang, even though the Emperor is unarmed, I’m afraid that you still won’t be able to defeat him. It won’t be good if you get hurt.”
Yan HeQing’s eyes had long rippled with shock. At that moment, he only needed to move his fingers to have Huang Yue and his subordinates immediately caught, but at this time, Yan HeQing’s body was stiff, as if he was unable to move.
At the foot of the mountain, inside the forest, all of Huang Yue’s black-clothed subordinates were ambushed by Yan HeQing’s Imperial Guards. However, without the Emperor’s orders, they didn’t dare to act rashly. At this moment, their hearts were slightly anxious.
Meanwhile, Xiao YuAn was, surprisingly, the calmest one. As he returned the dagger to Huang Yue, he sneered. “I didn’t expect that General Huang would be so worried about me. Anyway, I ask General Huang to do it himself.”
Huang Yue took the dagger, looked at Xiao YuAn, thought for a moment, and winked at his subordinates. The subordinates immediately understood the order as they stepped towards Xiao YuAn’s side, seemingly taking some distance away from him, but with a sense of oppression that couldn’t be ignored.
Huang Yue no longer talked, and as he held the long sword, he walked towards Yan HeQing. Even though Yan HeQing saw that the sharp sword was getting close to his chest with the intention to stab him, he didn’t make a move. Because his eyes were completely focused on Xiao YuAn, who was surrounded.