Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang Vol01 Ch25
Battle cries were heard on this night of a full moon. The King’s own brother had decided to do something on this night to Dong Lin, just rebel ever so slightly.
The King of Dong Lin was standing at a high point of the Royal Residence, watching the dragon-like flames, in the night sky, that were rapidly approaching. He heard the fighting.
“King!” A guard soaked in blood hurried over. “The Royal Residence has been invaded by traitors. It’s not safe to stay here, please escape King!”
The Queen and a crowd of family stood, faces drained of colour. The Queen was still wearing mourning clothes and had her head bowed gracefully. “He’s already killed my sons and now he plot to kill us. As of now, his troops are guarding the city. Where else can we go?” She turned to the King, kneeling while crying, “King, I’m sorry but I do not wish to suffer humiliation. As the Royal House is broken, please may King allow me to tie a noose.”
“No, King!” Many maids who had followed the Queen for several years knelt down, crying hard.
All of a sudden, the main room was full of crying sounds.
The King of Dong Lin slowly looked back, saying, “Chu Lei.”
“Chu Lei is here, King.”
The Dong Lin King pondered for a while, then suddenly asked, “How are the peasants?”
“My younger brother, did he massacre normal civilians?”
“The rebel army entered the city and ordered everyone to stay in their homes. They’re forbidden to look outside too, so the soldiers aren’t entering the houses either. They didn’t plan to create much chaos so lives haven’t been lost.”
The King slowly nodded, asking another question. “What about the officials? Have the ones that don’t get along with brother been killed yet?”
Chu Lei could hear the sounds of battle approaching rapidly, but the King seemed to have no intention of hiding, seemingly wasting time here without a trace of expression. But he still had his duty as an official to fulfill, so he answered with a frown. “I heard that the officials’ residences have been guarded. The traitor knows the officials well and I heard that he captures one whenever he sees one. I don’t know where they’re being kept, or whether they’re still alive. King, time is precious, please leave immediately.”
“Where can I leave?” The Dong Lin King laughed bitterly. “I knew this would happen ever since ordering Senior Officer of the Left to meet Chu Beijie outside the gates. I trusted our brotherhood and gave him all the military power, so it’s sort of my fault? Alas, my Dong Lin is in imminent danger right now so I can only hope…”
He hadn’t quite finished when the clamour abruptly increased. It was as if the fight was in front of them, but it suddenly stopped.
Everything was so strangely quiet and everyone’s heart seemed to sink at the same time.
Bang! The door flew open and a small, trembling eunuch ran in, stuttering, “King, reporting to King….h-h-h-he…”
The Queen paled ever more, her heart understand the situation, but she seemed to have calmed down. She wiped her eyes and stood up, slapping the little eunuch. In a cold voice, she said, “Only report when something is important and when reporting, report clearly and precisely. What’s wrong?” She lowered her hand, her fingers clenched tightly to reveal her whitish joints.
Half of the small eunuch’s face was swollen, but his articulation really seemed to get better. “Servant should be punished, servant should be punished. Reporting to King, the Duke of Zhen-Bei wishes to see you.”
Although they knew that the Duke of Zhen-Bei’s troops had already invaded, but hearing his name right now caused the assembled crowd to shudder.
The Queen’s tone was mournful. “It’s better to come himself, so that he can personally kill his elder brother and his wife.”
“King!” The white haired Senior Official of the Right Wing, Chu Zairan, suddenly yelped, throwing himself at the Dong Lin King’s feet, crying. “Back then I begged King to have stricter orders on the Duke of Zhen-Bei, so that he would never rebel. King only sent out Sangtan because it was too heartbreaking for King to meet him personally. As Your Majesty can see, he has indeed caused much trouble for Dong Lin. Please listen to what I have to say and if King doesn’t listen, I’ll kill myself immediately beneath King’s feet.”
The King of Dong Lin sighed, “Why cry, I understand. The children of my beloved are lost, leaving a bunch of clues pointing at my brother. I was just temporarily blinded by the fact that he has led troops to invade the city, causing chaos. Thanks for the reminder Mister, but see, there’s no point in killing my two sons if he could’ve just taken me off me throne with his military power.”
“King!” The Queen was exasperated. “Doesn’t King believe that Chu Beijie has a true wild ambition? The person who killed my princes must be him. Why hasn’t King realised it by now?”
“By now, I’m no longer confused.” The King of Dong Lin lowered his voice to the Queen and looked at Chu Zairan, who was crying on the ground. He sighed, “But the political situation has changed and it’s impossible to recover. Go ahead and say whatever you wanted to.”
Chu Zairan’s body trembled and he gritted his teeth. “I’ll be bold, please Order to crown the Duke of Zhen-Bei.”
“What? Are you crazy?” The others were shocked, overflowing emotions.
“Chu Zairan, do you understand what you’re saying?”
“Mr Chu, please take that back. You must be too old!”
“I’m not crazy, King.” Chu Zairan raised his head at the quiet Dong Lin King, tears streaking out of his old eyes. “The four countries have been at war for many years, the Dong Lin army has attacked four times, causing deep resentment. Their army is very strong, while the rest of our country is weak, therefore if the army were gone, the first country to be destroyed is our Dong Lin. To protect our Dong Lin, please give up the throne, King, to avoid further internal conflict. I…I know these words are traitorous and I know punishment is death, but I’m willing to die.” He thumped his head against the stone floor for a few times and fresh blood increasingly spilled with every thump, until his head was completely bloodied.
White hair and bloody expression, fierceness in desolation.
The Queen, who was so used to scold others, could no longer bear looking at him either.
There was no sound in the main room. The small eunuch was still kneeling on the floor, though fidgeting. He shyly said, “King, the Duke of Zhen-Bei…is still waiting outside.”
The crowd’s hearts were inspired despite the silence in the main room. It was like the calm before the storm, separated by a heavy wall and who knew what hell was waiting after that wall came down.
The Dong Lin King sighed heavily. “Fine, get him to come in then. The Queen should go with the others to the back. Senior Official of the Right, please stay behind.”
“King…” The Queen slowly breathed out.
“Queen, you may go.”
The group of maids helped the Queen to leave, leaving only the King of Dong Lin and Chu Zairan in the large main room. Not long later, they heard the entrance being softly pushed back and the harsh light of fire entered their eyes. In a flash, the flame was gone and the large entrance was closed once more.
There was a person in front of them, in dust-ridden armour. His face was handsome and his presence was imposing. His hand was at his sword as he sighed, “Older brother must be feeling pretty bad, seeing Beijie.” Yes, he was the Duke of Zhen-Bei, who the King of Dong Lin had given military powers to.
Seeing no response from the Dong Lin King, Chu Beijie chuckled sadly. “The feeling Beijie felt when seeing Brother’s Order, isn’t it similar to what Brother is feeling now?”
“As it has become a big mistake, then there’s no point regretting it anymore.” The King of Dong Lin looked away, faintly saying to Chu Zairan, “Senior Official of the Right, start drafting.”
“Yes, King.” Chu Zairan took up his pen, trembled for a while, then put down the pen. He had been writing orders for the King for decades and therefore had a lot of experience. He could even write a long scroll without pause, only stopping his pen when finished. This time however, the paper was full of his tears and blurred the characters many times.
Chu Zairan put down the pen and handed in to the King of Dong Lin with both hands. “King…please seal it…” His voice was choked.
The Dong Lin King looked blankly at Chu Beijie. Their brotherly relationship was affectionate and they always laughed cheerily at national affairs, who knew how the situation ended up like today. He took out the jade seal, the King’s Seal and pressed it down on the Order. He gave the Order and the jade Seal to Chu Zairan, forcedly laughing, “Give these to the next ruler of Dong Lin.”
Chu Beijie just stood quietly in the distance. He hadn’t spoken a single word since Chu Zairan picked up his pen, as if he had become a statue due to a curse. His eyes were impossible to decipher as he studied every movement of the large hall.
Receiving the Order from the King with both hands, Chu Beijie was silent for a while, then suddenly raised his head, “Hey Brother, in exchange for the throne, could I ask for two things instead?”
The Dong Lin King turned to him, lips moving to form one word, “Speak.”
“Brother just needs to promise to not pursue this invasion and let Dong Lin be like usual.” Chu Beijie said, “As for me, I’m absolutely sick of this. I don’t ever want to appear in caught again, please allow me to retire.”
“Did you really think that I would agree to not chasing a traitor?”
Chu Beijie nodded his head, full of trust. “Condemning all of the traitorous troops with badly damage Dong Lin’s military power, provoking greater evil. Brother must have wanted to avoid too many people losing their lives, so almost giving up the throne, right? Sigh, although I’m an incomparable general, even a Duke, I’m nothing compared to Brother’s great heart.”
The King of Dong Lin gazed at Chu Beijie, “What’s the other thing that brother wanted?”
Chu Beijie’s face twitched in pain.
“In the Zhen-Bei Ducal Residence, there’s a small building in the east. On the table inside, there’s…” he lowered his voice, “a guqin.”
- Eunuch: A manservant or slave that has been castrated.
- Tie a noose: Commit suicide by hanging.