Nightfall - Chapter 806

Published at 19th of March 2019 08:36:25 PM

Chapter 806

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Some of the houses close to the Vermilion Bird Avenue were impacted by the battle. You could see some people repairing the houses in the snowy night.

Ning Que seemed like he didn't hear what Chao Xiaoshu said. He looked toward the houses for a long time and said, "Many people died that day."

Chao Xiaoshu stopped talking and started to scoop up mutton bits from the pot of soup.

Ning Que poured some wine into his bowl and said, "What do you think about the peace talks?"

Chao Xiaoshu said, "It's not appropriate for me to speak about matters of the Royal Court."

Ning Que said, "The war is in a lull now. But it's hard to tell if this is beneficial to the Tang Empire. Too much blood has been shed. It will take some time for them to catch their breath. Since we didn't lose the battle, we can have peaceful talks without suffering more losses."

Chao Xiaoshu said, "Let's eat first."

The pot of soup smelled good, partially subduing the wine's aroma. After all, it was a time of war. Chao Xiaoshu and Ning Que both liked this steamed food, but there was no way to bring it from the north.

They ate their meal in silence, being sure to not drink too much. Chao Xiaoshu waited until they were almost finished eating to start speaking again.

"Too many things were involved in this battle. All of the Tang people are working hard. It looks like people have forgotten about Li Yu. But you should know, neither the king's court nor the Tang people have forgotten her."

He looked at Ning Que and said, "The Academy has much authority. Her Majesty always finds a way. Due to the invasion, all of the people are of one heart. Even her most loyal subordinates have also chosen to remain calm. But if the war ends or is temporarily put on hold, the conflict will eventually arise again."

Ning Que said, "The people in the Royal Court aren't fools. Her Majesty showed her ability to manage the country. There's no reason for them to keep supporting Li Yu."

Chao Xiaoshu said, "It seems like you've forgotten one thing: Everyone in the world now knows that Her Majesty is from the Devil's Doctrine. Although the Tang people have never obeyed the West-Hill Divine Palace, their belief in Haotian might not fade away in a short time. People have a natural hatred towards the Devil's Doctrine."

Ning Que said, "What exactly do you mean?"

Chao Xiaoshu answered him, "That depends on how the Academy and the imperial court will deal with her."

"If everything is peaceful, she will be imprisoned in the Princess' palace."

Ning Que looked at Chao Xiaoshu in the eye and said, "If there are only a few signs of unrest, I will kill her in the shortest possible amount of time."

Chao Xiaoshu looked at him and said, "You were very close to her before. Everyone in Chang'an knows that. I never would have expected you could be so cold to her."

Ning Que said, "Like I said, many people have died on this street."

Chao Xiaoshu said, "I want to see her."

Ning Que raised his eyebrow slightly and said, "What will you do when you see her?"

Chao Xiaoshu said, "I'll just look. Or talk to her."

"Though I don't think it's necessary to talk to her, but..."

Ning Que said, "I haven't seen Xiao Man for a long time, either. So go on then."

The streets at night were very quiet. The Princess' palace, previously crowded to the brim, was now cold and quiet. Even the normal people who would occasionally pass by were not willing to look at the closed gate.

Ning Que knew there were a lot of hidden bodyguards in the surrounding streets at night. He still thought Li Yu was a fool. But this didn't mean the mother and son in the Imperial Palace would drop their guard.

He and Chao Xiaoshu walked towards the Princess' palace. The snow fell gently on the closed gate. It was silent inside the walls. The absence of light made it look like a tomb.

After General Xuanwei's entire family was exterminated, his home also looked like a tomb. When Ning Que entered Chang'an, he went to the tomb and mourned a few times. He knew the house looked as fallen mansions usually did, so he wasn't that surprised.

He stopped suddenly. The walking stick under his arm fell in the snow.

Chao Xiaoshu also stopped.

In what was a normal night, they both felt something abnormal. Because they heard something breathing slightly amongst the old trees behind the wall. Based on how quickly they were breathing, Ning Que and Chao Xiaoshu could tell the men in the trees were nervous.

Ning Que looked up at the snow falling in the night sky, The snowflakes looked really beautiful as they fell, but he was actually not looking at the snow. His eyes darted through the branches.

Between the branches, he saw sharp and cold arrows.

"It's the crossbow arrow."

He looked at Chao Xiaoshu and said with a smile, "It seems like it's still the Shenhou crossbow."

When he heard the words "Shenhou crossbow", Chao Xiaoshu also laughed. He and Ning Que went into the Spring Breeze Pavilion a few years ago. They killed countless people on a rainy night. When they opened the gate, they saw the Shenhou crossbow.

Tonight, there was no rain. But there was snow.

After all these years, the Shenhou crossbows were aimed at them again. The two men's expressions didn't appear to be as serious as that year. Instead, they laughed. For they were not the same people they were years ago.

Chao Xiaoshu was no longer an emperor in the Jianghu world. By the lake of the Imperial Palace, he entered the Knowing Destiny State. He could escape from Liu Bai's sword. There was already a space for him among the strongest cultivators in the world.

Ning Que had changed even more so. Even though the Old Brush Pen Shop was still his, he was no longer selling calligraphy for a living. The young man from the downtrodden border town was now a person from the Academy entering the human realm.

Even if there were hundreds of armored cavalries coming from the streets ready to attack, let alone Shenhou crossbows, Chao Xiaoshu and Ning Que would still be unworried.

They were very strong, even stronger when together. This was evident from what took place at the Spring Breeze Pavilion years ago. It was also made apparent years later in front of the Princess' palace on that snowy night.

"I just want to know where they're from," Ning Que said.

Chao Xiaoshu said, "They should be from the Gushan Commandery's red capes. The best of Hua Jia's army. You may not know, but Hua Shanyue has already returned to Chang'an."

Ning Que said, "Ask the world what love is, and it will make a man a fool."

It was still dark when they entered the Princess' palace. The only lights were from other houses' lights reflecting off the snow onto the garden. They could barely see the old path among the dead flowers.

Ning Que had been to the Princess' palace many times before. He led Chao Xiaoshu by the stone gate and into the house. They walked across the frozen lake, then saw the light beside the terrace.

There were many veils on the terrace. The light was dim. The woman sitting there seemed lonely. In this cold winter, nobody could understand why she would sit there in this cold wind.

Ning Que opened the veil, looked at Li Yu, and said, "It looks like you've been in a good mood lately. When you have a dream in your heart, you can get through any kind of bad day."

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Li Yu seemed to have lost some weight. But she still looked pretty. She ignored Ning Que, and bowed to Chao Xiaoshu who stood next to Ning Que. She said, "Thank you, Uncle Chao, for still remembering me."

Chao Xiaoshu shook his head and didn't say anything.

Ning Que walked towards her, using his walking stick. He gently rubbed the wick with his fingers to make the flame in the lamp brighter.

He looked at Li Yu and said, "Before, I always called you a fool behind your back. That's because I had high standards for you. In reality, you are not a fool. And you should know that. Under the circumstances, you could either stay in this palace or die. The Tang Empire didn't give you the option to choose a third way."

Li Yu did not say anything, but looked at him silently.

Ning Que said, "Why would you do such a foolish thing?"

When she heard him say this, she laughed to herself a little.

"There's no difference in being imprisoned and killed or being killed directly. I would rather choose the latter. And I can't let Xiao Man follow me in this tomb for a lifetime."

"That's just an excuse."

Ning Que's tone was calm, but it seemed colder than the snow on the lake.

"If you were worried about Xiao Man, you could've sent someone to tell me. Due to our former relationship, I wouldn't allow him to waste his whole life here. But you didn't say anything. You still thought about yourself and how you could get out. But no matter what happened, you knew I wouldn't let you escape from this palace."

The cold night wind lifted the veil up and fell on Li Yu. She felt cold.

Chao Xiaoshu stood there silently.

Li Yu looked at Ning Que and asked, "Do you really hate me so much?"

Ning Que answered, "It has nothing to do with love or hate. You know I only consider things according to my best interest."

When he finished saying this, he looked around the terrace and said, "Come out."

There was a moment of silence.

After a while, voices were heard from all sides, including from under the terrace. There were dozens of men in capes who came out. Hua Shanyue was in the front, holding Xiao Man.

These people were outside for a while. They had endured a lot, but they still stood upright. It was apparent that they were soldiers. Then Ning Que noticed something: these men wore white capes, unlike how Chao Xiaoshu had described them earlier.

But then a gust of wind lifted the capes up and showed a red lining underneath.

Of course, Xiao Man had met Ning Que before, standing by his mother. He almost called out to him subconciously, but then he realized the atmosphere on the terrace wasn't normal. So he decided not to speak.

Ning Que looked at him and smiled.

Then his smile faded as he looked at Hua Shanyue.

He didn't know how this man and these people with red capes had entered the Princess' palace. But he knew what these men wanted to do. And he absolutely could not allow them to do it.

"So quick believe a lovestruck fool could take you out of Chang'an. I really don't know if I should be disappointed in you, or proud of my own judgement."

Ning Que looked at Hua Shanyue, but he was talking to Li Yu.

Li Yu said, "I never believed he could take me out of Chang'an. But since he's here, I cannot tell him to leave. You know, he's the first guest this palace had these days."

Ning Que said to Hua Shanyue, "Now, you are in charge of three states in the army. You are only three levels away from becoming a general. I heard you have won many wars in the north. But tonight, everything you've worked for will turn into smoke. Do you have any regrets?"

Hua Shanyue looked at the walking stick under Ning Que's arm and said, "With some things, you will only know if you regret them or not after you've tried them. I heard you had a bad injury. Now that you've met me, it is you who should be feeling regret."

Ning Que pointed at Chao Xiaoshu.

Hua Shanyue said, "I've heard the news that the gang leader was also gravely injured. The average person wouldn't be able to tell that your cultivation is hurt, but according to a saying in the army, you are as weak as a rabbit."

Ning Que looked at him and the dozens of red capes, then said, "If there was always this much wishful thinking, it would be so easy to go crazy."

Hua Shanyue said, "There are 30 Shenhou crossbows pointed at you in the night. I can think about whatever I want."
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