With his sustained injuries, Long Zijin made his way back to the garden pavilion within the Yu Residence. There, he came upon a precarious scene, two distinct groups in confrontation.
One one side stood more than a dozen Purple Guards, surrounding Qing Feng, Duan Yuhuan, Xia Sang and Yuzhi. Yue Jingying was also there. Yet despite the presence of the hidden guards, seemingly all of them had sustained some injuries more or less. Yuzhi appeared frightened, her small face void of color as Xia Sang stood by her side, tightly holding onto her, his blue robes stained with crimson blood.
On the opposite side, there were around thirty to forty men, attired in all black and armed with weapons, their faces contorted in a sinister scowl.
On the ground were more than a dozen corpses, some belonging to the Purple Guards, some with unfamiliar faces dressed in blue, most likely part of Yue Jingying’s group from the Yamen.
Standing in front of each party were two people.
Leading one party were the Murong siblings, sneers lining both of their faces and with their similar countenance, they looked even more ominous at this moment. They were both armed with weapons and Murong Pei’s sword was raised, pointing straight ahead at the white-robed man in front of him.
It was pointed directly at Long Fei Li who was holding Ruyi in his arms. Long Fei Li’s sword was lowered, the tip pointing towards the ground as he stood there, his stance free and unhurried, but his eyes remained vigilant with a sharp gaze as blood trickled down one of his hands. He seemed to have gotten injured.
Shocked, Long Zijin exclaimed, “Ninth brother, you’re hurt?”
At the sound of his voice, everyone’s gaze shifted towards him.
Ruyi’s complexion was ashen at the sight of him, her voice trembling as she asked, “Zijin, you’re also injured? His Majesty got hurt saving me.”
Long Fei Li’s gaze was also on Long Zijin, his eyes dark as he asked in a heavy voice, “Tenth brother, where is she?”
The instant his words fell, everyone was taken by surprise as they came to realize who he was referring to.
Eyes glistening with tears, Ruyi looked back at Long Fei Li, her expression forlorn as she remained in his tight embrace.
Watching this scene before him, Long Zijin suddenly felt it was all too glaring for his eyes….. In his mind flashed the image of her smiling face.
I understand… he only has her in his heart
He remembered the crestfallen look in her eyes yet she had put on a brave front and smiled as she spoke.
And now because she had saved him, perhaps she had been assaulted or worse, left for dead.
“Hmmm, she…. Ninth brother, she saved me. She possibly may already be dead by now.”
He didn’t know why he replied in such a way, seemingly there was some force within him inciting him to do so, that if he didn’t, his heart would shatter to pieces.
Before Long Fei Li, everything seemed to still, including Murong Pei’s glaring sword in front of him.
After their enemies launched an attack, no one else could employ their internal force besides him. In this critical circumstance, all of the Purple Guards hidden in the shadows all made an appearance.
Fortunately, the hidden guards had not been affected, otherwise the consequences would be difficult to imagine.
He fought with the Murong siblings but he also had to protect Ruyi as well. With their strength equally aligned, no one could gain the upper hand.
However, when he noticed that she hadn’t been among the people being protected by the Purple Guards, his focus momentarily lapsed, leaving his defenses open.
Murong Lin was very sharp and knew Ruyi was important to him. When she saw an opening, she immediately wielded her swords towards Ruyi. It was already too late for him to block her attack with his sword, so he could only turn his body and use himself as a shield.
He had questioned the two Purple Guards he assigned to protect her, but they said that she had been here and had left with the Second Young Master.
If she was here, did she see? Ruyi and him hugging…..the image of her pale face was all he could think about.
But that’s also good, she and Long Zijin were together and not here. The Army of Imperial Guards won’t be arriving until later tonight and the hidden guards were all in the open. If this fight could be won, then great, if not, then by not being here, perhaps her life would be saved.
But now Long Zijin said she’s possibly dead.
‘Possibly’? What does that mean?
He didn’t need ‘possibly’, such an ambiguous reply was not what he wanted to hear.
His thin lips pursed and he quickly moved to the side, lifting Ruyi by her waistband and gently pushing her into the Purple Guards’ encirclement between Duan Yuhuan and Qing Feng.
A flash of white fleeted before Long Zijin’s eyes and in the next instant Long Fei Li was already standing in front of him.
“What happened to her?” Long Fei Li questioned coldly as he tightly clutched his brother’s collar, his long, narrowed phoenix eyes tinged in a dark redness.
At this critical moment, to see the sudden change on the emperor’s face, Murong Pei and Murong Lin exchanged glances. Brows creasing, Murong Lin said in a low voice, “Let’s see what happens.”
Towards Long Fei Li’s question, Long Zijin could only open his mouth, but there were no words that came.
“I(zhen) asked what happened to Nian Xuanji?” Long Fei Li coldly questioned again, his hand holding the sword trembling slightly.
Ruyi’s gaze was fixed on Long Fei Li. Seeing his fierce expression, the anxiousness in his actions, her heart fell into despair. When she finally saw him today and nestled in his embrace, the fear and pain she felt these past few days slowly dissipated. She had asked him if he intended to keep his original promise and he had told her that he would never let her down. He said he already made plans to deal with his mother’s affairs and that he didn’t want her taking any more risks.
She had wept with joy. In his heart, he was still faithful to her….he would never change, not ever.
But in this moment, seeing the impatience and anger rising in his eyes, all of these emotions laid bare all because of Xuanji…..the certainty she had moments ago when they sat at the stone table began to waver.
Could it be, Consort Nian has also taken up an equally important place in his heart, just like her? Is that it?
For a person’s heart to change, it was only normal. Has he truly changed?
“Long Fei Li!”
The moonlight was like water illuminating the whole garden as the grounds reeked of the smell of blood. Behind them in the forest of trees, a frightful voice suddenly issued.
The purple train of robes appeared….the face of the woman who just spoke came into view.
In the next instant, a white shadow flashed, robes fluttering like snow. Abruptly, the woman’s small frame was tightly embraced within the Emperor’s arms.
In the midst of this dire fight, when one’s enemies were stronger than oneself, Emperor Qingjia was tightly embracing a woman, so tightly as if there was no one else there.