Chapter 265: The Ceremony (Part One)

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The crippled old man looked at Du Hongxian and said after a moment of silence, “I’m a bit envious of you since you got to travel west with His Highness.”

“Envious?” Du Hongxian froze for a second and shook her head. “If you see your friends dying every day, you wouldn’t be envious. Hundreds of people traveled west, and I didn’t even remember half of their looks and most of their names. However, they were my friends; I could trust my back to them. Strangers became best friends, and the ones living are in more pain than those who had died.”

After a pause, she added, “My man doesn’t want to think about the past, and he doesn’t allow me to as well.”

The crippled old man didn’t know how to respond. After a moment of silence, he said with a smile, “Fang Jie begged you to come with us; does he have a plan?”

“He plans on making me live,” Du Hongxian laughed, “That little guy always thinks that he is smart. I’m not idle these days. I’m living in His Highness’s residence, but I’m secretly investigating the details about His Highness’s journey to the west more than 12 years ago. I always suspected that it wasn’t simple. Due to Li Yuanshan’s urgent report, His Highness quickly left Chang’an. After all these years, I couldn’t help but wonder if Mongo-Yuan really planned on assassinating the Emperor.”

“You weren’t there when the battle occurred, and we didn’t detect anything strange as well. However, I always feel like something was off. Those cultivation masters of Mongo-Yuan seemed even more aggressive than us as if they were angrier. We thought they were only angry because their scheme was exposed. When we had the advantage and killed many enemies, more and more cultivation masters of Mongo-Yuan came, and more and more casualties appeared on our side.”

“When I thought back, I found many strange things,” Du Hongxian said, “First, the first group of cultivation masters of Mongo-Yuan that we encountered was weak. The reinforcements from the Buddhist Sect were much more powerful. Second, the military reported this assassination attempt to Chang’an, but no soldiers participated and helped us in that battle. Third, who would benefit the most from that incident?”

The crippled old man thought for a moment and replied, “You mean Mongo-Yuan and His Highness were fooled?”

Du Hongxian nodded and said, “I finally realized it when Fang Jie told me that Royal King Yi is probably going to rebel. Perhaps it was a big conspiracy to begin with. Royal King Yi benefited the most from His Highness leaving Chang’an. If Royal King Yi wants to rebel, he would be most afraid of His Highness and not the Emperor. Royal King Yi would only dare to rebel when His Highness isn’t in Chang’an. Although I don’t know why Royal King Yi delayed his plan until now, I’m sure that Royal King Yi is related to that big incident!”

The crippled old man asked, “Is that why Fang Jie asked you to come here?”

Du Hongxian smiled. “He is afraid that I will go to Royal King Yi alone. That little guy knows me well, so he begged me to go to the ceremony with you guys. He gave me a funny reason.”

“What did he say?”

“He said that Beckon of the Red Sleeve would be the closest to the Emperor, and Royal King Yi should sit next to the Emperor. He said that if I want to do anything, it would be better to stay with Beckon of the Red Sleeve since it will be easier for me to hide.”

The crippled old man replied, “That makes sense.”

Du Hongxian laughed, “If Royal King Yi plans to rebel today, would he be dumb enough to sit with the Emperor? If he is going to rebel, he wouldn’t show up to the ceremony. Fang Jie only said that to stop me from going to Royal King Yi’s residence.”

The crippled old man froze for a second and nodded. “Why did you tell me this?”

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