Arc 7: Dizi’s Remarriage Chapter 14
Although Yan Hao did not explicitly state his purpose for seeking out Lei Yuan at first, Tao Yuan had already guessed that he was definitely going to retreat.
If Yan Hao wants to retreat, he must have Lei Yuan’s consent. Otherwise, he would have to stay here until Lei Yuan declared his withdrawal. It was previously agreed before that the two Wu Wangs could expand their influence in Beiliang Guan based on their strengths. But they also had their respective areas of responsibility. Both parties had already documented these commitments in written pledges submitted to the Emperor.
With Yan Hao’s sudden decision to retreat, Lei Yuan would need to take over the area Yan Hao was responsible for. However, this transfer of territory wouldn’t bring Lei Yuan much benefit, and as long as he refused to take over, Yan Hao would continually drain resources and strength. Therefore, for Yan Hao to secure Lei Yuan’s agreement, he had to offer some form of compensation.
In the previous exchange, Yan Hao had borrowed provisions and passage, agreeing to repay Lei Yuan twofold in supplies and conceding a portion of his authority. Now, as he once again sought Lei Yuan’s assistance, it was only natural that he had to offer even more than before.
In truth, Yan Hao’s withdrawal didn’t entail a return to the capital city. Such a retreat would be a big humiliation. He wanted to go to Bei’an City in his heart, but Lei Yuan would never agree to it. Lei Yuan couldn’t even let him go around the neighboring cities around Beian City. So after Yan Hao withdrew his troops, he could only retreat to a place several cities away from the city of Bei’an at most.
Yan Hao withdrew his troops this time and handed over a lot of power to Lei yuan. It was absolutely impossible to say that he had completely given up fighting for power with Lei Yuan, and no one would believe it. Yan Hao withdrew his troops in order to preserve his strength and wait for the opportunity. And he did not return to the capital, not only because it was too humiliating to go back, but also to let his men fully adapt to life in the north.
Lei Yuan couldn’t possibly be oblivious to Yan Hao’s intentions, but Lei Yuan agreed to let him withdraw because he could get a lot of power from Yan Hao before moving the capital. It was also because he had enough confidence in himself to deliberately give Yan Hao a chance to breathe. But Lei Yuan was absolutely certain he would never let Yan Hao’s idea succeed.
After confirming with Yan Hao that he was really going to withdraw his troops, Qu Feng cried happily for a long time. Even if he was not going back to the capital, as long as he did not continue to live in fear, he would be very happy.
Yan Hao looked at Qu Feng’s appearance, his face and heart were full of disgust. Then he thought of Tao Yuan’s face. He questioned his own judgment, wondering what on earth had possessed him to select this person over someone like Tao Yuan. Had it not been for the lingering affection of his previous life, Yan Hao would have thrown Qu Feng away and let him run his own course. Then he might still be with Tao Yuan now.
As Miao Chen’s arrival approached, Tao Yuan asked Lei Yuan to send him back to Hancheng to prepare for Miao Chen’s arrival.
A few days later, Tao Yuan received a report, saying that Miao Chen had finally arrived. He immediately went out to greet him.
“Dad!” Tao Yuan had not seen Miao Chen for several months and happily ran towards him.
“A-Yun.” Miao Chen had just got off from the carriage, smiling as he watched Tao Yuan walking quickly towards him.
“Dad, where is my little brother?” Tao Yuan asked excitedly.
“He’s still sleeping inside,” Miao Chen replied, glancing towards the carriage. His attendant was just coming out carrying the child.
“Let me hold him,” Tao Yuan immediately walked over and took the child from the attendant’s hands.
Looking at the fair and tender child in his arms, Tao Yuan said, “Xiao Quli, do you recognize me? I am your big brother.”
“He doesn’t recognize people yet. Besides, he’s still fast asleep, so he won’t hear you talking,” Li Miao smiled.
“Let’s go, Dad. We’ll head inside to talk. I’ve instructed the chef to prepare your favorite dishes. After eating well, you can rest properly,” Tao Yuan said as he walked inside with his brother in his arms and Miao Chen.
Since Tao Yuan had recently eaten and wasn’t hungry, he held his brother, observing Miao Chen eating while chatting with him at the same time.
“Before coming here, I went to the palace to see Xiao Er. He has also grown quite a lot, but his face is still as round as ever,” Miao Chen mentioned.
Tao Yuan couldn’t help but laugh. “Da Wang always says his face is too round. I thought, being a newborn, all babies have round faces and that it will surely change as he grows up. But hearing you say that, Dad I’m starting to worry. What if he grows up and still has a round face? How would that be good?”
“There’s nothing to worry about. Because of being a bit chubby now, that’s why his face is round. You were the same when you were young. When he gets a bit older, his face won’t be round anymore.”
Tao Yuan smiled, glancing down at Xiao Quli in his arms, feeling that he missed Lei Xiao more.
“There’s something you probably don’t know,” Miao Chen’s smile suddenly vanished from his face.
“What happened?” Tao Yuan’s expression turned serious as he looked at Miao Chen.
“Your second uncle has passed away,” Miao Chen said.
“Second Uncle passed away? How did he die?” Tao Yuan was puzzled, wondering how a perfectly fine person could suddenly pass away.
“He led troops to eradicate the water bandits and ended up being killed by them,” Miao Chen explained.
“He led troops? What ability did he have to lead troops?” Tao Yuan found it a bit ridiculous. “A person who doesn’t even know martial arts, who hasn’t endured any hardships, actually led troops to eradicate water bandits? Isn’t that ridiculous?”
“In fact, he wasn’t the main commander. He wa s just tagging along to make up the numbers and earn some merit. Because Qu Feng was the only concubine who accompanied Yanwu Wang to Beiliang Guan and also the concubine most likely to bear the firstborn son for Yanwu Wang. People aligned with Yanwu Wang’s faction wanted to please him, so they…”
Tao Yuan smiled. He didn’t care if the former host’s second uncle was alive or dead. In this world, countless people passed away every day, and the former host’s second uncle was just as insignificant as others. Moreover, he felt a bit of schadenfreude because the most devastated person because of his death would undoubtedly be the eager-to-have-a-child Old Madam Qu.
In the past, for the sake of this little son, Old Madam Qu could be heartless enough to harm Qu Cang. Now that this little son has passed away, she must be in agonizing grief. Tao Yuan felt a sense of joy at the thought. He didn’t need to lift a finger. They started self-destructing. That’s what they call reaping what one sows.
Although the former host’s second uncle had two sons, they were also overly indulged and causing trouble. It would be fortunate if they didn’t stir up trouble. They would never amount to much.
The Old Madam Qu, seeing the younger generation pass away before her, was indeed heartbroken and bedridden. She never thought that her only son, the one she held dearest in her heart, would leave this world before her. Unable to contain her immense sorrow, she fell ill.
Miao Chen rested in the Hancheng for two days before heading to Qu Cang’s military camp. Tao Yuan remained behind, leaving Qu Li under his care.
After Miao Chen departed from Hancheng, Tao Yuan took Qu Li and went to Lei Yuan’s military camp.
Tao Yuan was holding Qu Li as he watched him play, blowing bubbles with wide-open eyes, finding him incredibly adorable. He wore a smile throughout the journey, gazing at him fondly.
After entering the military camp, Tao Yuan got out of the carriage while still carrying Qu Li with the help of Jiang Shuang and Jiang Yu.
Just as Tao Yuan steadied himself on the ground and began walking towards the tent, a sudden flash of white rushed out, swift as lightning, and leaped straight towards Qu Li in Tao Yuan’s arms. Startled, Tao Yuan, unable to clearly discern what it was, immediately triggered a strong burst of spiritual power, propelling the object away. The force even pushed aside the people nearby.
Tao Yuan was so worried that he couldn’t care about anything else and quickly checked if Qu Li in his arms had sustained any injuries. Qu Li was so frightened that he cried. Tao Yuan carefully confirmed that he was not hurt, just frightened. Then he patted and coaxed him.
Jiang Shuang and Jiang Yu were the first to rise. Jiang Shuang, enduring the pain, picked up the white creature and brought it in front of Tao Yuan, saying, “My lord, it’s a spirit fox.”
“Where did this spirit fox come from?” Tao Yuan furrowed his brow, expressing his displeasure. “Spirit foxes have an extremely wild nature and can be very harmful. Why wasn’t anyone specifically guarding it, allowing this creature to roam freely?”
Due to the near-injury of Qu Li by the spirit fox, Tao Yuan was extremely angry. If he hadn’t reacted quickly just now, Qu Li would have been seriously injured by the spirit fox. For a child so small to be injured by a spirit fox, it was highly likely it could have been fatal.
The spirit fox, wounded by Tao Yuan’s spiritual power, had blood trickling from its mouth and twitching, but it hadn’t died.
Fang Ce happened to be leading soldiers nearby. Upon seeing Tao Yuan, he immediately approached and paid his respects. “Greetings to my lord.”
“Commander Fang, this spirit fox…”
Before Tao Yuan finished speaking, he was interrupted by a cry. He turned to see a strikingly handsome young man with a face like white jade swiftly approaching. Following closely behind him was someone who looked exactly the same.
Tao Yuan thought to himself, “Twins?”
“Xue Ji! Give Xue Ji back to me!” The young man ran over attempting to snatch the spirit fox away, but Jiang Shuang evaded him. Without Tao Yuan’s orders, the spirit fox, which had almost harmed Qu Li, couldn’t be returned to him.
Qu Li was crying so hard, Tao Yuan felt very distressed. He had no intention of letting this fox off easily.
“Ben Wang 1 order you to return Xue Ji to me! Do you hear me?!” Sang Wen angrily shouted at Jiang Shuang.
“Sang Wen, calm down a little,” Sang Yun grabbed Sang Wen, trying to reason with him.
“Brother, they hurt Xue Ji, how do you expect me to stay calm?!”
“They are…” Tao Yuan looked at Fang Ce and asked.
“Reporting to Wangjun, these two are officials from the Kingdom of Sang. They were brought here by the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Sang,” Fang Ce explained.
“Is this your spirit fox?” Tao Yuan asked Sang Wen.
“How about my spirit fox? Hurry and return Xue Ji to me! If anything happens to my Xue Ji, I’ll make you all pay with your lives!” Sang Wen glared at Tao Yuan, speaking loudly.
“Outrageous!” Fang Ce shouted at Sang Wen. “Daring to suggest that Wangjun should accompany a mere animal in death! Is the Kingdom of Sang looking to wage war against the Donglai Guo?”
Sang Wen and Sang Yun were taken aback. They hadn’t realized Tao Yuan was the Wangjun of Lei Wu. Sang Wen had been too agitated, and Sang Yun was busy trying to calm Sang Wen down, so they didn’t hear Fang Ce address Tao Yuan as “Wangjun.”
“It turns out to be Your Highness Wangjun. We’ve been impolite. We sincerely hope Wangjun won’t take offense.” Sang Yun slightly bowed to Tao Yuan, then tugged at Sang Wen’s sleeve, signaling him to apologize wuickly.
Sang Wen glanced sorrowfully at the spirit fox, then reluctantly gave a quick bow.
Tao Yuan glanced at them and, holding Qu Li, walked straight into the tent.
Jiang Shuang still held the semi-conscious spirit fox in his hands. He instructed an attendant to fetch a cage, placing the spirit fox inside before carrying the cage into the tent.
“Xue Ji…” Sang Wen attempted to follow to get the spirit fox, but Sang Yun held him back.
“Sang Wen, don’t forget our purpose for being here. More importantly, don’t forget what our elder brother told us before coming. He said that Leiwu Wang deeply cherishes his king. If we offend him now, our prospects of marrying Leiwu Wang might not happen,” Sang Yun advised.
“But Xue Ji was a gift from Father. I’ve raised it for so many years. Am I supposed to watch it die like this?!”
“Is Xue Ji more important, or is our future happiness more significant? Didn’t you resolve to marry Leiwu Wang after meeting him?” Sang Yun looked at him seriously. “I’ve mentioned it to you long ago. You always indulge Xue Ji too much. If Xue Ji truly harms the child in his arms today, it will cause a major catastrophe.”
“Could it be, could it really mean abandoning Xue Ji?” Sang Wen had raised Xue Ji for so many years and had developed a deep attachment. He couldn’t bear to do it.
“Be it one Xue Ji or ten Xue Jis, today, they must be given up. If you can’t bear it, I’ll tell our elder brother. He’ll send you back and have Father find you a suitable husband in the court, while I stay and marry Leiwu Wang.”
“No way!” Sang Wen’s eyes widened as he emotionally and fervently exclaimed, “We agreed to marry Leiwu Wang together! This was the plan from the start. We both look exactly alike, seducing Lei Wu together would be easier. How can you be the only one to marry him?!”
“If you don’t want to be sent back, come with me later to apologize to Wangjun. You’ll do everything as I say, understand?”
“Understood, I’ll follow your lead,” replied Sang Wen. Despite his somewhat spoiled and domineering temperament, he wasn’t entirely lacking in intelligence. He knew that Sang Yun was smarter and calmer than he was, and following his lead would undoubtedly not go wrong.
Im bacc ~~
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- 本王 Ben Wang: This King/ This prince