More than half of the fodder grass was intercepted by West Yi army’s sneak attack, the rest were burnt to ashes. Li Jin Tian tried to clean up his involvement, he even removed his own confidant, but that just caused Gao Min to doubt him.
Gao Min felt furious when he thought that he would not be able to conquer West Yi. After ninety-nine steps were finished, he now had to leave on the last step. Returning to Beijing a loser, to accept the courtiers’ accusations and Li Jin Tian’s forgiveness, how could he be willing to suffer such humiliation?
So, he wrote two letters, one to his brother, the other to his most trusted friend, Li Wang.
Li Wang and the Gao Lang secretly met after leaving Beijing, along the way, they raised rations to send to the border. Because of their high positions, the supply officials gave them the green light, even when they emptied the local granary, no one dared to interfere. But they didn’t need to interfere, Li Jin Tian had sent a spy to monitor Gao Lang and Li Wang, and they secretly reported the matter to the Emperor.
Li Jin Tian trembled after reading the news. When Gao Min faced a difficult situation, his first thought was not him, it was Li Wang, and Li Wang disregarded life and death to help him. Anyone could see how deep their feelings were.
He could no longer deceive himself that the two were not close. Who would be willing to die for someone they don’t care about? Who would risk leaving Beijing to go rescue someone they don’t love? He was also scared by Gao Lang and Li Wang’s boldness. They went all the way to West Yi as if they were kings, no official dared to defy their orders, giving them forage when they asked, giving them soldiers when they asked. Where do these people put the Emperor? If Gao Lang and Li Wang intended to rebel, they would be too afraid to tell their own Emperor.
Li Jin Tian was furious, but his performance was very calm in the court. He’d learned a lesson after all this time. He couldn’t reveal the slightest abnormalities, or Gao Jia and Li Wang would immediately know.
After his brother and Li Wang had rushed to the rescue, Gao Min finally set off back to West Yi. At this point, his prestige in Da Yanguo had risen to an unprecedented height. Whether it was dignitaries or commoners, they all endlessly praised the Great General Gao, they bluntly talked about the Great General Gao’s braveness, and how he brought great prosperity to the country.
All the great prosperity my Da Yanguo has, it all relied on Gao Min? Li Jin Tian stood at the top of the tower, slightly bowed, the crown blocking his cold smile.
The mighty army was returning from the war, marching in from the sunset. Gao Min sat on his horse, his armor emitting a cold light. He looked up at the tower, first to his little son who’d grown a bit taller, whom he gave a triumphant smile, then he looked at the Emperor.
Li Jin Tian waved, his eyes as gentle as always. Gao Min suddenly felt relieved, he even showed a rare soft expression.
A few days later, the court set off a whirlwind, urging the Emperor and Li Wang to pick an heir. You don’t have to guess who the candidate was, it was obviously Gao Min’s Five Princes.
The eunuchs helped Li Jin Tian tidy the piles of memorials, every memorial praised Gao Min and Five Princes. They were treated as two gods who descended to the world specifically to save Da Yanguo, the Emperor was lucky to have those two’s help.
“Good, even this throne I have is all because Gao Min is here. Great!” Li Jin Tian threw out the memorials, his eyes red.
The eunuch lowered his head, afraid to breathe.
Li Jin Tian’s chest violently undulated, then he unexpectedly calmed down. He personally picked up a memorial, patted it clean, then slowly said, “Okay, since this is what the public wants, then I will give them Gao Gui Jun, the court has picked a good candidate.” As for the legislation of the matter, he could delay it for however long he wanted. He liked Five Princes, but as long as he thought of who was standing behind Five Princes, he felt nauseous.
The Head Eunuch promised and transferred the written instructions to the court.
In the Imperial study room, Li Xu Yan became the object of praise. Next to him was the second son of Gao Lang, Gao Nian. At the moment, Gao Nian felt higher than heaven.
“My small uncle is a great commander, if not for him, the people in the border couldn’t live as stable as they are now. Uncle has done great deeds, naturally, he deserves the supreme honor. You certainly can’t imagine how hard life was at the border. Unlike some of the rebels and remnants here, who do nothing yet live so comfortably. If it was up to me, I would cut them off, such a waste of food.”
“What do you mean by rebels and remnants?” A cold voice suddenly came from the door, before Gao Nian could turn around to look, he was grabbed by his hair and was smashed into the table, then punched repeatedly, he fell down, bleeding and unconscious.
Five Princes finally reacted, he quickly called people forward to hold on to Six Princes, the Royal study room was suddenly in chaos.
In the end, Gao Nian was seriously wounded and was carried back to Gao house on a wooden plank by his servants, no one knew whether he’ll have any sequelae when he woke up. Gao Lang ran to the Tian Chen Palace to complain and get justice for his son.
Because of Li Jin Tian’s extravagant favor on Zi Chen Palace, Gao Min didn’t dare to trespass, but he was always looking out for a way to discredit Qi Xiujie and Six Princes, so he also rushed to the temple to complain.
Six Princes’ status was just after Five Princes’, so the palace guards didn’t dare arrest him, they simply escorted him back to the Zi Chen Palace and left the punishing to the higher-ups.
Li Jin Tian heard about the matter from Gao Min and summoned the doctor to look at Gao Nian’s injury. It was very serious, so he immediately ran to the Zi Chen Palace. He hadn’t been inside the gorgeous lonely palace for a long time, so he was timid to enter. Even though he lived through two lifetimes, the person he felt most guilty about was not Gao Min, but Qi Xiujie. He felt that he could never recompense him for what he did to him.
So the only person he was afraid to face was Qi Xiujie.
When no one came out to welcome him from the palace, he slowly walked in, hesitant, and finally stopped at the door, he couldn’t move forward.
From behind the door, he heard Six Princes complaining, “Jun Father, I know I did wrong, but it was really unbearable. Emperor Father pardoned you, so why can that Gao Nian child slander you as a rebel?”
Qi Xiujie’s tone, as always, was insipid, as if there was nothing in the world that could move him, “Why? Naturally, because his surname is Gao.”
“Who cares about the Gao name? I’m surnamed Li.” Six Princes sounded offended.
Qi Xiujie gently laughed, then sighed, “Silly boy, do you think your last name is very honorable? That was before, not now. Now, you can’t move against Gao family. Even your Emperor Father can’t move them.”
“Even Emperor Father cannot move them? How is that possible?” Six Princes apparently didn’t believe.
Qi Xiujie patiently explained, “Gao Lang has dominated the court, Gao Gui Jun holds the army, both outside and inside the palace are in Gao family’s control. If Gao Gui Jun wants us to live, to die, or disappear silently, how can we oppose them? Who do you think shortened my life span and ruined my womb with poison? Gao Nian has no royal blood, but his surname is Gao, this alone can make him pressure you.”
Six Princes was silent for a long time, frightened, then he softly asked, “Jun Father, is this Gao family’s Da Yanguo or my Li family’s Da Yanguo?”
“Now it’s still yours…. but in the future, who knows?” Qi Xiujie sighed, then said, “In any case, don’t make this happen again in the future. Go kneel in front of the Xin temple, don’t make your father lose any more face.”
Six Princes was unwilling to agree, he muttered, “I really don’t know what Emperor Father is thinking.”
Li Jin heard this and fled, embarrassed. Originally, he’d thought that since Qi Xiujie was always in his palace, he wouldn’t notice, but if even he can see it clearly, what do the courtiers think?
Li Jin Tian remembered the memorials urging him to make Five Princes the heir and his heart squeezed. The courtiers are obviously biased for Gao Min and his son, they don’t remember that I am the real master of Da Yanguo! The hostility in his heart spilled out, his footsteps quickened.
When the Emperor walked far enough away, Qi Xiujie touched the wolf cub’s head and laughed, praising, “Good play, but your actions really were a bit rough. The best way to murder is not in the broad daylight, but with a sword in the shadows, without a trace. There are thousands of ways to kill him without being noticed, why did you use your own hands?”
Xudong hugged his father’s waist and said with a ruthless expression, “I can’t tolerate anyone being disrespectful to you, I needed to pay him back personally.”
“Good boy.” Zhou Yun Sheng laughed, then immediately made the attendants find a bunch of thorns, and sent the distressed wolf cub to the temple.
Six Princes kneeled for forgiveness in front of the Yang Xin Temple. But Gao Min was not only indifferent, he added more thorns under his knees and ordered him to kneel until afternoon the next day. Once he saw the prince’s knee bones was undoubtedly wrecked, Gao Min finally let him go back. Fortunately, Gao Nian was alive, he had even woken up. He had no other symptoms except for dizziness and vomiting, so Gao Jia could only give up their revenge. Otherwise, if Six Princes had killed Gao Nian, he would have had to repay with his life.
Li Jin Tian called Six Princes into the royal study and severely reprimanded him, he also added an extra penalty to him for six months. But his heart wasn’t angry, he was just deeply sympathetic. Originally, the Five and Six Princes were both his favorites, but he loved Five Princes just a bit more, but after this event, Six Princes’ position in his heart was far above Five Princes’.
Six Princes didn’t have a strong maternal family and was very modest, courteous and he showed filial piety. More importantly, his ability was above Five Princes’, so he was more suitable to inherit the Da Yanguo throne. Now the important question was, how hurt were his knees? If Gao Min turned him into a waste, then wouldn’t Da Yanguo only be able to be inherited by his son? Twelve Princes had already died because of Gao father and son, Six Princes became a waste because of Gao father and son, and the rest of the princes had none of a noble’s dignity because of neglect in their discipline, none of them could rule a country. Will my Da Yanguo become Gao’s Da Yanguo in the future?
No! This kind of thing must not happen!
After making a decision, he continued to drag on the matter of selecting an heir. He told Gao Min that he was afraid that Five Princes didn’t have enough experience to rein in the other princes, so he wanted him to gain leadership experience for a few years.
Gao Min was already used to Li Jin Tian’s constant indulgence, his heart’s defenses lowered whenever he was involved, so he didn’t doubt his excuse. He persuaded his brother and the courtiers to hold off on the heir selection. The nosiness finally quieted down, but Li Jin Tian’s dissatisfaction with Gao Jia had already reached the limit.
Li Xudong arrived at the palace gate, carried by the servants. He saw his Jun Father standing in the gate way, his handsome face shrouded in fierce killing intent.
He personally carried the wolf cub into inner hall, took out some high-quality medicine, and gently applied it to the bloody, shredded knees. His voice was light, “It’ll be fine my son. This little injury will heal in one or two months. I didn’t intend to intervene too much, I wanted them to ruin themselves, but then they chose to bully you. So, your Jun Father will destroy Gao Min and Li Xu Yan for you. Do you know what the most desperate situation in the world is? It’s not poverty, or loneliness. It’s when you think you’re at the pinnacle of the world, then suddenly, you’re pushed into the abyss. Your Father will make them experience that despair.”
Jun Father is worried about me. Jun Father will avenge me. Jun Father is so gentle, he’s angry for me. Happy thoughts assaulted Li Xudong’s mind one after another, except for nodding, he couldn’t do any other responses.
As for how Jun Father would push Gao father and son into the abyss, he didn’t care, he would never doubt his Jun Father’s ability.