Chapter 42 Assassination and Blood Everywhere.
So, when it came to Third Prince, she yearned for nothing that could happen between them. Initially, she had no intention to swoop in and compete with Ning Yuling. What Third Prince would do was literally none of her business, and the reason she didn't want Ning Yuling to marry Prince was that she had been afraid Madam Ling would capitalize on the power coming along with this marriage against her.
"If Third Prince knew the opposite side of you that you act so hard-hearted, I am not sure whether he would still treat you nice and kind." Something funny occurred to Ao Chenyi which made him laugh even harder. His eyes, falling on Ning Xueyan, were so gloomy and cold that made her whole body nervous, like being hit by something resplendent yet glacial.
She couldn't afford a slice of suspicion from Ao Chenyi, was afraid to remove her eyes away first. She had no choice but to confront that creepy gaze, while in her heart deep trembling with fear. She kept telling herself as comfort that since Ao Chenyi needed her to find that military medallion which belonged to preceding dynasty, he must need her alive and would not kill her at least for now.
Compared with the first time they met, Ao Chenyi was less hostile and intimidating to her, but still couldn't guarantee her safety for good, considering that Prince Yi was obnoxiously capricious.
Requesting evils to act against their interests, is a business either to win or die. She put her own life at stake.
To defeat Madam Ling mother and daughter was out of her league, so she had to seek support from others. Her uncle was one of them, but he would eventually return far back to the border. It just hit her that since there was no other valuable family background for her to exploit, she must take advantage of other's power, otherwise, killing her would be like nipping a bud to Ning Yuling, leaving no chance for her to fight back.
In the whole Manor, there was no one for her to count on, neither the Madam Dowager, nor Ning Zu'an. As incompetent as she was, how on earth could she win Madam Ling to get her revenge!
The weak might succeed in manipulating others, but not the military force. In front of Madam Ling's tremendous appalling power, everything she had was trivial. If Madam Ling wanted her dead, there was nothing she could do to stop her. Besides, Ning Zu'an wasn't a threat to her. All in all, she had to score this one.
She must become one of Ao Chenyi's people.
"Okay, you are in." He smiled with some elusive meaning, and surprisingly long eyelashes cast creepy shadows on his white smooth face, "since I've already listed you in my team, you don't need to be so frightened."
That flippant laughter sounded like a signal and was received by the guards who ambushed him on the side, which made their hearts jolt. They all desensitized their hearing and retracted their attention from the lake. If Prince Yi found out they were all eavesdropping, they might lose their ears for that.
He suddenly hurled the wine glass backward, drawing a crimson light and it thudded into the lake. Before Ning Xueyan could figure out what happened, Ao Chenyi adroitly landed on the ground from that rock, caught Ning Xueyan and turned around before both of them fell on that rock. He remained half-reclining posture, and the only difference was that there was a beautiful, pale yet chaste as clear water in this handsome man's arm.
What presented in front of her was the red blood waving in the water and drifting away!
On the hills of both sides, some people in black with masks either rolled down or showed up from the lake. All of them were aiming their swords toward Ao Chenyi, as well as Ning Xueyan in his arm. Blinding and cold lights went straight to their faces within a blink...
Meanwhile, a group of guards coming out from nowhere jumped out from all directions and acted mercilessly. People in black were extremely skilled, but they were immediately ambushed. In front of guards who were twice times than them in number and equally trained, people in black couldn't stand a chance to spare.
All of a sudden, cries only from one party were everywhere. The clear lake was colored into bloody red.
There was blood everywhere. People in black were taken down one by one, a few of them died of one fatal harm, and some of them were still struggling to march toward Ao Chenyi after applied seven or eight wounds by the sword. An assassin who had already jumped up on the rock fell down in front of Ning Xueyan. His eyes were still wide-open, bluntly gazing at her, and the color in his eyes was fading away. Before dying, he spurted blood on Ao Chenyi's and Ning Xueyan's clothes.
Unconsciously, Ning Xueyan reached out and dragged Ao Chenyi's garment.
"Are you scared?" A cold yet enchanting sound echoed in her ear...
"Does it matter whether I am scared or not?" Ning Xueyan's eyes cast on that assassin's face. Although her face had turned pale and her extremities were frozen, she still exerted herself and stared at that assassin.
After being stabbed a few times, fresh and warm blood was flowing out. Wide-open eyes were staring at them in vain and vanity, but still could sense the bloody hatred. This assassination ended up with failure, as the cries became weaker and weaker.
Everything had been planned. Prince Yi showed up here because he had known this. It was herself that strayed into this.
"If you are frightened, feel free to go!" Ao Chenyi let go of Ning Xueyan's slim waist, and on the corners of his mouth, a creepy cold smile emerged, resplendent yet elusive, which was quite terrifying, especially against this bloody background.
"Even if I can leave, I can't be safe. For your information, the road has been full of danger, too." Ning Xueyan felt a stab of pain. She quickly calmed down, sat up, embraced her knees where her head settled and said in a low voice.
Since assassination had happened, there was no way there were only a few people. Those people could not kill Ao Chenyi. There must be some attacks waiting for him since they dared to assassinate Ao Chenyi. It was the most relaxing moment for someone who just won a battle after being threatened. If the enemy mustered their strength to fight back, it was possible that they could get what they want.
This reminded her of the last life, Madam Ling and her daughter, along with Xia Yuhang acted exactly like that. At the last night before her wedding, which was supposed to be the happiest and most blessed moment in her life, they cruelly drowned her to death in that lotus pond.
The young lady in plain dress bent her knees and sat on the stone stage, and her eyes were black as dark jade, deep yet distant, emanating a sense of melancholy. Her palm-sized innocent face seemed at a loss. The corner of her clothes was covered with some blood. This was a dramatically bloody scene where she was the only one who seemed out of all this and unbelievably peaceful, like a pure white snowdrop, so unapproachable and elegant.
The view full of blood on the back actually served as a foil to her.
She didn't feel sorry for them, given she would lose her life if they won. After all, they wouldn't spare her life out of her being innocent.
Ao Chenyi frowned, flippantly pointed at the path Ning Xueyan took before, and asked, "So, you mean there are more assassinators out there?"
"My Lord, this question is actually redundant. Along that path, I can't even hear the sounds of insects and birds. This forest is abnormally quiet!" Ning Xueyan retracted her thoughts and slightly looked back, eliciting a smile at the edges of her eyebrows, "Since My Lord has already set up everything, how come you ask me again!"
She hadn't noticed when she came here, the path she took was oddly quiet. Cooperating with this current situation, all was so clear.
Looking upward, this intense fight was just over, while another fight got started. Although she couldn't see the details, the cries loomed over this place, scary and terrifying. Though she didn't pity those people, that didn't mean she appreciated such a scene, which was full of blood and death. Even the air smelled bloody. She looked down and kept silent.
She tried to avoid witnessing such a living hell.
"My Lord, what should we do with those people?" A guard came and saluted respectfully under the stone stage.
"Old rules!" Ao Chenyi said without any feelings.
"Understood!" With no more words, the guard went back a few steps and then retreated!
In the meantime, there were cries coming one by one, echoing long in the air. The last cry came right before they died, in the broad field, before the final strike, it was more like a cruel game of cat catching mouse. Not until they grew bored about this, here came the lethal move!
Prince Yi, who had been through a lot, how come he didn't realize there were people ambushing him.
Ao Chenyi narrowed his eyes and asked Ning Xueyan no more questions. He stood beside Ning Xueyan. The autumn wind blew his sooty garment with some blood, where the Equinox Flower looked even more glaring and striking and got people spellbound by the arresting red. From Ning Xueyan's position, she could see the blooming Equinox Flowers, which blocked her view of the sky flying toward her with the wind.
The night rolled over. Ning Xueyan came back to her yard in the darkness. Fortunately, everyone had gone to the Honored Consort Ya's place to pay their respect, so she didn't encounter anyone. When she entered her room, Qingyu almost shouted out after inspecting the blood on her dress.
"I am okay, and this blood is not mine." Ning Xueyan urgently explained in order to prevent her from screaming.
"Young… young lady, what happened?" Qingyu asked concernedly after finally getting herself together, while her face was still pale.
If this blood wasn't from Ning Xueyan, then it must be others'. How come others' blood splashed on young lady's clothes. Thinking of this, Qingyu was terrified.
"I ran into an event that someone tried to assassinate Prince Yi. Go get me clothes to change.” Ning Xueyan sat down on a chair and acted composed when the fatigue kicked in. She had been holding her breath until now. After she exhaled, she felt that her arms and legs were trembling and freezing. It was not she was not afraid; it was because she could not be afraid.
"Young lady, please take the tea first, and then I will help you change your dress." Lanning served a cup of steamed tea, and said in a low voice. She had always been more sophisticated than Qingyu, so after she saw Ning Xuening come in, she acknowledged Ning Xueyan wasn't injured. Lanning, on the opposite, behaved herself as normal and went make a cup of tea.
Ning Xueyan fetched the tea. When her trembling fingers touched that warm cup, a stream of warmth seeped in through her fingers literally and brought her back to life.
After they helped Ning Xueyan change and clean up, she finally got to sit down when hearing someone asking, "Is Fifth Young Lady here?"
"Sister, can I help you?" Lanning came out and saw a maidservant, so she asked politely.
"Madam Dowager asked Fifth Young Lady to dress up and come over now." This maidservant replied.
"Sure, she will be there in a minute." Lanning nodded. Hearing this, the maidservant turned around and left.
"Madam Dowager was asking for me?" Ning Xueyan was shocked. After giving it a lot of thoughts and getting the clue, she barely hesitated before standing up, bringing a lantern and heading toward Madam Dowager's place with Qingyu. Lanning was bumped by Ning Yuling and hadn't fully recovered yet, so she stayed in the yard.
When they got to the gate, they saw the dazzling gate and a group of maidservants standing still on the corridor. Also, there were a few eunuchs waiting next to the door. When they spotted Ning Xueyan coming, one of them stepped forward and asked, "Who are you?"