CH 6

“Where do you think you’re going?” Murong Heng moved towards him step by step, a smile rising from the corners of his lips. He stopped and stood before the guard, Zhong Jing. There was a joyless expression in his gaze.

After a moment’s confusion, Zhong Jing recovered his senses and replied sedately, “Your…… Your Highness, this subordinate is not thinking of going anywhere.”

“Indeed?” Murong Heng raised his eyebrows upon hearing the words. If he didn’t possess memories of his past life and had bitterly recalled how Zhong Jing had betrayed him, causing tens of thousands of comrades to suffer devastating deaths, he might have fallen for his deceit.

Zhong Jing was unspeaking as he knelt on the ground, feeling somewhat bewildered. The keen eyes of the person in front of him seemed to have penetrated through to his innermost thoughts. He couldn’t help but wonder if there was some aspect he’d handled poorly that had led to His Highness’s discovery of him.

However, it would never have crossed his mind that Murong Heng was a person who’d been reborn, that he’d retained the memories of his past life, and therefore would obviously know full well he was colluding with the crown prince. He wasn’t aware of any of this.

Since it appeared that Zhong Jing was reluctant to confess, Murong Heng released a chilly laugh as he strode over to face him. A few guards subdued him, and Murong Heng seized the chance to grab the note. His words were icier than winter as he pointed at the note and asked, “What’s this?”

Zhong Jing, who was kneeling on the ground, lifted his head upon hearing the words. The colour in his face drained, and he strove to compose himself to speak, yet there was a slight tremor in his voice: “This subordinate is dense, I don’t know what Your Highness means.” The note was written in code, and the average person wouldn’t be able to make sense of it, so he wasn’t worried. But he’d assumed wrong. How could the reborn Murong Heng be an average person?

“This Prince knew you’d say that.” Murong Heng leisurely unfolded the note he was holding. On it were several lines of code. Only specialists who mastered specific techniques would be able to comprehend it. However, he didn’t need to comprehend it just then, as he could roughly predict what was written on it. It was merely a report to Crown Prince Murong Cheng, that’s all. With this in mind, he flung the note before Zhong Jing and said in a chilly tone: “Don’t presume that This Prince cannot figure out what is written on it.” As soon as the words were uttered, Zhong Jing became stupefied for an instant.

“You betrayed This Prince and defected to the crown prince. Are you aware of your offence?!” Multiple guards immediately encircled Zhong Jing completely. Murong Heng eyed him coldly—his gaze was like three feet of ice, piercing Zhong Jing and numbing him on the spot.

All of a sudden, Zhong Jing howled with laughter until tears flowed from his eyes. He lifted his head and glared at Murong Heng in front of him with a taunting and pitiful gaze, “Offence? What advantages are there in following you?” Having arrived at this point, he didn’t even condescend to use honourifics anymore, “The crown prince is heavily favoured by the emperor, and he’s the future ruler. I’ll be able to live a better life by following him. As for you, you’re merely a prince in name. If I follow you, I’ll be doomed to fail for a lifetime!”

If it was the Murong Heng from the past life, he would still be a little affected deep down when he heard these words and assume that he couldn’t measure up to the crown prince and the others. However, the “him” in this life only deemed it laughable. He was no longer the spineless Murong Heng who foolishly believed that everyone was good. The conflicts within the imperial family were like a battlefield. How could he relax his vigilance when the battle had not yet begun?

Contemplating this, Murong Heng took a step forward and used his finger to tilt Zhong Jing’s chin up. An odd smile appeared at the corners of his mouth, and he met his gaze with a chilly look: “You’re mistaken. You’ll be doomed to fail your entire life for following that useless wastrel of a crown prince. Only by following This Prince will you enjoy unlimited prospects.” Once he’d spoken, he raised his sword-wielding hand and slashed down, beheading Zhong Jing before he could react. The severed head thudded to the ground, and blood gushed out like a river.

“Heed This Prince, all of you.” Murong Heng straightened to stand. Right now, he needed to compel all these guards to be steadfastly loyal to him, so he carefully enunciated each word: “If you follow me, This Prince will ensure your survival needs are taken care of for the rest of your lives. Those who consider betraying me shall be mercilessly killed!”

“Yes!” All the guards were awestruck by Murong Heng’s energy just then. These past few days, they’d undoubtedly sensed that their prince was unlike what he’d been previously. They could only sigh and say that one shouldn’t judge those from the imperial family based on outward appearance. Sure enough, His Highness had been concealing it all too well. His true character was gradually being uncovered.

Turning back and eyeing the pool of blood on the ground, Murong Heng raised his hand to instruct some of the guards to clean it up. This was the new house he gifted to Shen Ci, and he would not permit it to be sullied by a person of no consequence.

Having dealt with Zhong Jing, Murong Heng’s temperament reverted to normal. At that point, he recalled his comrades from the Iron Halberd Army who’d died wretchedly in his past life. Right now, they should definitely be where they were at this point in his previous lifetime, living in seclusion in that village.

The Iron Halberd Army were initially armed forces of the imperial court, commanded by Grand General of the Calvary, Zhan Nan. Zhan Nan led these forces to win battle after battle. The soldiers’ morale and solidarity made Emperor Chongde feel threatened. As such, he came up with a reason to have Zhan Nan executed and issued orders to kill the soldiers of the Iron Halberd Army who refused to accept the sovereignty of the emperor. These people were outraged at the tragic death of their general. They had to risk their lives and escape to a village, subsequently withdrawing from the world.

Since he and Zhan Nan were close friends, the Iron Halberd Army in his past life also trusted him a great deal. With this idea, Murong Heng resolved to personally make a trip there to win over the Iron Halberd Army and retain them for his own benefit.

Murong Heng spurred his horse all the way to a village on the outskirts of the capital. Once there, he dismounted his horse and hiked along a country road. It wasn’t long before he came upon an open space where many shirtless men were in the midst of training. When they noticed his arrival, all of them gradually stopped and threw inquisitive looks at him.

Smiling faintly, Murong Heng introduced himself. Observing that they were all still unsure of him, he cited his close friendship with Zhan Nan. That only made the group of people scrutinise him even more.

“The world at present is unstable, and General Zhan Nan died cruelly in the emperor’s hands. Don’t all of you wish to avenge him?” Murong Heng began his approach with Zhan Nan to sway these people.

As expected, their expressions altered somewhat. “Why should we trust you?” one person said doubtfully. Rumour had it that Prince Heng wasn’t ambitious. Why would he even consider avenging General Zhan Nan? There must certainly be some sort of trickery involved.

Murong Heng disregarded his query: “The emperor is vicious, and the general died tragically. How can the world be so unfair. Are you saying you don’t want to make use of your own strengths to change all of this?” He continued to speak: “You all wish to know the reason. Very well, This Prince will tell you.”

Without delay, he said each word in a low voice: “This Prince wishes to conquer the world!”

As soon as the words were uttered, everyone became thunderstruck. One of them couldn’t help casting him a suspicious look and said: “It’s not that this subordinate is unwilling to believe. Rather than that, are you sure you have such capabilities?” These words already bore hints of insubordination, however, the Iron Halberd Army was a force to be reckoned with. They were unbeatable on the battlefield and made their enemies terror-stricken, so why would they bother with this.

Murong Heng didn’t take offence at his effrontery. He was aware that these people still didn’t trust him much, because they sensed that Prince Heng wasn’t competent enough to lead them. He released a shallow laugh as he thought of this. Without warning, he darted out to land in front of that man, and both of them began exchanging blows right away.

His hand reached out to pinch the man’s arm, passed through to reach his back, and he delivered a kick. It appeared as if he had moved to lightly smack his chest. His opponent instantly retreated several steps back, gasping madly for breath. Murong Heng didn’t speak and kept charging towards the man. He seized hold of the man’s arm and swung it, launching the man over his head. Then he pinned him to the ground, restraining his movements.

All the spectators gaped at him with astonished expressions. They never expected that the seemingly-weak and incompetent Prince Heng would actually have such a side to him. Moreover, his skills were definitely not beneath the former General Zhan Nan’s.

Murong Heng loosened his hand and straightened up. He swept his gaze across everyone present. “What This Prince said earlier is all true. If you all pledge allegiance to me, I shall make avenging General Zhan Nan my priority and kill every single one of them!” he shouted.

As soon as he’d spoken, someone laughed aloud, and there were tears in his eyes. “Then, we can go into battle again?” After the earlier contest, they’d witnessed the immense power of Murong Heng’s body, which had been hidden away. Furthermore, those words triggered the eruption of long-suppressed sentiments in their hearts. Everyone enthusiastically threw the items that they were holding to the ground. There appeared to be a blazing fire raging in their eyes.

Murong Heng promptly located a site and informed them of all the plans he had conceived in his mind. Presently, the Iron Halberd Army does not yet need to be dispatched and should remain placidly in this village. He would get someone to safeguard and protect them—also to prevent Emperor Chongde from being aware of their existence. Once the time was right, he would allow them to assemble collectively and attack the imperial city in one fell swoop!

At that very moment in Prince Heng’s mansion, unbeknownst to Murong Heng, a guard had just learned of Zhong Jing’s death. Utterly shocked, he paced back and forth, slowly clenching his fists.

It looks like he will need to be more vigilant in the future!

During this same time, Feng Nan assisted Shen Ci to wander the footpaths of the dwelling, comprehensively familiarising him with every part of the house. The house that Prince Heng procured was undeniably wonderful. It appeared not to have any distinguishing features, but in fact it was exquisite in all aspects—perfectly suited for an elegant person such as his young master to reside in.

As he considered this, his impression of Murong Heng altered a little. Feng Nan supported the arm of the person next to him and guided him to sit down on a stone chair in the courtyard.

“Thanks to Prince Heng, we’re not left displaced on the streets.” In his heart, Shen Ci was also extremely pleased with the house as he listened to Feng Nan’s commentary on it. He hadn’t done anything to deserve this, yet if he did accept it, he certainly would be incredibly grateful. He remembered that day when Murong Heng hadn’t stayed long before leaving, and he didn’t have enough time to thank him. With this in mind, he had Feng Nan hurry and bring him over to Prince Heng’s abode so that he could convey his thanks in person.

When Feng Nan and Shen Ci showed up, Murong Heng just happened to have returned from the outskirts. He noticed Shen Ci at the door and said in astonishment, “Why are you here?”

Shen Ci heard Murong Heng’s voice, and a slight smile emerged on his lips. “I’ve got a matter, naturally.”

“Come in then.” Murong Heng said calmly. When he walked halfway, he instantly recalled something. He reached out, gesturing to Lian Jin, then leaned over and whispered a few words to her before continuing ahead.

Upon arriving in the courtyard, Murong Heng dismissed the others and told Feng Nan to support Shen Ci over to sit on a stone chair. He then had someone brew a fine tea and set it atop the stone table.

“I’ve no other intentions; merely to pay Your Highness a visit of my own volition. Your Highness has given me a house, and I need not wander the streets because of that. This subordinate cannot thank you enough.” Shen Ci said courteously.

“You don’t have to be so polite.” Murong Heng smiled as he picked up the teacup from the table and took a sip. It left a lingering fragrance in his mouth. He closed his eyes, and his mind began to wander. Right before he returned, he’d specifically instructed Lian Jin to purchase something. Since he’d managed to subjugate the Iron Halberd Army today, he wanted to strike while the iron was hot and bring this man under his leadership.

Just then, Lian Jin hastened over with something. Murong Heng allowed her to place it on the stone table. He uncovered the cloth, took hold of Shen Ci’s hand, and laid it on top of it, saying, “Feel out what this is.”

Shen Ci’s hand was being held by him. His face turned a little red. He stretched out and carefully brushed his hand over the object in front of him. All of a sudden, his face lit up in surprise, as if he couldn’t believe it. “This is…… jiaowei qin*?”

(*TN : This is one of the four famous guqins in historical China. Cai Yong was a famous musician in the Eastern Han Dynasty. He heard an unusual sound emitted from a burning firewood and quickly pulled the tung log out, then had an expert make a guqin out of the log. The sound quality was extraordinary but the end was a little burnt, so Cai Yong named it jiaowei; meaning “burnt tail”. Source:

He’d always wanted a jiaowei qin, but owing to its extravagance, he couldn’t bear to increase Feng Nan’s burden, so he no longer remained interested in buying it. He never presumed that today he’d be able to touch it with his own hands. It thrilled him beyond measure.

Murong Heng was in an inexplicably congenial mood after witnessing him smile like that. “It’s for you.” Once he’d spoken, he noticed Shen Ci’s astonished and flustered expression. Before he could say anything, Murong Heng quickly added: “It’s not for free. This Prince has a stipulation.”

Shen Ci’s eyebrows raised when he heard the words, “What stipulation?”

Murong Heng gave a light laugh and stood up. He leaned near Shen Ci’s ear and said in a low voice, “This Prince wants you to assist me to seize the throne!”

As soon as the words were spoken, Shen Ci’s countenance evolved from surprise to shock. His eyelashes slowly lowered, and he remained quiet for a spell. The words his parents had said before their deaths instantly resurfaced in his mind, warning him not to venture into imperial matters again. But with such a profound hatred, how could he just banish it from his thoughts?

He’d never anticipated that Murong Heng would say these words to him at this time. A thousand waves were suddenly triggered in Shen Ci’s heart, and a voice kept calling out from deep inside him.

However, he was still hesitant. Shen Ci closed his eyes, slowly clenched his fists, and his breathing hastened. His eyes seemed to throb again when he recalled the incident from several years ago. No, he cannot cower anymore. He’d waited for so many years until he finally obtained this chance. So long as he draws support from Murong Heng, he would definitely be able to realise his goal of vengeance!

His parents’ deaths cannot be in vain; he can’t just pass his days in a muddle for the rest of his life. He wants revenge! He must take revenge!

With this in mind, Shen Ci raised his head and declared steadfastly, “Very well, I promise you!”

As soon as the words fell, Murong Heng felt his anxious heart give a resounding thud. He laughed out loud, held onto Shen Ci’s hand, and shook it firmly as he spoke in a deep voice, “Good!”

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