Chapter 35: Explanation
The clopping of horseshoes cut through the night. The two flying through the night unintentionally woke many who had been asleep, hurrying to the city gates. Du Luo suddenly had a thought. If the city gates were already closed, how were they going to leave the city? And where did those kidnappers of Rouge come from?
However, Du Luo was later surprised. Just as they neared the gates, the gates slowly opened. However, he could only suppress his curiosity and follow Ye Yin out without a word.
In the spacious wilderness, Ye Yin suddenly his pace. His voice low, he said, “Brother Du, in reality, I let Rouge be kidnapped!”
“What do you mean?”
“I knew that Rouge would be kidnapped tonight. It could be said that I provoked them into kidnapping Rouge.” These riddle like words made Du Luo frown, but Ye Yin continued on in his low voice. “Tonight is another game and Rouge is only one of the pawns.”
“You mean that Rouge was captured as part of a game as part of your machinations?” Ye Yin nodded. “Little Qi, what are you doing right now? And what is your purpose in setting up a game?”
Ye Yin crooked his head. “Brother Du, I doubt you were able to find me without knowing what I was up to. Brother Du, everything I am doing is because of my promise to brother Jianli. One should not break their word. Also, I want to see how far I can go. As for tonight… I originally had two plans.”
Ye Yin bit his lip, then explained, “At the start, I did not plan for Rouge to be kidnapped, but… The plan changed. Nangong Piaoran and Yanghan’s appearance gave me an opportunity. I did not have enough time to hide Rouge away, so I could only allow for her to be kidnapped.”
“Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye were as incompatible as fire and water because of the throne succession. On the surface, they appeared peaceful, but in secret, they were biding their strength, preparing to give the other a fatal strike, already strained relations. One slight provocation was enough. And then, Rouge suddenly appeared. Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye both fell for her. But no matter how much they love Rouge, they cannot both win her. They view being able to seize Rouge as a step in seizing power, as if whoever is able to steal Rouge will become the emperor, so…”
“So you thought of using Rouge as the starting spark in order to seize Lequan and Jiangyou in the power vacuum left behind?” Du Luo finished for him.
“Yes. Lequan and Jiangyou’s troops combined are one third of West Zhi’s. I originally planned on destroying them from the inside, but my people were unable to infiltrate the highest ranks. Also, I am unable to convince the highest ranks to surrender. They were all selected personally by Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye and are fiercely loyal. If I am to gain total control, I must eliminate them.” His voice carried a faint, indiscernible trace of nervousness. “Brother Du, have I become too malicious?”
“Little Qu, you have never killed anyone before, but now, you are going to kill so many people at once. Do you not feel it unbearable?”
Ye Yin shook his head, a bit pained. “If I had the time, I would be able to slowly take over Lequan and Jiangyou, but I don’t have the time. This is my only option. For the future of West Zhi, I must purge all dissidents, so I can only continue forward without looking back. I am not allowed to feel regret, so I cannot afford to feel it unbearable!”
Du Luo pitied the staunch appearing Ye Yin, admiring the weak looking youth. After quiet for some time, he spoke. “, Does Rouge know that you are using her to bait Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye? Would she…”
“She is cooperating with me. I arrived at Yue city the fourth day of the month. That night, I found Rouge. I discuss everything with Rouge first, including that if the circumstances were desperate that she would be kidnapped. It turns out that Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye are Rouge’s enemies, and she originally joined Intoxicated Dream with the plan of becoming close with the two and then waiting for the right chance to kill, but this method is not very successful. It is only because of this that she agreed to cooperate.”
Du Luo nodded understandingly. “Then the people who kidnapped Rouge were people you sent?”
No, it is Qi Chengfeng. Both Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye believed that their biggest opponents were each other. They were already prepared to capture Rouge if she was not won over fairly and never believed an outsider would best them. I originally planned on them to kidnap Rouge at Intoxicated Dream, then provoke them into following me. However, this did not come to fruition and the plan was destroyed by Nangong Piaoran and Yanghan’s appearance. Back at Intoxicated Dreams, I deliberately displayed intimacy with Rouge. The plan is in essence to make them fight each other. I cannot be certain that Chu Feiye would be jealous, however, I know Qi Chengfeng would, because he actually loves Rouge to a certain degree.”
Slowly, the carriage came to a halt. Ye Yin continued, “Qi Chengfeng is very impulsive, so he would definitely seize her. At the same time in order to make it easier for him to seize her, I left Rouge at Intoxicated Dream. With his personality, he would definitely leave immediately, riding through the entire night to Lequan, and then provoke Chu Feiye. My goal was for him to leave the city!”
“Did you plan ambushes outside the city?”
Ye Yin started to shake his head before nodding. “I did plan ambushes, but not for the purpose of attacking Qi Chengfeng. I only wanted to hinder Qi Chengfeng so he would not be able to leave so fast. I said before I intended for them to kill each other, so I do not want to be caught in the fray. I will only be the last attack if one is left standing.”
Ye Yin’s voice turned callous when he said this, but Du Luo knew that inside, Ye Yin must have been suffering, because his voice had an nearly imperceptible shudder. Du Luo sighed in his heart. “If I am correct, you planted men in both Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye’s side. The opening of the gates were also your machinations.”
Ye Yin laughed. “The people planted are not my men, but brother Jianli’s. Long ago, they already planted people at the sides of prominent characters.”
“Little Qi, tonight when you were ill at ease, were you afraid Rouge might be killed amidst battle?”
“I don’t know either. I prepared many ambushes to slow Qi Chengfeng until Chu Feiye arrives. A portion of them are devoted to protecting Rouge, but…” Ye Yin paused for a moment. “But I keep on feeling unease, as if something is going to happen.”
The rain had already stopped. Under the dim light of the stars, Du Luo could not see Ye Yin’s expression, but he could sense anxiety. He reached out and patted Ye Yin on the shoulder. “Don’t worry. Little Qi, didn’t you already prepare everything? If you’ve already prepared everything, then nothing will happen. Release your worries.”
Ye Yin smiled with difficulty. “I hope so!”
“Little Qi, both Nangong Piaoran and Yanghan seem to treat you…”
Du Luo hesitated and did not finished. Ye Yin nodded. “I know, I already knew, they always tried to feel me out. The fact that the two came to West Zhi at such a time but not for Rouge is very suspicious. But I still do not know what their purposes are, so I can only feign civility.”
Du Luo agreed. “You must be careful of them. Do not anger them foolishly, and don’t be so close to them either. They are not oil lamps, not easy to be extinguished after lit.”
“I understand, I’ll be careful. Alright, brother Du, let’s go! It’s about time the battle is decided.”
Ye Yin advanced forward on his horse as the two rushed forward one after the other, leaving behind a trail of imprints on the wet, muddy ground.