Return of the Swallow Chapter 289: Massacre
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“I took most of it long ago.”
Ji Zeyu jumped down from his horse in a dashingly smooth motion and threw the reins to a random attendant behind him. He proceeded on foot, by Pang Xiao’s side.
“Did you kill Qin?”
The two passed through the city gates and strolled down the bustling streets, neither of them talking for the moment.
Both were tall and handsome; one flaring with a dominating aura in a black, sable fur cloak, the other cold as ice in a white, fox fur cape. The two of them side-by-side drew looks from many Great Zhou commoners.
Many of them recognized that the one in black was the commander of the Valiant Tigers, Faithful Prince of the First Rank, Pang Xiao. The one in white was the commander of the Dragon Riders, Marquis of Northern Stability, Ji Zeyu.
But because they were outside and no one knowing if the two military figures had important business to discuss, no one came up to greet them.
As they walked along, Pang Xiao fretted over Qin Yining’s health. Great Zhou’s capital was located in the north, terrain that she’d never ventured to before. She already found the winters of the south to be freezing, how would she be able to endure the winters here? Not to mention her health was poor to begin with and she lacked sufficient qi in her body. She’d still been coughing when he left.
Undisguised concern seeped into Pang Xiao’s expression when he thought of this, a detail completely captured by Ji Zeyu.
After a long while, so lengthy that the prince had forgotten what they were talking about, Ji Zeyu suddenly remarked, “Don’t worry about it.”
The baffling statement out of nowhere confounded Pang Xiao.
The marquis had already taken the reins back from his attendant. He flipped onto the back of his horse. “His Majesty has ordered me to set off, so I’ll be on my way.”
“So quickly?” exclaimed a surprised Pang Xiao.
“Mm. Until next time.” A rare upturn graced Ji Zeyu’s lips as he smiled faintly and lifted a cupped fist salute.
The prince sighed softly. “Alright then, until next time.” He too raised a cupped fist salute.
The smile vanished from the marquis’ face. He cast a frosty look over Pang Xiao’s group before he steered his horse away.
Huzi shivered. “The Marquis of Northern Stability is as always, alright! He looks at you like he’s feuding with you.”
Pang Xiao shook his head with a smile, and then sighed. “Forget it. since we’ve come back, let’s enter the palace to greet His Majesty.” Or else those lackadaisical sloths at court would seize on some imaginary offense and censure him for not respecting the emperor.
Now that he was back in the capital, he needed to be at constant attention to handle whatever was happening around him.
Waters were murky in the swamp at court. Though it’d all been for Great Zhou, all the villainy since the founding of the dynasty had been committed by Pang Xiao. Add to that torturing to death those who’d harmed his father — the surrendered Northern Ji officials all viewed him like he’d killed their fathers, to say nothing of his generally horrific reputation outside. It was almost impossible to guard against all of the overt and covert threats lobbed at him. He had to be constantly on his toes, and then some, to deal with it all.
Furthermore, the one on the dragon throne had always borne an uneasy grudge towards him.
Things developed exactly the way that Pang Xiao had thought they would.
Within the august and stately palace.
A middle-aged man, dressed in golden imperial robes, of average build and benevolent features used both hands to lift up a kneeling Pang Xiao. His voice was filled with delight.
“Please do rise, sage younger brother. You’ve been out to war for so long. Us brothers haven’t talked in many moons. Your brother truly missed you!”
Pang Xiao took a few steps back to stand beneath the dial and responded respectfully, “Your subject feels the same. Have you been well, Your Majesty?”
“Well, absolutely well apart from missing you dearly. You’ve handled Great Yan beautifully. The ceremony of surrender and transition is far too mundane with miscellany. We didn’t want you to further tire yourself and decided to just have you come home. You won’t blame Us, will you?”
“How would I ever, Your Majesty.” Pang Xiao smiled. “I can’t be happy enough! You know best that anything that’s a hassle or taxes the brain is an incredible bore to your subject. If I had the effort to spare to do all that, it would be better spent on a few cups of fine wine!”
“Haha! That’s true!” Li Qitian laughed heartily.
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