The moonlight was bright enough tonight that the group of guards had not lit torches.
Yan Yuan stood still at the front of the group.
When he heard the faint sound of footsteps, he looked up and saw that it was Xuan Long, and the dark look on his face relaxed as he stepped forward and said, "You're here."
It was Yan Huo Heng.
No matter how bright the moon was, it was no match for daylight, and as he wore Yan Yuan's face and was not much different in stature from him, it was normal to mistake him for the other for a moment, but the difference between their voices could be heard at once.
Yan Huo Heng’s voice was more subdued, while Yan Yuan's voice was magnetic and clear.
Xuan Long tensed up for a moment before relaxing, “En."
Yan Huo Heng waved his hand and the team of guards stepped back to the left and right, revealing an ancient wooden carriage that was hidden behind them, which was low-key and not overly luxurious.
Horse-drawn carriages were not allowed in the inner courtyard of the palace, and even the most distinguished first-rank ministers had to exchange their carriages for soft sedan chairs when they entered the Meridian Gate, while those of lower rank had to enter on foot.
The only person who could bring a carriage into the palace with such grandeur was Yan Yuan, and it was much more convenient for Yan Huo Heng to act in the palace with Yan Yuan's face.
Today, for Ning Zhiyu's birthday, several famous opera troupes came in from outside the palace.
This group of guards came into the palace among those opera troupes, then changed into their pre-prepared outfits and swords, so they were no different from the imperial guards in the palace.
"Get in, the night is long."
Xuan Long avoided Xiao Zhanzi's support and followed Yan Huo Heng towards the carriage.
The guards at the end of the line consciously knelt down by the side of the carriage to make it easier for their master to get in.
Xuan Long was not used to this kind of approach, stepping on other people's bodies was like stepping on their dignity as well, so he hesitantly stood in front of the carriage without moving.
What was once possible with a single leap had now become an impossible task.
After a moment's thought, Yan Huo Heng knew what he was thinking, so he went forward and picked him up in his arms, leapt sharply onto the carriage, ducked under the curtain and entered the carriage, and placed the man gently on the cushion.
Xuan Long: "Many thanks."
Yan Huo Heng sat down in the seat two people-sized places apart from him.
"There is no need to be polite."
You were like this in the past, even though you were the Heavenly Empress, you still liked to do everything yourself."
"You said that all beings are equal and there is no distinction between high and low."
In fact, there was, otherwise how could his father have made him leave his own mother and suffer from torture since he was a child for the sake of Yan Yuan.
But because Yan Yuan was the first born, the future crown prince, and he, Yan Huo Heng, was just a royal son born to a small magistrate's daughter, both he and his mother had no choice and had to be at the mercy of others.
Xuan Long lowered his eyes: "Different...
some beings are born to be looked down upon."
Yan Huo Heng responded in a low voice: "Mm."
After Xiao Zhanzi climbed up, the carriage quickly moved forward and sped towards the palace gate.
Xuan Long, who was usually a man of few words, sat there without saying a word, and it was unknown what he was thinking about.
Yan Huo Heng looked at his chiseled face, “You don’t look very good, do you feel cold"
Xuan Long shook his head, "No."
Even so, Yan Huo Heng draped the fox fur he had prepared on him.
As autumn would soon be over and winter would soon begin, and since Xuan Long's health was not good, he should be more careful.
Yan Huo Heng asked in a low voice: "There is another little eunuch."
Xuan Long's lips twitched slightly: "He...
Yan Huo Heng vaguely guessed what was going on, but did not ask the reason.
When he got to the palace gate, he lifted the curtain of the carriage and showed his face.
The general guarding the gate was newly promoted and had not seen the Holy Face before, but he had seen Yan Yuan's portrait.
The most beautiful man in Chang'an, who could forget it after seeing it.
The general was surprised to see him.
isn't today the Empress' birthday It's the middle of the night, why are you going out of the palace..."
Yan Huo Heng glanced at him lightly, the curtain was blown by the wind, the texture of his voice like ice in the cool night, making people shiver: "Where I go, do I need to tell you"
since it is not necessary..."
The general broke out in a cold sweat and hurriedly released the carriage.
As soon as the Meridian Gate opened, the carriage rushed out like an arrow and drove into an inconspicuous station in the city.
When it came out again, the luxurious and spacious carriage was replaced by an inconspicuous small carriage, and all the people in the party changed into civilian clothes.
The plain-clothed guards behind them rode the horses prepared in advance and sprinted after the carriage, rushing towards the city.
Yan Yuan was busy celebrating Ning Zhiyu's birthday, and by the time he realised that Xuan Long was not there, it would be tomorrow at the earliest, when they would have already been long gone from Chang'an.
However, Yan Huo Heng did not dare to let his guard down and ordered the team to travel through the night, not slowing down even a little.
Xiao Zhanzi sat on a small bench with short legs inside the carriage, looking out of the curtain that was being lifted by the wind from time to time.
His eyes were filled with panic, not knowing what he was looking at.
The carriage was so bumpy that Xuan Long covered his stomach and leaned against the wall of the cart, his eyes closed and drowsy.
Yan Huo Heng frowned: "Where is the pain"
"Is it abdominal pain"
Xuan Long shook his head with his eyes closed.
He didn't feel uncomfortable, but the baby in his belly was not very peaceful and he was a bit dizzy.
Yan Huo Heng lifted his hand to Xuan Long's forehead and felt an unusual burning sensation as soon as he touched it.
"You have a high fever."
The girdle around Xuan Long's belly had been removed and replaced with an unbuckled grey linen robe.
There was black fox fur draped over his shoulders, his long hair hung loose and plastered to the side of his face, and his belly was bulging high.
Blurring in consciousness, he replied, "It's nothing, I’ll bear with it and it will pass."
Yan Huo Heng looked at the man's heroic brow, wet with cold sweat, and said in a low, mute voice, "Is this how it is when you are around him"
Bear with it and it will pass.
Xuan Long was in a trance and did not hear him clearly.
Yan Huo Heng remembered those ethereal but very real dreams: "You used to indulge him like this..."
After leaving Chang'an City and speeding along the official road for a few hours, passing through a small, secluded village, Xuan Long was burning up to the point of complete unconsciousness.
If a pregnant human mother were to be bumped around like this with a high fever, she would surely die.
Yan Huo Heng was in a panic and had to stop to look for a doctor.
Fortunately, there was an old doctor in the village who prescribed a medicine to reduce the fever and boiled it down for Xuan Long, which took a whole hour.
He did not know that human medicine would not work on Xuan Long.
As they left the village, the day dawned, and the narrow carriage could not support Xuan Long.
He curled up with difficulty on the cushion of the seat, leaning on Yan Huo Heng's leg, feeling as if this scene had happened before.
The more he came into contact with Yan Huo Heng, the more familiar he felt, and for no apparent reason he was sure he would not harm him.
As the sun slowly rose over the horizon, the dust raised by the horses' hooves flew in the golden air, and the sound of heavier hooves, like thunder, was faintly heard in the distance.
Yan Huo Heng sensed something.
His eyes left Xuan Long and looked up intently as the sound of a soldier's urgent briefing came from outside the carriage.
"Your Majesty, someone is coming after us!"
Yan Huo Heng's gaze darkened, "I didn't expect him to come so quickly..."
From the sound of it, it was estimated that Yan Yuan had brought no less than five thousand cavalry with him.
The imperial army in the palace was only a few tens of thousand.
For the sake of Xuan Long, he had gone to such lengths.
No, to be precise, it was for his Empress...
The carriage, which was already racing, accelerated to the point where it was almost ready to fly.
Xuan Long was awakened and sat up with the cushion under him.
The overly heavy sound of the horse's hooves was also heard by him.
"He's coming after us." Xuan Long said calmly.
"En." Yan Huo Heng replied.
It was too easy to leave, it seemed unreal.
Xuan Long asked in a low voice, "Can we go"
Yan Huo Heng: "I will take you and make a bloody path."
In the vast wilderness, Yan Yuan rode his tall warhorse in front of the army.
He received the news at the banquet, Xiao Zhanzi had informed Chen Yan of Xuan Long's departure, and Chen Yan had whispered it to him.
When he left the city, he didn't even change out of his dragon robe.
Leaving behind the astonished Ning Zhiyu and his courtiers, he moved his troops and rushed out of the city, the Emperor's crown on his head long lost in the rush, his long raven black hair dancing in the wind, his stunning face pressed with a hostility that he couldn't carry.
The whip slammed on the horse’s body and he roared angrily:
"All soldiers, listen to the order! If you capture the man inside the carriage alive, you will be rewarded with ten thousand taels of gold and promoted to the third rank!!!"
"The rest, kill them all!!!"
"Charge!!!–" Behind him, the imperial guards listened to the order, and their blood instantly turned fervent as they spurred their horses past Yan Yuan and dashed with all their might towards the small, grey carriage, getting closer and closer...
The plain-clothed guards behind the carriage had to stop and fight the imperial guards.
The men under Yan Huo Heng's command were able to fight a hundred to one, however, there were too many of them, and even if they were powerful, they were outnumbered.
The imperial guards completely surrounded the carriage and it was forced to stop.
Sitting on his high horse, Yan Yuan looked down with cold eyes at the cruel scene before him and had no more patience.
He raised his hand, and the squad of imperial guards behind him immediately raised their bows and arrows, ready to fire.
"Release the arrows!!!"
At his command, countless feathered arrows flew towards the mass of plain-clothed guards.
Yan Huo Heng broke out of his carriage at that moment, his long sword blocking the rain of arrows flying from all directions and joining the battle.
Soon only a dozen or so of the plain-clothed guards remained to fight alongside Yan Huo Heng, but Yan Yuan's imperial troops were a formidable force that could not be destroyed.
In a matter of half an incense stick, the plain-clothed guards were slaughtered, and Yan Huo Heng fought alone.
He was hit by several swords, but his movements did not slow down in the slightest, and so many men could not even get close to him for a while.
He stubbornly guarded the entrance to the carriage, not allowing anyone to approach, and held back Xuan Long who wanted to come out.
The sword had no eyes, who knew what Yan Yuan would do to him.
The more Yan Yuan saw how Yan Huo Heng was acting, the angrier he became.
With a cold smile on his lips, he raised his hand and took the bow and arrow handed to him by the general behind him, then narrowed his eyes and aimed at his body.
The arrow was on the string and was about to be fired when Yan Huo Heng was suddenly struck by a sword at the side of his waist, and the moment he stopped, the imperial troops surrounding him took advantage of the situation to surge forward and put numerous long swords to his neck.
Victory or defeat had been decided.
Yan Yuan withdrew his bow and arrow from his hand.
"Someone, take the man inside the carriage and drag him out for me!!!"
Xiao Zhanzi trembled as he stood in front of Xuan Long, but was pushed away by the imperial guards.
Xuan Long was dragged from his seat and yanked down.
He fell to the ground, unable able to stand up, as the two imperial guards roughly pulled him up and dragged him in front of Yan Yuan.
Yan Yuan looked down at Xuan Long for a moment, then sharply dismounted his horse and slowly walked towards him.
Xuan Long looked up at the sound, but Yan Yuan raised his hand and slapped him across the face, causing blood to spill from the corner of Xuan Long's mouth, and he turned his head away in silence.
"Have I treated you badly I even allowed you to give birth to the demonic creature in your belly, what more do you want!!!"
"How dare you run away with someone else..."