Joy of Life - Chapter 559 - Who Formed The Monarch’s Heart In A Sea Of Fire?[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:53]
Chapter 559: Who Formed The Monarch’s Heart In A Sea Of Fire?
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The stray arrows passed in front of the sky, but they were more to instill a sense of intimidation. Under the Crown Prince’s forcefully suppression, the rebel army did not aim a terrifying rain of arrows at the palace walls. Thus, the pressure on the imperial soldiers defending the Royal Palace was immediately reduced. Although the sounds of killing rocked the heavens, it did not cause any damage to the Imperial Army. On the contrary, it was the imperial soldiers stationed in the direction of Taiping Square that faced the greatest danger.
Near the Royal Palace’s front gate, the rebel army had the advantage of numbers. The thousands of rebel soldiers below the palace walls had split into three lines. They came wave after black wave.
Muffled sounds rang out continuously from the four towers in the Royal Palace. Each sound moved the people’s heartstrings. The entire Palace shook a little. The powerful shaking symbolized the strength of the city guarding crossbows.
Like a streak of black light, the giant arrow pierced through the sky and plunged mercilessly into the group of rebel soldiers. Countless blossoms of blood exploded out. The ground was covered in sticky flesh. However, there were only four city guarding crossbows and only two facing the main square. How many people could it kill? The rebel army’s threefold wave continued to charge quickly without obstruction to the foot of the palace walls.
The city guarding crossbows’ main target was the military tools the rebel army was going to use to attack the city, especially the sharp and heavy carriage they were going to use to break down the thick palace gates. Above these carriages were fireproof tarps made from leather. The front was a giant piece of sharpened wood. It was heavy. Once it reached a high speed, it would crash heavily against the palace gates.
An arrow accurately struck one of the battering rams. The sharp arrow easily tore through the seemingly solid leather and ruthlessly pierced the battering ram. Although the battering ram was solid and unable to be shattered by a giant arrow, the city guarding crossbow contained a powerful charging force. It caused the carriage to jump abruptly like a beetle on the ground that had fallen to the ground shaking. It flipped over and crushed a number of the rebel soldiers beside the carriage to death.
The three waves of rebel soldiers charged forward with a dozen heavy battering rams filled with murderous intent. When the attack started, the two city guarding crossbows fired with all their might and successfully destroyed three of the rams. However, the city guarding crossbows reloaded too slowly. The rebel army charged too quickly. In a moment, most of the battering rams had passed through the city guarding crossbows’ target area and come close to the three main gates.
The rebel army gave a uniform cry of “Kill!” and courageously pushed the battering rams forward.
After a series of loud teeth-aching creaks, the battering rams succeeded in striking the thick palace gates. The gates of the Royal Palace were thick. Under such a powerful strike, they still shook violently. The door posts creaked like they were about to fall apart. The four giant bolts up and down the gates warped in shape from the strike.
The thick wooden bolts held up against this powerful strike. The creaks near the door frame gradually fell silent. Other than a giant dent in the Royal Palace’s front gates and a dozen fallen copper nails, everything was fine.
At least in this attack, the gates of the Royal Palace still appeared to be impenetrable.
None of the rebel soldiers had a strange expression. Amidst the strict yelling from their superiors, they pulled the first wave of battering rams away from the gates with surprising speed. The second wave of battering rams had already passed through the scattered arrows from the imperial soldiers on the Palace walls. It had escaped the giant city guarding crossbows, which moved with the speed of an old person, and had charged against the palace gates.
There was another giant crash. This time, the palace doors were finally irreparably damaged. The entire gate began to shake. It gave one the sense that it was on the verge of collapse.
The elite imperial soldiers behind the door holding their horses and awaiting their orders watched this sight coldly. Although their expressions were calm, worry flashed through their eyes and revealed the true emotion in their hearts.
Separated by a thick gate, the rebel soldiers risking their lives for a powerful attack saw a glimmer of hope that they could break through the palace gates. Immediately, their morale rose. They shouted in a loud voice as they charged forward again.
The third wave of troops arrived. The rebel army lost hundreds of lives under the Imperial Army’s merciless attacks of arrows, giant rocks, and rolling logs from the palace walls. Finally, they successfully attacked the palace gate for the third time.
With a crack, dust flew into the air. It was like a smoke-filled leather satchel had been popped by a naughty child.
The dust settled slightly, letting the field of vision clear. In the square, countless rebel soldiers looked at the giant hole punched through the middle of the thick palace gates and involuntarily gave a cheer of joy.
The elite soldiers closest to the palace gates did not cheer. The excitement on their faces was immediately replaced with shock and anger. They could clearly see that although a massive hole had been punched through the palace gates and exposed the thick wood shards inside, the entire palace gate showed no sign of falling over.
The ground was covered in golden copper nails. Behind the hole, all they could see was a thick layer of rock and mud without a gap to be seen.
The people in the Royal Palace had blockaded themselves. Did they not think to leave themselves a way to escape? At this time, what difference was there between the Palace and a giant tomb?
A rebel officer gave a wild cry and led the soldiers behind him into that opening. Although there wasn’t much space, they would open this palace gate even if they had to dig through it. Military orders were as immovable as a mountain. The soldiers of Qing Kingdom were never cowards afraid of death.
Suddenly, a long black spear poked out from the only gap in the stone wall and shot forward like lightning. It struck the officer in the throat and sent up a bloody spray.
At the foot of the palace, 10 steps behind the long palace gate filled with rocks from the rock garden, 300 imperial soldiers coldly and tensely watched for any movement in the gate. Their head officer had already taken a small group into the gate. At this time, they had taken an advantageous position, so there was no reason to allow the rebel soldiers to push through so easily.
On top of the palace walls, the Great Prince coldly watched as wave after wave of rebel soldiers, each stronger than the last, came forth. He raised his right arm before bringing it down viciously. His trusted aide beside him took the order and quickly waved the yellow flags in his hands. Along the front of the palace walls, the hundreds of imperial soldiers on the Palace walls moved at the same time. They lifted the hemp bags at their feet and carefully ripped them open. They then poured them out onto the heads of the rebel soldiers no longer within range of the arrows.
Slightly yellow powder scattered downward like a snowfall of not very clean snow. In an instant, the thousands of rebel soldiers closest to the Royal Palace were enveloped in it.
The general of the rebel army’s face paled quickly in shock. Thinking that it was the Overwatch Council’s poison, he ordered his subordinates to be careful.
It was not poison. The Third Bureau was not Fan Xian’s personal workshop and did not have the capability to produce so much poison. This yellow powder was coarse gunpowder that had been taken by the imperial soldiers, on Fan Xian’s earlier orders, from below the square building.
The Royal Palace had never made preparations for handling the attack of a powerful military. At this time, there was not hot oil prepared or many things to burn. If the Fan Xian was not standing on their side, the battle today would probably progress with unusual gloom.
The Great Prince glanced at Fan Xian, who had been calmly gazing at the distant rebel army camp, and gently nodded his head.
The trusted aide beside the Great Prince had a vicious expression on his face. He shouted out the order in a loud voice to all the soldiers on the walls.
A sudden explosion of the densest rain of arrows since the beginning of the battle came down from the walls where previously only a loose formation had fallen. This rain of arrows carried a red light that was like the inauspicious color Qin Heng’s bravest general had seen before he died.
The fire arrows fell to the foot of the palace. There was no need for precision. They only had to land among the powder.
The sky was beautiful. The autumn sun had already risen, and the morning wind had already faded away. The powder poured down was not scattered by the wind. Fan Xian was not worried they would be blown back onto the palace walls. It formed a large cloud and enveloped the thousands of rebel soldiers below. Looking at the beautiful morning scenery of willows beside the river, one could faintly see shadows within moving in a panic.
The fire arrows entered the fog and began to burn at a terrifying speed. Countless flames burned vigorously and quickly connected together to form a sea of fire. It was like a fire dragon stretched out across the foot of the Royal Palace. It was also like a golden sun shining down on a calm lake of water as great waves gradually formed and began to roll. It was bright and burned hot. It even covered up the light from the sun in the sky.
As for the people in the fog, They cried out tragically and burned, turning into countless pitiful flaming bodies. They struggled to run out of the fog. Was a blaze this size something normal life forms could endure?
Countless flaming people ran wildly in the square. Their tragic cries rose to the heavens. The scene appeared to be uncommonly horrifying.
Not a single burning rebel soldier managed to run back to their own camp. Most of them turned into charred bodies at the foot of the Palace while the rest only had time to run to the square before falling with a splat on the ground, twitching continuously with what was left of the fire and rising white smoke.
The rebel soldiers in the distant streets were in a panic. Even the Qing troops famous for their strict discipline still felt fear. No one had thought that the imperial soldiers would have such terrifying tactics.
The Crown Prince’s face was ashen. The old Qin Master looked coldly at the top of the palace walls and slowly said, “Only Fan Xian would use such cruel tactics.”
The smell of burning disturbed everyone’s state of mind. Even the imperial soldiers on the walls felt a glimmer of fear and helplessness. Looking at the terrifying sight below, some soldiers’ lips turned white as they wondered to themselves if those charred bodies had been killed by them.
After this destructive attack, the first wave of rebel soldiers entering the Royal Palace returned gloomily to camp. There were not many who returned. The Royal Palace was protected against all odds. The rebel army did not carry out a second round of attacks.
It was clear that both those guarding the Palace and those attacking it had been shocked by this bloody and terrifying fog of fire. They all needed a moment to digest this and steady their military hearts. Fan Xian, the one responsible for this evil act, had an unusually calm expression. He looked at the distant rebel camp and pressed his lips together without saying a single word.
The Great Prince saw Fan Xian’s right hand trembling slightly as it hung by his side in his sleeve and that his eyes were becoming more and more bloodshot.
The Great Prince had also not thought that the Overwatch Council’s fire powder could be used in such a horrifying way. Long used to the bloody battlefields in the West, he didn’t feel anything he shouldn’t as he looked at the sight in front of him. But, he still felt shocked. If this powder could be used like this, what kind of changes would there be in future battles?
“We were lucky today,” Fan Xian didn’t turn his head to look at him and said in a quiet voice. “There is no wind or rain, which is why it worked so well.”
He slowly lowered his head. After gaining control of the palace treasury, he had paid a great deal of attention to the combined production efforts of the Third Workshop and Third Bureau. He understood deep in his heart why his mother, Ye Qingmei, had put in so much effort in other military and common matters but had strictly forbidden the use of fire powder in this world.
Even when he was rescuing Xiao En in Shangjing, the Overwatch Council had only provided one carriage of fire powder. This world’s use of fire powder continued to be undeveloped. It wasn’t even as good as the homemade firecrackers in his previous life.
In this world, only Fan Xian knew that even a sky full of dancing wood shavings would cause a major explosion much less fire powder. He couldn’t help be worried that this spectacle would open up a Pandora’s Box for this land. In the next instant, he immediately relaxed. The palace treasury’s iron craft was not up to standard, so there was no need to worry about the arrival of the firearms era. Furthermore, it was as he said to the Great Prince, the fire set today by the soldiers guarding the palace had such a great effect mainly because of natural circumstances. His luck was just as good as before.
As for the tragic sight in front of him, Fan Xian actually did feel some fear. Ever since his youth, he had seen countless bodies and had personally killed countless people. When he saw that many charred bodies appear in front of him, he still felt a desire to vomit.
This was a battlefield, a true battlefield.
It was because of this that Fan Xian felt even more determined to win. If one came into this world with some kind of mission, he believed that his mission was his deal with Haitang. If he wanted to complete this deal, he had to survive.
Killing people with a knife was killing. Killing people with a spear was killing. Using fire powder to burn people to death was also killing. Other than being a bit more terrifying and a bit uglier, there was no difference.
The rebellion this time was a civil war. Both sides were elites of Qing Kingdom. The sight earlier chilled too many people’s hearts. The rebel soldiers returned to camp to tend to their injuries, preparing for an even larger attack with the anger of revenge in their hearts. The imperial soldiers wore complicated expressions on their faces. Many people did not even look at the black-clothed Sir Fan junior, who was standing coldly on the Palace walls.
The smell of burning and remnants of the fire lingered in front of the Royal Palace. The red walls and green bricks at the top of the Palace all had colored scorch marks burned into them. It looked like this beautiful and stern Royal Palace had been viciously scratched by someone with a knife.
The Great Prince looked at the sight in front of him and slowly swept his gaze across the imperial soldiers on the walls. Using a deep and firm voice, he said to everyone, “This is war! Remember, the people below are rebels! If we allow them into the Royal Palace, Qing court will sink into darkness. The people will never see the light of day again, and you will all be torn apart!”
“Who is at the foot of the walls? It’s the enemy.” The Great Prince shouted in a severe voice. “You are all soldiers who have come back with me from the West. What did we fight so hard on the plains against the Hu people for? Everything is for the Qing Kingdom. Those enemies want to destroy the root of Qing Kingdom. There is no difference between them and the savage Hu people! They are only beasts!
“I order you, from this moment, to see and treat those people as Hu people!”
“Everything is for the Qing Kingdom! The Emperor is looking down on you from heaven!”
These were not just hot-blooded words coming from the Commander’s mouth. They had the unexpected effect of calming the people’s hearts.
On the wall, the eyes of the soldiers gradually lit up and did not have the dimness and confusion from earlier.
“For Qing Kingdom!”
Everyone on palace walls cheered in a loud voice. Even the Third Prince standing next to Fan Xian was not an exception. Only the empress dowager, tightly controlled by Fan Xian, had a glimmer of mockery and fear flash through her eyes.
At this moment, a wave of heavy footsteps rang out on the walls. A group of eunuchs, under the escort of Overwatch Council officials, brought three black coffins to the top of the palace walls with great difficulty. The coffins were placed heavily on the wall and gave a muffled sound.
Everyone looked askew at these three coffins.
Fan Xian gently held the Third Prince’s hand and stood behind the Great Prince. Facing the surrounding imperial soldiers, officials, and Overwatch Council officials, he quietly said, “We are the Emperor’s officials. We are following the Emperor’s posthumous edict in stopping those rebellious conspiracies. Regardless of success or failure, we will not retreat a single step.”
The Great Prince’s expression was stern as he continued Fan Xian’s words, “There are three coffins here. En for Chengping, Sir An Zhi, and me. If the Royal Palace falls, then the three of us will die here to show our filial piety toward our father and our loyalty to the Qing Kingdom.”
He looked around and then slowly said, “We will guard the Palace to the death. Do you all have confidence?”
Fan Xian had even used such lowly tricks as preparing a coffin for a battle how could the soldiers guarding the Palace not feel their blood roiling? In a uniform voice, they cried out, “Yes, we do!”
Fan Xian held Li Chengping’s hand and asked in an even voice, “Scared?”
The Third Prince thought about it and shook his head forcefully. “I’m not scared! I am my father’s son. I won’t be scared!”
“Good.” Fan Xian glanced at him with a small smile and didn’t say anything else. He was thinking that if something went wrong and the Palace actually fell, he would have no choice but to take the Third Prince and run. He could only hope that the kid would not blame him at the time.
The distant rebel soldiers began to gather again. The morale that had been quashed by Fan Xian’s poisonous trick seemed to successfully been converted into rage against the Royal Palace. Most of Qing Kingdom’s soldiers had long experiences in the battlefield. This ability to motivate soldiers was inferior to none. The rebel soldiers’ gazes toward the Royal Palace began to be filled with pure killing intent.
The sea of fire appeared terrifying. In reality, it didn’t cause much damage to the rebel army. Fan Xian watched the scene in front of him. Involuntarily, his heart fluttered a little. He thought to himself that if he had calculated wrong, the next step would result in the death of many people on his side.
He knew nothing about military matters. From the start to now, he had not made any suggestions to the Great Prince’s arrangement of soldiers and was only a calm spectator and helper.
At this moment, he was going to make an unusually daring suggestion.
“How many imperial soldiers do we have?”
“2,700. We have had almost no casualties.”
Fan Xian heard the sounds in the direction of Taiping Square fading and furrowed his brows slightly. “Do you think we will be able to hold it?”
The Great Prince’s sharp eyebrows still carried a glimmer of evil intent. He said, very straightforwardly, “Even if father led the troops himself, we wouldn’t be able to hold it.”
Suddenly, a self-mocking smile flashed across the corner of his lips. “The difference between the two troops is too big. If the Western Expedition Army had not been disbanded by father, if I led… No, if I led only a third of the power of the Western Expedition Army, I would engage in a final battle with the rebel soldiers below.”
The Great Prince took in a deep breath. “However, be assured that even if we lose, it won’t be that tragically. The soldiers under my command have all fought the Hu people on the plains. The Qin family… hmph… It’s already been 20 years since the old man personally led troops. Pus, the soldiers of the Jingdou Garrison are lazy to the extreme. The only thing is the Dingzhou troops…”
Fan Xian cut in, “In the attack just now, I noticed a problem.”
Fan Xian moved closer to the Great Prince’s ear and spoke quietly.
“What are you thinking?” Cold light glimmered in the Great Prince’s eyes.
“I am thinking of a gamble,” Fan Xian lowered his head and faintly said. “We have no more trump cards in our hands. If we continue on like this, it will eventually end in death.”
The Great Prince furrowed his brows and said, “Battle is not a child’s game. What you are saying is too absurd.”
Fan Xian laughed bitterly. “It is indeed absurd, but I truly cannot think of another opportunity to turn the tables.”
He turned his head to glance at the three shiny coffins. His gaze gradually grew determined. He still had a trump card, but before he saw everyone else’s trump card clearly, he would not use it no matter what.
The Great Prince was silent for a moment and then suddenly said, “What gamble are you going to make?”
“Move aside the rocks in front of the Palace gates.” Fan Xian raised his face and looked to the side across the charred and slightly warm air of the square to the Commander of the Dingzhou troops, Ye Zhong, who was quietly speaking with the Second Prince about something. His gaze hardened slightly, “We should be prepared to charge out at any moment to give ourselves a chance…”
He smiled warmly. “And, return the world a surprise.”
At this moment, Ye Zhong, who was having a secret discussion with the Second Prince, seemed to sense the gaze on the Palace walls. He raised his head and glanced back with an unusually calm and indifferent gaze.