Joy of Life - Chapter 670 - Risking It All[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:36]
Chapter 670: Risking It All
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Gao Da’s pupils shrank as he stared at the eunuch in front of him. Having carried out protection services for the royal family for many years in secret, he recognized the internal court ace in front of him. For a moment, he wondered if Eunuch Yao had also come to Dazhou. He took a deep breath. Even if Eunuch Yao came, he wasn’t afraid. Through this, he knew the Palace must have investigated his whereabouts ahead of time. The situation he was about to face was presumably very scary.
The eunuch coughed gently and took out a piece of cloth to wipe at the blood seeping out of the corners of his mouth. In a raspy voice, he said, “Eunuch Yao didn’t come. This is a matter of the court. I now follow and act on behalf of Scholar He.”
Gao Da glanced at him and cautiously retreated half a step. His eyes swept his surroundings. His hands tightened even further around his wife’s. Only after hearing the eunuch’s words did he know that someone in court had never believed he had died and had been secretly investigating him the entire time.
Another two eunuchs walked out of the shadows by the city gate.
Gao Da stared at the leading eunuch and said, “You’re not a match for me.”
The three internal court aces were silent. Their emotions were unusually complicated, particularly that of the eunuch in the lead. They had come to Dazhou with the aces of the Ministry of Justice’s 13 yamens to complete a task. They faintly knew that Scholar He was investigating the loose ends of the Dong Mountain incident three years. These eunuchs never thought they would actually find Gao Da this Tiger Guard.
All around them, the officials of the Ministry of Justice had surrounded them. Other than those who had been injured by Gao Da, there were still a few dozen people. Looking at the situation, Gao Da wouldn’t be able to escape even if he grew wings.
The eunuch coughed again. When his palm had clashed with Gao Da earlier, his qi had reversed. He was injured. Naturally, the gaze he turned on Gao Da now carried a hint of fear and admiration.
“I cannot believe you’re still alive. I’m even more surprised that you are just as good as ever.” The eunuch’s gaze was muddied but carried a stubborn coldness. “Since we are lucky enough to run into you, don’t think you can leave again.”
The eunuch’s expression immediately became icy cold. Gao Da was long used to the way the internal court did things. “If you want to keep me, I’m afraid you’ll have to pay a great price.”
“We are not afraid to pay the price.” The eunuch glanced at the beautiful woman at his side and said with a strange smile, “But, perhaps you will not be able to endure the price you will have to pay.”
“Surrender. You know you cannot survive. Why implicate those beside you?” the eunuch said gently.
The sun had set. Only a smear of dusk was left. It enveloped the city gate in a hazy light, making one feel heavy.
A brief struggle and sorrow flashed through Gao Da’s eyes. After a moment of silence, he faintly said, “I won’t have a way out if I’m caught by you, but will she have a way out?”
The eunuch lowered his head and said after a moment, “Naturally, adults must be responsible for their own actions. As for the child on your chest, their life and death could only be decided by the palace.”
“Then, why shouldn’t I risk it all?”
“Because you don’t have to die right now. You can live a few more days. As for this child, perhaps after that young man learns about this matter, he will be willing to protect them for you.” The eunuch gave him a long and meaningful glance.
Young man? A blankness flashed through Gao Da’s eyes. If Sir Fan junior knew that he was still alive and surrounded by the Dazhou city gate with a child in his arms, what would he do? He had committed the great crime of deceiving a ruler. There was no pardon for him. Sir Fan junior should be able to protect the child in his arms.
The Ministry of Justice officials all maintained their silence, but the gaze they turned on that knife-wielder carried a sliver of fear. In the space of a few breaths during the battle by the city gate, six of their peers had died under the light of that knife.
They knew this knife-wielding man with the wife and child was a legendary Tiger Guard. He was one of the Tiger Guards that was said to have been killed by Sigu Jian on Dong Mountain.
They had already surrounded him, but they didn’t immediately charge forward and split him apart. Every felt an unease. They knew that in Scholar He’s secret investigation, his final hopes rested on these three internal court aces. Since Gao Da had not spoken or made a move, it was best for them to remain silent.
Perhaps they could see Gao Da struggling and hesitating. The internal court ace’s expression gradually grew heavy. He said in a stern voice, “You were once a Tiger Guard of the royal family. You escaped before the battle on Dong Mountain and abandoned your ruler without a care. That is the same crime as treason! If you don’t kneel now, do you want to continue rebelling?”
Gao Da’s face became deathly pale. On Dong Mountain, Sigu Jian’s sword had come flying through. The limbs of his colleagues below the long stone staircase flew wildly as blood flowed through the gaps in the stones. All of these scenes rose once again in front of his eyes.
He was the commander of the Tiger Guards, a well-known figure among the hundred Tiger Guards. Ever since his youth, the ideals of loyalty to the Emperor and patriotism, even in the face of death, had been instilled in him. However, Gao Da had followed Fan Xian for three years. His horizons had gradually broadened. His nature and life perspective had been influenced too much by Fan Xian.
Fan Xian was always gentle but the details of his day-to-day life and the way he spoke were enough to influence many people by his side. Thus, Gao Da had become the first Tiger Guard in history to escape before a battle.
The ace of the internal court had brought up the Dong Mountain incident hoping to weaken Gao Da’s battle intent. However, the deathly paleness on Gao Da’s face did not stay for long before it gradually returned to normal. With an iciness, he stared at the other person and said, “Abandoned my ruler?”
When he decided to escape Dong Mountain, Gao Da had struggled with himself in his heart. However, his drifting amidst the Qing people these three years, when he slept at noon and at night and when he heard some little news, had all made him think about what happened that year countless times.
His voice grew sharp and cold as he angrily said, “Was it I who abandoned the Emperor or the Emperor who abandoned me?”
“On Dong Mountain, a hundred Tiger Guards all died at enemy hands for the sake of burning through Sigu Jian’s killing intent!” Gao Da grew angry as his voice grew loud. He stared with wide eyes. His rage could not be restrained. “I am a Tiger Guard. I am willing to use my life to protect the Emperor, but I do not want to die for such bullsh*t reasons. Even if I die, I want to die knowing how it happened!”
Gao Da’s hand slowly tightened around the hilt of the knife. Pulling his wife behind him, he stared at the internal court ace and said, “I just don’t want to die as stupidly and muddle-headedly as my colleagues. What is wrong with that?”
The internal court ace’s voice grew sharp and began to tremble as if he had not thought he would hear this Tiger Guard say such treasonous things. Angrily, he shouted in a sharp voice, “If a ruler wants his subject to die, the subject has no choice in the matter! How could you say such treasonous words as a Tiger Guard? You cannot be saved!”
“I’ve already done treasonous things, much less talked about it.” Gao Da suddenly realized that his entire body was relaxed. He had finally spat out his resentment toward the Emperor. The Tiger Guards were suicide fighters the royal family nurtured, but Gao Da had become an independent man. He did not want to live in confusion or die in confusion.
Gao Da used a strip of cloth to tightly tie his wife behind him. He used both hands to tighten the knot. As he was doing this, no one made a move by the city gate. They were all nervously waiting for the internal court aces to give an order.
“If you continue to resist the edict, are you not worried that Sir Fan junior will be implicated because of you?” The hands of the internal court ace were slowly trembling. His words pierced right through Gao Da’s heart.
Gao Da laughed coldly and said, “What does Fan Xian count as? If I implicate him, so be it. What good people are there in the royal family?”
The internal court ace’s expression shifted slightly as if he had not thought that Gao Da would say something like that. Did he not feel any loyalty toward Sir Fan junior?
Of course, the truth of the matter was not like that. When the ace said that he was not here by order of Eunuch Yao to capture him, Gao Da knew there was something strange about the matter. After hearing Scholar He’s name, Gao Da immediately understood what Scholar He wanted to do.
Regardless of whether it was in court or among the common people, everyone knew that Sir Fan junior had been doing all he could to suppress Scholar He in court while Scholar He relied on his royal favor and did his best to stand against Sir Fan junior. The two sides were like fire and water. However, they had always been under the Emperor’s control, so they hadn’t had a chance to blow up.
Gao Da knew that given Sir Fan junior’s abilities and strength, a mere He Zongwei would not be able to find a way to defeat Sir Fan junior. There wasn’t a loose end anywhere on Sir Fan junior’s body.
Unexpectedly, he, who had escaped from Dong Mountain and survived, was, without question, Fan Xian’s biggest loose end.
He Zongwei only wanted to capture Gao Da or Wang Qinian but did not want them to die. As long as he caught Gao Da, it would be as if he had caught Fan Xian’s loose end, although Fan Xian didn’t know he even had a loose end.
Gao Da hoisted his wife’s body upward. The killing intent grew stronger in his eyes as he stared at the ace without saying a word. If he was caught alive by the court and used by He Zongwei to destroy Sir Fan junior, what damage would that inflict?
Gao Da had followed Fan Xian for a long time and understood him very well. Sir Fan junior appeared cold and heartless but was actually very protective of his own.
That kind of protection was different from Director Chen’s. Fan Xian was truly concerned about those close to him. If the court captured him, Sir Fan junior might actually risk breaking taboo to rescue him.
Gao Da did not wish for Sir Fan junior to sink into dangerous territory for his sake. So, he decided to die rather than surrender. He would rather die in front of Dazhou’s city gate than surrender and allow himself to be captured. He did not want to implicate him for the sake of living a few more days.
He would have to wrong his wife behind him and the child in front of him.
A sliver of hopelessness and deep remorse flashed through his eyes. Holding the knife in his hands, he gave a roar and charged forward.
There was no end to the killing. But, a knife would eventually break. How could a person oppose the powerful machinery of a nation? Although Gao Da was valiant, he was not a Great Grandmaster. Surrounded by powerful figures of the Qing court, being able to last until the night was already particularly terrifying.
He was covered in blood and exhausted but had only charged three li out of Dazhou. The Ministry of Justice aces and soldiers surrounding him cleverly kept their distance and only charged forward in batches to kill him. They didn’t let the situation become chaotic, which would possibly allow Gao Da to slip away.
There were torches spread all around the road. They seemed even brighter than the multitude of stars in the sky.
The internal court ace coldly watched the pursuit in front of him and waited for when Gao Da’s strength would be exhausted. He furrowed his brows slightly and said, “Have the children be more careful. Don’t keep attacking the woman on his back.”
An official of the Ministry of Justice was surprised. He turned back to glance at him and asked, “Why not?”
In the eyes of these officials, although Tiger Guard Gao Da was more powerful than anyone thought, he still had a child on his chest and a woman on his back. As long as the blades of the knives turned toward those places, he would always feel some fear and take more injuries that way.
The internal court ace slowly walked toward the center of the battle. As he walked, he coughed. Narrowing his eyes, he said, “If someone accidentally kills that woman, how can we capture him alive once he goes mad? As long as that woman is alive, she will weigh down Gao Da like a mountain. Even if he wanted to commit suicide, he would have to think a moment longer.”
Until now, the internal court ace still wanted to capture Gao Da alive. This was something Scholar He had requested countless times. If Gao Da died, how could he threaten Fan Xian? He Zongwei was also hoping to use Gao Da to provoke the relationship between Fan Xian and the Emperor, but this was something the ace would not be able to guess.
Gao Da had killed countless people. His state was like that of a crazed tiger. His entire body was covered in blood. Two of the three internal court aces had already been heavily injured by him. Many of the officials of the Ministry of Justice had died under his blade. However, his knife was gradually cracking, and the zhenqi in his body was almost exhausted.
Everyone could see that ruthless court criminal was almost at the end of his strength. They began to rub the special anesthesia the Ministry of Justice made onto their blades as they prepared to carry out the final tightening of the net.
Suddenly, a line of black carriages came from the other end of the street. This group of carriages were strange. They came silently as if from the underworld. The line of carriages was very long, the end could not be seen.
Gao Da’s sword cut through the right arm of an ace of the 13 yamens to his right. He suddenly felt his right knee weaken. He knew he had reached the end of his strength. He gave an unsatisfied roar and charged toward the group of carriages.
The officials giving chase behind were not nervous. They were not worried about whether the group of carriages could be caught in the crossfire. They continued to push closer at a steady pace.
Among the black carriages, the Overwatch Council official by the window talking with the old man inside saw the city blazing with light and the bloody man. His gaze grew complicated.
It was only when this bloody man ran closer that the Overwatch Council official saw that the bloody man was actually three people.
The Overwatch Council officials flitted over and caught the bloody man just as he fell to the ground. His brow twitched. In a raspy voice that slightly suppressed his excitement, he said, “Gao Da, you bastard. You actually took a wife.”
The sword in Gao Da’s hand was stuck into the ground as he prepared to use the person as a hostage. Suddenly hearing this joke, he raised his head and looked into the face of a stranger.
The stranger was wearing a familiar uniform. Gao Da’s heart relaxed as he collapsed into the man’s arms.