urbance to attract the attention of the Imperial guards ”.

Xiaoriu who like him just started getting down from the initial emotions, paused as his words sunk in.

”I ran into a senior matron only my way here, she was screaming for the Imperial guard. It has been a while, by my calculations, she should be close to the command centre by now. How come they are not here yet? ”

Xiang Ziweis eyes narrowed, he accessed everything he had experienced this night and suddenly it all clicked. His flexed fingers wrapped around the sword handle and tightened his grip.

Swearing below his breath, he thought, how could I be so foolish. He turned to his side and bit his lower lip. He relaxed his face as his eyes met Shen Xiaorius eyes, ”what if this was all arranged by someone ”.

”Someone? who could arrange this and also control the Imperial guards? ”

A few faces flashed in his mind on hearing that yet he couldn bring himself to think of that. Just thinking of any one of them being behind this hurt yet the more he thought of it.

The clearer it all began, if I am right then I am in a bind, he thought as he ran to the small cupboard by his reading table and took out the Imperial seal.

I might be stuck but Ronglei and my children are not. Holding the box he gazed at Xiaoriu,
o matter how I think of it, this is the only way, he walked to Xiaoriu and handed the seal over to him.

Shen Xiaoriu stare from the box in his hand to Xiang Ziwei, ”Y-Your majesty_ ”

”This is not the end of this before more assassins come back. Take this and keep it save ”

”B-but your ma_ ”

”Please don fight me, Take this away ”, he pushed the box into his hands, ”Don worry about me, take this to Minister Yin. He will understand ”, His eyes snapped to the open door at the would of the gate of his palace hitting the stone wall that surrounds his palace.

He turned Xiaoriu around and pushed him to the open window overlooking the small garden adjoining his palace. ”Quick, go meet Minister Yin. Tell him to send in some reinforcement, I will escape through the secret passage. ”

”There is a secret passage? ”

”Yes! Now get moving ”, he pushed him. His words had accomplished what he had intended. Shen Xiaoriu jumped out of the window immediately.

Xiang Ziwei looked at his sword and smiled bitterly, looks like, I am almost at the end_ Might as well go down fighting, he thought.

He held his sword tightly and faced the door, his heartbeat increased as the door opened. He took a deep breath as a group of masked armed men rushed in but instead of attacking him, they surrounded him.

The assassins parted into two, his younger brother, Xiang Tingfeng walked through the door followed by his wife Zhao Ronglei. He suddenly felt a quick zap run through him, his arm shook and his previously racing heart stopped.

He watched silently as she walked to his side and held his hand. Her smile widened as she met his shocked expression, it was at that moment, that it dawned on him that he had been played for a fool by two of the most members of his family.

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