The Imperial palace of Western Liang.

Matron Ning stopped just outside the Xianfu palace, she stop by the gates and listen to the screams of the eunuchs and maids as they tried to avoid the assassins. She ran in as the sound of footsteps got louder, she did not want to be found hiding by the gate.

”Ahhh! Assassins! there are assassins in the palace! ” she shouted and ran out of the compound making sure to shut the gate and keep in any of the servants that tried to escape.

According to Empress Zhaos instructions, she was not to let any of them live. She doubled back as she ran into a bloodied Shen Xiaoriu, ”G-general Shen! you are alive! ”

Shen Xiaoriu paid no mind to that statement, his entire focus was on saving the Emperor, he placed a hand on her shoulder to hold her steady and asked, ”is his Majesty still inside? ”

Her heart stopped, she tried to take a step back but was held back by Shen Xiaoriu. Her eyes darted about as she tried to search for a way out. He tightened his hold and asked once again, ”where is his Majesty? ”

”He_ I – he is insid_ ”, he didn wait for her to complete her statement, he pushed her aside a rushed into Xianfu Palace.

The force knocked her down, she fell on her button, mouth open. A free seconds later she stood while rubbing her sore bottom.

She looked back at Xianfu palace before running forward, ”Assassin! the palace is under attack ”.

She took the long way to the command centre of the Imperial guards, ensuring that she fall and scratch her knees to create a believable image for any observer.


Shen Xiaoriu fought his way into the Emperors pavilion, he arrived just as a masked assassin cut the Emperors secret guards jugular. He held his weird up and rushed forward, blocking the sword aimed at Xiang Ziweis back.

Xiang Ziwei quickly looked over his shoulder as he felt a cold metal armour hit his back. ”Xiaoriu ”, he said grinning at his leftwing general and friend.

”I am sorry for coming so late, your majesty ”, Shen Xiaoriu replied running an assassin through with his sword.

”Don mention ”, Xiang Ziwei replied as he charged forward. He brought his sword down, slashing the shoulder and arm of one of the two assassins that had come after him in unison.

The assassin dropped his sword and stepped aside to give way for his partner to attack the Emperor.

Xiang Ziwei side-stepped as the assassins sword came toward his side, he grabbed the injured assassin and pushed him to his partner.

It was so unexpected that the other assassin quickly ran him through, now that he was slowed down, Xiang Ziwei slashed his throat.

Xiang Ziwei hissed and stepped away as he felt a sharp pain from a slash at his side, she placed his hand on his side and as expected his hand was stained with blood.

He ignored the dull pain and continued fighting until there were no other assassins in the room. He had been so busy trying to survive that he had barely had any time to think until this moment. Looked around the room

”Where are the imperial guards, this is enough disturbance 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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