Steward Gu ran in as the bell rang, ”Eldest master! ”, he cried out as he ran in. His eyes widened as they fell on Shen Xiaoriu, ”Gen-general Shen? I_I misstepped, I did not know that master had company. My apologies General Shen ”.
”No worries ”, Shen Xiaoriu replied stepping forward to keep the imperial seal out of view. Steward Gu did not notice the seal, he was more focused on his master. Shen Xiaorius heart stopped when the bell rang longer than the standard 3 times, ”this… ”
”A Messenger from the palace just left… He_ He announced that his Majesty was found dead in his room. Assasins breached the palace. His Majesty and the entire servants on night duty were killed ”, he said in a quiet tone.
Shen Xiaoriu stumbled back, he held on to the edges of the table to steady himself. How, he thought. He exchanged a troubled expression with minister Yin. Minister Yin fell back on his seat and for a few seconds staring at the letters on the table.
He ran a hand through his hair, ”The nation is in mourning, Make the necessary arrangements ”.
”Yes ”, Steward Gu replied and walked to the door, he paused a few steps away from the door and turned around when Minister Yin called him back.
”One more thing did the messenger reveal who found his Majesty ”.
”Yes, it was his Highness, Prince Feng ”, Steward watched his masters face but observed no changes in his expression.
He left after he was dismissed by his master. He stood by the wall and positioned his ears towards the open window. He yelped and jumped back as he felt a cold hand on his left shoulder.
”Du- Du Muchen! I_I should get going ”, he nearly tripped over his foot he ran away. Du Chen watched him leave, with a slight frown.
Once the older man was out of sight, he sighed and walked back to his post just outside the door. He had stepped out when he heard footsteps.
Meanwhile, inside the study, Minister Yin picked up the four letters he had written and threw them into the open flame of the small burner next to his reading table.
There was no need to keep such a letter since the Emperor had died, he glanced at Shen Xiaoriu who sat on the floor. He stood, eyes wide as soon as Shen Xiaoriu slapped his cheeks hard.
Shen Xiaoriu looked like a man that had lost the will to live. Minister Yin rushed forward and grabbed Shen Xiaorius swords as he attempted to unsheath his sword.
”Don ! ” He pulled the sword out of Shen Xiaorius hold and threw it across the room. ”Don make any rash decisions, his Majesty deliberately sent you away to save your life. Don let his sacrifice go to waste! ”.
Shen Xiaoriu hissed and slapped his thigh continuously, ”what was I thinking, I never should have left him alone ”.
Squatting by Shen Xiaorius side, Minister Yin held Shen Xiaorius fist before it came down on his thigh once again,
”beating yourself up will solve nothing, his majesty knew who was behind this attack or he wouldn have sent you away. He understood that his death would end everything ”.
His gaze fell on the Imperial seal on the table, ”his Majesty might be dead but he died with an heir, It won be easy for Prince Feng to take the throne. We should protect her majesty and the Crown Prince. Until this is resolved, hold onto the Imperial seal, I will meet with Prime Minister Zhao and discuss a way forward ”.
Shen Xiaoriu glanced at the seal and nodded, ”I will have a few of my men monitor the situation in the palace ”.
”Good ” he let go of Shen Xiaorius fist and stood, ”I should get ready to enter the palace ”.
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