"I know where the emperor is! Stop them from catching me! I know where he is!" the virtuous consort hoarsely shouted. Her hair was in disarray, and her palace attire was also disheveled.
Her words caught Ji Man's interest. Ji Man asked, “Oh? Where's Zhao Li?"
The pursuing imperial guards saw Marquis Moyu and halted.
The virtuous consort fell at Ji Man's feet. Clenching her jaw, she answered, "Take me to emperor. Even if I'm going to die, I want to die together with the emperor!"
Ji Man curiously asked, "Since you know the emperor's location, why didn't you go over there by yourself?"
Kangyuan resentfully looked at the imperial guards that were behind her. She pursed her lips, and her eyes turned red. "We were almost out and would have been able to escape the palace before it was surrounded, but then he put a desperate struggle to go back. He chose to throw away his life so that he could see that person in Wangyue Building!"
"I wanted to catch up to him, but there were so many other people pursuing him, so I had to lead some of them away from him, right?" Kangyuan indignantly said, "I regret it now. Why did I help him by leading those people away? It would have been better if they had captured both of us, that way he'll never see that vixen, Pengyue, again!"
It had been so long since she had heard Pengyue's name. Hearing it now, Ji Man felt somewhat nostalgic, and her expression softened. Back then, her life had been spared because Pengyue had pleaded with Zhao Li. Even if it had started off as trading favors, she still felt grateful towards Pengyue.
“Zhao Li went to Wangyue Building?"
"Where else could he have gone?" Kangyuan managed to stand up and say, "If you're going over there, take me with you, and I'll tell you a secret in exchange after we get there."
It would be trivial to bring Kangyuan along, and she would get a secret out of it, so Ji Man agreed. Marquis Moyu went with them Wangyue Building. On the way there, they didn't see many people, the lanterns were hanging askew, and the flowerpots were toppled over.
On the outside, Wangyue Building appeared surprisingly peaceful. It was a place that Zhao Li had put a lot of thought into building. In the midst of the desolation, it had a feeling of independent grandeur.
There wasn't anyone left at the entrance, and there were no sounds of activity inside. When Ji Man went inside, she saw an empty wheelchair on the first floor.
Raising her head to look at the tall staircase, Ji Man went up the stairs.
When she reached the third floor, she heard someone ranting.
"Why did you release Marquis Moyu's heir to him? You clearly knew that he was the most important hostage. This emperor trusted you the most in this palace, that why this emperor handed Ning Jinchen to you. Even thought you weren't willing to borrow soldiers from Yuzhen, I thought that you would never harm me!"
Zhao Li had left his wheelchair behind and crawled up the staircase. His respectable, golden dragon robe was stained with dirt. Although he cut a sorry figure, his imposing manner hadn't diminished. It was if he was standing up in the Heavens instead of lying on the ground.
"I didn't expect that it would be your hands that would cause my downfall in the end. Truly, my success and failure was due to the same person. Pengyue, don't you feel bad? You accompanied me in seizing this country, but a moment of willfulness on your part has ruined all my future prospects."
"You clearly knew that even though this emperor took a consort, my heart only has you. Why couldn't you be satisfied with this? Why did you have to feel so broken-hearted?”
"Even if this emperor didn't come see you, why didn't you take the initiative to come see this emperor? It's not like you to be so passive. You even dared to whip Kangyuan. If you were angry with this emperor, why didn't you tell this emperor? Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Pengyue, say something. This emperor doesn't have the strength crawl any further."
In the middle of the room, Zhao Li was finally exhausted. The skin on his hands was torn from crawling here. Collapsing on the ground, he didn't have the strength to get up.
The sound of footsteps was getting closer and closer. Zhao Li furrowed his brow. Mustering up his remaining energy, he continued to crawl forward. "The palace has been taken over. Are you happy? This emperor has come to take you away. Even if you made a lot of mistakes, we can slowly settle those accounts between us in the future. This emperor won't go easy on you, but you have to leave with this emperor now. They're waiting for us at Chenhui Gate..."
There wasn't any sound coming from the bed. If it wasn't for a gentle breeze that allowed him to faintly see a raised quilt on the bed, he would almost think that Pengyue had abandoned him and left first.
"So, even you would have a day like this one." Ji Man leaned against the doorway as she watched him. She sneered, "Why are you crawling on the ground? Your Majesty, you only need to issue an order, and there will be servants to come carry you."
Zhao Li paused. He turned his head back to look.
"Your Majesty!" Kangyuan rushed into the room. Angry and anxious, she helped Zhao Li sit up. "Everyone has already said that you need to leave earlier. Why did you have to be so stubborn and not listen? What's so good about that woman? She's almost dead from her illness."
"Get out!" Zhao Li pushed her away, and his body fell back to the ground. Looking at Ji Man, he said, "Sure enough, it's you, Nie Sangyu. Back when Pengyue was pleading to let you off, this emperor knew that you wouldn't be so easily destroyed. You're too clever. As long as you're still alive, this emperor won't be at peace.”
Ji Man slightly smiled, "Sangyu is honored to hear Your Majesty's compliment. Sangyu feels the same way. If Your Majesty is alive, Sangyu won't feel at peace either."
Ning Yuxuan pursed his lips and stepped through the doorway.
Zhao Li continued to crawl towards the bed. Looking at the figure on the bed, he said, "Pengyue, look. You were wrong about this too. Because of your mercy, this person has come here to kill me. Don't you agree that this emperor is right in blaming you? Didn't you make a mistake?"
“Marrying you was Pengyue's biggest mistake," Ji Man scoffed.