Chapter 47.2 Chip Chip Chip Chip Chip Chip Chip!
The journey to the Summer Resort was not overly distant, but given the imperial carriage and the entourage of officials, they naturally couldn’t travel at a fast pace.
It took them half a month to safely reach their destination.
The imperial palace nestled amidst the lush green hills surrounding the capital, and a clear stream flowed from the mountaintop, gracefully encircling each palace within the imperial compound.
This stream nourished a dense forest of broad-leaved trees.
Located to the south of the palace, the hunting ground had its own dedicated staff to ensure the safety of the palace by keeping dangerous wild beasts at bay.
In case the Emperor desired to venture into the true wilderness for hunting, a large contingent of guards stood ready to protect him.
Li Jinyu, who had no interest in hunting, sat on the observation deck, holding a cage containing Dumpling.
He yawned out of boredom.
It remained uncertain how much the Jiao Kingdom contemplated challenging the martial prowess of Great Di army, but it was evident that they couldn’t allow the other side to dictate the terms.
With a smile, Huo Caiyu proposed, “Engaging in direct combat may pose risks with blades and swords.
Injuring your country’s emissaries would bring shame to Great Di Dynasty.
Why not use hunting as a pretext and see who can capture more and better game?”
Hunting was a skill that the people of Jiao Kingdom excelled at, even in the heartland of the Central Plains.
Hence, they readily agreed without hesitation.
Li Jinyu was slightly puzzled and privately asked Huo Caiyu, “Aren’t you afraid that we might lose?”
Huo Caiyu responded softly, “We have the advantage in hunting within the palace.”
Although the elite forces of the Great Di army were stationed at the border and it wasn’t worth recalling them for such an occasion, General Meng still had some personnel under his command.
While they lacked a main commander to lead troops and devise strategies, there were plenty of skilled warriors among them.
Furthermore, these generals had accompanied the Emperor on hunting expeditions to the palace in the past, so they were intimately familiar with the palace’s geographical layout.
It allowed them to conveniently deliver game to the Emperor and others without leaving any traces behind.
General Meng and Huo Caiyu held discussions and handpicked a few middle-ranking generals, including two from the Meng and Han clans.
These generals were prime examples of “armchair strategists” who lacked tactical expertise in leading troops into battle.
They relied solely on their personal combat skills and family connections to barely hold minor officer positions.
General Meng was well aware of their limited capabilities and never allowed them to participate in critical battles or interfere with the capital’s defense.
With nothing else to do, these few individuals could only pass their time by engaging in hunting activities within the game reserve.
Now, their time had come.
Li Jinyu sat on the observation deck, with Huo Caiyu on his left, and the envoy from Jiao Kingdom and Princess Princess Tama on his right.
Princess Princess Tama of the Jiao Kingdom had initially wanted to sit directly beside Li Jinyu, but her request was declined by Huo Caiyu…
However, she managed to switch positions with the envoy and sat closer to Huo Caiyu, which brought her nearer to Li Jinyu.
Huo Caiyu maintained a stern expression, standing tall to prevent her from frequently glancing towards the Emperor.
Princess Tama initially held an interest in the youthful and attractive Emperor, as most men in the Kingdom of Jiao boasted thick beards, revered martial arts, and rarely encountered someone as handsome and charming as the Great Di Emperor.
Princess Tama wasn’t particularly thrilled about being sent as a tribute to the Great Di Emperor.
Who knew if the Great Di Emperor would turn out to be an aged, repulsive, and unpleasant man?
However, as she saw this young and handsome Emperor, Princess Tama suddenly found herself considering marriage into the Great Di royal family as a favorable choice.
When her father conquered the capital of Great Di, she could beseech him to spare the Emperor’s life and shelter him in their own residence.
Nevertheless, her desire to approach the attractive Great Di Emperor was consistently thwarted by this Regent.
Princess Tama’s gaze landed on the Regent, and as she carefully observed him, her eyes suddenly lit up.
This Regent was also remarkably handsome.
In comparison to the Emperor over there, who was attractive yet somewhat frail, the Regent possessed an equally striking appearance.
He resembled a sturdy pine tree, exuding an upright and robust temperament.
The subtle aloofness on his face only enhanced his charm.
Princess Tama’s thoughts immediately stirred within her.
She hadn’t anticipated the men of the Di Dynasty to be so good-looking and commanding.
The Regent deliberately hindered her approach to the Emperor and even stood tall in front of her like this.
Could it be that he was interested in her?
Princess Tama suddenly felt a mix of disdain and self-satisfaction towards these hypocritical men of the Great Di.
She leaned closer to Huo Caiyu and whispered, “Your Highness, who do you think will emerge victorious in the hunting competition between our two nations this time?”
Huo Caiyu glanced at her impassively, neither confirming nor denying, “It is too early to make predictions at this stage.”
Both teams had just set off.
Princess Tama let out a coquettish laugh, “Regent, it seems you lack confidence in Great Di.”
“This Prince merely refrains from making premature judgments about uncertain outcomes.”
“Do you believe we can reach an agreement between our two nations?”
“Our officials are still deliberating on the matter.”
Princess Tama’s persistence didn’t shake Huo Caiyu’s composure, and she continued bombarding him with questions.
The accompanying envoy noticed this and frowned, tapping Princess Tama’s back to gain her attention.
Speaking in the language of Jiao Kingdom, he asked her softly, “What are you doing? Didn’t I instruct you to go find the Emperor of Great Di?”
“I find this Regent quite handsome as well,” Princess Tama responded in Jiao Kingdom’s language, her lovely eyes sparkling.
“Watch me win him over.”
The envoy furrowed his brow.
“Don’t worry, my father sent me here to sow discord among the top ranks of Great Di, didn’t he?” Princess Tama shrugged nonchalantly, flicking her hair.
“It would be ideal if the Regent and the Emperor competed for my favor, wouldn’t it?”
The envoy fell silent for a moment, then sighed and cautioned her, “Be cautious.
The success of Jiao Kingdom’s grand plan rests on this meeting.
The individuals occupying the high positions in Great Di should not be underestimated.”
Princess Tama dismissively waved the envoy away, persisting in her flirtation with Huo Caiyu.
Huo Caiyu maintained his composed expression, averting his gaze from them.
He was adept at lip-reading and understood the language of Jiao Kingdom.
Being the son of a border general, despite having access to interpreters, he deemed it necessary to learn Jiao Kingdom’s language himself.
During Huo Caiyu’s youth, he displayed remarkable progress in his studies of poetry, literature, and military strategy.
His father also imparted to him the knowledge of Jiao Kingdom’s language.
When Princess Tama had her back turned, she was unaware that Huo Caiyu understood every word of the envoy’s warning.
Jiao Kingdom’s grand plan?
It didn’t require much thought to discern the nature of the Jiao Kingdom’s “grand plan”.
Their purpose in offering tribute this time undoubtedly concealed ulterior motives.
Huo Caiyu became even more determined to keep the princess away from His Majesty.
Setting aside all other considerations, among the numerous children of the Late Emperor, only the current Emperor had grown up in good health.
If Princess Tama were to assassinate His Majesty, the Di Dynasty would be thrown into immediate chaos!
While contemplating how to approach His Majesty and persuade him to reject Princess Tama’s presence in the palace, Huo Caiyu suddenly heard Li Jinyu’s voice filled with doubt, “Something seems strange.”
Huo Caiyu immediately refocused his attention on His Majesty.
They occupied the observation deck at the resort’s summit, granting them an expansive view that encompassed nearly half of the hunting grounds.
From this vantage point, they witnessed the two teams representing the Di Dynasty and the Jiao Kingdom embarking in divergent directions to engage in the hunt for both wild and prepared game.
The game had been captured in advance to ensure today’s hunting results.
These animals had been adequately nourished and provided with water for several days, with only water offered in the final two days.
This ensured their innate wildness as they were released from their cages, allowing them to forage for sustenance.
To maintain fairness, the game had been dispersed relatively evenly across different locations.
However, when gazing down from above, a majority of the game appeared to be gravitating towards the Jiao Kingdom’s vicinity, which was evidently anomalous.
A crease formed on Huo Caiyu’s forehead.
Something was evidently strange.
The situation was far from normal.
He cast a quick glance at the envoy.
The envoy responded with a smile and maintained his silence.
It was Princess Princess Tama who elegantly flipped her wavy brown hair and spoke with a charming smile, addressing the Regent, “Regent, I wonder if you are curious about the extraordinary fortune of our Jiao Kingdom’s warriors?”
Huo Caiyu maintained his composed demeanor and chose not to reply.
Nevertheless, Princess Tama persisted in her courteous manner and continued, “Our Jiao Kingdom’s warriors are blessed by the God of Trickery, having been bathed in the sacred waters of the deity since birth.
They possess the ability to triumph in every battle and accomplish anything they set their minds to.”
Such baseless claims might deceive common people, but Huo Caiyu would not entertain a single word of it.
The Jiao Kingdom clung to the ancient legend of the mythical creature known as the “Jiao”.
It was described as resembling a canine with leopard-like spots, boasting bull-like horns, and emitting a barking sound.
According to the belief, the kingdom would prosper when the Jiao appeared, as it was regarded as their ancestor.
However, throughout the years, the Jiao deity’s true power had never manifested, leaving the Great Di Dynasty to scoff at their faith.
Huo Caiyu focused his inner energy and directed his gaze towards the hunting ground.
The Great Di Generals participating in the hunt quickly realized that something was wrong.
Their extensive knowledge of the hunting ground’s terrain allowed them to discern the abnormal movement patterns of the prey.
Fortunately, being seasoned hunters, they swiftly devised countermeasures, closely tailing the prey’s new trajectory.
Judging from the current circumstances, the disparity between the two sides was not particularly significant.
Huo Caiyu eased up slightly.
“It appears that Great Di may be on the verge of losing,” the Jiao Kingdom’s envoy suddenly interjected, wearing a smile on his face.
“What was it that Great Di mentioned? Something about conceding, Your Highness the Regent?”
The attending ministers couldn’t help but display traces of anger.
It was evident that the current situation was the result of manipulation by the Jiao Kingdom, but they were unsure how to provide concrete evidence.
Huo Caiyu’s expression remained unchanged as he responded, “The hunt is not yet concluded.”
His words seemed to serve as a signal, prompting the Great Di Generals in the hunting ground to adopt a new approach.
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