OMF V1C102 Bad News

“What did you say?” The heavenly emperor regarded Shun Tao with a strange gaze.
The fate’s scribe gulped. Damn. Did he just roar at the heavenly emperor? “This … I …” Shun Tao repressed a sigh. At least he had finally dodged that explosive subject.
He knelt down again between the guards and took out the scroll of fate. “Your Majesty, I came to inform you that something went wrong with His Highness’ fate in his trial as a mortal. Until now, he still hasn’t been able to pass even a minor trial.”
The hall that had just been filled with the heavenly emperor’s roars and then with the steps of the guards plunged into an eerie silence. Shun Tao winced. Yes, he had expected this reaction.
“What …” The heavenly emperor sat down on his throne again, grabbing the ends of the armrests. “What did you say?”
“His Highness —”
Hurried footsteps interrupted Shun Tao once again. “Brother-in-law!” Qiang Yan didn’t even remember to speak the polite way to the heavenly emperor while other people were around. He only had one thought: Jing He!
“Brother-in-law, something bad happen—” Qiang Yan stopped dead in his tracks, Leng Jin Yu directly behind him.
Where had all these guards come from? And who was that kneeling on the floor? He tilted his head and tried looking past the guards.
Rong Su waved the heavenly guards away and put a hand to his brow. “Please tell me you found out about what the fate’s scribe said and just wanted to report that. I can’t take any more bad news.”
That man was … the fate’s scribe? Qiang Yan coughed and stepped further into the hall, glancing at Shun Tao again. So, he probably confessed on his own accord?
No, that wasn’t important now! Qiang Yan turned back to his brother-in-law and reminded himself that other people were present. “God of war Qiang Yan greets His Majesty Tianjun.”
Rong Su waved again. “What brings you here?”
Qiang Yan hesitated. “I … came to report.” He gulped and took a deep breath. “Someone attempted to assassinate His Highness, crown prince Jing He, in the mortal realm.”
The heavenly emperor leaped to his feet again. “What did you say?!”
Qiang Yan’s head drooped. “Someone tried to assassinate him. His Highness is unhurt, though. Thankfully, Qiang Wei of the dragon race was nearby and managed to thwart the assassin’s plan. Unfortunately, we have reason to believe that the weapon used for the attempt was the soul-devouring dagger. There was no time to investigate further but it has been stolen from the god of war’s palace sometime in the last week.”
Rong Su staggered.
“Your Majesty!” Qiang Yan rushed forward and caught him, guiding him back to the throne.
“Qiang Yan, be honest with me.” Rong Su grabbed his arm. “How is Jing He? My son, he … he wasn’t hurt with that thing, was he?”
Qiang Yan shook his head. “He wasn’t. Don’t worry, brother-in-law. But we were lucky that dragon was there. Else, this might have concluded differently.”
“You have to find out who dared to do something like that. And send guards down to the mortal realm. Jing He can’t stay without protection from now on out.”
Qiang Yan nodded. “I’ll do that at once. But … I have been informed something went wrong with his fate anyway?” Qiang Yan glanced at Shun Tao again. The fate’s scribe sat on the floor, looking pale. “It seems he already told you?”
Rong Su nodded. “Fine, let’s talk about that. Ah, where’s Bai Fen?”
Qiang Yan lifted his brows. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen her today. Shall I send someone to get her?”
“Mn.” Rong Su nodded again. “This doesn’t have to … no, this shouldn’t be discussed in front of unconcerned parties. It would be better if fewer people knew. Send someone you trust.”
“Mn.” Qiang Yan turned around to Leng Jin Yu, who had followed him over, and pondered whether to send him back or to let him stay. He had informed him and knew quite a few things already, so it probably wouldn’t be a problem? Besides, after how Leng Jin Yu had dealt with this so far he was considering if he might be a good addition to the god of war’s palace. “Leng Jin Yu …”
Leng Jin Yu nodded.
“I’d like you to stay for this.”
“Of course.” Leng Jin Yu nodded again.
Qiang Yan reciprocated and went outside. He had a look at the heavenly guards who had probably heard too much already. Those men were under his brother-in-law’s direct command, so he wouldn’t have to worry about that, though. Furthermore, the crown prince had always been popular with the guards. Those men would be cautious with what they said.
He waved one of them over but before he could say anything a woman sprinted up the staircase. “Your Majesty! Your Majesty!” She wanted to ignore him and the guards and rush straight inside.
But were those guards mere decorations? Three of them stepped forward, two brandishing their weapons and the last one grabbing the woman by the shoulder and holding her down.
Qiang Yan frowned. “Who dares behave so atrociously in front of the heavenly emperor’s palace?” He took a closer look at the woman and just barely repressed a heavy bout of curses.
Damn! What was this woman doing here? Could this situation really get any worse?
The woman lifted her head, her long black hair falling to the ground and anger written on her face. “Let go of me! I’m here to report to His Majesty! You’re all going to regret holding me back if His Majesty finds out that I couldn’t report this incident because of you!”
The guards looked at Qiang Yan, clearly unsure of what to do. Normally, they’d haul anyone away who dared to behave this way in front of the heavenly emperor’s palace but … this woman had a special identity.
Qiang Yan sighed. He was thinking the same way as the guards. “His Majesty is busy right now. Why not come back la—”
“I have to see him right now!” She tried staring at Qiang Yan which wasn’t really fruitful in itself.
“He really is —”
“Damn it, Qiang Yan! Have you forgotten who my father is?!”
Qiang Yan smiled wryly. If I had forgotten, would I be standing here talking this civilized with you? No, I would have had these guards throw you down the stairs and told you to scram! “Look, it’s —”
“I have to see His Majesty!”, the woman insisted.
Qiang Yan was really getting a headache. Whatever. Let brother-in-law deal with her. “Fine. Let her go.” He motioned at the guards to step back and waved one of them over to his side, lowering his voice so that the woman couldn’t hear him. “You go and tell Her Majesty, the heavenly empress, to come here as soon as possible. Tell her it pertains His Highness, the crown prince.”
The guard nodded and hurried away. Qiang Yan turned around to the woman and motioned to the palace with a fake smile plastered onto his face. “Then let’s go on in. I’m sure His Majesty will be thrilled to see you.”
“Hmph.” The woman stalked into the hall as if it was part of her own palace.
The men in the hall looked over and froze. The heavenly emperor’s lips twitched and he threw an accusing glare at his brother-in-law while Shun Tao’s facial expression completely derailed.
“Yin Lin Lin?” No, this couldn’t be true! Her coming here at this moment … this could only spell his doom.
Wait a moment … wasn’t he waiting for that all along? Maybe her coming here would just speed up the process. Well, he could still take that. Certainly. Maybe …

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