Consort of a Thousand Faces

CHAPTER 2: EXTREME GRIEF AND DESPAIR
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CHAPTER 2: EXTREME GRIEF AND DESPAIR

“I want you to die in agony and despair! Return my child!” It was as if Ning Anlian was insane, lashing out even more fiercely with the whip.

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Ning Rulan didn’t resist, only clutching the Lucky Knot embroidered with the character “Feng” in her sleeve. It felt like there were countless ants gnawing her heart.

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Right at this moment, a pearl flew through the air. Thump! It struck the back of Ning Anlian’s head.

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Ning Anlian’s eyes widened in surprise before her consciousness faded, leaving her to crumple to the ground.

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“Eldest Imperial Princess.” A woman’s voice filled with deep concern rang through the prison.

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The person who had come was Lü Liu, Ning Rulan’s personal maidservant.

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“Eldest Imperial Princess…” Lü Liu was unable to form any more words, her voice choked with sobs. When she saw the iron chains shackled her master, a pained look flickered across Lü Liu’s eyes.

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“Eldest Imperial Princess, this servant will help you remove them.” Lü Liu took the ring of keys from the jailer’s belt, going through each one before finding the key that unlocked Ning Rulan’s restraints.

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Ning Rulan grabbed Lü Liu’s hand. It was evident from her voice that she was about to weep. “Yun Ruofeng really doesn’t want me anymore? Where is he?”

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Lü Liu’s heart was tautly wrung. Although the Eldest Imperial Princess was arrogant and reclusive in others’ eyes, this maidservant saw her as a little child who needed someone to rely on.

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“Eldest Imperial Princess, you should forget about General Yun. You can’t stay here for a long time. This servant has already arranged everything. The horse carriage is right at the northwest palace gate which is the nearest to this prison.” Lü Liu took off her outer cloak as she spoke and draped it on Ning Rulan.

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“He doesn’t want me anymore. He’s going to be together with Ning Anlian.” Ning Rulan finally bawled her eyes out in anguish.

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“Eldest Imperial Princess, as to whether General Yun had deserted you, you have to personally confront him!” Lü Liu tried to galvanise her. It’s fine as long as the Eldest Imperial Princess can get out.

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As long as she gets out, there will be hope of staying alive.

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Ning Rulan’s eyes shone as if she had seen hope. “Right. I can’t listen to Ning Anlian; I have to ask him personally!” With that, she ignored the pain wracking her body, straightened out her clothing, and tied the belt on her outer clothing before she walked out.

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Lü Liu followed closely. However, she did not expect that the dazzling light from the inferno outside the prison. It had dyed the otherwise pitch-black night with a red hue.

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Right in the middle of the crowd was Yun Ruofeng’s right-hand man, the Imperial Guard Army Commander, Wei Mohai. Beside him was a row of imperial guards equipped with bows and arrows.

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“Eldest Imperial Princess.” There was anxiety in Lü Liu voice. Why is it like this? Who exactly has betrayed me?!

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“Lü Liu, stand back!” When the arrows shot towards them, Ning Rulan pushed Lü Liu away.

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Before she had a chance to run herself, the arrows had already lodged themselves dangerously close to her feet.

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The Imperial Guard Army, Court of Judicial Review, as well as the Nanzhao’s various armies, were all under the sole administration of Yun Ruofeng. This time, he had deployed a ruthless tactic.

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Why is he doing this? Why did he have a change of heart?!

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“Ning Rulan, you’re already evicted from the imperial household. Now, your identity is that of a sinner. If you hadn’t broken out of prison, perhaps General Yun would have spared your life. However, right now…” Wei Mohai had a very solemn expression. He immediately raised his hand, signalling to the imperial guards to continue releasing the arrows.

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Ning Rulan smiled, smiled until it dazzled people’s eyes. Banished to outside the border. That’s a savage wilderness. How is staying there all year round any different from death?

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If you want to take my life, just say it bluntly. Don’t pretend to be righteous.

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Since Yun Ruofeng is treating me this way, I will kill his sworn brother, Wei Mohai! Even if I die, I still want Yun Ruofeng’s memories of me to be engraved deeply in his mind.

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With her mind already made up, Ning Rulan nimbly approached Wei Mohai. Just as she was about to arrive in front of him, a swift and fierce arrow whizzed through the air, aiming straight at her heart.

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Shooting with great precision. Arrow that penetrates the heart. Only he can shoot that.

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“Eldest Imperial Princess!” Lü Liu’s eyes widened. She immediately rushed forward blocked that arrow.

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Wei Mohai waved his hand, motioning the imperial guards to stop releasing the arrows.

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“Lü Liu!” Ning Rulan was fraught with anxiety and bellowed.

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Lü Liu slowly collapsed. Exhausting the last trace of her strength, she grasped her hand, “Eldest Imperial Princess, this servant…”

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Her face flushed red and her body could not stop trembling as if she had something important to tell Ning Rulan.

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In the end, her body stopped trembling and her eyes were widened. Even when she stopped breathing, her mouth was still opened.

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Ning Rulan’s tears slid down her face once again. The person she treated as her biological sister had met a tragic death.

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“Yun Ruofeng, do you really want me to die so much?!” Ning Rulan laid Lü Liu down. She turned around and roared towards her right.

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She knew that he was there.

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What answered her was the sound of the wind. From the beginning until the end, he hadn’t truly appeared in front of her.

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Ning Rulan burst into laughter. “Hiding in a secret place and not coming out is not like General Yun’s style at all!”

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Gradually, the wind became stronger, blowing at her fine black hair until the strands tangled together. Clad in her red robes and illuminated by the glow of the torches, she was so tragically beautiful that people almost stopped breathing.

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Ning Rulan raised her head and deftly removed the pearl hairpin from her hair bun. This was her sharp killing weapon.

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She turned her body and raised her right hand. The pearl hairpin flew swiftly and fiercely in the direction that the Heart-Penetrating Arrow1 had been shot from.

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Clatter! The pearl hairpin dropped onto the ground, glowing silvery white under the light of the moon.

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Next to the area where the pearl hairpin had fallen stood a tall and lean man dressed in a cloud patterned robe, naturally exuding a noble aura.

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The man slowly walked towards Ning Rulan. His eyes were like snow that had yet to thaw, carrying a solemnity she had never detected.

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Ning Rulan smiled miserably. I have finally forced him to come out.

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“Yun Ruofeng, let me ask you something. Were your feelings towards me all fake?” She fixed her gaze upon him, her smile fading away.

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He chuckled and lifted a strand of her hair. “What I am most adept in is pretending. Pretending that I love you very much.”

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“Pretending that you love me very much?” Ning Rulan’s breathing paused and her expression stiffened. Loving me is just a facade. The one he loves is Ning Anlian!

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Once I die, they, a family of three can happily be together. Ning Anlian has won, while I have completely lost.

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“In order to save you, your silly imperial younger brother, Ning Lianchen, is willing to be a little puppet emperor.”

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Ning Rulan’s body shook. He’s not even letting Lianchen off!

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“Yun Ruofeng!” Her eyes were full of resentment. I’m too silly to have fully trusted him.

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He continued to smile as he looked at her. His hand pinched her cheek. “Time is up. You should be going.”

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He immediately took a step back.

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Wei Mohai pulled the bow and released the arrow. A powerful arrow flew straight towards Ning Rulan.

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This time, she did not dodge. The arrow directly pierced her heart from behind.

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She held onto her last breath. “If there’s a next lifetime, I’ll definitely not let you die a natural death!”

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She smiled slightly. She was as beautiful as a dream and as an illusion.

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At the moment she fell onto the ground, she saw him walking towards the prison cell. Ning Anlian was in there.

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He had left her so resolutely, and was so anxious to look for his true beloved woman.

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1. An archery technique in this novel. From what I have deduced, it is a technique that requires great precision and it pierces right through the heart, killing the person instantly in one shot.

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