eigh the matter of waging war and decide on my course.
For now, you may leave,” he said, panting heavily as he closed his eyes and pressed his hand against his forehead, before giving a wave to indicate the other person could leave.

Pei Ji wasn’t surprised at all when the plan failed.

He bowed respectfully and slowly left the grand and magnificent Zichen Hall.
He took a deep look back before turning and leaving.

The northern troops were always more courageous than those in the central regions.
As war approached, it was important to seize the initiative and quickly suppress the rebellion with the least amount of damage.

However, the Emperor hesitated, and this delay would only escalate the situation.
In the past, the Emperor’s hesitation was a stoke of luck, but this time it might not end well.

Pei Ji had done everything he could, and it was now a waiting game.

Pei Ji had a feeling that the other side was ready to strike and would ignite many fires.

Li Jing Hui stared at a letter he just received, lost in thought.

Ling Yue was imprisoned and demoted to a commoner.
He worried about how she was doing, and his mother was in Daming Palace, feeling heartbroken.
He wondered how they would react when they heard from him.

He felt guilty and hesitant, unsure about his actions over the past year.

An Yi Kang watched Li Jing Hui’s expression closely, his light brown eyes showing a hint of sarcasm and cynicism.

“Are you regretting your decision, Your Highness?”

Li Jing Hui didn’t answer, his fingers turning white as he clutched the letter.

An Yi Kang walked over to him, his large body blocking most of the sunlight and casting a thick shadow on him.
“The Princess is in trouble.
If you give up now, it will be a waste of her sacrifice.
Moreover, the imperial censor from Chang’an will arrive in a few days.
If you stop now, will there still be time?”

Months ago, the Princess of Wuyang secretly sent a letter to him, asking him to persuade Prince Rui to reply to her letter, making her think that he had ascended to the throne but was helpless due to the lack of support in court and being far away on the frontier.

As a result, he instigated the princess to secretly gather officials for him in Chang’an.

Prince Rui probably thought that this move was really meant to recruit officials and achieve his goal in a smoother way.
But he knew that it was just a way of using the same trick against him.

He had always known that Prince Rui had followed him to Youzhou mostly out of impulse.
Over the past year, he had often had thoughts of hesitation and regret.
Only by cutting off his retreat completely could he have no worries.

The Princess of Wuyang was stubborn and had a simple mind, making her an easy target to exploit.
But if the Emperor found out, she would be severely punished, even to the point of being killed.
This could become an excuse for Prince Rui to rebel.

Moreover, if the Princess of Wuyang was caught, it would attract attention to Youzhou.
Anyone found there will be accused of rebelling.
Even if Prince Rui wanted to change his mind, it would be too late.

Unexpectedly, the Princess of Wuyang was discovered earlier than expected.
The weapons were only just finished, and there was little time to prepare.

Luckily, he had trained his soldiers for years, so they were well-coordinated and unlikely to make any major mistakes.

They also had another source of support.

“Even if you manage to cover up everything completely, just like last time, without arousing suspicion from the Imperial Censorate, what about the hundreds of thousands of people in the north? Ashina Duobi has been watching for a long time.
If you break your promise to him, he won’t back down.”

Li Jing Hui’s eyes grew cold and he crumpled the letter in his hand.

He secretly joined forces with Ashina Duobi after listening to An Yi Kang’s advice, agreeing to let them take some of the border’s food and wealth when Turkic resources became scarce.
In exchange, Ashina Duobi would raise an army to hold back the nearby armies Hedong and Yiwu when he raised his own army, so that he would not have any worries behind him.

He knew this was a risky move.

Once he took this step, there was no turning back.
He had no way to retreat now.

“I understand.” He gritted his teeth and asked, “Has the proclamation been written?”

An Yi Kang smiled and laid out the proclamation in front of him, which included his grievances about his lost wife, the princess’s conflicts with her sibling, and the wrongful deaths of several officials.

With so many reasons, the proclamation was written with a righteous and imposing manner, which stirred the hearts of people throughout the world.

After reading it, Li Jing Hui stood up and shouted, “Everything is ready.
Two days from now will be the day I raise my army!”

Li Zhi prepared to sleep early after taking a bath, feeling exhausted from her monthly period.
Although her medicine helped alleviate the pain, she still felt weak and sore.

Moreover, she couldn’t help but worry about Pei Yan’s situation today.

Chun Yue noticed her fatigue and had already prepared the medicine.
Li Zhi drank it and rinsed her mouth before Chun Yue left the room.

Suddenly, before the lights went out, she heard footsteps and someone calling out, “Your Highness, His Majesty is here!”

Li Zhi felt nervous and quickly put on her clothes to welcome him.

As Li Jing Ye entered the room, he seemed a bit lost, his gaze wandering around the palace he had not visited for several months.

“Why did you come to see me, Your Majesty?” Li Zhi smiled faintly, maintaining a dignified distance from him.

Li Jing Ye walked closer and looked at her intently.
He reached out and pinched her chin, making her lift her head to meet his gaze.

“Today, Zi Hui advised me to release you from the palace.
What do you think, Li-niang?”

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