A luxurious carriage was travelling in a remote area where trees almost directly block the sunlight. Behind it was four men riding a horse wearing an imperial guard outfit.
"Jia!! Jia!!" The coach man could tell that in a few hours later, nighttime would come and cover the entire surroundings with darkness, thus, he decided to hasten in order to arrive at the destination before sun set arrives.
Inside the luxurious carriage, five people were sitting, one middle age woman, two young ladies and two children. The middle age woman who was wearing a simple yet elegant red dress looked extremely youthful, only a bit older than the two young ladies wearing a peach colored maidservant's dress. The two children were wearing contrasting clothes. One was wearing a blue brocade with a woven cloud patterns while the other child was wearing plain green clothes.
"Imperial Mother?" The child called the middle age woman who was staring at the window.
"Mmm? What is it, Xiao Yi?" The woman smiled at her son. Looking at his face, she could not help but want to squeeze it.
"Imperial Mother, you have been looking at the window for almost a shichen already. Is there something wrong?" The young child could sense that his mother was anxious. Feeling concerned, the child could not help but speak in a mature style in order to give assurance and comfort to his mother.
"If Imperial Mother is afraid, do not worry, this son is here. This son will protect Imperial Mother."
When the woman heard the child's words, her eyes softened. Raising her hand, she slowly caressed the child's head, pampering him. After her son, Fei Yi, started to understand, he matured early. Children similar with his age were still acting like a normal children, but he was different. Due to the power struggle inside the Imperial Harem and the fight of the Emperor's women continued without end, children born from the Imperial Palace mature early, and her son was not an exemption. Even with Xu Fei Long, the Emperor's protection, not she and her son could not escape the fight for power.
The woman sighed. She did not regret following her heart but there were things that she could not help but feel guilty. Abandoning one's tribe, leaving her duty for the sake of her own happiness and letting her child experience bitterness inside the golden cage… those were her regrets… but it was already too late… it was no use…
The woman laughed teasingly and pinched the child's face softly.
"Really? Then, Imperial Mother will be counting on Xiao Yi! Imperial Mother is no longer worried since Xiao Yi will definitely protect Imperial Mother."
The child nodded earnestly.
"Empress NiangNiang, would you like to drink some tea to calm your nerves?" One of the two servant girls poured a chamomile tea and placed it in front of the table.
"Xia'er, thank you." The woman, also known as Empress Shen gladly took the tea and drank it without any hesitation.
The entire travel was smooth but they still failed to leave the forest before the sun set and could only continue to travel hurriedly.
"Ahh!" The coachman suddenly shrieked and fell backwards. His chest was embedded with an arrow that took his life. His body turned left and fell off the carriage. Since the coachman died and there were no other people holding the horses' reins, the carriage started swaying like a drunkard while running.
Only a few seconds passed after the first arrow was released, a batch of arrows flew towards the four imperial guards who were following the carriage.
*swish!* *swish!* *swish!* *swish!*
The imperial guards were caught off guard and only two of them successfully fend off the upcoming arrows. The other one was injured at his shoulder while the other one was killed on the spot.
"Protect the Empress and the Eighth Prince!!" The two imperial guards who were fine immediately directed their horses towards the carriage where Yue Xiao Xiao and Xu Fei Yi were.
"No one is driving the carriage!! Quick!!" One of the imperial guards shouted when he noticed that the coachman fell off the carriage.
Yue Xiao Xiao's face paled when she heard the noises outside the carriage. She could hear the distant shouts and screams of the imperial guards. She could not help but pull her son, Fei Yi in her arms, subconsciously protecting him.
When the carriage wavered, Yue Xiao Xiao and the rest could not help but scream. The speed of the carriage increased as if the horses were afraid of something, running blindly in the midst of the darkness.
"Imperial Mother!!" Xu Fei Yi pulled Yue Xiao Xiao's arm, wanting to escape from her embrace. He did not want his Imperial Mother to protect him. He, as a man, had to protect his Imperial Mother instead!
"No!! Do not move!!! Xiao Yi, listen to Imperial Mother… Xiao Yi is still a child, let Imperial Mother protect you, do you understand? This is not the time to be willful.!"
Yue Xiao Xiao raised her hand and lowered the curtain of the widow beside her. she wanted to obstruct the assassins' eyesight so that they could not see the inside of the carriage.
One of the horses was hit by an arrow and fell. Like a domino, once the other fell, the rest would follow.
When Yue Xiao Xiao felt the sudden momentum, she hurriedly tightened her arms around Xu Fei Yi as they were thrown forward.
"Xiao Yi, are you okay?" After the impact ended, Yue Xiao Xiao immediately checked her son's body, fearing that he was injured because of the sudden force.
"I-Imperial Mother… this son is okay.. How about Imperial Mother?" Xu Fei Yi's eyes were full of worry. When they were thrown forward, he could only lay cowardly inside his Imperial Mother's embrace as she protected him. When the carriage stopped, he could feel the huge impact when his Imperial Mother collided with the table.
"Empress!! Quick!! There are assassins outside!!" Xia'er closed the door in panic.
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. Two hours