Ju Chi stumbled out of the royal palace. He kept looking back, but found no tracker.
The Dragon King had put him in a dilemma. He had to tell his companions that the Dragon King knew about the rebellion, and that the plot was likely to be mercilessly exploited by the Golden Roc Fort. They had to postpone or even cancel their plans. However, they would expose more secrets.
Ju Chi walked along the deserted streets to avoid everyone. Even stray cats or dogs frightened him in his current state.
He didn't know whether to believe the Dragon King's words or not. He thought again that he was a demon.
As a royal descendant and the guard of the king of the Stone Nation, Ju Chi had had the chance to meet several important figures. When he looked at them from a distance, they were a group of noble and dignified elites. As the distance shortened, their real faces gradually became apparent and they always turned out to be nothing more than mediocre people.
On the contrary, when people met the Dragon King for the first time, they were confused by this pale and gloomy young man, and thought that he was deceitful liar. The only terrible thing about him was the saber and sword at his waist. Only after they'd met him in person, did they realize that his heart was truly terrible.
Just before dawn, probably at the same time the Dragon King was coming out of the Princess's bedchamber, Ju Chi came up with a perfect solution.
He still had to die, but he couldn't commit suicide quietly. He should attract as much attention as possible and die in an unusual way. Someone in the organization was likely to understand this hint, and they would be more careful when carrying out the next plan.
This was the only thing he could do. Future prosperity and an official career were not in his future. It was hard to say whether an independent Stone Kingdom would remember a guard who voluntarily sacrificed his life or not.
Ju Chi laughed awkwardly and then walked to the market in the South City, the most lively place early in the morning.
His noble plan couldn't be realized. As expected, he was ambushed when he came around the corner.
Sticks and other weapons smashed him in the back of the head and then Ju Chi fell to the ground. He didn't know whether the assailants had been sent by the Dragon King or the Golden Roc Fort. He lost consciousness.
It was neither.
Ju Chi opened his eyes and found himself in the worst situation.
The attackers turned out to be his accomplices, the ones he had sacrificed his own life to protect.
There were a total of 14 people, or 15 people including himself. Every three people represented a country of Xiaoyao Lake.
The other people wore cloaks and masks, but this was pointless, because Ju Chi knew most of them.
"Idiot!" Ju Chi blurted out. He tried to jump up, only to find himself tied firmly to a heavy hardwood chair, "You ... what are you going to do?"
"Sorry," One of the "idiots" said cooly without any apology in his tone. "Until we can determine your position, we have to do this."
"Idiot." Ju Chi scolded them again. "Don't you realize this is the Dragon King's trap? He released me and sent someone to follow me so that he can lead you out and catch you."
Fourteen associates were silent. It was as if they were not nervous at all. Ju Chi was not sure that he knew these people.
"Do you think we weren't watching carefully before we got you? When you were wandering about, there were three trackers behind you. We killed one and cheated two, so you are safe, but you had no idea."
"You? " Ju Chi asked incredulously. If they were really the partners he had known before, there was no real master-hand among them.
Some of them had grown tired of these details. Gruffly, they shouted. "Shut up! What benefits did the Dragon King promise you so that you would betray the royal families of the Five Kingdoms?"
"Me? Betrayal? What are you talking about? I didn't want to bring trouble to you, so I walked around without going straight to the stronghold."
"The stronghold was abandoned long ago. Do you think we would sit and wait for you to betray us?"
Ju Chi refrained from anger, "I planned to go to the market to commit suicide as a warning."
Everyone laughed with disdain and contempt.
"It's true!" Ju Chi couldn't bear this injustice. "I didn't reveal a word to the Dragon King. I have a clear conscience to you and to the royal family. I also want to remind you that the Dragon King is well prepared, so you have to cancel your plan. He also has spies in the Golden Roc Fort to stir up trouble."
The accomplices looked at each other. It seemed like they believed him a little, but when one of them spoke, he lost hope again.
"First, why is the Dragon King so well prepared? This is a secret plan, so very few people know about it; Second, who told you about the spies in the Golden Roc Fort?"
Ju Chi was dazed. The Dragon King had told him all this, but once he answered this question, it would be tantamount to admitting that he had been persuaded by the Dragon King.
"There is nothing to say," said a man with a rough voice. "He has taken refuge in the Dragon King. We should kill him. It will not affect our plan. I told you the people from the Stone Kingdom cannot be trusted."
There were still two compatriots from the Stone Kingdom in the room who had not spoken yet. They cried out, "What did you just say?"
This was a tradition that the royal families of the Five Kingdoms of Xiaoyao Lake had continued for many years. They were supposed to work together, but they always quarreled with each other when they met.
Ju Chi took this opportunity to sort out his thoughts and said loudly, "Please listen to me."
They gradually stopped quarreling and looked at him. "Please listen to me, you can doubt me, but there is never anything wrong with being cautious. The Dragon King is more sinister than we thought. There must be others following me and waiting for the right moment. We are going to get caught..."
"Don't listen to him. The Dragon King is preparing now. According to the original plan, we should start at once. The people are on the fence and they will support those who win in the end. We can succeed even if they don't respond."
So they were divided into two groups, quarreling endlessly. Ju Chi hoped that they would continue to fight, but they soon reached a compromise.
"We knew in the beginning that Ju Chi might get caught. He voluntarily refused to listen to the details of the plan, so he would not divulge much information to the Dragon King. The Dragon King can't possibly know the location or who's involved. What are we worrying about? Let's take action. We can't wait any longer. Get rid of the Dragon King and take over the army to fight against the Golden Roc Fort."
"The Dragon King will still send someone to follow you. As long as he is in command, the plan will be exposed."
"You said that the Dragon King would catch us all, but now he would track us, right?"
"All, all is possible." Ju Chi's brain was a mess, but he was sure that the Dragon King would not wait, and their plan would surely fail.
"Wait half a day." A man said briefly in a low voice. It seemed that he was important because no one spoke against him, "We will put our plan into action at noon tomorrow. Until then, no one can leave this room."
"But... we don't care about eating. What should we do if we need to go to the toilet?"
"Endure it." The man's voice grew more severe, so no one dared to speak.
Ju Chi felt slightly relieved. No one came to untie him, and he did not ask for help. However, this was better than committing suicide in the market. He still wondered who had been able to distract the Dragon King's stalker and bring him here.
The Dragon King's soldiers did not show up. It seemed that the tracker really had been abandoned, so someone offered to act according to the original plan. However, Ju Chi was becoming more and more uneasy. The Dragon King must have set up a larger and denser net. But his warning would only backfire. No one believed him.
The man with the deep voice also began to waver. He felt that it was unnecessary to wait another half a day. Originally, they had planned to act just before sunrise tomorrow so that the people would have more time to fully ferment their anger. But the Dragon King had disrupted their deployment, which did nothing for their cause. As a result, they didn't need to wait until noon tomorrow, never mind today. It seemed to be a waste of time.
Ju Chi knew most of the people in the room, but he didn't know the man, and couldn't remember how he had come in. In short, he was not one of the original initiators, but had quickly become a recognized leader after joining the organization.
Suddenly, Ju Chi remembered that he was the representative from the Kang Kingdom. The whole plan, from framing the Dragon King to acting in the morning, seemed to be his idea. Others were just adding details.
"What is our plan?" Ju Chi asked.
Everyone looked at him again. Some people had sympathy in their eyes, but most showed vigilance and suspicion.
Everyone looked at him again. Some people had sympathy in their eyes, but most showed vigilance and suspicion.
"What are you worried about, then?"
"This is my plan too. I worked for it, didn't I? I was the only one who stood up when you needed someone to play the game. Before I die, I want to know whether we can defeat the Dragon King and whether the royal families of the Five Nations will restore their sovereignty."
"Don't let him fool you."
"We can tell him. It will be like the meal before the execution," the man with the deep voice said. He was sure that they had gotten rid of the Dragon King's surveillance.
Everyone was silent. The person who finally spoke was also a noble from Stone Kingdom. "The Five Kingdoms soldiers are naturally loyal to the royal family, but they are also the focus of surveillance by swordsmen from the Great Snow Mountain. The Dragon King wants to use the Stone Kingdom to fight for him, but he has never trusted us, so-"
This was the key point. Someone said in excitement, "We have conspired against the people surrounding the Dragon King, and the nobles in the Land of Fragrance are also dissatisfied with him, so they are willing to join us."
"There are not many people among the nobles, and they don't have much combat power." Ju Chi don't think the plan was very good.
"Well, it's not that simple. When the time comes, the nobles in the Land of Fragrance will disguise themselves as soldiers from the Five Kingdoms and launch rebellions in various places to attract swordsmen from the Great Snow Mountain to suppress them."
"When the crackdown begins, we will spread the news that the Dragon King is going to kill all the soldiers of the Five Kingdoms before the war begins." Once one spoke, other people were eager to explain the plan.
"When the soldiers panic, we'll hold up the banner of the royal family, uniting the 20,000 soldiers. And then we could certainly beat more than 1,000 swordsmen, right? The other soldiers will stand by idly and disperse in a hubbub afterwards."
Before he met the Dragon King, Ju Chi had thought this was a coup. But now he knew what the problem was. The core of this plan was not to overthrow the Dragon King, but to induce the Dragon King to kill and weaken the strength of the Dragon army.
The Dragon King was right. The masterminds behind the scenes did not hesitate to sacrifice a large number of people to achieve their goals, but the royal families of the Five Kingdoms did not gain any benefit from it.
The Dragon King had guessed it but did not know the details. Once the rebellion began, did he have any choice?
Having said enough, the man with the deep voice finally changed his mind and decided to act according to the original plan. They would start a rebellion before dawn, so they had to leave for the barracks now.
He pulled out his dagger and walked up to Ju Chi. He leaned over and whispered, "Death is inevitable, but you have to die first."