The Reprimand

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The dungeon was a slate of darkness. Cold and barren. The strong stench of something dead waft the air and slammed inside Yuanji's nostrils. He held his breath to prevent from gagging. Yuanji recognized the scent of a dead rotting body as soon as he walked in, someone was a prisoner there before him, and he'd be sharing the cell with a cadaver.

The thought of death came to his mind as he remembered what happened.

His stomach lurched and vomited as he stumbled inside the dark cell trying to regain his balance. His entire body screamed in pain. Prince Jungqi was relentless on his punishment. He had taken great delight beating every inch of Yuanji's body, breaking some of his bones and making him wish he was granted death instead.

Prince Jungqi was brutal, he was a maniac, and he was every bit of an animal his reputation claimed him to be and Yuanji got a fist full experience of that. It'll take weeks, even months to heal, if he recovered at all.

The loud sound of the heavy door slammed behind him and the hinges locked in place. A guard stood outside the cell to keep watch while Yuanji winced as he leaned and allowed himself to slide from the wall and to the ground.

He was tired, and his spirit depleted. He worries for his family, his mother, and father, and especially his little sister he sent out to the road to escape on her own.

He hoped that she is safe, that none of the imperial guards had been able to catch up to her. He Lian is a good rider, she's better than a lot of the imperial guards. Yuanji made sure he gave her the fastest horse at the Changi's stable.

Please, be okay. He groaned helplessly. His swollen eyelids draped heavily, he's exhausted, hungry and beaten. Yuanji drifted off to a quiet sleep before he knows it.

Inside the palace, princess Li and fourth prince Jungqi knelt before their father and bowed their heads as the reprimanding voice of the emperor reverberated in the walls of the palace, sending most of the servants skittering in fright

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Inside the palace, princess Li and fourth prince Jungqi knelt before their father and bowed their heads as the reprimanding voice of the emperor reverberated in the walls of the palace, sending most of the servants skittering in fright. He glared at his children, his cheeks heated with rage.

"How dare you make haste with your choice! The house of Changi had been faithful to the imperial family!" He pointed his glance at his daughter, burning a hole in her head. "That's why you're married to the future head of their clan, Li!" He sucked a steadying breath. " Have you not thought of the consequences before you beheaded him in front of dozens of lords on his wedding day no less! That's how you create enemies!"

"Forgive me father, but the house of Changi made a fool of the imperial family." Interjected prince Jungqi. "I was merely defending our family's honor."

"Be quiet! Who said you can interrupt me?!" The emperor bellowed.

Prince Jungqi flinched. "Forgive me, father."

"I would have dealt with their leader my way if only you two had given me a chance." The emperor calmed and stepped back, allowing himself to fall on his throne. "This is why I don't let my children meddle with my affairs!" His voice found it's thunder again and sent shuddering chills to his children. "You don't behead clan leaders unless there's a war!"

He sucked another calming breath.

"Now, I must send an army to annihilate the rest of the Changi clan, so they wouldn't have a chance to take their vengeance and rise against us. There are penalties in every crime you commit, my stupid children, you two must understand that. I must fix what you two idiots messed up and secure peace once again." He loosened a breath. "And as for the young lord of the Yi clan, I will speak to his father and lure him to a promise of matrimony. Better marry my only daughter and bribe them while it's not too late. We can't risk a war with the southern kingdom of Wang just in case."

"Really father?!" Princess Li lifted her head in surprise. She had not anticipated this from her father. Not after all the scolding and bellowing he just did.

"Isn't this what you wanted, daughter?" The emperor groaned, his voice plunged in a sweet caress. and his hard expression softened as he regarded his only daughter.

"Yes, b-but, I thought." Princess Li stammered, barely wrapping her mind to the promise of marriage to Yuanji.

"Yes, I agree, the marriage perhaps, wasn't that bad of an idea. I approve it."

"Thank you, father!" She gleamed. "I promise to love Yuanji with all my heart and treat him better than Jingam."

"Yes, you better not behead him or there'll be a price to pay." The emperor merely said and waved his children out of the throne room.

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