23 Witness the Slaughter
The nursemaid's face went pale at the threat, but her heart wasn't scared. She was prepared to sacrifice herself for the safety of Chen Xiyue's daughter.
Before meeting Chen Xiyue, the nursemaid had been an abandoned child in the slums. Her daily life was begging for money, getting beat for trying to steal a bite of bread, digging through the trash for apple peels, and anything that destroyed a child's innocence.
Chen Xiyue was the woman that saved her from the slums. The nursemaid was given a warm place to stay. After meeting Xiyue, there was never a day the nursemaid starved. Xiyue had saved the nursemaid, and in return, the nursemaid was prepared to sacrifice her life for Xiyue.
The nursemaid had taken care of Yuxi since the day she was born. Growing extremely attached to the child, the nursemaid saw Yuxi as her own daughter.
The nursemaid would never sacrifice Yuxi in exchange for her own safety. She was prepared to die for Yuxi and Xiyue.
"I'll take you to the child...but I want you to swear to me my death will be painless." The nursemaid said.
The leader smirked. "I swear." He said. There was an obvious twinkle of deceit in his eyes, but the nursemaid didn't care.
She needed to act weak. It was part of her plan. The soldier didn't mention which child it was, but the nursemaid wasn't stupid. She knew the child was referring to Yuxi, but the nursemaid was prepared to sacrifice someone else - the little girl of a maidservant who shared very similar features to Yuxi.
"The child is in the maidservant's living corridors." The nursemaid said.
"Lead the way." The leader said, nudging her foreward.
The nursemaid felt her legs wobble, but nonetheless, she still guided them to the living corridors.
The nursemaid felt riddled with guilt at selfishly betraying the maidservant, but she knew the little girl would have nowhere else to go. With her mother slaughtered, her father unknown, and her grandparents dead, the little girl had no remaining relatives.
The little girl would have no guardian to take care of her. In such a cruel and unforgiving society, no one will bat an eye to the girl and eventually, she would be thrown into the streets. Or even worse, captured as a raid slave and be brutally deflowered at a young age.
Emptily walking towards the corridors of the maidservant, the nursemaid felt her steps grow heavy. She was carefully stepping over the dead bodies of the people she once called friends. A soft sob left her paling lips.
She knew what she was doing was wrong, but it was a small sacrifice to protect the only thing she cared about in the world: Yuxi.
The soldiers closely followed her, never once letting her out of sight. The man in charge was walking right next to her, his hand tightly gripping her arm in an attempt of preventing her from running.
But the guilt was too heavy for her to run. She knew by stepping into this part of the Zhao manor, she had sealed the fate of the child.
"I-in the room, h-hidden underneath t-the bed." The nursemaid whispered to the man besides her.
He raised his hand and tilted it towards the door. Tightly keeping a close eye on the trembling and crying woman besides him, he smirked at her state. His hatred for Zhao Yulong was enough to make him hate the innocent servants.
The leader made sure she would also witness the slaughter of the girl.
"No! Please!" A shriek filled the air as a little girl was dragged out of the room.
Her eyes were wide and red with tears, her screams sounded like a strangling bunny. She was screaming and kicking at the hand that gripped her hair. It yanked her out of the room. The soldiers used the hair like a rope and dragged the child in front of the nursemaid for identification.
"Let go of me!" The child screamed.
The man in charge narrowed his eyes on the girl. Truth to be told, he had never seen the true appearance of Yuxi. Even during her birthday banquets, it was hard to catch a solid glimpse at her face. It was often hidden behind layers of veils, as requested by Zhao Yulong. He was an overly protective father who didn't want to share the beauty of his daughter to anyone else.
"Is this the child?" The leader questioned, upon seeing the nature of the child. He saw the slightly-fancy nightgown and the hairpins in her hair. This girl seemed to fit the description of a wealthy Young Miss.
"Nursemaid? Nursemaid please save me!" The girl saw her only savior. She wailed and cried for the woman, but the soldiers was quick to pull her back.
Upon seeing the girl's recognition to the nursemaid, the man inwardly smiled. He had just gotten his confirmation.
"Is this the girl?" The man questioned with a sneer.
She certainty fit the description that his higher ups had given her. Hair reaching to her shoulders, big eyes, adorable button nose, she was very close to the facial features described by his commander.
"Y-yes this is her." The nursemaid stuttered out.
She couldn't bear listening to the cries of the child. The nursemaid bit her lips and squeezed her eyes shut, in hopes of shutting out this horrific scene.
The man wasn't kind enough to let her look away. Harshly and roughly gripping her chin, he forced the nursemaid to look at the child's execution.
"Open your eyes. I want you to witness the slaughter of the very child you tended and raised." The man hissed, forcing the nursemaid's eyes open.
"Kill her." It took these two simple words for the soldier to raise his sword.
But seconds before the sword came down, a voice filled the heavy air.
"Halt your sword!"