She didn’t really understand. Sister in law? Ninth brother?
Then Nian Yu gongzi laughed and said they were currently busy doing something and that it would take some time before they would come out.
Thus, she could only continue waiting. After some unknown time, someone finally came out and whispered something in the young gongzi’s ear. The young gongzi which she later learned was called Xia Sang, subsequently led Nian Yu gongzi and her to the back entrance of Yan Yu Tower.
Stationed at the back entrance was a carriage with several men standing guard, all of whom were well-dressed.
It was then that she suddenly saw a purple-robed man walk out carrying a brocade blanket in his arms. After taking a closer look, she was startled to see a mane of hair falling out from the ends of the blanket. It seems there was someone inside, possibly a woman, she thought.
When she saw the gongzi in purple gaze at the woman wrapped in the brocade blanket in his arms, his eyes were reminiscent of Feng gongzi’s eyes when he gazed at Nian gongzi, like how Xia Sang had looked at Nian Yu gongzi. They were very similar, but there was seemingly something more within his gaze.
Those pair of beautiful, phoenix eyes….. It was the first time she had seen such a beautiful person. When the purple-robed gongzi walked out carrying the woman in his arms, she almost thought she had walked in on a painting.
But when he walked out, everyone bowed their heads in salutation. Who exactly was he?
When he saw him, Nian Yu gongzi walked up to him uneasily and told him about her.
It turns out that he was actually Nian Yu gongzi’s ninth brother.
The man glanced at her briefly before stating, “Take the girl back. It’s not a bad thing for her to have more loyal people serving by her side.”
With that said, he then gazed down at the woman sleeping soundly in his arms.
Later on, she learned that Nian Yu gongzi’s ninth brother was precisely the Emperor.
And Nian gongzi was actually a woman, a woman of noble birth!
But Nian gongzi… she was actually the Emperor’s concubine….. Nian Niang Niang!
But no matter what, she had found him. Whether he was a man or a woman, she didn’t care because it was still the gongzi in her heart, the first person on the lonely streets of this large capital to frown because of her.
All she wanted was to do her best and serve him for the rest of her life.
Suddenly, a grunt sounded from behind her, interrupting her thoughts. Startled, Cui Ya turned around and saw a strange little beast at the gates of the palace staring at her.
The gates of Feng Jiu Palace had opened at some unknown time. Outside, there was only the vast darkness of night. It was quiet and still save for the intermittent sounds of the echoing insects.
Under the moonlight, she saw the little beast had a body of snow white fur with two wings on its back. It’s nose was pointed, its eyes the color of frosty blue. Looking at the beast, she had a strange feeling that it was currently evaluating her.
A little scared, she wondered what type of animal was this? It sort of looked like a dog, but not exactly. All of a sudden, it finally struck her. Wasn’t this the little wolf Die Feng said that Niang Niang had raised?
She said that this little wolf had been missing for many days now, that Niang Niang had been missing it.
When she came to this realization, Cui Ya happily approached it slowly. In a soft voice, she said, “Good little wolf, come back with Cui Ya. Don’t run astray, Niang Niang will be worried.”
The wolf didn’t budge, only tilting its head at her.
Merely a step away from it, Cui Ya extended her arms to grab hold of it but was met with empty air. The wolf made a sound and dashed out of the gate. Startled, Cui Ya stomped her foot and ran after it without a second thought.
She was unaware that this wolf was very strong and inherently astute. After the intensive training with Qing Feng in the past few days, the wolf was able to fight on par with him. Though its mystic powers had yet to manifest, its strength was increasing rapidly by the day.
Even the imperial guards were not its opponent. If it wanted to attack Cui Ya, she would surely die without suspicion. If it had been Die Feng, even though she was loyal to Xuan Ji, she still would have hesitated to run after the wolf in the dark night. Yet, Cui Ya didn’t care. She only had one thought in mind, that she must catch the wolf and bring it back to make Xuan Ji happy.
Cui Yan ran after the wolf but after some time, her heart grew suspicious. Seemingly, the little wolf had deliberately avoided the main walkways that had been lit in the palace. From afar, when it spotted the imperial guards up ahead it would instantly change direction, quickly ducking into the shadows of the trees and slipping away. It ran so fast she could hardly keep up. But when she lost sight of it, it would suddenly make an appearance and then quickly run away.
She finally came to a stop in front of a field of grass. The wolf had disappeared again. Cui Ya thought it would come out and tease her again like the previous times but after waiting for some time, it was nowhere to be seen.
She looked at her surroundings and wondered why there was such a dark, desolate place within the Imperial Palace. The wild grass grew unkempt all around and she could not spot a single soul in sight. In the darkness, she squinted her eyes to gaze at something up ahead. Through the tall grass, she could spot the vague light of a red glimmer in the night, it was the red of roof tiles. There was seemingly a hidden palace in the distance.
A sudden fear rose in her heart as a cold chill ran down her spine. But she clenched her teeth and pushed aside the tall grass, heading towards the palace in the distance, thinking that perhaps the little wolf was hiding in there. Since she had chased it all the way here, she was determined to bring the wolf back with her.
When she arrived at the entrance of the palace, her line of sight was no longer obstructed. Before her very eyes, she could see the palace walls were covered in green moss as wild flowers and plant vines clung to the pillars.
The door was slightly open as if this place was unattended. She tilted her head to look up and saw the mahogany plaque with large black characters hanging above the door.
Back at her village, she and the other children were lucky enough to learn how to write a few words from a kind storyteller. Gazing up at the plaque, she tried to recall the few words that she had once been taught. It seems the plaque had the words “Bi Xia Palace.” Taking another look at it again, the large black characters seemed to be pressing down at her heart.
After taking a gulp, she drew on her courage and proceeded to push open the door and walk inside. After thinking for a moment, she suddenly turned around and shut the door behind her.
Inside was a large, messy courtyard. There were a few trees and planted flowers. She also spotted a bamboo rack to hang laundry and several large vats. On the ground, there was a stack of hay, seemingly piled upon something.
Presently, the night skies were changing. It was already the fourth night watch(1-3am).