Fourth night watch(1-3am).
Sailing along Leyang River located in Leyang Prefecture was a large, beautifully decorated boat.
From the inner quarters of the boat, a young juvenile walked out.
Sitting at the bow of the boat was a handsome young man along with a beautiful young lady. Their eyes in addition to the curve of their brows held a trace of semblance, as if they were related by blood.
Seeing the juvenile step out wiping his tears, the girl frowned and asked, “Wu Qi, how’s elder cousin?”
Wu Qi dolefully replied, “Young Master’s(gongzi) fever has subsided at last. But he continues to mutter the same sentence beneath his breath again and again, Brother Xuan, don’t get close to Bai Zi Xu.”
The girl exchanged glances with the young man before stating suspiciously, “Bai Zi Xu is already dead, he died last year.”
The young man nodded as his eyes slightly congealed. “Zhan Feng and I personally buried him ourselves. What does Zhan Feng mean by this?”
The girl suddenly whispered, “Wu Qi, who is this Brother Xuan that cousin mentioned? Cousin, he…..what exactly happened to him?”
Then she bitterly added, “I wanted to help him wipe his sweat but he refused, continuing to call out for Brother Xuan. I even fell to the ground because of his push.”
With a chuckle the man said, “Little sister, Zhan Feng is running a fever. If he hadn’t recognized you and employed just a sliver of his internal strength you wouldn’t have just fallen on your bottom, you would’ve already suffered heavy injuries. How could you still be here chatting?”
“Humph, Elder Brother, you don’t have an eye for people at all. Even if cousin wasn’t hurt, he still may not be able to defeat me even if he employed a third of his internal strength. Moreover, it was thanks to me that we got rid of those pursuers.”
This time, the man knitted his brows and said, “Fortunately, Zhan Feng was still vigilant despite his injury and sent Wu Qi to inform us when he noticed he was being followed. You and I happened to be nearby otherwise it would’ve been troublesome if those men had caught up to him.”
“Brother, do you think those men were sent by people from the imperial court?” The girl asked with a frown. “Our ancestors along with cousin’s have been in hiding for a great number of years now. How did they suddenly find us?”
The man let out a sigh. “We were able to fight off those seven pursuers with our combined strength. Their skills in addition to their orderly execution and retreat, it could be seen they’ve gone through rigorous training. When we defeated one group, another would instantly attack. The possibility that they’re military experts can’t be ruled out. Fortunately, Zhan Feng had a plan and we were able to elude them and escape by a water route. Bypassing Wangyou Prefecture, we can head back to Yanxia Prefecture from Leyang Prefecture and get them off our trail.”
The girl nodded then looked at Wu Qi, “Do you know who those men were? What exactly happened to cousin while he was in the capital? With his martial skills, who could possibly injure him?”
Wu Qi’s lips moved to reply but in the end there was only silence. He truly did not know who those pursuers were. Moreover, how was he to explain Young Master’s injuries? When he helped bandage Young Master, he saw from the shape of the wound that it was actually self-inflicted. Also, how was he to explain Brother Xuan to the Young Miss? Although the Young Miss and Young Master were not betrothed, Young Miss had always admired Young Master…..
Jin Luan Hall, Imperial Capital.
The following day, after adjourning morning court, Long Fei Li summoned Na Ming Tian Lang and Long Xiu Wen into the palace hall.
With a smile, Long Fei Li asked, “Second Prince, Seventh Elder Brother, are you satisfied with the accommodations I’ve(zhen) arranged? Have you gotten used to your residence? Second Prince has journeyed a great distance to get here and so has Seventh Brother who has traveled all the way from Wangyou Prefecture. I fear I’ve been neglectful.”
Long Xiu Wen replied with a smile, “That day in Yan Yu Tower, Your Majesty had said there was no need for courtesy between family, must I repeat Your Majesty’s words?”
Long Fei Li then looked over at Na Ming Tian Lang who smiled and said, “Na Ming naturally does not have much to say either, I’m very satisfied with Your Majesty’s arrangements. Speaking of Yan Yu Tower, Your Majesty, was the assassin caught?”
Long Fei Li’s eyes swept across both of their faces briefly before he softly chuckled and said, “Your mention of this matter is quite timely, Second Prince.”
“Oh? What exactly do you mean?” Na Ming Tian Lang asked curiously.
Long Xiu Wen’s heart stirred slightly.
“That night in the Nian Residence, the imperial guards had pursued after the assassin. They had caught up to him and in the midst of the fight had even unveiled his face. Yet these guards are quite the useless bunch and actually let him escape in the end,” Ji Feng Li said mildly.
“If they saw his face, even if he escaped, it wouldn’t be difficult to find him,” Long Xiu Wen remarked.
Long Fei Li nodded. “Seventh Brother is right, thus the imperial guards were able to quickly trace his whereabouts to Yan Yu Tower.”
“Then was the assassin captured at Yan Yu Tower, Your Majesty?” Na Ming Tian Lang questioned curiously.
Long Fei Li got up from his seat. Walking down the steps with his hands crossed, he smiled and replied, “Speaking of this matter, it is quite odd. The imperial guards did capture that man in Yan Yu Tower but after a thorough interrogation, they found that he wasn’t the assassin. He was just a man that looked like the assassin. It’s quite unbelievable how identical their faces were.”
Long Xiu Wen pondered for a moment, then said, “If they aren’t related, would two people look so much alike?”
Na Ming Tian Lang said, “Although it’s rare for two unrelated people to look alike, it’s still possible. I’ve witnessed it before myself.”
“Second Prince’s words are reasonable. I must be wary next time lest the wrong person is caught again, giving the real assassin a chance to escape,” Long Fei Li said with a calm smile.
The three men continued on with their discussion. With a smile, Long Fei Li mentioned the upcoming birthday banquet which he invited both of them along with Fang Chu Fan, the Feudal Lord of Kangning Preference who had already arrived in the Capital.
Na Ming Tian Lang and Fang Chu Fan both came to the capital with the intent of seeking a marriage with Yu Zhi while Long Xiu Wen came to celebrate her upcoming wedding. Na Ming Tian Lang and Long Xiu Wen had both been received in court by the Emperor and officials where they got the chance to exchange a few words. Finding that they enjoyed each other’s company, they had consequently decided to meet up that day on the streets of the capital.
After Na Ming Tian Lang and Long Xiu Wen finally departed, Xu Xi and Xia Sang exchanged glances. Xu Xi spoke up, “Your Majesty, the matter regarding the assassin, what do you intend…….”
Long Fei Li remained silent and merely closed his eyes.
After some time, Xia Sang’s heart gave a start when he came to a sudden realization. He asked, “Your Majesty, you fear that at the birthday banquet those two would recognize the Princess and Nian Niang Niang thus you wanted to silence them first with this approach?”
Na Ming Tian Lang frowned slightly and asked, “Yun Yang, what do you think the Emperor’s words meant?”
It wasn’t a lie when Long Xiu Wen stated that his name was Yun Yang as it was actually his courtesy name.
Long Xiu Wen’s eyes slightly congealed and he said, “When His Majesty speaks, we just have to listen.”
He then laughed and asked, “I heard that Second Prince sent many people to find Miss Nian. Have you had any news?”
Upon hearing his question, Na Ming Tian Lang’s expression changed slightly.