“He was given a post in the Ministry of Civil Office and from the way he carried out his duties, he certainly is a man of potential and talent. So I decided to call him over to Jinluan Palace, intending to make use of him,” Long Fei Li calmly stated.
Hearing the words Jinluan Palace, Xuanji lowered her gaze inadvertently as it reminded her of the conflict between them, for it was there where their issue first arose and grew ever since.
She could feel Long Fei Li’s eyes on her at the moment.
Seeing that Long Fei Li did not go on, Xia Sang, being a smart person that he was, decided to speak up. “Madam, since Young Master decided to make use of him, he had his background checked. Madam’s family and the Bai Family had a marriage arrangement. Bai Zixu’s family was originally from Yanxia Province but they fell victim to a scheme and all of their wealth was seized. Ever since, the Bai Family had been on the decline and because of this, Bai Zixu became depressed and fell severely ill. He had died long before he arrived at the Nian Residence. Believing that the Bai Family had fallen into ruin by his very own hands, Bai Zixu had felt he had lost all face and did not wish to be buried in his hometown. Consequently, the news of his death was kept hidden. His body had been buried elsewhere by his close friends.”
“The people we sent to investigate had discovered this when they went to his old servant’s home. They had also gone to see his grave personally.”
Bewildered, Xuanji asked, “Then the man posing as Bai Zixu is also faking his appearance?”
Long Zijin nodded. “He changed his appearance to look like Bai Zixu in order to enter the Nian Residence. On one hand, if his intentions were to seek wealth and honor by entering the Nian Residence then it’s nothing surprising.”
“Second Young Master believes he had other intentions?” Xuanji questioned.
“Your father refused to honor the marriage agreement,” Long Fei Li said. “There’s nothing he can get from remaining at the Nian Residence yet he still refused to leave. What do you think is the reason?”
Xuanji furrowed her brows.
Qingfeng asked, “Young Master, was he waiting for you to arrive that day, so that you would bestow him with a post at court?”
Eyes narrowing, Long Fei Li said, “He couldn’t have possibly known that I would come to the Nian Residence, that was just a mere coincidence. From what I can tell, his original intentions’ related to the Nian Residence.”
Xia Sang thought about it and said, “Then according to Young Master, it was only after meeting Young Master and Young Madam that he decided to change his original plan?”
After hearing this, Yuzhi asked, “Why is he here then?”
Long Zijin sipped his tea and continued, “This man isn’t simple. He’s extremely vigilant and alert. When we discovered his false identity, I brought people to his place to catch him but by the time we got there, he was gone without so much of a trace.”
Duan Yuhuan said with a bitter smile, “That’s to say, why he’s here in Taoyuan, why he even became the eighth son-in-law of the Yu family is still a mystery.”
The air in the room grew heavy.
Xuanji suddenly recalled that Feng Zhanbai had also told her to be wary of Bai Zixu. Feng Zhanbai had said it was Bai Zixu that had given him the bead. Presumably, it was the fake Bai Zixu that had given it to him and not the real one. Then that’s to say that Feng Zhanbai is actually acquainted with the fake Bai Zixu?
This bead’s no ordinary object. It was due to this bead that back then at the Nian Residence, Xuanji was able to gain consciousness despite the powerful sedating incense that had been lit. And today that man in black also had intentions of obtaining it.
If Bai Zixu had given the bead to Feng Zhanbai, it means they must be on friendly terms. Then why did Feng Zhanbai tell her to be on guard against his friend? What exactly was the relationship between the Bai and Feng family?
Bai Zixu had left the Imperial Capital, only to come here. Was their meeting today truly just a coincidence, or was he aware of their whereabouts? Xuanji voiced her concerns but was hesitant to mention she was in possession of another bead, or that Feng Zhanbai and Bai Zixu were acquaintances.
Duan Yuhuan replied, “Madam, that’s a good question. Our whereabouts have been kept under wraps, so how would he know we would come to Taoyuan? If he indeed came for Young Master, he would’ve come prepared. If that’s the case, there will surely be trouble up ahead.”
“I don’t think Bai Zixu is here for us,” Long Fei Li said. He looked over at Xuanji and said, “When we met in the hall, I could see the surprise on his face as well. It seems as if he too did not want to see us here. Moreover, if he had other plans for us, why make an appearance now? It would be giving the enemy a heads-up.”
“Young Master is right! It seems that Bai Zixu is very likely here for the Yu family. Commander Duan, didn’t you just come back from Lady Yue’s room? What did she say?”
Duan Yuhuan laughed bitterly. With a sigh he said, “Young Master, beside Bai Zixu, where are the other seven son-in-laws of the Yu Family?”
“Didn’t they accompany the seven ladies of the Yu Family back to visit their hometown?” Yuzhi replied.
Duan Yuhuan shook his head. “They’re all dead.”
Bewildered, everyone’s eyes were on Duan Yuhuan.
Duan Yuhuan slowly explained, “The reason why Miss Yue disguised herself to come here was to investigate a case assigned by the Yamen’s magistrate. Two corpses have been found in the wilderness in the Imperial Capital. These two corpses turned out to be the son-in-laws that were recruited by the Yu Family. They had died a terrible death. All of their organs had been dug out, their bodies left without a single drop of blood.”
Yuzhi grabbed Xia Sang’s sleeve frightfully. Xia Sang furrowed his brows but did not pull away.
Long Fei Li glanced at them but remained silent. His sleeve had also been pulled by someone. The corner of his lips lifted as he reached out and held onto Xuanji’s hand.
Realizing what she had just done, Xuanij’s face flushed and her fear just moments ago began to subside.
Duan Yuhuan said, “The seven daughters of the Yu family and their husbands returned to their hometowns at different times. They had set off one after another. So how could two of their bodies be buried together on their way to their hometown?”
“What about the wives?” Qingfeng questioned.
“There were no wives,” Duan Yuhuan shook his head and laughed. “Rather, their wives didn’t go back at all. Before Miss Yue arrived, she had sent someone to check the hometown that Lord Yu mentioned. The place they found was very remote, but more importantly, there was no one there that went by the surname Yu! Seeing how two bodies have been found, its presumed the other men must also be dead. After killing the husband along the journey, the seven ladies of the Yu family must’ve silently returned to this residence.”