218 – Royal Manor
— numerous scenes flashed through her mind and finally froze on the one with Qi Qiqi’s face full of tears.
Xue Qilin’s killing intent rose gradually. At any time, it may turn into a fierce blade and run through Gong Yue’s heart. Sensing the Killing intent, Gong Jing knows that he can’t stay silent any more. He stood in front of Gong Yue at once.
“Yue’er, don’t be rude!”
Gong Jing’s face stained with vestiges of hardship reflected in the bright yellow eyes.
“Lady Xue, please don’t take offense to this old one’s son’s words. Furthermore, this is not the time to be fighting each other.”
Xue Qilin looked at Gong Jing silently.
She has a sharp gaze, while he has a look of sincere apology in his eyes.
Finally, Xue Qilin retracted her gaze.
At the same time, the true qi that raged in the surroundings gradually pacified and finally disappeared.
Gong Jing sighed.
“Lady Xue’s second request, this old one cannot accept it. No matter what, Qing’er is this old one’s granddaughter. This old one already owes her too much. How can this old one not give her any compensation and severe all ties?”
Gong Jing continued sincerely, “But, I can swear on my life that there won’t be a next time. What does Lady Xue think?”
Instead of answering immediately, Xue Qilin focused on Gong Jing’s eyes, trying to see if his promise is heartfelt.
She saw sincerity in the other’s eyes.
It seems that there is no need for more words of promise.
Xue Qilin turned without saying a word. But, she didn’t took away her eyes from the old man.
“I will believe you. But, you better don’t let me down.”
“Gong Jing has never taken his own words lightly.”
Gong Jing stroked his grizzled beard and stated this rather proudly.
Instead of answering, Xue Qilin looked at Gong Tianyang and gave him an apologetic look.
‘– sorry, I cannot cure you right away.’
Gong Tianyang, who roughly understood the meaning of look in the lass’s eyes, smiled wryly and shook his head. It’s fine — that’s probably what he meant.
“I’ll take my leave first!”
Xue Qilin retracted her gaze and, with her back to the others, waved her hand.
“If there are any news about Little Qing, let me know.”
Without waiting for a response, she left Gong Jing’s study, and then the Gong Clan.
— it was not until three days later when she set foot in the Gong Clan again.
Late into the night.
The heavy rain that shrouded the imperial capital just passed.
The past few days have been particularly muggy. The heavy rain brought a little coolness to the imperial capital and its surroundings. As a result, the imperial capital has fogged up this night.
The fog isn’t thick. But, it still makes everything look hazy like a gauze.
In the distance, you can see a vague outline of some large buildings dotted with scattered lights, which are particularly eye-catching from this remote corner.
On a small hill, while observing the buildings, Xue Qilin asked the young man — Northern Guard Fort’s Sargeant Guan — behind her.
“It’s over there?”
She is now wearing a black robe, her long hair is coiled into a bun behind her in order to facilitate movement, and a flame it burning on her erect index finger, slightly scattering the surrounding darkness.
“To answer Senior Xue, yes. According to the Red Chamber’s information and the clues the Northern Guard Fort collected, this is the right place.
Xue Qilin narrowed her eyes, and her irises dyed gold and pupils elongated into vertical lines. The gaze of her eyes, with flow with radiance, pierced through the fog and fell on the abyss of the buildings in the distance.
“Do you know the exact location?”
“Not really. We sent people to snoop around. They are all professional army scouts, so we should be able to get a clear picture of that place soon.”
“Snoop, snoop… heh, this way of speaking is reminiscent of hoodlum!”
Xue Qilin turned towards Guan Qi and grinned, and her pure white teeth shone.
“But, I like it!”
“After staying in the army for so long, the way of speaking has become coarse. This humble one hopes that Senior Xue can forgive it.”
Guan Qi took a step back, clasped his hands, and apologized.
Xue Qilin sneered disapprovingly, “Coarse is fine! It’s better than that convoluted way of speaking! I feel my head spinning whenever I hear that grandiloquent speech.
“Senior Xue seems to be outspoken.”
Guan Qi’s tone has become a bit more amiable.
It seems that this young officer is just cold on the outside while warm on the inside. Perhaps he is the kind of character who will disregard his safety and go ape shit on enemy ranks once he steps on the battlefield.
After all, there’s such a heavy smell of blood… Xue Qilin, who thinks that her guess is quite reasonable, nodded.
She withdrew her gaze and scanned the buildings ahead.
“That said, isn’t the manor too big?”
“It’s a royal manor, so it’s not surprising.”
As Guan Qi said, the manor in the distance is owned by royalty, to be more precise, it is owned by the Second Prince, the mastermind behind Gong Tianqing’s abduction.
Located in the outskirts of the imperial capital, the manor occupies an area much larger than that of the Gong Mansion. At first glance, Xue Qilin thought it to be a relatively large village. There are also other manors nearby. Some manors of some bigwigs seem to be concentrated in this territory.
“Yo yo, that royal manor… people’s taxes are wasted on this kind of place.”
Xue Qilin satirized the royals’ oppression of the common people. Guan Qi remained silent.
“Young Ancestor, what nonsense are you spouting?”
Standing beside the lass, Qi Qiqi, who was looking at the manor’s plan using the weak light, suddenly raised her head and issued this remark angrily.
Qi Qiqi does not call Xue Qilin by her name in front of outsiders, but calls her “Young Ancestor” as a show of respect.
“I misspoke!” Xue Qilin spread her arms helplessly.
“Young Ancestor, even if it’s true, there are things that should and things that should not be said. What you just said is something that should not be said. If it reaches His Majesty, you will lose your head.”
Seeing Qi Qiqi speak seriously with reproach and cast her a warning look from an angle that makes it hard for others notice, Xue Qilin turned her eyes and closed her mouth astutely.
Although Qi Qiqi cannot deal with Xue Qilin in front of outsiders, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t settle accounts and scold Xue Qilin when they are alone.
Qi Qiqi turned to Guan Qi and showed a look of apology.
“Officer Guan, my sect’s elder made a slip of the tongue.”
“Temple Master Qi is being too polite.”
Guan Qi shook his head expressionlessly, yet there is a trace of bitterness in his eyes.
“Rather, I’m envious that Senior Xue can be so fearless and straightforward.”
Qi Qiqi glanced at Xue Qilin and said “yes” with a flat smile.
Then, she asked Guan Qi in a rather cautious tone, “Officer Guan, is this plan reliable?”
“According to the Red Chamber, it was issued in the Ministry of Works, so it should be trustworthy. However, this plan is old. After many years, the manor may have been rebuilt and renovated a number of times, so we must take it with a grain of salt.”
Xue Qilin put out the fire, crossed her arms, and nodded.
“I see, so that’s why we sent people to snoop here and snoop there.”
“Young Ancestor, what’s with that frivolous way of speaking?”
The dissatisfied Qi Qiqi rebuked Xue Qilin. Consequently, Xue Qilin pouted and said no more.