Chapter 30: Turbulence
Translator: AtlasStudios Editor: AtlasStudios
Meng Fuyao retrieved it happily before passing it to the old eunuch. “Sorry for the trouble. A little something from us,” she whispered.
The old man straightened his body, raising his arm and exposing his baggy sleeve. Meng Fuyao understood his intention and placed the heavy sack in. The eunuch gave her an admiring glance before turning to Yun Hen. “What a lucky bloke,” he commented, before sneaking a quick look at the object in Meng Fuyao’s palm. He hinted for them to collect a tray to hold and then follow him.
While Yun Hen appeared calm, he was gripping hard on the tray with both hands. When he saw Meng Fuyao slotting the cylindrical object back into her clothes, he couldn’t help but flush. Fortunately, it went unnoticed in the dark night.
Meng Fuyao let out an embarrassed cough and looked up at the sky, once again putting the blame on Zhan Beiye –”Would I have needed this if you hadn’t locked my inner energy?”
The old eunuch led them out of the Xuande Palace Hall and toward the Xin Palace but was quickly greeted by an armored imperial guard. After sweeping his gaze across the trio and recognizing the old eunuch’s seniority, the armored guard smiled. “Where are you heading to at this time, Sir Lao An?”
“Oh,” the eunuch expressed while nodding his chin toward the Xin Palace in an impatient manner. “A palace maid has a cold again. I’m delivering some cotton cloth to be used as winter clothing.”
“It’s just a trivial matter. Do you have to make a special trip down?” asked the guard. His gaze was as sharp as an eagle.
“Sigh, that you don’t know,” the old eunuch stood on tiptoe and whispered. “I just want to check on the palace maid. Haven’t you heard..? She’s plagued by something dirty…” he coughed and stopped talking.
The wind blew over from the long and narrow alleyway, sweeping the fallen leaves and creating crisp sounds like those produced from a lady’s light footsteps.
A faint, white layer of fog rose from the ground, never dissipating, adding an eerie air to the solemn alleyway.
The guard moved his lips for some time, his face changing slowly. He had been in the palace for a very long time and naturally knew that the criminals’ corpses were dragged through the area close to the Xin Palace. Every corner had been stained by blood. It wouldn’t be surprising if dead spirits hovered over every corner as well.
Despite the brutal nature of his job, the imperial guard was superstitious. He waved, turned around and gestured for the guards to open a path.
The retracting of guns and swords could be heard as a pencil-straight path along which heavily-armed guards were lined up, appeared within the alleyway.
Yun He and Meng Fuyao looked at each other. The former let out a cool smile while the latter’s eyes were immediately drawn to some blood spots on his chest area. They were slowly expanding, as was his wound.
Her face turned pale as she tried hard to throw him a hint. Upon his realization, Yun Hen calmly held his tray higher to cover the stain.
Meng Fuyao stared worriedly at that enlarging blotch, leaning a little toward him. The leading guard lifted his hand and looked at the trio somewhat deliberately. It wasn’t that he distrusted them, but he was interested to see if these two eunuchs and the feeble girl would have the guts to pass through the weapon-lined path within the dense forest.
The old eunuch’s face was evidently whiter. He swallowed his saliva, feeling rather regretful about his decision to help. Unfortunately, since he had already lied, so there was no turning back.
When the guard sensed his awkwardness, he suddenly felt apologetic. “Sorry, Sir, it’s a narrow way, and the boys aren’t allowed to leave. I’ll walk with you if you’re worried that they might be rough,” he explained.
The old eunuch was overjoyed and agreed instantly. The guard then walked over and stood beside him.
‘Not good!’ Meng Fuyao thought as she noticed that Yun Hen’s wound had split open. More blood was coming out. Once the smell of it became noticeable, there was no way these people wouldn’t be alarmed. If they were to set foot onto the path, there was no escape route for them at all, and they could get stabbed to death any time.
Nevertheless, they could only move forward from here. Frustrated, Meng Fuyao recalled a phrase. “I’ll gladly take on any mountains of daggers and seas of flames.” Wasn’t that literally what she was about to go through?
The sky was like a black dome pressing down onto and stifling them. In the darkness, there was nothing but the narrow path, which could barely fit two, that led straight to their destination. The light from the fire torches reflected off the guard’s weapons, silently illuminating the cold expression on the guards’ faces.
In order to walk down a path like that required much courage. To reach the end of the route required much luck.
Meng Fuyao looked up at the sky and took a deep breath before advancing.
In spite of the number of people present, there was no noise except for the burning of the flames which drowned the voices of the insects, the low sobbing, and the sound of blood moistening Yun Hen’s clothes.
Weapons that had been stained in blood would naturally possess a more terrifying power. The old eunuch had initially intended to say a little something to release the tension, but the moment he opened his mouth, he felt as if there was a deadly force suppressing his vocal cords and rendering him speechless.
The suffocating force left the trio sweating buckets all the way.
Midway through their journey, Yun Hen pulled the tray closer to his chest.
At the same time, the guard in front crooked his head and sniffed. “What’s that smell?”
At 4:30 PM…
Qi Xunyi’s sideshow was waiting in the side palace for their cue to start.
As for the transference of guards, Yan Lie was already overseeing the operation at the last gate.
Fang Minghe had also appointed a general, and his troops were setting off from the camp.
The assassins’ shadows flowed into every corner of Yanjing like electricity.
A graceful man in loose robe leaned on the couch, taking a sip of his fragrant tea and revealing a smile. He took out a gold watch that he had obtained from Poluo Nation in the western region and looked at the time.
Also 4:30 PM, in front of the Xin Palace…
The imperial guard took another suspicious sniff. He could faintly identify it as the smell of blood.
The moment he sniffed, Meng Fuyao jolted her head up and shot forward to walk in front of Yun Hen.
At the same time, the guard turned around to ask, “What smell is that?”
His gaze landed on Yun Hen, who was carrying the tray with a lowered head, and his eyes turned cold. “Bring the tray down,” he said slowly.
The guns and swords that were pointed toward the sky instantly turned toward Yun Hen and Meng Fuyao.
The surroundings were deathly silent, and there was a metal-like smell that spread along with the wind.
Yun Hen’s face turned pale, and he lowered his hands slowly after a long time.
The imperial guard kept his keen eyes on Yun Hen. He resembled a hawk, spiraling in the sky and awaiting its prey.
All his focus was on Yun Hen, and at the moment that Yun Hen brought the tray down, Meng Fuyao took the chance to jerk her sleeve and let a mini knife slid into her palm. With a swift turn of her palm, the knife slit opened her sleeve and penetrated her inner thigh.
Blood poured out instantly at the same time where Yun Hen’s wound was exposed.
The imperial guard narrowed his eyes as if sensing a giant threat.
“Take–––” he uttered, but before he could finish, Meng Fuyao pounced on him and his pike.
“Sir! Sir! That blood… is mine…”
Shocked, the guard directed his gaze unto Meng Fuyao’s red face, failing to notice Yun Hen’s hand sliding up his sleeve in the process.
Yun Hen wrapped his fingers around an exquisite steel pin with a reckless, icy expression that revealed his willingness to sacrifice his life for the mission.
However, his murderous intent was quickly disrupted by Meng Fuyao. He looked up and saw a shameless woman clinging unabashedly onto the imperial guard while holding his shiny pike down. She was sobbing in grief.
“Sir… it’s your humble servant… it’s my fault. I had a private meeting with Little Hen earlier, in the Xuande Palace Hall… started menstruating… it came so suddenly… stained his robe… please do not misunderstand, Sir!”
The guard was struck dumb. He was aware that many palace maids, driven by loneliness would get “fake-married” to eunuchs. He lowered his gaze and noticed that her lower garment was slightly messy and that there were spots of blood on it.
He then turned toward the old eunuch. Lao An, who had been paralyzed with fear, let out a snigger, which he then tried to cover with his sleeve. He leaned over to the guard and whispered a little something. Upon hearing his words, the guard gradually made an oddly vulgar expression.
As for the gifted actress, Meng Fuyao hurriedly lowered her head in shame, stabbing her toes into the mud and remaining quiet.
Yun Hen stared at her bashful expression and then at her bloodied garment before falling into a deep daze. All his anger and shock from before gradually transformed into bewilderment. The sight of her fresh blood had pierced not only his eyes but also his heart. It was like a red wave that washed over the ice screen, turning it into an indescribable wave of emotions.
In this turbulent journey that she had taken on with him, she hadn’t merely risked her life but also her precious dignity and reputation as a woman.
To women, losing the latter two was worse than death.
She was willing to sacrifice so much for him despite the fact that they were but strangers before that night. Yun Hen lifted his head and let out a long breath as if attempting to release the boiling emotions from within. Unexpectedly, upon letting it out, he felt his heart sinking heavier.
His eyes gradually fell to the floor. There was a certain willful loneliness that lingered within them.
Meng Fuyao knew nothing about his heart-wrenching history, but she understood that nothing was more important than being alive. Plus, she had come from the future and naturally possessed a boldness that was absent in most girls. While what she had done was indeed embarrassing, it was nothing in relation to a life and death situation. However, if there was anything to complain about, it would have to be the pain that was currently eating into her inner thigh.
As such, she made the decision to demand medical compensation from this fellow upon escaping. Judging from the money sack he had handed to her earlier, she was confident of fleecing him.
If Yun Hen could read her mind at that point, he would probably have vomited blood.
The sky was dark and the forest filled with guns and swords. The imperial guard fixed his eyes on Meng Fuyao, who had covered her face with both hands and was sobbing in shame. Without blinking, his falcon-like eyes gradually softened, revealing a half-laughing and half-crying expression.