Chapter 21: Murong Ranyue

“I’ll go in to take a look first,” Jia Qizhe turned back when they got in front of a garden. “Once we get through here, we’ll reach Murong Ranyue’s bedroom. The garden has all the herbs he needs.”  

“Okay,” Gu Qingyu nodded.

Gu Qinyu watched as Jia Qizhe entered the garden, nothing happened. He took a few more steps. Then suddenly, the flowers in the garden started moving on their own!

“Jia Qizhe!’ Gu Qingyu called out in a hushed voice. 

Within the garden came Jia Qizhe’s reassuring reply. “I’m okay, take care of yourself.”

His voice was still so reassuring, even as he was swallowed by the flowers.  “Quick, go around me and go inside Murong Ranyue’s room. I can handle this! Trust me!”  “Alright, I trust you.” Gu Qingyu smiled, bent her knees a little and leaped up. I’ve got to say, this ‘cat spirit body’ is very useful!

Gu Qingyu hopped about in the night sky. She quickly found Murong Ranyue’s room, as she had memorised the path beforehand. Gu Qingyu jumped through the window without a second thought. There, a handsome man with olive green hair and pale green robes gaped at her. 

He asked, “Who are you?”

“I, I…” Gu Qingyu began to regret her recklessness earlier, but let bygones be bygones. They were already here, they had to follow through with the plan. “Hello, are you Murong Ranyue?” It should be him since the air was full of the smell of herbs and medicine.

“Yes.” The man seemed cool, without any sort of panic from someone who was facing a robber. 

“Hi, I am Zhu Fan.” Gu Qingyu said while trying to give her best smile, to give a good impression. “I am here to borrow herbs to conceal powers.”

“Conceal powers?” Murong Ranyue looked weird, his face paled. “You have…” He sniffed the air. “the Lifeblood Jewel of Destiny.” This was a statement.

“Yes.” Gu Qingyu nodded in frankness. At the same time, she also could not help but be impressed that he picked up the smell of her Lifeblood Jewel among all the other smells in the air. “Since you know why I’m here, then please hand over the medicine.”

“Sorry, I can’t give them to you.” Murong Ranyue turned and said plainly.

“Why?” Gu Qingyu asked, puzzled. “Just help me!”  Her sulking tone caused Murong Runyue to flinch. What happened to this young man before him?

“Yours truly is afraid to be of no help.” Murong Ranyue walked forward to a table and grabbed a batch of herbs.

“Why are you so stubborn!” Gu Qingyu stomped her feet, she did hear from Jia Qizhe that this Murong Ranyue knew nothing about martial arts, so it would probably be fine if she took it by force? 

“I’m really sorry!” She dashed towards Murong Ranyue. If time could rewind, she would not have dashed forward!

Splat.  Murong Ranyue turned as she was about to grab him, and threw out the batch of herbs in his hand. Gu Qingyu felt her head getting heavier, then collapsed to the floor. Damn it, it was… a trap...

“Gu Qingyu!” As she lost consciousness, she felt someone running towards her, someone dressed in blue robes. 

“Jia...Qizhe...You’re here...Sorry, I couldn’t...get the medicine...I…”

Gu Qingyu’s voice got softer and softer, until it was inaudible.

“I’m sorry…” Gu Qingyu heard Jia Qizhe’s remorseful voice in the haze. “I’m so so sorry…”

Why are you sorry? I was the one who messed up… Sorry, Jia Qizhe, I failed you, I couldn’t get the medicine… Finally, everything faded to black. 

By the time she came to her senses, It was already mid-afternoon. When she opened her eyes, Jia Qizhe stood before her.

“You…” Gu Qingyu stretched out her hand. “How did you…”

“Idiot,” Jia Qizhe took her hand. “What do you mean how?”

“Huh?” Gu Qingyu pulled herself up with Jia Qizhe’s help. “This is?”

Surrounding her were Xiao Qi, Mo Bai, Qi Yichen and even that Murong Ranyue!

“Looks like her condition has improved.” Mo Bai chuckled. “This is the tavern, Miss… Um, Brother Zhu, how are you feeling?”

“I’ve been better,” Gu Qingyu rubbed her temples, then she suddenly remembered something. “The medicine?”

Murong Ranyue stepped forward. “I won’t give up the medicine.”

“Hey, why are you so stubborn!” Gu Qingyu jumped up at once. “Oh yeah! Then...why are you here?”  

“Yours truly is here to apologise.” Murong Ranyue had an innocent look on his face.

“...” Gu Qingyu was dumbstruck. “You’re here to apologise? You don’t know martial arts, right? What if we take the herb by force?”

“Yours truly is confident to leave unscathed.” Murong Ranyue kept his cool.

“Such arrogance.” Gu Qingyu looked at Jia Qizhe, “Jia Qizhe? What happened to you?” 

Jia Qizhe looked stern, “Nothing, he doesn't have that kind of medicine.”

“Why?” Gu Qingyu suddenly realised. No wonder Murong Ranyue was so confident of leaving unscathed! Because he never had the medicine! Since Jia Qizhe said so, then it must be true. Sigh, why do I still trust Jia Qizhe so much?

“The medicine was taken by his elder brother.” Jia Qizhe sighed slightly. “That guy is a Duke and was given the title as the Emperor doted on him since young. He’s also most likely to become the next heir to the throne. His name is Murong Zuoyu, the Third Prince.”

“Huh? Then which prince is Murong Ranyue?” Gu Qingyu couldn’t hide her curiosity.

“The Fourth Prince.” Murong Ranyue said faintly. For some reason, his face seemed even paler than before.

“But...why did you give your medicine to your brother?” Gu Qingyu asked further. 

Murong Ranyue thought for a bit. “He knew you were coming.”

“Huh?” Gu Qingyu blinked. “That’s to say, he knows mind-reading? Divination? Clairvoyance? How powerful is he?”

Murong Ranyue shook his head.

“Ah? Then how did he find out that we're here?” Gu Qingyu pushed on.

“Magic.” Murong Ranyue continued faintly.

Gu Qingyu was speechless. That’s as good as saying nothing! I was so hopeful and asked so much! Are you not ashamed in giving such a vague answer!

“Urgh, kill me.” Gu Qingyu hopped off her bed. “Let’s go!”

Qi Yichen asked in surprise. “To where?”

“Hehehe!” Gu Qingyu laughed eerily. “To find that Murong Zuoyu of course…”

“You sound so scary!” Xiao Qi was scared stiff. No! What happened to the cute and funny Xiao Yu that she knew?

“Then yours truly is afraid he couldn’t follow.” Murong Ranyue bowed. “Farewell.”

“Take care!” Gu Qingyu greeted him in the same way as those martial artists on TV do. “Let us meet again someday!”

“No, I hope to never meet you all again.” Murong Ranyue walked out.

What was that? He really doesn't want to see me at all? Am I really that scary?

“Tch, who cares.” Gu Qingyu bit her lip, “Shall we move tonight?”

“Yes.” Mo Bai nodded.

“Oh yeah, Jia Qizhe, how did you get out last night?” Gu Qingyu finally asked.

Jia Qizhe tilted his head slightly. “What else? I cast a dispelling charm to get into the room, only to find you out cold on the floor. So I had to knock Murong Ranyue out and carry both of you back.”

He said it so nonchalantly, as if he was describing the weather. True, it might not concern him. But it concerned Gu Qingyu immensely!

“You’re saying that you knocked out Murong Ranyue and carried us both back?” Gu Qingyu emphasized on the words ‘knocked out’ and ‘carried’.

“Yeah,” Jia Qizhe crossed his arms before his chest, as if he was looking at a spoiled child. “Even though he’s so weak, you still got hurt. Oh my.”

Gu Qingyu’s face flushed red with anger. “You…”

“Okay, that’s enough,” Mo Bai stopped the quarrel. “Let’s discuss the plan for tonight.”

The plan was mostly set in place, Gu Qingyu was still grouped with Jia Qizhe to find Murong Zuoyu, while Mo Bai and Qi Yichen took charge of the small fry, Xiao Qi made sure they could escape. There were no changes to the plan, but just a better chance of success…

Nightfall, the team got dressed in their usual clothes, except for Qi Yichen and Mo Bai. They needed to attract the enemies’ attention, so they wore white clothes instead.

“Pfff!” Gu Qingyu, who just drank a sip of tea to calm her nerves, spit out all of her tea when she saw Mo Bai. 

“...” Mo Bai followed her gaze and checked his attire. “What’s wrong, Miss Gu?”

“Nothing…” Gu Qingyu shook her head, her eyes flashed with a sinister light. “Alright! Let’s go! Tonight, we will catch Murong Zuoyu! Muahahahaha…”

“Xiao Yu is so scary!” Xiao Qi was quivering at the side. In her heart, Gu Qingyu had turned into a demon, with a pair of horns on her head, a pair of black wings on her back, complete with a trident and a dark red backdrop. 

“Let’s go.” At Jia Qizhe’s command, everyone wore their masks and sneaked into the night…

Whoosh… They could only hear the sound of the wind. If not for the sharp senses of a cat demon, Gu Qingyu could not feel anyone around her… This time, we must not fail!

Finally, they were back at the palace, Jia Qizhe ran ahead while Gu Qingyu followed closely behind.

She has to admit, Jia Qizhe was so fast she could barely keep up. And actually, their current speed would be considered slow for him.

They soon reached a door. For some reason, there were surprisingly few soldiers. Was Mo Bai successful in distracting them? Or, was this a trap?

“Be careful, get ready.” Jia Qizhe pulled out a dagger and held it tightly in his hand. Gu Qingyu pulled out her own dagger as well. “Yes, you too.”

Jia Qizhe suddenly kicked the door open, Gu Qingyu waved. “Absolute Zero!”

Instantly, an ice-blue ring of light emitted from her body. The ring of light grew bigger and bigger until it engulfed the room. The ring froze everything it touched. 

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