Chapter 341 - The Desolate Inn
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Ji Yunshu had just finished washing up when the waiter knocked on the door to deliver an incense burner.
“Friend, has there been trouble recently in Shanhuai county?” Ji Yunshu asked suddenly.
The waiter’s hand trembled a little as he answered hastily, “No! Why does the gentleman ask so?”
“It’s quite a long way to Shanhuai county, and anybody going there must take this road. Logically, there should be quite a lot of people staying at this inn, but I have scarcely seen anyone else..”
“In addition to the weather being poor lately, this season has always been slow in terms of the number of travelers. We never have enough rooms once autumn rolls around.”
“Is that so?”
The waiter nodded frantically.
The waiter gave the table a quick swipe with the towel on his shoulder after Ji Yunshu had finished with the incense burner, leaving with a small remark.
“Gentleman, with the night being so cold, I would advise you to stay indoors and rest well if you don’t have any pressing matters.”
She acquiesced silently. Judging from the television dramas Ji Yunshu had watched, there was definitely a deeper meaning to his words.
Not long after the door closed, someone knocked on it again. Ji Yunshu suspected that it was the waiter again, but instead found Jing Rong standing at attention in the doorway!
“Why are you here?” she asked.
He brushed past her and sat down in one of the chairs in the room, proceeding to quickly order, ‘Close the door!’ as if he owned the place.
Ji Yunshu had only a vague inkling of his purpose. She obeyed and took her seat opposite him once the door was closed.
“Something’s wrong with this place?” she asked soberly.
Jing Rong nodded, unsurprised that she knew the purpose of his visit.
“It's really strange!”
“I've put people on guard at the second floor exits. You should also be more careful.”
“You suspect this is related to the hill bandits today?”
Jing Rong wrinkled his brows.
“I can't be sure. With their audacity, it's not impossible that the bandits would rob us in revenge tonight. They also said even the Shanhuai county head had to be courteous to their chief. A mere inn could very well already be under their control.”
“If they are so desperate for revenge, why not just drug us at dinner?” she pressed.
“Hence I say that chief is smart. We would have known immediately if he'd drugged our food or drinks. If he weren’t concerned about scaring us off prematurely, we may even be fighting them right now. Whatever the case, it certainly would not have done their chances of success any good.”
Ji Yunshu nodded.
“This prince has set up a guard, so you should rest early and not worry too much.”
Shouldn't you be leaving now? she willed, but he remained seated.
“Are you not going to sleep tonight?”
“This prince will sit here.”
“If I stay here, there will be someone here to protect you if something really does happen tonight.”
Jing Rong poured himself a cup of tea nonchalantly and took a sip. There was no way she was going to get him to leave. Finding herself helpless and resigned to her fate, Ji Yunshu undressed and burrowed into her blankets.
She took the spot on the bed closest to the wall, leaving the half of the bed facing the room empty.
Her apparent oversight didn't escape Jing Rong’s notice. He quirked his lips as he finished his tea, stood, and extinguished the candle. He moved over to the bed before sliding under the covers and folding his arms around Ji Yunshu's soft figure from behind. Nuzzling into her neck, he closed his eyes and fell asleep contentedly.
In the other room
Ji Wanxin was still seated at the table, staring intently at the flickering flame. The formerly gentle pair of eyes were now tiny little balls of flames themselves. They reddened progressively as time wore on, and a few drops of tears trickled down her cheeks. Her hands were white-knuckled fists inside her sleeves. Her eyes like two red orbs embedded in her skull were cruel and calculative.
A few minutes later, she suddenly stood up and left the room. She asked for two mantous from the waiter and brought them to the leftmost room on the second floor.
A guard stood outside the room. He glanced at her.“What is it, Miss Ji?”
Ji Wanxin smiled gently and gestured to the mantous in her hands.
“I saw the two have been locked in without a drop of water for so long, so I brought two mantous for them to eat.”
“They're bandits soon to be sent to Shanhuai county's jail, Miss Ji,” the guard protested urgently.
“I know, but we can't starve them now, can we? What if they died on the way? Don't worry, nothing will go wrong.”
The guard thought for a few short moments. As one of Jing Rong's people, he still had a bit of a conscience.
“Okay, I’ll give these to them." he said, reaching for the two mantous. Ji Wanxin quickly jerked them out of his reach.
“ I'll take it in myself. It wouldn’t be appropriate to not have a single guard outside.”
That was right!
The guard nodded before opening the door to let her in.
The two bandits lay tied up on the floor in the room, each with a wad of cloth being used to gag them. Their eyes brightened when they saw the beauty approach them, grunting through their gags as they struggled against their restraints.
Ji Wanxin squatted in front of them and removed the cloth from their mouths.
“You two must be starving," she said as she picked up a mantou, "Have a mantou to stave off the hunger.”
One of the bandits started teasing, “Beauty, why don’t you stay and play with us?”
The other quickly chimed in.
“Yes Look at how bored we are. Beauty -- with your looks, if our chief takes a fancy to you, you could even become his wife!”
The two started laughing happily.
Ji Wanxin’s gentle face immediately became as cold as midwinter as she glared at them, stuffing their recently freed mouths with the mantou.
“You better eat quickly. If you want to blame someone, blame yourselves for grabbing that idiot and making Teacher Ji so anxious she almost put herself at risk. Our family’s young master cares most about her. He couldn't care less about his life when her safety is at risk.”
Who knew why Ji Wanxin would suddenly say this!
The bandits didn’t dare to say a word. Their greatest fear was that they would drop the mantou; that would be such a waste! They stared at her blankly, gulping the mantou down in awkward bites as she turned and left the room.
No one noticed, or expected, a glint of steel left on the floor.
A dagger perhaps forgotten by accident… Or perhaps not.
Grenn's Rants Corner
Dum-duh-duh-DUH! Ji Wanxin finally made her moves. That girl is getting coal for Xmas.
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