“You’re always acting so hastily when it comes to matters concerning Nanzhao. Walk slowly.” He took her hand in his and made for the study.


Pei Qianhao ground the ink while Su Xi-er picked up a brush and began writing. She complimented Ning Lianchen, and expressed that she was proud of the way he was governing. However, she reminded him to keep his feet on the ground while also adding that Liu Yinyin was doing fine, and there was no need to worry.


She put down the brush and blew on the piece of paper before Pei Qianhao took it from her hands and added a few words.


“A-Jing, why did you write that?” Su Xi-er protested.


“This is good information.” Pei Qianhao smirked. He wrote that Liu Yinyin was staying in the imperial palace as the Emperor’s study partner, and that she was improving greatly.


“What’s so good about that? You know that I hope for Yinyin to marry Lianchen in future; aren’t you ruining that plan?”


Pei Qianhao hugged her. “I did that because I know what’s on your mind. Look how I’m even doing all this for you now.”


“Even if Lianchen has feelings for Yinyin and becomes unhappy after reading that, he isn’t the kind of person who would immediately drop everything and rush to Beimin.” Su Xi-er looked up at him, her soft, pink lips enticing Pei Qianhao as she spoke.


He put down the piece of paper and grabbed her waist before he planted a big kiss on her lips. He explored slowly before sticking his warm tongue into her mouth and taking in her fragrance.


Su Xi-er returned the kiss as she hugged him. Slowly, Su Xi-er was being pushed against the wall.


When Pei Qianhao’s hand landed on the icy wall, he flipped them around so that it was his back against it instead, maintaining the kiss the entire time.


The passionate warmth gradually caused the temperature in the study to rise.


Thirteen days passed uneventfully and the capital was just as bustling as it always was. The fight to consolidate power had quieted and Xie Yun had also been recuperating, even if he was not back to his former self.


The Imperial Princess of the Western Region was still in the posthouse, and seemed to tour around Beimin everyday, trying out their delicacies and enjoying the scenery. Commander Zhao Wu had been looking into eligible males in Beimin, and realised that although they could not compare to Prince Hao, there were indeed some officials whose sons were rather impressive. However, he knew that the Grand Empress Dowager would never agree.


Before they set off for Beimin, the Grand Empress Dowager had called for Commander Zhao Wu to inform him of her top three choices; at the forefront of that list was none other than Prince Hao.


Everything seemed to be very calm. Too calm, in fact.


Wu Ling alighted from his horse outside the Prince Hao Residence. Pei Qianhao had instructed him to escort Du Ling from the suburbs about ten miles out from the capital, but there seemed to be no sign of the latter even after waiting for an entire day. Based on their estimates, Du Ling should have arrived by today at the latest.


After some investigation, Wu Ling learnt that there had been a recent bandit attack on a horse carriage, and that those involved were now missing.


When he went to check the corpses that were now lying at a county’s yamen[1] in the suburbs, he realised that they were indeed soldiers from the Western Region. With this, he was certain that something had happened to the Western Region King on his journey to Beimin. Thus, he made his way back to the Prince Hao Residence to report.


Pei Qianhao frowned slightly before his expression relaxed as Wu Ling gave his report in the main hall. Su Xi-er, on the other hand, could not believe something like that could have happened.


“The King of the Western Region is intelligent and powerful. He wouldn’t be fooled with mere trickery.” Su Xi-er firmly spoke after a moment of contemplation.


Wu Ling then answered, “But if that’s the case, where is he now? The only things this subordinate has found are the bodies of the soldiers and damaged horse carriage.”


“Convey my instructions, go on site to investigate this. Bury the remains of the Western Region soldiers where they are.”

1. Something like a magistrate office or a court and police post in modern times.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Hilda

Editor: Lunarlark

Proofreader: Rakumon