Tan Ge leaned against a pillar as she sat on the bed inside the boat, her body finally relaxing as she sighed in relief. Her gaze gradually became distant once more as the waves rocked against the sides of the vessel.


Her mind drifted to her parents, the Tan Residence, her personal maidservant and the happy days of her childhood. Without realising it herself, the corners of her mouth had curved up as she recalled the sweet and blissful memories hidden in her heart. Only on nights where she found herself tormented by her trauma would she recall these memories as a way to seek solace.


Despite Dongling’s guards making an entire lap of the city while searching for Tan Ge, they came up empty-handed. What they did find was the guard that had been knocked out, had already regained consciousness and reported what had happened before being taken back to the palace to be punished.


Finally, another group arrived in the suburbs and spotted a peasant woman dressed in purple. Recognising that the dress belonged to Dignified Consort Liu, they immediately took the peasant woman to the imperial palace. Colour drained from the peasant woman’s face. I didn’t expect that young woman to be a wanted criminal!


However, no matter how she explained, the guards paid no heed to her and remained emotionless as they forcefully pulled her into the horse carriage to be sent to the imperial palace.


Out of the three search parties, one stayed behind to continue searching, while the other two returned to the capital. The returning groups travelled side by side on the capital’s roads, drawing the attention of the civilians. Yet, despite their doubts, none of the commoners dared to utter a word.


The internal strife of Dongling has just ended, yet numerous batches of guards from the imperial palace have been hurrying past. Could something have happened again?


At that thought, almost all the civilians furrowed their brows. Unable to bear with those turbulent times, they had hoped that the new emperor could protect the common people.


The Imperial Army Commander relentlessly cracked his horse whip, allowing his party to quickly enter the imperial palace. The peasant woman and the guard who had brought Tan Ge out of the palace were brought to the courtyard before the Imperial Study where they would await their punishment from the emperor.


The peasant woman kept trembling. Upon seeing her clothes, Chu Xian immediately understood everything that had transpired. Tan Ge found a village and exchanged clothes with a peasant woman to avoid suspicion. Judging by how long it’s been since then, Tan Ge has likely already fled.


The Imperial Army Commander bowed. “Your Majesty, all the boats have been checked, but there was no sign of the woman you want.”


“It’s not that she couldn’t be found, but that she has already left.” Chu Xian’s voice was calm. 


The only person who could have achieved this is Shi Mo; he helped Tan Ge with her escape. Ha, a few tricks of his were enough to lure me into his long-devised trap.


Suddenly, a white pigeon with a red beak flew over. Spreading its feathers, it landed on the tree nearest to Chu Xian. The latter walked to the peasant woman and bent down, removing a pearl hairpin from her hair. This pearl hairpin belongs to Dignified Consort Liu, but Tan Ge gave it to the peasant woman.


Chu Xian felt the hairpin and narrowed his eyes. With a flick of his wrist, the hairpin flew straight at the pigeon. The bird fell to the ground, feet spasming as its cries gradually faded into silence and its body went rigid.


A guard immediately went forward and retrieved the note from the pigeon’s leg before passing it to Chu Xian.

Unfurling the note, Chu Xian sneered as he read its contents. This Emperor isn’t so easily fooled. I must pluck out this thorn that is Shi Mo.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Rakumon

Editor: Lunarlark