He had already accepted death when he had fallen from the cliff, but fortunately for him, someone had saved his life.
He then returned to Nanzhao in secret to consolidate some of his previous subordinates before entering Beimin once more. Everything would have been smooth-sailing if Wei Mohai was still alive, but he decided to continue with his operations despite the passing of his right-hand man.
Su Xi-er felt her legs trembling, and knew that Yun Ruofeng had more than enough strength to subdue her in her weakened state as he closed in. As expected, it took only 10 moves for her to catch the glimpse of joy in his eyes as he hit her sleeping acupoint.
Yun Ruofeng scooped her up and signalled to one of his men.
“Prince Yun, do we keep Li Zhuang alive or kill him?”
Anger flashed in Yun Ruofeng’s eyes as he thought about how Li Zhuang salivated over Su Xi-er. “Kill him secretly.”
The man acknowledged this and retreated quickly. Even with Su Xi-er in his arms, Yun Ruofeng’s steps were steady. Not only had the disgraced prince’s saviour helped him keep his life, he had also helped the former become stronger.
Before long, they were already miles away from the village and swapping to a nondescript horse carriage before continuing the journey.
The guards from the Prince Hao Residence, Commandery Prince Residence, and Imperial Palace were all searching for Su Xi-er. No one would have expected that she was currently in the clutches of the presumed dead Yun Ruofeng.
Everyone was worried after searching for an entire day, and her subordinates from Nanzhao kept insisting that their princess was still alive.
If she isn’t dead, where is she now? Perhaps she’s passed out? But no matter what, she’ll still be weakened.
Even Feng Changqing, who was in his prime, eventually passed out from exhaustion after searching for so long and sent back to the Prince Hao Residence to recover.
One of Su Xi-er’s subordinates from Nanzhao reported to Pei Qianhao, “Prince Hao, there was a murder in one of the nearby villages.”
Pei Qianhao looked at the guard, signaling for the latter to continue. Murder cases were supposed to be handled by the municipalities, so the fact that he was being informed meant there was more to this murder than what met the eye.
“Prince Hao, the victim is named Li Zhuang, and his father had seen Princess Consort Hao.”
Suspicion rose in Pei Qianhao as he cracked the whip on his horse and headed towards the village, a feeling that only intensified when he heard the frantic sobs of an old man as he entered.
“My son, why did you have to leave? How do you expect me to continue living when you’ve left me alone!” The other villagers kept their distance from Old Woodcutter Li as he continued bawling.
Old Woodcutter Li then heard a stern male voice ask, “Have you seen a lady in a red dress?”
The old man trembled at this. “You… you are?”
One of Pei Qianhao’s guards went up to make his identity known, but Pei Qianhao stopped him.
His icy gaze seemed a lot colder under the moonlight.
Old Woodcutter Li swallowed his saliva in fear. When did I mention a lady in a red dress?
He then realised after a moment that he had mentioned a girl in a red dress in his distress after finding his son’s body.
“Where did you last see the lady in the red dress?” The stern male voice asked.
The old man relented and answered, “Officer, I found a girl in a red outfit at the foot of the mountain, and carried her back to my house since she was weak and unconscious. The reason I didn’t reveal this earlier is because I thought the soldiers were looking for a wanted criminal when they came to the village earlier. However, she suddenly disappeared when my son and I came to report.”
Old Woodcutter Li was able to clear himself of suspicion with such an explanation. Even if I have to die, I have to settle my son’s funeral first.
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