As the villagers started discussing possibilities, Yu Xiao took the opportunity to leave Xiang Village and quietly follow the group of soldiers.


Somewhere thirty miles away from the village, the two groups faced each other again in a standoff.


In the meantime, the atmosphere in Xiangxiu Inn was very different. Everything seemed to be rather merry with song and dance.


Li Zikang seemed to be in rather high spirits as he poured wine for Du Ling and Pei Qianhao continuously, as if he was trying to get them drunk.


Pei Qianhao and Du Ling knew that Li Zikang was harbouring ill intentions, which was why they refused to touch the wine he offered.


Yun Ruofeng was the only one who seemed to be enjoying his time with Li Zikang. Of course, he had his own plans. He wanted to keep Pei Qianhao here so that Liang Yong could move Su Xi-er somewhere else. His plan would succeed as long as that went smoothly.


Not only could he fulfill his side of the agreement with Li Zikang, he would now be able to get rid of both Pei Qianhao and Du Ling at the same time. When that happened, he would be on top of the world.


Alas, dreams were often ideals, and reality was often harsh.


A loud whistle brought Yun Ruofeng out of his reverie, and he couldn’t keep a look of excitement from his face. He stood up and said, “General Li, this Prince has to take care of other matters. Let’s continue some other day.”


Being aware of his plans, Li Zikang nodded at him, prompting Yun Ruofeng to leave shortly after.


At this, Pei Qianhao and Du Ling exchanged a glance. Pei Qianhao clenched his fist under the table, certain that Su Xi-er was involved in whatever matter Yun Ruofeng had left for.


However, he couldn’t do anything but stay put in this situation. He could only hope that his subordinates could locate her successfully.


“I’ve been pouring wine for the two of you all day, but not a drop has been touched. Are the Western Region King and Prince Hao looking down on this general?” Li Zikang slammed his winecup on the table as he asked.


Pei Qianhao raised his brows and said, “This Prince is not drinking today.”


“There are three situations where this King doesn’t drink. With generals, with members of the royal family, and with despicable people.” Du Ling mocked.


Li Zikang was visibly riled up. “I guess the two of you are bent on refusing my hospitality. If that’s the case, let’s move to another location.”


“I’ll take the two of you for a visit to Xiliu’s special area and let you stay for a few days.”


Though it was a clear threat, Pei Qianhao and Du Ling did not react to it at all.


Just as the atmosphere in the air turned cold, Yun Ruofeng returned with a forced smile on his face. “The banquet’s ending as soon as I left?”


He then shot Li Zikang a look, telling him to calm down. Though he wasn’t happy about the situation, the latter complied.


Pei Qianhao remained silent, while Du Ling laughed as he asked, “Banquet? Isn’t it more of a feast of death[1]?”


“You sure know how to joke around, Western Region king. I’ve prepared good food and beautiful women for you. There would be no need for me to do that if it was meant to be a deadly banquet, would there?” Li Zikang laughed.


“I wonder if General Li has informed the monarch of the nation about the fact that this Prince and the Western Region King are already in Xiliu?” Pei Qianhao asked expressionlessly.


His question silenced the entire room instantly.

1. Also known as ‘hongmenyan’, it refers to an invitation to a place, usually a banquet/feast, where death or serious repercussions are waiting.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Hilda

Editor: Lunarlark

Proofreader: Rakumon