Chapter 218: Thief
Nan Xun contemplated Jun Huang’s words silently. He checked over each of the men’s mouth to make sure that they were all dead from swallowing poison, and that their tongues were all cut off. He stood up and nodded at Jun Huang. “We should leave.”
Jun Huang nodded. From a distance there were torches coming their way. Realization struck both of them. So this was what the trap was.
They knew someone wanted to catch them. Even though they didn’t know who that person was, the person was no doubt their enemy, and a cunning one at that. Jun Huang looked away from the source of the torchlight. Nan Xun put the jade tree back into the box and wrapped up the box with a handkerchief. He held it in his arms before turning to Jun Huang.
Jun Huang knew that she wouldn’t be able to run fast enough to get rid of their tails. She resigned to her fate and went up to Nan Xun. With a chuckle, he put an arm around her waist. She held onto his shoulder reflexively as he leapt into the air.
The sensation was different from when Jun Huang jumped into the air herself. She knew Nan Xun had used light body technique. The whoosh of the wind filled her ears. She looked at Nan Xun’s stoic profile. He stared straight ahead in deep thoughts, oblivious to her attention.
Soon, they reached the alleyway next to the inn. Jun Huang had been worried that Nan Xun would make a noise and alert the residents when he landed on their roof, but he was even better at martial arts than she imagined. He didn’t make a sound as he moved even with her as the added weight.
“What’s wrong?” Nan Xun looked down at her once they were on level ground. She suddenly realized that she hadn’t let go of him. Heat flushed into her cheeks. She jerked back like she was burned and put some distance between them.
Once her heart had finally stopped pounding, she looked up at Nan Xun and whispered, “We should go back to the inn.”
Nan Xun knew she was feeling embarrassed. He chuckled and nodded in response. They walked out of the alley and entered the inn through the front door.
It had been an eventful day. There were almost too much excitement than her heart could take. All in all, it was a good day. What pleased her the most was that Nan Xun had recovered the national treasure of Western Que for her.
Contrary to her good mood, Nan Xun was brooding. He had wanted to confess to Jun Huang, but those bastards in black clothing had interrupted him. He turned to Jun Huang and saw her watching the jade tree at the desk. Frustration refused to let him go. The words were right at his tongue. He might as well ask her now if she would be willing to marry him one day...
His mind was made up. Without hesitation, he went up to Jun Huang and took her hands. She looked up at him, her brows furrowed in confusion. “What’s the matter? Is there an emergency?”
“There’s something I must tell you. Are you willing to - ”
A series of knocks cut him off. They whirled towards the door and saw the silhouette of several men outside. Alarm bells rang through their heads.
Nan Xun gave Jun Huang a questioning look. She nodded. As Nan Xun went to get the door, Jun Huang put the jade tree back to the box and closed it, watching the door warily.
“There’s a thief in the city who stole something valuable from the city lord, honored guests,” the clerk said gently. “Everyone has to undergo a routine check. I hope the guests would let us do our job.”
Nan Xun and Jun Huang both turned to the box on the desk. They quickly figured out what had happened. Nan Xun was unusually calm. He remembered there was a pond in the backyard. As the clerk was about to open the door, he threw the box out of the window. He had used some technique to make sure that the box didn’t make a sound as it fell into the water. There wasn’t even much of a ripple.
The clerk was followed by a group of soldiers. Without a word, the soldiers searched through the room with weapons drawn. Jun Huang and Nan Xun watched them calmly.
The soldiers did not leave a thing undamaged. They slashed open the blanket and the wardrobe as they searched for the jade tree, making a mess out of the beds and the furniture. The cups on the table were shattered, spilling tea everywhere. The room was silent saved for the clinking sound of the blades and the drip drops of the tea.
The leader of the soldiers turned to Jun Huang. His gaze landed heavily on her. She had changed into a blue robe after returning from Water Cloud. Under the candlelight, she looked alluring. Even a man would be seduced by her.
He approached Jun Huang slowly. She frowned, but looked up at him without moving. She didn’t want any troubles. She put on a faint smile to greet the man.
“The thing we’re trying to find is valuable. Perhaps someone has hidden it on himself. I have to search you as well. You won’t mind, will you?” The man arched an eyebrow at her, his tone perfectly neutral.
Jun Huang threw Nan Xun a glance before nodding. “We peasants should abide by the official’s words. Of course I don’t mind.”
The man’s smile widened. He reached out for Jun Huang. Her inaction emboldened him. He glided his hand along Jun Huang’s arm and lingered on her waist. Nan Xun ground his teeth together. He wanted nothing but to cut the man’s hand right off, but Jun Huang stopped him with a shake of her head.
Jun Huang stayed silent throughout. The man took the opportunity to caressed her fair fingers, whistling under his breath. He then came up from behind and reached for her collars. Jun Huang stilled. Nan Xun’s eyes turned murderous. Before he could do anything, Jun Huang took a deep breath and caught the man’s wrist. “Has the official finished searching?”
Nan Xun cut in before the man could say a word, “It’s my turn for the search, isn’t it?”
They left him no choice but to stop harassing Jun Huang. He threw Nan Xun a glare before turning to her. “I’ve searched thoroughly without finding anything. Please forgive me for any discomfort I’ve caused.”
“It’s alright. The official is merely doing your job.” Jun Huang smiled like nothing had happened. The man was again filled with desires. He had work to do, however. He could only tamp down his arousal and called for his men to search Nan Xun.
Jun Huang kept a smile on her face, which pleased the lead soldier. He didn’t give them any more troubles before letting them off the hook. Before they left, the man patted Jun Huang on the shoulder suggestively.
Finally, the soldiers had left. Jun Huang barely showed her disgust before she went to the window and jumped into the water. The sound jerked Nan Xun out of his thoughts. He rushed to the window and saw no one. He panicked when he saw the empty pond illuminated by the moonlight.
When he was about to follow Jun Huang down, she finally surfaced the water. He relaxed once he saw her climbing out of the pond. He jumped off and took the box from Jun Huang. “Why were you in such a rush? The box isn’t going to run away.”
“I feel easier with it in my hand,” Jun Huang said with a stilted smile.
Jun Huang stood under the silver moon with her clothes completely drenched. The wind made her shudder. Nan Xun quickly took off his outer robe and drape it over Jun Huang’s shoulders. He looked up at the windows. The soldiers had entered another room, making a ruckus.
Jun Huang sneezed. Nan Xun worried that she might catch a cold. He picked Jun Huang up and jumped back into her room. He sighed at her tired face and wet clothes. “A lot have happened today,” he said in a resigned tone. “You must be tired. Get changed and go to bed. I’ll go back to my room and leave you alone. If there’s anything you need, come to me.”
“You should rest as well.” Jun Huang gave him a smile. Tension drained out of her body as she watched Nan Xun leave. She put the box on the desk and opened it to make sure the jade tree was intact. She sat on the bed for a good while before standing up to take off her wet clothes. After getting changed, she went back to bed.
Exhaustion set in. She fell asleep soon after. Nan Xun, on the other hand, was unable to sleep. He had missed several opportunities to confess today. It was infuriating. He twisted and turned til the sun came up before falling asleep.
Morning came. Jun Huang opened her eyes and saw a ray of sunlight come through the window she had forgotten to close last night. She exhaled deeply and stood up to stretch her legs. She then put on an outer robe and checked the jade tree in the box.
Nan Xun came to knock on her door not long after. Jun Huang let him in. ”What is it?”
“Words got out that the mayor has lost something valuable. The man who traded for the jade tree at the market last night was arrested. They would not give up until they recover the jade tree. We must not stay here for too long. Who knows what’s going to happen? It’s best that we leave now. Then we’ll talk about what we’re going to do next.”
Nan Xun calmly explained the situation in the city.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter