Nan Xun took a deep breath and let out a sigh. “We both want her to be safe and well, but her health hasn’t been good and her body can’t take any more abuse. I don’t know what I should do if something happens to her. Please understand and keep her condition in mind, Qi Yun.”
Qi Yun’s expression clouded as he narrowed his eyes at Nan Xun. “That’s unfair. I wasn’t trying to exhaust her. It’s just - ”
“Nothing is more important than she is in my eyes,” Nan Xun cut him off. “We’ve been doing all we can to help you gain the throne without a word of complaint. I only ask for you to not cause more troubles for Jun Huang and let her rest.”
Qi Yun’s eyes darkened. Nan Xun clearly knew all about what had happened. He himself understood how much Jun Huang had done for him as well. While the emperor was doubting him, it was Jun Huang who’d been helping him through the obstacle at the cost of her own health.
He felt a lump in his throat. He swore that as soon as he became the emperor, he’d make Jun Huang his empress and called on all the prestigious doctors in the nation to treat her. He’d spare no effort to save her life.
Nan Xun could see the changes in QI Yun’s expression, but he couldn’t read his thought. He knew he’d been too blunt, but he wasn’t willing to bet on Jun Huang’s life. He didn’t want her to exhaust herself for anyone.
He knew better than others how weak she was now. Every time he saw her pale face, he couldn’t help but worry. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Qi Yun. He just knew Jun Huang too well. She could be too willful for her own good at times. Without him by her side, she often forgot to take care of herself.
“Why not have her stay in my manor?” Nan Xun finally said what he’d intended to tell Qi Yun.
Qi Yun didn’t expect that. He stared at Nan Xun for some time. “There’s no need. I’ll take care of her. Royal Father values her. I’ll finish dealing with the cases in the court soon. Then I’ll take her back to the palace.”
“I’m not doubting you,” Nan Xun said with a sigh. “I simply worry that she’ll treat herself carelessly when I’m not around.”
Qi Yun refused to budge. He finally had the opportunity to stay with Jun Huang alone. He wasn’t going to just let go.
Nan Xun was surprised by Qi Yun insistence. This wasn’t something they should argue over. He sighed and agreed to let Qi Yun take her to the palace. Out of concern, he assigned a shadow guard to watch over her. Qi Yun reluctantly agreed for Jun Huang’s sake.
They stayed a little longer before returning to Jun Huang. She’d finished eating and was waiting for them. She walked up to them with her brows furrowed and asked, “Is something wrong?”
Qi Yun and Nan Xun exchanged a glance, silently agreeing to not tell her what they were talking about. Qi Yun waved a hand at her and made up an excuse, saying that they were worried Prince Duan would stir up troubles again, and that they were going back to the palace in two days.
Jun Huang turned to Nan Xun reflexively. Qi Yun pouted in jealousy. “Now you need Brother Nan’s permission to come with me?”
Jun Huang smiled awkwardly, at a loss of what to say. Nan Xun chuckled and patted her head. “You can go with him, but remember to take care of yourself. Promise?”
“I’m not a child,” she teasingly responded. “I know how to take care of myself. Don’t worry.”
Qi Yun’s heart sank. He directed his anger at Nan Xun’s shadow guard, seeing him as Nan Xun’s way of taunting him. Later, when Jun Huang wasn’t paying attention, he summoned his own people and drive the shadow guard away. The shadow guard didn’t engage them in battle. They were on the same side after all. After some agonizing, he sighed and decided to return to Nan Xun for advice.
Jun Huang was kept in the dark. She and Qi Yun returned to her manor after a short stroll. She took a bath and lay down on her bed, thinking back to Nan Xun’s tender gestures with a smile tugging her lips.
A sense of apprehension jerked her out of her light sleep. It was too dark for her to see anything. After some hesitation, she picked up the flint stone at her bedside and lit up a candle, illuminating the room. She kept her breaths shallow as she looked around. Nothing seemed to be amiss.
She tightened her robe around her body and noticed that the window was open. She frowned and looked outside. Nothing. She closed the window and waited a good moment for something to happen, but nothing did. She let out a relieved breath and wiped off sweat from her forehead. She only realized then how nervous she’d been.
She lay back down on the bed, considering if she should put out the candle. She chuckled. She was way too sensitive. She shook her head and extinguished the light.
She heard something just when she was about to fall asleep.
She jumped off the bed and lit up the candle quickly. A man dressed in a thief’s attire was climbing through her window. He didn’t seem at all nervus when he realized he was spotted. He leisurely gave Jun Huang a once-over.
“Who are you?” Jun Huang demanded coolly, forcing herself to calm down.
The man was surprised that Jun Huang was able to stay calm given the circumstance. She looked just like any frail scholar, striking him as helpless at first glance.
Qi Chen had said that Jun Huang used to be his strategist, and a great one at that. For a fighter like him, however, she was simply an unarmed civilian whose only means of attack was her words. He didn’t consider her a threat.
“You don’t have to know who I am. Just know that you have to come with me.” The burly man didn’t want to waste his time talking to her. He knew strategists tended to play tricks, and he resented them for that.
Jun Huang considered him carefully. He looked familiar. She must have seen him somewhere, but she couldn’t put a name to the face. The man didn’t give her any time to think. He reached out to grab Jun Huang’s arm suddenly.
She quickly stabbed him with a dagger, but he was prepared. He seized her wrist hard enough that she dropped the dagger in pain. Before she could cry out for help, the man covered her nose and mouth with a handkerchief drenched in incapacitating drug. She only managed to make a couple muffled noises before she lost her strength and blacked out.
The man had come alone without drawing any attention. He didn’t care how people would react when they realized Jun Huang was gone tomorrow. He looked around and carried Jun Huang to the window. With a push of his foot he leapt outside with Jun Huang in his arms. He didn’t notice that he’d dropped something.
When Jun Huang came to, she was faced with Qi Chen’s closeup. Her stomach dropped. Qi Chen scoffed and put some distance between them, leveling her with a cold stare. “Didn’t expect to fall into my hands again, did you, Feng Baiyu? You aren’t going to get lucky this time.”
Jun Huang quickly masked her shock and met his eyes calmly. Now she remembered who the burly man was. She’d seen him in Qi Chen’s manor. She didn’t expect Qi Chen to keep some of his followers even after his downfall. She wondered what Qi Chen had promised to give the man.
Qi Chen was angered by the lack of reaction from Jun Huang. He wanted to see her fear, but she refused to comply.
He pinched her chin and forced her to look at him. He narrowed his eyes, swallowing down the words he had intended to say to her.
With a huff, he let go of her chin and patted his hands. “I’m not going to say anything to you. It’s only going to bring misfortune. I’ll have you pay the price after I achieve my goal. Stay here and wait for that day to come.”
He walked away. Jun Huang frowned when she heard the door being locked.
She was reminded of the last time Nan Jihan kidnapped her and how he’d treated her. She rolled her eyes, silently cursing the heaven for her bad luck.
She pensively wondered if Qi Yun and Nan Xun would be able to find her. She didn’t want to worry Nan Xun too much.
Qi Yun woke up early the next day and didn’t see Jun Huang anywhere. When asked, the servant said Jun Huang hadn’t left the room. He didn’t think too much of it. She’d been tired lately and hadn’t been sleeping well. He wasn’t going to wake her up if she wanted to sleep in.
When he returned from the Court of Judicial Review, however, Jun Huang still hadn’t showed up. Jun Huang didn’t like being disturbed, so Little Girl didn’t dare barge into her room. She paced around helplessly, unsure of what she should do.Previous Chapter Next Chapter