Jun Huang tensed up. She narrowly dodged the man’s attack and threw the cup of tea at him. The cup missed the man, but the scorching tea splashed all over him.
Jun Huang seized the opening to run away. The man scoffed and wiped off the tea before giving chase. Right before he could catch up with Jun Huang, Nan Xun returned to the manor and saw them.
As a trained fighter himself, Nan Xun was sensitive to killing intent. He knew immediately the man running after Jun Huang was bad news. Before his shadowguard could react, Nan Xun flew to Jun Huang’s side with light body technique.
The man made a strike with his palm. Nan Xun caught his wrist and pushed him back, propelling him off the ground with inner energy. The man rolled backward and smashed into the fake mountain. The hit to his back caused him to spit out a mouthful of tainted blood.
The man scoffed, recognizing Nan Xun. He scrambled to his feet and charged again. Nan Xun’s eyes turned cold. What a fool!
He kicked the man in the stomach, sending him flying.
The lead shadowguard and the guards in the manor had come, hearing the commotion. Without Nan Xun’s order, they went to tie the man up.
“Hahahaha, even though I’ve failed today, someone else would come to kill you.”
“You bring misfortune to everyone around you, Jun Huang,” exclaimed the man. He glared at Jun Huang with unrestrained hate despite him being pinned to the ground. “Think about Western Que, and about your father and mother. You brought about their doom! Hahaha!”
Jun Huang knew the man was here for revenge, and everything he said was meant to cut. However, she couldn’t help her guilt when she thought about what the former Eastern Wu emperor had said and the brother she hadn’t recovered.
She watched silently as the man spouted off insults. A metallic taste rushed out from her throat. She tightened her fists. Her face paled.
Nan Xun noticed her reaction. So did the man kneeling on the ground. He laughed louder and spouted off even worse insults. He spat out every word, every syllable with great resentment.
Jun Huang threw up a mouthful of blood.
She didn’t try to stay upright when Nan Xun caught her. She lay in his arms and looked up at the blinding sun. In her heart was a barren wasteland. Her head hurt and her limbs were weak. She closed her eyes and blacked out.
Nan Xun hadn’t left ever since he carried Jun Huang to her bedroom. She woke up not long after, but she refused to open her eyes or say anything. It pained Nan Xun, but he didn’t want to push her. He held onto her hands tightly in reassurance.
A ray of sunlight streamed in from the window, illuminating the dust flying in the air. Jun Huang’s eyelashes fluttered. The air was quiet and tranquil.
Nan Xun was hurting for her, but he liked the feeling of keeping watch over her.
Someone knocked. Jun Huang’s eyelashes fluttered. Nan Xun patted the back of her hand and stood up to get the door. It was his lead shadowguard.
“The man only said he was from Eastern Wu,” said the shadowguard. “He refused to tell us anything.”
Nan Xun frowned and turned to Jun Huang. She tilted her head to look at him. After a pause, she said in a quiet voice, “You should do what you have to do. I’ll wait for you here.”
“Alright.” Nan Xun had wanted to get information out of the man. Without delay, he left the room. He told the shadowguard to stay in case Jun Huang needed anything.
Nan Xun made his way to the dark and damp dungeon. His confidantes had formed half a circle. At the center was the man they’d caught. Nan Xun walked up to him. The man didn’t look up until he was three steps away.
The man’s eyes were dark. His expression turned mocking when he saw Nan Xun. “You’re only treating that living embodiment of bad luck so well because you haven’t been affected. One day, you’ll die because of her as well. Or you’ll grow tired of her and abandon her. Whichever comes first. Haha, I want her to die, but now that I think of it, she is a pitiful girl.”
Nan Xun frowned at his words and bent down to hold his gaze. “Are you a leftover scum from Eastern Wu?”
“Since when are Eastern Wu people leftovers?” the man bit out, his voice dripping with venom. “If that’s the case, Jun Huang is a leftover scum of Western Que.”
Nan Xun considered him and shook his head. “No, you’re not from Eastern Wu, but Tianyu.”
The man looked at Nan Xun in shock, which told Nan Xun that he’d made the right guess.
“More precisely, you’re Ji Bo’s man.” Nan Xun got to his feet and looked down at the man. The man struggled against the restraint, wanting to fight Nan Xun. However, the iron chains prevented him from doing anything. Any slight movement caused white hot pain to shoot through his body.
“If you tell us where Ji Bo has hidden Jun Hao, I’ll leave your body intact.”
“And if I don’t?” the man taunted.
Nan Xun leveled him with an icy gaze, his voice calm. “I’ll make you.”
He waved a hand at his men. The guards held their prisoner up and took off the chains, tying him to a wooden stake. He looked like a pig waiting to be slaughtered.
Nan Xun looked over at the torturing devices. His gaze settled on a dagger. It was a simple, unassuming weapon.
The man snorted. “Torture? Do you think I’ll be afraid of a dagger?”
Nan Xun weighed the dagger in his hand and turned to the man. “You’re right. This dagger will bring you the least pain. However, I’m using it to make you talk. Do you believe that I can do it?”
He walked toward the man. The dagger’s blade reflected blinding light under the candles.
The man had been ready to die, and he’d suffered great pain before Nan Xun’s arrival. He didn’t fear the dagger. His face, however, fell when he heard Nan Xun sending for a doctor.
“What… what are you doing?” The man’s voice trembled. He couldn’t mask his trepidation no matter how hard he tried.
Nan Xun chuckled and put the dagger in the brazier. As the blade turned red with heat, he said quietly, “I can kill you easily, but that’ll be too merciful for you, and I won’t get what I want. On the other hand, I can take away your pride as a man. I can… make you wish for death.”
His eyes shone with a cruel glint.
The man paled when he realized what Nan Xun was going to do, but he refused to talk.
The doctor came. Nan Xun made a few orders and turned his back to the man. The doctor put on a glove and picked up the dagger from the brazier. Once the guards disrobed the man, the doctor cut off his genitals with one precise cut, giving him no time to react.
The blade fell to the floor with the cut body part. The man’s scream rang and echoed in the prison. Nan Xun kept his back to the man, unfazed.
The doctor deftly dressed the wound to stop the bleeding. Once that was done, he walked away. Nan Xun turned around. The man was again dressed, but his clothes were tainted with blood, and his face was sheet white.
“Still not talking?” Nan Xun asked.
The man pulled his lips into a sharp smile and refused to give in. Nan Xun calmly stayed on the sideline as his men tortured their captive.
The man had been Ji Bo’s follower. Pain wasn’t enough to break him. Nan Xun soon realized that, but he didn’t tell his men to stop. He watched him. The man showed less reaction to the physical torture than to what the doctor had done.
After the time for an incense stick to burn, Nan Xun motioned at his men to stop. The prisoner lifted his head and looked up through his messy hair. “You’ve run out of options, haven’t you? You might as well kill me, hahaha!”
Nan Xun hummed in contemplation. After a while, he chuckled as if he’d remembered something. He said idly, “Do you know there are people in Eastern Wu who are partial to men without their genitals?”
The man glared at Nan Xun, his expression tightening and his face turning pale. Nan Xun calmly continued, “There have always been men who prefer the company of other men. You don’t hold prejudice against them, do you? Why don’t I find you a few companions?”
Silence stretched. Finally, the man stopped clenching his jaw and said, “I’ll tell you, but you have to give me a quick death.”
After getting the location Jun Hao was at, Nan Xun had the man locked up. Once they found Jun Hao, he’d have the man killed.
Nan Xun didn’t immediately returned to Jun Huang. After what he’d witnessed, he didn’t want the smell of blood to taint her. He cleaned himself up in another room and put on some incense before he made his way to Jun Huang’s room. When he entered, she was sitting on the bed, looking into the distance.
“We know where Jun Hao is,” Nan Xun said, taking a seat next to her.
She perked up, looking at Nan Xun. She saw the truth of his words in his eyes. With great eagerness, she exclaimed, “I’ll go with you!”