The rain had gradually stopped, Chen Luoqing and a group of imperial guards were scouring every inch of land nonstop. All of them were drenched, and they hadn't eaten since noon. Many were beyond tired at this point and were starting to show signs of collapsing. If Lin Haihai saw this, she wouldn't have indulged in a night with Yang Shaolun.
Zheng Feng looked at the darkening sky. A large number of clouds quickly dissipated, and the air was becoming crisper. With twilight and the incoming chill closing in on them, they were running out of time. The emperor must've been injured, and he had been at the bottom of the cliff drenched by the pouring rain all day. It wasn’t hard to guess how dreadful his situation must be.
Zheng Feng became so anxious he almost jumped down the cliff to continue searching, but then he suddenly remembered Lin Haihai's superb qinggong skills. With her ability, it would be very simple for her to make her way down this cliff.
He smacked his forehead and immediately ran to a horse. He knew that Lin Haihai had already returned to the prince's residence. Right now, he had to hurry back and find her as soon as possible so she could save the emperor. The wind roared in his ears, and the trees quickly disappeared like a sliding curtain. Zheng Feng placed all his hopes on Lin Haihai; she would be the only one who could save the emperor.
The wedding banquet was full of toasts in the night, with an endless stream of servants with expressions of joy coming in and out. Yang Hanlun, who was dressed in red with an expression full of jubilation, kept toasting the guests. The empress dowager had long been escorted to the back to rest. Lihua followed closely behind her. As soon as the empress dowager left the banquet, she turned pale and began trembling. After serving the empress dowager for several years, Lihua knew her temperament. If she didn't suffer a great shock, she wouldn't have looked so lost. Lihua didn't dare ask any question; she could only serve her.
Zheng Feng jumped off his horse and went straight to the inner hall. However, he was stopped by the guards in the corridor. Zheng Feng was about to blow his fuse when the guard said, "Captain Zheng, please don't be angry. His Highness has told us that if someone comes looking for him, we are to send them to the study. Please wait in the study while we report this to our master. His Highness will arrive shortly."
Zheng Feng wiped the sweat off his forehead. He was too careless. All the civil and military officials were here. If this situation got out, things would get much worse. Fortunately, the sixth prince had enough foresight. In a low voice, he whispered, "I'm here to see the sixth princess consort!"
The guard looked at him in surprise, "The princess consort went to the State Protection Temple with the empress this morning and hasn't come back since then. From the reports that came back, Consort Lin was kidnapped!"
Zheng Feng became more anxious. He grabbed the guard's collar and asked, "Do you know who did it?"
The guard struggled to breathe and hurriedly shouted, "I don't know! The empress was trapped at the temple by the heavy rain and hasn't even returned!"
Zheng Feng frowned and released him. He ran towards the entrance just as the guard finished speaking. The guard looked at Zheng Feng's back and decided to report this matter to the sixth prince.
Zheng Feng raced to the State Protection Temple. The empress had stayed in the temple all day. The sixth prince had sent someone over to tell her to stay in the State Protection Temple for a while longer until the guests had left. The empress understood his intentions. She didn't like noisy occasions anyway, and staying at the temple was quite tranquil. However, she didn't know whether Lin Haihai was safe or not. Although Empress Chen guessed that Lin Haihai left on her own, she wasn't completely sure. She wouldn't be at peace until she saw Lin Haihai return.
Guihua came to the door and timidly reported, "Your Majesty, Captain Zheng asks for an audience!"
Empress Chen furrowed her brows, "Send him in immediately!"
Zheng Feng rushed in and knelt, "Greetings, Your Majesty!"
Empress Chen's heart sank when she saw Zheng Feng's anxious expression. "No need to be so courteous. Quick, rise!"
"Thank you, Your Majesty! Your Majesty, was there anything peculiar when Physician Lin was captured?" Zheng Feng didn't believe that Lin Haihai was kidnapped. Her martial arts skill was unprecedented. Even advanced martial artists wouldn’t be able to endure more than a single move from her. The only explanation was that she had left on her own. Could this be related to the assassination attempt on the emperor?
The empress signaled for Guihua to leave the room. Guihua left and closed the door on the way out. Due to the two being familiar after performing The Legend of the White Snake together, they didn't waste time on superfluous etiquettes.
Empress Chen answered, "This morning, we were sitting in the carriage together when she suddenly said ‘he’s in danger’. She left the carriage and immediately disappeared into the forest!"
Zheng Feng sighed in relief. She left on her own, but who is 'he'? Who's in danger? Is it the emperor? Did she leave to save the emperor?
Zheng Feng calmed down and took his leave. He rode back to the search area under the night sky.
Chen Luoqing rushed around like a headless fly. Zheng Feng hesitated before walking up to him and pulling his arm. "General Chen, could we speak in private?" Chen Luoqing looked up with his hair an unkempt mess and his face and body drenched by rainwater. He was a mess of anxiety and distress.
Zheng Feng cupped his fist. “General Chen, don’t be overly concerned. Although His Majesty is missing, we also cannot find Physician Lin.”
Chen Luoqing narrowed his eyes and gazed at Zheng Feng. True, she’s also missing. Could it be that she knew the emperor was in danger, so she went to save him? If she went to find the emperor, then the emperor would certainly be saved. But from what Zheng Feng said, it appears he knows Lin Haihai is a martial artist.
Zheng Feng thought Chen Luoqing didn’t know about Lin Haihai’s secret. Since Zheng Feng promised not to say anything, he was hesitant in his response. “Don’t worry, as long as Physician Lin is around, everything will be fine. We just need to figure out whether they are together right now!”
Chen Luoqing analyzed the situation. If the emperor was with Lin Haihai, then naturally, there was nothing to worry about. Based on Lin Haihai’s deep feelings for the emperor, she would never allow any harm to come to him. However, what concerned Chen Luoqing was the imperial court. The enemy had sent out assassins and the emperor had fallen off the cliff. Logically, everyone would assume the emperor had died. This means that Prince Pingan would definitely appear. The moment Prince Pingan spreads the rumour and says the emperor is dead, the imperial officials would definitely sway.
The emperor had no sons. Amongst the brothers, only the sixth prince had the hundred thousand soldiers. The other brothers basically did not meddle with any of the imperial affairs and were quite useless nobles. The only notable opposition would be the three hundred thousand troops that he had stationed by the border. However, Rong was going through a political change, and if Prince Pingan decided to collude with Rong’s new monarch, then their entire country could be in danger while he transferred the troops back to the capital.
General Chen felt stuck and felt his body covered in cold sweats. The most important task right now was to ensure the officials everything was fine.
With such a large scale search, it would definitely attract a lot of attention. The common people would definitely lose confidence if the rumours spread. Furthermore, this type of search wouldn’t be effective. They couldn’t go down there. And even if they managed somehow, they wouldn’t be able to come back up. The only thing he could do is hope that Lin Haihai was truly with the emperor. If not, then they must find her immediately.
General Chen instructed, “Take all the shadow guards to search for Physician Lin secretly!”
The shadow guards turned around and left. Now, there were only the imperial bodyguards searching for any signs of the emperor.
Zheng Feng appeared astonished as he stared at Chen Luoqing. He already knew?
Chen Luoqing solemnly looked at Zheng Feng. “Commander Zheng, I won’t force you to tell me what you know, but this is a significant matter. If we mess up, our country could be in danger. Please take that into consideration.”
Chen Luoqing had a selfish motive. For some reason, he didn’t want Zheng Feng to know more than him regarding Lin Haihai. He wanted to take this opportunity to find out more about her. He was actually a bit afraid of this unfamiliar feeling.
After contemplating for a bit, Zheng Feng finally replied, “I only know she knows martial arts. One time, I accidentally came across it and saw her qinggong. I know there’s no one that’s her match.”
Zheng Feng ultimately told Chen Luoqing what he knew. Although he knew General Chen would not hurt Lin Haihai, Zheng Feng still felt very guilty for revealing part of her identity. Furthermore, it was clear that Lin Haihai would not hurt the emperor.
Chen Luoqing coldly smiled. “Since you are unwilling to share any more details, I won’t force you. Perhaps that is your secret with her. How likely do you think she’s with the emperor?”
Zheng Feng was surprised. He wasn’t confident. He just naturally assumed that Lin Haihai would’ve gone to rescue the emperor. “The empress told me that right before Physician Lin vanished, she said, “He’s in danger.” I’m assuming that the “he” she’s referring to is the emperor.”
Chen Luoqing felt a lot less anxious. As long as she was around, the emperor would be fine. Currently, the most important task was to find out whether this was done by Prince Pingan. He will leave the other stuff for the emperor to handle when he returns.
Chen Luoqing told Zheng Feng to remain in this location while he rushed to the Linhai Hospital. He was concerned about Xiao Yuan’s condition.
Meanwhile, Li Junyue had a mask on and was stitching up Xiao Yuan’s wounds. Xiao Yuan had lost a lot of blood. Luckily, someone had managed to help him stop the bleeding and given him a healing pill.
Poor Xiao Yuan had gotten over a dozen cuts; two of them directly affected his internal organs. Strangely, someone had given some treatment to Xiao Yuan. The wounds were already healing. So, his surgery was actually unnecessary. Now, Li Junyue was sewing it up with the help of other imperial physicians. Most of the imperial physicians had overcome their fear of surgeries and were interested in western medicine. Hence, a lot of them had bravely volunteered to be Li Junyue’s assistant.
Chen Luoqing waited at the surgery door for a while before the masked Li Jueyue came out. He asked, “How is Sir Xiao doing?”
Li Junyue took a breath of relief. “His condition is stable. He will wake up once the anesthetic wears off. You can ask him questions then!”
Chen Luoqing nodded. “What’s your relationship with Lin Haihai?”
Li Junyue stared at him with a sneer on his face. “What does that have to do with you?”
“The emperor has encountered an assassination attempt and Lin Haihai is missing. Aren’t you worried?” Chen Luoqing calmly asked.
Li Junyue laughed and shook his head. Chen Luoqing followed him like he wanted to get to the bottom of this. Li Junyue went to the rear courtyard to wash his hands in a bin. When he turned around, he was faced with the angry Chen Luoqing.
Li Junyue smiled. “You just want to know if your emperor is fine, right? To tell you the truth, I’m not sure.”
Chen Luoqing frowned, while Li Junyue continued, “The emperor has a red string bracelet around his wrist, just like me.”
Li Junyue deliberately paused. As expected, Chen Luoqing appeared anxious. Li Junyue thought it was very amusing. “The red string bracelet has a drop of Xiao’hai’s blood. As long as the owner of the bracelet is in danger, Xiao’hai would sense it immediately. That’s all I know. Figure out the rest on your own!”
Li Junyue then returned to deal with Xiao Yuan. Chen Luoqing felt as if the stone in his heart had been placed down. There was a glint in his eyes. He will settle those accounts later!
General Chen didn’t need to wait until Xiao Yuan woke up to figure out who the assassins were. He had already gotten the news. He just didn’t expect the opposition to act so quickly. As long as the emperor was fine, all he had to do was wait for the opponent to attack. General Chen gazed at Xiao Yuan’s pale face.
Li Junyue commented, “He’s lucky that he managed to live after such severe injuries. With someone like him risking his life, how could his master be in danger?”
General Chen had looked down on Xiao Yuan all this time. He had thought that Xiao Yuan was just a fawning servant. It turned out he had misjudged him. General Chen developed a new respect towards Xiao Yuan and swore to help him get revenge.
The rain had completely stopped. Birds and insects were singing, and the sky was covered in stars. Lin Haihai looked at the sky in joy. How long had it been since she had the time to enjoy such a view? She was always busy from dawn to dusk; the work never seemed to end. Except for when she would lay in the grass and look at the stars as a teenager in the modern era, she had almost forgotten what stars looked like. In the modern era, pollution was very serious. The skies were often gray, so she even forgot what color the sky should be. In the ancient era, she seemed to be even busier than when she was in the modern era. Besides the one drunken night with Chen Luoqing on the roof when she stargazed, she didn't even remember the stars existed.
Lying on the big stone by the cave entrance, being with the man she loved, chatting like they had all the time in the world, she had never felt so relaxed and comfortable.
"Elder Brother Yang, do you see the Milky Way ?" Lin Haihai pointed with her slender hand. Yang Shaolun followed her finger to the bright stars, it really looked as if there was a silver river running horizontally among the stars.
"So that's called the silver river (milky way)?" Yang Shaolun didn't know this.
"I have a story about the milky way. Do you want to hear it?" Lin Haihai looked at him with shining dark eyes which gave off an attractive allure.
Yang Shaolun dropped a feather-light kiss on her eyelashes and gently stated, "As long as you are the one telling the story, I will listen to it!" His voice was bewitching with tenderness and gentleness in the evening wind. It seemed to intoxicate her.
"Legends says there's a place called the Phoenix Pool. There the water runs clear. There are seven fairies who like to come to the mortal realm to bathe. The youngest of the seven fairies, the seventh fairy, fell in love with a mortal man, Dong Young. This love went against the rules of heaven. The Heavenly Empress became so furious that she sent heavenly soldiers and generals to the mortal realm to capture the seventh fairy. The couple was thus separated. The seventh fairy gave birth to a child when she returned to the heavens. The Heavenly Empress sent the child to Dong Yong.
"Dong Yong missed his wife so much he couldn't think about anything else. Later on, his bull carried the father and son pair up to the heavens to search for the seventh fairy. The Heavenly Empress created the Milky Way to separate the two of them. Their love story moved the magpies. Thus on the seventh day of the seventh month, the magpies will create a bridge cutting through the Milky Way. The family of three can meet once a year on the magpie bridge!”
Her clear voice lingered in his ears like a mountain stream that ran in the distance. Yang Shaolun felt sorrow. Dong Yong and the seventh fairy were so fortunate! They violated the rules of the heavens, yet they could meet once a year. Lin Haihai and he only had one night before everything returned to normal.
Lin Haihai realized the irony of the story, but they only had this one night. They couldn't ruin this night with their sorrows. She should be satisfied. What was there to be unsatisfied with? Even if they didn't have a future together, at least they could see and speak to each other. This was already a great fortune!
She cupped her face and looked at him from the side, smoothing his frown with her delicate fingertips. She felt happy just touching his skin. At least right now, she could see and touch him and was able to count the stars in his embrace. She smiled and touched his face, "Brother Yang, we are very fortunate!"
Lin Haihai was actually very easily satisfied, full of optimism for life. No matter what hardships life gave her, she always faced it with a smile. Yang Shaolun compassionately held her hands. This was the way things would be. They couldn’t ask for more. After all, they had already met. The rest was up to fate. He laughed, "I feel very happy! I really do!"
Lin Haihai smiled. Looking into his eyes, her smile became even brighter, "I want to hear you say you love me!" She was greedy after all, but who could blame her? She had suffered enough.
Yang Shaolun looked at her affectionately, his mouth curved into a charming smile. He stretched out his hand to cover her bright eyes and said, "Lin Haihai, I love you!"
Such a simple confession without any embellishments was enough to turn Lin Haihai into a mess of emotions. He covered her eyes, fearing that she would see the tears in his eyes. She was so easily satisfied that his heart ached for her.
"Yang Shaolun, I love you too!" Lin Haihai pushed his hand aside and saw the sadness and joy in his eyes. She never knew that a pair of eyes could express so many emotions. Right now, she could read all the emotions in his gaze. He pulled her into his arms and embraced her. Yang Shaolun remained speechless. They really couldn't ask for more!
"Why does Li Junyue call you Xiao'hai? Are you guys really close?" Yang Shaolun recalled Li Junyue saying that he was the most important man to Lin Haihai. Yang Shaolun couldn't help becoming jealous.
Lin Haihai smiled, "He's always called me Xiao'hai. Besides Xiao'hai, he's also called me Little Fool and Little Dummy. Yet, I've always called him Stupid Bear. When I was young, he loved to bully me. Later, when I was older, I realized what a jerk he was and thought of ideas to get back at him. So our childhood was very exciting. My grandfather once thought we would be together. How funny!"
Speaking of her childhood, Lin Haihai beamed and became elated, completely oblivious to Yang Shaolun's angry expression. When Yang Shaolun saw her happy expression, he'd forgotten the inconsistencies in her words. A stream of jealousy poured into his mind. He punishingly kissed her chattering mouth. Lin Haihai almost lost consciousness. Her hands came up around his neck. She knew that he was jealous and angry. Watching his anger rise sharply, it felt as if her heart had been dipped in honey.
Yang Shaolun whispered in her ear, "In the future, you aren't allowed to approach him or talk to him!"
Li Haihai chuckled and gently bit his lips until he frowned. She pried open his teeth and took his hand to put it on her chest. "My heart is beating inside here. There's only one person in there. That person is you!"
She poked him in the chest after she said this and accused, "In your heart are the three thousand beauties in your harem. There’s no room for Lin Haihai!"
She turned her back to him like she was hurt. Countless concubines had played such tricks on Yang Shaolun, and he had never fallen for them. This time, however, he was deceived. Not even a wise emperor like him could avoid being a fool and an idiot in the face of love.
He wanted to gently pull Lin Haihai over. Lin Haihai didn't move, but her shoulders were shaking uncontrollably. Yang Shaolun became anxious. He forcefully pulled her into his arms and swore, "In my heart, there's only been you. Before you appeared, they never occupied my heart. You have to believe me. They really never did!"
Lin Haihai still didn't move, but her shoulders shook even more. Yang Shaolun became sadder and used his strength to turn her around. She was covering her face with her hands. He took her hands away to see her laughing face. Yang Shaolun laughed, this girl was playing a trick on him.
Lin Haihai looked at him affectionately. Yang Shaolun asked, "You were tricking me?"
"You don't understand romance. This is like the games lovers play to keep their relationship exciting!" Lin Haihai laughed. In truth, she didn't understand romance either and interest either. In her era, she only had been in a relationship once or twice. She was always busy with patients, and her relationships never went anywhere; in fact, they barely counted as romantic relationships, and she was always the one getting dumped. Even now, she still didn’t understand why her relationships had failed, although she didn't feel too sad.
Yang Shaolun widened his eyes, "I understand interest, but what's romance?"
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There was a missing part in this chapter so it's now super long. -_- Sorry about that!