Chapter 1123: A shriek in the labyrinth, a trap afoot

From a distance, Gu Beiyue and Tang Li saw Hao San’s corpse!

The two of them strode forward and witnessed the injury on his head that had clobbered him to death. Neither of them knew the man, but here were the remnants of Bai Yanqing’s handiwork.

“This doesn’t look like my big bro or Gu Qishao’s style. They couldn’t have gotten here that fast, either,” Tang Li muttered as he prepared to crouch down for a closer look.

Gu Beiyue discovered something odd about Hao San’s blood and quickly held him back. “Careful, he might have been poisoned.”

“Could it have been my sister-in-law?” Tang Li exclaimed.

“Possibly!” Gu Beiyue observed. They never imagined that Bai Yanqing would personally kill his subordinate out of the blue. 

“So….has my sister-in-law escaped?” Tang Li asked.

Gu Beiyue had already discovered a large stone cell and its open door. “It’s more accurate to say they’re in the process of escaping right now!”

As he peeked into the room, Tang Li hastily followed. They discovered a pot for boiling medicine and some untouched ingredients inside. Gu Beiyue swept his eyes over the items and was certain. “The princess was locked in here and must have left just recently!”

None of the dregs had been cleaned out of the pot yet; moreover, Hao San had only died recently. From these two clues, Gu Beiyue guessed everything had happened not long ago! Although they assumed that Han Yunxi had dealt the final blow, it was more or less right. The two men exchanged looks before going back into the corridor. There were only two paths here, one to the left and one to the right. The left led back to the cliffs, while the right headed for darkness. Without a doubt, Han Yunxi had gone that way, or else she would have been trapped in an array ages ago.

Gu Beiyue and Tang Li chased after the right tunnel and soon saw multiple corpses poisoned to death on the ground. They had only expired recently. Now they were even more certain that Han Yunxi had fled this way. How unlucky! If she had left a little later, they would have met up!

Very soon, Tang Li and Gu Beiyue’s figures disappeared into the dark. They started out heading straight, but soon ran into a crossroads with two pathways. They didn’t know which one to pick and simply flipped a coin to decide. But soon enough, they came upon a crossroads of two tunnels again. Once again, a coin was tossed.

After a while, Gu Beiyue sensed something amiss and said, “Tang Li, let’s double back! There’s a problem with this place.”

“Another array?” Tang Li felt it was strange too. They’d walked for ages but kept seeing the same paved pathways and branching tunnels. It was unclear whether they’d walked the same way before.

“It might be a maze, but I hope that isn’t the case!” Gu Beiyue declared. He silently left a mark and double-backed with Tang Li, choosing a different path this time. But after wandering for a bit, he soon saw his own marker.

“It is a maze!” Tang Li huffed.

“Don’t stop and keep walking. If the princess hasn’t been captured by Bai Yanqing yet, she should be in here too. Perhaps we’ll run into her,” Gu Beiyue said seriously.

Tang Li’s spirits lifted at his words. Sister-in-law might be with Ning Jing! Or she might know where Ning Jing’s locked up.

Tang Li and Gu Beiyue went around in circles within the maze while Long Feiye and Gu Qishao were doing the same exact thing in a different area. Gu Qishao had never been a patient man and soon released the Moye sword spirit. “Let’s just cut through these walls.”

Long Feiye glared at him. “You’ll pay the price if you startle the snake in the grass!”

Gu Qishao quickly sheathed the spirit. “Then what do we do? Bai Yanqing might be spying on us this moment and laughing at our efforts.”

Long Feiye stared at him coldly and said, “If you don’t have any patience, then get out!”

“You!” Gu Qishao felt gloomy. If I didn’t have any patience, would I still be hanging around now?

Long Feiye ignored him and stopped to sit down, crossing his legs. They had gone in multiple circles already before going back to the place where they started. Compared to wasting their energy, it was better to sit and think up a strategy first. Seeing this, Gu Qishao wanted to speak up, but paused and simply looked away, ignoring the other man. The two of them were forever arguing with one sentence or falling into a cold war with the next. 

Gu Qishao eventually ended up sitting near Long Feiye and began to think up solutions. He was trying to come up with a definite way to escape the maze. Meanwhile, Long Feiye was long certain that their skills combined weren’t enough to find any shortcuts; their only choice was to try the different pathways one by one.

He suddenly looked up at Gu Qishao and said, “Hey!”

Gu Qishao glanced over with narrowed eyes, but remained silent.

“Stand guard, I want to think!” Long Feiye’s tone was no different from a direct order.

“What are you thinking of?” Gu Qishao asked.

How much did Long Feiye hate talking to Gu Qishao? He tried to avoid whenever he could and made every instance as unnecessary as possible. Soon enough, he was leaning against the wall with his eyes shut. Gu Qishao only felt that the guy was rubbing against his bottom line, but for the sake of saving Poison lass, he couldn’t do anything but endure it!

He silently vowed to speak as little to Long Feiye in the future as possible. If the guy wanted to ask him questions, he’ll give him a taste of his own medicine!

Long Feiye recalled the routes they’d taken in the maze based on his own memory. It had been six times since they’d circled back to their starting point. Every trip, they’d ran into seven to eight passages that branched off into three separate segments. Each of the segments led to a passage with seven to eight separate tunnels, and beyond those was a segment with five to six different tunnels. Sometimes the tunnels led back to where they began, or circled around multiple times before returning to the starting point. In short, it was very complicated.

Long Feiye reviewed their routes and thought for a long while before biting through his finger to draw a bloody map on the floor. Seeing this, Gu Qishao scooted over for a look, only to see Long Feiye draw multiple six-sided figures crowded together with each other, similar to a honeycomb.

Gu Qishao couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but Long Feiye simply stared at it coldly as if thinking of something. Gu Qishao waited but the man didn’t speak. Finally, he tossed aside his lofty vows of silence and asked anxiously, “What did you find out? What’s this drawing for?”

Long Feiye ignored him and studied the bloody marks on the ground. If he guessed right, the big underground maze was shaped like a hive with multiple combinations of hexagons. Each of the corners in the hexagons led to three separate pathways, and because the maze was so huge, it was easy for them to make a wide arc before circling back. Big circles like those meant they often returned to the starting point from different directions, making it hard to see any marks they left on the pathways before. However, making smaller circles back meant they could spot them eventually. If this really was a hive-type maze, then Long Feiye had ways to break through it. Still, he wasn’t sure about his deduction, so it’d be best to circle around a few more times as a way to verify his guess.

He stood up and started walking, too lazy to bother signaling Gu Qishao. The glum-faced man could only follow after him. While he and Long Feiye walked around experimentally and Gu Beiyue and Tang Li were stuck in circles, Bai Yanqing was frantically looking around for Han Yunxi.

That’s right!

He might know how to navigate the maze, but he couldn’t control the entire structure. It was simply too big and filled with multiple layers while he himself lacked manpower. Han Yunxi and Fourth Young Miss Ren had gone missing as soon as they entered its depths. Bai Yanqing and his contingent of guards couldn’t find them anywhere. The more he searched, the less rational he grew. His temper turned irascible. With the entryways on both ends invaded, Han Yunxi had a chance of running into Long Feiye’s group or even running. How much effort would it take for him to bring her back after that?

After circling around the maze once, Bai Yanqing finally stopped to calm down. He said coldly, “Bring over Ning Jing and Su Xiaoyu for this old man!”

There were still those two hostages left who could be of use!

Soon enough, Bai Yanqing disappeared from the maze. One hour later, Long Feiye confirmed that the maze was shaped like a haze and told Gu Qishao, “There are multiple layers in this maze. It’s manmade and designed in the style of a hive, so there are many exits. However, that means there’s plenty of traps. It’d be even more secure to hide the hostages within the maze rather than behind it. We should be located in the top layer right now, but there’s no choice except to head down. Remember to control yourself--don’t alert the enemy!”

If they were to search layer by layer, then Long Feiye’s understanding of the maze and his combined speed with Gu Qishao would take them down every possible path in just two days and two nights. However, they’d hardly started when a familiar voice rose on their right. It was the shrill scream of a woman who seemed to be frightened by something.

“Ning Jing!” Long Feiye recognized the sound after hearing it once at General Mu’s estate.

“It’s from the right!” Gu Qishao immediately pinpointed the location.

As the two prepared to run, another shriek rose up, this time from Su Xiaoyu.

“Left!” Long Feiye said coldly.

What had happened? Why were Ning Jing and Su Xiaoyu located on the left and right sides of the maze? Why would they start screaming at the same time? And where was Han Yunxi? Gu Qishao and Long Feiye fell silent again, both of them stuck waiting in place…

...for Han Yunxi’s scream.

But after a while, they heard nothing. Instead, Ning Jing and Su Xiaoyu screamed multiple times again. Their voices were so loud that it rang through the whole maze. Heaven knows what they were going through.

At the same time, Gu Beiyue and Tang Li heard the voices from the opposite end of the maze. Without hesitation, Tang Li ran towards the source of Ning Jing’s voice. Helpless, Gu Beiyue could only chase after him.

Long Feiye and Gu Qishao steeled their hearts to keep waiting, but when they didn’t hear Han Yunxi, Long Feiye said, “We’ll head for Su Xiaoyu first!”

If these two were in trouble, then it was likely Han Yunxi was in peril as well. With the screams so loud, Tang Li would definitely aim for Ning Jing first, so they could only seek out the younger girl. They ran quickly, fearful that the screams would halt, but instead it intensified without stopping.

Finally, Long Feiye screeched to a stop and declared, “It’s a trap!”

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Ruyi's Thoughts

Huh, these chapters feel really short for some reason...or maybe my prolonged absence from the keyboard is making me type faster, lol.