Liu Qinghuan could swear she haven’t met that purple-dressed girl before. She is as surprised as anybody when that piece of paper was stuffed into her hand. That can’t be her collaborator too, since they have a much more secure and safer way of contacting each other.
Then comes the question, who is she?
With that piece of paper tightly gripped in her hands, she follows Xue Mu for the way back. Halfway through, he said that he would be visiting Madam Ning for a chat so they split up. She then head back to her room and takes a seat.
The paper in her hand is slightly dampen by her sweat as she go ahead and open it up, swiftly sweeping through the content.
Tang Zhibo is the one who wrote the letter, and the content is roughly saying that he knew who she is and how she had also handed the map over to Aersi. He is also willing to help her escape, with the terms of giving him the《White Orchid》map. There would be someone coming over in ten days time and if she is willing to cooperate, all she need to do is to go along with the plan.
Of course, the letter does end with a threat about the fates of Jing Zhu and Yuan Hong Cai after he expose her deeds to Xue Mu should she’s not willing.
Frowning, Liu Qinghuan let the paper burn to ashes.
Although she showed ignorance when Xue Mu showed her the hidden map, but now Tang Zhibo known about it, she is sure Xue Mu must have known too. Not to mention if Xue Mu would continue letting her stay at the mansion like this, she herself knows that it would be the best if she is to leave this mansion as soon as possible.
Yet she is still struggling with the decision of working together with Tang Zhibo. Xue Mu had just ask Peng Peng to investigate that young man so does that mean he knows something?
Liu Qinghuan once more curse Tang Zhibo for being foolish. Is he not afraid of exposing himself by playing all these tricks under Xue Mu’s eye?
But luckily, Tang Zhibo did give her ample of time, ten days. She could use this period to think of a plan.
With this in mind, nine days passed and Liu Qinghuan realized that by how Xue Mu have been nicely supplying all these delicious food and drinks, he is attempting to turn her stupid!
Because, she haven’t even thought of any plan yet!
Sometimes, having ample time cannot be deem as an advantage. Sorrowfully, she finished her yogurt and prepare to go for a waterfall-like bath to regain her intelligence.
At the Lotus Pavilion, Peng Peng stand next to Xue Mu, his face full of sorrow and feeling really wronged. Xue Mu takes a sip of tea, and slowly ask.
” So, you lost him? ”
Peng Peng blink and skillfully squeeze out a drop of tear.
” Marquise, you know how stupid new soldiers could be…. ”
” Even more than you? ”
” ………. ”
Pretending not to understand that, Peng Peng continues his line of conversation.
” Everyday I trained them till I run dry so I could only instruct someone to trail that young man.. But who knows?! Just a few days and they lost him! How useless! ”
Xue Mu look at him and place his cup of tea on the table.
” You didn’t find out anything after so many days? ”
” No. He stays at the inn everyday, and goes nowhere. Whenever he gets bored, he would train with his sword. Oh, and Wu Lala is right, he is really poor. ”
” The inn allows him to stay and eat for free? ”
” Erm…. maybe the owner is a kind-hearted man? Ha ha… ”
” Ha ha indeed. What about the lady following him? ”
” She’s always together with him, except the one time she went to pawn something. ”
” Which pawnshop? ”
” Cao from the East Market. ”
Xue Mu eyes narrowed. That’s a pawnshop run by Tang Zhibo. He lowers his eyes and stroke the rim of his teacup, lost in thought. The young man had disappeared for so many days so it seems like Tang Zhibo is going to move very soon.
” You can go now. ”
Eh, is the Marquise getting him go so easily? Does he really not need to count any flowers or to loosen and water any soil?
Xue Mu glance at him.
” Don’t feel like going? ”
Peng Peng immediately gather his thoughts back and scatter like the wind.
” This Peng Peng shall be going now! ”
Waiting till Peng Peng have gone far far away, Xue Mu then stand and head back to main bedroom.
The courtyard in front is planted full of Osmanthus and since it is in season, the air is filled with it’s sweet scent till it’s almost cloying. Passing through the yard, he push open the door.
The whole room is damp and moist, causing Xue Mu to squint. An unknown scent whift around the air, sweeter than any flowers outside.
Splishy-splosh, the water stop abruptly, as Liu Qinghuan freezes, sitting dumbly in the bathtub, staring at him.
Xue Mu stands by the door, as stiff as Liu Qinghuan is.
Just like that, the air is silent for a while before Liu Qinghuan remembers that she have the right to scream. Taking a deep breath and gathering all energy into her chest, a bloodcurdling scream is just about to abrupt from the back of her throat when Xue Mu suddenly grab her hand tightly. He stare at her, all the feelings in his eyes unleash, as like a sudden thunderstorm.
Ci Tao and Qing Zhi exhaustingly lift a bucket of freshly heated hot water and are making their way slowly back to the bedroom. The orders of wanting a bath so suddenly from Madam causes them to rush like mad, fetching and heating up the water needed. Luckily it’s not winter and the water doesn’t cool down that quickly, so they need not heat up that much water.
Just as the two of them enter the courtyard, they heard a bloodcurdling scream.
They drop the bucket full of water in fright and ignoring the floorful of hot water, they rushes into the room.
” Madam! Are you okay, Madam?! ”
Still holding on to Liu Qinghuan’s hand, Xue Mu and her turn around simultaneously to look at the both of them. At their sharp gazes, the two of them halt in their steps.
Have they…. interrupt the Marquise… ?
Just when the both of them are about to turn and run away, Liu Qinghuan hurriedly yell after them.
” Ci Tao Qing Zhi! Throw him out, quick!! ”
Ci Tao & Qing Zhi ” ………. ”
Madam, we don’t dare to!
Liu Qinghuan could only compromise.
” At least bring me my clothes! ”
This is directed to Qing Zhi only. As per her experience, directing a call of help to a specific person would greatly increase the chances of getting help.
Truly, Qing Zhi hesitatingly look at the non-moving Xue Mu before heading over to the folding screen and gather her clothes, before timidly passing it to her.
Here is to hope she would live to see the sunlight tomorrow.
Grasping the clothes as if it’s her life vest, she immediately put it on despite not drying herself down first. Then she stand up from the tub.
The splashing sound is extremely loud from the silent room, sounding extremely pleasant to Xue Mu’s ear… not only pleasing to hear, but to see too.
Liu Qinghuan’s skin is flush pinkish-red all over, her long black wet hair hang down all the way to her waist. The clothes she put on in a hurry only manages to cover around 70-80% of her body, and that thin underclothing have already been drenched by the water still on her, tuning slightly translucent….
This look is even more seductive that when she is fully undressed and it have punch Xue Mu over in the head with it.
Liu Qinghuan have just jump out of the tub before finding herself landing into someone’s arms. Xue Mu lowers his head to look at her, his breathing a little messy. Her face flush red and just when she is about to push him away, her lips are envelope by his.
Ci Tao and Qing Zhi’s hearts are shock by this scene as they run out of the room, even closing the door behind them.
Just a few days before Madam Ning came to bribed them to try drugging their masters but it now looks like it is not needed!
Inside the room, Liu Qinghuan’s heart is beating wildly, as Xue Mu not only kiss her, but his hands are swimming all over her body as well! Plus her condition right now is really….!!
Feeling Liu Qinghuan melting in his hug, Xue Mu finally release her lips. Once her lips are free, Liu Qinghuan immediately curse.
” You…. pervert!! ”
Xue Mu pant softly, his lips curving up.
” You are the one haven’t let anyone stand guard outside the door. ”
” I… who would have enter this room except for you?! ”
If she knew Xue Mu is coming, she would have put 10 guards outside the room!
Xue Mu laughs, before kissing her softly, his voice soft and low.
” Qing Qing…. Let us consummate our wedding, shall we? ”
Now Liu Qinghuan is even stiffer than she originally is. This…. is he asking to have sex with her?
This explanation almost cause her heart to jump right out of her chest.
” Qing Qing…. ”
Xue Mu call once again, his expression as if a kid is asking for a candy from his mother.
Just then, a noise comes from outside the door as Nuo Yan low voice could be heard.
” Marquise, Tang Zhibo request for a meeting. ”
Xue Mu’s heart sinks in an instance as Liu Qinghuan’s gleam in her eyes shift. Looking at the person in his arms, Xue Mu whispers next to her ear.
” Wait for me. ”
Saying that, he let go of her and head out of the room.
Tang Zhibo is waiting in the main hall, dressed in black, a face full of smiles as he look at Xue Mu arriving. Xue Mu’s face is even darker that his clothing and even forgo the usual dancing around the bushes with him, sitting directly down and asking.
” And so, what is Brother Tang here for today? ”
Towards Xue Mu’s unfriendly attitude, Tang Zhibo only answers with a smile full of sincerity.
” I am here to talk peace. ”
” Peace? ”
Not expecting Tang Zhibo to say that, Xue Mu ask with surprise.
” Why would I need to talk peace with Brother Tang? ”
Maintaining the smile on his face, Tang Zhibo answers.
” Ding Maoxue’s 4 painting. ”
” According to what I know, Brother Tang seems to have the same chat with the Mongolian Special Envoy. ”
Even if Xue Mu directly exposed the matter in his face, Tang Zhibo still maintain his smile and ‘candidness’ attitude.
” The Marquise sure is well-informed. Yes, Aersi did came over to look for me regarding this matter and hope to collaborate with me to look for all 4 of the paintings. And that, is the reason why I am here to talk peace with the Marquise. ”
” Oh? And why is that? ”
” Although the Emperor and the Duke have their differences, they both have the royal blood flowing through them. But Aersi, a foreigner with a rapacious design to swallow up our country, I cannot let the 4 painting end up his hands.
Xue Mu smiles.
” How patriot of you. ”
” The Marquise may not know, but Aersi already have the map of《White Jade Orchid • Spring》. ”