How are you these days? Melbourne is experiencing the coldest winter since decades, so if you are here stay warm and don’t get sick. I am in bed for 3 days now, just sleeping and trying not to pass the cold to anyone (including my plates of fungi in the lab, hahaha, this sounds so geeky and lame -o-, please forgive my bad joke *cough*). Since my work hours have increased drastically to try to produce replicable results for my thesis, I will only be translating until chapter 25. L3D will be translating the chapters until I come back again in Nov, once my thesis and defense meeting finish.
This chapter is edited by Remy
“Ao Tian? Why have you come?” Waiting for that dark figure to gradually enter, Cheng Hang subconsciously asked.
Ao Tian indifferently half-leaned on the door and didn’t enter the office. If he were a normal average person, it would appear as if the person was lazy or mannerless. However, his expressionless face only revealed a cold indifferent face. With his back facing the moonlight, besides his dazzling silver hair, people could only see a dark figure.
Simply ignoring Cheng Hang’s question, the dark silent figure stood there firmly. No one could ignore his presence. It was like if he didn’t want you to know his presence, you wouldn’t know that he was there. However, if he wanted you to know his presence, you couldn’t ignore him.
His appearance in the office changed the overall atmosphere. Su Ling’s square face looked duller.
This person was very elusive and eccentric. If you asked him to come, he might or might not come. Not to mention he suddenly came without being asked! What was his purpose in coming to the Xing Bu? Dan Yu Lan secretly speculated. Lu Jin surmised the presence of Ao Tian here could change the case, whether it be for a better result or… a crisis!
Stepping forward, Lu Jin lightly smiled, “For the last half-month, cases kept on appearing in the capital. The only obvious feature of the assailant was his silver hair. Truthfully, we want to inquire you to hopefully confirm your innocence. After all, you’ve captured many criminals for this country. We also do not want to doubt you.”
His cold eyes showed an unconcealed irony. From the beginning, he had never captured criminals for the country and he also didn’t need people’s trust. Ao Tian coldly replied, “Don’t talk around, just straightly ask what you want.”
Gu Yun felt amused. No matter how she listened to it, the mannerless sentence that came from his mouth was inevitable and right.
“Okay.” Lu Jin no longer kept the formalities. These kinds of words to Ao Tian were simply meaningless. “On the 11th, 16th, 19th, 23rd and tonight, where were you?”
Ao Tian was silent for a while but cooperatively replied, “During the afternoon of the 11th, after sending the criminal to Xing Bu, I went home and didn’t come out again after that. On the evening of the 16th and 19th, I was… at a big tree, sleeping. On the 23rd, I was at my residence and didn’t go anywhere at all. Tonight, I only went to Fu Hua Road, and then came here.”
He was at the Fu Hua Road earlier tonight! Cheng Hang urged, “What did you do in Fu Hua Road? When did you arrive and when did you leave? Is there anyone who can prove your words?” He didn’t know why, but he just thought that the man in front of him was connected to the case!
“I came to Fu Hua Road at 9 pm and left at 9.30 pm. I have always been a loner so no one can prove my alibi.” The clear baritone voice revealed the arrogance of its owner. Cheng Hang’s face darkened. He unhappily glared at Ao Tian. Who did this man think he was?
In comparison to the angry Cheng Hang, Lu Jin was relatively calm, “Tonight’s case happened on Fu Hua Road at exactly the same time as you’ve said. This makes you a suspect. Can you recall anything or anyone that could verify where you were, and what you were doing at that time? This might help you prove your innocence.”
This time, Ao Tian chose to remain silent and didn’t bother to explain. At one side of the room, Dan Yu Lan suffered because there was no evidence at hand, while at the other side, Ao Tian remained arrogant and indifferent. The atmosphere of the room once again turned cold.
“At the night of the 16th of this month, I was with him.” A calm female voice broke the silence of the room and the sound of a shattering cup followed soon after that.
The porcelain fell from fingertips, spilling the tea all over the ground. Su Ling, who was sitting upright used his eyes to mercilessly glare at Gu Yun. This damned woman! That night she didn’t return home because she was with Ao Tian!
Gu Yun who was being deathly glared at was suspiciously looking at Su Ling’s reddish hand that had been splashed by the hot tea. What made him mad again?
Ao Tian’s cold eyes glanced quietly at Gu Yun but he quickly withdrew his gaze. His expression vanished too quickly, such that no one was able to catch it.
“The entire night?” Carefully looking at the almost exploding silent man beside Gu Yun, Cheng Hang swallowed his saliva and asked, “You… were together? Where? What were you doing?”
Facing the men with odd expressions on their faces in the room, Gu Yun silently cursed. What were these people thinking about?! Slightly raising her head, Gu Yun said straightforwardly, “We were at the mountain behind General Manor, drinking wine. To be more precise, I can testify that from 11pm to 3am the next morning, he was with me.”
As expected, Gu Yun heard several simultaneous sighs. What did they think she and Ao Tian would do?!
Upon hearing this, Lu Jin thought there was a gap of four empty hours. He asked, “What about from 3am to 7am?”
Gu Yun truthfully answered, “During those four hours, I fell asleep. I don’t know if he left, but when I woke up in the morning, he was still there.”
She actually slept in front of another man?! Recalling his concern over her the entire night, she was drinking happily with Ao Tian and didn’t go home for the entire night, Su Ling’s heart felt a tightening pain. He had never experienced this kind of pain before. Not knowing how to vent his anger, Su Ling could only use his eyes to deathly glare at Gu Yun. His hands were trembling with anger.
Su Ling’s eyes didn’t leave Gu Yun like she was his property. Ao Tian’s heart suddenly felt a strange feeling. He couldn’t determine what kind of feeling was it, but he knew he didn’t want Su Ling to live happily! “At the night of the 16th, I was with her the entire time. She was sleeping on the treetop that night. I was afraid that she was going to fall, so I didn’t leave her at all.” Ao Tian looked at Gu Yun. His mouth showed a faint smile. Although it was a really faint smile, no one at the room had ever seen him smiling. His usually cold voice, at this time, sounded warmer.
After Ao Tian finished speaking, the entire room fell into a dead silence.
Finally, Su Ling’s eyes left Gu Yun’s side and chillingly looked at the doorside where the other man was leaning onto it.
The arrogant eagle eyes met the other’s cold eyes. Both similarly icy cold men were looking at each other without any intention to move. However, one was arrogant, and the other was without feeling. Severely low in EQ, Gu Yun only felt that Ao Tian was a little bit strange today. Meanwhile, Dan Yu Lan and the others were between tears and laughs. Would these two people fight in Ti Xing Office?
Under this kind of atmosphere, those who were standing aside felt very awkward. Lu Jin coughed lightly and quickly diverted the conversation back, “The case on the 16th happened at 3.30 am, coincidentally during the time that Miss Qing slept. Therefore, although you and she were together that night, it isn’t enough to prove that you are not the murderer that we are looking for.”
“Of course, it couldn’t testify anything. If Minister Dan feels that I am suspicious, I am willing to sit in the jail while you are slowly uncovering the case.” Ao Tian gradually withdrew his gaze from the ‘eye battle’ with Su Ling. The cold face was expressionless making people unable to read the meaning behind his words, but the ironic tone made it quite clear.
Dan Yu Lan was silent. It looked like he was thinking about something. Gu Yun suddenly felt funny and said, “Investigating a case is an investigator/officer’s duty. If you think that Ao Tian is guilty, you should prove that he is a murderer rather than having him prove he is not a murderer!”
Cheng Hang and Lu Jin exchanged a look. Lu Jin stepped forward, “Minister, the celebration is coming up. Since Ao Tian was so righteous, please consider the greater good. If during Ao Tian’s detention, the culprit still commits a crime, this will prove Ao Tian is innocent. If… the case stopped, it will still ensure the capital’s safety during the celebration.”
They really wanted to lock Ao Tian up? Gu Yun frowned. Did Dan Yu Lan become silly?
Dan Yu Lan, of course, wasn’t silly. He understood completely what Qing Mo’s words meant, but what Lu Jin said also wasn’t completely irrational. This case was even harder to handle than the case of missing hearts. The culprit didn’t have a clear target. This made the entire population in the city terrified. The foreign envoys would also make fun of Qiong Yue. So far, they didn’t even have a single clue about the culprit aside from the silver hair. Therefore, Ao Tian was now the most suspected person. If they put Ao Tian in the jail, first, they could give assurance to the people. Secondly… If this case was connected to Ao Tian, although it wasn’t him, it would be as though he was the one who did it!
Dan Yu Lan hesitated for a moment. His eyes swept through Su Ling’s dark face and said, “The emperor had entrusted the celebration security to General Su. What is your opinion about it, General Su?”
Gu Yun silently cursed. Although she was only interested in solving cases and didn’t like politics, she wasn’t stupid. Dan Yu Lan obviously knew that it would be an unreasonable arrest so he wanted to use Su Ling to put Ao Tian in jail. The last time, in order to help her, Ao Tian fought against Su Ling. Seeing Su Ling’s expression right now, he must hold a grudge!
Then, Ao Tian …
Indeed, Su Ling’s lips raised and profoundly replied, “Ao Tian has silver hair which is similar to the distinct description of the murderer. For many of the times when the crime was committed, no one could verify his whereabouts. Tonight, he was also ‘coincidentally’ in the nearby area. This really makes him very suspicious.”
Under the eagle eyes’ observation, Ao Tian didn’t look surprised. It was as though he had expected Su Ling to say so. He just met Su Ling’s eyes with the same coldness and held a touch of mockery and disdain.
“But.” Just as Gu Yun thought that Su Ling would agree to put Ao Tian in the jail, he spoke with great determination, “If you put someone into a jail without a conclusive evidence and just based on suspicion, it would be deviating from the law. Solving a case and catching the criminal is Minister Dan’s job, so you don’t need to ask me.”
Although Su Ling was a general, he had been an official of this dynasty for so many years. How could he not know Dan Yu Lan’s intentions? He indeed didn’t like Ao Tian, but it didn’t mean that he would let people to use him.
Gu Yun slightly frowned and looked at Su Ling with a surprised expression. So… being angry actually wasn’t the only thing he knew how to do.
Dan Yu Lan secretly sighed. He had underestimated Su Ling. Slightly bowing, he smiled and replied, “What General said is right.”
After pondering for a long time, Dan Yu Lan faced Ao Tian and asked, “Then, I need to bother Ao Tian to stay in Xing Bu for a few days, but it wouldn’t in the jail. Is that okay?”
“You don’t need to give me a proper room. The big prison is actually quite comfortable.” Ao Tian coldly replied. Standing straightly in front of Cheng Hang, he said, “Let’s go!”
Cheng Hang was stupefied. He actually agreed! This man surely had a temper! Cheng Hang’s impression of him became slightly better. He made a gesture and said, “I am sorry. Please follow me.”
“Wait.” The two hadn’t left the office when Gu Yun spoke. With her stubbornness and insistence to the law, Dan Yu Lan thought that she would stop them from arresting people. Who knew? She calmly said, “Minister Dan, could I have some private words with Ao Tian, please?”
Dan Yu Lan subconsciously looked at Su Ling. He was still standing there with his darkened face, not saying a word. Su Ling didn’t have any objection, so Dan Yu Lan could only say, “Go ahead.”
Gu Yun quickly went out of the room. Ao Tian hesitated for a moment but finally followed her into the inner courtyard.
Gu Yun stood in the middle of the courtyard and turned around. Seeing the emotionless face of Ao Tian, she said, “You know who is the culprit, don’t you?” His purpose in coming here tonight was for Dan Yu Lan to capture him!
Being stared at by those sharp and clear eyes, Ao Tian was surprised. He calmly said, “This is none of your business.”
After dropping those words, Ao Tian once again turned around and said to Cheng Hang, “Let’s go.” The two quickly exited the courtyard.
Gu Yun silently stood in the courtyard. She was in deep thought. This time, her brows were tightly knitted together. She didn’t chase Ao Tian. It was unnecessary because he had told her the answer.
He indeed knew. Who was the murderer? What was his relation with Ao Tian? More importantly, why was Ao Tian willing to be jailed for him?
Su Ling observed the woman in the courtyard. When did she become so worried? Was she worried about Ao Tian? Had Ao Tian and Gu Yun’s relationship already reached this point?
In an autumn morning, the cold harvest wind gradually blew yellowish leaves in the trees. A few of them fell down, welcoming the autumn. Under a big tree, a silk-dressed woman was lying down on the ground. She didn’t come to gaze at the scenery. Heavy breaths followed her body’s up and down movements. Her forehead was covered with sweat.
299…300! Finally finishing the sit up set, Gu Yun hugged her knees. Her breath was still heavy. She couldn’t sleep last night because she kept thinking about the case. The testimonies of the victims from the first cases were practically useless, especially the rape victim. She could only remember very few things. It was estimated that the investigator didn’t dare to ask. She thought that she should go and interview the victims herself to get a better understanding of the case. In addition, about last night’s case, she must ask whether the report had been done or not. She thought that last night’s case was done in a hurry, unlike the other cases. From the place he chose to commit the crime, it could be clearly seen.
Did he purposely do it like so… or was he anxious?
Her mind was entirely focused on the case. Gu Yun thought it was still better to go and check with Xing Bu. Standing up, she wiped her forehead with her sleeves and walked to the outer courtyard. She had just exited the Yi Tian Court when she saw Leng Xiao and Ge Jing Yun standing at the court’s gate. It seemed like they had been waiting for a long time. Seeing Gu Yun exiting, the two hurriedly welcomed her.
She looked at Ge Jing Yun and smiled, “How was your injury?” Looking at his excited voice, he should be alright.
Robustly pounding his own chest, Ge Jing Yun replied, “It has completely healed.”
Gu Yun nodded with satisfaction and asked, “Why are you looking for me?”
The two looked at each other. At last, Leng Xiao replied, “We heard that the general intends to train some soldiers and that you would be personally training them. Is that true?”
Leng Xiao asked quietly, “Do we have a chance to follow the training?”
Gu Yun lightly smiled, “There will be a selection test at that time. If you are good enough, you will have a chance. I only need 100 people.”
When they heard that they would need to do a test, they simultaneously sighed and smiled, “You just wait.” Before, they were afraid that the general would select the people (without a test). If it was a test, they didn’t need to be too worried! If they really lost, then it was they who were useless with nobody to blame!
The two looked satisfied. This improved Gu Yun’s mood. She smiled, “Okay, I will wait!” The three looked at each other and smiled. They came to such an understanding. Leng Xiao and Ge Jing Yun cheerfully ran towards the practice field. They reminded Gu Yun about the special forces training. Although Su Ling hadn’t been mentioning it, she had agreed to it, so she couldn’t be indifferent. Thinking about this, Gu Yun decided to go look for Su Ling first and then go to Xing Bu.
Arriving at the door of the study room, she coincidentally met Su Ren who had had just exited. Seeing her coming in, Su Ren asked, “Are you looking for big brother?”
“En, is he inside?”
Su Ren nodded and smiled, “Yes.”
This man was a fox. Seeing his blatant strange smile, Gu Yun frowned, “He will not get angry again, right?” Yesterday, he was angry on the way back to the General Manor… He kept coldly glaring at her. Just when Gu Yun thought that he was going to blow, he silently jumped on horseback and bolted away. At times, she really didn’t know what Su Ling was thinking in his mind.
Lightly sighing, Su Ren smiled and replied, “You just go in, I will go to work.”
Seeing Su Ren slipping away, Gu Yun subconsciously didn’t want to go in. At this moment, she thought Su Ling definitely couldn’t be provoked. The last time she went into the study room, he hugged her tightly, refusing to let her go and spoke rudely. Gu Yun’s face quickly burned red. She was slightly panicked. Mmmm… She should probably wait and look for him when there were many people in the room.
Gu Yun turned around and took a few steps. She felt very mad. Since when had she become so cowardly? He was just a man! The last time she was careless, so he gained the upper hand on her. If she came prepared, she would definitely not let him succeed! Taking a deep breath, Gu Yun once again stepped into the study room courtyard.
Entering the room, Gu Yun thought that she would once again see an active volcano. Unexpectedly, Su Ling silently sat in front of the table with his hand holding a brush. She couldn’t see what he was writing. The resolute square face looked distant. His hands’ gestures looked as elegant as when he holds a long sword. From the moment Gu Yun came in, Su Ling had noticed her presence. He intended to ignore her. However, being watched by Gu Yun like that, he who had been chased by many eyes for so many years was somewhat entranced.
After a quarter of an hour, Su Ling was finally defeated. Looking at the messy words in front of him, Su Ling silently cursed and put his brush down. Gradually looking at her, Su Ling coldly asked, “What do you want?”
The bass voice and deep eyes finally called Gu Yun’s mind back. She was actually staring at him for so long. Damn it! Sitting on the chair nearest to the exit, Gu Yun pretended to be idle, “I don’t have an especially important matter. I only want to discuss the special forces training. Now that Su Ren had returned, the main army has also returned to the capital. I want to ask you when do you want the army to start the training?”
“After the celebration is over.” Su Ling looked down again and took a book. He was no longer looking at her.
Gu Yun slightly frowned. She was not used to this kind of Su Ling. Didn’t he usually roar at her, fight with her or have an eye battle with her? How did he become so calm today? She felt odd. Gu Yun quietly asked, “Are you angry?”
Su Ling’s hand that was flipping the book temporarily stopped, but then resumed as usual. Without looking up, he coldly replied, “No.”
Did he call this as not being angry? This wasn’t the first day she knew him! Contemplating for a moment, it was still better to not provoke him, ah! She really couldn’t think of a reason for him to be angry. Gu Yun directly asked, “Did I offend you?”
She still dared to ask? Su Ling once again looked up. This time, the cold eagle eyes couldn’t remain calm. If a glare could kill, Gu Yun would have died many times already. She swallowed her saliva and felt like a miserable wretch. She thought… this kind of Su Ling was more familiar but also more dangerous!
Gu Yun gradually rose from the chair and smiled, “You just go and work. Sorry for disturbing.”
The thing that she needed to ask had been answered. Gu Yun intended to quickly leave. Who knew? When her feet hadn’t even stepped out of the door, Su Ling’s gloomy voice was heard, “Wait, where are you going?”
Gu Yun turned around and truthfully replied, “To Xing Bu to see the case report.”
She really wanted to be involved with this case. Su Ling coldly replied, “You are so keen to investigate the case. Is it because it’s connected to Ao Tian, that you are this keen?”
Gu Yun silently sighed. It came again…
However, compared to the cold him, she was much more willing to deal with this kind of Su Ling. At least, she was more familiar with this version. Gu Yun was rarely good-tempered, but she explained, “I am very keen to investigate all cases. Ao Tian has saved and helped me before. Therefore, I naturally hope that we can get to the bottom of this case early. However, even if this is just an ordinary case, I would also be this keen. All criminals should be brought to justice! It doesn’t matter who is involved! If it were you, I would also use the same dedication.”
If it were you, I would also use the same dedication…
Su Ling’s anger had reduced significantly. Recalling the bandit operation, she actually had done a lot for him. Su Ling looked at Gu Yun deeper, his feelings were still a bit complicated.
Why did he look at her like that? Seeing Su Ling once again become ‘weird’, Gu Yun’s heart felt restless. She subconsciously took a step back and smiled, “Go do your business, I will leave now.”
Her legs went stiff. Gu Yun lamented. What did he want to do?
Su Ling stood up and walked to her side. It seemed he was in the good mood and said, “I will accompany you. After all, Xing Bu isn’t just an ordinary place (where anyone could come and go at will).”
Did he want to go with her? Could she say no?
Su Ling had already gone out of the study room. The obvious answer was… no!
Gu Yun silently followed Su Ling to the outer courtyard. A young soldier coincidentally came and said, “Reporting to the general, an assistant minister at the Ministry of Rites, Yu Ze Si, requested to meet.”
Yu Ze Si? Su Ling’s straight brows burrowed. Why did he come to meet him? Actually, the Yu Family and Su Family could be considered as family friends. When his mother almost died giving birth to Su Ren, Madam Yu who was born from a family with a medical background extended a hand to help. Therefore, it could be said that Yu Family was their benefactor. However, after their parent’s death, the contact became gradually less, so Yu Ze Si wouldn’t just come to Su Family for a casual visit. What was his purpose in coming?
Although he didn’t know Yu Ze Si’s motives, since Yu Ze Si had personally come, he must give him face. He gently raised his hand and said to the young soldier, “Let him in.”
Seeing his solemn face, Gu Yun thought something serious happened in the court. She took this opportunity and smiled, “I’ll go there alone. I’m a someone who could help Dan Yu Lan to solve the case, so he won’t make thing difficult for me.”
Dilly dallying for a long time, it was almost noon. Gu Yun wanted to go early so she could return early. She turned around, but a pair of strong hands grabbed her wrist. A deep voice at the same whispered in her ears, “You sit for a while. I will go with you later.”
Gu Yun was dumbfounded. What happened to him today? Why was he so insistent?
Being dragged to the nearest chair by the table in the study room, Gu Yun could only wait. According to Su Ling’s character, if she insisted on leaving, they would just fight again. She didn’t want to shout at him the entire day. A wise person should know when to submit to the circumstances, so she could only wait.
Soon, the young soldier brought a sixty-year-old man into the study room. Gu Yun looked up. Behind the old man, there was a young woman. The woman lowered her head slightly. She was tall and slender with an elegant aura. Everyone who saw her would definitely know that she was a big miss who came from a noble family. Suddenly, Gu Yun was curious about the woman’s looks. When the woman looked up, Gu Yun was surprised. How could it be her?
Yu Ze Si entered the room and saw Gu Yun who was sitting on the chair. He had never seen a woman who could be so at ease in Su Ling’s study room. Recovering his sight, Yu Ze Si greeted, “Meeting General Su.”
Su Ling was rarely polite but he said, “Minister Yu is too polite.”
Yu Han Dan from behind Yu Ze Si also greeted, “General Su.” Her voice was warm and her gesture elegant. Whoever looked at it, would see a beautiful scenery. However, Su Ling didn’t show any sign of happiness. His brows were slightly knitted together and he just slightly nodded to her, then looked at Yu Ze Si, “What brought you here, Minister Yu?”
Yu Ze Si once again made a greeting gesture and embarrassedly said, “Today, I came here because it is… my last resort. This old man has a bold request. I really hope that General will agree.”
“Please say it, Minister Yu.” Remembering Madam Yu who had helped his mom, Su Ling couldn’t shirk when Yu Ze Si had opened his mouth. However, Yu Ze Si had never asked anything of him for many years. What made him come and ask him? Seeing Yu Han Dan standing calmly at the side, Su Ling had a bad feeling.
Yu Ze Si sighed and anxiously replied, “Thanks to Dong Empress Dowager, Han Dan has been picked to perform in the ceremony. This is our Yu Family’s honor. However, last night Yu Han Dan had witnessed a murder case and also encountered the murderer. I’ve heard that the murderer is very cruel and am afraid that he would harm Han Dan; so I would like to ask General Su to send someone to protect her.”
Su Ling hadn’t said anything when Gu Yun, who had been absent-minded, suddenly recovered her thoughts. She didn’t care whether she cut into Su Ling’s conversation or not and just looked at Yu Han Dan, “Did you encounter the murderer? So did you witness a murder? Did you see what he looks like?”
Yu Han Dan was surprised. She silently looked at Su Ling who didn’t flip out. His face didn’t even show a sign of anger, as though Gu Yun’s action wasn’t a big deal. Instead, she found a doting and patient expression. Slowly recovering her sight, Yu Han Dan quietly said, “Last night, my personal servant and I went to Miao Yin store to take a newly-ordered Qin (a chinese traditional instrument). We found that there was a flaw and tuned it several times but it still wasn’t fixed. Therefore, we went home at 9pm. Because it was late, we took a shortcut to come home. When we arrived at a small lane, I saw…”
She had been trying to keep calm, but the thought of last night made her slightly tremble. She took a deep breath, and then continued, “I saw a silver-haired man holding a woman while his other hand was holding a knife. The knife… There was still some blood dripping from the knife. I screamed at once. The man turned around and saw us. I was terrified at that time, so I didn’t know how to respond when his eyes met mine. Suddenly, there were people coming so the man turned around and exited a different direction. He was standing in the dark alley, so I couldn’t see his face clearly. I could only vaguely see his face and blade-like eyes.”
So, when she screamed, the murder was in progress. At that time, Ao Tian had only left her for less than a minute. The distance from where he left to the dark alley was quite far, he couldn’t have made it on time! So it could be said that the murderer wasn’t Ao Tian. However, how come his appearance was so coincidental with the murder? Did Ao Tian want to cover for the murderer? Or… did the murderer want to trap Ao Tian?
Gu Yun’s brain spun at high speed. She was analysing all the possibilities while everyone was waiting for her response. However, she had entered her own world and was oblivious of any other person. The atmosphere inside the study was somewhat awkward.
Su Ling was helpless. After thinking for a moment, he faced Yu Ze Si and said, “In regards to this case, it should be discussed with Minister Dan and Xing Bu.” It wasn’t as if he didn’t want to help, but the trial case was under Xing Bu investigation.
Yu Ze Si bitterly smiled and replied, “This old man just came from Xing Bu. Minister Dan said that these days, all of their resources went to investigating the case, so they didn’t have enough manpower. In addition, the celebration’s security is under General Su’s responsibilities, so this old one hopes that General Su can help to protect my little daughter. This is also a matter of the celebration’s success. I truly hope the general will agree!”
Damn Dan Yu Lan! He actually sent trouble! Although his heart was unhappy, his face remained calm. Su Ling finally nodded, “I will send a group of soldiers to guard Assistant Minister’s house to protect the miss’ safety.”
Yu Ze Si hesitated for a while. Seeing his treasured daughter, he finally continued, “This old man heard that the murderer possesses high martial arts as well as being blood-thirsty. I am afraid…”
Under Su Ling’s increasingly dark expression, Yu Ze Si’s voice got smaller. No one under his cold eagle eyes could speak normally, of course, Gu Yun was an exception.
Recovering her thoughts, Gu Yun fortunately listened to Yu Ze Si’s word, so she smiled and replied, “You want Miss Yu to stay at General Manor since it is the safest place. Is that right?”
Yu Ze Si was just about to nod when Su Ling coldly refused, “No. There are no women in this General Manor so it would be inconvenient for Miss Yu to live here.” When Su Ling finished, he was also surprised by his own words. Qing Mo was sitting beside him, this sentence…
Yu Han Dan’s face was decorated with a forced smile while Yu Ze Si was gazing at Gu Yun with a strange expression. In contrast to their awkward expressions, Gu Yun freely chuckled self-mockingly. Okay, it seemed that she was not a woman in Su Ling’s eyes.
Not being regarded as a woman could be considered an insult. However, this woman had no problem with it and just chuckled freely. The scar on her face had ruined the beautiful face but it couldn’t conceal the brilliant and magnificent eyes. Yu Ze Si finally realised the woman’s identity. She was a gift that the emperor sent… Qing Mo. However, Su Ling had actually allowed her to come into the study room. This was very much beyond what he had expected. Aside from being well-known as an accomplished general, knowledgeable in both literary and military aspects, Su Ling was also known by his cold attitude toward women. After looking intensely at the calm woman casually sitting, Yu Ze Si removed his gaze and thought. After a while, he said, “This old one knows that it is rude to plead this, but the murderer came once last night. Yu Family has only one daughter (Han Dan), so this old one…”
“Wait.” Yu Ze Si hadn’t finished speaking when Gu Yun interrupted him again. Looking at the calm Yu Han Dan again, she pressed, “The murderer come to look for you last night?” Last night Ao Tian had been in prison so if the murderer had appeared, then it would prove that Ao Tian was not the murderer.
Yu Han Dan hesitated for a moment and then said, “I was inside the room so I didn’t see it. It was Fu Er who saw a dark shadow.”
Just a dark shadow? Gu Yun was a little disappointed. It looked like that girl was panicking and imagined things. If it really was the murderer, how could she still be alive?! Su Ling’s patience had been exhausted so he straightforwardly said, “In awhile, I will send Su Yu and 500 people to guard Officer’s house, so Minister Yu can rest assured.”
Su Ling had said to that extent, so Yu Ze Si couldn’t say anything again. When he was about to say yes, the woman who had been sitting quietly on the side rose up and stood in front of Su Ling’s table, “This celebration is important. As a performer, Miss Yu represents Qiong Yue so her safety shouldn’t be a small matter (underestimated). At this time, Su Yu is probably really busy so how about letting her stay here? Anyway, there are a couple of empty rooms in Yi Tian Court. Living alone is very boring (nothing to do), so I ask for Miss Yu as my companion.”
She was capable of getting bored?! Su Ling’s expression looked like he was seeing a ghost when he gazed at Gu Yun. He had never seen her do nothing and sit still at all!
With her back to the Yu father and daughter, Gu Yun made a ‘quickly say yes’ gesture with her mouth. The knot between Su Ling’s brows became tighter and tighter. Gu Yun was desperately sending him eye signals. Just when her eyes felt cramped and she was ready to give up, she heard Su Ling coldly say, “Okay.”
She better gave him an appropriate explanation! Otherwise… Hum!
In the small dark alley, it was pitch black; even the brightness of the moonlight couldn’t reach this dirty and narrow alley. Because of the last case, no one dared to pass the alley during nighttime. Squeaking mice echoed in this rotten alley, sounding so clear yet strange.
“Master, Ao Tian surrendered himself to Xing Bu. What should we do next?” If it were not for the anxious male voice in the alley, no one would notice that there were people there.
A lean dark shadow stood in front of the man. His hair was dazzling silver, like the color of the moonlight and very pale. The dark surroundings didn’t bother him at all. Because of his dark clothes, this kind of surrounding, in fact, made him feel more comfortable.
“Have you found the identity of the woman yet?” The cold man voice was a little bit hoarse, like the sound of an elderly man. However, just by looking at the figure, people would guess that he was unlikely an elderly man.
The man respectfully replied, “She is called Qing Mo, a Hao Yue person, who was sent by the Hao Yue people as a tribute. Her sisters, Qing Ling married Lou Xi Yan while Qing Feng has been given a title ‘Qing Concubine’.”
So that woman had such a background. Recalling the way Ao Tian protected her the other day, the bright red lips coldly raised.
Ao Tian ah… Ao Tian… I don’t believe that I can’t lure you to escape the prison.
Sixty-eight… Sixty-nine… Seventy… Seventy-one…
Yu Han Dan put a hand on her chest and widened her eyes, looking at Gu Yun who was hanging on the tree branch and using her arm strength to pull herself up. Her breath was already disordered and she had been doing 80 pull-ups… Wasn’t she tired? It was unimaginable that with her slender arms, which were almost as the same size as Han Dan’s, she could do so many pull ups. Her sweat was dripping and her face was red due to the strenuous exercise. However, those determined eyes were telling Han Dan that she wouldn’t give up until she accomplished her target goal. Indeed, although the last few pull-ups were very strenuous, Gu Yun still finished her 100 pull-ups goal. After she accomplished that, she released her grip from the tree.
Lightly landing on the ground, Gu Yun tiredly sat on the grass and panted.
Glaring at the sweaty and somewhat awkward casual Gu Yun, Yu Han Dan’s lips subconsciously raised up. This woman had an unusual charm, it was no wonder that Su Ling made a special exception for her.
“Why did you help me?” Yu Han Dan didn’t understand, didn’t Gu Yun like Su Ling? If Gu Yun did, why would she allow a woman to stay in the General Manor? Was she so confident that she didn’t view any woman as a threat?
“What?” Gu Yun had just finished exercising, so she wasn’t paying attention to Han Dan’s words. For these split seconds, Yu Han Dan actually thought that Gu Yun looked down at any other woman or rather… she simply didn’t think about it. Meeting Yu Han Dan’s puzzled eyes, Gu Yun smiled, “It was for your safety, ah.”
Yu Han Dan scoffed, but a good upbringing didn’t allow her to do such an unrefined thing like rolling her eyes. Elegantly sitting beside Gu Yun, Yu Han Dan looked at the mountain and asked, “Just ask anything you want to ask.”
Gu Yun slightly raised her brow and smiled, “You are really sharp, but I found out what I needed to know, so I don’t need to ask you anymore.” She went to Xing Bu in the afternoon and had read all the things that she needed to read. She believed that Yu Han Dan didn’t lie and knew that Han Dan had said everything she knew. Gu Yun let her stay in the General Manor to ensure her safety because her confession could somewhat explain that Ao Tian couldn’t have done the crime within such a small period of time. Therefore, if the real murderer wanted to harm Ao Tian, he would come find Han Dan.
Gu Yun had said it like that, so Yu Han Dan didn’t want to rebuff again. She gently opened a wooden box beside her. Inside of the box was a seven-stringed qin covered by dark emerald colored gems. Placing the qin onto her lap, Yu Han Dan gently stroked the strings. The clear tones composed into beautiful music.
Although Gu Yun didn’t know anything about music, she could feel that the qin was really expensive and that Yu Han Dan’s skills were very good.
Putting both of her hand behind her head, Gu Yun laid down on the grass, looking up. She saw the tree branch that she used as a pull-up bar gently sway while she listened to the music. Gu Yun secretly sighed; a beautiful woman should be like this. Su Ling couldn’t be blamed for not considering her as a woman. With Han Dan as a comparison, she really didn’t look like a woman.
Gently closing her eyes, Gu Yun suddenly felt a strange feeling. It was like… she was being watched! Gu Yun quickly opened her eyes, the strings were still vibrating but the beautiful music had stopped.
Inside a cold cell, there was only a small window. The bright moonlight came from outside of the prison, dimly lighting the room. The light was only enough to see a man sitting on a bed, his slender body very straight and leaned against the stone wall. His silver hair appeared more dazzling than usual in this dark room. This quarter was too quiet, revealing a strange atmosphere. Although this place wasn’t very popular, occasionally there would be some officers patrolling around. However, tonight, all of them seemed to disappear without a trace.
“I didn’t expect Qiong Yue’s great prison would be this comfortable.” A hoarse male voice was heard from the outside. Suddenly, a dark shadow unexpectedly appeared, standing in front of the male prisoner. His hair was also as silver as Ao Tian. Their appearances were likewise similar. However, he looked a lot older than Ao Tian. From a single look, the two looked truly alike. The only thing that distinguished them was that Ao Tian had an icy cold aura while the other man was covered with a brutal and murderous aura.
Ao Tian’s darker than the night eyes slowly opened, but he didn’t look at the man outside the door nor did he reply to the words. Although Ao Tian’s expression was unclear, the cold aura became more and more obvious.
Seeing Ao Tian remain motionless, a cold and brutal expression flashed in the man’s eyes. With a low voice full of irony, he said, “This is the first I knew that Ao Tian could also shirk. Do you plan to hide here for a lifetime?”
Ao Tian remained sitting there like there was no one outside the cell talking to him. The man’s hand subconsciously shook a bit. A cold smirk appeared on his face and he said, “The little miss last time was quite beautiful. I don’t know whether she will have the same ‘taste’ as her look.”
Ao Tian was surprised. Although it wasn’t obvious, it was enough to be noticed by the other man. His laugh became louder. He knew it! He knew that he could win the bet this time! The man’s hoarse laugh echoed in the nearly empty cell. Not glancing at Ao Tian again, he strode out.
Finally, the aloof and silent Ao Tian suddenly shouted, “Stop.”
The man paused his step and heard an imperfect icy cold voice from behind him say, “If you don’t want to die, don’t ever touch her!”
The man’s heart jumped, what an aggressive manner. He was indeed a member of the Ao Family, born with a cruel bloodthirsty nature. Not knowing whether his accelerated heartbeat was due to excitement or fear, the hoarse-voiced man replied, “Don’t worry, I will leave her corpse whole.”
Finished speaking, the man didn’t turn back again and quickly went away. Ao Tian, I don’t believe that you will not go out!
Gu Yun opened her eyes and got up. The strings were still trembling but the beautiful music had stopped. Yu Han Dan was shocked and startled, not daring to move. The courtyard was very quiet, but nothing was abnormal. The night breeze gently blew, from time to time leaves were falling down. After waiting for a long time and there was still no movement. Yu Han Dan couldn’t help but ask, “What happened?”
Gu Yun concentrated on observing the surroundings for a long time. The feeling of being watched had disappeared. Was she too nervous? Or did the person hide too well? Her heart was uncertain. Gu Yun didn’t talk much to Yu Han Dan. She took off her hand from the qin and replied, “Nothing, you can continue.”
How could she just tell her (Han Dan) to continue? Earlier, Gu Yun absurdly placed her hand on the qin, making Yu Han Dan shocked and all her intention to play vanished. Yu Han Dan’s expression became worse.
Seeing Yu Han Dan angry, Gu Yun didn’t intend to explain so the two just sat on the ground like that. The atmosphere was quite heavy. At this time, Su Ren suddenly appeared outside the court gate.
He was about to say hello, but when he saw the two sitting next to each other in silence, he stopped. Gu Yun was somewhat tense and Yu Han Dan looked angry. In his memories of Yu Han Dan, she was an elegant lady, a little bit lofty but her words were soft and gentle. Sometimes, she could be quite shy but overall she had an excellent education at home. Qing Mo was truly awesome; she could turn this kind of woman hostile in less than a day.
After all, he had no experience in dealing with the war between women! He stood there for a long time. Su Ren was still thinking whether to go in or hide away. One had already become Big Brother’s woman, while the other wanted to become Big Brother’s woman. He couldn’t offend any of them.
He was preparing to retreat when Yu Han Dan noticed his figure. Putting the qin aside, Yu Han Dan quickly stood up and made a bow while greeting, “Commander Su.”
Gu Yun was somewhat dumbfounded. The eyes that were glaring at her before, like they were going to fall out at any moment, now turned gentle as water. Although it looked better, the quick change was actually quite scary!
Su Ren was stupefied and quickly smiled, “Miss Yu. Are you comfortable living here? If you need something, you could tell me.”
Yu Han Dan gently smiled and softly replied, “Commander Su is being too polite.”
Yu Han Dan was being polite as she usually is, but because of the close distance, Gu Yun could hear the tremble in her voice and her beautiful eyes were lowered like she didn’t dare to look at Su Ren. When she was with Su Ling this afternoon, she looked really calm. How could this happen? Was she…
Gu Yun secretly speculated, but she didn’t dare to overestimate her ability to analyse emotion, so Gu Yun told Su Ren, “What are you doing here? Did you hear that there is a beauty and quickly rushed here?”
Gu Yun had just finished speaking, but Yu Han Dan was secretly glaring at her. Yu Han Dan’s face became redder. Gu Yun secretly smiled. With this kind of expression, her guess shouldn’t be wrong. She looked again at Su Ren and saw him stupefied. He quickly said, “Don’t speak nonsense! It was Big Brother who asked me to call you!”
He was ‘that eager’ to explain, ah! There must be a problem! However, the way Su Ren looked at Yu Han Dan was not particularly warm or fascinated, ah! Was it that the woman had intention but the man was ignorant? (落花有意、流水无情, the flower had intention but the flowing water was merciless). Gu Yun was confused. Her brain was indeed not suitable to analyse anything related to love!
Standing up and patting the grass off her body, Gu Yun knew that Su Ling was waiting for her to explain her actions today. After all, she had insisted on Yu Han Dan staying.
Gu Yun’s foot just motioned to step out when Su Ren noticed a strange flash coming from the tree behind her. He quickly shouted, “Who’s there?” At the same time, he jumped up and rushed towards the big tree. Gu Yun only saw a violent shaking of the tree leaves and she knew there was a person on top of the tree.
Gu Yun quickly took the dazed Yu Han Dan into the inner room. She waited and observed first.
The dense leaves on the tree violently shook. Gu Yun was secretly surprised. This person could soundlessly appear from the forest behind General Manor. He must have a good martial arts skill. She didn’t know whether Su Ren was his equal opponent or not.
She just wanted to shout for help while striding forward with Bing Liang, when two figures, one clothed in white and the other in black, arrived at the yard. Under the darkness of the night, the black-clothed man’s silver hair was exceptionally bright.
Ao Tian! Seeing the coming man clearly, Gu Yun and Yu Han Dan were surprised. What surprised Gu Yun was how Ao Tian could appear here. Wasn’t he in the jail? Meanwhile, Yu Han Dan was afraid. The bloody scene that night was appearing again in front of her eyes. She shrank behind Gu Yun, and her hands tightly grabbed Gu Yun’s sleeves.
Su Ren didn’t have a weapon at hand, so he just used his bare hands. Ao Tian also didn’t have his sword so although the fight was quite violent, it was unlikely anyone would die. Gu Yun was secretly relieved and put Yu Han Dan behind her. Wait and see.
Ao Tian appeared to want to leave, so facing Su Ren, his attacks became more ruthless as he aimed a heavy punch towards Su Ren’s chest. Yu Han Dan immediately became nervous and shouted, “Be careful!” Gu Yun frowned. Now, she could determine Miss Yu’s heart to some extent, because her arm could quickly be fractured by this Miss Yu.
Even with Yu Han Dan’s warning, Su Ren didn’t have time to dodge the punch. He got punched and had to retreat several steps. His chest was really pained; it was estimated he suffered an internal injury.
Ao Tian didn’t look at him and turned around, wanting to leave. However, a flaming hot sword was coming towards his torso. Ao Tian quickly dodged, but the sword had blocked his path!
At this time, Su Ling had Chi Xue in his hand and his eagle eyes coldly looked at Ao Tian. Ao Tian indeed dared to come to his General Manor. Fine! The last time in the back mountains, he had let Ao Tian escape. This time, Ao Tian will not have such good luck!
In Ao Tian’s cold eyes, there was also a ruthless expression. The wound on his arm was given to him by Su Ling. Last time, because he was saving Qing Mo, he didn’t really fight with Su Ling. This time, he wanted to let Su Ling to feel the powerful Che Ling sword. His hand slowly moved to his waist and slowly waved. Suddenly a black bendable sword appeared in his hand.
These two people didn’t exchange much of nonsensical words but quickly rushed towards each other like two bulls looking at a red flag. Chi Xue’s blazing heat met Che Ling’s flexibility. Su Ling’s powerful style met Ao Tian’s strange martial arts. It was tough to determine who had the upperhand. However, both of them were fighting like they didn’t care about their lives anymore!
Gu Yun could no longer stand still anymore and stepped forward. She shouted, “Ao Tian, Su Ling, don’t fight anymore!” The main point now was figuring out why Ao Tian came here!
Unfortunately, the two bulls didn’t hear Gu Yun’s words and still fought with such a devotion, the attacks became even more vicious. The tiger hadn’t shown her power so they treated her like a sick cat!
Yu Han Dan had just heard Gu Yun shout out loud when the small body charged towards the swords! Did she no longer want her life?! Or did she actually think that she could stop the flame between those two men?! Yu Han Dan’s heart was in her throat; she was afraid to see another blood spattering scene again and quickly closed her eyes.
She heard Gu Yun shout, “Bing Lian!” A freezing cold air came from the inner house. Yu Han Dan opened her eyes and saw a white flash. Gu Yun’s hand held a snow white longsword. The blade was slender but sharp.
With a sword in her hand, she rushed between the two men and waved the sword between the two entwined blades…
These days, she had been training with sword hard and had a greater understanding on how to handle the sword. In addition, Gu Yun was very angry right now, so the sword’s power was larger than usual. The clashing sword sounds were harsher and ear piercing. Su Ling and Ao Tian were pushed back about thirty feet away by the cold sword.
Gu Yun’s tigress mouth was also numbed because of the sword, but she still angrily shouted, “I’ve told you to stop! Whoever still dares to move, I will chop him off!”
The power of the tigress roar had made the whole Yi Tian court dead quiet. It was so quiet that the only sound Yu Han Dan could hear was her own heartbeat.