Chapter 23: The Missing Relief Funds
“Oh? What good plans might you have?” Jun Huang arched an eyebrow.
Nan Xun’s only response was a wordless smile. His expression was indifferent as he watched the fading light, and the occasional brisk breeze would toss up the jet black locks scattered over his shoulders. Jun Huang flicked a sidelong glance at Nan Xun. His usual imposing aura was gone at the moment, and the opulent brocade robes he was wearing heightened his looks. This was completely different from the innate sense of awe and might he constantly projected in the capital, and Jun Huang actually found herself a bit entranced.
When she came back to her senses, she realized that Nan Xun was looking back at her with interest. Their eyes met, and Jun Huang’s heart skipped a beat in surprise. She backed up subconsciously, and Nan Xun frowned when he saw that she was about to tumble off the hill. He swiftly reached out and pulled her in by the waist, drawing her away from the edge of the hill.
Jun Huang leaned on Nan Xun’s chest in her startled state. When she realized that their position was inappropriate, she hastily pushed Nan Xun away, afflicted with a deep blush, and refused to look at his smiling eyes. She worried her lip and stared down at the sandy ground, taking a deep breath in to swiftly adjust her mentality. She raised her eyes to meet Nan Xun’s only after her pounding heart had calmed down, as if nothing had happened just now.
“It’s late, let’s go back. The second prince will be suspicious if we’re any later.” Jun Huang descended down the hill via a small path as Nan Xun bought up the rear.
“Has the wound on your arm healed fully?” Nan Xun pretended to ask the question artlessly on their way back.
“How did you know the injury was on my arm?” Jun Huang furrowed her brow and halted when she heard this question.
“Qi Chen happened to mention it one day.”
Jun Huang was even more suspicious at this answer. She didn’t think that Qi Chen would mention to Nan Xun that she had been injured. She was skeptical, but didn’t say anything else and responded faintly, “The wound on my arm is mostly healed. Thank you for your concern, Your Highness.”
Nan Xun opened his mouth, wanting to say something more, but didn’t voice it after further thought. The two didn’t speak again on their way back to the inn.
That night, Jun Huang tossed and turned on her bed as sleep was nowhere to be found. She finally sat back up and happened to see that the window hadn’t been closed. When she walked up to the window to close it, she directed a glance outside and happened to see a man dressed in black sneak into Nan Xun’s room. Jun Huang frowned, feeling that something was afoot. Weighing up the decision for a moment, she turned in the end and reached for the clothes on the rack behind her. After appropriate fixing of her hair, she exited her room and slowly approached Nan Xun’s room.
“Your Highness, we’ve already found out where the second prince is hiding the silver,” the previous hidden guard spoke to Nan Xun.
He hadn’t gone to bed yet and put down the book in his hand, lifting his head to look at the guard. “Where?”
The guard was about to respond when a black cat suddenly darted through the darkness. Jun Huang exclaimed softly in her surprise, the sound traveling to the ears of the two inside.
“Who’s there?!” Nan Xun’s eagle eyes were frostily cold as he surged to his feet. The guard laid his hand on his sword as he swiftly strode to the door, unsheathing it as he yanked it open. The cold blast of air from the sword frightened Jun Huang. She actually couldn’t say a single word.
Nan Xun was following closely on the heels of his guard. He gave a sigh of relief when he saw that it was Jun Huang, indicated for the guard to stand down after looking around, and pulled her into the room.
“Why haven’t you slept yet at this hour?” Nan Xun asked. Jun Huang sized up the guard without a change in expression or saying a single word. The guard knew that she was one of them and raised his hands in a cupped fist salute as a greeting. She nodded in response and looked at Nan Xun.
Nan Xun knew what she was asking and didn’t beat around the bush. “I know where the silver is.”
“Where?” Jun Huang asked reflexively without a second thought, realizing her anxiousness only after the question left her mouth. She couldn’t help but want to laugh. How comical that I’m so worried on behalf of a bunch of strangers, after my home and country were lost. However, Nan Xun didn’t feel the same way. He was looking at Jun Huang and sighing internally. Savage barbarism hasn’t extinguished the innate kindness from the girl in front of me. He had a complex knot of emotions in his heart that he couldn’t describe. After a moment, Nan Xun recollected his thoughts and looked at the hidden guard, wanting him to explain.
“After two days of surveillance, we are certain that the second prince has stashed the additional silver in the yamen.”
“Are you certain?” Jun Huang frowned. The guard nodded. She lowered her head and thought for a moment, then looked to Nan Xun. “So this means you’ve already thought of a plan?”
“I didn’t have one to begin with. We can’t go interrogate Qi Chen, he might bite us in return then. The only solution is to take it forcefully from him.” Nan Xun relayed his thoughts honestly.
“Take it?” Jun Huang was confused.
“We’ve already prepared everything. We’re going to dress up as robbers and break into the yamen.” Nan Xun nodded.
“That’s not breaking and entering, we’re just taking back what belongs to the people.” Jun Huang smiled. She added on after quick thought, “I’m in as well.”
“No, you aren’t.” Nan Xun declined without even thinking about it. His furrowed brows and strong attitude projected the air that no one could argue, but was Jun Huang any ordinary person?
She glared ferociously at Nan Xun and crossed her arms. “I must go. If you don’t take me with you, I’ll tell Qi Chen.”