Sitting beside Zhuge Yue, the young master Mu wore a rose red robe. Few men could look so good in this feminine color. The color matched his feminine face and emphasized his unorthodox beauty. Grinning from ear to ear, he remarked, "It is rare to see the fourth master bringing ladies with him. Seems like fourth young master really like this lady."
Someone else interjected, "To make fourth young master like her so much, she must be an unparalleled beauty!"
Zhao Yang, amused, requested, "Since she is so beautiful, isn't it a waste to wear such a thick veil? Zhuge, why not let her take it off and show us her beauty?" Since the battle with Chu Qiao, his status had raised drastically, and he was no longer just another prince who had neither power nor influence. The moment he made that request, the crowds instantly started to cheer in agreement, asking Chu Qiao to unveil herself.
Zhuge Yue calmly stated, "She is in fact really ugly. If she unveils herself, I am afraid you might be horrified."
Muyun obviously did not believe him, but Zhuge Yue just smiled at his comment. Seeing his insistence, others naturally understood that he was unwilling, and therefore the topic ended there.
The night was no longer young, as Zhao Zhongyen and a few others were already drunk. The mayor arranged for people to bring them back to their rooms. Just as Chu Qiao had stood up, the sister of the mayor yelped and fell toward her. Given her skills, Chu Qiao nimbly caught her and helped her regain her balance. The mayor's sister was flushed red, as she patted her chest in relief while thanking Chu Qiao, "Thank you so much."
Chu Qiao shook her head. She looked down, only to see that her skirt had been stepped on by Zhao Yang. Seeing that she glanced over, Zhao Yang courteously nodded at her as he moved his foot away, and exited the hall.
Chu Qiao raised an eyebrow, but her thoughts were interrupted by Zhuge Yue, "Are you still not going?"
Chu Qiao lowered her head and quickly followed him.
The night wind was more chilly than normal, as the horses trotted in the night. The Zhuge family had properties in An Bai County, so they did not need to live in the arranged accommodations. Pushing aside the carriage window, Chu Qiao stared at the pitch black surroundings. Zhuge Yue, who was resting, suddenly asked, "You are leaving?"
Chu Qiao grimly warned, "If you are going to stop me, I will make sure we both die."
Zhuge Yue did not even open his eyes, as he replied, "If you are leaving, just go. Remember to close the window. Do not disturb my rest."
Stunned, Chu Qiao jumped out. Yue Qi and the other guards seemed to have not noticed her at all, letting her walk away freely. Only after walking two streets out, Chu Qiao finally believed that her nemesis had actually let her walk away so simply!
Something was wrong! Chu Qiao frowned. Despite so many threats and fighting, he had not let her go after so long. Why was it that this time he was so decisive in letting her go? But now was not a good time to stop and think. Quickly orientating herself, she dashed toward the city gates. But in just a few minutes, she suddenly heard a cacophony of people fighting behind her.
Chu Qiao instantly stopped in her tracks and turned around. The enemies struck so suddenly that they had crowded the entire street. Yue Qi guarded before Zhuge Yue's carriage, as he shouted, "Who are you? Do you not know who's carriage is this?"
Those men did not answer, as they merely grimly stated, "Hand the person over."
Zhuge Yue opened the carriage, as he calmly stated, "Let's fight."
With a symphony of whooshes, a rain of arrows headed towards Zhuge Yue's group. These ambushers brought mini crossbows which they hid previously. By the time Yue Qi and the guards had reached the enemies, they were already injured. The roars of warcries had shattered the fragile silence in the entire street. One assailant tried to bust into the carriage, only to see a flash of white, which evidently became the last scene he would ever see as half of his head was sent flying into the air. The remaining assassins looked on in horror. They crowded to the carriage in the very next moment. With a huge crash, the top of the carriage had been destroyed as Zhuge Yue jumped into the air brandishing his blade like a beautiful display of fireworks. While landing, his long sleeves fluttered in the air, as the two dots of fresh blood on his forehead emphasized his lethality.
"Fourth Master Zhuge, we have no intentions of offending you. As long as you hand that person over. We will leave immediately."
Zhuge Yue seemed as though he was deaf, as he stabbed his sword into the speaker's palm. Completely unexpecting the sudden attack, that man grabbed his injured palm as he howled in anguish. The leader's face sunk into seriousness, as he claimed, "If that is the case, I will apologize in advance."
The street suddenly brightened up as the assailants lit up their torches. Upon being properly illuminated, one could see that there were many assassins crowded on the roofs of the buildings along the two sides of the road. Each holding a full-sized longbow aimed directly at Zhuge Yue. It was as though with just a simple signal, they would all open fire. Aghast, Yue Qi and the rest of the guards' heart sank. They could tell at once that those were military grade bows capable of firing arrows with deadly speed and power. That, coupled with the fact that the shooters had the advantage of height, would contribute to some serious disadvantages for them.
But at that instant, one suddenly heard a few soft whooshes in the air. The assassins who were holding up the torches instantly fell, as the street sank again into darkness. Zhuge Yue darted up and with a swift blow, he ended the leader's life. But now, his face was devoid of relieving and he looked more serious than before. He growled, "Who asked you to come back?"
Chu Qiao's body was stiff, as though an entire colony of ants was chewing on her skin. As she tried to get into position as quietly as possible, she could not kill the assassin in time and was stabbed once. But alas, that blade was coated with an extremely fast-acting poison. Within a few breaths, her movements already dulled to the point where she could not react to the enemies who were closing in on her. For the first time, her eyes were filled with panic. She could clearly see the movements of her assailants, but could no longer react.
The blade was almost going to strike her when a sword suddenly stabbed into that assassin's chest, sending him tumbling backward. Zhuge Yue stepped up and caught Chu Qiao's falling body, and asked, "You were poisoned?"
With that, Chu Qiao suddenly spit out a mouthful of blood.
Frowning at the severity of the situation, Zhuge Yue quickly decided to retreat, as he ordered, "Yue Qi! Cover me!"
Yue Qi's flourishing blade kept multiple assassins at bay, as he and his men were locked in combat with the assassins. Without breaking the flow of his sword, Yue Qi acknowledged, "Roger! Master, leave first!"
Carrying Chu Qiao, Zhuge Yue flipped onto a horse, and with a loud yell, he dashed out of the encirclement.
"Do not let him escape! Give chase!" The flood of men-in-black swarmed behind.
Controlling the horse with just his two legs, Zhuge Yue held Chu Qiao with one hand, and his sword in the other. It was then a few explosive claps of thunder suddenly struck, followed by a torrential downpour. The rain was so heavy that it became difficult to see the silhouettes. There was no way to open fire accurately in this weather conditions, so the assassins on the rooftop abandoned their positions, and jumped off in front of the escaping horse. Zhuge Yue secured Chu Qiao on the horse, as he jumped off. As though he was dancing in the rain, he quickly opened up a bloodied path. The horse carrying Chu Qiao dashed down that path, and before long it had disappeared.
"Give chase! She went—Ah!" One assailant shouted out, attempting to notify the others. But before he completed his sentence, a blood-soaked blade protruded out from the back of his neck, as his body slumped down lifelessly. The rain continued to pour heavily as the slaughter raged on.
Zhuge Yue stomped open the door to a temple and found that a few beggars were sitting around in the corner. Grabbing hold of one, he grimly asked, "Have you seen a woman wearing a green dress come into here?"
Zhuge Yue now looked extremely miserable, as he was soaked in a mixture of rain and blood. The begger was petrified by his demeanor, and could only shake his head as fast as possible. Zhuge Yue turned to the others, only to find that the other's had already run away. Looking outside the temple, the raging winds picked up the dead leaves, sending them flying like paper money during the Ghost Festival.
Zhuge Yue furrowed his eyebrows, as his temples started to thump in protest. Fighting for so long, he had already used up all his strength, as he started to feel dizzy. Searching high and low for Chu Qiao, it was ultimately fruitless. At this moment, another group of assassins had broken through Yue Qi's blockade and caught up with him. Clenching his teeth, Zhuge Yue swung his blade again. Despite his weakened state, his blade was still swift like the wind, bring up streaks and streaks of crimson liquid each time it was swung. Zhuge Yue jumped up, and with a quick stab to an assassin's shoulder, he recoiled himself up onto the roof. With a few more jumps, he disappeared toward the east.
Not only had the rain not subsided, it grew heavier with each passing second. The wide main roads leading out of the city were now full of mud. Zhuge Yue sprinted on the muddy road, his clothes already completely discolored from the blood and mud. His face pale, and his lips blue; the two drops of blood that had first landed on his forehead had already solidified, adding a special touch of a devilish aura to his handsome face.
After sprinting for almost two hours, he still could not catch a single hint of Chu Qiao's shadow. A certain ominous thought surfaced in his head as he lashed out in frustration at a banner of a lone abandoned teahouse beside the road. The banner crashed into the muddy water with a huge crash as it splashed the mud everywhere. Charging into the tea house, he was greeted by pitch black darkness, with spider webs layered upon each other. Obviously, this was abandoned for a long time, as the wind he had swept up while charging in lifted a wave of dust.
"Are you here?" Zhuge Yue shouted, but only the rumbling thunder along with whooshing of the winds replied. Running to the back, he still could not see anyone, and as such, he turned around and prepared to head further east. But suddenly, he heard the sound of a horse neighing. Turning around, he found a maroon horse standing within the tall grasses growing in what seemed to be the paddy fields behind the abandoned tea house. On the horse, one could visibly see multiple stains of blood.
His eyes widened in surprise, as he charged forward. The rain was really too heavy; the paddy field had completely been submerged by almost water almost one meter in depth. Struggling to advance, he had to use all his strength every step. Wiping away the rainwater on his face, again and again, he tried his best to search for Chu Qiao.
Not here, not here, she was not anywhere to be found!
Just as he was about to reach the horse. He was suddenly tripped by something soft in the water, and he almost fell. Stunned, he dropped into the water and felt around with his hand. Before long, he emerged with another human. Obviously, that was Chu Qiao. Chu Qiao's eyes were shut tight, as her face looked purplish. Her mouth and nose were covered in mud, as her hands were freezing cold, as though she was already dead.
Bringing her above the water, Zhuge Yue stumbled out of the paddy field and placed her onto the muddy main road. Deftly, he wiped away the mud covering her nose and mouth, before patting her stomach and chest heavily.
"Wake up!" Clenching his teeth, he roared, and pressed again and again on her bloated stomach, "I do not allow you to die! Wake up!"
Chu Qiao's face was still purplish, and her body cold as ice. Her body trembled along with his pumps to her chest.
Frowning, Zhuge Yue pinched her nose, and pressed his mouth to hers, giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Even then, she showed no signs of waking up. His heart was beating furiously, and just like this gloomy weather, he was confused and miserable, unable to see a single ray of hope. A mysterious rage rose within his heart. Looking at this woman who had stood against him time and time again, he loudly declared, "You are not allowed to die! Do you hear me? I am telling you to wake up!"