"Sister Yue'er." Xiaoba was just about to call out but Chu Qiao hurriedly covered her mouth.
The little girl had bright eyes and was looking around. She took out the embroidered bag she was holding and put it in Xiaoba's hands while saying quietly, "Xiaoba, there is not much time left. Let's cut to the chase. If I have not come to find you by dinner time tomorrow, you must run away from the back door of the horse shed where all the horse food is kept. I will find a way to distract the guard to leave his post tomorrow. The door will be unguarded for two hours before dinner. Here is some money and a fake identity certificate. Hold it with you and leave the city. Don't wait for me."
"Sister Yue'er?" Xiaoba immediately held onto Chu Qiao's hand and said, "What are you planning to do? Are you going to get revenge? Xiaoba also wants to help you. I can't leave alone."
"Listen and be a good girl." Chu Qiao patted her head and said, "There are only two of us left in the Jing family. I'm the older sister so you need to listen to me. As long as there is someone left, the Jing family will survive. If something happens to me, you can still help me get revenge."
"But Sister Yue'er…"
"Xiaoba, listen to me. When you leave the city, head north. When you reach the San Yi city located at the border of Xia and Tang empire, wait for me for three days. If I still do not arrive after three day, you should leave by yourself. You don't have to worry, this is just the back up plan. Once I get out, I will definitely catch up with you."
With reddened eyes, Xiaoba pursed her lips tightly and suddenly held out her hands to wrap them around Chu Qiao's waist. She said while choking on her tears, "I know Sister Yue'er always can resolve any problem. Nothing bad will happen to you."
Chu Qiao hugged her shoulders, smiled and said, "Don't worry. We will soon leave this place. In the future, there won't be people trying to hurt us."
The moon was shaped like a crescent in the cold, winter weather. The wind blew against the snow, creating a very dull atmosphere.
On the second day, Chu Qiao woke up early as usual and went to Zhuge Yue's room to serve. However, she was told that the fourth young master went out early in the morning and was no longer in the residence.
Chu Qiao thought to herself, Even the gods are helping me. She turned around and walked in the direction of the main courtyard. Just as she walked to the Green pavilion, she was stopped by Zhuge Yue's personal guard Yue Qi. The guard, who was less than fifteen years old, stared at her with a cold expression and said word by word, "The young master commanded that Xing'er is not allowed to pass through the gate."
Chu Qiao was stunned and was not sure what Zhuge Yue was up to. She lifted her head and said with a cute smile on her face, "Big brother, I'm not leaving the courtyard. I just wanted to go to the kitchen to check if the new tea leaves that were delivered yesterday are fresh." Right after, she turned and started walking towards the kitchen.
A little while later, Huan'er came out from the kitchen. Yue Qi frowned and asked with a confused look on his face, "Where is Xing'er?"
"Picking tea inside the kitchen with the group."
Yue Qi frowned again, "With her status now, why does she need to do this kind of work?"
"Huh? Do you think Xing'er is as snobbish as Jin Zhu and Jin Cai?" The maidservant raised her eyebrows and looked at Yue Qi with disdain. She directly expressed her displeasure, "You are snobby!"
The white clouds were floating in the sky, what a beautiful day!
Chu Qiao found a random excuse to leave Qing Shan court. She was scared to be seen by others and chose to leave using the most hidden path. Just as she walked to the plum woods, a shadow suddenly appeared. She was shocked and saw that it was actually a teenage, with bright eyes and good features. He looked very familiar.
"Don't be scared. I am Prince Yan's page boy, Feng Mian. I was sent by Prince Yan to pass a message to you."
"A message?" Chu Qiao furrowed her eyebrows and eyed Feng Mian's body. She said, "How did you know to find me here?"
Feng Mian chuckled and said, "My master said that if I could not get into Qing Shan court, I should go hide in the most secluded pathway and I would be sure to find you."
Chu Qiao scoffed and said, "Well, your master seems to know everything."
"Yes, he is very smart," Feng Mian replied cheekily while revealing his white teeth.
"What message did he want to tell me? Say it quick, I'm busy."
Feng Mian was quite surprised and thought to himself, This little slave indeed has quite an unique temperament. No wonder both his Royal Highness and the fourth master Zhuge Yue paid so much attention to her. Feng Mian answered quickly, "He wanted to tell you that he must go back to Yan Bei in the morning tomorrow and wanted to say goodbye to you tonight. Hence, he wants to meet you at the same place as last night."
"Back to Yan Bei?" Chu Qiao said while confused. "The Prince is a hostage in the capital. Why would he suddenly go back to Yan Bei?"
Feng Mian replied, "I'm not sure about the exact reason, but our King of Yan Bei sent messenger to the capital and asked for the Prince to return to Yan Bei. There must be something urgent that happened. The Grand Elerly's council already approved for the Prince to go back to Yan Bei tomorrow morning."
Chu Qiao nodded her head and said, "Tell your Prince, my identity of a servant does not allow me to leave Qing Shan court as I wish. In addition, whether the Prince goes back to Yan Bei or not, it has nothing got to do with me. I have no right to even say goodbye to him."
Feng Mian smiled and said, "My master said if you want to go, there's no one can stop you. Whether this has anything to do with you, is not something I could offer opinion for. Since you are busy, I will leave now." Feng Mian smiled and disappeared into the forest. Chu Qiao could not help thinking that the Zhuge residence was so loose in security that a child like Feng Mian could wander about so freely.
After an hour of cautious prowling, Chu Qiao finally reached the side yard of the front courtyard. The yard of Zhu Shun, the steward of the Zhuge family, was presented right in front of her eyes, unguarded. At this very moment, Zhu Shun was holding a box with a sad expression on his face. The box contained a rotting hand. It looked disgusting.
Just then, a banging sound was heard. Zhu Shun was horrified. He held a dagger and ran out. His eyes were wide opened, and he shouted, "Who is it?"
It was silent. There was no one.
Zhu Shun turned around and saw a white letter sitting quietly on the ground. The top of the letter was attached to a thread, which was tied with a stone. The envelope had a peach painted on it and had a faint fragrance. After opening the letter, the man's eyes suddenly lit up with disgusting and dirty desire in his mind. However, after some thought, he sighed, went back to his chair and did not go out.
A moment later, another bag was thrown in from the window. Zhu Shun opened it and saw that it was a women's red binder. On top of it, there was a picture of a naked man and a women hugging each other. He felt his blood racing and burning.
He let out a laugh. He bowed his head down and smelled it. He held it and muttered, "She would not even wait for it to be nighttime! B*tch!" He then left after putting on his coat.
The Zhuge Residence was located in the east of the Zhen Huang city. Its back facing Mount Chi Song and Chi Shui lake was to its right. The residence was facing the south and covered a wide space. The building had three gates. The inner court was deep, with many layers of security. It had twenty four hours of non-stop parol. another four buildings surrounding it and a small trench fire. If there were to be a war, it would be considered a small city on its own.
Even Zhuge ladies' rooms were located in the safest part under the mountain. For those who wanted to enter the prefecture, besides going in head-on from the front gates, there was no other possible way of getting in. The side door burst open and the guard greeted loudly, "It is Zhu Shun! Why did you come here?"
"Yesterday, there was a water leak in the Tao Ran court due to the snow that melted from the second floor, which leaked into the downstairs hall. I have come to check on it."
The guard smiled and said, "How can I trouble you to do such trivial things? Leave it to me."
Zhu Shun smiled and shook his head while saying, "I have nothing to do anyway. Is the First Young Master in the residence today?"
"The First Young master and the Fourth Young master have been in the study room discussing things for the whole morning already. I don't think they will stop anytime soon."
"Oh, okay then, I'll go in now. There is no need to inform the masters that I was here. It is noon, the masters must be taking naps. Don't disturb their rest." Zhu Shun replied while nodding his head.
The time was just right. A small figure was hidden in the trees. Her eyes was bright eyes and her lips lifted gently, revealed a gentle smile.
Chun Hua Court's seventh lady Duanmu Huaning was preparing to take a nap. Her shawl slid off her shoulders. Her breast was plump and her waist was slim; her bottocks were round and her legs were long. Her skin was clear and tender, and her nails were colored red. She radiated beauty. Her maid flipped open the silk comforter and help her lady lay down to sleep naked as usual.
Just at this moment, the tile on the roof shifted quietly, but no one noticed, as a small bag of things was slowly lowered down. The bag was wriggling. It seemed like there was something alive in it.
The maidservant left and the room became very silent so that only the lady's breathing could be heard.
The bag then landed on the seventh lady's pillow. It was pink and there was a beautiful peach drawn on it.
While the seventh lady was sleeping soundly, she suddenly felt something was licking her good-smelling ears and neck. She lightly touched it and felt something furry. She thought it was a dream and did not bother opening her eyes. Just then, she suddenly felt pain on her face. She rubbed her eyes and saw what it was. Shocked, she screamed and it echoed throughout Chun Hua garden.
"Lady! Lady!" A maidservant hurriedly ran into the room. Just as she stepped into the room, she was shocked to see what was happening. The seventh lady's room was filled with huge rats. They were dark, big and fat, and were not scared of humans. There were also a few on her bed, biting on her robe.
"Ah!" Where did these rats come from? Get rid of them!"
That afternoon, the entire court turned into chaos as everyone was trying to get rid of the rats.
The seventh lady drank more than ten cups of tea to help calm her nerves, but she still felt anxious and her whole body was shaking.
"Lady, I found this on your bed." A bodyguard walked towards her, holding the pink bag.
The seventh lady took the bag and looked at it. Her eyes immediately enlarged as she stood up and said, "Little sl*t! I knew it was you! Come with me to the Tao Ran court. Let's see what I will do to her."
Chun Hua court's people followed the seventh lady and left for the Tao Ran court. No one noticed the child hiding inside the cabinet in the corner. Not long later, the entire residence was in chaos and especially Tao Ran court. Chu Qiao returned back to Qing Shan court using the same path she came, and left the the chaos behind.