I think Yuwen Jinghong has misunderstood something.
“Young Master Yuwen—” Chu Liuyue was just about to explain things to him when she heard someone calling her from the side.
She turned her head and realized that it was Duan Ziyu.
He had been waiting here for the past few days of the competition, never leaving the venue a single step. The reason he was late to find her was that he was so shocked by the results that it took him a long time to get over his daze.
“I’m here to take you back.”
“Duan Ziyu? What are you doing here?” Yuwen Jinghong was surprised to see him here. He knew that the latter was Mu Qinghe’s subordinate, and he was no stranger to him, having met many a time. He’s here to take Chu Liuyue back? Back to where?
“I’m waiting for Ms. Chu, of course,” Duan Ziyu calmly told him before turning to look at the woman. “Lieutenant Mu is currently in his residence. He’ll be delighted to know that you’ve won the competition.”
Chu Liuyue knew that Mu Qinghe wouldn’t be happy or upset over her win though. Being the introvert he was, he rarely wasted time and energy on people and things that were unrelated to him. Even if he was concerned about it, it was likely because of its deeper implications. Although she hadn’t gotten to the bottom of things, it was clear that the lieutenant knew a bit of the inside story.
Of course, she wouldn’t voice these thoughts out, so she only smiled slightly at the officer. “Good thing I didn’t let him down.”
She then bade farewell to Jian Fengchi and Yuwen Jinghong and turned around. But before she could leave, Yuwen Jinghong shouted, “Wait!”
She looked back. “Is anything the matter, Young Master Yuwen?”
When Yuwen Jinghong saw her calm and nonchalant look, his instincts told him that he must’ve gotten something wrong. Still, he asked, “Y-you’re going back to the Mu Residence with Duan Ziyu? aren’t you and Fengchi—Ow!”
He let out a shriek in pain before turning around to shoot his buddy a furious glare. Why the hell did you beat me when I’m trying to help you here?!
Jian Fengchi couldn’t be bothered to look at that dumb face and started to regret bringing Yuwen Jinghong here a little bit. As he turned around to leave the place, he said, “Nothing. You guys go ahead!”
Yuwen Jinghong hurriedly followed him. “What’s wrong with you? Why did Chu Liuyue leave with Duan Ziyu? He’s working for Mu Qinghe! Isn’t that as good as snatching your woman from you?”
Jian Fengchi gave a lazy reply. “Firstly, she’s not my woman. Secondly, she’s free to go wherever she wants, and it’s none of my concern.”
“You and Mu Qinghe have always been at odds with each other. Do you really not care even after getting bullied to such an extent?” asked Yuwen Jinghong out of heartache for his friend.
Jian Fengchi looked pointedly at him.
“W-what?” stammered Yuwen Jinghong.
Jian Fengchi began walking forward as he let out a long sigh. What was wrong with me? Why did I become friends with an imbecile like him back then?
Yuwen Jinghong looked hesitantly at the two people who left in separate directions before ultimately choosing to follow his friend. “Hey, what did you mean by that? Make yourself clear!”
Both Chu Liuyue and Jian Fengchi didn’t take this matter to heart, but unbeknownst to them, a misunderstanding arose when the crowd saw the earlier scene. It caused quite a commotion in Xi Ling because they thought that Jian Fengchi and Mu Qinghe were at odds with each other again and that it was due to Chu Liuyue this time.
Presently, Chu Liuyue had no idea about the sort of rumors that would be born afterward. As she followed Duan Ziyu back to the Mu Residence with Qiang Wanzhou, she was secretly contemplating something.
I can’t stay in the Mu Residence any longer. There are advantages to me staying in the Mu Residence. At the very least, it provides me safety since almost nobody in Xi Ling City is bold enough to break into the Mu Residence. But living here will also be very inconvenient for me in the long run.
While it’s fine to cultivate as usual and refine medicine, a lot of problems might crop up if I continue to stay here, for I have a lot of things I need to do. Thus, I need to look for another place to stay. It’s a good thing that I’ve become a lot richer—thanks to Jian Fengchi—so I have a pretty wide range of choices.
Tianling Imperial Palace.
Qingfeng Palace was the abode of the current Emperor, Shangguan You. Ever since he fell into a coma a year ago, he had been resting here.
Security was extremely tight here, and only Shangguan Wan—who was currently in power—could freely enter and leave this place. Others—the royal family included—had to undergo strict checks before they could gain entry. In other words, they had to get a written decree from Shangguan Wan first.
Night was approaching when a tall figure walked out from Qingfeng Palace. The light from the lamps shone down on his face and revealed a handsome and scholarly face, which belonged to Jiang Yucheng.
His face looked a little cold though, which was perhaps due to the winter night’s breeze.
Sun Qi—who was waiting outside—immediately went forward to greet him. “Eldest Young Master.”
When Jiang Yucheng noticed that Sun Qi looked slightly off, he asked, “What’s the matter?”
It took a moment before Sun Qi weakly answered, “The Wan Zheng Competition has ended, Eldest Young Master.”
“So fast?” Jiang Yucheng frowned. I thought it’d take another two or three days.
He came to visit the Emperor today and had spent quite some time inside, but he didn’t expect to be greeted with such news the moment he came out.
Sun Qi explained, “Yes. The last few people came out almost one after another, so the winner was determined very quickly.”
“Who won the competition?” asked Jiang Yucheng.
When the other person hesitated to give him an answer, his frown became deeper.
Sun Qi bowed as he whispered, “Chu Liuyue.”
Stunned, Jiang Yucheng said almost instinctively, “How is that possible?”
But as soon as the words left his mouth, he knew that the question was meaningless because Sun Qi wouldn’t lie to him. So that means… Chu Liuyue really defeated all the other competitors and took first place?!
“But her Yuan meridian is…” mumbled Jiang Yucheng to himself, but he soon swallowed the rest of his words as his suspicion grew. That shouldn’t happen! Chu Liuyue might be pretty talented, but she’s the worst of the lot with her Dijing Yuan meridian being at the intermediate level only. Everyone but her stood a chance at coming in first, but in the end…
“Does the Third Princess know about this?”
“She’s probably heard about it. The competition ended in the afternoon after all,” answered Sun Qi. I’ve been waiting here for Jiang Yucheng for a long time, so it doesn’t make sense that the Third Princess would be unaware of the news.
Jiang Yucheng figured the same. Given how concerned Shangguan Wan is over this matter, she must’ve sent someone out to gather the news on her behalf. She probably knows everything that has happened at Xuan Ji Square.
After straightening his clothes, he proceeded to walk forward with Sun Qi quietly following him.
The two of them quickly left Qingfeng Palace. They didn’t go far before they met a palace maid on the way.
Jiang Yucheng’s eyes clouded over for a second when he saw the palace maid approach and curtsy at him. “Your Highness, the Third Princess requests your presence.”
Even though it was a request, Jiang Yucheng couldn’t refuse. Thus, he said, “Lead the way.”
“Yes. Please follow me, Your Highness.”