Chapter 9: Nowhere to Hide
After many days on the road, Durian was very tired but had a good sleep. In his dream, he became the Lord and Qin Jiu became his servant. He was lying on his couch, asleep, while the witch was on her knees massaging him.
“Comfortable?” Qin Jiu asked with a smile. Durian nodded and felt very comfortable. He pointed to his right leg, “Here.”
Qin Jiu blinked her big eyes and suddenly kissed him on the forehead, “My husband, are you comfortable now?” Durian heard the word “husband”, sneezed in his dream, and suddenly woke up.
A black bean eye stared at him when he opened his eyes. It took him a moment to realize it was Yellow Hair on his chest, tilting his head and looking at him. After he saw him wake, he pecked his red beak against Durian’s forehead three times: “Lazy guy, lazy guy… Get up!”
Durian put his hand on his painful forehead in tears. It must be Yellow Hair who pecked him in dream for that forehead kiss to happen. Thank goodness the nightmare didn’t come true. He’d rather be pecked by Yellow Hair a thousand times than be the witch’s husband.
Durian got up quickly and went out to serve Qin Jiu. Since he saw the martial arts skill of Qin Jiu, Durian felt that his intention to escape from her was just a dream.
Durian saw Loquat standing in front of Qin Jiu’s door and went and waited too. A moment later, Cherry and Lychee came out with a basin and Qin Jiu also walked out.
Qin Jiu wore a caramel-red palace dress with wide sleeves and a belt. White patterns were embroidered on the red brocade clothes, extending from the waist to the bottom. A purple girdle tightened her slender waist to accentuate her slim figure. Around her shoulders was a maroon fur coat, there was a moving sheen and an undulating light with her every movement. The black hair was tightened into a bun, with a purple-red agate flower in the center. The wind came from the long corridor, bringing fresh and cold air. The long dress spread out in the wind, adding a fairy spirit to her threatening charm.
Qin Jiu glanced at Durian and said, “Today, Loquat and Lychee will accompany me to the palace. Cherry and Durian will stay in the pavilion.” Durian’s eyes moved to Qin Jiu’s plump lips, suddenly remembering the dream, and his face turned hot. He covered his face and said, “Okay, I’ll stay.”
Qin Jiu went out of the Pavilion, riding to the Palace. It wasn’t early in the morning, and Tianmen Street was busy like usual. At this time, there were many pedestrians on the street. The carriage moved slowly, but Qin Jiu’s body was still in pain. Though she rested a night and the bleeding was stopped, when she sat on the jolting carriage, she still didn’t feel comfortable. Qin Jiu ordered Loquat to hang out the Heaven Sect’s mark — a glazed rose lantern.
“The rose lantern!” People in the street all moved to the side. Thus, Qin Jiu’s carriage was able to pass all the way to the imperial Palace. The carriage stopped in front of the gate, and Qin Jiu ordered Loquat to present the Heaven Sect’s jade pendant. After a while, a eunuch came to lead the way.
The carriage couldn’t ride in the Palace, so Qin Jiu got off and followed the eunuch. When she looked up, there were many buildings in front of her, with high and low cornices and upturned corners, and she felt the coldness inside these glittering buildings. She followed the eunuch, turning left and right many times, before finally arriving at an elegant palace. She looked up and saw the three words “Jing Xiu Palace” with black characters on a blue board. The eunuch went inside while Qin Jiu, Loquat, Lychee waited outside.
The master of Jing Xiu Palace was Concubine Hui, a concubine of Emperor Qin. She was also the left envoy of the Heaven Sect. The Heaven Sect was the leader of all groups in the DaYu dynasty. It had been more than 100 years since it was established.
The leader of the first generation of the Heaven Sect was Lian Sikong, the hero of DaYu dynasty. He was almost as famous as the first emperor of the country. It was said that with the help of the Heaven Sect, the emperor successfully overthrew the old dynasty and established the new DaYu dynasty. However, he rejected the offer from the emperor to stay in the Palace. Instead, he left one of his disciples to stay in the Palace to serve the emperor, and stayed the leader of the Heaven Sect, living in freedom. After that, every 25 years, the DaYu dynasty would invite a disciple from the Heaven Sect to the Palace. The last few years, the disciples of the Heaven Sect had went from the dynasty hall to the harem.
After waiting for a while, the eunuch in charge of Jing Xiu Palace came out and welcomed Qin Jiu into the Palace. Qin Jiu took a deep breath, and walked slowly into the warm Palace. With the warm smell of hot air, Qin Jiu lifted her eyes and looked at the lady sitting in the middle of the room.
She was no more than 30 years old, wearing a golden butterfly palace dress, covered with a stone-blue ermine coat. Her black hair was tied into a chignon, with five phoenix beads on top. Her skin was white and exquisite, eyes full of majesty and temperament. There were several eunuchs on her left and right.
Qin Jiu bowed down under the sharp eyes of Concubine Hui and said, “I am Qin Jiu, leader of the Heaven Sect’s Reed Branch.”
“You are the new leader of the Reed Branch? Stand up.” Concubine Hui said without expression. Qin Jiu stood and looked at Concubine Hui. She had a pair of phoenix eyes with natural charm; her black eyes were crystal clear with intelligence.
Concubine Hui nodded and happily said, “I got a letter from Xi’er, saying she didn’t want to come to Lijing and sent you here instead. Although I haven’t met you before, I like you very much after seeing you.” She patted the seat to the side, “Come sit down. Let me take a good look at you.”
Qin Jiu smiled and stood still, “Thank you very much, but Qin Jiu rushed all the way to Lijing, encountering a number of assassins on the way. Now, I am also catching a cold, and don’t wish to get close and pass it on to you. Please forgive me.”
Concubine Hui was surprised, “Encountered many assassins? Who were they?”
Qin Jiu sighed softly, “I haven’t found out. However, I met His Highness Anling on Tianmen street, and he seems to despise the Heaven Sect greatly.”
Concubine Hui sighed, “You have to be careful every step here. If anything comes up, come to see me and I’ll stand up for you. As for His Highness Anling, he really does dislike us; just try to avoid him for now.”
Qin Jiu replied in the affirmative. Concubine Hui continued, “I don’t know what position the emperor assigned for you. I think he’s already finished his work today, so let me take you to see him!” Concubine Hui spoke, following after, a maid came to put a coat on her and she took Qin Jiu to the study room of the emperor. They were walking along the imperial road; in the meantime, they saw people hurrying this way too.
Qin Jiu raised her eyes and recognized at the head was His Highness Anling Yan Su, whom she met on Tianmen Street.
Some people were destined to be unavoidable, Qin Jiu thought. Yan Su wore a palace outfit, not a horseback riding outfit like last night.