Ming Feizhen and Shen Yiren never ran out of subjects to talk about. They had pretty much finished talking about the entire debacle yesterday, but there were no restrictions on what they could talk about with each other, not to mention all the ways conversations could branch off. Their conversation wasn’t limited to just national affairs; it also included gossip.
“Her Majesty seriously liked to bite feet when she was a kid?”
“My shiniang told me. Where’s the room for doubt? Brilliant Consort was an even bigger fan.”
“How do you know that?”
“Obviously because… What time is it?”
Shen Yiren gazed out the window and chuckled. “We almost lost track of time. If we don’t start getting ready, we won’t be able to head back today.”
Saved! Almost had to tell the story with Brilliant Consort there.
“Boss, I have some business to settle.”
“No worries. I have to talk to Wawa anyhow and clean up. We’ll leave from the front doors in two hours.”
“Roger that. Roger that.” Ming Feizhen went off to find Hong Jiu. Finding Hong Jiu pacing around at the front of his room, thinking about what to do about the wedding cakes whilst enjoying a chicken drumstick, Ming Feizhen called, “Second, I have a job for you.”
Hong Jiu instantly spat out the chicken bone he had in his mouth. “At your service.”
Ming Feizhen dragged Hong Jiu over to quiet corner and quietly instructed, “I have a stash of valuables hidden at…”
With every nod, Hong Jiu’s eyes and mouth would stretch wider. “Leader, you struck it rich.”
“Mm, I’ve done the math. The longer we leave it, the more chances there are for things to go awry, so gather up our Night Fortress brothers to assist. However, you can’t take too many people into the underground palace, so select capable people, like Hawk Blade, Wolf Sword and whatever, about twenty people. Move the stuff at night. Keep the majority of the team on lookout outside. Prepare… several hundred chests. Don’t leave anything behind. Two items are especially important. Don’t let anyone see them. Give me your ear.”
Afraid he’d miss something whispered to him or that someone would catch it if he noted the instructions down on paper, Hong Jiu scribbled hundreds of symbols on his body. “Understood. I will first cover them with cloth sheets and then have them transported after I remove it.”
Ming Feizhen bobbed his head. “Return to the capital once you’re done. My future hinges on it, so I have to entrust it to you.”
“It is no big deal, Leader. You would have to be blind to dare rob us in Hangzhou. I am just worried about letting you head back alone.”
Ming Feizhen wagged his hand. “Don’t worry. What’s there to fear now that Jiang Chen is gone? During my time as a captive, I discovered that it makes no difference whether I have my internal energy or not. Worst comes to worst, I’ll fool some more people. Besides, you’re not in much better shape than I am. Have our Night Fortress brothers keep you safe in the centre. Maybe nobody dares to climb our mountain, but that’s not necessarily the case in the city. Some Fiends’ Genesis members were caught there not long ago, no? You need to look out, too.”
“I understand. I’m a little sad that we have to separate already when we’ve just been reunited.”
Ming Feizhen grabbed Hong Jiu’s hand and patted it. “I know. Once we’re done settling everything in the capital, let’s go chill for a few months. Once we’re back, I’ll set up your marriage. You’re not a kid anymore, yet you’re still single. Uncle Hong Ba must be worried sick.”
Hong Jiu scrubbed the back of his head. “No one cares if he is worried, but I cannot get ahead of you.”
“Me?” Whatever Ming Feizhen thought of made him blink a lot and space out.
“Huh? Uh, oh, it’s still too soon for me. You first.”
In his mind, Ming Feizhen saw a vivid image of someone smiling side by side with him in the moment that he spaced out; never had he pictured such a scene so vividly. The mere thought of it made his heart would beat faster.
Ming Feizhen scratched his head.
What’s the matter with me? Joking around is more enough. Why am I hoping to have someone’s wife?
Ming Feizhen shook his thoughts out, then continued, “Take care.”
“Understood. I shall get moving, then.”
“Godspeed.” Recalling a message he forgot, Ming Feizhen grabbed Hong Jiu’s arm after his good wish. “If you run into trouble, don’t try to fight. If I don’t have money, I can always find more, but I only have one second brother.”
Hong Jiu acknowledged with his head and then departed.
The underground palace was no longer a secret to the imperial court, Fiends’ Genesis or his own allies anymore. In fact, there were probably more people eyeing the treasures who he didn’t know about. That was why Hong Jiu deemed it necessary to plunder it today. Once he finished planning the job out in his head, he bid farewell to Bai Zhiqing, Lady Bai and so forth, then headed out without a moment of hesitation. When he reached the main doors, though, he started walking at a crawl.
“Leaving?” Master Qi stepped out of the inn briskly.
Despite having a tonne of prepared things to say, Hong Jiu ended up stiffly replying, “Mm, I have a job.”
Master Qi inhaled. She had the grumpy face of someone who didn’t receive their rightful goodbye, and she wanted to curse at Hong Jiu, but she couldn’t bring herself to.
Why do I have to curse him? What right do I have to curse him? What obligation does he have to tell me he’s leaving? He’s a disciple of Mount Daluo, the young master of Beggars Sect. Does he have to report every single thing to you when he’s busy?
Bottling up all her anger, Master Qi nodded. “Fair. I have to return to the capital, as well.” She looked intently at Hong Jiu and added, “… Take care,” then headed back inside.
As he watched her silhouette shrink, Hong Jiu started to feel antsy, but he knew he couldn’t dally. Among Mount Daluo’s disciples, he was usually the one who came up with the most ideas, yet he suddenly couldn’t think of anything to say. Before she completely vanished, he yelled from where he stood, “I-I’ll be heading back to the capital in a few days, too!”
Master Qi flinched and stopped on the spot for a moment, then sprinted back to Hong Jiu. With a finger pointed at his nose, she exclaimed, “Wh-wh-what’s that got to do with me?!”
“Never said it had anything to do with you! I was just saying.”
“Tell someone else, then, weirdo! I’m leaving!” Master Qi stomped prior to running back inside.
The confused hidden hero defeatedly left.
Hong Jiu looked over his shoulder. Master Qi, lips pursed and nose wrinkled, stood staring back at him in the distance.
“My name is Wen Qiqi.” She then ran two steps, only to turn around with red ears. “Forget it already! You’re so annoying!” This time, she ran off without looking back, so Hong Jiu never saw the small upward curve at her lips.
Hong Jiu stared in the direction Wen Qiqi went for a while before stupidly smiling. “What a nice name.”