Xia Xun dug a pit with his bare hands and buried Yuzhu.
A small grave mound was much more rudimentary than the tomb he had erected for Yuzhu in Lingnan.
Xia Xun had nothing to bury Yuzhu with. He took off the jade hairpin on his head, put it into the grave and buried it with his dog.
He thought he would cry, but he didn’t.
He touched his face with his muddy hands, and it did feel wet, but it was definitely not tears.
He raised his head, and a few sporadic drops of water fell on his skin.
It was raining.
Xia Xun wiped the rain from his face. He knew very well that he should go back as soon as possible.
Qi Hui and Zhi Gui must have woken up, but he could at least rush back before Qi Yan returned to the mansion.
If Qi Yan came back and found that he was not there, Qi Hui and Zhi Gui would be punished by him again.
But he couldn’t move.
He didn’t want to go back. The last person he wanted to see at this moment was Qi Yan.
He knelt on the ground, his heart empty.
He lost something that was very important to him. He didn’t feel sad, he just felt lost.
Suddenly there was a voice behind him:
“So you are here.”
Xia Xun shivered all over with shock and turned his head abruptly: “Who is it?!”
Behind him, a man dressed in black stood under the eaves of the house, with a crow perching on his shoulder.
Xia Xun asked coldly, “Who are you?”
The man came out from under the eaves:
“We met just yesterday, did you forget? You also used what I gave you.”
It turned out to be the Hu man from last night.
Xia Xun looked alertly and asked in a low voice:
“Why are you here?”
The man pointed to the crow on his shoulder:
“My bird is trained. As soon as you use my fragrance, it can smell it dozens of miles away, and…”
He looked at Xia Xun with interest:
“I thought you would use it on Qi Yan. I didn’t expect that you would just drug two servants.”
Xia Xun stared at him warily.
The Hu walked up to him, tilted his head to look at him for a while, and said:
“Why are your eyes red and there are water marks on your face? Are you sad that your dog is dead?”
Xia Xun was taken aback.
Did he see it all just now? Since when was he there?
He blocked Yuzhu’s grave with his body and muttered: “What do you want?”
The man didn’t care and shrugged:
“I thought you finally started with Qi Yan and wanted to pick up the corpse. Who would have thought he was not dead. Then I took a look by the way to see if there was anything I could do to help you.”
Xia Xun was full of suspicions:
“You want to kill him? Why? Why do you want to help me again? Did you write the note hidden in the pastry before?”
The man’s eyes curved in a smile, which could be regarded as acquiescence. Then he raised his hand, took off his mask and revealed his face.
He had a standard Hu appearance, with a high nose and deep eyes, and slightly curly brown hair.
He smiled and looked at Xia Xun:
“Don’t you think I look familiar when you see my face? Tell you a secret.” He pressed his finger to his lips and looked inscrutable: “I have known you since you were in Douzhou. Isn’t your surname Dong? You live in Chengnan with your brother.” ”
Xia Xun was shocked, unable to hide his stunned expression.
The Hu man laughed even more happily and continued:
“In fact, the day Qi Yan arrived in Lingnan, I was watching you. Didn’t you notice it?”
Xia Xun’s hair stood on end; his whole body was stiff with anxiety as he squeezed out a few words:
“…what do you want?”
The Hu man didn’t care, walking around Xia Xun leisurely:
“Don’t be so nervous. My goal is Qi Yan, not you. I have come to you twice just to ask if you would like to join forces with me and kill him together.”
He was in good spirits, his light brown eyes gleaming in the dark rainy night.
Xia Xun stared at him intenty, without blinking:
“Why do you want to kill Qi Yan? Do you hold a grudge against him?”
The Hu man said bitterly:
“Of course not! Not long ago, I didn’t even know his name!”
Xia Xun asked again:
“Then why kill him? Is it an order from someone else?”
The Hu man smiled and looked at him fixedly:
“You can’t get anything from me. Just tell me, would you like to cooperate with me?”
Xia Xun was full of vigilance:
“I don’t even know who you are, how can I cooperate with you?”
The Hu man was prepared a long time ago:
“Don’t rush to refuse, I’ll give you another good thing!”
He stretched out his hand; there was a wooden whistle in his palm.
“This is a bird whistle. People can’t hear it, but birds can. I’ll give you a few days to think about it. If you make up your mind, blow this whistle. As long as you blow it, no matter where, I will come to you immediately and find you without failure.”
He made this promise softly, with a smile, as if he was talking about a lifelong love.
Xia Xun didn’t move.
The two were in a stalemate for a long time, until the Hu man suddenly grabbed his hand and threw the wooden whistle into the opening of his sleeve.
“I don’t have time to talk to you, someone is coming, I have to go quickly.”
He wanted to leave but suddenly stopped, turned around and told Xia Xun:
“I’m a good man, and I kindly remind you that if you don’t want to go back to Qi Mansion, just leave as soon as possible. Their people are already outside.”
After saying that, just like last night, he disappeared into the night quickly.
Xia Xun didn’t expect Qi Yan’s people to find this place so soon.
If he went back obediently, Qi Yan would definitely ask where he had been.
Xia Xun didn’t want to talk to him, he didn’t even have the strength to be in the same room with him.
Before Qi Yan’s people broke in, he left Xia Mansion through the back door.
He walked aimlessly on the road, like a remnant of a homeless wandering soul.
The rain got heavier, and he quickly got wet from head to toe, even his shoes were full of water.
On the road, passers-by looked at him sideways. The vendor selling umbrellas followed him for a few streets, trying to sell him the bamboo umbrellas on his hands.
Xia Xun was silent and just moved forward blindly.
The vendor saw that he was not going to buy and spat at him.:
“Bah! I didn’t know he was a mute! And a poor mute! Can’t even afford to buy an umbrella!”
Xia Xun ignored him and walked forward sullenly.
He had no destination, no direction, submitting to his instincts completely, walking in the torrential rain.
He didn’t know how long it took him to walk. There were fewer and fewer people on the street and the shops closed one by one.
It rained heavily all the time; he was wrapped in clothes soaked in water, shivering in the cold wind.
Even so, he did not stop.
Then, after a long time, a carriage quietly approached him from behind.
Someone was calling him:
“Xia Xun? Xia Xun! Is it you??”
He thought that Qi Yan’s people had finally found him, so he couldn’t help but speed up.
The carriage quickly caught up with him, stopped in front of him and blocked his way.
Someone jumped out of the carriage.
—It was He Cong.
“Xia Xun! What’s the matter with you?! Why did you run from Qi Mansion alone? Why are you so pale? You’re all wet! ”
Xia Xun blinked, and the pouring rain ran down his face.
He replied indifferently: “I’m fine.”
He Cong took the umbrella from his little servant and raised it over his head.
“No matter what, get in the carriage with me first!”
He practically dragged Xia Xun into the carriage, took out a handkerchief from his sleeve and threw it to him.:
“Quickly wipe the water! Beware of catching a cold and getting sick!”
Xia Xun held the handkerchief, motionless.
He Cong gave a “tsk” in dissatisfaction and said deliberately:
“Do you want me to wipe it for you! I am a married man! Even if I treated you before — that was before, I am now —”
“Yuzhu is gone,” Xia Xun said suddenly.
He Cong was stunned: “Huh? Who is gone?”
Xia Xun raised the handkerchief and wiped the water from his face.
“Yuzhu, my dog, is dead.”
He Cong didn’t understand:
“Your dog? What do you mean? When did you have a dog? Qi Yan bought it for you? Or did you bring it from Lingnan?”
He Cong had never seen Yuzhu. Xia Xun had told him about him many years ago, but he obviously didn’t remember.
Xia Xun smiled self-deprecatingly, shook his head and whispered:
“…nothing, just treat it as if I’m talking nonsense…”
He Cong didn’t ask anything else; he would never do anything against Xia Xun’s will.
He was harbouring a fire in his heart, still angry with Qi Yan. He raised his eyebrows and said to Xia Xun:
“Don’t mind the nonsense, Qi Yan has found out that you are gone! He thought I took you away, and he made a scene in front of my house just now! You haven’t seen it, he brought so many people! I think he can’t wait to kill me with his sword!! ”
Xia Xun lowered his head.
He Cong frowned:
“Don’t give me this look! Go back home with me first and change into dry clothes! Let him worry! Wait until dawn, I will send you back!”
Xia Xun shook his head.
“In that case, the people who serve me will suffer. Qi Yan will not spare them. I don’t want to hurt others. I have walked outside long enough and my mind is clear, it’s time for me to go back.”
With that said, he was about to get out of the carriage.
He Cong grabbed him:
“I still say, why don’t you simply escape! I’ll send you out of town now!”
He Cong’s little servant coughed a few times.
“Ahem ahem—! My lord, with all due respect, Lord Qi sent a lot of people to search for this young man all over the city! If you want him to go out of town, I’m afraid it won’t be that easy!”
He was so scared that He Cong would be implicated by Xia Xun that he hurriedly interfered, ignoring his position and inferiority.
Xia Xun reassured him, turned to He Cong and said:
“I cannot go, nor will I go… I met a strange Hu yesterday. I don’t know who he is. He said he was in Lingnan—”
He suddenly stopped.
He Cong asked, “In Lingnan, then what? Why don’t you continue?”
Xia Xun initially wanted to say that the Hu man’s origin was mysterious and he couldn’t leave without knowing it.
He swallowed his words again.
“Nothing,” Xia Xun said softly. “In short, I can’t leave the capital for the time being.”
He Cong leaned back heavily:
“You’re so stubborn! I can’t talk you out of it! It’s fine if you don’t go, but I can’t just let Qi Yan off the hook! I’ll send you back to Qi Mansion myself!”
Xia Xun said in confusion:
“He is already your enemy, why do you want to come to his door to provoke him?”
He Cong refused to answer: “Don’t worry about that! Anyway, if he sees that I sent you back, he’ll be so angry that he’ll be smoking!”
Qi Yan sat in the chair, holding the armrests so tightly that his knuckles turned white and the wooden armrests creaked.
Not long ago, he and Qi Hui entered Xia Mansion and dug up Yuzhu’s grave.
He saw the corpse of the old dog, as well as Xia Xun’s wooden hairpin buried in the ground with it.
As soon as he saw the hairpin, there was a sharp pain in his chest. He looked as if he lost his soul, took a few steps back and almost fell to the ground.
Yuzhu died at Xia Mansion and was buried by Xia Xun himself, but Xia Xun disappeared without a trace.
On such a night of bitter wind and rain, Xia Xun had not returned for such a long time.
Where would he go? What would he do?
Qi Yan had to think of the worst outcome.
He held Xia Xun’s wooden hairpin in his hand and ordered in a hoarse voice.:
“Go find him! Take someone to find him immediately!”
Qi Hui took the order to leave, and soon brought back terrible news.
The guards of the imperial city salvaged a male corpse in the moat, tall and thin, about twenty years old.
“My lord, this subordinate has already asked someone to… bring the body back. The identity of the deceased has not been determined yet. When you see it — ”
Qi Hui couldn’t go on.
After following Qi Yan over the years, he knew better than anyone what kind of life Qi Yan had after Xia Xun’s death.
Now, Xia Xun was finally back.
If he really killed himself because of Yuzhu’s death, Qi Hui was not sure if his lord could survive.
Qi Hui knelt down:
“If it is really the young master, this subordinate will immediately commit suicide to apologize!”
Qi Yan almost gritted the words, one by one:
“I don’t want your life. I want Xia Xun to come back intact.”
The body in the river was quickly transported and placed in the front yard.
Qi Yan staggered over with Qi Hui’s help.
His hand was trembling, and he raised it three times before he pulled away the white cloth covering the corpse.
Waiting to see the face of the corpse clearly, he suddenly felt his breath stagnate. His brain buzzed, his vision turned black and he couldn’t see anything for a while.
Qi Hui’s legs shook and he almost fell to the ground softly.
“Fortunately… it’s not the young master…”
Qi Yan put down the white cloth.
He stood in the pouring rain and said haltingly:
“You must get him back tonight. If there is no trace of him before dawn, I—”
The guards rushed in from the gate of the mansion, interrupting Qi Yan.
“My lord! Master Xia is back!”