Chapter 3: Abduction
Early spring, the season of colors. The kingdom of Qiong Yue is thriving in prosperity, Huan Yang, its capital city is naturally impressive in all respects, even before entering the city, one can already hear the clamor inside the city which was bustling with noise and excitement, along the main road on both sides, there are many merchants and civilians busily entering and leaving the city of Huan Yang.
The cool breeze brushing softly the face, the song of the birds and the fragrant flowers, soon he will see the city gates of Huan Yang, Li Xu was both happy and fearful! Happy that after being on the run for more than ten days, encountering near misses, they are finally arriving; fearful because of the faces of the three ladies . . .
Inside the carriage, a slender arm is struggling to grasp the window frames which are not high, but unfortunately before it was able to reach them, it helplessly fell down.
Ah almost! Zhuo Qing once again tried to reach out her right hand, this time it was a little better, her fingers could touch the windowsill. Breathing deeply a few mouthfuls of air, Zhuo Qing shored up her body with as much strength left in her possible, it was a good toss, but she barely let herself sit up straight. The sweat on her forehead dripped to her cheeks, the pain caused by the wound on the right side of her face was terrible, but it also sobered up Zhuo Qing a bit.
She has been held in this small space for several days, and every day someone was feeding her with large amounts of sleep-inducing drug, a few days later, she pretended to be in deep coma, after pouring her with a few mouthfuls they had to give up. Her mind is now fairly clear, but her whole body is still limp.
Where is Gu Yun? After their office was attacked, were they taken away together, who are these people? What do they want? Why did they choose the carriage as a means of transport? Where is she right now? Zhuo Qing’s ever shrewd mind is running fast, hoping to find some clues, but unfortunately her mind is filled with a bunch of questions.
The traveling carriage suddenly stopped, outside the carriage, a familiar male voice sounded somewhat obsequious and respectful, “my Lord, the three ladies of the Qing family have been delivered to you . . . ”
She knew that voice, these days she often heard it in the carriage, he is the mastermind of the kidnapping. Outside the surroundings seemed a bit noisy, Zhuo Qing listened carefully, after a while, a slightly muffled male voice replied coldly: “The emperor has already passed an edict, the eldest young lady of the Qing family shall immediately enter the imperial palace, the second young lady shall be delivered to enter the Estate of Prime Minister Lou, the third young lady shall be delivered to enter the General Manor. Thanking Mister Li for your trouble, please reply!”
The emperor? The palace? Which country in the world is currently still practicing absolute monarchy? It turned out she had already been shipped out of China. She can glean from their conversation that she was kidnapped along with three other people, but where is Gu Yun? Zhuo Qing continued to eavesdrop with bated breath.
Outside the carriage, Li Xu immediately bowed and replied: “Many thanks to Qiong Yue emperor’s grace.”
The ritual official did not bother looking at Li Xu, his gaze swept across the three horse-drawn carriages and asked: “Which carriage is carrying the eldest of the Qing family?”
Li Xu, pointing to the carriage in the middle, hurriedly replied: “That one.”
Two men dressed in palace outfits rapidly approached the carriage, pulled the reins, and left together with the ritual official who said aloud, “back to the palace!”
A party of people entered the East Gate and went in slowly. Outside the city gates, there were two groups. Seeing the servants is knowing their masters, Li Xu, needed only a glance, already he knew, on his left donning a blue garment, refined and polite, must be the man from the Estate of the Prime Minister, on his right wearing a brilliant gray clothing, strong and tall build, of course, he must be from the General Manor.
Li Xu nodded politely, smiled and said: “The two misters, on this carriage is the second Qing young lady, on this carriage the third Qing young lady.”
Two men stepped forward and each pulled a carriage, they faced Li Xu and after cupping their fists in obeisance, they respectively moved and left in opposite directions, one headed towards south, the other to the north.
After the three carriages were led away, a soldier whispered: “Master Li, what do we do now?”
Li Xu raised his whip, and shouted: “Go back to Hao Yue kingdom.”
They did not even let them enter the imperial palace of Qiong Yue, without even one backward glance, they took second miss hastily away! But then on second thought, they are but from a small kingdom delivering over a few tributes, would they be welcomed grandly by the Qiong Yue kingdom, would a feast be hosted in honor of them? Li Xu looked back to the carriages gradually disappearing towards three directions, and heaved a sigh, “three young ladies, good luck to you.”
The carriage quickly ran off again. Zhuo Qing leaned against the side of the carriage, slowly lifted the curtain, the bright sunshine made her instantly close her eyes, it took a while to slowly adjust. Looking outside through the window, Zhuo Qing could not help but be surprised for a moment, this. . . where is this place?
How long has it been since she had seen such a clear blue sky, the air with a whiff of smell of green grass, towering trees lining on both sides of the road, each tree thick and lush. Looking towards the front of the carriage, Zhuo Qing was startled, ahead were four men wearing blue long gowns mounted on black, fine steeds, they have long hairs! And their outfits were too weird.
Looked down at herself wearing an ancient fire red wedding dress, Zhuo Qing felt somehow this matter does not seem to be a simple case of kidnapping. She reached out to touch her hair a bit, from a bun she gently pulled a strand, black hair? No, her hair is brown! And, not so long! Zhuo Qing who is always calm, suddenly her heart jolted, lifting her wide sleeves, on her right arm her skin is smooth as jade, her hands began to tremble uncontrollably, it is not her body! She has a ten-centimeter-long scar on her right arm!
What is going on?
Zhuo Qing’s hand curled tightly into a fist, she must calm down in order to figure out what is actually happening!
Unfortunately, before Zhuo Qing could calm down, the carriage suddenly stopped abruptly, nearly dumping her out of the carriage. Out of the dense thickets on both sides of the road more than a hundred people suddenly hurtled out, all dressed in commoner’s clothes, their ages range from young to old, they were all holding in their hands. . . poles and hoes!
Lan Ziqi gawked for a moment, they did not appear to be bandits, but he already unsheathed his sword slowly, his voice clear, he asked: “Who are you, people?”
Who knew, this crowd of people without any explanation, upon hearing a portly man in their midst who yelled, “Attack!”, without any order or method whatsoever, a group of people suddenly swarmed around them, their single target is the carriage.
Lan Ziqi and the three other guards immediately drew out their swords to fight, but unfortunately they were too many, several men climbed up on the carriage, whipping the horse to run, they saw the carriage escaped away, but, these people did not come to fight, everywhere and to all directions they dispersed and fled away. That portly man who just yelled “attack” ran all the way, all the while yelling: “Go back and tell Prime Minister Lou, if he wants his woman to be returned, let him come in person to the Niu Jia [cattle] village!”
If not for the couple of hoes thrown on the ground and left by some, the carriage out of sight, they could hardly believe the scene that had just taken place! It played out like a farce! The dumbfounded guard looked to Lan Ziqi, and asked: “what are we going to do now?”
“Go back and report it!” What else could be done! Lan Ziqi grimaced. He is just a lowly guard in the Estate of the Prime Minister, Chief Jing can be counted on to take care of the matter, let him come and take over, just before the capital who knew this incident could happen!
Running for more than half an hour later, the carriage finally stopped, outside there was a clamor. A moment later, a sonorous male voice politely shouted outside of the carriage: “Miss, please come out of the carriage.”
Zhuo Qing cursed under her breath, she’d like to come out of the carriage, but the problem is, her limbs right now are very weak, to sit up is even difficult, let alone come out of the carriage?
Nothing happened in the carriage for a long time, Wu Si waved to the big group of men behind, indicating that they should not make any noise, the person is a girl, if they’re so noisy he fears she might get frightened of them. Wu Si cleared his throat with a mild cough, deliberately he softened his voice, and whispered: “Miss, do not be afraid, we are not bad people! We just want to meet Prime Minister Lou that is why we got you. But, do not worry, we will not hurt you, after seeing Prime Minister Lou, we will let you go!”
Within the carriage there was still silence, the people in the group looked at each other, the lady did not faint, right?
Just when Wu Si didn’t know how to proceed, a cold female voice rang out from the carriage, “you’ve said enough, come in and help me.”