Outside the Fairy's Capital stood Chu Li, gauging and sizing the majestic and towering fortress.
An old town with thousands of years of history. The town had gone through many joys and sorrows, whether it be families being formed and being torn apart, or the problems of family and country. Prosper and ruin marked the land.
The walls scaled hundreds of meters, much like a thirty-story building in modern times. The skies and the earth were enveloped by the massive beast and the people it enclosed within it looked like ants from the top.
Moss filled the blocks that form the wall of the town, retaining the effects of the passage of time.
Chu Li stood under the town and looked around for a short while before bringing his horse through the town's gate which looked like it could reach the clouds. The Head of Town Defence took one look at his waist tag and signaled to let Chu Li pass.
As he stepped into town, the hustle and bustle of the city flooded his senses. The shouts of vendors and noises of bargaining, the sounds of laughing, scolding, and many more rushed through his ears.
His horse slowly cantered through the crowd. After two thousand and five hundred meters of travel, a tall and mighty town gate laid before his eyes. The inner town gate stood before him with strict checking policies. About ten guards stood there with sharp minds. All of them were veterans who had walked through battlefields.
Chu Li had the waist tag of the Public House's Scribe so he was allowed passage without much issue through his journey. After three miles of travel, he finally arrived at the lofty Imperial Residence.
A plaque with the words 'Imperial Residence of Prince An' was hung on top on the entrance, each character glimmering in a blinding gold.
Hanging above the gate of the Imperial Residence was an inscribed plate that read "Imperial Residence of Prince An". The five words that made up the plate shined brightly in its golden splendor.
The gatehouse was littered with yellow glazed roof tiles and the red paint that coated the main gate scaled ten meters high. It was so bright it could even serve as a mirror. The rows of brass tacks shined in brilliance.
Under the lofty gatehouse was four Protectors that were stationed there. Chu Li and his horse were met with glares full of murderous intent.
Chu Li tied his horse to the hitching pillar right beside the gate and walked toward the stairs. He fist saluted and greeted clearly, "I'm the rank two Scribe of the Yi Public House, Chu Li. I've been assigned to send Prince An a letter."
His voice was gentle as it slowly reverberated throughout the vicinity. Almost the entirety of the Imperial Residence heard his voice.
The four Protectors continued to glare at him. They were not too fond of how loud he was.
A small door to the side opened and a well-dressed middle-aged man walked out. He stood by the stairs and looked at Chu Li as he nonchalantly asked, "The Yi Public House?"
Chu Li nodded, "Yes."
"Pass the letter to me," the well-dressed man slowly stretched out his hand.
His face was clear as jade. He looked handsome with an elegant and refined temperament, like a middle-aged Confucian Scholar that was full of knowledge. It was completely unlike a person who tended to the door, a concierge.
Chu Li sighed to himself. Even the concierge of the An's Imperial Residence was not normal.
Chu Li took out the letter and went up nine steps of stairs. As he stood in front of the man, he presented the letter.
The well-dressed man received the letter and lowered his head to look at it. He lazily continued, "Come in, since you're from the Yi Public House."
Chu Li fist saluted.
The man dragged himself through the small door as Chu Li followed his footsteps. Chu Li did not mention how disrespectful the man was, as he would have given Chu Li a lesson when he joined the Imperial Residence of Prince An. Now was not the time to flare up.
The well-dressed man entered the Imperial Residence. He signaled to call for a maid, "Arrange a guest room for this person from the Yi Public House."
"Understood, Chief Zhu," The delicate maid politely replied and greeted Chu Li, "Please follow me, Master."
Chu Li nodded and smiled as he activated Omniscient Mirror to observe Chief Zhu. He arched his eyebrows to himself.
The man was not the concierge. Instead, he was actually the Chief of the treasury of the Imperial Residence of Prince An. Hearing Chu Li's introduction with his arrival from the Yi Public House, he personally went to see how the Scribe of the Yi Public House looked like.
Chu Li followed the maid through an arch, arriving at a courtyard on the other side.
He activated the Omniscient Mirror, checking on the well-dressed man. Chief Zhu went through the third entrance of the courtyard and arrived at a wide and empty courtyard, stopping below the white jade staircase. He reported politely, "Prince, there's a Scribe from the Yi Public House who sent a letter."
Chu Li saw it all in his mind, a middle-aged man around his forties sat in the study room of the central hall. The man's face was square, yellow, and sickly as well. The bridge of his nose was straight and upright with triangular eyes along with quite the common appearance.
The man gently stroked his musketeer mustache. He looked like he was deep in thought as he stared at a scroll.
Chu Li smiled at the maid as he sat at the stone table beside the courtyard. He grabbed a cup of tea and gently took a sip. The man he saw was surely the Emperor's fourth son, Prince An.
Omniscient Mirror also picked up traces from the wide and empty courtyard. Specifically, the traces of ten Grandmasters who were protecting Prince An in secret. The level of these Grandmasters were not inferior to that of Khing and the rest. They hid in dark areas like statues, unmoving.
Apart from that, no other maid was present in the courtyard, only Prince An.
The prince put down the book and opened the window, "The Yi Public House?"
"Indeed," Chief Zhu lowered his voice, "It's the rank two Scribe, Chu Li, here to send the letter personally."
It did not matter what Residence, Public House, or Imperial Residence, most Scribes were rank nine. Rank two was already an extraordinary rank. As the treasurer, Chief Zhu was still only rank four but the young fellow in his presence was rank two. He was a little jealous.
Although, rank four of the Imperial Residence was still far more honorable than that of the Public House's. Clearly, he had no need to bend the knee in front of the fellow!
"Hmm, a rank two Scribe. It must be an important letter. Present it to me," Prince An calmly said.
Chief Zhu walked forward to the window under the plum tree and presented the letter with both hands.
Prince An tore off the wax seal, slowly took out the letter and read it word by word. His yellow face started to become gloomy, scaring Chief Zhu.
"Hah!" Prince An aggressively struck the window frame and laughed coldly.
Chief Zhu carefully raised his head.
Prince An scoffed, "Elder Zhu, your younger brother is dead!"
"What!?" Chief Zhu was shocked. He quickly asked, "Why!?"
"He was slain mid-journey!" Prince An continued as he coldly laughed, "Seems like I wasn't in their sights!"
Chief Zhu's expression turned gloomy as well, "Prince, he was my only brother"
"Enough. I thought that this was a pleasant task but it ended up being a one way ticket. Who can we even blame?" Prince An impatiently waved his hand, "Wasn't it you who begged me to have your younger brother join?"
"Prince, who did it?" both of Chief Zhu's eyes had gouts of flames bursting out of it as he clenched his teeth.
"Young High Duke Xiao says that it was the Ren Public House who did it!" Prince An coldly laughed, "We can only doubt his statement. Call the Scribe over!"
"Understood!" Chief Zhu replied with in a deeper voice.
Chu Li activated Omniscient Mirror to its finest point to read Prince An's mind.
After Chief Zhu left, Prince An threw the letter on the table, coldly laughing and shaking his head as he did.
Chu Li was shocked as he furrowed his brows.
Prince An had put a few informants in the Envoys of his Imperial Residence so they could send secret information to the Ren Public House. They had used the name of Ren Public House to kill the band of Envoys.
The one reason he did this was because he did not intend to marry Siao Shi.
Having an allied marriage between the Prince and a Public House was a big taboo, especially when she was already a princess. If she ascended to the throne, she will have become an empress and the Yi Public House would have rendered Imperial leadership ineffective due to the eventual lack of respect to authority. Controlling this would be very hard in the future.
More importantly, if he married the Lady of the Yi Public House, he will have no hope of inheriting anything, rendering his chances of becoming Emperor null.
He, as a Prince, was only one step away from a position of absolute power! The lives and properties of the people belonged to him! There was no reason for him to stop here!
The fact alone was enough for him to come up with many schemes to void the marriage. Killing the Envoys of the Imperial Residence was only the first step of many tricks up his sleeve. If none of it worked, he still had his ace in the hole. He knew that Siao Shi had consistently poor health, if he said that she died because of illness, no one would find that weird and he would be able to cut off his relationship with the Yi Public House.
Chu Li sat beside the stone table, eyebrows furrowed. He was filled with boiling anger.
Inevitably, they were related to the Royal Household by blood, a cold-hearted nature.
The younger brother of the treasurer was simply a trick to divert suspicion away from him. He was willing to sacrifice the others without a second thought. A temperament and heart like that, a true disappointment to the people.
In comparison, Tie Ying, Siao Shi, and Siao Qi were like innocent children in the face of Prince An's schemes. They would have not even qualified as his opponents if they tried. Fortunately, Siao Qi has the ability to read one's mind, so she could easily see through his intentions.
However, by the time Siao Qi even meets Prince An, everything would have been a foregone conclusion. It would have been far too late.