Su Ru had learned the Formation Rupture by mimicking Xue Ling.
To enter the formation, they went around the tree thrice in the clockwise direction and anticlockwise four times. Then they continued by taking three steps to the left and four steps to the right. At this point, the courtyard was in sight and they will only need to proceed forward.
This basic formation was called the Forfeited Perception Formation. This ability allowed them to hide. However, it did not have any offensive capabilities.
With his fully-charged levitation skill, he reached the other side of the massive lake in less than a day.
The boat floated idly on the lake, carrying him to the Tai Hua Valley. He stood in the boat and stared into space with a contemplative look. He had remained motionless almost as if he turned into a statue.
The boat moved slightly along with the motions of the waves, but he remained still. After a whole day, he turned and left.
The formation of the Tai Hua Valley was complicated but equally powerful. It comprised of layers of formations. However, his discipline to form the formations was still lacking.
The first layer was the Forfeited Perception Formation and no one could ever get close to it. The second layer was the Rattle Soul Formation, which could cause people's minds to become unstable and easily disturbed. As they get trapped in the formation, their mental state will soon quickly decline and inevitably, the opponent will choose to commit suicide.
The final layer was the Deranged Five Elements Formation. Those who entered the formation will have racing heartbeats, blackened eyes, and spiked anxiousness. As the soldiers fought on, their vigor would flee in disarray. The more powerful the opponent's martial art skills were, the more fatal the damage could be inflicted upon them. If a person were to be trapped in that formation for a prolonged period of time, their internal organs will be severely damaged and eventually, they will die.
On the boat, Chu Li meditated for a whole day as he could only break through the first two formations. He could never pass the final formation. Thus, he needed more complicated calculations in order to break through it, just like solving a puzzle.
The greatest asset of this Deranged Five Elements was that it changed automatically as time passed, making it impossible to be guarding it constantly.
If he were to step inside without careful consideration, he would undoubtedly be trapped. Even though his austerities were powerful, the power of the formation was easily comparable to him as an elephant to an ant.
Since Tai Hua Valley had this formation's protection, they were still relatively stable. He didn't have to worry too much about Chen Ying.
He sailed his boat to the lakeside and reached the shore to return to the Public House.
Chu Li returned to the Public House. Just as he arrived at the courtyard, Su Ru immediately walked towards him and brought him to the Stargazing Tower as a request from the Lady.
As he entered the Stargazing Tower, Siao Qi furrowed her brows. She stood in front of the window, looking as dazzling as ever.
He gazed at Siao Qi who was wearing a white gown that accentuated her graceful back. Chu Li had a strong desire to move forward and embrace her in his arms. Instead, he just saluted and greeted, "Lady Siao Qi."
Siao Qi turned and faced him, her bright eyes sparkling clear like spring water, "That Imperial Maid wanted to commit suicide."
"I see" Chu Li muttered as he took the teacup that Su Ru served, "This makes it easier to settle it then. We just need to find her son."
"I can't convince her to tell the truth," Siao Qi frowned. She sighed and said, "She only has one goal, that is to let her son enter the Imperial Residence at all cost, ...Prince An is also very cruel. He had already made a horrible promise that even if she failed the assassination, she can take her life and it would enable her son to join the Imperial Residence. If the Imperial Maid died, Prince An will definitely make a fuss about it."
"If an Imperial Maid committed suicide in the Public House, the Emperor would most definitely not let this off easily. Prince An will surely make a fuss once more and turn a small matter into a relatively large one."
"Just leave it to me," Chu Li said.
Siao Qi graciously smiled.
She can read people's minds, but still not as good as Chu Li. She had no way to solve this but perhaps Chu Li could.
Chu Li followed Siao Qi to the Island of Symphony.
The Island of Symphony was busier than usual. The maids on the island could be seen walking to and fro. There were twice the amount of people now compared to the past.
The humming sound encompassed the island. It was clear and lofty.
Siao Shi was sitting in a pagoda in the Floral Sea, gently making vibratos whilst strumming the string. She hadn't noticed them as she was focusing on playing the zither.
Siao Qi and Chu Li decided not to disturb her. They immediately entered the pavilion on the west side.
Four male Protectors were seen outside the pavilion. Their long swords hung around their waists with eyes bright and shining. When they saw the two newcomers approaching, they saluted with a serious expression.
Siao Qi waved at them and entered a room on the second floor with Chu Li.
Chu Li saw someone lying on the couch. A middle-aged woman was lying there, motionless.
Her delicate face was pale and unlively while her complexion looked haggard. She glanced at Siao Qi and turned over her head as to show uninterest.
Siao Qi did not say anything and signaled Chu Li to about the woman and left the room.
Chu Li took a garden stool and sat in front of the couch, quietly looking at her.
After some time, the middle-aged Imperial Maid lost her temper. She scoffed and asked, "Who are you?"
Chu Li answered, "I'm Chu Li, a rank two Scribe from the Public House."
"So it's you." The Imperial Maid scoffed and said, "I have heard of you before."
"I must have disappointed you." Chu Li said calmly, "I can understand your actions. You fought for your child and that really was an admirable yet a pitiful deed."
The middle-aged Imperial Maid uttered nothing.
Chu Li asked, "Has your son reached five years of age?"
The Imperial Maid remained silent.
"So he is already ten now." Chu Li sighed and said, "He will lose his mother at the age of ten. His father would want to remarry, so the one who'll enter the Imperial Residence in the future might not be him. Perhaps it will be his younger brother."
The Imperial Maid's expression turned cold. Her gaze could send daggers into him.
Those words had struck her heart. She could not stop her thoughts from following what Chu Li had said.
If she really had died, her heartless husband will certainly remarry. A stepson could never compare to a biological one. No matter how virtuous the stepmother was, she will never treat her son as affectionately as hers.
The pitiful Young Quan would have to undergo countless hardships as her mother could not protect her son from anything in the world
Chu Li said, "I know that your son had already fallen into Prince An's hands."
The Imperial Maid pursed her lips.
"If I can save your son, will you still follow Prince An's orders?"
"Master Chu Li, you will not be able to take down Prince An."
"If Prince An had another way, why would he use this despicable trick?" Chu Li smiled confidently and asked, "Why didn't he assign an assassin to kill the Second Lady? Would that not be more efficient and straightforward?"
The Imperial Maid frowned and looked at him.
Chu Li said, "Prince An is not as powerful as you think. He could not do it so even if you betray Prince An, he cannot do anything to you! Of course, I will save your son first!"
The middle-aged Imperial Maid kept quiet.
Chu Li also patiently waited for her.
After a while, the middle-aged Imperial Maid asked, "What else can I do?"
She knew that if she did not have enough value for being used, they would not make much ado. Her son was being controlled by Prince An. How could it be that easy to save him?
"Your understanding towards the Palace is an invaluable treasure," Chu Li said, smiling.
The middle-aged Imperial Maid looked at him.
Chu Li went on, "Tell me where your son stays and I shall go get him this instant!"
The middle-aged Imperial Maid slowly nodded and told him an address.
Chu Li stood up and said, "I will do my best to get him back. I can only hope that Prince An has not struck a vicious blow."
"What?!" The middle-aged Imperial Maid shouted loudly.
Chu Li sighed, "Even if you can't murder the Second Lady, once something happens to the Second Lady while your son dies, who will everyone think the murderer is?"
The middle-aged Imperial Maid's complexion changed.
Since she was from the Imperial Residence, she had seen many schemes and cunning fights. However, deep inside her mind, she still wanted to ignore this possibility. But since Chu Li had cleared up the matter with that single sentence, her worries and fears suddenly rose to heart.
Chu Li smiled and did not say much. He gently left the room.
Siao Qi was sitting in the main hall on the first floor when she heard the sound of footsteps. Her bright eyes glanced over.
Chu Li and her left together. "I asked where her son lives and I shall take action immediately."
Siao Qi gently nodded and solemnly looked at him, "Sorry to disturb you again."
"I was born to be busy." Chu Li smiled and said, "I will go alone so that no rumors would be spread."
"I shall not pay a visit to the Second Lady this time."
"I will inform her about this."
Chu Li hurriedly left.
Siao Qi waited as his silhouette disappeared into the lake. Before that, she sighed and shook her head.
When she went to the pagoda in the Floral Sea, the sound of Siao Shi's zither had already stopped.
"Where is Chu Li?" Siao Shi looked behind her.
Siao Qi waved her hand as a signal to tell the maids to leave.
When all the maids have left the Floral Sea, only then she sat in front of Siao Shi. "He has left as he has errands to attend to."
"I shall send the order out."
"This matter is of great importance and urgency. He needs to be there personally."
"He is already a rank two Scribe."
"We have no choice. Anyone else would cause others to be unnerved."
"Just don't use it too cruelly." Siao Shi shook her head.
Siao Qi pursed her lips and smiled, "Sister Siao Shi, has he not already become your personal Scribe already?"
Siao Shi rolled her eyes. She scoffed and said, "You're talking about nonsense again!"