On the second day, when Zheng Lide and Meng Zhi arrived, they could not find Prince An in his study room. He was not found in his courtyard as well. They had no choice but to go to the Tianshu Courtyard.
Chu Li was cultivating in his own courtyard.
Xue Ling was cultivating in the Tianshu Courtyard too.
Siao Shi was covered in a thin blanket as she sat on the couch. She was watching Xue Ling cultivating with Yang Xu as if spectating a performance. Xue Ling's Dark Yin Palm cultivation was soothing like a dance.
Zheng Lide walked into the courtyard and bowed, Siao Shi glanced at him, "What is it? It is too early."
Zheng Lide said hurriedly, "I wonder if Princess Siao saw Prince An?"
"I haven't seen him since yesterday," Siao Shi replied absentmindedly. She was still staring at Xue Ling.
Zheng Lide left tactfully.
He went to Princess Song and Princess Xue's place. Both of them did not see Prince An too.
Song Liuying and Xue Ningyu waited for him to leave and went to the Tianshu Courtyard together. Xue Ling ended her cultivation and walked to the side, listening to their idle chatter.
"Sister Song, do you think that the Royal Highness has an affair again?" Xue Ningyu furrowed her brows and scoffed, "He has not come back for an entire night. Even Commander Zheng can't find him!"
"The Royal Highness does not hold much interest in women. Maybe he has something important to attend to," Song Liuying shook her head, "Where is the Head Chief?"
"He is probably cultivating in the courtyard. With so many Scribes now, he can finally worry less," Siao Shi smiled, "Did the Royal Highness not return yesterday?"
"Commander Zheng said that he can't find him."
"He only thought of looking for him now. What about last night?"
"Maybe the Royal Highness is in his study room. He usually does not allow anyone to bother him in his study room. There is only him inside," Xue Ningyu said and furrowed his brows. "Where can he be? Is it possible that someone extracted revenge on him when he left the Imperial Residence?"
Song Liuying said hurriedly, "That group of human traffickers? I thought they were all caught?"
"It just doesn't feel right the more I think about it!" Xue Ningyu said hurriedly, "Are you sure that the human traffickers do not have accomplices? It could be possible that the Royal Highness only caught one group and there might be another!"
"Let Commander Zheng search for him outside," Song Liuying said.
Siao Shi said, "My sisters, what if the Royal Highness was just out for something. If we make such a fuss out of it, the whole town would know and it would become a joke!"
"That's true," both women nodded gently.
Siao Shi said, "In my opinion, it is better to look for him in the Imperial Residence first. He might be in one of the maid's room!"
The other two women pursed their lips and smiled, "That might be true!"
"Young Ya, you go and tell Commander Zheng to search every room!" Song Liuying said.
A maid answered gently and left gracefully.
"The Royal Highness is a very disciplined person. It is rare for something like this to happen," Song Liuying shook her head gently, "Or did something absurd really happen?"
"Well, he's a man," Xue Ningyu scoffed, "It's hard to change one's nature. He also did a great merit yesterday. Perhaps he was happy and had a few drinks too much, doing something absurd because of the alcohol."
Siao Shi agreed as she nodded her head.
Chu Li was cultivating while sensing Prince An, who was in the Nine Dragons' Tripod Cauldron.
After yesterday's setback, Prince An was hanging on his last breath. His meridians were destroyed, his cinnabar fields were broken. He had lost all his martial arts cultivation.
Even if Chu Li went to save him, he could only use the Nine Transformation Meridian Reforming Technique to heal his meridian. He would have to cultivate his martial arts all over again. But perhaps there were miraculous pills and medicine in the Royal Household that could help him restore him to his previous condition.
But the heaviest injury was on his spirit.
With this impact, even if his soul was not hurt, his spirit was badly injured as well as his cinnabar fields.
Human bodies have three cinnabar fields located on the top, middle, and bottom of the body. The top part contained one's spirit while the other two contained one's inner energy. Now that all three of his cinnabar fields were injured, it was indeed extremely serious.
Chu Li shook his head and sighed. Prince An was truly lucky. He was not dead yet even after being hurt this badly. It was probably the jade pendant hanging on his chest that had saved his life.
The jade pendant did not look special. It was like a normal piece of white jade. Even Chu Li found nothing odd about it.
After Prince An was heavily injured, the jade pendant responded and released its spirit energy gradually. It was same as the spirit energy he collected from the Scripture of Life and Death. It was an opportunity to live, which was enough to keep Prince An from dying.
Since he did not die this time, he could only wait for the next time. Chu Li shook his head. He was restrained by the Emperor and dared not kill Prince An directly.
But this was already enough for Prince An to deal with. It was better not to create any more trouble in such a short period of time.
Zheng Lide found Xu Ning.
Xu Ning was meditating on the couch in the room, facing a hurried Zhang Lide. He opened his eyes slowly and looked at Zheng Lide calmly.
"Revered sir, have you seen the Royal Highness?" Zheng Lide put his palm together as a sign of respect and asked humbly.
Xu Ning asked, "Is the Royal Highness not in the Imperial Residence?"
"I can't find him," Zheng Lide shook his head.
Xu Ning said, "Have you looked for him in the cultivation courtyard?"
"About this" Zheng Lide hesitated for a moment and shook his head.
The cultivation courtyard was a restricted area. Anyone was not allowed to enter, not even a step. Even a Commander like him had no rights to go in.
Xu Ning said, "The Royal Highness went to cultivate."
"Huh?" Zheng Lide was shocked. "The Royal Highness' injury has not recovered; how can he cultivate?"
He had never thought of this. Prince An's injury was serious. He dared not to simply channel inner energy to heal him. If he channeled his inner energy, the odd energy in his body would attack him and worsen his injury. If he did not cultivate, the inner energy would lay dormant, not worsening the injury.
It had been a while since the Royal Highness went to the cultivation courtyard.
"Go and have a look there then," Xu Ning said, "The Royal Highness should be there."
"Revered sir, it is better for you to do so," Zheng Lide smiled bitterly, "If I took a single step into the cultivation courtyard, the Royal Highness would definitely kill me. However, the Royal Highness respects you very much. There shouldn't be a problem if you are the one who enters."
Xu Ning stood up from the couch, then walked out slowly.
Zheng Lide put his hands together in front of his chest and bowed as appreciation.
The two arrived at the cultivation courtyard with no company. The cultivation courtyard was a prohibited area. Common folk was not allowed to come close.
Xu Ning furrowed his brows slightly and hastened his steps, arriving at the Nine Dragons' Tripod Cauldron. He landed swiftly into the tripod cauldron and picked up Prince An and left the cultivation courtyard using his Light-body Technique.
Zheng Lide was startled when he saw Prince An unconscious. His face was ashen and numb. He looked like he was hanging on his last breath.
Xu Ning returned to Prince An's study room in large strides. Zheng Lide stayed silent and followed him to the study room.
He placed Prince An on the couch. Xu Ning sat in a lotus position behind him. He placed both of his palms on Prince An's back. Prince An regained consciousness after a while.
"Your Highness, do you have any pills or medicines to heal your wounds?" Xu Ning asked.
Prince An made a huge effort to open his eyes. His lips parted slightly but no sound came out.
Xu Ning nodded. He could tell what Prince An was thinking. He placed him down gently and went to the table. He took a few jade bottles from the drawer and returned to Prince An.
Prince An's cast his gaze around.Xu Ning picked out the emerald green bottle, "It's this one, right?"
Prince An nodded strenuously.
Xu Ning took a dark green pill from the bottle and stuffed it into Prince An's mouth. He then sat behind Prince An and channeled his inner energy to digest the drug.
After two hours, there was white smoke coming from the top of Prince An's head although it was barely visible.
Xu Ning released his hand and wiped the sweat from his forehead. His cowl was drenched.
Prince An opened his eyes slowly. His complexion was as white as paper but the spiritual energy of madness coming from him was gone.
"Your Highness, did anyone try to hurt you secretly?" Commander Zheng asked hurriedly.
Prince An shook his head and replied weakly, "I cultivated too vigorously. I was consumed by it."
Commander Zheng let out a long breath. That was great. It was not done by someone so he was not responsible as well.
Xu Ning said, "Your Highness, why are you so badly hurt?"
"I advanced by a stage in my martial arts but I was too greedy and tried to advance another stage at the same time," Prince An sighed, "This mistake was because of my recklessness. It is my fault!"
"Is there any way to recover from this?" Xu Ning asked calmly, "Now that Your Highness' cultivation has vanished."
Prince An was ghastly pale, he slowly nodded.
From saying those few sentences, his vitality was quickly diminished. He fell unconscious once more. His diminished vitality caused his mind to be muddled.