No matter how much of a ruckus I made last night, she didn’t even bat an eyelash but a simple meal actually won her over? This discrepancy caused his eyes to bulge in surprise as he looked up to her.
I guess bribes really do make the world go round.
Ning Chen shoved another piece of meat into his meat as he thought, “It doesn’t matter. I was only joking with Mu Chengxue when I said I wanted to learn martial arts.” While he was envious of her ability to soar through the skies, he knew his own limits. If she said that he wasn’t cut out for martial arts, then he probably wasn’t.
“I can teach you a special cultivation technique.” Mu Chengxue said, elaborating on her previous offer.
“Is it strong?” Ning Chen excitedly asked. Hearing the word special got him roused.
“Define strong,” she asked.
“Will I be able to beat you after I master it?” Ning Chen became even more excited as he said this.
She shook her head.
“What about Qing Ning?” He lowered his expectations.
She shook her head again.
“What about those Imperial Guards?” There weren’t many expectations left at this point.
“Then what’s the point of learning it?” He dejectedly asked, his enthusiasm gone by now.
“Wow! that’s impressive.” He replied, sarcasm dripping from each word. He then bit onto another bun.
“Don’t regret it.” She blandly replied, not intending to press the issue.
“Hm?” Mu Chengxue’s reaction seemed a bit strange to him, as if he had just missed out on the biggest break of his life.
“Is that cultivation technique really that special?” Ning Chen asked in a cautious tone.
“What’s so special about it?” Ning Chen continued pressing her.
“What’s so valuable about it?”
“This woman must have been sent by heaven to punish me. If you are going to kill, just do it quick. Do you really have to torture my spirit as well?” Ning Chen grimaced as he thought so.
“I’ll learn it.” Ning Chen viciously bit down on his bun, his teeth clamping down hard on each other as they began grinding.
“Mhm, just wait a while.”
Mu Chengxue turned to him and said in a calm neutral tone, “I don’t have it right now.”
Ah! Ah! Ah!
Ning Chen couldn’t take it anymore and stood up with a huff. His finger trembled violently as he pointed at her, his breathing ragged.
Such a bully!
“However, I know where it is,”she continued, Ignoring Ning Chen’s anger.
His anger hadn’t fully abated but upon hearing, he slumped onto the ground, his heart bleed. Zhang Wuji’s mom was right. The prettier the woman, the more treacherous she was! 
Ning Chen decided in his heart: I must relax and calm myself, relax and calm myself, relax and calm myself!
*crack*, Ning Chen’s chopsticks snapped with a loud crack. Alright, he admitted, he could neither relax or calm himself down.
“Where is it?” This was the last question, anymore and his heart couldn’t take it.
“The Xia Emperor’s Imperial Study.”
“……” He gave his mouth a tight slap. “Who told you to be such a slut. One less question wouldn’t have killed you.”
“Do you want to learn it?” She continued in a serious tone.
“……” Ning Chen learnt his lesson this time and buried his head in his food, ignoring her.
“Don’t regret it.”
“……” He immediately shoved a big bun into his mouth.
“Here you go, this medicine is for you.” Mu Chengxue nonchalantly threw him a small box.
“What is it for?” he couldn’t help but ask.
“To save your life.” She replied nonchalantly once more.
“Don’t you need it? Why give this to me?” He felt a tender warmth wash over him as he heard her reply. Looks like she still reserved a tiny spot in her heart for him.
“Because it looks like you needed it more, being so weak and all,” her nonchalance dripping from every word as she said this.
“……” *slap slap* One from his left hand and one from his right hand. Who told you to be such a slut, who told you to be such a slut.
The conversation finally ended as Mu Chengxue stopped talking and quietly ate her meal; a much more pleasant sight than a certain somebody.
After finishing his food and sending back the plates, he took a detour to the backyard. Weiyang Palace was starting to get busy as the maids and eunuchs started their work. The backyard on the other hand was much quieter.
Rather than getting suffocated to death, bored to death, and angered to death by Mu Chengxue, he felt watching the flowers was a better choice.
There was only one problem, he forgot that Qing Ning’s room was near the backyard as well.
In the room, Qing Ning was preparing to leave for the Empress’s side. Whenever the Empress left the palace, she would always bring her. She was not only in charge of the daily affairs of Weiyang Palace but also the safety of the Empress.
Just as she left her room, she caught sight of Ning Chen’s idling silhouette. Recalling his arrogant expression as he reported her, her anger immediately erupted.
“Ning Chen,” she exclaimed, staring at him with furrowed brows.
“Hm? Oh, Sister Qing Ning.” Noticing that it was Qing Ning, he put on his award winning smile and went to greet her.
“Follow me.” She mentally spat up blood; her anger had not been vented.
“To accompany the Empress out of the palace.”
Hm? Leave the palace? A certain person’s eyes lit up immediately but he suddenly recalled Mu Chengxue’s words: “even a hundred of you will not be enough to take her on.” His mood immediately soured.
“Sister Qing Ning, can you teach me some martial arts?” Ning Chen was desperate to break out of this situation where he didn’t dare to speak his mind.
Qing Ning looked at him with surprise in her eyes. After considering for a moment, she replied to him in a strange tone “What I’ve learnt isn’t suitable for you.”
“Why?” Ning Chen pressed her.
“You aren’t cut out to be a martial artist,” Qing Ning honestly replied.
“……” He wanted to die.
Being unable to escape and even having to face Zhang Sun, these matters left his mood terribly sour. After being forced to put on the attire for leaving the palace, Ning Chen followed her, his face black as ink; his feet dragging against the floor with each step.
By the time they met up with Zhang Sun, the carriage had already been prepared. Zhang Sun was more modestly dressed today. She did not wear her usual jewelries and phoenix tiara. Her face was devoid of any makeup, giving her a less regal but more natural and approachable look.
“It’s a facade.” He warned himself. His first impressions of her dominated his perceptions of this lady. To him, her beautiful exterior was just a facade for her true self: a penny-scamming blackhearted woman.
Avoid fires, avoid robbers and avoid Zhang Sun. These were the 3 tenets he believed in. Thus, he desperately tried to avoid Zhang Sun’s gaze.
Zhang Sun had already spotted Ning Chen but did not say anything. She had a feeling that this kid was avoiding her as if he was afraid of her. But this fear wasn’t like the fear she saw in others within the palace. If she had to describe Ning Chen right now, he was like a child avoiding his parents in order to hide his wrongdoings.
One had to admit, her instincts were terrifying. Ning Chen had a mountain of wrongdoings he wanted to hide from her. Each time they met, his heart pounded furiously. Compared to Qing Ning’s innocence and kindness, the insightful Zhang Sun was like a demon in Ning Chen’s eyes.
Thankfully, no matter how smart she was, she wouldn’t have been able to guess that he was a fake eunuch. She definitely would not guess that he was in constant contact with the assassin that tried to kill the Emperor.
Ning Chen wasn’t aware of the purpose of their trip and merely followed the carriage with a sullen face. As he looked at the bustling city streets, his heart ached with envy.
Qing Ning was situated right next to the carriage to allow for quicker communications. Zhang Sun merely had to lift up her window and whisper the instruction into Qing Ning’s ears. Ning Chen on the other hand was situated in a less conspicuous position, given that he wasn’t wearing palace attire, he could easily blend into the crowd if no one was looking.
The thought of escaping flashed through his head multiple times but each time Qing Ning flashed him a look, he immediately quieted down.
A sudden coldness brushed past him. His eyes shrunk as he saw three arrows flying towards the carriage from different directions. They came as silently as the attack on the Emperor.
Just as he was about to shout out the warning, a silhouette flashed past him. With a flick of her sleeves, two arrows were immediately blocked. However, this delay was enough to stop her from reaching the third arrow in time.
The streaming blood was the biggest proof of her failure. She was unable to stop the arrow in time but she was able to block it with her body. As the arrow pierced her body, fresh blood shot out of her mouth, staining half her clothes.
The arrow lightly trembled as it finally stopped its onslaught; it had no energy left to pierce through the carriage walls. A tiny blood flower bloomed with every oscillation of the trembling arrow. The arrow’s force had driven her two steps back, forcing out another stream of blood from her.
“Sister Qing Ning!”
Ning Chen took the longest three steps of his life as he rushed towards her. The distance between them so close yet so far. He caught her in a hug as she was about to collapse.
“Get a hold of yourself!” Ning Chen’s heart ached as he tried to staunch the bleeding with his hand but failed miserably.
The next moment, multiple blades flashed into existence on all sides as 12 men clad in black clothes appeared seemingly out of nowhere and started fighting with the guards. At the same moment, 4 men dressed in a blue disguise appeared and slashed at the carriage and Ning Chen.
Seeing the impending threat, Qing Ning pulled Ning Chen to her back. Enduring the hole in her chest, she gave her body a light slap. A silver long spear immediately flew out and into her hand. Her slender hands tightly gripped onto the spear as she swept the incoming blades away.
In their first clash, the four blue shirts came out short as they were thrown back 10 metres. Just as they landed on their feet, they took off once more with a kick of their feet. With their impeccable teamwork, they quickly sealed off the escape routes.
“Get Her Majesty out of here!”
A look of determination flashed in her eyes; she knew there was no way for to escape so she pushed Ning Chen away.
However, with her serious injuries, her strength was severely weakened. On their second clash, she came off worse for the wear. *clang* A blood spurted forth once more, flowing down her slender arms as they loosened their grip on the silver spear.
“Leave! Quickly! If you delay any longer, you won’t make it.” As she said this, she tore off her sleeves and tied her spear to her right hand.
With a solemn expression on her face, she brandished her spear in front of the carriage, ready to make her last stand. Her determination not to let anyone cross her spear written all over her face.
“Your Majesty, we need to leave.”
He gave Qing Ning one last look before supporting Zhang Sun out of the carriage and towards the fleeing crowds.
“You wish to leave?!”
The four blue shirts immediately gave up on Qing Ning and tried to chase the pair down.
With a cold snort, she let forth a flurry of spear thrusts. The rain of silvery light struck at each of the blue shirts, forcing them back.
“Today. Not a single one of you will cross this line.”
She stood there with spear in hand and determination in her eyes ready to defend this point to the death. By now, her wounds had worsened while her blood had dried up, staining her body a deep blood red. However, this did not dampen her resolve to defend Zhang Sun.
Zhang Sun looked back at her, tears raining from her eyes as Ning Chen led her away.
“Ning Chen, save her.”
Her pleading voice did little to halt Ning Chen’s steps. He did not turn around but continued dragging Zhang Sun away into the distance. From start to finish, he never once looked back…