Chapter 44: Unexpected Factors
The city was bustling with human activity; the carriage couldn’t even enter the city gates. The group of four could only exit the carriage. Just as they managed to squeeze in, they were frightened by the circumstances within the city.
There were mountains and oceans of people. The only thing that could be seen, other than human heads, was even more heads. When did their Gu Family get this much money? They couldn’t have invited everyone in the surrounding counties, right?!
“Yunlan! Your Gu Family is this rich?” Bai Nightspring’s mouth gaped open in surprise. This was her first time seeing so many people. Wouldn’t her village have to be multiplied by a hundred in order to have this many people? With this amount of people, it’d be odd if the poor weren’t suffering!
He! Gu Yunlan smiled a bit coldly. The mother-daughter pair really came up with a great idea, using her family’s money to raise their own fame. In these chaotic and war-filled years, if you could provide a proper meal, then others will treat you like Buddha. This way of recruiting soldiers appealed best to the people’s wants.
If she didn’t come back, then it would mean that mother and daughter would have their wish come true. Too bad she has returned, and has caught up to their schemes…
“Yunlan, which way do we go?” Bai Yiran used his hands to block the people in front of them, fearing that they’d bump into Gu Yunlan.
“Go to the back mountains of the Gu Family’s Ancestral Hall.” Gu Yunlan muttered to herself for a bit. She had wanted to go to the Zi Family’s residence and ask for Zi Luolan’s assistance, except a white bone spirit resided there.
It was almost noontime and the wedding was about to begin. She wasn’t interested in crashing the wedding. All importance was probably put to the wedding. There most likely wouldn’t be many people in the back mountains, making it the best time to go to the ancestral hall. The sacrifice offering will probably happen in the afternoon, at that time, father would hand over his position as a military marshal. When that happens, humph!!
Gu Yunlan widened her steps and walked towards the back mountains. She still couldn’t understand. How come Father agreed to pass on his position as military marshal? And why did she have a feeling that something wasn’t right?
“Yunlan, how come you aren’t worried about my brother at all?” Xuanyuan Meng caught up to her with a short jog. She was really worried! What if that general was her big brother?
“If he is your brother, I will give them my blessings!” Gu Yunlan hooked up the corners of her mouth as she walked. Will it be him? In her heart, she had forced herself not to believe it was him. That way, she wouldn’t walk herself right into a trap!
“Good words, Gu Yunlan! I, Bai Nightspring, will consider you my sister from now on!” Bai Nightspring clapped in approval.
“Tche! You can’t be thinking Mister Xuanyuan is yours?” Xuanyuan Meng looked at her in disdain.
“Humph! I, Bai Nightspring, have always been straightforward. If your brother marries someone else, Gu Yunlan and I would become good friends!” Bai Nightspring had a calm expression; her tone suddenly changed as she lowered her voice “If not… we will continue to be rivals in love…”
The corner of Gu Yunlan’s mouth lifted up. Love rivals? She had never seen Bai Nightspring as a love rival, after all, Xuanyuan’s relationship with her was not as everyone thought. Even she couldn’t explain it clearly.
Hearing his little sister’s words, Bai Yiran, who followed behind them, had black lines run down his face. This girl talks too much nonsense. He immediately interrupted the group’s conversation, “We should hurry and enter the back mountains. Be a bit quieter! There will definitely be guards there!”
The group of four squeezed out of the crowd of people and carefully walked towards the Gu Family’s back mountains. The back mountains weren’t far; they got there in mere minutes. Gu Yunlan led the other three towards the ancestral hall.
After taking a turn, they could see four people standing guard in front of the hall’s gates. The group looked at each other and immediately backed up.
“What now?” Xuanyuan Meng whispered.
“Use this!” Gu Yunlan took out four packets of medicine. “These are extremely strong knockout drugs. If even a little is breathed in by a person, their entire body would turn rigid, and they would lose consciousness, as if they were dead!”
“So powerful! Yunlan, you really know what to do!” Xuanyuan Meng covered her mouth and whispered.
“I will take two bags, you guys each take one. Nightspring, stay here and don’t move!” Bai Yiran directly took two packages, his face full of determination.
“No need! Using one package per person is enough to put them to sleep for half a day!” Gu Yunlan narrowed her eyes. The guards were standing close, looking dispirited. They were probably dozing off.
“But, the surroundings are completely barren, how will we get over?” Xuanyuan Meng once again lifted her head to look in front of her. This would be quite difficult! They would definitely get discovered if they go out like this.
“We will climb over from here!” Gu Yunlan pointed at the array of rocks behind them, explaining, “Climbing to the top of the gates, you can directly scatter the powder from above! One bag is enough!”
“Then we’ll go! You two are too immature, wait here!” On Bai Yiran’s face was a rarely seen look of seriousness.
Only when he saw the two obediently nod, did he turn around and climb up, carefully and quickly climbing towards the gates of the ancestral hall.
The four guards next to the gate were still dozing off. Gu Yunlan and Bai Yiran were on the roof. Before they could react, the guard’s head lowered, breathing in the knockout medicine.
Gu Yunlan hopped off the roof and beckoned towards the other two. When they came over, the stiff bodies of the four guards were held up, making it look as if they were still guarding.
She looked at their masterpiece with satisfaction. Moving forward and pushing with her hands, the gates to the ancestral hall were opened.
This was her second time going to the ancestral hall after her rebirth. Unexpectedly, it was for the sake of survival. She led everyone through the lobby, heading straight towards the west side’s back courtyard
What was different than last year was the restoration of the hall to its former beauty. Flame-red maple leaves and huge areas of multicolored flowers dazzled the eyes of the other three.
“These weren’t here before. I guess they decorated the place!” This was her mother’s residence. When Mother was alive, she liked things that were simple yet elegant, so they had never decorated this place before. “Let’s go wait in Mother’s room!”
“Okay!” Bai Yiran nodded his head. Although the hall was beautiful, there was no place to stay.
Gu Yunlan led everyone around a large praying mat. Her mother had put a well in the west courtyard. They had to go past the well before entering the little room.
“This place is a bit…” Xuanyuan Meng whispered softly.
“Creepy?!” Bai Nightspring rubbed her arms, suddenly feeling some goosebumps.
“That’s not it; there’s a familiar scent!” Xuanyuan Meng strongly sniffed in; it was very familiar.
Gu Yunlan’s pupils flashed and interrupted her actions, “Stop being so noisy! We’re going there!”
She immediately walked towards the little house. Last year, she didn’t even have the courage to push open the gates. Her pupils contracted. The door had a lock, but father never locked the door. Someone had used the room; she hurriedly turned around. “Yiran! Can you open this lock?”
“Easily!” Bai Yiran hooked up the corners of his mouth in disdain. He took off the ring on his finger and kneaded it straight, then inserted it into the keyhole. After fidgeting for a bit, kacha! The lock made a sound as it opened.
He tossed the lock away and Gu Yunlan hurriedly pushed open the door. “Aiya!” The scene inside the room truly made her surprised, “Xin’er? Uncle Zhong!”
They could see Xin’er and Uncle Zhong tied up on chairs, their mouths stuffed with strips of fabric, unconscious.
Her eyebrows creased as a frightening feeling welled up in her heart. The Gu Family has really run into trouble. Uncle Zhong was Father’s most trusted person; the only person who could’ve done this was Father. Thinking up to there, she signaled the three people behind her to help release the two people and lay them on the bed to the side.
“Uncle Zhong! Xin’er!” Even after yelling a few times, their tightly shut eyes didn’t have an inkling of a reaction.
“They’ve probably passed out!” Bai Yiran wrinkled his brows, then took out a bottle from his pockets. He pulled out the stopper, then put it under the two’s noses, gently circling it a few times.
After a while, the two awakened slightly. Their eyes looked a bit of loss, then they started to fume angrily. Uncle Zhong started to struggle, cursing, “You bunch of scoundrels! You actually dare to tie us up!”
“Uncle Zhong! Xin’er! What happened to you? It’s me, Yunlan. Who tied you up?” Gu Yunlan sat down anxiously on the bedside.
“Miss!” Seeing the person before her, Uncle Zhong stared blankly and looked at her as if he couldn’t believe it, then looked madly joyous.
“Miss! You’re… wuwu….finally back! Wuwu… Xin’er knew that Miss wouldn’t die, Miss wouldn’t abandon Xin’er!” Baby Xin’er’s originally unclear eyes, after hearing Uncle Zhong’s words, immediately opened wide. She hurriedly sat up threw herself into Gu Yunlan’s embrace, and began to cry bitterly.
“En! I have returned, everything’s fine!” She stroked Xin’er’s back comfortingly, yet her heart was shocked, dead? She died? Seeing their reaction, it looked as if they suffered many grievances, who put them in here?
“Miss! You’re alive? You know how much I worried during the time you weren’t here?” Uncle Zhong had already cried out his old tears, there was a hint of sobbing in his voice.
“I’m sorry, Uncle Zhong! I returned late! I have wronged you!” Gu Yunlan was a bit regretful. Back then, she didn’t immediately return. She had secretly been looking forward to coming back. “How come you guys were tied up here? Where’s Papa! How come he’s not coming?”
“Miss! Wuwu… the lord….lord….it’s all because of An Jiaona and her mother, that pair of sluts! They tied us up! Wuwu…” Xin’er cried out bitterly in Gu Yunlan’s embrace.
“A year ago, General Xuanyuan and them came back, but without you. General Xuanyuan was sent away by a telegram just as he entered the Marshal’s residence. There was war in the north, and he was lured away. When he left, An Jiaona and her mother told the lord that Miss…” Uncle Zhong paused and looked at the other three people. He hesitated for a bit, yet still said it out loud, “that Miss was killed, while she was saved by Yangjin. The lord didn’t believe it at first, but for some unknown reason, he suddenly accepted it.”
Xin’er sat up from Gu Yunlan’s lap and continued the explanation, ”After a year passed, General Xuanyuan came back, but An Shufen had already become strong. General Xuanyuan revealed her in front of the Marshal, but he didn’t care despite that. I don’t know why, but General Xuanyuan wanted act and beg the Marshal, yet still chose to back off in the end…
Hearing this, Gu Yunlan’s pupils deepened. She wasn’t surprised at all; she had calculated all the reason why Father could have given away his position as Marshal. Judging by their greedy hearts in the previous life, Xuanyuan’s departure, this is their best chance to act.
“Later, General Xuanyuan purchased a house outside, and didn’t enter the mansion again. Plus, they wanted to kill us two, wanted the Marshal to condemn us to death himself. Helplessly, the Marshal obeyed everything else, this can’t happen!” Uncle Zhong’s state of mind has already calmed down. He tried hard to think back to what had happened.
“So you guys have been shut in here!?” Xuanyuan Meng’s brows puckered, and she asked in her heart, “Big Brother, why didn’t you help out?”
Gu Yunlan was silent. She knew, he had agreed to her before that that pair of bastards’ life is her’s. Yet he still chose to stay silent despite having such strength that could exterminate them easily. For Uncle Zhong and Xin’er to be able to live up till now, that would probably have been his handiwork, right?
She suddenly lifted her head, smiling coldly as she said, “Since I have come back, and since this is their big day of happiness, then, let’s go give them a huge surprise!”
She beckoned with her hands and whispered to them, the group of people then burst out laughing.