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Published at 13th of June 2018 09:24:11 PM

Chapter 10

Chu Qiao blacked out as she lost consciousness . Her heart could not take it any longer . Clutching at the girl's robes, she said slowly with a hoarse tone, "How long were they gone for? How long were they gone for?"

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"It was almost an hour ago . Yue Er, it's already too late to save her . "

Chu Qiao turned at looked at Xiao Ba, who was standing at the door . Her eyes were red from crying as she raised her head, looking at Chu Qiao as well . When their eyes met, tears started to roll down their cheeks, but none of them made a sound .

"Yue Er, I have to go back . You two have to be careful . From what I heard from the people in the laundry room, Butler Zhu is deliberately targeting you . Did you do anything to offend him?"

There was pin-drop silence in the hut . The courtyard was a huge white space . Both children stood there silently for a long while .

When the clock struck 3 a . m . , the drum sounded . The last two children of the Jing family silently snuck through the Qingshi forest, reaching Ting Lake which was behind the Zhuge house . The cold wind rustled the bamboo trees and there was resounding silence from the lake . Its tranquil surface looked no different from any other day .

Chu Qiao kneeled on top of a hill as she said to Xiao Ba who was right beside her, "Xiao Ba, get on your knees . Give our brothers and sisters a kowtow . "

Xiao Ba was barely seven years old but she had experienced a traumatic change tonight . Her tiny face had lost the childish innocence that was supposed to be visible upon it . She knelt silently at Chu Qiao's side, bowed deeply in the direction of the lake, and knocked her head heavily thrice on the ground .

"Xiao Ba, do you hate this place?"

The child nodded without uttering a word .

Sounding calm, Chu Qiao said lightly, "Do you want to leave?"

The child said in a deep tone, "Yes . "

Chu Qiao looked ahead, her voice calm and composed . She squinted her eyes and frowned, gently saying, "I promise you, I will bring you away as soon as possible . But before we leave, we still have some unfinished business . After all that is over, we will leave this place . "

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The child nodded quietly as she kowtowed once again, muttering each word clearly, "Sister Zhi Xiang, you have always prayed for God's blessings, but I don't think you knew that they were blind . Take our brothers and sisters with you and move on . Wait and see, as Sister Yue Er and I will avenge you all . "

The cold wind billowed through the pitch-black night . Atop the hill in Qing Shi Forest, two tiny bodies laid towards each other, tightly holding hands .

It was December . At the northwestern border; the Quan Rong people had invaded, burning everything in their way as their large army advanced .

Within twenty days, the war intensified, tens of thousands of common people living outside the gates being dragged into the conflict . The northwestern gates were at a special geographical location . They were between the western fief that was controlled by the Ba Tu Ha clan and the Northern Yan territory that was controlled by the Yan King . The northwestern Old Ba Tu had fought against the Northern Yan's Lion King for years . Today, as the Mu He clan, who backed Old Ba Tu, stabilized its power within the empire, the Ba Tu Ha family started to gain the upper hand . In the last year, they had finally seized military control of the northwestern gates with blood, cleansing all the officers that were stationed there . Within the empire, other clans were also sending their children to the northwest, hoping to penetrate the empire's largest military system . When this happened, the old generals who possessed a wealth of experience and had guarded the border had been overthrown . Those that rose to power were the empire's elites that had never seen blood spilt .

This was precisely why the Quan Rong people had invaded the border . They had seized this opportunity and paid a small price to open up the first entrance towards the gates, allowing their cavalry to rush into miles of fertile land outside the gates .

Even though the Ba Tu Ha family had promptly resisted the attack, sending their elite soldiers into battle, due to their lack of knowledge of the enemy and the numerous factions within the gates, all their attacks lacked cooperation . The confusion within the troops only intensified . Letters of emergency assistance flurried towards the capital, begging the Zhen Huang elders to send troops to resist the invaders .

It was the 27th day of the lunar month . The broken star emerged and Zhao Ming went into hiding . The priest within the Qin Temple summoned a prophecy: the Taihe star is indifferent and the waters of chi contain ice . A calamity is befalling us .

The seven families of power discussed long into the night, finally deciding to send the Huang Tian Brigade to the gates, stabilizing the northwestern region .

When the call to arms was released, it was then sent towards the Sheng Jin Palace . After the emperor read it, he replied: permitted .

Within moments, the capital of Zhen Huang was engulfed in strong winds, and the families of power were scared . In the pitch-black night, rapid currents surged beneath the thick ice on the surface of the river .

At this moment, Chu Qiao was at the northern pavilion, busily working within the dried bushes, carefully finding the winter cat snakes . Suddenly, a resounding horn was heard from a distance, as if a crane was cawing, majestic and forceful . She stood up slowly, squinting towards the south of Zhen Huang City . There stood the Cheng Jin Palace .

In the dark night, roads were not easy to navigate .

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In the next afternoon, the heavy snow fell under the sun . Under the glass of the Qing Shan Pavilion, there were two white jade snow-dogs sparkling brightly under the sun, their intricate carvings shining . There had been a huge snowfall the night before, causing almost a foot of snow to be piled up . The cleaners passed by the dogs, not even daring to lay a gaze on them as they were afraid that they might get into trouble .

Jin Cai was wearing a traditional Han vest made from sable skin and a beautiful red dress, with a pink belt tied around her waist . She stood in the middle of the snow-covered ground, looking as gorgeous as ever . This female servant who was always by the fourth young master's side was barely thirteen years old, but looked slim and graceful, allowing eyes to feast on her gorgeous looks . When she was beside her master, she would be warm and gentle, but now, she had become arrogant and domineering . Her tone was cold as she looked at the children with disgust . They merely wore thin clothes while they carried the jade dogs . She said, "Hold it tightly . The young master has said that jade has life . It will become smooth and clear when it comes into contact with human energy . You pathetic slaves should feel honored to be serving the fourth young master . Don't be lazy . If anyone is disobedient when I return, you will be dragged to Ting Lake to feed the fish . "

The children nodded timidly, as Jin Cai let out a sneer before heading back into the warm flower room .

After the snow, it became colder and colder . Not even wearing a ferret coat while hugging the heaters would have been of much use, but these children were only wearing a thin layer of clothes out in the cold . The children's lips were frozen solid within moments .

Chu Qiao was carrying a tray of fresh peaches just as she came from the Lan Shan Yard . When Jin Cai saw her, she ran out of the flower room, calling out to her .

Chu Qiao stopped in her tracks and turned, her face blushing red, appearing ignorant as she said with a tilt of her head, "Sister Jin Cai, is something wrong?"

"The fourth young master is having his afternoon nap . Just hand me the peaches . "

Chu Qiao smiled as she nodded, handing over the peaches . Jin Cai turned and walked back into the flower room . Before she could get comfortable in the room, a loud roar was heard from Xuan Hall . Jin Cai frantically put down the peaches and sprinted towards it .

Before she could reach the door, a colorful shadow flew out of the door, hitting her face with a swoosh . When she felt it, it was soft and cold, with a greasy texture . However, it smelled disgustingly fishy .

Jin Cai looked down and saw a small snake with its head raised . She was scared out of her wits, crying as she fell to the ground .

Chu Qiao ran into the room and saw Zhuge Yue with his brows tightly furrowed together, dressed in light green clothes as he laid on his couch . Dark blood was flowing from his wrist, obviously having been bitten by a snake . She rushed forward and grabbed his wrist while picking up a fruit knife on the table, slashing the wound .

The servants outside the room saw this scene, and some rushed in to grab this treasonous little slave .

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Zhuge Yue raised his brows and gently waved his hands, stopping his servants from rushing forward . They saw Chu Qiao cut a cross-shaped wound on his wrist, squeezing it hard for a moment as she sucked the poison out with her mouth . After which, she spit it out and said hurriedly, "Young Master, please do not exert any strength or the poison will spread quicker . I will go get you the doctor . "

At this moment, many slaves gathered at the door . Jin Cai frantically rushed forward, pushing Chu Qiao away as she knelt on the ground while holding Zhuge Yue's hand . She cried, "Young Master, how are you?"

Zhuge Yue frowned when she grabbed his hand, seemingly annoyed . His feet landed on her chest as he kicked her away, growling, "Scram!"

When Jin Cai touched the ground, she screamed in terror . Snakes were crawling all over the ground, almost twenty of them . It looked strange and terrible .

Chu Qiao took out a candle and lit it immediately, chasing the snakes away using the fire as they were afraid of it . They backed off immediately .

The Zhuge family doctor rushed into the room as the crowd dispersed . The servants of the Qing Shan Court kneeled at the door in fear with ashen looks on their faces .

After a while, the doctor walked out alone as he addressed the servants, "Who is Xing Er?"

Chu Qiao stood up from within the crowd with her short stature and tender face . She whispered as she raised her hand, "I am, sir . "

The doctor did not expect her to be such a young child . Somewhat in a daze, he said with a faltering tone, "Come in, the fourth young master said that you sucked the blood out for him . He asked me to check on you as well . "

There were about one hundred servants kneeling there . Everyone looked up in shock, their gazes falling upon Chu Qiao .

Chu Qiao's expression turned into fear, as she kowtowed a couple of times, thanking the master's compassion . After which, she followed the doctor into Xuan Hall .

In the chilly wind, the servants who welcomed the powerful but despised the weak changed their minds about Chu Qiao instantly .

Within a few moments, Chu Qiao walked out with a calm expression, without any signs of arrogance .

When the doctor left, Jin Cai and Jin Chu, the two servants, led a few higher-ranking servants into the room . Zhuge Yue leaned back in his chair . With his eyes half closed, he asked softly, "Who is on duty in this house today?"

Jin Chu looked at Jin Cai . Her face ashen with fear, she stuttered, "Young Master, I, I am, I just…"

"Say no more . " Zhuge Yue's voice rang cold and deep . "You know the rules here . I don't keep lazy servants . Go down and receive thirty flogs of the cane . After which, take my letter to the An Jun Court to get a job . "

Once she heard his words, Jin Chu's tears flowed from her eyes . She cried as she knelt on the ground, "Young Master, can you forgive me this time, I would not dare do it again . "

Zhuge Yue raised his brows . Two burly guards walked forward instantly, dragging Jin Chu out of the room .

"Who are the gatekeepers?"

Two servants knelt onto the floor, their bodies trembling as they kowtowed continuously . They were so afraid that they did not speak a word .

Zhuge Yue opened his eyes and glanced at the two servants . He said, "It's you two?" With a little sneer, he continued, "All the while, you two were always hitting others . This time, get the canes and go to the well to hit each other . When one dies, the other will not need to suffer punishment . "

The house was filled with dead silence, and Zhuge Yue was upset due to his injured wrist . He frowned and ordered, "Get out, all of you! Just looking at you makes me frustrated . "

Everyone looked as if they had been pardoned . They shuffled back in unison . This time, a small voice suddenly squeaked, "Young Master, can I shift the pots containing burnt rattan outside Xuan Hall?"

Zhuge Yue picked up his brows, looking in the direction of the voice .