Chapter 45 - The Thieves Who Dare to Steal from Fa Estate
XieRong’s heart quivered with excitement like a leaf in the wind.
In a week’s time, she would have to put on yet another play for the people to see, but this time there was the duchess’ life on stake. However, she was unconcerned about these things right now. The only thing on her mind was tonight.
"Elder brother, has the prince prepared what I have asked?"
"You seem to be asking him for a lot these days," Guo Qiang remarked, handing over a parcel covered in black cloth to her.
XieRong opened the parcel and in it lay a green jade thumb ring.
"It was recently gifted to the second prince by the emperor. He has also worn it to the Fa manor a couple of times."
XieRong smiled, satisfied with the ring and wrapped it back in the black cloth again.
"The crown prince and I will be accompanying you, in return for the ring."
XieRong pulled a face. She would rather not be in close proximity with any of the royal family so soon after what had transpired in the ring just a few Shi Chen before.
"As far as I know, I don’t owe the prince anything for this. I will be helping his aunt out of the palace and even be curing her. It is he who owes me another favour."
XieRong didn’t even bother to hide the blatant disdain on her face.
Her brother chuckled humorlessly.
"Haah, can you both not treat me like a carrier pigeon? I am still the young lord of the Guo family and your elder brother. It’s better if you both meet and sort out something."
XieRong gave a sheepish smile.
"Sorry elder brother, I’ll meet him some other time, but for tonight, three people will be more than enough, of course, by which I mean you, FeiHong and I."
Guo Qiang grimaced inside his heart.
When had the crown prince ever not gotten what he wanted?
XieRong had a small pout which one could make out even though a black mask covered the lower half of XieRong’s face. FeiHong, on the other hand, looked as calm as a stagnant pool of water.
Three silhouettes could be made out standing on the roof of XieRong’s temporary courtyard, the shapes of their bodies illuminated by the silver moonlight.
"You should be honoured that this crown prince wants to accompany you."
She should have just robbed the Fa Estate without trying to implicate the second prince.
"We don’t care that you’re following us as long as you give your word not to inquire about anything or interfere with our plans."
This was one thing XieRong would not back down about, even if the one who stood before her could kill her right then if he so wished.
The crown prince arched one of his eyebrows, but did not say anything.
Eventually, under the glare of two little girls, he nodded his head in agreement.
It wasn’t long before the three black clothed people were near the Fa Estate. They were silent and their breathing was shallow and soundless, and they had merged with the shadows of the trees and walls. There were thirty shadow guards distributed around the Fa Estate and including the servants and the guards stationed around the main courtyard, they would have to be on the watch out for fifty people.
The main courtyard was where the main hall as well as where the treasure room was situated. The treasure room, unlike what it’s name suggested, wasn’t just a single room, but a room full of ordinary treasures that led to another room with treasures of greater value, the great treasure room. But, that was where Fa Boqin’s knowledge of the rooms ended. Only XieRong knew that the great treasure room led to the ancestral treasure room and that was the room which had the entrance to the great ancestral treasure room that contained the Dragon Sapphire ring among other treasures.
XieRong led the three of them around estate, to the wall that separated the forest and the city. She went to jump over the wall when she felt no poisonous creature on the other side, but was stopped by FeiHong, who pinched her sleeve.
-Jie, let the crown prince lead. It will be better if he cannot gauge how powerful we actually are. If you jump over the wall and lead us, he will definitely be able to guess that our mind strengths are equal or more powerful than his.-
XieRong nodded. She had heard from her elder brother that the crown prince’s mind strength was slightly more powerful than the empress’ as the cracks he left on the stone were a bit deeper than the empress’. She had no doubt that he wouldn’t think twice bout finishing them off if he felt even a little threatened by them.
"Crown prince, it would be better if you lead us."
"Our mind strengths are not that powerful," XieRong explained, as she backed away from the wall.
"The poisonous creatures are nocturnal, they are usually scrawling in huge numbers at this time. It will be better for you to lead us."
"Ha! Do you think this prince doesn’t know that your mind strengths reaching only the yellow level is a lie? I know you aren’t simple, and your mind strength must be around the green to blue region. My brother told me you sensed the bandits that were chasing the fourth prince’s group when you were ambushed on your way to the western province."
XieRong was rather delighted in her heart.
If the prince thought she had a mind strength of the blue level, then she had the mind strength of the blue level. By neither agreeing to his statement or denying it, it could not be considered that she was lying to him either.
"It will be better if the crown prince leads us anyway, I’ll just point us in the right direction."
XieRong crawled through the hole like she had been doing everyday before the night her mother passed away.
There was not a soul in sight, as XieRong moved away from the hole,looking around wistfully at the abandoned courtyard where her mother once would wait for her to return.
A cold wind blew through the courtyard, shaking the branches of the lone barren tree that stood in the corner, and rustling the leaves of the bushes that hid the base of the tree’s slender trunk.
The prince and FeiHong had already jumped over the wall.
XieRong could feel her little sister’s emotions through their bond that coincided with her own. A mix of longing and hatred for the place.
They wanted nothing more than to destroy the very estate that they were in but could not help but feel longing for their mother that would never return. XieRong entered the courtyard and head straight for their old room with a clear goal in mind. She had things she needed to achieve and wallowing in self pity and longing would do nothing except for hindering her.
Everything was left untouched and was just as XieRong had last seen it, just covered with a thick layer of dust. It was no wonder Fa LiHua and Fa MeiLien found nothing of interest in this bare and shabby room. Everything in the room was the bare minimum that was required for a person to live and everything was of the lowest quality one could find. Even the servant’s quarters were better.
The prince had gone to a spare room to change into a male guard’s clothes she had asked him to acquire while she changed her own clothes into that of a male servant’s. XieRong was quite tall for her age so she could pass as a ten year old eunuch but FeiHong looked her age with her short and petite stature, however this also worked in her favour as it made her undetectable and she could follow them whilst hiding in the shadows.
The main courtyard was located near the entrance but was heavily guarded. Therefore, their only chance to go anywhere near the place was when there was a change of guards. The prince had already acquired this information through his spies, and also instructed them to stand on duty today in that area, whether they were disguised as shadow guards or as normal guards.
If their plan had proceeded without a hitch, XieRong would have considered it a miracle. The Fa Estate’s shadow guards guarding the main courtyard had to be drugged before they quickly moved in. Four out of the ten shadow guards were the crown prince’s men as well as the guards who were standing near the courtyard’s entrance.
The three people moved quickly. 𝙛𝓻𝓮𝓮𝔀𝓮𝙗𝒏𝙤𝒗𝓮𝒍.𝓬𝙤𝒎
The guards bowed lightly and the crown prince acknowledged them with a light nod of his head.
XieRong lead all of them to the treasure room. She smiled lightly as she remembered her mother suggesting she dress herself as a servant and explore the estate when she was not out in the forest training with the old master. This was her mother’s way of letting her gather all the gossip and map out the estate.
After winding their way through the main courtyard, they finally stood before the beautiful wooden doors that led to the treasure room.
Swiftly breaking the lock, XieRong pushed the doors open.