Must Return…

When Wang Li Jie hears what the eunuch says he stands up, “He’s back? Who gave you the information, is it accurate? If it is true I will need to return to the Capitol at once!” He glances over at Xiaolian to see her reaction.

     Xiaolian seems unfazed, that’s a relief she doesn’t remember his brother’s obsession. When he extracted the memories from the Ice Mirror to implant in her mind he deliberately only retrieved those memories that she would need. The happy memories and connection to him, her beginnings, what she would need to aid her cultivation. He was afraid the mention of his brother right now might trigger more memories.

     That evil bastard Chao Han..he would return now before I finished my preparations. He must not find Xiaolian…Dammit!

     He needs to return her to Yun Tai’s house soon. How can he have her cultivation level increase by at least two stages in the Ice Flower Cave before tomorrow, can he entrust her cultivation to Yun Tai? The thought of depending on Yun Tai or Feng Tian to help her cultivate really bothers him.

    Xiaolian’s voice  is tinged with guilt.“Your Highness are you fit for travel? How is your leg? You barely received treatment for it, shouldn’t you rest at least for a few days?” 

     Jiang Bai gives Wang Li Jie a look of disdain he didn’t get rid of that problem in the last five hundred years when I was locked as The Astral Void Beast under the Red Lotus Pond…his haste to be rid of me enabled that Demon seed to live!..

     When will we leave?” I have never met your brother what is he like?”

     “…”

     “I will have to travel on my own, the Capitol is too unsettled right now with his return for you to accompany me. Excuse us for a moment I need to speak to Jiang Bai privately, finish eating we won’t be gone long.”

     They rush out of the kitchen, go to his study to discuss the implications of Wang Chao Han’s return.

     “Wang Li Jie! You couldn’t get rid of that scum in five hundred years?”

     “Listen it’s much more complicated than you think! I can’t believe I need to explain this to you.”

    Jiang Bai’s eyes turn fiery red as he glares at Wang Li Jie.“Well how am I going to protect Xiaolian if I don’t know the details?” 

     “ Xiaolian is not herself which I told you when you were awakened by her at the pond. The memories she has right now I extracted from the Ice Mirror. It is as though the girl XiXi is a dream state as Xiaolian”

     “Explain”

     “Her name is XiXi she arrived here from another world half a month ago, it’s a long story why she is here now. Chao Han had you and I set up that day because he was going to steal Xiaolian away to that world he had discovered. He and I fought at the palace, he applied Demon Snake Venom onto his dagger to poison me, I was instantly paralyzed unable to chase after them.

     He used his Sorcerer to lure you away but his plans were disrupted by the Seventh Demon King. He had a spy in the inner palace, he used Chao Han to get rid of us then he captured Xiaolian wanting to take her to the Demon Lowlands. You and Yun Tai arrived too late to save her, but Chao Han was able to retrieve her soul and encase it in a Soul Sealing Egg .

     He then traveled through the astral plane to this other world. I tried many times to find a way to this world but no Sorcerer I found could unlock the secret of the vortex you need to pass through. The last bit of information I got was that Chao Han had some connection to XiXi’s father being sent here but didn’t know the girl was transported with him. He must have recently obtained that information which is why he has returned to Heavenly Lotus Star Kingdom

     “I’m going to kill you!” Jiang Bai furious, grabs Wang Li Jie’s robe. “If you hadn’t blamed me for what happened and locked me under the pond, I could have found a way to bring her back!”

    Wang Li Jie gives Jiang Bai a palm strike, knocking him into the wall “Get off me bastard, if you weren’t selfish and left her alone she wouldn’t have died! You deserved to die for failing to protect her. If you had been there and still couldn’t have prevented it, I wouldn’t have blamed you. Your lack of faith in her and desertion was unforgivable. I knew she wouldn’t forgive me if I killed you… so I placed you in that watery hell. ”

     Jiang Bai realizes there is truth in that statement, guilt is written all over his handsome face as he thinks about his actions. His self interest contributed to her death, he really can’t blame Wang Li Jie. He had just wanted to become a man again so desperately he wasn’t thinking she might be in danger if he left for a few hours. He had fallen in love with her and wanted to confess his feelings, causing him to be tempted when Wang Chao Han approached him.

      Jiang Bai swears,“I will never leave her side again…”

     “I will show no mercy if you do!”

     “What should we do now?”

     Wang Li Jie formulated a tentative plan while they were walking to the study. “First of all she needs to go back to Yun Tai’s home, I will wake Feng Tian up, he won’t know a moment has passed since she picked the red lotus flower from the pond. I placed the area under a Time Dilation Array.”

     “If this girl XiXi doesn’t know me how are we going to explain my existence?”

     “Feng Tian and Yun Tai know you, I have a plan.”

     “I will have the thought placed  into  Feng Tian’s mind  he found you in the Red Lotus Pond, that is why he brought her to The Mystical Moon Garden. He will give you to XiXi for protection. She might be frightened by you at first, you need to remember she isn’t Xiaolian.”

    “Well that sounds plausible.”

     “Let’s go back”

     They walk silently back to the kitchen and as they are passing the courtyard Huang Howan sees them walking together. What is His Highness doing with that guard, he isn’t telling him of the tea incident is he? She is curious but doesn’t want to appear suspicious.

     Wang Li Jie sees her and calls her over, “Huang Howan have your mother come see me in the kitchen.”

     “Your Highn…” Wang Li Jie interrupts her, “Go!”

     She quickly goes down the hallway to find her mother. Why the kitchen? Her palms are beginning to sweat.

     “Mother?”

     “I’m in the back supervising the hanging of  the newly arrived  embroidered curtains, what do you need?”

     “His Highness wants you to go to the kitchen. Do you know what he wants you for?”

     “No, but I should hurry.”

     “Wait..”

      “What?”

     “Nothing”, Huang Howan decides to go listen at the door..

     Xiaolian is finishing her meal wondering why they had to speak secretly when they return, “Your Highness I want to go to the Capitol, I want to meet your brother and I still need to cultivate.” She walks over and sits next to him, grabs his hand. She holds his large hand next to her soft cheek, “Li Jie you are my only family. I will be bored if I go back to my residence.” Her expression makes Wang Li Jie want to hug her, those limpid blue eyes as she pleads with him are hard to resist.

     He would give into her wishes any other time but it would be too dangerous for her to come. “I’m sorry Xiaolian but I will be busy with matters of the Court. We can go to the Ice Flower Cave before I leave.” His lip curls up gazing at her innocent expression, only she can make him smile, his deep purple eyes are full of love as he feels the tenderness of her words.

    The sensation of his hand on her flawlessly beautiful face he is tempted to say yes, but hiding her would be too difficult, he is not prepared to confront Wang Chao Han yet.

     Jiang Bai stares at them and needs to walk away. As he leaves the kitchen he sees Huang Howan suspiciously standing outside the door, she obviously had been eavesdropping but tries to look innocent.

     “Did you want something?”

     She casually adjusts her hair, regaining her composure,“Have you seen my mother? His Highness had called for her”

     “I don’t know your mother but no one has entered the kitchen”

     “Thank You” she bows, her mother walks up the hallway. “There you are mother! ”

     ??? What is that girl up to, she just came and got me.

     Jiang Bai narrows his eyes assessing the situation, this girl has a high level of cultivation and is dressed in a heavily embroidered dress which looks expensive but she doesn’t have a noble air . Who is she to Wang Li Jie, a concubine? But, her mother looks like a servant.

     He is  pondering if she could have something to do with the aphrodisiac, when he hears the old woman say” Where is that girl that is always following behind you, I need her to pick up the cloth scraps from where I trimmed the new curtains. I wasn’t finished when you came and got me.”

     Huang Howan sees the guard hasn’t left and replies “She is sweeping in the outer courtyard, I will send her over when she is finished.”

     Jiang Bai continues down the hallway still aware of their conversation.

    Huang Howan nervously pulls on her mother’s arm while circling to the other side of a pillar,then  whispers in her ear, “I didn’t want the guard to know she ran away yesterday. Don’t ask for her again” She pretends she is covering for Gu Ning

    “What? This mountain is so cold and isolated, where would she go!”

     “I’m sure she had a plan to escape, she was with the man who brings supplies flirting on his last couple trips. I think she left with him”

     “That old man with three white hairs and two teeth!”

     “Errr.. No, his son…Just don’t ask for her again, I don’t want to get in trouble she left!”  Dammit mother why so many questions!

     Jiang Bai decides he will check into that girl’s identity and the other servant

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