“I found out about your death, Director Sai.” Song Qingshu smiled coldly, stretched out his hand and grabbed the opponent’s throat.
Originally, with the level of martial arts of Director Sai, he was considered as one of the top Manchu masters in Shengjing. Although he was weaker than Song Qingshu, he was not someone who could be thought of as powerless. It’s a pity that he didn’t expect that the sickly-looking old man Liu was actually a martial arts master, and his vital points were tightly held before he could even react.
“Guhkk..Uck…” Director Sai’s face slowly turned red, he wanted to call for help, but all he could make was some meaningless sounds.
“You can be considered to be the first person that I kill by my own hands. May you close your eyes in peace.” Song Qingshu sighed, then twisted his wrist. Director Sai’s neck broke, and he fell to the ground with a thud. His eyes wide open, he was obviously dead.
“Sir, what happened?” The guard outside heard the sound and knocked on the door.
“It’s okay.” Song Qingshu said, imitating the voice of Director Sai.
After that, Song Qingshu sat at the table and began to re-mix the medicinal mud for the human skin mask. As Director Sai was there, it made the process much easier. He smeared the medicinal mud on Director Sai’s face, and it quickly dried up in a few minutes. Song Qingshu tore it off and put it on his own face. Then, he stuck the old man Liu’s mask on the face of Director Sai, and exchanged the two’s clothes. Song Qingshu checked his present form and felt that there was nothing wrong, so he opened the door and walked out.
“Director Sai…this?” The guard was about to speak, but when he saw the old man Liu lying on the ground in the room, his expression changed greatly.
“My lord asked me to eliminate all hidden dangers, so I sent him on the road. Quietly carry him away and bury him. Don’t let anyone know. You should already know the rules of the palace.” Song Qingshu patted the guard on the shoulder.
The guard’s back had become drenched in cold sweat, wondering if Director Sai decided to kill old man Liu after he heard the secret, ‘If so, am I also in danger?’ Out of the corner of his eye, he looked at the hand that patted on his shoulder. Every time the hand went down, the guard’s face turned pale.
Finally, watching Director Sai disappear into the distance, the guard slumped down. Feeling his back that was completely wet with cold sweat, he let out a sigh of relief, and entered the room. He dragged “Old Man Liu” up and prepared to find a place to bury him.
Poor Director Sai, who was the top master of the Manchus in Shengjing, died so silently.
Song Qingshu followed the path in his memory, and came all the way to the rockery he saw before. As he swaggered over, the guard saw his appearance, and hurriedly bowed and saluted, “Subordinates, have seen Director Sai!”
“At ease!” Song Qingshu snorted noncommittally, “By the order of the Prince, I’m going to see the prisoner.”
“Director Sai, please.” The group of guards quickly opened the cell door and respectfully gave way. Director Sai was a favorite of the Prince. If he said that he was obeying the Prince’s order, then this group of people would naturally not doubt it.
“I have something to talk about with the prisoner, you can go out first.” After entering the cell, Song Qingshu waved his hand and told all the guards to go out first. Then he began to check cell by cell to observe the prisoners inside.
Finally, he found the half-dead Tian Guinong in a cell in the back. He was covered in blood and had no complete flesh on his body. Song Qingshu frowned, then crouched beside him, and shook his body, “Brother Tian, Brother Tian?”
Tian Guinong gradually woke up, glanced at Song Qingshu, and said lightly, “So it’s Director Sai, what do you want with this Tian?” His voice seemed totally lifeless.
Song Qingshu snorted, “Do you want to get out of this place?”
“Get out?” Tian Guinong’s eyes brightened, but quickly dimmed again, “What am I to do by going out?”
“Could it be that you don’t want to see your wife Nan Lan, and your daughter Tian Qingwen?” Song Qingshu thought to himself, ‘Could it be that the torture during the past few days has made this guy give up on life?’
“Nan Lan?” Tian Guinong finally reacted, but he quickly became discouraged, “But I’m a cripple now, what’s the use of seeing her?”
“Crippled?” Song Qingshu asked in confusion.
“Director Sai, why are you asking about something you already know?” Tian Guinong glanced at him, and revealed his bloody lower body, “Your Highness has already ordered me to be…” As he spoke, he began to sob.
Song Qingshu became dumbfounded. He didn’t expect Tian Guinong to suffer such a miserable fate. After a moment of silence, he said, “Who said that a man who has lost his manhood is a cripple? In the historical records, ‘Records of the Grand Historian’ by Sima Qian, we know that Cai Lun, who was an eunuch had invented papermaking, and Zheng He, the great eunuch of the former Ming Dynasty traveled to the West seven times! Who would dare to say that they were cripples?”
Seeing that Tian Guinong was still unresponsive, Song Qingshu hurriedly changed the subject, “There is also Yu Chaoen from the Tang Dynasty, and Wei Zhongxian from the former Ming Dynasty, both of them were physically disabled…yet, they excelled in political affairs, subdued hundreds of officials, and had wives and concubines in droves! Who would dare to say that they were cripples?”
Tian Guinong finally raised his head and murmured, “Yes, yes, I still have a chance, I still have a chance!”
Song Qingshu’s face turned black. This guy was indeed bad by nature. Positive examples couldn’t inspire him, but these evil villains could easily cheer him up again.
“This is the Snow Ginseng Jade Toad Pill. It will be useful for your injury. Take it quickly.” Song Qingshu brought a pill to Tian Guinong’s mouth.
Tian Guinong glanced at him vigilantly, then thought that his life was already worse than death, eating a mere poison pill wouldn’t be a big deal. So he took the pill and swallowed it, then he immediately felt a heat rise in his lower abdomen.
Song Qingshu stretched out his palm and pressed it on his chest, “I’ll help you digest the medicine first, then I’ll get you out when you temporarily regain your mobility.”
Feeling the steady stream of Qi from his chest, Tian Guinong hurriedly focused on healing his wounds, and inquired, “Why is Director Sai saving me?”
“A few years ago, I received a great favor from Song Qingshu. This time he came to Shengjing as an imperial envoy. When he learned that you were caught and tortured by the prince because of him, he decided to save you. Then he contacted me to return that favor.” Song Qingshu said in a deep voice.
“Aren’t you betraying the prince by doing this?” Tian Guinong had mixed feelings when he heard that Song Qingshu had sent someone to rescue him. If it wasn’t for Song Qingshu, he wouldn’t have gone to prison, but when Song Qingshu learned that something happened to him, he immediately tried to find a way to help him.
‘I don’t even know whether to hate him or thank him.’
“I have to repay the grace of saving my life and I naturally have a way to hide this matter from the Prince. Brother Tian, you don’t need to worry about me. Calm down and absorb the medicinal power.” Song Qingshu replied.
After a stick of incense time, Song Qingshu withdrew his palms and stood up, “We can’t stay here for a long time. Brother Tian, you should be able to walk on your own now, let’s go out of the palace first.”
“Okay.” Tian Guinong hurriedly nodded. He staggered behind Song Qingshu, his face pale with pain and sweat dripping down every time he took a step. But thinking about the possibility of escape, he had no choice but to persist.
“Director Sai, what is this?” The guards at the door were taken aback when they saw Tian Guinong behind Song Qingshu.
“It is the Prince’s order, I will take him out. You don’t have to worry.” Song Qingshu took out a token, and showed it to the guards, while thinking that this Director Sai had really saved him a lot of effort! He didn’t expect that this guy would have Hongli’s token with him. Otherwise, it would’ve taken a lot of effort to rescue Tian Guinong by himself.
“Yes!” The guards checked the token and said with a smile, “This Guinong is already a cripple, so now he’s naturally worthless.”
Hearing the laughter of this group of low-level guards who he usually didn’t even put in his eyes, Tian Guinong trembled all over in humiliation. His fingernails sunk into his flesh, and he secretly took an oath in his heart, ‘Revenge, I, Tian Guinong, must take revenge!’
After going all the way out of the palace, Song Qingshu pointed to the carriage that he had prepared by the side of the road, and said to Tian Guinong, “Brother Tian, I still have important matters to attend to, so I won’t be sending you off. You should drive this carriage to your house and take your wife and daughter to the Five Lakes Sect at east of the city to find their leader Sang Feihong. Young Master Song has already made an agreement with her, and they will escort you out of Shengjing. Now you can no longer stay in Liaodong, and Leader Sang will send you to Yanjing City. Young Master Song has arranged everything for you there.”
It turned out that after Song Qingshu rescued Sang Feihong in Zhang Zhaozhong’s mansion. He went to meet her later and hired her to escort a few people out of the city for him.
“Many thanks to Director Sai for saving me today.” Tian Guinong looked at Song Qingshu and choked up in emotion. Ever since he was imprisoned, all his friends in the old official circles had turned their backs on him. Unexpectedly, it was Director Sai, who he had no friendship with in the past, had come to help him.
“If you want to thank someone, then thank Young Master Song.” Song Qingshu snickered in his heart, turned and walked towards the palace. After a few steps, he suddenly thought of something, and called Tian Guinong again, “Brother Tian, the location of Leader Sang of the Five Lakes Sect is not that far away. You shouldn’t think about abandoning your family.”
Song Qingshu was quite worried about Tian Guinong’s nature. He was afraid that the guy would abandon his wife and daughter at this critical juncture. If that happened, wouldn’t all his efforts be in vain?
“Thank you, Director Sai for the reminder!” Tian Guinong became lost in thought for a moment, nodded, and then drove his carriage towards his mansion.
After re-entering the palace, Song Qingshu wondered in his heart, ‘Why didn’t I see the members of the Red Flower Society in the prison just now. Could it be that they weren’t kept imprisoned in the palace? Forget it, now that time is running out, there is no way to save them anyways, so I should go save Xia Qingqing first.’
Song Qingshu walked in a hurry, without facing any hindrance along the way.
“Director Sai, you know the rules, right? No one can enter the inner courtyard of the palace, except the Prince and the heir.” Just as he was about to enter the gate of the inner courtyard of the palace, a voice called out to him from behind.
Song Qingshu looked back and realized that he had seen this person at the banquet before. It was the number three master under Prince Bao, the Golden Grasping Iron Hook Bai Zhen. According to Zhang Zhaozhong, Bai Zhen was adept at Eagle Claw Technique, and his martial arts skills were above him. With all this in mind, Song Qingshu quickly said, “It turned out to be Lord Bai! I’m sorry, I was preoccupied with something just now, so I wasn’t able to pay attention to where I was going.”
“It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.” Bai Zhen said with a smile, but he was full of resentment in his heart. This Director Sai wasn’t as good as him in martial arts, but because they were of the same race, he was more trusted by the prince, and Bai Zhen could only guard the palace.
Song Qingshu turned around and walked out of the palace while thinking in his heart, ‘I thought I could sneak in to find Qingqing more easily using my identity as the Director, but I didn’t expect this. It seems that I can only implement the established plan.
After leaving the palace in a hurry, Song Qingshu found a secluded place, and tore off his official uniform and human skin mask. Then he rushed to the Dragon Gate Inn near the palace, where another person was waiting for him.
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