Rebirth of the Excellent Daughter of the Marquis Household - Chapter 29
Chapter 29: Kidnapping
The sky outside was completely dark and it was snowing. The snow was not heavy, but the cold wind of the winter night was bitingly cold and the falling snowflakes were painful on the face.
Chun Xing was afraid that Gu Yu Qi would be cold. She did not forget to bring a deerskin cloak from the inn and put it on Gu Yu Qi. There was an open area at the inn which was now occupied by tents set up by servants of various residences.
Chun Xing held Gu Yu Qi with one hand, the other hand holding an umbrella for Gu Yu Qi. From time to time, she repeatedly advised her to be careful of slipping while going from tent to tent, asking people if they had seen two siblings. Unfortunately, everyone they asked shook their heads.
“That’s right, Eldest Younger Brother likes horses. Would he have gone to the stables behind the inn?” Gu Yu Qi asked.
“I have searched there and the people watching the horses said they have seen them. However, Third Young Miss did not like it there so they only played for a while before going out to the front,” Chun Xing was anxious and almost broke out in a sweat on such a snowy day. She also did not like Second Young Master and Third Young Miss, but if they were really lost, her conscience would not be able to handle it. She also did not know how they would explain to Concubine Liu and who knew what trouble she would make for her own madam.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry.” Gu Yu Qi was also worried. However, she could only comfort Chun Xing right now. “You go back and tell Mother first. Don’t make a fuss yet. Ask Father if he knows where they went and who’s following them. If Father also doesn’t know, then tell Mother to have all our servants go out and search. This town isn’t big and even though the two of them are naughty, it’s a snowy day so they wouldn’t have run off too far.”
“Yes,” Gu Yu Qi’s orderliness made Chun Xing’s heart settle a little. She curtseyed and said, “What about Young Miss?”
“Don’t worry, I know the way. I’ll go down this road and search.” Gu Yu Qi pointed forward, “If I can’t find them, I’ll come back myself.”
“But Young Miss, although this is a small town, who knows what will happen. Second Young Master and Third Young Miss are already missing, if you…” When she said this, she spat three times, “Look at this servant’s rotten mouth.”
“You need only care about going back to Mother. I promise not to get lost,” Gu Yu Qi patted the back of Chun Xing’s hand. “Just give me the umbrella. The town is lit with lamps everywhere, I won’t get lost. Come now, no more dawdling. Go quickly.”
Chun Xing knew that Gu Yu Qi was smart. She also knew that it was important to urgently find Second Young Master and Third Young Miss, so she advised Gu Yu Qi a few more words, then walked quickly back to the inn.
Gu Yu Qi carried the umbrella and walked towards the road she had pointed down. She remembered that the town god’s temple was at the end of the road.
Along the way, Gu Yu Qi did not meet any of the townspeople. Every house had closed their doors, but there were many officers from the yamen transferred from the county to patrol back and forth and ensure the safety of the nobles from the capital. Gu Yu Qi had no choice but to ask them. They saw that Gu Yu Qi was beautiful and dressed prettily so they replied respectfully. Unfortunately, no one had seen Gu Si Yang and his sister. Strange! Could a living person be lost for no reason? When she arrived at the inn, she had seen Gu Si Yang and Gu Si Yu messing around. She went all the way to the end of the road. The town god’s temple was still there. It was just not the same as what she had remembered. In her last life, this town god’s temple had been rebuilt. Although it could not be described as splendid, it was still an elegant and ornamented building. However, the temple was in ruins right now in the midst of wind and snow and seemed in a shaky declining state.
“Gu Si Yang, Gu Si Yu, are you inside?” Gu Yu Qi shouted from outside the temple. It was dark and silent with only the cold night wind blowing through the broken windows and making a sharp whistling sound. It gave off an eerie feeling.
“Don’t be naughty. If you’re inside, hurry up and come out!” Gu Yu Qi called out again but nobody answered. Gu Si Yang and Gu Si Yu should not have been courageous enough to go near the dark temple.
Gu Yu Qi waited for a while. She was about to walk away when she heard a faint whine from inside. The sound was so faint that it was barely audible in the whistling cold wind. If Gu Yu Qi had not listened carefully while holding her breath, it was likely that she would not have heard it.
“Gu Si Yang? Is that you?” Gu Yu Qi did not consider it much. She hitched up her skirt and stepped over the threshold that reached her calf.
The sound seemed to have come from the courtyard behind the temple.
Gu Yu Qi remembered that when she had come here before, there was a large pool for releasing fish behind the temple. There was rockery around the pool and a large well behind the rockery.
The well was dry. At that time, she had been curious and researched why there was water in the pool for releasing fish but no water in the well.
Surely Gu Si Yang and Gu Si Yu would not have fallen in.
It was very dark inside the temple and the light from the lanterns outside could only illuminate the front half of the small hall. It was snowy and windy tonight without moonlight or starlight. The back half of the temple was so dark that you could not see your own fingers.
Gu Yu Qi could not see anything so she could only walk based on her previous memory of this place. She stumbled and from time to time, she bumped into some scattered junk in the temple, hurting her knees and legs.
“Gu Si Yang, Gu Si Yu! Are you here or not?” Gu Yu Qi fumbled and reached the back courtyard of the main hall with great difficulty. She almost tripped over the high threshold. Short legs were really disadvantageous. But once she was outside, she vaguely saw the way from the lanterns on the street. Gu Yu Qi carefully walked over the small bridge over the pond for releasing fish and neared the dry well.
Wu wu wu, it was closer this time. Gu Yu Qi could hear it clearly. Someone’s voice was coming from the dry well.
Gu Yu Qi’s heart felt chills but she walked over bravely, “Who’s in there?” Under the dim light, the entrance to the dry well was like the mouth of the monster growing from the dark.
“Wu wu wu!” The voice came out again. He heard Gu Yu Qi’s voice, so he called a few more times.
“Why won’t you speak?” Gu Yu Qi approached the well cautiously, wondering if she should look into it or not. On a pitch black snowy night, if something popped out of the well, it would be enough to scare anyone’s guts out.
Just when Gu Yu Qi was still contemplating on whether or not to probe closer to the well, she heard a cold voice behind her, “Careful!”
Gu Yu Qi instinctively turned her head. Before she could see clearly, she felt a gust of wind over her head. She had yet to fully react when she had been put into a black cloth bag. Just as Gu Yu Qi was about to scream, someone’s finger tapped her twice and she was numb all over. She could not even move or make a sound.
Gu Yu Qi struggled desperately. She could not see outside but she could hear.
“So bold. There are so many officers and soldiers patrolling outside, and you dare to kidnap people here.” Then there was the sound of a hidden weapon whizzing through the air. Someone grunted twice, seeming to have been hit by the hidden weapon.
My god! This cold voice with a sarcastic undertone, was it not Yun Ke?
Then Gu Yu Qi was thrown to the ground ruthlessly. Covered in the black cloth bag, she was thrown dizzy, but she felt the mouth of the bag open and she hastily tried to crawl out of the bag.
“Let’s go!” In the darkness, two shadowy figures saw that they had lost their chance and said this quietly. The two left Gu Yu Qi behind and leapt over the back wall of the town god’s temple.
“Stupid!” Yun Ke’s voice came through the black cloth bag.
You’re stupid! Your whole family is stupid! Gu Yu Qi cursed from the bottom of her stomach, but unfortunately she could not move now so she could only be a corpse in the black cloth bag.
Pretty good act! Did she not say that they would never ever meet again? Yun Ke’s martial arts skills were relatively established, so in the dark, his eyesight was better than Gu Yu Qi’s.
He first walked to the well and looked inside. Then he threw a stone down and hit the sleeping acupressure point on the person in the well. The whining stopped abruptly.
“The more you live, the more you regress!” Yun Ke could not help but scold, “Don’t you know you should have someone accompany you when entering a place like this?” He took two steps forward, took out a lighter and lit it. Then he crouched beside the black cloth bag holding Gu Yu Qi and opened the rope tied at the mouth of the bag.
If he had not followed silently just now, this stupid woman would have been kidnapped!
The cloth bag was pulled open from outside, then Gu Yu Qi felt someone pick up the bag and turn it upside down. She was poured out of the bag like cargo and she fell in pain again. Yun Ke! You did it deliberately! Gu Yu Qi could not move or speak so she could only go crazy in her heart.
Seeing that Gu Yu Qi had been poured out, Yun Ke stood up with a half-smile. He kicked Gu Yu Qi’s calf with his toes, “Not dead?”
You’re the one who’ll die! Gu Yu Qi raised her eyes and looked fiercely at the black-clothed boy standing in front of her.
“Angry?” Yun Ke seemed like he was in a good mood. He crossed his arms across his chest and looked at Gu Yu Qi condescendingly, “I’ve saved you again. Say, how will you repay me?”
Repay my ass! Get lost and die as far away as possible! Gu Yu Qi was screaming in her heart. She could not speak right now and could only stare at Yun Ke. At this moment, she was so mad that she could not even bother to pretend.
What do you mean saved again?! When was the first time?!
Yun Ke seemed to be able to see through Gu Yu Qi’s thoughts. He just smiled and leaned down, then lowered his voice and said in Gu Yu Qi’s ear, “I saved you twice today. The first time was at the inn when you were being questioned on why you were alone with me.” He reminded her quietly.
No wonder Yun Yi suddenly said that. It turned out it had been Yun Ke’s request. This kind of thing would naturally be more convincing if it came from the fifth prince’s mouth.
Gu Yu Qi stared at Yun Ke. She rolled her eyes around, motioning for him to unlock her acupressure points.
In his previous life, Yun Ke’s martial arts were considered too profound to be fathomable, so he had always regarded Gu Yu Qi’s few skills as showy and flashy.
He deliberately did not unlock her acupressure points. This guy was too hateful!
After he finished speaking, he was in no hurry to stand up straight. Instead, he looked at Gu Yu Qi up close, his gaze seeming to be outlining Gu Yu Qi’s face, wanting to see every inch of her face carefully.
Gu Yu Qi’s whole body had goosebumps when she saw him. She desperately wanted to jump up and punch him, but unable to move, she could only let him look at herself from head to toe. Gu Yu Qi only felt that Yun Ke’s gaze was like that of a poisonous snake, which frightened her.
It turned out this damn woman was really beautiful. Although she was still young, these eyebrows, this face, these lips… The eyes of the little person in front of him were on fire. In the dancing flames of the lighter, it was unusually lively and reminded him of her alluring dance in the firelight in the previous life.
His heart seemed to be suddenly caught by something and it tensed tightly. Just like when he saw the two men in black covering her with a cloth bag and trying to kidnap her, he did not even think twice before saving her. If it had been someone else, he would have quietly followed behind and found out the truth behind it all in one fell swoop. As for the life or death of the captives, they would have nothing to do with him. On the contrary, these people dared to kidnap people when the whole town was full of powerful and influential imperial court ministers. It was a bit daring and worth checking. He was too impulsive!
“You owe me. I’ll make you repay it slowly.” Yun Ke suddenly smiled slowly like the night-blooming cereus flower, short-lived and splendidly breathtaking. He raised his finger and touched between Gu Yu Qi’s eyebrows lightly, “Remember it well.”
She owed him a lot. Even if nothing else counted, even if it was just the few decades of lingering dreams in the previous life, it was enough to last her awhile.
When he stood up straight, his face was as cold as ever. He heard footsteps from outside the temple. First, he used stones to unlock the sleeping acupressure point of the person in the well, then he leapt away, hiding his figure in the darkness of the night. If it were not for the lighter he left behind and his shallow footprints in the snow on the ground, Gu Yu Qi felt as if he had never appeared.
Chun Xing’s shouts came from outside the temple. Gu Yu Qi’s mind moved and she could not help but curse Yun Ke again. He did not even unlock her acupressure points before leaving! It would cause trouble like this!
She could not move or respond to Chun Xing’s voice. She was so anxious but could not even scratch her ears and cheeks so she could not help but scold Yun Ke from head to toe.
The person in the well began to wail for help again. Although the voice was faint, it still had some effect. Chun Xing obviously heard the voice and came in with a lantern. Following her was Liang Huai Yu and two bodyguards brought from Jiangnan.
Seeing Gu Yu Qi lying by the well, Liang Huai Yu was so frightened that she almost fainted. She hurriedly rushed to Gu Yu Qi’s side and helped Gu Yu Qi up. She checked her up and down, then asked anxiously, “Ah Nan, what’s wrong?”
“It seems like Young Miss’ acupressure points have been locked.” Chun Xing could see clearly. She raised her hand and tapped Gu Yu Qi twice. Gu Yu Qi let out a long sigh, “Mother, I’m fine. Quickly have someone look at who’s in the well.”
Chun Xing immediately asked the two guards to shine the light and investigate the dry well. Liang-shi pulled Gu Yu Qi. She wanted to scold her but could not bear it. There were more footsteps outside. She originally wanted to ask Gu Yu Qi why she had fallen here. There was a black cloth bag next to her and her acupressure points had even been locked. However, she was afraid that people would talk too much and in the chaos, it would be bad if some random things were spread out. She could only bear it for a while. She had already checked and Gu Yu Qi was unharmed, her clothes were just a little dirty and not damaged. She straightened Gu Yu Qi’s messy hair as fast as possible so that other people would not notice anything.
“Madam, the person in the well is a servant from our house.” Chun Xing had already looked into the well and was astonished. She asked the two guards to bring the person up as she reported back.
At this time, Gu Huai Zhong had also led some servants and guards over hurriedly. Before he had even come in, he shouted from outside the door, “Madam, Chun Xing, have you found Si Yang and Si Yu?”
Liang-shi really wanted to go up and slap him. In the beginning, he had boldly said that he would take care of Si Yang and Si Yu by himself but it had been nothing more than Liu-shi blowing wind in his ear. Were they just afraid that she would not take care of the two children by herself? And let those two children be wronged secretly! Alright, if he wanted to care for them then let him care for them and she would take it easy. Now where had they gone under his care?!
Now Si Yang and Si Yu had disappeared and even Gu Yu Qi had been missing for a moment. How good he was, shouting loudly and not even asking if Gu Yu Qi had been found, only asking about Gu Si Yang and Gu Si Yu. Could it be that in his eyes, only those two children were his own and Gu Yu Qi had just been picked up somewhere?
Seeing that her beautiful mother’s eyes were filled with anger, Gu Yu Qi hurriedly took Liang-shi’s hand, “Mother, it’s more urgent to find Gu Si Yang and Gu Si Yu first right now.”
Now was not the time to be angry with Gu Huai Zhong. Liang-shi rolled up the black cloth bag and hid it before the others came in.
Gu Huai Zhong did not take long to bring people and come here. There were many people and there was strength in numbers. After a while, the servant at the bottom of the well had been brought up. They saw that he had been tied up with his hands behind his back with a cloth in his mouth so he could only make a wailing sound from the bottom of the well.
“Where is Second Young Master and Third Young Miss?” Gu Huai Zhong was really anxious now. He kicked the poor servant to the ground with one foot, “This Marquis told you to follow them, what kind of following did you do?!”
That servant was incredibly wronged. The anger from being kicked made him almost breathless. Still clutching his chest, he said hastily, “Second Young Master and Third Young Miss came here and insisted on coming in to look. This servant had no choice but to follow them inside, but who knew that someone would knock this servant unconscious upon entry. This servant was tied and thrown into the well. If it was not for Eldest Young Miss, this servant would likely have frozen to death here today.”
“Did you see your younger brother and younger sister when you came?” Only then did Gu Huai Zhong remember Gu Yu Qi and ask hurriedly.
Gu Yu Qi shook her head, “I didn’t see them.”
“Oh right, when Eldest Young Miss came over, this servant heard sounds of fighting.” The servant added. “This servant was so frightened that he fainted. When this servant woke up, Sister Chun Xing had already brought people over and this servant continued to struggle for help.” He had not fainted, he had been stunned by Yun Ke, but Gu Yu Qi could not bring herself to say this.
“Ah?” Gu Huai Zhong was startled, “You were also attacked?”
This… Gu Yu Qi did not know how to reply for a moment. Seeing more and more people coming in from outside, she could not say in front of so many people that Yun Ke saved her and had beaten away two black-clothed masked men. She had already been questioned once at the inn why she was alone with Yun Ke in the princess’ residence. She had just been cleared by Yun Yi. If she spoke the truth now, it was inevitable they would be suspicious again.
“Father, can we talk about this after we go back?” Gu Yu Qi whispered. “First, send someone to follow the footprints outside the courtyard wall to see if you can find anything. The two people who wanted to kidnap me should have been injured.” Otherwise, they would not have given up their plan so easily and ran away in a hurry.
At that time, although Gu Yu Qi could not see or move, she heard the two men in black say to retreat. There was a bit of pain in his voice and it was probably because Yun Ke had hit them with some hidden weapon.
Liang-shi immediately asked the two guards she had brought from Jiangnan to go and chase. She could not trust the people Gu Huai Zhong had brought. Gu Huai Zhong also leapt over the wall to chase.
“Go back to the inn first,” Liang-shi was afraid that outsiders would come in and complicate the issue so she spoke decisively.
When she took Gu Yu Qi and Chun Xing out of the ruined temple, there were already servants and guards from various residences on the street who were starting to help Gu Huai Zhong find people. The small town was chaotic and noisy. Among them were guards brought by Yun Yi and Yun Ke and in a moment, the good and bad were mixed up.
After returning to the room at the inn, Gu Yu Qi told the story of what happened. However, she did not say that it was Yun Ke who saved her and just said that it was someone she did not know. He beat the kidnappers and chased them outside, and then Liang-shi and Chun Xing came over.
This… They actually dared to kidnap people at this time. This trafficker must have eaten the gall of a bear and leopard.
“Mother, don’t worry.” Gu Yu Qi thought about it carefully, “I think that this is very strange.”
“Strange how?” Liang-shi asked.
“How did they know that Eldest Younger Brother and Third Sister would go to that ruined temple? Could it be that they were waiting there for them specifically?” Gu Y Qi kept thinking about this question on the way back to the inn.
Also, the person who was kidnapping her was obviously ready, just waiting for the opportunity to make a move. It seemed like they were all aimed at the three of them siblings and not the sons or daughters of the other families. If they were common traffickers, they would not dare to act in front of so many princes and nobles. Even if they dared to, how could they be so purposeful? How could there be so many coincidences and for the people to be arrested to all be from the Ding Yuan Marquis’ residence?
“Has father offended anyone?” Gu Yu Qi asked.
“You mean it’s aimed at our residence?” Liang Huai Yu frowned and said. She thought about it carefully, but there was no clue.
Gu Huai Zhong was a new noble in the imperial court and even if he offended other nobles in the imperial court, it would not be to the point of kidnapping all his children.
If it were not the people in the imperial court, who would it be?
Liang-shi thought hard again while helping Gu Yu Qi change clothes. Gu Yu Qi was also thinking so the room was quiet for a while.
Gu Yu Qi had been cold outside for a while. Her hands and feet were cold so Liang-shi ordered someone to bring hot food over.
Gu Huai Zhong and the two guards from the residence climbed over the back wall of the town god’s temple. Indeed, there were three rows of footprints in the snow, exactly as Gu Yu Qi said.
Gu Huai Zhong was overjoyed. He followed the footsteps with the others and chased until they reached the foot of the mountain outside the town. The footprints became a mess and there seemed to be traces of fighting.
Gu Huai Zhong and the others slowed down to distinguish the footprints carefully. They saw the footprints continued all the way into the woods on the side of the mountain.
After they entered the woods, they saw two black-clothed masked men lying motionless in rags under a big tree. Gu Huai Zhong stepped forward to check. They were not breathing and were already dead. Gu Huai Zhong pulled down their masks. From the light of the torches held by the guards, he involuntarily took a breath, “Rouran people!” He exclaimed in shock.
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