Wei Lan couldn’t answer Long Xuan’s question. They hadn’t gone to Yun Guan yet, and the battle was close at hand but had not begun. Wei Lan was categorically unaware of what would happen. How should he answer?
Because of the disparity in their statuses, Long Xuan’s gaze casually and impudently swept across Wei Lan from head to toe as he carefully sized him up. Wei Lan’s appearance was undoubtedly good. He was handsome, stood tall and straight, and had no lack of delicate prettiness. The style of the clothes he wore was ordinary, but the fabrics used were top-notch. Though the Senior Official’s residence was generous to its servants, this kind of clothing would definitely not be given to them to wear. Luo Wei did not treat Wei Lan as a servant, and it seemed that others in the official’s residence also did not take Wei Lan to be a servant.
“If Your Highness has no instructions, then I will retreat.” Long Xuan eyed Wei Lan until Wei Lan couldn’t continue to sit there anymore. This prince’s gaze seemed to carry some perverseness, as if he would injure you just by looking.
At this, Long Xuan opened his mouth again. “The reputation of the Qi Lin Shadow Guards is not good, but its martial arts indeed can be said to be on par with my Imperial Long Clan’s Imperial Cavalry Guards. Wei Lan, I exchanged blows with you last time. Your qinggong is not bad, but why do I feel that your internal energy is insufficient?”
Wei Lan denied, “There’s no problem with my internal energy.”
“Without the Qi Lin Villa’s medicine, your shadow guards’ internal energies would all degenerate, right?”
Wei Lan stood up to leave.
“Luo Wei doesn’t understand martial arts,” Long Xuan continued, “So you concealed it from him, or perhaps all of you Qi Lin Shadow Guards who were rescued by him concealed it from him. Is it okay to treat your benefactor like this? Wei Lan, the killing fields are merciless. If it’s a critical juncture and your internal energy is of no use, what will Luo Wei do? He might not mind dying with you, but I still want him to live.”
Wei Lan replied, “Your Highness would care about the life and death of my household’s young master?”
“Yes,” Long Xuan affirmed. “Your life and death do not concern only you. I don’t care about the life or death of anyone in the army, but Luo Wei and you lot are different. His life cannot be lost in Northern Yan.”
“Your Highness wants me to tell the young master the truth, and not follow him to Northern Yan?”
“Luo Wei trusts you. If he doesn’t bring you, he himself may not feel at ease.” Long Xuan took a small wooden box out from underneath the table, and pushed it before Wei Lan. “Take this with you.”
Wei Lan used one hand to open the wooden box. There were two layers of pills in it, approximately totalling one hundred. A singularly familiar pine fragrance rushed into Wei Lan’s nasal cavity, immediately effecting huge changes in Wei Lan’s expression.
“Qi Lin Villa’s secret substance,” Long Xuan expressionlessly observed Wei Lan’s sudden changes, continuing in a low voice, “I recreated it for you. Consider it a gift from me.”
Wei Lan’s hand shook, and the lid of the wooden box shut with a “pa.” Only then did the waves of vertigo brought forth by that pine fragrance come to a stop.
“I’m not asking you to eat it now,” Long Xuan said. “When you reach Sima Qingsha’s location in Northern Yan, you can judge the hour and size up the situation yourself. If the situation is critical, and you are not as strong as you would wish, it isn’t too late to use the medicine.”
“You know the young master will go to Sima Qingsha’s location?” Wei Lan asked Long Xuan, forcing down the nausea flooding him from the bottom of his heart.
“How can he win trust without going to Crown Prince Qingsha? Just relying on his mouth?”
“How could you make this medicine?” Wei Lan asked another question, thinking that Luo Ting Chao might have betrayed Luo Wei. Wei Lan turned pale.
“There is someone in the palace who can relieve your drug addiction. Of course they can also make this medicine,” Long Xuan replied. “I’ll remind you again: if you take this medicine again, your drug addiction will be incurable, so be very cautious.”
Wei Lan looked at the wooden box before him as if he were viewing a death amulet.
“It seems that your young master’s life is nothing more than that for you.” Long Xuan’s voice seemed to carry a smile.
Wei Lan raised his head to look at Long Xuan. This person was smiling, and his smile was ordinary. There seemed to be no malice, nor the condescension of the upper strata, and his mien was not overbearing. However, that smile made one feel chilled from the bottom of one’s heart.
“You must protect Luo Wei.” Long Xuan’s voice became cold again in the blink of an eye. “Otherwise, even if you walk on the road to the underworld, I will have a way to prevent you from being reincarnated. Mark my words.”
“Are you defending my young master?” Wei Lan was confused by what seemed like Long Xuan’s sudden concern for Luo Wei.
“Luo Wei won’t care,” Long Xuan leaned back in his chair, “but this is between me and you, and has nothing to do with him. I originally wanted to give you a top-notch sharp sword. But Luo Wei will take care of this for you. If I send it, he will find it suspicious. You should put this medicine away. Don’t let him find out, otherwise…” Long Xuan stopped speaking.
“Otherwise what?” Wei Lan nevertheless still asked.
“Otherwise if he knows your internal energy is sometimes inadequate, how could Luo Wei still bring you to Northern Yan? He would definitely look everywhere for a famous doctor to cure you. Wei Lan, I don’t need to tell you these things, and I also shouldn’t need to teach you what to do right?”
Wei Lan’s hand lay on the wooden box, and the blue veins beneath its skin bulged one by one. His mind was a chaotic mess now.
Fu Yun waited in the lobby of the restaurant for a long time and still did not see Wei Lan leave. Just as he pondered what on earth his master could have to say such that he would take so long to converse with an unimportant imperial bodyguard like Wei Lan, he saw Long Xuan appear at the head of the flight of stairs.
“Let’s go back,” Long Xuan said to Fu Yun, who was greeting him from below.
“Then that Wei Lan?” Fu Yun looked behind Long Xuan and did not see Wei Lan. His master wouldn’t have killed that incautious little bodyguard like this right? Such a thought arose in Fu Yun’s mind.
“He left.” Long Xuan did not turn back to look, and also did not pay any mind to the restaurant proprietor bowing and scraping after him as he left.
Fu Yun hurriedly walked to keep pace with Long Xuan at his back as he signalled for the guards to follow quickly.
“Many thanks,” Long Xuan thanked the restaurant proprietor after exiting and sitting astride his horse. Then he urged his horse to move forward.
“Your Highness?” Fu Yun didn’t ride a horse, and could only stare in vain as Long Xuan galloped further and further away.
Long Xuan heard Fu Yun shouting behind him but did not turn his head. This person had money on him, so he didn’t worry about him not making it back before the palace gates shut. In the end, Wei Lan took away that box of medicine and left from the window in a daze. It seemed this person treated Luo Wei with sincerity. Discovering this, Long Xuan did not feel comfortable. These two were really a harmonious couple? As he entered a crowded street, Long Xuan pulled at the reins of his horse and slowed down.
Wei Lan did not return to the official’s residence as Long Xuan thought, but followed behind Long Xuan on his entire journey.
Long Xuan did not directly return to the palace, but rode his horse to an ordinary courtyard. A guard walked ahead and knocked on the door. A person inside opened a small window and glanced outside, then hurriedly opened the door to let Long Xuan and his party enter.
Wei Lan waited outside for a while, and walked to the walled backyard of this household. He was about to climb in when he was blocked by a person rushing at him from behind.
Nineteen took Wei Lan about one hundred meters away from this house with a courtyard before asking in a low voice, “Twenty-nine, why are you here?”