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    Madam Gu was the one who pulled him back into the mortal world.

    Xu Li'er responded with a smile, "Madam Gu is indeed incredibly capable."

    "How am I capable?" The curtains rustled as a gentle voice entered along with soft footsteps.

    "Miss!" Ying Que rose from the rug on the floor. "It's so late, why aren't you asleep yet? Your arm is still injured!"

    The little maid chattered on, but Rong Shu chuckled. "Isn't it because I just heard someone praise me? I came specifically to hear more."

    Ying Que said, "Didn't you tell us earlier that no one would force Miss Xu to die anymore? I mentioned it to Miss Xu, so she wouldn't have to worry."

    Rong Shu had seen the panic and helplessness on Xu Li'er's face when they were at the inn, and she had intended to reassure her when she came to the eastern chamber.

    Since Ying Que brought up the topic, Rong Shu took it up and spoke to Xu Li'er:

    "Miss Xu truly has nothing to worry about. Now, everyone in the capital knows that someone wants you dead. The Emperor and Empress won't stand idly by, and those who originally wanted you dead won't dare make a move. To them, whether Miss Xu lives or dies is no longer significant."

    Only if Xu Li'er took her own life would the blood letter spark public outrage and have its maximum effect.

    But now that the plan has failed, even if Xu Li'er were to commit suicide, no one would believe it was done willingly.

    Therefore, those people wouldn't dare to touch Xu Li'er again.

    Xu Li'er had promised the individual that she would hang herself once the incense burned out. However, in her previous life, she died at midnight, almost two hours after the incense had finished burning.

    This suggested that in her final moments, she chose to live. But the person never gave her a genuine choice. Taking advantage of her sleep, they silently strangled her, staging it to look like a suicide.

    From the beginning, Xu Li'er was merely a pawn in their game.

    But after tonight, this pawn would come alive for real.

    In the study, Gu Changjin said the same thing to Chang Ji.

    Chang Ji asked Gu Changjin, "Should I secretly protect Miss Xu when she visits Daci'en Temple tomorrow?"

    Gu Changjin, who was applying medicine, replied nonchalantly, "They won't make another move. Xu Li'er has survived tonight, and she'll continue to live as long as she doesn't do anything foolish."

    If she was clever enough, she would understand that Empress Qi's residence was indeed her best option.

    When one is utterly incapable of self-preservation, the wisest course is to seek shelter under the protection of others.

    With that, Gu Changjin fell silent.

    After applying the medicine, he sat quietly on a reclining couch for half an hour, pondering the intricate web of hands manipulating events behind Xu Li'er's case.

    Once he had somewhat untangled the mess of threads in his mind, he checked the time and extinguished the lamp before lying down.

    Though the wound on his arm throbbed slightly, injuries were a common occurrence for Gu Changjin; he closed his eyes and soon sank into a deep sleep.

    But halfway through the night, snow began to fall outside. The snowflakes scattered in the wind, creating a rustling sound as they struck the windows.

    Gu Changjin had observed the clear, moonlit sky before going to bed, predicting a bright and sunny day ahead. How could it suddenly be snowing?

    Even in his slumber, his mind remained active with thoughts.

    As he pondered the unexpected snowfall, his lower leg suddenly felt a chill. It was as if the coldness had a life of its own, creeping up from his ankle straight to his calf.

    It was as if two mice had escaped from an ice cellar and crept into the loose ends of his trousers.

    Gu Changjin abruptly opened his eyes to find a warm, fragrant, and tender maiden nestled beside him.

    To be precise, not in his embrace, but by his side.

    The girl didn't seem to be sleeping soundly either. Perhaps feeling the cold, she clung tightly to his arm with her small hands, her tiny face shamelessly resting on his bicep.

    Most infuriating of all, at some point, her two icy-cold feet had snuck into his trouser legs, presumably seeking the warmth of his calves. Now, they lay quietly in place.

    A hint of impatience flickered across his eyes.

    When the lights were extinguished at night, this maiden, draped in a thick cloak and holding a crescent moon pillow, had rushed from Songsi Courtyard to his study. In a gentle and soothing tone, she said, "Since you're not accustomed to the bed in Songsi Courtyard, I'll accompany you to sleep in the study."

    Then, she had entered the study with an air of propriety.

    He had been staying in the study for a long time, initially due to his injuries and busy schedule. But with the new year approaching, after he had just resolved two major cases, the Chief Justice, empathizing with his newlywed status and constant busyness, even with repeated injuries, had ordered him to take ten or twenty days off to rest at home and spend time with his newlywed wife.

    With no more excuse to avoid sleeping in Songsi Courtyard, he could only claim that he was not used to its bed.

    Little did he expect that this usually decorous and courteous young lady would come in with her crescent pillow.

    He had no choice but to let her enter and lie down on the bed.

    When they initially went to sleep, they were each in their own blankets.

    Apparently, this girl must have been chilled in the middle of the night, hence she snuggled into his blanket.

    Being afraid of the cold yet insisting on sleeping in the study with him on this narrow bed was truly self-inflicted suffering.

    Gu Changjin scoffed inwardly, stretched out his calf, and shook off her cold feet. He then pushed aside her hand and stuffed her back into her own blanket.

    Despite the commotion, she didn't wake up. She mumbled a few words softly before obediently curling up in her bedding.

    Gu Changjin could clearly hear that she was searching for her crescent pillow.

    There sure was a lot of fuss over sleeping.

    With a stern expression, Gu Changjin stuffed the crescent pillow by his feet into her arms.

    The next morning, the maiden was entirely unaware of her actions from the previous night. With a rosy tip of her nose, she helped him dress, her gentle eyes lowered and a subtle smile gracing her lips, which was particularly captivating.

    Gu Changjin looked down at her and inquired, "My Lady, did you sleep well last night?"

    Rong Shu discreetly sniffled and, standing on tiptoe, straightened his collar with a radiant smile. "I slept very soundly. No wonder Lord likes to sleep here. This Buddhist monk's bed is indeed incredibly comfortable."


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