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    Chang Ji's eyes lit up with delight as he hurriedly said, "A group of pirates disguised as citizens of Great Yin have secretly entered the inner city. They brought gunpowder and firearms!"

    Upon hearing this, Gu Changjin's already pale face turned even paler.

    He quickly got up to rush out, neglecting to put on his soft armor.

    "Fetch Lady Feng and ask her to come with me into the city!"

    The inner city was still peaceful at that moment.

    Rong Shu had been rushing between multiple locations these days.

    Many citizens who hadn't managed to seek refuge in the inner city during the Mid-Autumn Festival had been returning gradually.

    Injured civilians were usually sent to the City God Temple first for preliminary treatment. If their injuries were minor, they would be sent home; if severe, they would be taken to specialized clinics for further care.

    At that moment, Rong Shu was leading a group to transport a new batch of medicinal supplies to the City God Temple. As they approached the city gates, they heard the sound of gongs and drums approaching from the opposite direction.

    It was Lu Shiyi, accompanied by the bailiffs, patrolling to prevent pirates from sneaking ashore and causing chaos within the city.

    The pirates from Four Square Island were unusually well-equipped this time, almost every man carrying a fire lance that could claim lives from afar. Men like Lu Shiyi, a law enforcement officer, at least had their swords for defense and might have a chance to fight back.

    But the majority of ordinary citizens were powerless; their only weapon in daily life might be a kitchen knife. If the pirates were to breach the inner city, how could these untrained civilians withstand the barrage of fire lances?

    Thus, patrolling along the walls was an essential task that couldn't be neglected for a moment.

    In her previous life, due to inadequate preparation, thousands of pirates landed and wreaked havoc, killing and plundering without mercy. It was only after Gu Changjin led two thousand soldiers, together with countless civilians from Yangzhou, that they managed to drive the pirates out of the inner city.

    Therefore, on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Rong Shu had already warned Qi Xin and the others that they must not relax their guard at the city gates.

    This made Lu Shiyi extremely busy.

    He was known for his righteousness, and whether it was the law enforcement officers in the office, martial artists in Ciying Alley, or even thugs in the backstreets, they were all willing to heed his word. These people now formed the backbone of the city patrol.

    Rong Shu hadn't seen Lu Shiyi for two or three days. Hearing the familiar sound of the brass gong, she hurriedly lifted her skirt and approached, calling out, "Uncle Shiyi."

    Lu Shiyi had been so busy lately that he didn't even have time to shave, his face covered in stubble. Upon seeing Rong Shu, he quickly passed the gong to a nearby bailiff, saying, "Take the brothers for a cup of tea to soothe your throats."

    The bailiff promptly shouted an order and led the patrol team away.

    Behind Rong Shu stood two wooden carts loaded with medicinal supplies. A young girl lifted the straw covering on one of the carts, pulled out a leather water pouch, and smiled as she said, "This is a refreshing soup made from Hangzhou chrysanthemums by Immortal Herb Hall. Uncle Shiyi, drink it quickly."

    Lu Shiyi didn't bother with formalities and took a large gulp from the pouch.

    After finishing the cooling soup, he glanced at Rong Shu's back and asked, "Mother Zhang isn't with you today?"

    Rong Shu shook her head and replied, "I sent Mother Zhang back to the Shen family's ancestral home with Housekeeper Jiang and the other old servants."

    On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Rong Shu had deliberately left Mother Zhang on the pleasure boat, intending for Aunt Guo and Uncle Shiyi to question her thoroughly.

    That night, Mother Zhang did indeed get drunk, but before Lu Shiyi could ask her any questions, Rong Shu had rushed back, interrupting them.

    After that night, Mother Zhang either fell ill due to the wind after being drunk or for some other reason. Despite her discomfort, she managed to accompany Rong Shu for two days of bustling about before finally succumbing to illness.

    Rong Shu decided to let her return to her ancestral home with Manager Jiang.

    Lu Shiyi nodded and said, "If you're still worried about her, we can test her again after those damned pirates are driven back to Four Square Island."

    The first time they could attribute the alcohol-induced interrogation to enthusiasm, but a second time would seem deliberate.

    "Let's deal with that matter later," Rong Shu smiled. "Uncle Shiyi, finish your cooling soup. The sun in Yangzhou is getting more scorching by the day. Don't get heatstroke."

    As soon as she finished speaking, the city gate nearby was suddenly pounded on loudly.

    "A citizen is injured! Open up!"

    Rong Shu and Lu Shiyi exchanged glances.

    Lu Shiyi furrowed his brow and strode quickly to the side of the gate. He barked in a deep voice, "What's going on out there?"

    "It's some fishermen who were previously kidnapped by the pirates. On the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, they went out early to fish and unfortunately ran into the pirates from Four Square Island when they returned," the person explained patiently through the gate. "Later, General Liang sank the ship they were on, giving them the chance to escape. General Liang then sent us to escort them back to the inner city."

    Lu Shiyi's brows knitted even tighter. Indeed, in the past, there had been instances where citizens of Great Yin were abducted by pirates while at sea. Whenever he encountered such distressed people, Lu Shiyi would always promptly come to their rescue.

    At present, it was unwise to act hastily.

    The pirates of Four Square Island were as cunning as foxes, often disguising themselves as ordinary citizens or soldiers of Great Yin, even mastering the Yangzhou dialect to blend in seamlessly.

    In the past two days, they had already evacuated all civilians from the outer city to the inner city. Now, with this sudden arrival of fishermen, who could tell if they were genuine fishers or impostors?

    As these thoughts raced through his mind, the person outside began pounding on the door with increased vigor.

    "There's someone here who's been shot by a pirate's firearm! If we're not allowed in soon, there'll be a loss of life!"

    Lu Shiyi felt as if his head had swelled to the size of a basin. Fishermen relied on the sea for their livelihood and mostly resided in the outer city, making it impossible to verify their identities.

    Rong Shu understood his concern. After a moment's contemplation, she took the sheepskin water bags from the wooden cart, uncorked them, and sprinkled some medicine powder inside.

    Upon closer inspection, Lu Shiyi recognized the powder to be Cao Wu Powder, specifically used to alleviate the pain of severely injured or ailing patients, allowing them to sleep peacefully.

    Cao Wu Powder dissolves easily in water. Rong Shu recorked the containers and shook each one individually to mix the contents evenly.

    Seeing her actions, Lu Shiyi immediately grasped her intention.

    For a moment, she found this idea most ingenious.

    Since the person outside claimed that one of them had been injured by a firearm, this Wucao Powder could certainly alleviate their pain. With careful dosage, it wouldn't cause them to lose consciousness; at most, it would merely siphon away their strength.


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