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    Chapter 57: Your Excuses Can Be Better

    Mo Jiuye had indeed considered these possibilities, but he cherished his friendship with Nan Qi too much to entertain such thoughts. Thus, he instinctively tried to dismiss these negative suspicions.

    Now, as He Zhiran meticulously laid out these matters, Mo Jiuye was forced to confront the reality once again.

    "I once suspected that Prince Nan Heng was behind the poisoning of Liu Ba's well. From this incident, we can't rule out the possibility of Nan Qi being involved either. Although I can't fathom his true motive at the moment, we must remain vigilant in the future. The more one does, the sooner they will slip up."

    Despite their lengthy discussion, they still couldn't decipher Nan Qi's original intention. Nonetheless, both of them were now acutely aware that they had another person to guard against.

    Outside, the day had already dawned, and despite their sleepless night, it was no longer feasible for them to rest.

    Mo Jiuye appeared to be in a better state; in the eyes of outsiders, he was severely injured and could rest on the wooden cart.

    On the contrary, He Zhiran would likely spend the entire following day on the road.

    At this thought, Mo Jiuye began to closely observe He Zhiran, intending to show some concern.

    To his surprise, he found that although her clothes were still patched up, they were now incredibly clean, free from dust. Her previously greasy hair now shimmered with a healthy sheen, and a subtle fragrance lingered around her.

    Noticing that Mo Jiuye was staring at her, He Zhiran assumed there was something wrong with her appearance.

    She instinctively touched her face and asked, "What is it? Is there something wrong with me?"

    Her worry for Mo Jiuye's delayed return had made her forget about the fact that she had bathed in the space.

    "Did you wash your clothes?"

    Mo Jiuye was about to ask if she had taken a bath. However, with his reserved nature, he felt somewhat embarrassed to inquire about such a personal matter concerning a woman.

    Only after this question did He Zhiran realize the change in her appearance. She had indeed been careless, only thinking of cleansing herself for comfort without considering the possibility of being questioned about it.

    "I couldn't sleep while you were away, so I just washed up briefly."

    Though the explanation sounded a bit feeble, He Zhiran had no other choice but to give it.

    This time, Mo Jiuye had no intention of letting her off easily.

    "Your clothes dried completely overnight?"

    "Um... I hung them by the window at the back, where the air circulation is good. They were almost dry before you returned."

    Seeing how He Zhiran's explanation was rather implausible, Mo Jiuye knew that this must somehow be connected to her major secret.

    With this in mind, he decided not to push the matter further.

    After all, he had promised her that he wouldn't probe into her secrets.

    Despite his burning curiosity, he had to restrain himself.

    "Your excuse is plausible enough. It should deceive Mother and my sisters without issue."

    He Zhiran knew that Mo Jiuye was both reminding her and subtly telling her that he didn't actually believe a word she said.

    She could only continue to pretend ignorance.

    "I wasn't lying. If anyone asks, I'll give the same answer."

    Just then, the voice of an official echoed from outside.

    "Rise early, everyone. After breakfast, we'll resume our journey."

    The pair exchanged a knowing glance. Mo Jiuye tidied up and returned to bed, while He Zhiran stepped out of the room, opening the door.

    Assuming nothing untoward would occur today, everyone finished their breakfast and prepared to resume their journey.

    Unexpectedly, the He family was in an uproar of sorrowful cries.

    It turned out that He Liang hadn't survived the night. As his family attempted to feed him some blackened steamed buns, they discovered he had already breathed his last.

    Fortunately, He Ming had recovered from his life-threatening condition, sparing the He family their sole remaining son.

    Upon hearing this news, both He Zhiran and Mo Jiuye were perplexed.

    Mo Jiuye spoke in a somber tone, "I had controlled my strength; there's no way He Liang could have died."

    "Healing their wounds yesterday, I made sure they weren't severe enough to be fatal," He Zhiran commented, already deep in thought, seemingly harboring an ominous suspicion.

    Both Mo Jiuye and He Zhiran felt that there was something amiss about He Liang's death.

    To verify their suspicions, He Zhiran decided to visit the He family. Given the favorable impression she had made on the officials, they wouldn't restrict her movements.

    He Zhiran arrived smoothly at the humble cottage where the He family resided.

    At that moment, Peng Wang was there with several officials, preparing to deal with the aftermath before continuing their journey.

    He Zhiran knew that if she rashly approached to examine He Liang's corpse, she would likely be refused by the He family.

    After some contemplation, she decided to take advantage of Peng Wang slightly.

    Approaching Peng Wang, she first pretended to be curious: "Sheriff Peng, how did He Liang suddenly die?"

    Peng Wang didn't seem suspicious about He Liang's death, as he had seen the severity of his injuries the day before.

    "It must have been due to his severe wounds. He couldn't endure them."

    He Zhiran shook her head in pretended sorrow: "Truly a pity, such a young life cut short."

    Pausing for a moment, seeing no reaction from Peng Wang, she continued, "Sheriff Peng, I'm just a soft-hearted person. Before we resume our journey, could I take a look at He Ming's injuries again?"

    Peng Wang was no fool. Hearing He Zhiran's suggestion, he inferred that her willingness to help He Ming had an ulterior motive.

    Nonetheless, he spared her the embarrassment of exposing the truth.

    "It would be a good deed if you're willing to tend to He Ming's injuries. It would spare us from having another burden on our journey ahead."

    With that, Peng Wang led He Zhiran to He Ming's side.

    The He family members grew wary upon seeing He Zhiran approach. Many of them had witnessed her ruthless assault on Li Rouer the previous day. If not for their lingering fear, they would have lashed out at her by now.

    Peng Wang disregarded the He family's expressions.

    "I managed to persuade Madam He to examine He Ming's injuries, so as to prevent our exile group from losing another member."

    Though his words were harsh, they struck at the He family's deepest concern. At this moment, they were more than grateful for He Zhiran's willingness to help He Ming.

    Everyone moved aside with unspoken understanding, giving He Zhiran space to examine He Ming's injury.

    In fact, He Zhiran had already seen He Ming's wound from a distance yesterday and was well aware of his condition.

    However, to avoid suspicion, she still pretended to lift He Ming's sleeve to inspect the wound.

    The sudden exposure to air caused He Ming's arm to instinctively retract.

    The He family members watched her intently, awaiting her diagnosis.

    Instead of immediately revealing the results, He Zhiran turned to the He family and asked, "Is He Liang's wound identical to his?"

    He Zhiyuan assumed her question pertained to He Ming's treatment and promptly replied without hesitation, "I personally cleansed both their wounds with fresh water yesterday. They appeared to be no different."


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