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    Chapter 79: Nan Qi's Visit

    Mo Jiuye also had a myriad of words he wished to share with He Zhiran at this moment. Seeing Peng Wang lingering, he deliberately pretended to be unwell.

    "My love, I feel a discomfort in my chest. Could you lend me your support?"

    He Zhiran immediately recognized Mo Jiuye's pretense and gracefully held onto one of his arms.

    "Husband, your wounds must not have fully healed yet. Today's journey has been tiring. Let me assist you as we walk slowly. When we arrive at the inn, I'll take a closer look at your injuries."

    Mo Jiuye leaned slightly against He Zhiran's body, appearing weak to outsiders.

    Peng Wang, believing that Mo Jiuye was genuinely unwell, hurriedly instructed the group to slow down their pace. He personally rushed to the front to control the speed of their travel.

    Observing Peng Wang's departure, Mo Jiuye glanced around and noticed only his family members were watching him with concern.

    He blinked at Old Lady Mo and the others, assuring them that he was fine. Then, he whispered to He Zhiran,

    "Your presence merely altered the timing of their meeting."

    Mo Jiuye's words implied that the two had indeed crossed paths.

    He Zhiran wasn't overly surprised by this. In fact, she was pleased that Nan Qi and Fei Nanyu had made acquaintances.

    As long as Fei Nanyu became Nan Qi's advisor, she could use historical records to anticipate future events and gain a thorough understanding of both sides.

    "It might not necessarily be a bad thing."

    "Why do you say so?" Mo Jiuye was perplexed.

    He Zhiran found it hard to explain her reasoning to Mo Jiuye.

    "I can't give too much detail, it's just my intuition."

    Her words only added to Mo Jiuye's confusion.

    However, he understood that he wouldn't obtain any more useful information from He Zhiran. Thus, he could only silently speculate about various possibilities in his mind.

    The couple leaned on each other, each lost in their thoughts, as they arrived at the westernmost part of Pingyuan County.

    There was still the familiar inn that Peng Wang knew, and he led the group straight inside.

    Zhou Laoba went in to speak with the manager, and soon, an attendant emerged with him, guiding everyone to inspect the rooms on the first floor.

    The guest rooms were still divided into dormitories for ten and private doubles.

    This time, the officials had no intention of pocketing a cut from the room fees; instead, the inn's attendant quoted the prices himself.

    Both the ten-person and double rooms were priced at 100 wen.

    Now that He Zhiran was in charge of the Mo family, the fourth sister-in-law approached her with the money.

    "Ninth Sister-in-law, Fourth Sister will pay for the inn today. Let's see which type of room would be suitable for us."

    Although He Zhiran was now in charge, she still sought the opinions of others on certain matters.

    She accompanied the fourth sister-in-law to stand before Old Lady Mo and the other female relatives.

    "Mum, how do you suggest we arrange the rooms for today?"

    Madam Old Mo surveyed the area. "I think it should be the same as last time. You and Jiuye can share a double room, while the rest of us can stay in the ten-person room with me."

    Having received Madam Old Mo's opinion, He Zhiran turned to her fourth sister-in-law. "Fourth Sister, let's follow Mother's suggestion."

    "Alright." Fourth Sister agreed and went to settle the payment with the innkeeper.

    The Xie and Fang families, having limited funds, tacitly chose the ten-person room despite their larger group sizes. None of them were willing to splurge on an extra room.

    Only the He family, seeing that the other clans had picked suitable accommodations, cast pitiful glances at Peng Wang, hoping he would take mercy on them and not make them sleep outside again.

    Having worked as a prison escort for many years, Peng Wang was not someone who would easily soften at the sight of others' misery.

    "What are you looking at? If you don't have any money, you'll have to sleep in the back courtyard's woodshed."

    The He family exchanged looks before reluctantly accepting their fate.

    A woodshed might be all they could get, but it was still a 'shed'. It was better than sleeping in a filthy and stinking straw shed.

    With everyone settled in their quarters, families began searching for open spaces to set up camp and cook their meals.

    After a day of travel, everyone was exhausted, and they retreated to their guest rooms early, before darkness even fell.

    He Zhiran, fearing that Mo Jiuye would continue to probe about Fei Nanyu, pretended to sleep with her face towards the wall, despite her lack of sleepiness.

    Mo Jiuye, sensing her unease, remained silent, realizing she wasn't actually asleep.

    Assuming the night would pass uneventfully, they were startled when, in the dead of night, their door was knocked upon.

    Mo Jiuye sat up alertly, asking in a low voice, "Who is it?"

    "Jiuye, it's this King."

    He Zhiran also sat up, locking eyes with Mo Jiuye.

    Neither of them had expected Nan Qi to take the initiative to make an appearance.

    Pausing for a moment, Mo Jiuye slowly opened the door without urgency.

    By then, He Zhiran had also finished adjusting her attire and lit the oil lamp on the table.

    The moment the door opened, in addition to Nan Qi, Fei Nanyu unexpectedly appeared before her as well.

    Under the faint glow of the oil lamp, He Zhiran clearly noticed the slightly complicated gaze that Fei Nanyu cast at Mo Jiuye upon first sight.

    However, he quickly hid any strangeness and stood neatly beside Nan Qi.

    "Jiuye, aren't you inviting me in for a seat?"

    Mo Jiuye's expression remained unperturbed, as if he was unaware of Nan Qi's recent actions towards him. He casually shifted sideways, making room at the entrance.

    Nan Qi strode confidently through the threshold and took a seat at the round table, then promptly gestured for Mo Jiuye to do the same.

    Mo Jiuye sat down unhurriedly, not forgetting to pull He Zhiran along with him, seating her beside himself.

    It was only then that Nan Qi noticed the presence of He Zhiran.

    His eyes brightened instantly, and he suddenly recalled the scene when Fei Nanyu was bullied by a group of scholars in the street that day.

    Despite recognizing He Zhiran, Nan Qi, with his composure, didn't expose her on the spot. Instead, he turned to Mo Jiuye and said, "Jiuye, don't you think it's time to introduce this lady to me?"

    Although they used to interact in such a manner before, Mo Jiuye didn't perceive any malice in Nan Qi's tone back then. However, now, Nan Qi's words sounded mocking to Mo Jiuye.

    Especially when Nan Qi looked at He Zhiran just now, that inexplicable gaze made him feel uneasy.

    "Who else could share a room with me at such an hour besides my wife?"

    Unaffected by Mo Jiuye's attitude, Nan Qi continued speaking leisurely, "Madam Mo truly lives up to her status as a member of the Mo family. When Nanyu was in trouble, she fearlessly drew her sword to help, regardless of the enemy's numerical advantage."

    Since Nan Qi had already revealed the truth, He Zhiran saw no reason to remain low-profile. "I may not have great abilities, but I can't tolerate bullies taking advantage of their power. My apologies if my actions have amused Your Highness."

    At this moment, Fei Nanyu also respectfully saluted He Zhiran. "Thank you, Madam Mo, for your righteous rescue."

    He Zhiran studied Fei Nanyu's expression attentively, noticing the unwavering calmness that remained unchanged from before. He replied softly, "Master need not be so formal. I believe anyone in your position would not have overlooked such a situation."

    As he spoke, He Zhiran turned his gaze towards Nan Qi and said with a hint of meaning, "Prince Qi, Your Highness would agree, wouldn't you?"

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