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    Chapter 80: I Thank the Prince on Behalf of the Mo Family for His Concern

    Perhaps it was just Nan Qi's sensitivity, but hearing He Zhiran's slightly sarcastic remark immediately brought back the scene he witnessed that day when he saw Fei Nanyu being bullied upstairs.

    At that time, he had observed for a long while and noticed that although Fei Nanyu was powerless against those bullies, his scholarly pride remained intact.

    Master Wuchen had said that his noble benefactor was not an ordinary person.

    From the first moment Nan Qi saw Fei Nanyu, he sensed that he was indeed someone extraordinary.

    Due to his momentary hesitation, wanting to verify his suspicion, He Zhiran had beaten him to the rescue, thus causing Nan Qi to miss his first encounter with Fei Nanyu.

    Recalling this, Nan Qi's gaze turned sharp as he looked at He Zhiran.

    "Madam is absolutely right. When one comes across injustice, they should step in to help. I believe anyone with a bit of courage in their heart would do the same."

    In reality, Nan Qi didn't know that He Zhiran's seemingly innocent question was actually directed at Fei Nanyu, not Nan Qi himself.

    Given the depth of his cunning, as recorded in history books, it was impossible that he didn't understand the hidden meaning.

    While speaking, He Zhiran's gaze kept flickering towards Fei Nanyu's expression from the corner of his eye.

    Sure enough, after hearing her words, Fei Nanyu was momentarily stunned before quickly recovering his composure.

    He wondered if this woman had somehow learned the truth.

    Upon closer thought, he quickly dismissed the notion. Such a significant secret couldn't possibly be known by this woman.

    Although Fei Nanyu had his suspicions, He Zhiran's words were clearly directed at Nan Qi. Any further comment from him might seem like an attempt to hide something.

    Having achieved her goal, He Zhiran remained silent.

    Nan Qi surveyed the inn's surroundings and sighed. "Jiuye, I must admit I feel ashamed about the Duke of Protecting the Nation being exiled. My mother concubine has been unwell lately, so I've been busy searching for skilled doctors outside the palace, thus neglecting court affairs. By the time I learned of your family's situation, you were already on your way to the exile destination. That's why I hurriedly rode here to Pingyuan County, hoping to assist the Mo family in some way."

    Mo Jiuye tapped his fingers on the table habitually, suppressing his fury as he continued to feign a heartfelt brotherly bond with him.

    "I express the Mo family's gratitude for your concern, Your Highness. There's no need to make arrangements for us. We are all convicts exiled by the imperial court. We will live the life that fate has dealt us, without daring to entertain any grand aspirations."

    Hearing the tone of Mo Jiuye's voice, Nan Qi suddenly felt that the person who had grown up alongside him had become strangely unfamiliar.

    Had Mo Jiuye discovered something?

    But he quickly put it aside. He did indeed desire Mo Jiuye's life, but he lacked the courage to confront him directly with this intention.

    Mo Jiuye's martial arts skills were well-known to him; it would not be an exaggeration to say he could single-handedly defeat a hundred foes. Nan Qi was not foolish enough to confront him head-on.

    After a failed assassination attempt, the best approach was through cunning. Nan Qi's visit today served two purposes: to verify the truth behind Mo Jiuye's supposed severe injuries and to seek an opportunity to poison him.

    With this in mind, Nan Qi composed himself and spoke, "As brothers, I wasn't there when the Duke of Guardian's mansion was seized and you were exiled. You must give me the chance to see you off, at least."

    Mo Jiuye's eyes remained lowered, hiding any hint of the emotions surging within him from anyone's gaze.

    "Then, I shall gratefully accept your offer." Mo Jiuye was well aware of Nan Qi's schemes but chose not to decline.

    He wanted to see what other tricks Nan Qi had up his sleeve.

    At this moment, He Zhiran's heart was also agitated. Nan Qi's suggestion to host a farewell banquet for Mo Jiuye was a rare chance to uncover the other's intentions, and she couldn't let it slip by.

    Fortunately, Mo Jiuye had agreed immediately, sparing her the need to remind him.

    Nan Qi stood up. "In that case, I'll host a feast at the Tianfu Inn in Pingyuan County tomorrow noon as a send-off for my brother."

    With those words, Nan Qi had already reached the door. Before leaving, he added, "There's no need to worry about the official business. I will personally inform them to extend their stay by one day."

    Mo Jiuye didn't rise to see him off, remaining seated where he was.

    Fei Nanyu followed behind Nan Qi, one hand clasped behind his back, swaying it back and forth in their direction.

    Both Mo Jiuye and He Zhiran noticed his subtle gesture.

    "He probably means that he doesn't advise you to attend the banquet," He Zhiran interpreted Fei Nanyu's action.

    Mo Jiuye remained in his original seating position.

    "I must go, no matter what. The feud between Nan Qi and I needs to be settled once and for all."

    He Zhiran didn't quite grasp his meaning.

    "Are you planning to kill Nan Qi?"

    Mo Jiuye shook his head. "No. If I did that, I might gain temporary satisfaction, but what would become of my family then?"

    He Zhiran was even more perplexed.

    "If you can't kill him, how can you possibly settle this vendetta?"

    "I want to reveal to him the truth that I am indeed a member of the Mo family, and that I'm not the one who was switched with him. If we can clear up this misunderstanding, I will publicly sever ties with him there and then, ending our brotherly bond. While it may not make much difference, it would at least ensure one less person plotting against us on our future exile."

    Towards someone like Nan Qi, He Zhiran indeed felt the urge to eliminate him swiftly. However, Mo Jiuye's words held a valid point.

    The Mo family had numerous female relatives aside from himself – his sisters and their families were all in the capital. If Nan Qi were to be killed, and the Emperor flew into a rage, those loved ones would inevitably suffer consequences.

    "In that case, could you bring me along to the banquet tomorrow?"

    Without a moment's hesitation, Mo Jiuye rejected the proposal with an unwavering tone.

    "No, I can't let you risk your safety."

    There was a specific reason behind He Zhiran's suggestion to accompany him to the banquet. Apart from the fact that her space contained various high-tech weapons, the most crucial point was that if Nan Qi were to attempt poisoning the food or drink, having her by his side would provide Mo Jiuye an additional layer of protection.

    To convince Mo Jiuye, He Zhiran was prepared to go all out.

    Under the cover of her sleeve, she retrieved a miniature pistol from her space.

    She placed the gun before Mo Jiuye.

    "Do you believe that, with your skills, you couldn't escape from this weapon of mine?"

    Mo Jiuye regarded the small iron object before him, no larger than his palm, and picked it up with evident curiosity.

    Seeing his hand approach the trigger, He Zhiran hastily warned, "That's the switch. Don't touch it randomly."

    Mo Jiuye was obedient, promptly removing his finger from the trigger area.

    He lifted his gaze to look at He Zhiran. "How could I have not noticed such immense power hidden within this tiny chunk of metal?"

    Given their current circumstances, He Zhiran was unable to demonstrate the mini pistol's might to Mo Jiuye. Thus, she could only patiently explain, "Cao Ren's death was caused by a weapon similar to this one."

    With these words, He Zhiran had inadvertently admitted to being responsible for Cao Ren's demise.

    When it came to Cao Ren's death, Mo Jiuye had witnessed the entire assassination with his own eyes.

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