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    Chapter 81: Mandarin Duck Wine Flask

    However, He Zhiran's weapon back then was far more substantial for such a task.

    Furthermore, the power of that weapon still lingered in his memory. Even he couldn't discern how the concealed weapon had been launched, indicating its incredible speed.

    Seeing that Mo Jiuye was already captivated by the miniature pistol, He Zhiran decided to seize the opportunity to press her advantage.

    "I've shown you my weapon. Not only will I not be a burden if I follow you, but I can also be your ally."

    Mo Jiuye remained indecisive.

    He Zhiran continued her persuasion. "Consider my medical skills. If Nan Qi tries anything sneaky with the food or drink, I'll be able to detect it right away, won't I?"

    Convinced by her logical arguments, Mo Jiuye finally relented.

    "You can come with me, but if we encounter danger, your safety comes first. Understand? Don't worry about me."

    He Zhiran nodded eagerly. "I understand, I understand. Don't worry, I'll make sure to keep myself out of harm's way."

    With the matter settled, the two returned to their bed, both devoid of sleepiness but still striving to maintain their positions, wary of any accidental bodily contact...

    True to his word, Peng Wang made no preparations to continue their journey the next morning.

    This left everyone somewhat perplexed, yet none dared to inquire about the reason. They were all content with an extra day of rest in the inn.

    It was not until midday that a carriage pulled up outside the inn's entrance. The driver came in to invite Mo Jiuye, and the officials didn't object. Only then did everyone realize that the halt in their journey was connected to Mo Jiuye.

    But who possessed such influence that they could not only stop the travel but also send a carriage to fetch the prisoner?

    Lady Old Mo, her face filled with concern, held onto Mo Jiuye's hand.

    "Jiuye?"

    Mo Jiuye gently patted his mother's arm, "Mother, don't worry. A friend has arranged a farewell banquet for me; I'll be back soon."

    Despite her concerns, Lady Mo was a woman who had experienced much in life.

    She knew she couldn't stop her son's determined steps.

    So, with a caring heart, she advised, "You're no longer the powerful Guardian Duke. Don't try to take charge of everything."

    "Mother, please rest assured. I'll accompany your son, and nothing will go wrong," He Zhiran offered, volunteering to explain the situation to ease her worries.

    Upon learning that He Zhiran would be accompanying her son, Lady Mo felt somewhat relieved.

    "Alright, look out for each other when you're out there," she said, now reassured.

    After soothing Lady Mo, He Zhiran and Mo Jiuye climbed into the carriage together. The coachman gave He Zhiran a deep look, as if he wanted to say something but held back.

    Mo Jiuye and He Zhiran chose to overlook the situation with mutual understanding.

    The carriage moved smoothly along the way, and they soon arrived at the Heavenly Fortune Tavern.

    Nan Qi personally greeted them at the entrance.

    To his surprise, He Zhiran had come along as well.

    For a brief moment, Nan Qi was taken aback but quickly put on an innocent smile.

    "Madam came just in time. I specifically ordered a nourishing soup that's perfect for ladies to replenish their strength."

    Mo Jiuye and He Zhiran played their roles perfectly, nodding gratefully towards Nan Qi before following him to a private room on the second floor.

    Upon seeing their master, the two guards by the room door promptly stepped aside.

    Nan Qi instructed the guards, "No one is allowed to enter or disturb us unless I give the order."

    "Yes, Your Highness."

    Entering the private room, He Zhiran noticed an array of eight dishes and one soup on the table, accompanied by an exquisite wine pot.

    The dishes were thoughtfully arranged with both meat and vegetarian options, suggesting that Nan Qi had indeed put considerable effort into this. However, He Zhiran was indifferent to the food, her focus entirely on the wine pot.

    To most, the wine pot might appear merely valuable, but He Zhiran could discern its hidden purpose at a glance. If her recognition was correct, it was the very same type of double-layered wine pot often seen in historical TV dramas.

    Inside the pot were two compartments, and a tiny mechanism button concealed in the handle allowed the knowledgeable user to control whether the poured wine would be poisonous or harmless, depending on their needs.

    He Zhiran inwardly sneered. Nan Qi seemed willing to go to any lengths to take Mo Jiuye's life.

    Confident and jovial, Nan Qi invited the pair to be seated. He Zhiran deliberately chose the seat closest to the fateful wine pot.

    After some customary pleasantries, Nan Qi rose to fetch the wine pot, only to find He Zhiran had beaten him to it.

    "Your Highness, to invite my husband and me to dine with you despite any controversies is already an immense honor for us. How could we allow you to pour the wine yourself?" He Zhiran said, deliberately ignoring the constipated expression that was about to form on Nan Qi's face. She approached him first and filled his cup with wine.

    Nan Qi's eyes never left the hand that He Zhiran used to hold the decanter. Seeing that she didn't press the button, he felt slightly relieved.

    He Zhiran pretended not to notice the fleeting constipated look on Nan Qi's face. Swiftly, she poured Mo Jiuye's cup full of wine.

    To verify if the wine was poisoned, she spoke loudly, "This wine has a delightful aroma, but unfortunately, I am not accustomed to drinking. Allow me to simply inhale its fragrance."

    With that, she quickly picked up Mo Jiuye's cup, brought it to her nose, and sniffed. Satisfied that there were no issues, she placed it back in its original position.

    "I apologize for the spectacle, Your Highness. Since childhood, I have had a bad habit. I don't drink, but I do enjoy the scent of fine wines," He Zhiran said.

    Nan Qi's lips twitched.

    "No need to worry, there are no outsiders here. Lady Mo, please feel at ease," Mo Jiuye observed He Zhiran's actions, understanding that she was conveying to him that the wine was safe.

    Thus, Mo Jiuye took the initiative to lift his wine cup.

    "Thank you, Prince Qi, for not looking down on me despite my tainted reputation and seeing me off. I'll take the first sip as a sign of respect."

    Seeing Mo Jiuye drain his cup, Nan Qi followed suit without hesitation.

    Noticing Nan Qi reaching for the wine jug, He Zhiran promptly rose from her seat and held it firmly in her hands.

    "I'll pour, Your Highness."

    Observing that He Zhiran still hadn't triggered the hidden mechanism, Nan Qi deduced that she must be unaware of the wine jug's secret.

    However, with her holding onto the jug tightly, how could he pour the poisoned wine into Mo Jiuye's cup? This thought weighed heavily on Nan Qi's mind.

    Despite his attempts to express his desire to personally serve his brother, He Zhiran continually found ways to seize control of the wine jug first.

    In the meantime, He Zhiran meticulously inspected every dish on the table, ensuring their safety. Once satisfied, she gave Mo Jiuye a subtle signal, allowing him to eat heartily without worry.

    Soon, He Zhiran had emptied the portion of the wine jug that was free from poison.

    Observing Mo Jiuye's unchanged expression, she could tell that he had quite a tolerance for alcohol.

    As for Nan Qi, although he still sat upright and composed, a flush had started to tinge his cheeks.

    If the two were to engage in a drinking contest, Nan Qi would likely be the first to succumb to intoxication.

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