PROOFREAD BY AFREANA
Early morning the next day, An Ruochen went to the Governor’s residence. As she had done yesterday, she accompanied Meng Jiayue for breakfast and visited Cao Yihan together.
Cao Yihan seemed calmer. He didn’t react to seeing An Ruochen, as if she had never said those words to him. It was Meng Jiayue who was nervous, unwilling to stay long, and left after a few polite words.
An Ruochen naturally had no reason to stay alone, so she had to follow Meng Jiayue and exit together. Outside, she asked softly, ”Is there an argument between you, Madam, and Mr. Cao? The atmosphere doesn’t seem too good. Is there any need for me to persuade him?”
Meng Jiayue said: “There’s nothing much. Yesterday, he urged me to rush Mr. Huo’s funeral and asked me about the specific time. I intended to do a good job and find a senior monk to hold the ceremony. So I need more time. Mr. Cao was not satisfied.”
An Ruochen naturally did not poke holes in their intention of delaying the funeral. She chimed in, “Mr. Huo was highly respected. His funeral should be held dignifiedly. Furthermore, he died in Great Xiao. It would be even more unjustifiable if we were slack in our etiquette. But Mr. Cao’s feelings are understandable. Mr. Huo suddenly committed suicide, leaving him alone in this unfamiliar place. With the border heavily confronted by the enemy country, he naturally thinks about his own safety. Why don’t I talk to him to dispel his worries? There are some things that are not easy for Madam to say, but it is easy for an outsider like me to speak.”
Meng Jiayue thought about it and agreed.
An Ruochen returned to Cao Yihan’s room alone. Cao Yihan was a bit surprised to see her return.
An Ruochen said, “I won’t always find an excuse to see you alone. You’d better seize the opportunity.”
Cao Yihan asked vigilantly, “So what excuse did you find this time?”
An Ruochen told him the truth. “This reason is gone after one use. I’ll have to change it to something else next time.”
Cao Yihan didn’t say anything.
“You mustn’t make a scene and think that the Governor’s wife will be willing to let me persuade you. It won’t work. If you make a lot of noise, you’ll be in even more trouble when they get annoyed.”
Cao Yihan naturally understood this.
“I’ll just sit here for a while. Going out too quickly would make me look like I’m not actually here to persuade anyone. I’m not going to argue with you. If you are willing to talk, then you can talk. If you are not willing, then forget it. I’ve spoken to you about the reasoning.”
Cao Yihan still didn’t answer.
An Ruochen really just sat quietly for a while. After estimating it was about time, she got up and said, “Farewell.”
Just as she was about to walk to the door, Cao Yihan suddenly called out, “Wait.”
An Ruochen turned to look at him.
Cao Yihan said, “I want to see General Long. The specific details will only be told when I see General Long.”
“There are indeed another last words, aren’t there?”
Cao Yihan didn’t shake his head, acquiescing.
“You don’t feel comfortable revealing the details. But at least you must give me a heading. If I can’t be sure if it’s harmless or not, if I can’t be sure which side you’re on, how can I help you?”
Cao Yihan was silent for a while and said, “Mr. Huo explained that I would return to South Qin to report the news, and without General Long’s help, it would be impossible for me to return alive.”
An Ruochen froze. Many thoughts flashed through her mind as she returned to the table and sat down, “Was Mr. Huo murdered?”
Cao Yihan froze: “No, he didn’t…… ” The words came to this, and he stopped. These two days were full of nervousness and grief, and he only cared to look in the direction where Huo Mingshan pointed but forgot to look outside the circle.
“He didn’t report it himself and asked you to report it instead. Why?” An Ruochen asked him.
Cao Yihan was speechless. Yes, such a simple thing. Since it’s such important news, why doesn’t he go back and report it himself? However, unless the entire Governor’s mansion was full of spies, plus the two hundred guards sent by General Long were all spies, where else would the assassin come from? No one saw them coming at all.
Cao Yihan took a deep breath and couldn’t help but discuss with An Ruochen, “Maybe he knew that the spies wouldn’t let him go. He had an understanding of the mystery. If he died, the spies would take it lightly. I’m not important. No one cares about me, so I have a chance to return to South Qin alive.”
“Then, he could have pretended to be at odds with you and driven you away. He would have continued to go to the capital, making statements, and the spies would have been so intent on dealing with him that they would naturally have had no time to care about an ousted pawn. With him dead, won’t you become a target instead?”
Cao Yihan choked. This was indeed the truth. “In any case, Master’s death was definitely not voluntary. He had no reason to kill himself. Other than that, he knew if he died, the war between the two countries would be more likely to start. No matter how hard it was, he would definitely not let himself become the reason for the two countries to go to war.”
There must be assassins. An Ruochen thought in her heart. It was a pity that there was no chance to catch the man on the spot.
“When you got into the room and found Mr. Huo’s body, did you find any other suspicious conditions?”
Cao Yihan shook his head, this he was sure of. He thought over and over in his head about Mr. Huo’s death. He really didn’t come up with any problems. He didn’t even notice any tear marks on the note paper.
An Ruochen sighed. She thought so. If he had discovered something, he would have yelled long ago.
Cao Yihan stared at her, “I have to see General Long. I will only tell General Long the message Mr. Huo left behind.”
“I will find a way.”
“It must be as soon as possible. Yesterday, Madam Governor’s intention was to complete the funeral, issue a letter to South Qin, and then ask the monks to do the ceremony. It will take at least half a month. By that time, I’m afraid the battle will have already started.”
“I understand.” An Ruochen stood up, “I still have things to do. I have to go. Take care of yourself.” She pulled a silver needle and handed it to Cao Yihan, “Be careful with your meals and drinking water. If there are spies who want to get their hands on you, they might use poison.”
Cao Yihan took it and hid it in his belt.
“Just pretend to be convinced by me. This way, I’ll be of some use and will be able to see you again in the future. When I have news from my end, I’ll come and find you.” After An Ruochen said that, she turned around and left.
An Ruochen went to find Meng Jiayue. She said she had talked to Cao Yihan about how the funeral was related to the two countries, so they had to do the ceremony considerately, and that Cao Yihan seemed to understand.