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Chapter 157: Awkwardness
Yin Yun had brought Jun Hao to Northern Qi to hide from their enemies. He knew Eastern Wu had been trying to build a diplomatic relations.h.i.+p with Northern Qi recently. They wouldn't have sent out an army into Northern Qi to look for them.
"There's no need for Your Highness to worry about me," said Yin Yun. "I'm about recovered." He reflexively touched his shoulder as he spoke. There was a wound there left when he infiltrated Eastern Wu. Fortunately it wasn't serious.
Jun Hao put on a serious face that was beyond his age and said, "Even so, you shouldn't risk your life again and again! If we find big sister and she knows about what you've done, she will be mad at you."
Yin Yun sighed at the mention of Jun Huang. That girl may look naive, but she was a resilient one. He nodded. "The princess entrusted Your Highness to me. I've promised her that I would keep you safe even at the risk of my life."
Jun Hao frowned, but he didn't say anything. During the months spent with Yin Yun at his side, he had gotten to know Yin Yun. He knew there was no use in trying to argue with him.
Yin Yun's eyes widened suddenly. Jun Hao followed his gaze and saw two men asking around with their portraits in their hands. It was obvious that these two men were trained in martial arts.
"Have you seen these two people, mister?" asked one of the men.
The old man stopped to look at the portraits. He frowned in contemplation before nodding. "I think so, but I don't remember where."
"Is it in Yun Town?"
"Probably." The old man nodded and walked away.
The man pulled his companion to the side to talk to him. A few moments later he felt someone's gaze on him. He looked up. Yin Yun was more well-trained than most martial arts experts. He quickly pulled Jun Hao to the side.
"What?" the other man asked.
"Nothing," said the man. He turned back and resumed their conversation.
They had lowered their voices, but Yin Yun was still able to catch a few words. He frowned when he heard them mention "w.a.n.gye1." His gut reaction was that these men were working for one of Eastern Wu's princes. And they were trained fighters. If Yin Yun had been on his own, he wouldn't see these men as a threat. As it was, he wasn't going to put Jun Hao at risk by staying.
Yin Yun only relaxed when the two men had left. Jun Hao looked up at him in question. Yin Yun lowered his head and gestured at Jun Hao to stay quiet. He waited a few beats before leading Jun Hao back to the inn they were staying in.
Yin Yun shut the door behind him. Before Jun Hao could figure out what was happening, Yin Yun took out the face masks he had made some time ago and put one on Jun Hao's face without a word of explanation.
Jun Hao didn't protest. He was used to Yin Yun acting this way. He closed his eyes and let Yin Yun smoothed out the edge of the mask. Once it was properly applied, he said, "Are those men really from Eastern Wu?"
Yin Yun had put on a mask himself. Now both their looks were covered. He nodded. "Very likely. I cannot think of anyone else in Northern Qi who would put so much effort in searching for us."
"Maybe it's big sister," said Jun Hao. His head was filled with thoughts about Jun Huang.
"It's probably not," said Yin Yun. "I heard them mentioned a w.a.n.gye. While Princess Jun Huang does know the fourth prince of Northern Qi, the prince has not gained a t.i.tle yet. It's more likely to be someone from Eastern Wu."
Jun Hao saw his points. He didn't want to waste time arguing with Yin Yun.
He walked to the mirror to look at his face mask. A sigh escaped his lips. How long were they going to keep on running? When, if ever, were they going to find Jun Huang?
Yin Yun knew what he was thinking about. Jun Hao was too young to be faced with the destruction of his country and family. He was forced to become a fugitive with only a guard at his side. It must have been hard for him to wrap his head around. Yin Yun was worried that Jun Hao had been keeping his pain to himself. He didn't want Jun Hao to suppress himself to the point of developing an illness.
"Believe me, Your Highness, when I say that we will find the princess," Yin Yun said with his eyes on Jun Hao.
Jun Hao smiled. He had grown up in the royal family. Even though he had not had a lot of experience, he wasn't going to be defeated by these hards.h.i.+ps. "Where are we going next?"
"We'll get out of the town first," said Yin Yun. He quickly packed up their limited number of possessions and checked out. He led Jun Hao out of the inn.
It took some time for Jun Huang to find Nan Xun. Nan Xun stopped in his track when he saw her coming his way. "What happened?"
Jun Huang steadied her breathing before saying, "I just remembered that Yin Yun is a master of disguise. Do you think they have changed their appearances?"
Nan Xun frowned without answering. It was an possibility. Without a word, he went back to question the pedestrians with the portraits in his hand. Jun Huang sighed and started asking around as well.
There was too big a crowd here. They couldn't possibly asked everyone. They picked only those who looked like they were from the area.
Two people walked by Jun Huang. She turned toward them without thinking and saw two unfamiliar faces.
"What's wrong?" Nan Xun asked when he noticed Jun Huang's mood taking a downturn.
Jun Huang sighed and let out a quiet laugh. "My brother is about that boy's age."
Nan Xun followed Jun Huang's gaze, but he didn't see the boy Jun Huang was talking about. There were too many people on the street. Anyone would have disappeared in the crowd in an instant. If he had seen the man and the boy, he would have noticed that the man was no regular peasant.
What had happened happened, however. "What could have been" was never meant to be.
They asked around in the area. Their good looks attracted many young women's eyes. Soon, they found themselves surrounded.
"Where are the gentleman from?" a beautiful woman dressed in red asked bashfully, looking at Nan Xun with tender eyes.
Nan Xun followed the sound and saw the woman. He blinked in surprise before backing away with a frown. He didn't like the smell of cosmetics.
He b.u.mped into Jun Huang, who turned to him, then to the women asking where Nan Xun was from. She raised a meaningful eyebrow at him. Nan Xun awkwardly opened his mouth to explain, but he couldn't find the words.
They wanted to make their way out of the crowd, but these women were different from the reserved women they usually ran into. They were unable to escape.
Nan Xun was worried that Jun Huang would get lost in the crowd. He kept Jun Huang close to his side and s.h.i.+elded her with an arm, preventing everyone from even touching the tail of her s.h.i.+rt.
Contrary to Nan Xun's nervousness, Jun Huang seemed to be above their current chaos. It was as if she wasn't trapped in a sea of women. Her aloof expression made one's gaze linger.
These women heard there were two good looking newcomers in the town, and the rumor had been proven true. At first, they were attracted more to the strong and stoic Nan Xun, but they were deterred by his cold att.i.tude. Now their hearts raced for the graceful Jun Huang. What they wouldn't give to get to know her!
"Excuse us," Nan Xun said with a frown. He put an arm around Jun Huang's shoulders and led her out of the crowd.
Jun Huang threw a glance at him and let out a chuckle, making many of the women blush. They shoved their handkerchiefs into Jun Huang's arms, some of which were decorated with patterns of mandarin ducks, and others with a pair of one-winged birds. Both were symbols of love.
The guards had finally found Jun Huang and Nan Xun. They tensed up when they saw the crowd and drew their swords to try to get to them, sending the women into a screaming match. They scattered like a h.o.a.rd of beasts.
Nan Xun was finally able to relax. With a dark expression, he took the handkerchiefs from Jun Huang's arms and silently handed them to the guards.
Confused, the guards looked at Nan Xun, then at Jun Huang. Jun Huang barely kept herself from laughing out loud. Her lips twitched a little. She took a deep breath and shook her head. "Did you find anything?"
One of the guards nodded and put on a serious expression. "These two people are both good looking. Even though they have tried to avoid people's attention, they still left an impression on those who have seen them. There was an old man who said he'd seen them two days ago. It is, however, difficult to track them down. It's been two days. They may have left Yun Town already."
Jun Huang frowned. She knew that it was unlikely for Yin Yun and Jun Hao to still be in Yun Town, but she wasn't going to give up as long as there was some hope.
Nan Xun could figure out what Jun Huang was thinking by reading her expression. He knew Jun Huang was worried about dragging him down. He sighed. His chest felt tight with the weight of his concerns. Even after all this time, Jun Huang was still keeping a polite distance from him. He had been so very clear with his feelings for her, but she refused to acknowledge it.
"No matter what, we should stay a few more days in Yun Town," said Nan Xun. "It's late. You must be tired after a day of searching. Let's return to the inn."
Jun Huang turned to Nan Xun. He looked away, unwilling to accept her grat.i.tude. An indiscernible feeling rippled through her heart. They made their way back to the inn in silence.
Prince who has gained the t.i.tle of a lord. ↩