Hong Bao slipped into the house and looked around. She didn’t need long to find the room where the Zhongs were getting ready to go to bed.
Hong Bao waited in front of the room and peeked through the window. What should she do? She had the dagger in her hand. She could jump inside, injure the crown prince and run out. But who knew how he would react when he woke up as a god again? He’d remember her face and then Shun Tao would get into even more trouble!
No, she couldn’t let him see her face! She needed to wait until he was asleep. It couldn’t take that long, could it? Well, at the very least, he had to sleep sometime this night. As long as she scratched him before dawn, it should be early enough to save Shun Tao.
Like that, Hong Bao waited in front of the window and watched how the Zhongs went to bed. Jing Yi was the first one to fall asleep. Hong Bao had understood that he was Mister and Madam Zhong’s child and couldn’t help but wonder how that tyrannical crown prince could have such a cute child.
“That has to be the influence of his wife! She probably got tricked into marrying him. Thankfully, the child still has such a nice mother by his side!”
Soon, Mister and Madam Zhong also went to bed. If one managed to ignore the racket caused by Qiang Wei and Liu Cheng’s fight in the courtyard, the house was completely quiet. Hong Bao waited a bit longer though. Who knew if that despicable crown prince had some inkling of her plan and was waiting to catch her? She wouldn’t let him succeed with his evil plan! She just had to wait for a while longer …
Hong Bao propped herself up at the windowsill and waited. Her eyelids were getting heavier and her head started swaying. Finally, she dozed off, lost her balance and made contact with the window. Hong Bao jerked up. Mister and Madam Zhong inside sat up in the bed.
“What was that?” Madam Zhong clutched her husband’s arm. She had already been frightened by the fight they had heard before but Zhong Gang and his wife had claimed that such things happened quite often in the capital and were nothing to worry about as long as one didn’t go over to have a look. But now the fight seemed to have gotten closer.
“Maybe we should go and have a look?”
“But your cousin said it’s not safe.”
Mister Zhong nodded. In all honesty, he also didn’t want to go. “Who knows? Maybe they were only there for a moment and already went away again. Do you hear that? The noise still seems to come from the street.”
Madam Zhong nodded. “Alright. Then let’s ignore it. Nothing will happen.”
Unfortunately, just at this moment, a bang sounded from the courtyard, startling even Jing Yi awake who had been fast asleep. The boy sat up and rubbed his eyes, looking at his mother. “Mommy …”
Madam Zhong sighed and got out of bed, hurrying over to her son. “Don’t worry. They’re far away.”
Jing Yi didn’t look convinced.
“How about mommy stays with you tonight?”
Jing Yi nodded and hugged her neck. He didn’t care about the fight. If anything happened, they could call grandfather over. Grandfather would protect them! He didn’t suspect that Qiu Ling had already left and that the jade bracelet he had given him was a fake that wouldn’t be able to alert him however much he tried. As long as Qiu Ling himself or one of his subordinates wasn’t there he would be without protection. But thinking of that sagely old man and being next to his favorite person, Jing Yi felt secure and fell asleep again.
Madam Zhong was kept awake by her thoughts though. The fight made her remember the Daoist Master and she couldn’t help but wonder if he was one of the people fighting there. What if something happened to him? What if nothing happened? Despite her worries, she finally fell asleep too.
Mister Zhong who wasn’t prone to brooding at any time of the day was already fast asleep for a long time.
Hong Bao continued to observe, this time straining her eyes so as to not fall asleep again or startle the three humans in the room awake. Finally, she could only hear even breathing.
He should be asleep by now! She gripped the dagger tighter. She only had to go inside and cut him. That wasn’t so difficult. With the grimmest expression she could manage, she unsheathed her weapon and cautiously opened the door. The hinge creaked.
Hong Bao froze on the spot, one hand on the handle of the door, the other raising the dagger above her head. It rustled inside. Oh no! She peeked into the room, prepared to run away but her target had only turned in his sleep.
“Phew!” Hong Bao wiped the cold sweat away that had broken out on her brow. That had been a close call!
She tiptoed into the room and halted next to Mister Zhong’s bed. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Even though you’re an evil guy, I wouldn’t harm you normally. But if this can save Shun Tao, then it’s better you attempt your trial again another time. You don’t have to worry, this won’t hurt at all.” She leaned forward and made a small cut on his thumb. The next day, it would look as if he had cut himself in the teahouse. Nobody would suspect anything.
Having accomplished her goal, Hong Bao smiled, turned around and left the room. She closed the door behind her and looked in the direction of the fight. At first, she wanted to go over and tell them to stop but then she reconsidered. One of them was on the crown prince’s side after all and that demon hunter had seemed reassured of his ability. He should be able to handle things.
With that in mind, Hong Bao sheathed the dagger and made her way back to the Nine Heavens. Ah, it felt good having accomplished her mission! Now she only had to inform the Goddess of Love and then she could go and tell the good news to Shun Tao! Heaven really was on her side!