OMF V1C84 Borrowing, Just Borrowing

Hong Bao went to the god of war’s palace and uncertainly stood before the gate. She did have the resolution to accomplish the task but … Where was that study? How would she find it? She couldn’t waste any time!
Hong Bao looked around and finally spotted some young gods in the courtyard. She thought a bit and then hurried over.
“Excuse me!”
The gods turned around and were stunned to see a smiling servant girl behind them. “Uh … What is it?”, one of them asked, looking her up and down.
“It’s like this: I’m new here and I got lost on my way. Could you point me to the study of the god of war?”
“The god of war’s study-room?” The god lifted his brows but still pointed to one of the buildings. “It’s in there. Just ask again when you’re inside, else you’d get lost again.”
“Thank you, big brother!” Hong Bao smiled at them again and hurried to the building. She couldn’t lose even one second. She had to save Shun Tao as soon as possible!
“Hm …” The god watched her leave. “Why would she go to the god of war’s study?”
“Maybe it’s some kind of new trend?”
“Huh? What are you talking about?” He turned around to the other god but the man only shrugged.
“You know: An accomplished man in a good position and a servant girl.”
“Why would that be a trend?” He furrowed his brow. Could something like that even become a trend?
“Well, the fate’s scribe did it. Why not the god of war, too?”
“What did the fate’s scribe do?”
“You don’t know about that? Let me tell you, it’s like this …” And thus, while Hong Bao was on her way to save her adored one, the rumors about her and Shun Tao were once again brought up and somehow she had even managed to start another rumor at the side.
Hong Bao asked nearly every guard she met on the way to make sure that she didn’t lose her way and some of the precious time she needed to save Shun Tao. One day wasn’t much time and more than half of it had already passed. In fact, it wouldn’t be long until night fell.
Hong Bao finally reached the study. She looked around sneakily but nobody could be seen. The god of war didn’t seem to be in and there were no guards around.
Hong Bao smiled brightly. Heaven really is on my side! How can I have this much luck?
She crept up to the window and looked into the courtyard. There was indeed a separate building. It wasn’t big. Even Hong Bao could see that it probably only encompassed one room. She furrowed her brows. “Why would anyone build such a thing in the middle of his courtyard? Wouldn’t that be a waste? You have such a big palace, why don’t you store the things somewhere inside? You could have planted some flowers here or build some pavilion for drinking tea or something like that. Hmph. That just shows what a bad person you are!”
With another look around, she slipped into the courtyard and sneaked over to the door. One could say she was indeed lucky because there were supposed to be two guards in front of that door. But these guards … nothing could be seen of them and Hong Bao was too preoccupied with her goal to listen for any sounds, so she didn’t notice the rustling of leaves somewhere behind the building.
Hong Bao just opened the door and stepped in. She didn’t even bother to close the door behind her since she hadn’t seen anybody anyway. And she needed some light to see, right?
She didn’t have to worry about that, though. There were some markings on the ground that glowed in the dark and illuminated the whole room. In that silvery glow, Hong Bao instantly saw the weapon the goddess of love had talked about.
It was indeed displayed on some strange looking cupboard. Hong Bao halted and her gaze roamed over the dagger. It looked eerie, though only a black handle and a similarly black sheath could be seen. Both were slightly curved but had sharp edges. Such a weapon was used to set the soul of a god free?
She couldn’t really understand. But Hong Bao didn’t care anyway. The main point was that she could save her beloved Shun Tao with this. Thinking of that, she happily skipped over and grabbed it.
Nobody noticed.
Hong Bao left the building and closed the door behind her. She looked over to the god of war’s study and pursed her lips. She hadn’t even taken five minutes to get the weapon. Wouldn’t it seem strange to those guards she had asked for the way if she came back now? Maybe it would be better if she went the other way.
She circled around the building but stopped dead in her track. Some strange noises were coming out of the bushes. This … what is going on there? Hong Bao wanted to have a look but she still had that dagger in her hand and even though she would bring it back soon the people in the god of war’s palace might not like it. Who knew if they would listen to her if she tried to explain? They might punish Shun Tao even more if it got out that she had wanted to help! After all these people worked for the crown prince’s uncle.
Hong Bao turned around. Snap. She looked down. A broken branch lay below her feet. The noise behind her stopped.
“Wait! I think I heard something.”
“Shut up and go on.”
“No, what if the god of war —”
“He’ll be out way longer. Now come on. Or is it that you don’t have enough stamina?”
“What are you saying?! I’ll show you just how much stamina I have!”
The noises started again.
Hong Bao waited a moment and then hurried back the way she came. Forget the guards she asked. Maybe they would think she had just delivered a message. The only problem was the dagger. Hong Bao turned it around in her hands. She had to hide it somewhere but she hadn’t brought anything with her.
Argh, I can’t wait any longer! Shun Tao’s time is running out. With a determined expression, she pushed the dagger into her dress and tried adjusting it below her chest area.
The guards turning into the corridor halted, exchanged a glance and hurried back, one of them even clasping a hand over his mouth. “What did I just see?”, he hissed at the other one, but his companion could only shrug his shoulders.
“I guess it’s true what the guys outside said. There really was a woman visiting the god of war.”
“Whoa, but didn’t she just go in like … five minutes ago? How are they already finished? The fate’s scribe is rumored to have taken half an hour. Our master wouldn’t lose out to him, would he?” The guard furrowed his brow. He couldn’t understand. He had seen the fate’s scribe. Their own master looked so much more manly. How could he take less time?!
“What do you know?” The other guard struck him a blow to the chest. “He’s the god of war, it’s expected for him to take a swift and decisive victory. The fate’s scribe probably had to sweet talk that servant girl first. That’s why he took so long.”
“Ah! So it’s like that!” The guard nodded understandingly.
They waited a while to make sure the girl wasn’t there anymore but when they turned into the corridor the next time, they were even more stunned: The god of war stood before the door to his study.
Their master turned around, raising his brows at them. “That girl just now …”
The two exchanged a glance, understanding dawning in their eyes. Ah, so he wants to make sure we’re not going to gossip like those people from the scribe’s palace! “We didn’t see anyone”, the first one said.
“There was nobody when we made our last round”, said the second.
Qiang Yan lifted his brows. Really? But he could have sworn he had seen the fate’s scribe’s little servant girl. Had he really imagined it?
Hm. Well, she probably only came because she had to work somewhere around here. It probably wouldn’t be good for her to work at the fate’s scribe’s palace.
Thinking like that, Qiang Yan shrugged and entered his study. The two guards exchanged another glance and hurried outside. Even if they couldn’t tell anyone else, they should at least let their brothers know, right? Like that, another rumor made its way through the nine heavens, unbeknown to Hong Bao, who was already on her way down to the mortal world.

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