The guards looked at them and stepped forward to stop them in their tracks. If it had been just one or two people, they might not have done so but seeing a large group leave was something that they weren’t too used to, especially at one of the side gates.
“Might I ask your identities and where you are going?” The guard especially looked at Jinde, squinting his eyes at the veil that covered his face.
Jinde chuckled and then reached out to pull the veil aside, exposing his face. “I’m sorry about that, I forgot. My name is Jiang Li and I am of the dragon race. I was visiting the Nine Heavens’ capital city with my husband, Leng Jin Yu. Now, we are on our way back to the dragon realm with my family. Some of his friends came to see us off.” He motioned over to Duan Ming who stepped forward and nodded at the guards.
“I am Duan Ming, son of the Goddess of Magnanimity and currently residing in the idle gods’ courtyard. Brother Leng was originally an ascended deity part of our idle gods’ courtyard as well. It is rare that we are able to meet nowadays so, now that he came for a visit with his husband, we decided to bring them back over.
“These are the trueborn god Lan Ling, as well as the two other ascended deities Zhong and Xian. As for the others in the back, they are the family of our brother’s husband.”
The guards glanced at the dragons in the back and one of them raised his brows when he saw Yi Zan. “Excuse me, but aren’t you an adviser of the dragon king?”
Yi Zan smiled wryly and then stepped forward. “You have sharp eyes. I am adviser Yi Zan. These are my sister, her husband, and their son. Jiang Li is m brother-in-law’s extended family member. They are moving to our place in the dragon realm’s capital city so we were accompanying them.”
The guard was satisfied with these explanations. “Very well, then have a pleasant journey.” He nodded and stepped to the side, letting the group pass through the gate.
In the back, Ai Hua and her husband both smiled, nodding at the guards while they walked through. All of them were slightly tensed when they made their way out of the city but nothing seemed to happen. Had they really made it out just like this?
Just when they all wanted to heave a sigh of relief, they heard hurried steps from the back and then a voice called out. “Stop! Who is among that group there?!”
The guards didn’t know what exactly was going on but the person that came rushing over was wearing the robe of the heavenly officials so they hurriedly rushed after the group and stopped them where they were.
“I’m afraid there’s still some matter to be solved. Please follow us back inside.” The guard motioned over to the gate, his expression grave while he stared at one person after the other, wondering just what had happened. Their explanations had sounded logical and neither of them had left him with a bad impression. Still, something had to be going on.
Leng Jin Yu and Jinde exchanged a glance. Just between the two of them, they would be able to overwhelm two guards and one heavenly official, not to mention if they were able to count on Yi Zan and his family and maybe even the gods. But if they did that, then Qiu Ling would really have a problem to deal with.
Also, Jinde couldn’t help but think of how his husband was an ascended deity after all. And even though they would be settling down in the dragon realm, he probably didn’t want to completely lose the connection to the Nine Heavens even though he had only spent a short time there. Thus, he finally sighed and leaned his head on his husband’s shoulder. “Well, we should return and see what’s going on. That sounded as if it was important.”
Seeing that his husband had decided on this, Leng Jin Yu nodded slowly. Inwardly, he couldn’t help but wonder if maybe it would still be best to send at least the others back to the dragon realm. But he didn’t dare to ask. After all, the guards wouldn’t be able to tell him anything so he just nodded in the end, and then the group returned to the gate, Jing Yi clenching his fists.
He had been so close to being out of there. He could’ve made it. If only they had been a little faster. Actually, if Duan Ming hadn’t asked before and they had needed to come up with an explanation, maybe they would have made it. But now, that heavenly official would probably figure out who he was and then they wouldn’t be allowed to go. And most likely, if there was one official here, it would be the same at the other gates. The chance to flee was already lost.
Duan Ming and the other two couldn’t help but glance at Jing Yi. Duan Ming’s brows furrowed faintly. He still believed that Jing Yi shouldn’t get into trouble because of this. So he resolved to try and step in himself.
He didn’t believe that he could sway the Heavenly Emperor but he should at least try. Also, maybe it would be best to inform his mother. But first, he should see what that heavenly official wanted. Maybe all of this was just a misunderstanding and neither of them would get into trouble. There was at least a slight chance of that happening.
They stepped back through the gate and the heavenly official looked them over. “These people are …?”
The guards exchanged a glance and then motioned at everyone, introducing them one by one.
The heavenly official listened at first but then completely focused on Jing Yi, his gaze becoming forbidding. “Ascended deity Zhong, I believe that you were informed that you are not allowed to leave the capital city.”
Jing Yi gritted his teeth but still forced himself to try and show a confused expression. “I’m not?”
The heavenly official didn’t bother to play along. Instead, he turned to look at the two guards. “The others can leave but not him. If he tries again, make sure to inform the Court of Justice so that he can be taken into custody. The other gates have already been informed as well in case he tries to escape again.” He turned back to Jing Yi, his gaze seeming to darken even further. “You can believe me when I say that next time, you definitely won’t get this far. If you try again, you will wish you didn’t.”