The two of them soon reached the staircase leading up to the Heavenly Emperor’s palace.
The servant girl turned to Leng Jin Yu with a smile and inclined her head. “Then please wait here, ascended deity Leng. I will go and tell the Heavenly Empress of your visit.”
The girl hurried up the stairs and soon found the Heavenly Empress sitting in the study next to the throne room, telling her what Leng Jin Yu had said.
Bai Fen raised her brows in surprise. It hadn’t been that long since she had sent off Leng Jin Yu and his husband. If one of them was back now … there should be something important. Thinking of this, she got to her feet and followed the servant girl out. Hopefully, it was good news and would help with finding her son. She really didn’t know what else she was supposed to do otherwise.
By now, her husband’s palace had quieted down and she couldn’t hear anything of the search outside either. It seemed as if the whole world had stopped turning the moment she found out that her son had disappeared and now, she would forever be engulfed in this dreadful silence.
She took a deep breath and then slowly exhaled just as they stepped outside. Seeing Leng Jin Yu waiting alone at the foot of the stairs, she gave him a nod and then descended. “Ascended deity Leng, I didn’t expect you to return this fast. Did something happen?”
Leng Jin Yu gave a hum and glanced at the servant girl but she was waiting for further instructions a few steps away. Having made sure of this, he turned back to Bai Fen and lowered his voice. “You see, after returning to the dragon king’s palace, we found out that Qiu Ling had … somebody staring at your son while your husband was keeping them separated. Basically, he was trying to find an opportunity to visit secretly.”
Bai Fen smiled faintly in response. “That sounds like him.”
“Mn. Unfortunately, the person also lost track of him at the time when he vanished but my husband and I thought we could maybe find some clues from knowing what exactly happened until then. Thus, we brought the person here. He could show us the route your son took, maybe point out the people he met along the way, or tell us if there was something else that was special. I can’t guarantee there will be any new developments but maybe it’s worth a try.”
Bai Fen nodded. “I suppose it can’t hurt. Where is that person now?”
“My husband is waiting with him outside the gate since … well, his identity is a bit … suspicious.” In fact, Xiang Yu’s identity was the more suspicious of the two but, right now, the guards would worry more about the person refusing to show their face.
“Of course.” Bai Fen thought for a moment and then motioned down the street. “Let’s go and get them first then. After that, we can go to my brother’s palace. I presume you’d like to have him with us when we check the route.”
Leng Jin Yu nodded. “I suppose that would be for the best.”
The two of them walked to the gate of the city, the servant girl staying behind at the Heavenly Emperor’s palace at Bai Fen’s word.
Jinde and Xiang Yu were still standing in the same spot where Leng Jin Yu had left them but the latter was looking distraught which really didn’t inspire faith in Bai Fen. Had he seen something bad before her son vanished? Or had he managed to reconnect to his view of him somehow and seen something worse? Her heart raced just thinking of this.
Leng Jin Yu also saw that something seemed to be up but he didn’t mention it. Maybe Xiang Yu was simply afraid that his identity would cause issues but that really couldn’t be said out loud right now so it was better to distract him and talk about this later. Instead, he nodded at the two of them and then motioned to Bai Fen. “The Heavenly Empress was so kind to accompany me herself. We’ll go together to see her brother next.”
He turned back to Bai Fen while motioning at Xiang Yu. “You’ve already met my husband so let me introduce Xiang Yu. He is the person I mentioned whom Qiu Ling had asked to keep an eye on your son.”
Bai Fen nodded and gave him a kind smile. Since Qiu Ling had given him this task, he had to be very trustworthy and if his work could help with finding her son, she’d be forever grateful. She was a bit surprised though. He looked really young. Also … he looked nothing like a dragon.
The differences between the immortal races weren’t always big but usually, there were at least some subtle differences. For example, the dragons’ fingernails didn’t look the same as those of the gods even when they weren’t showing their claws. This person showed none of the signs of being a dragon. She felt curious but this was hardly a question you could directly ask somebody.
Bai Fen might not have asked but Jinde caught her gaze and took it upon himself to give an explanation. “The Heavenly Empress has sharp eyes and has probably noticed that our Xiang Yu here was originally from your race. He is currently staying with us to … chase our dragon race’s Senior Xin Lan. It’s a long-term task so he’s been in the palace for a while and must have caught Qiu Ling’s eye that way.”
Xiang Yu looked up at him before turning back and nodding obediently. Even though that hadn’t been the reason he had gone there originally, it was still one of the reasons he was staying there now. Of course, he also didn’t want everyone to assume that he was only blindly chasing after Xin Lan so he happily provided another reason. “Also, I’m waiting for Jinde’s child to be born!”
At that, the Heavenly Empress’s brows shot up. A child to be born? That … sounded like it was major news.